By this point, we all know the immense benefits of being physically active. According to a recent study by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, both cardio and strength training exercise can reduce one’s mortality risk, especially when done together. Here at Select, we try to do a wide variety of exercise, from sweating it out on the treadmill to swinging around kettlebells. That said, finding time to exercise can be hard for anyone, especially for people with jobs that require long hours at a desk.
One exercise alternative that’s cheaper and more portable than a full treadmill or exercise bike is using an under-desk elliptical. These small machines fit neatly under a desk, and allow you to pedal away while working or on a break. To help you find a great under-desk elliptical, we collected top-rated models from staple brands Cubbi, Sunny Health and more.
SKIP AHEAD The best under desk ellipticals
How to shop for an under-desk elliptical
Be sure to measure your under-desk space before purchasing any machine. You should have plenty of legroom while using the machine, and it should be small enough to tuck away when not in use.
If you are using an under-desk elliptical in the office or while working from home, be mindful of the noise it can cause. Not everyone works well with noise, so be sure to check in with coworkers (or loved ones) before use.
To make the most of your new under-desk elliptical, Crouchelli advised dedicating at least 15 to 20 minutes of working out on the device daily. “Adding intervals and resistance to your workouts are only going to increase their cardiovascular benefits,” he noted.
The best under-desk ellipticals
To pick the best under-desk ellipticals, we relied on a mix of expert advice and consumer reviews to collect the most highly-rated options on the market.
If your workout motivation stems from seeing your stats, consider adding the top-rated Cubii JR1 elliptical to your cart. The ergonomic under-desk elliptical has a built-in LCD display, which shows your calories burned, distance traveled, rotations per minute and other metrics. There are eight resistance levels to help you vary your workouts, plus two colorways to choose from. Cubii also has various at-home workout videos led by personal trainers on their Facebook page. The Cubii JR1 has an average rating of 4.6 stars from more than 15,000 global reviews on Amazon. If you prefer an elliptical that is Bluetooth-enabled, opt for the Cubii Pro instead.
DeskCycle created a highly-rated under-desk elliptical that boasts a 4.6-star average rating from more than 1600 Amazon reviews. It features a magnetic resistance flywheel for a quiet workout and eight intensity levels, ranging from warm up to intense intervals. The elliptical can also fit under desks as low as 24-inches, according to the brand. DeskCycle's under-desk elliptical tracks up to 10,000 minutes of activity and displays your metrics on the LCD screen.
Sunny Health & Fitness is a popular exercise equipment brand among Shopping readers, and its under-desk elliptical has a low-profile. Beyond the eight resistance levels, LCD screen and quiet belt-drive, it stores easily, according to the brand. It has an average rating of 4.5 stars from more than 9,000 global reviews on Amazon.
Unlike other models on this list, Stamina Inmotion’s elliptical can be used either sitting or standing. Like the Sunny Health & Fitness model, you can also pedal forward and backward, which can help target different muscles. You can monitor your strides per minute, exercise time and calories burned with the top-facing LCD screen. The Stamina Inmotion Elliptical has an average rating of 4.4 stars from more than 13,000 global reviews on Amazon.
This Ancheer seated elliptical distinguishes itself by using a remote control to adjust settings instead of the traditional resistance knob. It’s also able to operate unplugged or plugged in, making it more portable than some other options on the market. Like the other options on our list, the pedal positions are textured to add grip, and the machine tracks time, speed, calories and distance. It has an average rating of 4.3 stars from more than 400 global reviews.
Meet our expert
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.