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Product Review & Information

Best Under Desk Ellipticals for Weight Loss

We have reviewed the best under desk ellipticals. These machines are great for weight loss at work or at home.

by

Product Review & Information

Best Under Desk Ellipticals for Weight Loss

We have reviewed the best under desk ellipticals. These machines are great for weight loss at work or at home.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Spending time on the elliptical is a great cardio alternative to running on a treadmill. Just like an elliptical, a treadmill is also ideal for burning calories and losing weight. However, a treadmill is not suitable for everyone since it is a high-impact workout compared to a low-impact elliptical machine.

All in all, the elliptical is the ultimate source for getting your daily dose of cardio. Cardio fitness is essential for keeping your heart healthy. But what happens when you don’t have time for cardio due to a hectic schedule?

This is often the case for individuals working in an office environment, spending long hours at a desk. If this applies to you, there’s a good chance you feel too exhausted to go to the gym after putting 8+ hours at the office.

As it turns out, there's a solution that allows office workers to get fit, all while sitting at a desk. The key to getting fit, even if you don't have time to use a gym membership, is an under-desk elliptical.

An under-desk elliptical is precisely as it sounds; it is a miniature elliptical machine that is situated under a desk space. It does not offer a full-body workout like a full-size elliptical machine, but it is great for getting the bottom half of the body moving.

Do Under the Desk Ellipticals Work?

Since under desk ellipticals do not provide the same full-body workout as the top-rated and reviewed elliptical machines, a common question is if they are effective.  

To answer this question simply, yes, under desk ellipticals are indeed effective. Just because these machines don't require users to pump their arms back and forth does not mean they won't burn calories and improve their cardiovascular health. 

An under-desk elliptical works to tone the muscles of the lower body, specifically the calves, glutes, and hamstrings. It's also great for keeping the feet and ankles active, serving as a healthy alternative to keeping them stationary all day.

Studies show that one hour of under-desk elliptical use can burn between 100 and 300 calories depending on resistance and RPM. All this is possible while simultaneously getting work done at the office.


Benefits of Under Desk Elliptical Workouts

The potential to burn calories is just one of the many benefits of using an under-desk elliptical. Investing in a machine like this has been proven to increase productivity rates at the office. Many people have a limit to the amount of time they can spend focusing on one task. This amount of time is extended with an under-desk elliptical since all pent-up energy is focused on cardio. 

When you invest in a top-rated model, your fellow employees won't even notice what's going on underneath the desk. These machines are designed to make a minimal amount of noise, so you never have to worry about them becoming a distraction to others in the workplace. Using an under-desk elliptical regularly has been proven to build muscles in the legs and feet, even toning the inner thighs.  Here are a few additional benefits:

  • More opportunities for cardio
  • Less joint pain than a standing elliptical or treadmill
  • Ultimate convenience (no need to go to the gym)
  • Uplifted mood from a more active lifestyle

Choosing a Quality Elliptical Trainer

Size

Before anything else, it is vital to consider the size of your new under desk elliptical. There is only so much space available under a desk, so knowing the exact amount of available space is a must. Be sure to measure how much space you have available for an under-desk machine and consider the dimensions of each model before making a purchase.

Performance

Every elliptical comes with its own unique set of performance features. Try to find a machine with several resistance levels to choose from. A magnetic belt will control this resistance, and ideally, there will be at least 8 resistance settings. The incline should also have adjustable capabilities; meaning that the machine's incline can be increased for a more intense cardio workout and decreased for a more relaxing one.

For elliptical wheels that spin with a smooth motion, look into the machine’s flywheel weight. According to AFG Fitness, “the heavier the flywheel, the smoother and quieter the elliptical will feel because the additional weight helps it spin efficiently.”

Durability

The last thing you want is for your new under desk elliptical to break after just one month of use. This can be avoided when you invest in a durable machine constructed from high-quality materials.

With an under-desk elliptical, the first mechanism to fail is often the magnetic belt controlling resistance. Always read reviews on what others have to say about the machine's durability, specifically in terms of the belt.

