There’s nothing worse than feeling sluggish at work and depressed when you look in the mirror! Boost your energy levels and your productivity and start shedding those excess pounds with one of the best under desk ellipticals. And what’s even better? You can do it all WHILE you work at your desk!
Under Desk Exercise Machines - Workout While Seated
There are many words that can be used to describe modern lifestyles, but the most common may be “sedentary.” Experts recommend we get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week, but recent research reveals that many of us are not meeting this threshold, and most of us say that it’s because we just don’t have the time!
Well get this: sedentary lifestyles have been linked to many health issues including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, premature death and some types of cancers. Making time for exercise really is important!
This is where the under desk elliptical comes in. An under desk elliptical is a peddling device that, as the name suggests, fits under your desk and allows you to get in that much-needed physical exercise without sacrificing productivity. Not only that, but burning those calories can actually make you feel happier at work (yes, it is possible!).
This means a repetitive, low-impact approach that gradually increases the miles and the tension to burn calories. The following models have a great range of features in a secure, user-friendly design. Those that put in the work on these machines should find that their fitness improves.
1. Cubii Under Desk Elliptical
The buzz surrounding the Cubii Under Desk Elliptical started even before the product ever hit the market. This leg exerciser is a product of three entrepreneurial friends who ran a massively successful Kickstarter campaign for the product and managed to exceed their goal. This elliptical lives up to the hype.
Right off the bat, the Cubii sports a low profile elliptical motion which makes it useful as an office elliptical. A common complaint concerning these types of exercisers is knees hitting the bottom of the desk. This model largely solves this problem (although your height, desk height and chair height will still play a role).
Although the device isn’t absolutely silent, it emits a hum very similar to background noise you would get from a small fan. It’s definitely useable at the office or anywhere you need to keep quiet.
This model pairs up with your phone via Bluetooth and the Cubii App available for Android and iPhone to keep track of your progress including distance, steps and calories burned. It is also compatible with the Apple Health Kit and Fitbit so you can keep all your fitness goals in one place.
The Cubii is a proper workout machine, which is surprising considering its small size. It works out your posture, abs and core muscles, calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes. Our testers were able to work up a sweat at the highest resistance setting, so be careful when using this device just before an important meeting.
Speaking of resistance settings, this Cubii has adjustable resistance settings from 1 to 8 depending on how intense you want your workout. Our experts recommend the lower resistance settings while working to avoid distraction and higher resistance for short breaks where you don’t need to focus.
The two downsides are price and versatility. The Cubii Under Desk Elliptical falls on the higher side of the price spectrum compared to other options on the market. This machine can also only be used while seated, which may be a deal breaker for someone looking for a more versatile elliptical.
All in all, this Cubii is impressive and represents mini elliptical technology at its best. With its sleek design, quiet function, Bluetooth capability, and mobile app syncing, the price tag isn’t all that unreasonable.
2. Cubii Jr: Desk Elliptical w/ Built In Display Monitor
The Cubii Jr: Desk Elliptical w/ Built in Display Monitor is aptly named “Junior” as it is a smaller, cheaper, and more basic version of the Cubii Under Desk Elliptical. This version doesn’t sacrifice any of the features that we liked most about its bigger brother.
Similarities first: the Cubii Jr sports the same patented ergonomic angles that keep your knees from hitting the desk and provide a low impact workout for your joints. This model also works out the same areas (quads, glutes, abs, hamstrings, and calves), and the wheel stoppers are a very thoughtful addition. These keep your wheeled office chair from rolling while you work out.
You still get the 8 adjustable resistance levels on the Cubii Jr to vary your workout intensity. This one is also as quiet as its predecessor, which is useful in a shared office. The leg exerciser allows you to burn up to 150 calories an hour, which you can improve by adjusting resistance levels and time spent on the machine.
On to the differences: the Cubii Jr is visibly smaller, which makes it more convenient to use under your desk. This mini elliptical machine doesn’t plug into any electrical source and doesn’t have Bluetooth, so it’s a perfect device for anyone who just wants to focus on the workout aspect without the bells and whistles. There is a conveniently located display monitor on the equipment that tracks your time, strides, distance, calories burned, and RPM in real time.
The assembly is also much easier and straightforward. All you need is to screw in four screws and you are ready to start peddling. There is no charging time or cables so you can use it anywhere at any time.
The glaring downside is that the Cubii Jr is less interactive than the Pro version. You can’t track your progress on an app or synchronize with your Fitbit to update your physical activity. This option is also surprisingly heavy for a mini elliptical, but that’s understandable considering how durable the device is.
3. jfit Under Desk & Stand Up Mini Elliptical/Stepper
The jfit Under Desk & Stand Up Mini Elliptical/Stepper is marketed as the perfect office elliptical that you can also use at your standing desk.
