What’s the Best Under Desk Elliptical in 2021 and Why Do you Need One?

If you are one of the many people who spend most of their time hunched over a desk at work all day, your health could suffer. You have a higher risk of developing heart problems, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.

So, what do we do to prevent this? Well, it might be time for you to try an under desk bicycle pedal or an elliptical machine. An under desk elliptical allows you to burn calories and stay active while seated. You can use one at work without the hassle and distraction caused by other forms of exercise.

But how does an under desk elliptical work? How can it help improve your health? How and where can you get the best under desk elliptical? Scroll down to find out!

What Is An Under Desk Elliptical?

under desk exercise bike

Via: awesomethings.com

An under desk elliptical, also known as an under the desk bicycle, mini elliptical, or under desk exerciser is a pedal machine intended for use under a desk both at homes and offices. Just like a stationary bike, the user utilizes his or her feet to pedal under the table for a smooth and efficient workout.

Under desk ellipticals utilize an elliptical pedaling motion instead of a circular motion to reduce the height of the knees and prevent them from banging on the desk.

Through the work of the legs and feet, the user burns calories while sitting and working. Some models are designed for exercising while watching TV and sitting on a sofa while others are specifically intended for desk use in offices.

How Can An Under Desk Elliptical Help You?

under desk eliptical

Via: brookstone.com

Did you know that staying seated for long periods of time is more harmful to your health than smoking?

In fact, multiple studies published by the Harvard Medical School found that a sedentary behavior or sitting too much can lead to a multitude of problems concerned with cardiovascular health, blood circulation, metabolism, and brain function.

These studies proved that people who sat more are at a higher risk of dying prematurely due to all types of diseases. More negative health effects were also seen in people who have little to no exercise.

But do not worry. Fortunately, there are many ways that you can reduce these harmful effects! One of the solutions for these is under desk ellipticals. Unlike standing desks, under desk ellipticals actually let you move and burn calories.

In addition, these machines are not as expensive, huge, or bulky as other gym equipment. An under desk elliptical is portable and can deliver astounding results without breaking the bank or subtracting the time you have for life and work.

Under desk ellipticals also help improve your posture, promote blood circulation, and boost your overall health without causing too much work distraction. They provide a way to counteract long hours of inactivity as well as its negative effects.

Factors To Consider In Choosing The Best Under Desk Elliptical

When choosing the best under desk elliptical, there are some important factors that you should look for and consider. These include:

1. Noise

In the workplace, especially for an elliptical intended to be placed under your desk, you want to make sure that it is quiet so that you won’t disturb or distract your co-workers.

If you are planning to use the elliptical at home, I’m sure you and your family will appreciate it if you exercise quietly while you all take a rest or watch TV.

2. Technology

While most under desk ellipticals are pretty straightforward and simple, some models require a power source and offer a lot of high tech features.

Some can track your speed, calories burned, time, and steps. Others count your pedals and compare it to your daily goals. Some can also be connected to apps or synced to your Fitbit.

When it comes to technology, it boils down to your personal needs and preferences. High tech features are not necessary but will surely be beneficial if they will help you enjoy and optimize your use of the desk elliptical.

3. Resistance

Resistance refers to the level of effort you have to exert as you pedal. Almost all desk ellipticals allow you to choose among several resistance levels, from about three up to eight resistance settings. Of course, the higher the resistance, the more challenging and strenuous your workout becomes.

For this factor, you have to consider your capability, since some people are physically not able to handle too much pressure on the joints. I also recommend starting from the lowest resistance and working your way up as you improve and get the hang of the machine.

4. Pedal Height

The pedal height refers to the highest point of the pedal. This is important because it determines the clearance you will need between the underside of your desk and knees you will need to be able to use the elliptical without bumping or hitting your knees on your desk.

One way to find out the ideal pedal height is by stacking books or boxes under your desk, sitting on a chair, and measuring how high the stack needs to be before your knees hit the desk.

For example, you find out that using a ten-inch stack makes your knees touch the desk. This means that you should look for a pedal height that is ten inches or lower.

If you have a particularly low desk or set of long legs, look for ellipticals with the minimum pedal height of as little as eight inches. If you intend to share the elliptical with other people of different pedal height needs, choose a model with adjustable pedal height settings.

5. Versatility

If you want to reap more benefits from your desk elliptical and receive more value for your money, I recommend that you choose a model that gives you options aside from being able to pedal while seated.

Some models can be used both while sitting and standing. The latter will allow you to work your arms and upper body with some weights while you pedal. Optional tension cord attachments can also let you work on your legs and arms simultaneously.

6. Price

As with any purchase, you should always consider the price of an under desk elliptical. It should be within your budget. Make sure that you get the maximum value for your money.

Keep in mind that more durable, higher quality, and innovative technological features will make a piece of equipment more expensive. However, you can always find reasonably priced models with less but enough trimmings to offer.

5 Best Under Desk Elliptical Reviews In 2020

The following are reviews of the best under desk elliptical models that I have come across. Each one has something unique to offer, as well as its advantages and drawbacks. Hopefully, these reviews can help you find the best under desk elliptical suitable for your needs.

1. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418

The Sunny Health and Fitness Magnetic Mini Stationary bike gets huge props for its sturdy construction, quality, portability, and features, all for a very affordable price!

For me, the best thing about this model is the digital monitor LCD screen that displays calories, time, speed, distance, and ODM to help you track your progress.

