Best Under Desk Elliptical Machine in 2020

Best overall under desk elliptical

Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical

Our Score: 5 / 5

Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical
  • Compact design for easy transport.
  • The only under desk elliptical with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for easier tracking with your mobile device.
  • Can be linked up to the FitBit app to track fitness goals.
  • Very quiet pedaling.
  • Sleek aesthetic and solid build quality.

Best on a Budget

Sunny Magnetic Under Desk Elliptical

Our Score: 5 / 5

Sunny Magnetic Under Desk Elliptical
  • Compact design makes it highly portable.
  • Budget-friendly price.
  • Magnetic-resistance with 8 levels and belt drive make for smooth pedaling.
  • Comes fully assembled and doesn’t require much maintenance.

Best for under your work desk

FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical

Our Score: 4.75 / 5

FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical
  • Affordable price.
  • Wheel lock ensures minimal rolling in your chair.
  • Change resistance level with your foot.
  • Very low profile makes it ideal for any height.
  • Digital meter with desk stand.

Table of Contents

While most of the exercise is done outside the home, it’s inside the home and the office where you could stand to benefit the most.

Due to the prevalence of office cubicle-based work and the popularity of remote work from home, we are often spending the majority of each day sitting in a chair. As you can imagine, this isn’t great for our bodies, which need regular exercise to stay healthy.

It can also cause us pain and discomfort later in life, particularly in the lower back, neck, and hips. That is, unless, we try to keep active as often as possible.

Staying on the move and keeping active while sedentary seems difficult to do, but that’s where the under desk elliptical comes in. It almost sounds too good to be true, but these small exercise machines allow you to boost your cardio endurance and keep your joints healthy while typing away at your desk.

If you’re keen to find out exactly how you could benefit from using one at your place of work – be it at home or at an office – check out this under desk elliptical case study conducted by Microsoft. The main takeaways are that if you can put up with the noise, you could boost your workplace productivity and significantly reduce fidgeting.

Our favorite under desk ellipticals are the technologically-advanced Cubii Pro, and the elliptical from Sunny Health & Fitness powered by magnetic resistance.

The Cubii Pro is a solid choice for the tech-savvy user as it allows you to assume full control of the elliptical from your mobile phone. This lets you easily track your fitness goals, and keeps the experience enjoyable and motivating. We like the model from Sunny Health & Fitness because it is equipped with a magnetic belt drive, offering the user a very smooth pedaling experience. It’s also highly compact, making it very easy to carry to the living room if you want some to do some post-work working out while you watch TV.

#1 Best overall under desk elliptical

Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical

Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical

Our Score: 5 / 5

Editor's opinion:

The Cubii Pro under desk elliptical is the best overall in our view, and not in small part due to the innovative Bluetooth functionality which lets you pair up your phone with the trainer.

Convenience is a strong point of this trainer, since as well as having easy access to a variety of fitness metrics on your phone, you might also be pleasantly surprised how quiet it is to pedal. This will minimize potential disturbance if your desk is near others.

Pros

  • Compact design for easy transport.
  • The only under desk elliptical with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for easier tracking with your mobile device.
  • Can be linked up to the FitBit app to track fitness goals.
  • Very quiet pedaling.
  • Sleek aesthetic and solid build quality.

Cons

  • Expensive compared to the competition.

An excellent sit down elliptical, the Cubii Pro is packed full of useful features that should make this a worthwhile investment for anyone who uses a desk.

The standout feature of this sitting elliptical is definitely the Bluetooth connectivity. Before you get started on the trainer you can hook it up to your phone via the Cubii app, which will enable you to track everything from distance covered to calories burnt. While a lot of under desk ellipticals have built-in monitors for this purpose, nothing beats the convenience of having access to this information on your phone. What’s more, if you’re a real fitness enthusiast you can link the machine up to FitBit and AppleHealthKit.

Then there’s the ergonomic design and stable build which ensure long-term satisfaction using this trainer. Due to the design of the pedals, and the 8 resistance levels, you should have no joint troubles when using this to work out. It’s also low-impact, which means there’ll be less pressure on your joints while pedaling. This means you can pedal without much exertion just to keep your joints moving and get the health benefits without much exertion.