User Weight Limitations

One perk of using an under-desk elliptical vs. a standing one is that there is no weight limit. With a standing elliptical, there will always be a weight limit (typically between 225 and 300 lbs). Since users don't physically stand or sit on an under-desk elliptical machine, anyone of any weight can use it.

The majority of the user’s weight will be supported by the desk chair, not the elliptical. This is a great feature since a major reason to invest in a machine like this is to lose weight. Most under-desk elliptical manufacturers will still offer a suggested weight limit to be safe. This limit is exceptionally high, though, often between 400 and 500 lbs.

Noise Levels

The best under desk ellipticals don't make a peep while in use. This means that users can get a cardio workout in, even in the middle of the workday, without distracting others in the office. Ellipticals that offer a minimal noise level feature a heavy flywheel. Flywheel technically controls the machine's smoothness, but in general, a smoother ride means less noise. 

Extra Features

In addition to performance features like adjustable resistance and incline, some under-desk ellipticals come with a few additional features. Unlike a standing elliptical, the under-desk models do not come with heart rate monitors. This is because there are no handlebars, which are responsible for reading heart rate on standing ellipticals.

Some of the top-rated under desk ellipticals will come with a console display. They won't often feature unique workout programs, but instead, these machines allow for varying resistance levels. There is one machine on the market that allows users to track progress through a Bluetooth connection, but this is not a common extra feature.

Price

Compared to larger machines, such as spin bikes or standing ellipticals, the under-desk elliptical is known to be the most budget-friendly cardio option. Instead of spending hundreds, even thousands, it is possible to spend just over $100 for a more basic under desk elliptical. Try not to let price be the only determining factor in the machine you choose. Spending a bit more means higher-quality materials, more special features, and better warranty coverage.

Warranty

Be sure only to consider a machine that comes with a warranty period. The well-known manufacturers typically offer a 1-year warranty for the entire machine. Others will provide coverage of 1 year for the frame only and 3 months for the parts. The lesser-known manufacturers won't offer warranty coverage at all.


9 Best Under Desk Ellipticals Reviewed

1. Cubii Pro

Best for Home Use (with Bluetooth)

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

23 x 11 x 9 Inches

Weight of Machine

27 lbs

# of Resistance Levels

8

Weight Capacity

500 lbs

Built-In Display

No (app download instead)

Warranty

1 year

There is no under desk elliptical that compares to the Cubii Pro, and reviewers seem to think so, too. This is considered to be the best under desk elliptical for home use with Bluetooth. This is the only under desk elliptical that comes with Bluetooth capabilities.

The Bluetooth feature allows you to download the Cubii app for iOS or Android to track calories, strides, miles, minutes, and RPM from your device. From the app, you can even set your future goals, compete with other Cubii Pro users, and sync workouts with other fitness apps like FitBit and Apple HealthKit.

The Cubii Pro goes way beyond just counting calories. Burning calories is often the primary goal of under-desk elliptical users, which is 100% possible with this machine. But the Cubii also works to improve posture and strengthen the core, glutes, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, and calves. This serves as the ultimate alternative to the gym, and it means you won't have to sacrifice any time spent at the office.

In terms of the performance features, Cubii Pro offers 8 unique resistance levels that are controlled with a dial on the front of the machine. The ergonomic design means that this elliptical is built to last and provide a smooth ride, no matter how often you engage in your low-impact under desk cardio. 

The whisper-quiet performance is another top feature, and one reviewer even says that it is "easy to install out of the box and it is indeed quiet enough to use in the office, even on conference calls.”

Pros

  • Bluetooth enabled machine
  • Fitness tracking through Cubii app
  • 8 resistance levels
  • Improves posture and strengthens muscles
  • Whisper quiet and smooth ride

Cons

  • No front console display

2. Cubii Jr.

Best Under Desk Elliptical with Display Monitor

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

23 x 17 x 10 inches

Weight of Machine

30.2 lbs

# of Resistance Levels

8

Weight Capacity

500 lbs

Built-In Display

Yes

Warranty

6 months

The Cubii Jr. ranks as our #2 choice, and it is the best under desk elliptical with display monitor. Similar to the Pro, this Cubii model also features 8 resistance settings, but this machine comes with a helpful display monitor. The display tracks time, calories burned, RPM, time, and distance traveled. Unlike the Pro model, though, the Jr. does not come with Bluetooth.

