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Last Updated: February 7, 2023
In a time when “sitting is the new smoking” is used as a shocking phrase to make us feel worse about spending the majority of our days seated, what can we do to combat this? Sure, adding in walking and different fitness activities is the ultimate goal, but what about when those things aren’t always possible? I get it. Even though I do test fitness equipment, I spend far too much time sitting at my desk during the day. While I will admit that I have an adjustable desk that I can use with an under-desk treadmill, many people don’t. If you can use an under-desk treadmill, you might not want to disrupt your coworkers or housemates with the sounds of a treadmill for hours on end. That’s where an under-desk elliptical can help. I’m not saying they can entirely replace other forms of movement, but when you’re forced to be seated all day, whether for work or otherwise, under-desk ellipticals are definitely beneficial for getting in more movement.
I sat down with our team to compile this list of the best under-desk ellipticals we think you should consider in your search. Although they’re small pieces of equipment, they do vary by brand and machine.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our team has been reviewing fitness equipment for years. We know that equipment comes in all shapes and sizes. So, we work to test everything that we can get our hands on. Even as I’m writing this, I’m using an under-desk elliptical. We’ve made it our job to try out all kinds of equipment so we can let you know which machines and models we think are worth it.
Our Top Picks Of The Best Under Desk Ellipticals
- Best Under Desk Elliptical Overall: Cubii JR2+
- Best High-End Under Desk Elliptical: Cubii Total Body+
- Best Under Desk Elliptical For Seniors: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Under Desk Elliptical Peddler Exerciser
- Best Budget Under Desk Elliptical: Stamina Inmotion Elliptical
- Best Portable Under Desk Elliptical: LifePro FlexStride Plus Under Desk Elliptical
- Best Quiet Under Desk Elliptical: DeskCycle Ellipse Under Desk Elliptical
Sneak Peek Of The Best Under Desk Ellipticals
The Best Under Desk Ellipticals For 2023
1. Best Under Desk Elliptical Overall: Cubii JR2+
At the top of this list of the best under desk ellipticals is the Cubii JR2+. When it comes to features, price, and quality, the JR2+ is the best under-desk elliptical overall, in our opinion. You might have seen Cubii’s seated ellipticals late at night on QVC. The brand has a mission to make exercise accessible, which they’re achieving with their lineup of under-desk ellipticals.
The JR2+ is pretty compact to fit well under your desk, or in front of your couch while watching TV. The pedals are large enough for most shoe sizes and textured so your shoes don’t slip. You could also wear socks or use them with bare feet.
At around 19 lbs, the JR2+ is lightweight enough to move with the attached top handle but heavy enough for stability to pedal on, while seated. The rear stabilizer helps keep it level and planted to the floor, too. The Cubii JR2+ can be used with any type of chair. There’s even a stopper for your wheeled office chair to keep the wheels out of the way.
The monitor is a standard LCD display that shows your stride count (every pedal rotation), miles, time, and estimated calories. There are also 8 different levels of resistance to pedal against. The JR2+ has Bluetooth connectivity to use with the Cubii App, as well as your Apple Watch and Fitbit. Plus, if you want some extra motivation and guidance, the Cubii App offers trainer-led classes while using your seated elliptical.
- The features and price make this under-desk elliptical functional and of great value and quality.
- It can work under desks, in front of the television, and with most types of chairs.
- The pedals are textured and large enough for users of various sizes.
- It is enabled to connect with fitness trackers and the Cubii App for guided workouts and added metrics tracking.
- It doesn’t come with wheels to move around and might be too heavy for some to move.
- The console isn’t backlit so it’s harder to see in lower lighting.
- Footprint: 24.4” L x 17.7” W x 9.1” H
- Weight: 19.18 lbs
- Bluetooth Enabled (to Cubii App)
- Display: Basic LCD Monitor
- Resistance: 8 levels
- Moving Handle For Transporting
- Warranty: 1-Year
2. Best High-End Under-Desk Elliptical: Cubii Total Body+
The premium model in Cubii’s lineup of under-desk ellipticals is the Cubii Total Body+. At a higher price point than others on this list, the Total Body+ is a bit of a splurge, but it comes with some nice features. For one, the Cubii Total Body+ takes your seated elliptical exercise to the next level with the retractable resistance handles. They’re not the easiest to use while you’re seated at your desk- but doing some bicep curls while pedaling in front of the TV is possible, and encouraged.
