The 10 Best Desk Ellipticals

Updated June 07, 2017 by Quincy Miller

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We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. So you think you don't have the time for exercise because you're too busy at the office? Think again. These desk ellipticals fit under most tables and let you pedal away calories, improve your stamina, and increase cardiovascular health, all while you keep working. They're also ideal for slipping in a quick session when watching TV, so it looks like all those excuses you had are officially busted. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best desk elliptical on Amazon.

10. Stamina InStride

If you want a bare-bones machine that gets the job done without a bunch of bells and whistles, the Stamina InStride is a great choice. It has a battery-operated monitor, so you don't have to worry about cords, and the rubber feet keep it from moving all over the place.
  • takes up very little space
  • knob for easy resistance adjustments
  • pedaling motion is choppy
Brand Stamina
Model 15-0125
Weight 7.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. FitDesk Under Desk

The FitDesk Under Desk has a rotation height of only 8 inches, so it can fit under almost any desk or table, even ones standing about two feet tall. Its foot-shifter allows for hands-free tension adjustment, so you can easily ramp up the intensity when needed.
  • built-in massaging roller
  • doesn't cause knees to hit desk
  • tends to slide when in use
Brand FitDesk
Model pending
Weight 35 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

8. Drive Medical Deluxe

The Drive Medical Deluxe costs a fraction of the price of most desk elliptical machines, so don't expect it to be top-of-the-line. It is a compact, reliable unit that helps burn calories, though, and is especially good for elderly users or those rehabbing from injury.
  • anti-slip rubber pads
  • foldable for easy storage
  • pedals are incredibly small
Brand Drive Medical
Model RTL10273
Weight 7.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Stamina InMotion Strider

If you want to give yourself toned arms as well as chiseled legs, the Stamina InMotion Strider has attached resistance bands that allow you to do curls, triceps extensions, and more while you pedal. The handles are padded, so the only aches you'll get are good ones.
  • includes a workout dvd
  • excellent for high-intensity cardio
  • short stride makes balancing hard
Brand Stamina
Model 55-1621
Weight 36.1 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper

Getting in better shape doesn't do any good if it makes your productivity suffer, which is why the Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper is so great for the office worker. The oversized foot plates allow for mindless stepping, so you can focus on the task at hand.
  • targets glutes and thighs
  • won't put stress on your joints
  • friction causes it to heat up
Brand Sunny Health & Fitness
Model pending
Weight 21 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. J/Fit Under-Desk Mini

The J/Fit Under-Desk Mini works just as well standing as seated, so you can get a steady workout while you're on the clock and then dial up the intensity on your lunch break. It tends to squeak, though, so your co-workers might complain if you don't keep it oiled.
  • convenient carrying handle
  • easy to assemble
  • too short for taller users
Brand j
Model 50-1000
Weight 30.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Cubii: Smart

The Cubii: Smart connects to phones via Bluetooth to track all your measurables, so you can easily brag to everyone else in the office about how far you pedaled today. It also comes with stoppers that enable you to use it even if your chair has casters on it.
  • design promotes healthy posture
  • allows you to compete with friends
  • doesn't put stress on knees
Brand Cubii: Smart Under-Desk
Model F3A1
Weight 34.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

3. Stamina In-Motion

The compact Stamina In-Motion can be pedaled in either direction, allowing you to target different muscle groups (and alternate, giving them a rest). This allows for constant exercise, so you can enjoy steady, noticeable fat loss without a ton of effort.
  • features nonslip pedals
  • can be used with bare feet
  • sturdy and doesn't wobble
Brand Stamina
Model 55-1603
Weight 30.1 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

2. Sunny Health & Fitness SFB0418

The Sunny Health & Fitness SFB0418 uses magnets for resistance, giving you a clean range of motion that won't aggravate injuries. It can be adjusted to 8 different tension levels, so you can always get the perfect intensity for your workout.
  • can also be used for arm exercises
  • good for physical therapy
  • works well on carpeted floors
Brand Sunny Health & Fitness
Model SF-B0418
Weight 24 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

1. DeskCycle Desk Pedal Exerciser

The DeskCycle Desk Pedal Exerciser operates so smoothly and quietly that you might even forget you're using it. Its clear LCD tracks the metrics of your exercise session, and the company offers an online calorie calculator to help keep you motivated.
  • comfortable foot straps
  • fits under short desks
  • doesn't rock back and forth
Brand DeskCycle
Model DeskCycle
Weight 23.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

What to Look For In A Desk Elliptical

When on the hunt for the perfect elliptical machine to fit under the desk or at the foot of the couch, there are a few important considerations to make before buying.