The Jr. provides an intense workout for the calves, hip flexors, glutes, hamstrings, and even core, especially when set on resistance level 8. The Cubii company has stayed true to its high design standards with the Jr., ensuring that this one is as whisper-quiet as their Pro version. Not only is this machine built to last, but it is also built to provide users with an easy 4-screw assembly procedure. 

All in all, the Cubii Jr. is a great second choice behind the Pro model, especially if you don't find the Bluetooth feature necessary. This is perfect for cardio at home or in the office, making it easier than ever to get out of the unhealthy sedentary lifestyle. The only downfall, according to one reviewer, is that the desk may have to be raised to use comfortably.

Here is Cherie’s only negative experience with the Jr.: “I did have to raise my desk by 1-inch to use it correctly, I'm 5'4-1/2 and I couldn't cross my legs under my desk." Other than that, though, there has been nothing negative said about the Cubii Jr. 

Pros

  • Easy 4-screw assembly
  • Whisper quiet gliding motion
  • Built-in display for fitness tracking

Cons

  • Desk might have to be raised
  • No Bluetooth like the Cubii Pro

3. ANCHEER

Best Compact Under Desk Elliptical

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

18 x 14 x 10 inches

Weight of Machine

Not Specified

# of Resistance Levels

8

Weight Capacity

N/A

Built-In Display

Yes

Warranty

1 year

Another great choice for getting fit while at the office is the ANCHEER Desk Electric Elliptical Machine Trainer. This machine offers two options, either an assisted workout that requires the user to plug-in to power or a powerless cardio mode. Whichever one you choose, the forward and backward pedal movement targets different muscles, including the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and hip flexors. 

Not many under desk ellipticals come with a built-in display, but this one does. The screen console allows users to plan and record fitness records while keeping track of time, burned calories, distance, and speed. This lightweight model will fit under almost any desk, and the whisper-quiet performance means no distractions for those around you.

The ANCHEER offers 3 auto speeds and 5 manual settings, 8 in total. A special feature of this model is the anti-slip pedals promoting optimal leg movement and improved circulation, without being distracting to you or others. 

An ANCHEER user says that “if you are sitting and working for long hours, it’s really useful and it keeps you feeling fresh and active. Overall it’s a good buy and I suggest you go for it.”

Pros

  • Automatic and manual cardio modes
  • Multi-function LCD display
  • Option for remote-control operation
  • Scientifically-designed massage pedals

Cons

  • Remote can be faulty

4. Stamina In-Motion

Most Popular Brand

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

25 x 17 x 11 Inches

Weight of Machine

30 lbs

# of Resistance Levels

N/A (adjustable tension)

Weight Capacity

250 lbs (standing)

Built-In Display

Yes

Warranty

Frame: 1 year, Parts: 90 days

In terms of popularity among users, Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer can't be beaten. This machine has thousands of reviews on Amazon, and most of them are incredibly positive. The machine offers an efficient, easy, and quiet method for cardio. The portable, lightweight design makes it easy to move around the office of home. For the price and the 1-year warranty on the frame, the Stamina In-Motion is a top pick. 

This under-desk elliptical is unique from the others since it can be used either sitting or standing. Most other models on the market only suggest sitting while the machine is in use. With the In-Motion, you can sit or stand depending on your workout needs. No matter if you're seated or in a standing position, simply pedal forwards or backward to target the major muscle groups.

With the tension knob on the front, you can manually vary the intensity of your workout and track it with the multi-function monitor. This monitor is pretty basic, but it does allow you to keep track of calories, time, strides, and number of strides per minute. The In-Motion comes in three colors: orange, green, and black/silver.

The negative feedback on this machine all points to the same thing, and that is the fact that the ride tends to be “squeaky” and is certainly not whisper-quiet like the Cubii. The good news, though, is that Stamina holds true to their warranty policy and will send a replacement if you experience this problem.