The Cubii Pro is a fantastic choice for use at a communal workspace as well as at home. This is due to being both low-impact and low profile. Low-impact influences the noise level of this trainer in a positive way. Many users claim that they use the Cubii Pro in a shared office space with minimal complaints from colleagues. That is to say, the noise it makes shouldn’t be loud enough to disturb people around you. Low profile means it’s low enough to the ground that in theory, you shouldn’t hit your knees on the underside of your desk.

#2 Best on a Budget

Sunny Magnetic Under Desk Elliptical

Sunny Magnetic Under Desk Elliptical

Our Score: 5 / 5

Editor's opinion:

The under desk elliptical from Sunny Health & Fitness features belt drive magnetic resistance for an ultra-smooth pedaling experience. This system also means you don’t need to have it tethered to an external power source in order to adjust the resistance level.

With strong steel build quality, you can expect this low profile machine to stay stable however hard you want to pedal. It also comes fully assembled, and is as easy to carry as it is to unbox, meaning you can take it wherever you want to pedal away a few extra calories.

Quiet pedaling and a very affordable price make this one of the best under desk ellipticals you can buy.

Pros

  • Compact design makes it highly portable.
  • Budget-friendly price.
  • Magnetic-resistance with 8 levels and belt drive make for smooth pedaling.
  • Comes fully assembled and doesn’t require much maintenance.

Cons

  • Some complaints of squeaking after long use.

A highly compact elliptical, this trainer from Sunny Health & Fitness is an excellent option for anyone on a budget.

The fact that this elliptical is fully assembled and ready to go straight out of the box is a huge plus and makes this one of the best investments for convenience.

If you fit into the category of people who prefer not to assemble fitness equipment once you get it, then there are few better options.

What’s even better is the lack of compromise when it comes to build quality. You might not expect a fully assembled, budget-friendly elliptical to be very comfortable to use and stable, but this one ticks both of those boxes.

You might also be surprised at how compact it is, which makes it incredibly easy to move around the house should you need to do so. Rather than being stuck in one place, restricting the amount of time you can spend using it, this model is easily moved around.

This compactness nature does not lead to instability as you pedal, as this unit can handle a fair amount of pressure allowing for more challenging workouts. The pedals are also textured, so as to prevent your feet from slipping a lot.

The belt drive system and magnetic resistance of this portable elliptical machine are perfect for all levels of working out. With 8 levels to switch between you will definitely find the right challenge for you. The belt drive also ensures that there’ll be minimal maintenance required, so your investment will last much longer. It also provides a very smooth pedaling experience for the user.

As for extras, there’s a built-in digital monitor that lets you track your speed, time, calories burnt, and the distance you’ve covered. Plus, if you’re looking for an additional arm workout once the work day is done, you can use your hands in place of your feet on the pedals.

#3 Best for under your work desk

FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical

FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical

Our Score: 4.75 / 5

Editor's opinion:

The FitDesk elliptical is meant to be used exclusively at a desk, as opposed to all over the house. This singular focus makes it one of the best options for pedaling while you’re at work due to its low profile design and wheel lock.

This desk elliptical features a wheel lock that will ensure it doesn’t budge no matter how hard you pedal. It also stops you from rolling backward in your chair, so you can use it comfortably at all resistance levels.

Plus there’s a digital meter which allows you to easily track your exercise and hands-free resistance shifting for extra convenience.

Pros

  • Affordable price.
  • Wheel lock ensures minimal rolling in your chair.
  • Change resistance level with your foot.
  • Very low profile makes it ideal for any height.
  • Digital meter with desk stand.

Cons

  • Awkward size for some desks.
  • Very heavy.

The FitDesk elliptical is very highly rated, and it attempts to provide the best experience for every desk user. It does so with an incredibly low profile and several features that help things run smoothly and without a hitch.