To be honest, the first impression was underwhelming especially after getting used to the sleek aesthetics of the Cubii. The jfit definitely looks dated in comparison, but it redeems itself in performance.
Right out of the box, the jfit is easy and straightforward to assemble. The obvious selling point is you can use it while sitting or standing, and it performs admirably on both accounts. Simply adjust the peddle using the dial and flip the device to face the opposite direction and you can switch from sitting to standing or vice-versa.
This elliptical and stepper combo is reasonably quiet, although we did hear a little squeaking noise in the beginning. This irritation was quickly eliminated by the lubricating using oil that comes included in the product packaging. There are 3 resistance levels which give you reasonable tension. Our experts got the best workout while standing and at the highest resistance setting. There aren’t nearly as many resistance levels as available with the Cubii, but being able to stand or sit makes up for it.
This jfit also comes with a monitor to track speed, distance, calories burned, and time. Its sturdy construction and small size make it perfect for everyday exercise wherever you choose.
The price tag is also attractive, especially for its functionality; it costs much less than the Cubii. This is the perfect machine for the budget-conscious buyer who can live without Bluetooth connectivity and other extra features.
Our main criticism of the jfit is its dated look. We were also a little surprised at the weight. Regardless of what you consider heavy, a little over 26 pounds is significant, especially for a machine that is meant to be moved from place to place. This model also has a recommended maximum weight threshold of 250lbs while standing, making it restrictive for heavier people. There is no maximum weight while sitting.
4. Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
The Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer is definitely better looking than the jfit and also doubles as an elliptical trainer and standup stepper. It comes with a lower price tag than the jfit, too.
As an under desk office elliptical, the Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer makes the most sense in terms of dimensions and compactness. It fits nicely under most desks and stores much better than any of the elliptical in our review so far.
It has variable resistance settings so you can choose your workout intensity. It comes with a small in-built display to keep track of time, strides per minute, calories burned, and total strides. You can peddle either forward or in reverse, which is a great feature to vary your workout and target different muscles.
The Stamina In-motion gave our taller testers trouble because of its noticeably smaller stride. Using this mini elliptical while standing up also takes a little getting used to. There is nothing to hold on to while the machine itself can feel unsteady for heavier people.
If you need a cheap and portable under desk elliptical machine to get in your daily dose of physical activity, the Stamina is definitely a good value for money. If you are looking for a sitting and standing combo, we might recommend the jfit as it performs a bit better (though it’s also a bit pricier).
The main downside is that the Stamina In-Motion doesn’t come with any handles, which can make it inconvenient to move. This is an odd design choice considering these devices are made specifically for portability. It also didn’t blow us away as a stand-up elliptical, although a few of our testers had no issue on this point.
5. IDEER LIFE Under Desk&Stand Up Exercise Bike
The INDEER LIFE Under Desk & Stand Up Exercise Bike is another affordable under desk workout machine. The first thing that hit the mark with our testers was its low-profile design. It fits nicely under your work desk, which is useful for an office elliptical.
Elliptical machines at this price range sometimes have problems with pedal rotation height, but the IDEER LIFE compares nicely with the Cubii even at less than half the price.
This model is marketed as a mini elliptical, and the fact that it has sitting and standing options is a nice touch. Many of our testers, however, had trouble using it while standing and had to hold onto a desk for support. As an under desk elliptical it works admirably.
As with all the options we have reviewed so far, the IDEER LIFE also comes with adjustable resistance settings to vary your workout intensity. The wide pedals were a welcome feature for our larger testers. The machine also runs quiet thanks to its large roller-blade wheels.
A small LCD monitor shows your total count, distance, calories burned, and time. The ergonomic handle and wheels on the machine make transporting easier, which was a problem with the Stamina In-Motion. Assembly was also quick and easy.
The main downside of the IDEER LIFE Under Desk & Stand Up Exercise Machine is using the machine while standing can prove difficult. This option also has a weight limit of 243lbs while standing (a little less than the jfit). There is no weight limit for using the IDEER LIFE while seated.
6. HOVR Under Desk Leg Swing
The HOVR Under Desk Leg Swing isn’t an elliptical, but one of our testers owns one and insisted we try it. As a viable alternative to an under desk elliptical, this effective and affordable option managed to make the cut.
Right out of the box, this is a very basic exerciser. It consists of footpads, an adjustable strap, and a mount that installs under your desk. Installation was straightforward; we simply screwed the mount underneath the desk at the optimum position using a handy screwdriver that comes included. You will need to find the perfect position for the swing, otherwise, you’ll have to redo the installation.