Pros

  • Can be used sitting or standing
  • Great machine for the price
  • Lightweight design offers ultimate portability
  • 3 color options

Cons

  • Very basic model
  • Can become squeaky over time

5. Stamina In-Motion Compact Strider

Best Budget Under Desk Elliptical

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

24 x 18 x 12 inches

Weight of Machine

24 lbs

# of Resistance Levels

N/A (adjustable tension)

Weight Capacity

250 lbs (standing)

Built-In Display

Yes

Warranty

Frame: 1 year, Parts: 90 days

The best budget model on our list is the Stamina In-Motion Compact Strider. Investing in this under desk machine won’t break the bank, but it will burn calories, promote leg movement, and improve circulation. The large non-slip pedals provide users with a comfortable and low-impact workout no matter if you’re sitting at a desk or standing while watching TV (yes, you can use it while standing). 

You can choose to purchase the machine with tension armbands if you're looking to engage the upper body as well. Reviewers love that the Compact Slider comes with a handle at the top of the machine, which allows you to pick it up and move it around the home or office. 

One reviewer says that "the machine is smooth and very quiet. I have owned 3 spinner bikes, and I find this to have almost an identical motion and feel, except it is much quieter, more compact, and less expensive.”

There is an adjustable tension knob as well as a display monitor to track calories, distance, strides, and time, but it is nothing fancy. It won't connect with FitBit or anything along those lines, so if you’re looking for something high-tech go with the Cubii Pro. However, if staying within budget is a top priority, the Stamina In-Motion Compact Strider is a great choice.

Pros

  • Can be used sitting or standing
  • Easy-carry handle and compact design
  • Easy-to-adjust tension for an intense workout
  • Multi-function LCD display

Cons

  • Lack of advanced features
  • Can become squeaky over time

6. IDEER LIFE

Quietest Under Desk Model

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

24 x 20 x 11 inches

Weight of Machine

25 lbs

# of Resistance Levels

N/A (adjustable tension)

Weight Capacity

245 lbs (standing)

Built-In Display

Yes

Warranty

No

Similar to the Stamina machines, the IDEER LIFE Mini Elliptical & Stand Up Exercise Bike can be used in a seated or standing position. This model perfect for building muscles, slimming down and improving the health of the body as a whole, all without making a peep.

It has even been proven to reduce cellulite over time. The high level of adjustability means that almost anyone can use it, no matter if you’re looking for a light-resistance leg workout or high-resistance intense cardio.

The multi-function monitor comes with a built-in LCD that shows 5 separate functions, including time, distance, and calories. For a higher resistance, simply turn the dial that controls the machine's tension. Even while standing, the large anti-slip pedals make it easy to secure the feet comfortably for a low-impact workout.

Assembly can be done within 3 to 5 minutes, something that reviewers love. However, there is one flaw according to a few IDEER Life users, one in particular: Although the machine is designed for both standing and sitting workouts, some users feel that it is better suited for sitting.

Pros

  • Quietest model on the market
  • 5-function LCD display
  • Highly adjustable tension dial
  • Large anti-slip pedals for low impact

Cons

  • Standing can be difficult
  • Too tall for some desks
  • No warranty

7. jfit

Best Under Desk Elliptical for Seniors

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

27 x 15 x 11 inches

Weight of Machine

26.5 lbs

# of Resistance Levels

N/A (adjustable tension)

Weight Capacity

250 lbs (standing)

Built-In Display

Yes

Warranty

Frame: 1 year, Parts: 90 days

The jfit is the ideal option for seniors in need of a low impact cardio workout, one that doesn't require leaving the house. Although the machine allows for both sitting and standing, it is recommended that seniors with limited mobility remain seated.

The compact design comes with a practical top handle as well as a side handle for maximum support. For desk chairs with wheels, the wheels can be locked into place with the help of this side handle. 

This mini elliptical is super quiet since the large rollerblade wheels have been designed for smooth, almost-silent motion. If squeaking does happen, feel free to use a bit of WD-40 or other lubricant - this should fix the problem right away. 

The machine comes with a display console to track the progress of time, distance, speed, and calories burned. The only downside of this display is that seniors with poor eyesight might struggle to read the small digits.