Let’s start with the size of this trainer, since that’s the quality which both makes it stand out and lets it down at the same time. The low profile is well worth mentioning, since, at a height of 8″, you can use this with all desks, even those as low as 25″.

That’s a huge positive both for people with lower desks, and those who are worried the length of their legs will make them hit the desk while pedaling. However, the FitDesk elliptical weighs a hefty 31lbs, and is quite long. This makes it more awkward to move around than other products like the Cubii Pro that only weighs 25lbs.

The weight is counteracted somewhat by the wheels and transport handle though. These features make transporting it possible, albeit difficult. If you only plan to use this at home though, the wheels should suffice for getting it from one room to another.

One feature that makes it easy to adjust the resistance on the fly is the foot-shifter. This hands-free lever allows you to adjust the tension you pedal at without having to move anything but your foot. This is very convenient and will minimize any disruption to your work while giving you the flexibility to up the level when you feel like an extra challenge.

The FitDesk model is also fitted with a handy digital meter with a desk stand. You can prop this meter up on your desk so you don’t have to crane your neck to see how you’re doing or how many calories you’ve already burned.

This is great since the last thing you want to be doing is thinking about something other than the task at hand. Between the hands-free lever, this meter, and the low profile, you’ll barely notice that you’re pedaling so you can give your whole attention to whatever it is you’re working on.

#4 Best Mid-Range Model

Cubii Jr. Under Desk Elliptical

Cubii Jr. Under Desk Elliptical

Our Score: 4.75 / 5

Editor's opinion:

The Cubii Jr. is a more affordable elliptical than the highly-rated Pro model, and offers a very satisfying pedaling experience.

This model from Cubii is essentially a Pro stripped of the app support and Bluetooth connectivity. That makes it ideal for anyone looking for an exceptional elliptical on a budget.

Featuring low-impact pedaling and different resistance levels, this is a challenging yet comfortable elliptical to use.

Pros

  • Low-impact pedaling.
  • Large 10-inch footplate for all feet sizes.
  • Adjustable resistance.
  • Excellent customer service.

Cons

  • Some users have complained about squeakiness

The Cubii Jr. is an outstanding mid-range under desk elliptical, sporting a pleasingly ergonomic design, and a whole host of other features that make it a solid choice.

When you receive the Cubii Jr. you’ll be pleased to know that minimal assembly is required. All you’ll need to do is fit four screws and you’ll be ready to start using it. The large pedals are perfect whatever size your feet, and the overall design lends itself to comfortable pedaling for as long as you use it. This is mostly thanks to the low-impact quality of the machine, which reduces pressure on your joints as you pedal.

The convenience doesn’t end there though. Cubii is one of the best manufacturers when it comes to producing under desk ellipticals and many users have noted their top-notch customer service and responsiveness.

Adjustable magnetic resistance allows for a smooth pedaling experience, as well as letting you switch things up on the fly. If you need more of a challenge to really get your legs working, then you can simply crank up the resistance and make things more challenging.

The built-in display on this trainer might not be as sophisticated as the in-app metric tracking system of the Pro, but it still works perfectly well. A quick glance down at the digital monitor will give you real-time feedback on how many steps you’ve taken, how much distance you’ve covered, and how many calories you’ve burnt along the way.

#5 Most versatile desk elliptical

Stamina InMotion Elliptical

Stamina InMotion Elliptical

Our Score: 4.75 / 5

Editor's opinion:

The low price of InMotion elliptical from Stamina makes it a great choice for any budget, but its best feature is how it lets the user pedal while either sitting or standing.

Such versatility is rarely seen in under desk ellipticals, so it gives the InMotion model an edge. If you’d like to have the option of standing and pedaling – maybe because you have a standing desk – then this should be a strong contender for your money.

Pros

  • Can be used while standing or sitting.
  • Affordable price.
  • It allows for reverse pedaling to work different muscles.
  • Compact design makes transport easy.
  • Features a display monitor and adjustable resistance.

Cons

  • Not ideal for beginners if you plan to use it while standing.
  • Users claim that it can make a squeaking sound.