Some users would like to have full control over the difficulty of their workout from a comfortable position. While most units offer a hand cranked way to increase the tension and burn more calories, these users may benefit more from models that have a foot-shifter to adjust their tension levels. It is important to increase the tension as time goes on, as once the body gets used to a certain level, it adapts, and that same workout will no longer be as beneficial. Having an easy way to reduce this training adaptation can keep the body burning calories from the comfort of your desk or couch with ease.

It is always a smart idea to choose a unit that has non-slip pads on the bottom of its feet, as well. While this may not be as big of an issue to people who intend to use the machines on the carpet at the foot of the couch, those who need to use the machines on tile or wood floors will greatly benefit from it.

Many people also enjoy the knowledge that some units' integrated apps provide. Exercise data loggers in the onboard computers of many models provide accurate and relatively inexpensive monitoring of exercise parameters. They can then send the recorded information about the user's activity to the related app. This allows one to keep track of their performance, distance traveled, and calories burned directly from the app, and even set hourly or daily goals to keep themselves inspired. It has been found that tracking one's health-related activities, from food intake to activity levels, helps a person reach weight-loss goals.

On the other hand, some prefer the simplest approach. Rather than track every step, they simply want to move. For them, very basic, low-cost models are available that are little more than a base, pedals, and a tension adjuster.

Who Benefits Most From Using A Desk Elliptical?

As the name would suggest, desk ellipticals are most commonly found under a desk. Their small design elements, low profile, and ease of use make them perfectly suited to the needs of the average office worker. That average worker spends almost six hours of the day at a desk. This prolonged sitting has been linked to numerous chronic disorders, and the act itself is detrimental to the health. A recent study also found that nearly 70 percent of employees do not meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity. This may be linked to that fact that those who sit for longer hours at work are more likely to sit for longer hours outside of work, as well. In fact, the average office worker exercises less than one day a week. To help combat this trend, workers are turning to tools like desk ellipticals to keep themselves active on the job. These hidden workout tools can help burn calories, raise the heart rate, and relieve stress, all without interrupting the user's normal office habits.

Desk ellipticals do not have to stay at the office, however. These units can be taken home and positioned at the foot of any couch or armchair, making them the perfect way to both exercise and relax at the same time.

Some may even seek to take their immersive virtual reality gaming to another level. While most VR units don't require the player to actually move in order to move the character, creating this feeling by walking on an elliptical while playing can generate a more seamless experience for these users. It can also add a level of exercise to the VR experience, stimulating both the brain and body.

Elliptical Versus Exercise Bike: Which Is Better?

Ellipticals and exercise bikes can work many of the same muscle groups, and are both designed for cardio activity, but which is better? Understanding the similarities and differences between the two can help you make the right decision when choosing between them. One of the key benefits of both of these machines is that they allow you to burn calories quickly and easily, which not only helps you manage your weight, but may also prevent the onset of cardiovascular diseases. This is because both are designed for high-intensity cardio activity with varying levels of resistance. A comparative study has found that the average person will burn more calories during a workout on an exercise bike, but only if you measure the results from going at a vigorous pace.

Both machines also allow you to engage in other passive activities such as watching television or reading. At the gym, this is usually easily accomplished as both machines are often positioned in front of television screens or have stands which allow users to read a book while working out. In the personal environment, this often has to be accomplished by positioning the equipment in front of the television or holding a book while using it. With a large exercise bike, this may not be easily accomplished. A desk elliptical is much easier to position specifically in a room.

The size difference is also a determining factor in which option is better for many users. Most people simply do not have the space to allow for a full-sized exercise bike to take up an entire corner of their living room or office. For them, a desk elliptical is the perfect solution. They store easily under most desks or coffee tables, and they fit beside couches without becoming an eyesore.

Both of the machines are designed to help a variety of users increase their cardio capacity, burn calories, and stay in shape. Which one is better will depend entirely on the user's specific situation. Many home athletes favor the desk elliptical due to their space-saving design and ease of use.

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Last updated on June 07, 2017 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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