When set to the lowest tension level, this elliptical trainer offers a light and easy workout that almost anyone can take part in. But this doesn't mean that you can't get a more intense cardio session in. The highest tension setting is somewhat tricky, meaning you'll be able to challenge yourself with the jfit. The only downfall for one jfit reviewer is that "it is much too bulky and awkward for most office desk situations.”

Pros

  • Easy cardio for seniors
  • Lightweight highly portable machine
  • Quiet rollerblade wheel motion
  • Digital display to measure progress

Cons

  • Digital numbers small for reading
  • Too large to fit under standard desk

8. FitDesk

Top White Colored Option

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

30 x 20 x 10 Inches

Weight of Machine

30 lbs

# of Resistance Levels

8

Weight Capacity

N/A

Built-In Display

No (separate desk stand display)

Warranty

6 months

There is nothing sleeker than a crisp white-colored under desk elliptical, especially when it comes to the FitDesk machine. This machine doesn't just look good but also rides smooth while barely making a sound. The balanced flywheel can be thanked for that. If you are planning on using the FitDesk at the office, you should have no trouble fitting this machine comfortably beneath the desk. 

It has the lowest pedal rotation height available and has been proven to work with desks as low as 25 inches. On the front of the machine, there is a lever that controls the resistance from low to high. There are 8 resistance levels to choose from, and users love that the lever can be moved up or down using the feet. This means that you don't have to bend down beneath the desk to change the resistance. 

Another cool feature of the FitDesk is the desk-stand that comes along with the machine. There is no built-in display on the elliptical itself, but the detachable desk stand's display allows the user to track progress. The stand comes with 6 different display modes, including scan, speed, distance, time, odometer, and calories.

Brad from Los Angeles says that “unlike other under-desk ellipticals and pedal machines, this device uses magnetism for resistance rather than a friction device, which makes for smooth, quiet operation.” All in all, the FitDesk is a top choice for cardio in the office, especially if you never want to duck beneath the desk to change settings or track progress.

Pros

  • Works with desks as little as 25”
  • Sleek design with large pedals
  • Foot shifter for hands-free adjustment
  • Desk stand with 6-function display

Cons

  • Short warranty period
  • Not enough resistance for some users

9. Sunny Health & Fitness EZ Stride

Best Motorized Auto-Assisted Option

Dimensions

(L x W x H)

20 x 15 x 10.5 inches

Weight of Machine

16.5 lbs

# of Resistance Levels

3

Weight Capacity

220 lbs

Built-In Display

Yes

Warranty

1 year

Sunny Health and Fitness has remained a top name for elliptical trainers, and the company's motorized auto-assisted under desk machine is no exception. Just as the name suggests, this machine features a motor, making it unlike any other under-desk elliptical on this list. The motor makes it possible for almost anyone to use this machine, as do the padded anti-slip foot pedals.

Located on the center of the machine, you’ll see a digital monitor that controls the motor speed from light to moderate to active. This monitor also controls whether the pedaling motion is forward or backward and whether the user engages in manual or automatic exercise. When used manually, the elliptical features 3 resistance levels, and the same goes for auto mode.

This machine comes with a built-in handle for easy carrying, and the low weight of 16.5 pounds means that portability is at an all-time high. Aside from the jfit mini elliptical, the Sunny Health elliptical is the ideal choice for seniors or anyone suffering from stroke, fibromyalgia, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis.

However, there have been a few issues with durability relating to the pedals falling off. This is not common, and only a few users have experienced issues with the machine's durability. Luckily, the manufacturer's 1-year warranty covers any faulty parts of machine malfunctions.

Pros

  • Motor-assist great for seniors/disabled
  • Lightweight machine with carrying handle
  • Advanced digital monitor
  • Non-skid mat included

Cons

  • 220 lbs weight capacity
  • 120V plug required for assisted mode

Using Ellipticals for Weight Loss

Engaging in cardio is the best thing someone can do to lose weight. When deciding if a treadmill or elliptical is the better cardio option for you, you need to consider the impact that each one has on the joints and muscles. Anyone suffering from sore joints or achy muscles should opt for an elliptical, especially if the goal is to lose weight.