The Stamina InMotion elliptical is a compact model that comes in 3 different colors: silver, green, and orange. It has a few features though which make it unique. These features all revolve around the pedals and the experience of using this model.

The biggest selling point of this small workout machine is how it lets the user pedal while standing or while sitting.

This gives it a multi-purpose quality; you can get some light cardio training by placing it under your desk while you work, or you can use it for more of a challenging cardio workout that also targets the core and leg muscles by standing while pedaling.

Standing while pedaling is generally comfortable, and the textured pedals help ensure minimal slipping, but there is one downside. If you’re a beginner, you might find the core activation necessary to stabilize yourself while standing and pedaling a step too far.

While it’s a great feature, it might be accessible only to those with better balance. That said, even if you struggle to stand and pedal, you still have some variety in the workout you can get from this elliptical. You can pedal either forward or in reverse, both targeting different leg muscles.

The affordable price makes this elliptical seem like especially good value, especially with the other features like the digital monitor, and adjustable tension. The monitor will allow you to track your progress with regards to the number of strides you’ve made per minute, the time you’ve spent exercising, and how many calories you’ve burnt. The resistance can be changed with a simple twist of the tension knob on the machine.

Unfortunately, one common complaint of this elliptical is that it can produce a squeaking sound, which could make it less suitable for a shared office space than other models.

#6 Manual and Automatic Elliptical

Ancheer Electric Elliptical

Ancheer Electric Elliptical

Our Score: 4.25 / 5

Editor's opinion:

The ANCHEER electric elliptical offers some impressive features like switching between automatic and manual modes, and using it with your hands or feet, but falls short in other areas.

Due to the lack of resistance and the slightly slippery pedals, you might find that this model is best suited for beginners, or purely for casual workouts.

Pros

  • Quiet to use.
  • Manual and automatic modes for flexible workouts.
  • Can be used with your feet or hands.

Cons

  • Can slip while you pedal.
  • Doesn’t provide a very challenging workout.

What’s unique about this elliptical is the different ways you can use it. It features manual and automatic modes (automatic meaning you can plug it in and it will give you an “assisted workout”) that you can switch between at will.

This gives you the flexibility to work out how you want, with as much or as little control over the resistance and speed as you need in the moment. You can also pedal both forwards and backward, and even get a light arm workout in by using your hands instead of your feet.

The digital monitor which will help you track different fitness metrics as you work out, while the quiet operation makes it viable to use this model in a shared office space, or anywhere else there’ll be people around.

This elliptical is ideal for beginners, perhaps at the exclusion of everyone else. While the different modes of use, and the ability to use it with either your hands or feet make it versatile, there isn’t much here for anyone looking for a challenging workout. For a start, users report issues with slipping while pedaling, which makes it tricky to develop a rhythm. Then there’s the slightly disappointing resistance, which makes this model suitable only for a casual cardio workout or as a way to keep the joints healthy and moving.

The best under desk elliptical: buying guide, tips & tricks

When it comes to picking out the right under desk elliptical for your needs, there are a few important factors to bear in mind. It may be that some are more appropriate for your preferences than others, and once you know that, you can make a more informed decision when the time comes.

Pedal Profile

Without a doubt, the most important factor to consider before you take the plunge and invest in an under desk elliptical is the pedal profile.

The pedal profile, usually labeled as either high or low, refers to the height of the pedal. It’s essential to understand what height is ideal for you, based on the length of your legs and the height of the desk you plan to use the elliptical under. If you don’t, and you misjudge it, then you could well be wasting money on something you can’t use without causing yourself a lot of frustration.

Additional Features

You might be wondering what features a compact under desk workout machine could possibly have.

Well, you’d be surprised.

There are those under desk ellipticals that are powered by different forms of resistance, those that use electricity, and even those that have built-in Bluetooth connectivity. So there is definitely some variation from model to model, and you can choose the one which has the best features for your needs.

For example, if you want to be able to up the intensity anywhere between light cardio to a challenging workout, then you’ll want to look for a model with more resistance levels. If you want to be able to track your calories burnt and other metrics, then you might prefer a model which can be connected to your phone via Bluetooth.