The motion is like a standard elliptical. The pedals move forward, back, up, and down during each rotation or stride. The handles are on top and retract when you lean forward and pull them up. There is a resistance cable attached to each handle. I have to say, the resistance feels stronger than what you’d expect from such a small machine. Also, with 12 different levels of tension to pedal against, this under-desk elliptical is pretty sweet.
It’s pretty high-tech, too. The Total Body+ connects through Bluetooth to the Cubii App. In the app, you can track your metrics like distance, time, strides, and estimated calories, as well as view and change your resistance (you can also bend down and change it under the LCD screen on the seated elliptical). There is a leaderboard to compare your strides, calories, miles, and total time with other members, too. Plus, the 300+ trainer-led classes are available in the app to provide some extra motivation and guidance, if you need it. I will say, they’re better than expected considering the Cubii App is free!
- This machine has pedals to work your lower body and handles to work your upper body.
- It is extremely quiet and non-disruptive to use in shared spaces like offices.
- It is Bluetooth-enabled to connect to the Cubii App for extra tracking and access to workout content.
- You can use it with any type of seat, including a couch, kitchen chair, and wheeled office chair.
- Its cost might not be practical for some.
- The placement of handles can get in the way of the position of your legs.
- Footprint: 25.2” L x 17.6” W x 10.1” H
- Weight: 19.3 lbs
- Bluetooth Enabled (to Cubii App)
- Display: Backlit LCD Monitor
- Resistance: 12 levels
- Moving Handle & Wheels
- Warranty: 1-Year
3. Best Under Desk Elliptical For Seniors: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Under Desk Elliptical Peddler Exerciser
If you’re a senior who has limited mobility and needs a machine that can be used while seated, then the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Under Desk Elliptical Peddler is one to check out. What makes this seated elliptical convenient is that it comes fully assembled and ready to go. So, once you get it delivered, you just have to remove the packaging, set it in front of whichever seat you’re planning to use it with, and start pedaling.
This under-desk elliptical from Sunny Health & Fitness doesn’t need to be plugged in, so you don’t have to worry about being near a plug to use it. The pedals are textured to use with all kinds of shoes. They’re also plenty large enough to work for most users up to 220 lbs. We like that the pedals have inner and lower lips to help prevent your feet from slipping off, too. The 7” pedal stride is an elliptical motion that uses whiles to create a smooth pedal stroke.
The attached handle makes it convenient to pick up, however, it does weigh around 24 lbs so moving it might not be practical for everyone. The 3.52 lb flywheel adds to the overall stability of the machine, too. The belt drive system that attaches the pedals to the flywheel makes for a quieter and smoother stroke.
The digital monitor displays your speed, time, calories, and distance. Below the screen is a knob to change the resistance with 8 different levels. While you do have to bend down to adjust the resistance, we anticipate that once you find a good level for you, you shouldn’t have to change it very often.
- This machine comes fully assembled and ready to use once it’s delivered.
- The pedals are large and move in an elliptical motion to get your lower body activated while sitting.
- The rear stabilizer helps keep it planted on the floor so you shouldn’t experience any rocking.
- It weighs about 24 lbs and has a 3.52 lb flywheel to add to its overall stability.
- You have to bend down to adjust the resistance using the knob.
- There aren’t any wheels to move it around without lifting.
- Footprint: 24” L x 19” W x 11” H
- Weight: 24.2 lbs
- Weight Limit: 220 lbs
- Flywheel: 3.52 lbs
- Display: Digital Monitor
- Resistance: 8 levels
- Stride Length: 7”
- Transporting Handle
- Warranty: 1-year for the frame, and 180-days for other parts and components
4. Best Budget Under Desk Elliptical: Stamina Inmotion Elliptical
Our best budget under-desk elliptical pick is the Stamina Inmotion Elliptical. Available on Amazon at a little over $100, the Stamina Inmotion is appealing if you’re looking to save a little bit. A fun feature is that you can choose between green, orange, and silver when you purchase this under-desk elliptical.