Using an under-desk elliptical has the potential to burn up to 300 calories per hour with a high level of resistance and high RPM rate. When paired with a healthy diet, shedding pounds is entirely possible. It is also great for toning muscles, improving blood circulation, and can even help relieve the symptoms of stroke or fibromyalgia. Some under desk elliptical users have even experienced a boost in mood.


Under Desk vs. Stand Up Ellipticals

It is hard to say which type of elliptical - under-desk or stand up - is better, mostly because they serve different purposes. The stand-up elliptical offers various features, like monitoring heart rate and unique workout programs. It also has the potential to burn more calories than an under-desk model.

A study from Harvard Medical School found that “an hour of regular elliptical exercise burns 540 calories in a 125-lb. person, and a 185-lb. person expends 800 calories." But an under-desk elliptical has its own set of benefits, the main one being that cardio is possible even at the office.

If you don't have time to hop on your in-home stand up elliptical or make it to the gym, the solution is an under-desk machine. Sure, it won't burn as many calories per hour, but it is still a fantastic way to get moving and improve health. 


Under Desk Vs. Recumbent Bikes

Many people like to compare an under-desk elliptical to a recumbent bike since both machines allow the user to sit in a reclined position. Yes, these two cardio machines are similar, but there are a few minor differences between them. They both burn nearly the same number of calories and have the same muscle-building and weight loss potential.

However, nothing beats the under-desk elliptical when it comes to convenience. Recumbent bikes are not able to operate underneath a desk space like an under-desk machine. The other significant benefit of using an under-desk machine vs. a recumbent bike is cost; a top-rated exercise bike will set you back hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. A top-rated under desk machine, on the other hand, can cost less than $100. 


Care, Maintenance & Cleaning

The main thing you should do to care for your under-desk elliptical is clean it every so often (about once a week) with a mild cleaning agent and rag. If you use your machine every day to lose weight or build muscle, cleaning at the end of each workday is a good idea. To keep the parts working smoothly, consider using WD-40 or another similar lubricant on the machine's mechanisms. This will keep the ride smooth and quiet, with less chance of squeakiness over time.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe for pregnant women, the elderly, or anyone with health issues, etc.?

Absolutely. In fact, studies have shown that engaging in light cardio is the best way to keep up with health and even alleviate symptoms of common ailments. If you are unsure, though, ask your healthcare practitioner about whether an under-desk elliptical is right for you.

Are ellipticals safe to use every day?

Yes. Mayo Clinic suggests that the average adult should “get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity." This can also be broken down into 20-30 minutes of exercise per day, which can be safely accomplished with an under-desk elliptical machine.

How many calories can you burn with an under-desk elliptical?

This depends on a few things, like the resistance level (low, medium, or high) and the speed (revolutions per minute) of the elliptical user. One study suggests that it is possible to burn anywhere between 100 and 300 calories after using an under-desk elliptical for one hour. If tracking calories is your main concern, the Cubii Pro is the best choice since it allows you to sync the machine with popular fitness apps.

Can I use these machines sitting and standing?

This depends on the machine, but there are several models on the market that allow for both sitting and standing. Keep in mind that the standing models will come with a weight capacity, usually around 250 lbs. Weight limits are not as standard for the sitting machines, so check into this before purchasing your sitting/standing under desk elliptical.

Can I use this type of device at work?

Of course. The under-desk elliptical can be used wherever you like, including the office. However, if you plan on using the machine at work, it is important to invest in a whisper-quiet model as to not distract your fellow employees. It would also be a good idea to check with your boss beforehand, but no boss is likely to discourage an employee's desire to get fit.

Major famous gamers have invested in under-desk elliptical machines to engage in cardio while simultaneously playing their favorite video games. Put the machine under the office desk, in front of the couch, or beneath the kitchen table - whatever works best for you. The beauty of this machine is its portability, allowing users to move it from one spot to another with no hassle.


Conclusion

We've said it once, and we'll say it again - the #1 choice for an under-desk elliptical is the Cubii Pro. The BlueTooth capability is a unique feature that you won't find in any other under desk machine. The Cubii Pro is durable, easy to use, and has raving reviews from thousands of users. For those of you who don't have the time or motivation to hit the gym, give the Cubii Pro a try.

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