There are also many models with built-in display monitors which allow you to track calories burnt, along with the time spent pedalling and distance covered.

Noise Level

Believe it or not, noise level is one of the most important things to look out for when looking for an under desk elliptical.

If you’re lucky enough to have your own space away from others at home or at work then this won’t be an issue for you. However, if like the majority of people you live or work near others, then this is going to impact your decision greatly.

While the noise might not bother you, there’s a chance it could irritate those around you. That’s why if you are planning to use an under desk elliptical while others are near you, it’s worth checking to see that it runs quietly.

Weight

The weight of an under desk elliptical is important for several reasons.

First, if you plan on using it in several rooms of your home (for example from your desk to your sofa), or taking it to and from your office, then it’s essential that it’s light and compact.

However, the tradeoff that comes with lighter models is that they might prove to be less stable when you’re in full swing with the pedalling.

In this case, if you’re looking for a more intense workout for use in a single room, then a heavier unit is more likely to provide you the stability you need to pedal harder.

How many calories can you burn?

In the ballpark of 100-300 calories per hour. Under desk elliptical manufacturers will often assert that you can burn off as many as 300 calories in 60 minutes. But this is probably assuming the best conditions, and constant pedalling at a steady pace.

An under desk elliptical certainly isn’t a substitute for a treadmill or full body movement, but it can help with weight loss. Especially if you use it regularly, and for long periods of time.

Which is better: under desk elliptical or cycle? How do they differ?

The answer to this question will largely depend on your goals.

There are a few things to consider to ascertain whether or not you’d be better off with the elliptical or the cycle.

The most important factor is your height, or more specifically, the length of your legs. If you are tall or have long legs, you will probably find the cycle unsuitable for use under a desk because of the up and down movement of the pedalling. In this case, an elliptical is better suited, since you pedal forwards and backwards, avoiding hitting your knees on the underside of the desk.

If you’re looking for a more challenging workout as you are sitting at your desk, then the under desk cycle could prove more suitable for your needs. This is due to the adjustable resistance, and the ease with which you can pedal in the up and down motion. The elliptical is less suitable for this purpose as your feet are prone to slide off if you want to pedal really fast.

Aside from this, you’ll want to consider what noise level is acceptable to you based on your surroundings, as well as the features you want included, and even just which type of machine you prefer to use in the gym. Once you know all of this, you’ll be in a far greater position from which to invest in one or the other.

This guide should hopefully help you figure out if investing in an under desk elliptical is the right move for you.

What are the benefits of using an under desk elliptical?

The main reason for using an under desk elliptical is to get some cardio-based exercise while you’re sat down. The benefits though extend beyond just better cardio endurance.

One of the primary dangers of being sedentary for a large part of the day is the effect on your body. Your legs and hips are especially susceptible to discomfort and aching due to being in the same position for a long period of time. This is partially what makes under desk ellipticals useful to have – they keep the legs from being static, and encourage movement in the whole lower half of your body.

As well as health benefits, you might experience increased productivity and less desire for fidgeting. Exercising has been proven to improve mental clarity, and pedaling with an under desk elliptical can help in that regard. It also prevents you from moving around a lot in your chair, leaving you to focus on the task at hand.

Final verdict

Using an under desk elliptical could do your body a world of good, especially if you spend a lot of your time sitting at a desk. Keeping your legs and joints healthy is one reason to invest, as is the potential boost to mental clarity and focus while you work.

Whatever the reason, there are plenty of great options to choose from. We highly recommend the Cubii Pro and Sunny Health & Fitness under desk ellipticals. Both offer you plenty to keep you motivated to exercise every day from the comfort of your chair. Ergonomic designs and extra features are what make these two really stand out from the competition.

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Samuel Dixon
Samuel Dixon

Sam is a freelance writer based in Spain, creating content and working on his blog in his spare time. He loves finding researching fitness-related products that introduce new ways of working out, currently practicing yoga and calisthenics as a way of staying healthy, but always experimenting with different forms of training.

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