Although we’re recommending under-desk ellipticals in this article, the Stamina Inmotion Elliptical can be used while seated and standing. Of course, only use it standing if it is safe for you to do so. If you have balance issues, you might just want to use it seated. The pedals move up, down, forward, and back, so it will feel similar to a standard elliptical no matter which way you use it.
The Stamina Inmotion Elliptical comes with free access to the Muuv App. This app can aid you in assembly and offers customized workouts to follow along with. Plus, it has IHeartRadio built-in so you can listen to music on the app, too. You’ll be able to track your workout metrics in the app, and on the LCD screen built into the under-desk elliptical. This screen displays your strides per minute, total strides, time, and estimated calories. There is also a knob to change the resistance.
- This is a functional elliptical that is budget-friendly.
- This elliptical can be used seated or standing.
- The pedals are oversized and textured to work for most users.
- You can connect to the free Muuv app for additional metrics tracking and guided workouts.
- There isn’t a handle for easier transporting.
- You have to bend down to change the resistance using the knob.
- Footprint: 24.5” L x 13” W x 12.5” H
- Weight: 24 lbs
- Weight Limit: 220 lbs
- Use Standing or Seated
- Compatible to use with Muuv App
- Display: LCD Monitor
- Adjustable Resistance
- No Transportation Handle
- Comes In Multiple Colors
- Warranty: 1-year for the frame, and 90 days for parts
5. Best Portable Under Desk Elliptical: LifePro FlexStride Plus Under Desk Elliptical
You might be looking for the best portable under-desk elliptical for a number of reasons. Maybe you work from home and need to move your seated elliptical to and from your workspace often. Maybe you lug it back and forth between the office and home sometimes. Maybe you just want to move it in front of and away from the couch. The LifePro FlexStride Plus Under Desk Elliptical has a built-in handle over the top to pick it up when you need to move it.
The LifePro FlexStride Plus is pretty hearty at around 30 lbs. It sits firmly on the floor whether you place it under your desk or in front of the TV. This seated elliptical has large pedals that are textured with rubber so your feet won’t slide.
The LifePro FlexStride Plus requires a little bit of assembly but is relatively easy to put together. It comes with a mat to place under the elliptical, as well as caster stoppers so you can use it with chairs that have wheels. This way, you can use this seated elliptical on any type of floor surface. There is also a tether strap for you to secure your chair to the elliptical.
To make this under-desk elliptical a little more versatile, LifePro includes a resistance band to work your upper body. It can be slipped under the handle on the elliptical for when you want to do curls, rows, and pulls. We like that the LCD display sits at the top of the machine for a pretty easy view, so you can track your metrics. It is also Bluetooth-compatible to pair with your phone for tracking there. Plus, the LifePro FlexStride Plus has 8 resistance levels so you can select how much tension you want to pedal against.
- The built-in handle at the top makes this seated elliptical easy to move around.
- It comes with a mat, tether strap, resistance band, and stoppers for wheeled chairs, so you can use this pretty much anywhere and work your upper body.
- The LCD monitor displays metrics like your time, strides, and estimated calories. It’s also Bluetooth-enabled.
- The design is backed with an impressive lifetime warranty.
- It weighs about 30 lbs, so some users might not be able to pick it up to move it.
- To change the resistance, you have to bend down to reach the knob.
- Footprint: 18.5” L x 22.7” W x 12.9” H
- Weight: 30.86 lbs
- Weight Limit: 300 lbs
- Comes with Floor Mat, Resistance Band, Caster Stoppers, and Tether Strap
- Display: LCD Monitor
- Bluetooth Connectivity
- Resistance Levels: 8
- Transportation Handle
- Warranty: Lifetime
6. Best Quiet Under Desk Elliptical: DeskCycle Ellipse Under Desk Elliptical
Noise is a big factor for under-desk ellipticals. Whether you’re using the seated elliptical at the office among your coworkers, or in front of the TV, you don’t want it to make much noise. Overall, most under-desk ellipticals are quiet, however, some can make noise. The DeskCycle Ellipse is our pick as the best quiet under-desk elliptical.
