Updated June 11, 2019 by Tina Morna Freitas

The 10 Best Desk Ellipticals

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This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in March of 2016. 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 selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best desk elliptical on Amazon.

10. Ancheer Electric

9. FitDesk 3040

8. Stamina InMotion Strider

7. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic

6. Serene Life Fitness

5. J/Fit Mini

4. Desk Cycle 2

3. Cubii Pro

2. Sunny Health & Fitness Stepper

1. Stamina In-Motion Trainer

Editor's Notes

May 30, 2019:

If you want to get a workout while you're working, unless you have your own office with a door that closes, your first priority is going to be to find a unit that operates quietly. A lot of models will start out quiet and then develop a squeak over time. One way to avoid this is to be sure to buy a machine that will that was designed to be used the way you want to use it. For instance, if you want to use it standing as well as sitting choose a model that can handle the full weight of your body.

The Stamina In-Motion is a simple but durable model that fits unobtrusively under a desk, but can be used standing without causing it to develop a squeak. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but it's simplicity is what makes it popular.

Choices like the Sunny Health & Fitness Stepper and the Serene Life Fitness come with arm resistance bands that are really only practical to use when standing, so these models are also a good choice if you want the option of using them sitting or standing.

What to Look For In A Desk Elliptical

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.

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.

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.

With a large exercise bike, this may not be easily accomplished.

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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Tina Morna Freitas
Last updated on June 11, 2019 by Tina Morna Freitas

Tina Morna Freitas is a writer who lives in Chicago with her family and three cats. She has a B.A. in anthropology with a minor in English, and has built a freelance career over the years in writing and digital marketing. Her passions for cooking, decorating and home improvement contribute to her extensive knowledge of all things kitchen and home goods. In addition, her 20 years as a parent inform her expertise in the endless stream of toys and equipment that inevitably takes over the homes of most parents. She also enjoys gardening, making and sipping margaritas, and aspires to be a crazy cat lady once all the children are grown.

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