Once installed, the HOVR looks like a footrest, except, as the name suggests, it swings. It is surprisingly sturdy and has a good range of motion. It is also easy to use without distracting from your work. Note that the mount can only be installed on wooden desks that are at least 1 inch thick so the screws don’t poke through. We tried suction cups, but these eventually detached after a few days of use.
The HOVR is also surprisingly fun to use. You can swing your feet in various directions—up and down (think of a seesaw), side-to-side, or shimmy (by flicking your ankles). It also takes a lot less concentration to use. You can focus on your work only to find that your feet were still moving all the while. The ellipticals that we have reviewed all require some kind of conscious effort, so this is a welcome change.
For the price, this leg exerciser is definitely worth purchasing.
The main downside is that the leg swing only installs under wooden tables. It also doesn’t work with wheeled office chairs.
Under Desk Elliptical Buying Guide
Under desk ellipticals fall under the category of products that seem like gimmicky inventions (for example dog diapers or diet water). But don’t be fooled. These machines actually work! Well, some of them, at least….
We reviewed our fair share of under desk ellipticals that should never have made it to the market in the first place. This is why it is necessary to know EXACTLY what you should look for in an office elliptical. We used the same criteria contained in this Buying Guide to come up with the top performing six under desk elliptical machines reviewed in the previous section.
What is an Under Desk Elliptical?
Elliptical machines are popular in gyms across the country. They use hydraulic or magnetic resistance to mimic a stepping motion that strengthens the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and the heart. Their ergonomic design makes them easier on the knees and is perfect for people with sore joints or those suffering from lower-body injuries.
Under desk ellipticals are smaller versions of these machines which fit right under your desk at work or home. They help people with sedentary lifestyles to get a decent workout without having to sacrifice time or money for a gym membership.
Although an under desk elliptical machine isn’t a replacement for the gym when it comes to total body fitness, it can help you burn calories and achieve your daily fitness goals.
Why Buy an Under Desk Elliptical
An under desk elliptical is a great investment that comes with many benefits for your health and productivity. Let’s take a look at a few.
More active lifestyle
The health risks of physical inactivity are well documented and include a higher risk of developing diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Most jobs require spending the day seated at a desk, and busy personal lives create little room for exercise. These machines offer a much-needed lifeline for people who would otherwise be unable to be active. They also complement other forms of exercise.
Improve heart health
If used consistently, an under desk elliptical can help to improve cardiovascular health. These leg exercisers are aerobic machines like treadmills and bikes. The results will vary depending on your average usage time, consistency, and resistance setting, but doing cardio can help fight against the #1 cause of death in the country.
Ellipticals are great for anyone that would like to specifically tone the lower body. Though they don’t exclusively work the legs. Choose a standing model and you can tone and strengthen your back, abs, and core muscles as well.
The fast-paced modern world lives little or no room to take care of your own well being. An under desk elliptical ensures that you still get in your exercise hours regardless of your schedule. This is also a one-off purchase, which is cheaper than most gym memberships (that you probably won’t have time to use anyway!).
Less stress on joints
The elliptical is made with your knees and joints in mind. This is especially useful for older people or people recovering from injuries. The movements are fluid and smooth—great for people who dislike the sore feeling after a workout.
Key Features of Under Desk Ellipticals
Knowing what to look for in an under desk elliptical will save you a lot of time and money. You can trust that all of the ellipticals in our review section are top notch products, but they all feature different design elements that make them special. Knowing which features will benefit you most is important when it comes to choosing the right product. Take the following factors into account before buying an under desk elliptical.
Under Desk Ellipticals vs Under Desk Bikes
Make sure that you know the difference between an under elliptical and under desk bike as these two options look deceptively similar at first glance.
The main difference between the two is in the stride and pedals.
An under desk bike is essentially a miniature bike, and the stride motion rotates 360 degrees. Peddles on the under desk bike tend to be narrow, so wider or larger-footed people may have trouble using the bike effectively.
Under desk elliptical pedals look more like small platforms than regular bicycle pedals. This feature is more forgiving for people with larger feet. The stride motion is also more similar to climbing stairs or jogging than that of riding a bicycle.
Work Out While You Work
Choosing a good under desk elliptical can be a game changer if you are concerned about declining energy levels and low physical activity. No one in the office even needs to know that you are silently meeting your health goals. All the under desk ellipticals featured here were tested by experts and are guaranteed to get you on track to fitness. You no longer have to leave your desk to get moving!
Kathi Asikainen says
Do you have a review if under the desk bicycles?
I really appreciate your review of under the desk elliptical pedals but I believe I need the under the desk bicycle instead.
I have had knee surgery and my doctor told me the best exercise for my recovery is riding a stationary bike but unfortunately I need something that is smaller and more convenient to use daily.
Thank you, Kathi Asikainen