The DeskCycle Ellipse is practically silent. Some noise may generate from the pedals due to the wheels underneath, but we anticipate the noise being very minimal and not disruptive. This elliptical uses adjustable magnetic resistance so that is a large reason why it is quiet. The magnetic resistance also helps make it feel smooth with every stroke. The resistance is said to offer up to 40 lbs of tension to pedal against. This is sure to get you working while you’re sitting.
The pedals are nice and long so most users should be able to use this elliptical machine. The pedals move in an elliptical motion that is vertical and horizontal with every stroke. We really like that the LCD display is removable so you can place it on your desk to track your movement. This way you don’t have to look under your desk to see your total time and number of strides.
- The pedal motion is smooth and quiet, thanks to the adjustable magnetic resistance.
- The LCD display is removable to place on the elliptical or your desk for easier tracking.
- The pedals are large and textured to work for most sized users.
- The handle at the back of the pedals helps when you need to move it.
- You have to bend forward to adjust the resistance knob.
- It weighs close to 30 lbs, so it’s solid but might be hard for some to move.
- Footprint: 23” L x 18” W x 10” H
- Weight: 29.72 lbs
- Compatible to use with Muuv App
- Display: 6-Function LCD Display
- Resistance Levels: 8
- Rear Transportation Handle
Buying The Best Under-Desk Elliptical For You
While they might not seem that complex, there are some things you should consider before you buy an under-desk elliptical.
You would think something that fits under a desk wouldn’t cost that much, but their price points might surprise you. Most under-desk ellipticals are priced over $100, with some being closer to $500. They have more features than you’d expect, especially if they have adjustable resistance. Other features like Bluetooth and resistance handles to work your upper body, typically drive the price up. Price usually indicates quality and durability. As with any piece of fitness equipment, an under-desk elliptical is an investment and something that should align with your budget and goals.
Not all under-desk ellipticals are created equal. Most models have similar features and qualities, however, they’re all a little bit different. For example, some come with handles to lift and move them more easily, while others don’t. Some are Bluetooth-enabled to connect with apps on your device. The apps might just offer more metrics tracking or even guided workouts as an added bonus. Some have removable displays to place on your desk rather than having to look down at the screen to see your total time, and some allow for standing and sitting. There are even under-desk ellipticals that have handles for upper-body training. It’s important to check out the features to make sure the seated elliptical you choose has everything you’re looking for.
Under-Desk Elliptical Vs Under-Desk Bike
Although they look almost the same, under-desk ellipticals and bikes are different. A big difference is the pedals. Under-desk ellipticals have long, flat pedals that are textured. They don’t feature a strap like under-desk bike pedals. Under-desk bikes have smaller pedals with straps that fit over your feet. These machines also have a circular pedal stroke that mimics indoor and outdoor bikes. Seated ellipticals have a motion that is like a standard elliptical in which the pedals move forward, back, up, and down in more of an oval pattern.
When you’re pedaling an under-desk bike, your knees tend to lift higher than a seated elliptical. This can cause you to possibly hit your knees if your desk is too low. An under-desk elliptical doesn’t require your knees to lift as high, so it can be a better option if you have long legs or a low desk that isn’t adjustable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an under-desk elliptical worth it?
If you live a pretty sedentary lifestyle and have a hard time getting in movement throughout the day, then an under-desk elliptical can certainly help. While it won’t replace other forms of exercise, it can be worth it if you work at a desk, or have limited capabilities beyond sitting. Some under-desk ellipticals even come with resistance handles to work your upper body, which helps to get more of your body moving.
Can you stand on an under-desk elliptical?
Some under-desk ellipticals are designed to be used seated and standing. There are seated ellipticals that are only meant for use while sitting though. It’s important to check out what features the under-desk elliptical comes with, especially if you want a two-in-one machine that you can use while seated and standing.
Can you lose weight with an under-desk peddler?
An under-desk elliptical could help you lose weight, but most likely not on its own. Diet and lifestyle are huge factors that affect weight loss. While an under-desk elliptical can help you move more when you’re sitting, thus burning some extra calories, other factors like what you’re eating, health conditions, and your overall lifestyle and activity level need to be considered if you’re wanting to lose weight.