It also features safety pedal straps and pedals that can be used for both legs and arms exercise! There are even small finger grooves on the handle grips for your comfort.

Aside from these, you can also easily adjust the resistance using a simple eight- level micro tension adjustment knob.

This device weighs only 21 pounds but can handle up to 220 pounds of user weight. Its weight and size also make it portable plus it even comes with a handle for easier transport.



  • Safety pedal straps
  • Can be used to work both hands and feet
  • Adjustable eight-level resistance
  • LCD display for time, distance, calories, speed, and ODM
  • 220 pounds maximum user weight
  • Sturdy frame
  • Pedal height is too high for a standard desk
  • May slide on the floor
  • May produce some noise

2. jfit Under Desk & Stand Up Mini Elliptical

jfit Under Desk & Stand Up Mini Elliptical

Next, we have the jfit Under Desk and Stand Up Mini Elliptical. Its most remarkable features are probably its durability, versatility, and stability, allowing the user to use it both while sitting and standing.

The stride is also quite short, which makes it ideal for under-the-desk use. If you would rather get a larger movement, you can adjust the pedal height. You can also adjust the tension and resistance depending on your needs.

Measure and track your progress easily with the Series 1050 monitor that records your speed, distance, time, and calories burnt.

Some users complain about the machine producing squeaking noises, but I found that this is not something that a little application of oil cannot fix.



  • Adjustable pedal height
  • Compact design
  • Can be used while sitting down or standing up
  • Well-built
  • Looks good
  • Sturdy, stable, and strong
  • Comes with a lubricating oil
  • Quite expensive
  • Produces a squeaking noise
  • Constantly needs lubrication
  • Confusing tension adjustment knob
  • Quite heavy to move around

3. DeskCycle Under Desk Pedal Exerciser

DeskCycle Under Desk Pedal Exerciser

Don’t be fooled by the simple design and low profile of this model. It does not just offer the highest power but also comes with a bunch of fantastic features!

With a ten-inch pedal height, it offers one of the lowest pedal heights among desk ellipticals. It also lets you choose among 8 calibrated resistance settings and provides a bidirectional pedal motion. This means you can pedal forward or backward to target specific muscle groups.

It uses a patented magnetic resistance mechanism and high-quality components to deliver a smooth, quiet, and effective pedaling motion. The low and wide base legs also prevent rocking.

This model comes with an accurate online calorie calculator and a five-function display that tells you your calories burned, distance, time, speed, and scan. The pedals even have large adjustable velcro straps for securing your feet.



  • Reasonably priced
  • Offers tons of features
  • Adjustable resistance
  • Lowest pedal height
  • Wide resistance range
  • Quiet and smooth magnetic resistance mechanism
  • 5-function display
  • Stable, durable, and sturdy
  • Online calorie calculator
  • Easy to assemble
  • People taller than 5’8” may need to get a higher desk or a lower chair
  • No wheel stopper

4. Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer

Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer

The Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer is another amazing model. It has a multifunctional fitness tracker and monitor that displays your progress every six seconds. It is also pretty versatile since you can use it while standing or sitting and you can even pedal forward or backward.

The reverse-motion foot pedals allow you to target different leg muscles. These pedals are also textured to avoid slips. Based on your preference, the resistance level can be adjusted using a convenient tension knob.

The electronic fitness monitor tracks and displays your calories burned, strides per minute, total exercise time, number of strides, and scan through all stats.



  • Affordable
  • Adjustable resistance
  • Multifunctional fitness tracker
  • Can be used both standing and sitting
  • The calorie counter is inaccurate
  • Step counter runs even if the user has stopped moving
  • Annoying squeaking noise
  • Reduced pedaling fluidity
  • Issues with durability
  • Not very stable especially when used while standing

5. FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical

FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical

Last but not the least, the FitDesk under desk elliptical is another decent and moderately expensive pick. With a low pedal height of only eight inches, you can use this unit while working on desks as low as 25 inches!

Choose among eight different resistance levels through a hands-free tension adjustment system that allows you to modify the tension through a foot shifter.

Moreover, the package comes with a desk-mounted meter that lets you track your time, speed, distance, and calories burned. It also comes with a built-in wheel lock to prevent your office chair from moving while you pedal.

Thanks to the chair wheel and grip handle, it is easy to transport and move around despite its 35-pound heavy steel frame. This weight ensures stability and durability.



  • Low pedal height
  • Desk-mounted display
  • Easy to transport
  • Handsfree resistance level adjustment
  • Built-in wheel lock
  • Built-in foot massager
  • Long and bulky unit
  • Noisy squeaks and knocking sounds
  • Designed for use while sitting only


Overall, I would recommend the DeskCycle Under Desk Pedal Exerciser as the best under desk elliptical. It offers a lot of features and sells for a reasonable price. Chances are, you will enjoy using it and reap the benefits as well!

I hope you learned something from this article that can help you find your ideal under desk elliptical. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below!

Are you looking for more fitness equipment? Check out these reviews to help you find the best ones for your needs.

Kelly Clanton

Hi there! I'm Kelly Clanton. I am an educated fitness coach with a master degree in Sports Education, and more than ​9 years of working in fitness industry. I love doing and teaching fitness because in my own little way, I am able to encourage people to take health back into their own hands. I'm a Mom,Wife, Fitness Instructor at Fitness Instructor.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: