I recently put together a guide for standard elliptical trainers with dual-action handlebars. But since not everyone has enough space or a large enough budget to get a standard elliptical trainer, I’ve decided to create another comprehensive guide on the best under desk elliptical trainers as well.
The main difference, as the name suggests, is that these machines are small enough to fit under a desk, and therefore do not have handlebars. They're an excellent cardio solution for anyone who has an office job, but they can even be used while sitting on the couch or in an armchair.
In this guide to the best under desk elliptical machines, I'll be comparing the top 10 mini elliptical models that feature space-saving designs.
Table of Contents
- Under Desk Elliptical Machines Compared
- How Do Small & Compact Ellipticals Work?
- Benefits of Under Desk Over Larger Ellipticals
- What to Look For When Buying an Under Deck Elliptical?
- 10 Best Under Desk Elliptical Machines Reviewed
- 1. Cubii JR1 Under Desk Elliptical
- 2. Sunny Health & Fitness Under Desk Elliptical SF-E3872
- 3. Stamina 55-1602 Inmotion Elliptical
- 4. Cubii Pro
- 5. Goplus 2-In-1 Under Desk Elliptical Stepper
- 6. FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical
- 7. Cubii JR2
- 8. ANCHEER Under Desk Elliptical for Home
- 9. Ativafit Under Desk Elliptical Bike
- 10. IDEER LIFE Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser
- Mini Ellipticals Vs Steppers Vs Twister Steppers - Differences Explained
- Under Desk Workout Routines For Losing Weight
- People Also Ask (FAQs)
Under Desk Elliptical Machines Compared
23.2" x 17.6" x 10"
17" x 19" x 14"
24" x 18" x 12"
23.15" X 17.56" X 10"
24.5" X 21" X 13.5"
28.40" x 11.30" x 18.40"
22" x 13.6" x 10.9"
18" x 14" x 10"
22.4" x 19.7" x 10"
23.62" x 19.69" x 10.63"
How Do Small & Compact Ellipticals Work?
In general, under desk ellipticals work similarly to full-sized models. They use the standard elliptical motion to get the lower body moving and raise user heart rate for improved cardio health.
Most of these fellas are designed with some sort of feet shifters for easy leg manipulation, which is necessary since you won't be using your upper body to move the pedals as you would with a full-sized elliptical machine.
Although the leg motion is different, they are quite similar to mini exercise bikes. Unlike bike-like movement, mini ellipticals (as they are sometimes called) utilize a motion that is similar to cross-country skiing. This allows users to engage minor and major muscle groups, such as the quads, calves, hamstrings, and glutes.
The main feature that sets compact ellipticals apart from full-sized models is that they are, well, compact. They're small enough to fit easily under a standard-sized desk or tabletop, but also effective enough to give you a decent lower body workout.
Benefits of Under Desk Over Larger Ellipticals
The main benefit of choosing an under desk elliptical over a larger machine is the space-saving feature. Full-sized elliptical trainers are quite large and bulky, so you need the square footage to accommodate them. Not only that, but you won't be able to move a larger machine around the home or office like you would with an under desk model.
Another benefit is the versatility. Since there are no handlebars with mini ellipticals, you're free to use small weights or resistance bands while you pedal in order to get an upper body workout.
You can even get work done on your laptop as you keep the lower body moving. However, just be aware that the calorie-burning potential is higher with larger ellipticals since the arms are constantly moving on full-sized machines.
Lastly, a major benefit of opting for an under desk elliptical is the cost savings. These machines are budget-friendly, and you can easily spend less than $100. This isn't generally the case for larger elliptical trainers, which often cost upwards of $2000.
What to Look For When Buying an Under Deck Elliptical?
Here are some criteria you should look into before purchasing the best mini elliptical trainer for your fitness needs and budget:
Pedal rotation height
This is one of the most important features to look for. Pedal rotation height is provided in inches and gives you a general idea of how high the pedals can go (how high your knees and thighs will be at the highest point of rotation).
If you know that you'll be sitting at a fairly low desk or table - more on this point next - then you should look for a model with a lower-than-average pedal rotation height to avoid banging your knees on the underside of the desk.
If you plan to use the mini elliptical trainer under your work desk, then make sure to double check the space below the desk surface.
The good news is that most of these models are specifically designed to fit comfortably under a desk, but it never hurts to double check the desk height to confirm it's compatible with the elliptical.
Make sure to check if the base of the elliptical is stable and remains secure on the floor surface as you pedal, either on its own or via some type of quality rubber legs or padding. It would be quite uncomfortable if the mini elliptical kept moving around under the desk, not to mention unsafe.
Not all under desk ellipticals come equipped with a display monitor for tracking fitness goals and accomplishments, but many of them do. Since these machines are small and compact, the monitors tend to be small as well, but it's still a great feature to have for keeping track of distance, speed, calories, etc.
Let's face it, we all have different abilities and goals when it comes to physical fitness. While some of you are probably looking to ramp up your cardio and feel the burn with your new elliptical trainers, others might be more interested in a gentle, easy-going ride.
As long as your under desk elliptical has adjustable tension (resistance) levels, then you can enjoy both of these scenarios. Ideally, your elliptical with have at least 8 resistance levels to choose from.
One of the biggest benefits of choosing an under desk elliptical is its portability. These machines are compact enough to easily pick up and move around the home.
However, some under desk ellipticals are more portable than others. These models are lighter in weight (although still extremely sturdy) and even come with transport features like a carrying handle or folding design.
While you can easily find an under desk elliptical for less than $100, most fall somewhere between $100 and $200. The pricier models tend to come with more features, like more resistance levels and a sturdier base, so they're well worth the added cost.
10 Best Under Desk Elliptical Machines Reviewed
Now that we know what to look for before purchasing a mini elliptical, let’s jump right into the list of the 10 best under desk elliptical trainers.
We have also done a video reviewing our top 3 choices if you prefer. Whatever you choose to do, i'm sure you will find what you need on this list!
1. Cubii JR1 Under Desk Elliptical
- COMPACT ELLIPTICAL - Leading compact and...
- REHAB AND FITNESS EXERCISE PEDDLER - The...
- WHISPER-QUIET MINI EXERCISE BIKE - Enjoy your...
- BUILT-IN LCD DISPLAY - The digital monitor...
Our list of the best under desk elliptical trainers starts with the JR1 under desk elliptical made by Cubii.
This machine prides itself on having a combination of features that make under-desk cardio efficient and fun. It features quick assembly, a smart design, and smooth functionality. The frame is made of steel and is built to last, which explains the higher-than-average price tag compared to the competition.
The JR2 comes with 8 magnetic resistance levels that are easily adjusted via a knob on the frame, and the ergonomic design is meant to be used in a seated position only. While this may not be ideal for you, this is the general trend for under desk elliptical trainers.
The built-in display lets you monitor stats like time, calories burned, RPM, distance and strides. Compared to most of these mini steppers, this machine is really quiet and the pedal motion is designed to have minimal impact on your joints.
The dimensions are 23.2 x 17.6 x 10 inches and the weight is 33.7 pounds. The weight is higher than most, but that is justified by the sturdy frame and solid components.
2. Sunny Health & Fitness Under Desk Elliptical SF-E3872
- DIGITAL MONITOR: Track time, speed, calories,...
- BELT DRIVE MAGNETIC RESISTANCE: This...
- 8 LEVELS OF RESISTANCE: Choose between 8...
- COMPACT SIZE: This low profile elliptical...
The runner up on our list is the mini elliptical stepper manufactured by Sunny Health & Fitness. This model is about half the cost of the JR2, so it's a better alternative if you're on a budget.
The frame is made of heavy-duty steel and similar to the Cubii model, this one is built to last. The included digital monitor provides all the general information on time, total count, repetition count, and burned calories. The machine allows stride-height adjustment in case your desk is low in height, which is a great quality to have in your mini elliptical.
It also comes with removable exercise bands, which can be used as support or for additional exercise in a standing position. The maximum weight support is 220 pounds, so if you plan to stand on this trainer, make sure you don't exceed this weight limit.
The oversized slip-resistance pedals will keep your feet tightly secured, and the 8 levels of resistance make it easy to find the ideal tension based on your fitness goals. This trainer measures 19.69L x 17.32W x 18.19H and weighs just 20 pounds, so if you plan on moving it around the office or home, you shouldn't have any trouble.
3. Stamina 55-1602 Inmotion Elliptical
- PORTABLE, QUIET AND EFFICIENT CARDIO: This...
- ADJUSTABLE TENSION WITH MONITOR: Vary the...
- USE SITTING OR STANDING: Depending on your...
- SMART FITNESS APP INCLUDED: Fully supported...
The Stamina brand is known for producing quality fitness equipment, which is one of the reasons their 55-1602 mini elliptical trainer made it to the list.
The Stamina Inmotion Compact Strider’s frame is made of sturdy steel and has 2 variations, with or without cords. It comes in 3 different color combinations, including black, orange, and silver. I love that the machine works with both forward and backward pedaling, and can be used in the standing position as well.
It comes with a handle for easy portability and the electronic monitor is basic but does a good job of providing data on strides per minute, total number of strides, time elapsed, and calories burned. The maximum weight limit is set to 250 pounds for use in the standing position, but I'd say that 225 is a more realistic limitation.
The Stamina mini elliptical offers a decent amount of resistance options, although the manufacturer doesn't specifically say how many there are. All in all, this is an excellent choice if you're on a budget and want something basic yet effective.
4. Cubii Pro
- UNDER DESK ELLIPTICAL - Designed with...
- SET & TRACK FITNESS GOALS - The Cubii mobile...
- PORTABLE ELLIPTICAL - Workout while you work...
- MINI EXERCISE BIKE - Move a little more and...
Number 4 on the list of best mini ellipticals is another product from the Cubii brand.
The Cubii Pro is very similar to the JR1, but it's considered the more advanced model of the two because you can use a mobile app that syncs with iPhone and Android phones, Fitbit smart bands, and Apple Health products to track your distance pedaled, calories burnt, and more.
Aside from app-compatibility, this little elliptical has a lot going for it. It's designed with ultra-smooth gearing and a compact frame so that you can easily exercise at home or the office without stressing your joints or muscles.
You can burn up to 125 calories per hour while you pedal, which may not sound a lot, but it's still better than nothing. The price is high, but that's no surprise consider the smooth motion, nearly-silent operation, and Bluetooth fitness tracking.
5. Goplus 2-In-1 Under Desk Elliptical Stepper
- Ergonomic Design for Safety and Comfort --...
- Flywheels Combined with Silent Belt Drive --...
- Adjustable Tension Levels for the Different...
- LCD Display Monitor to Track Exercise Data --...
The 5th elliptical that made it to our list is manufactured by Goplus.
The Goplus 2-in-1 machine is ergonomically designed to create very little impact on the joints. Weighing about 36 pounds, the machine is heavier than most because it comes with an absorption base that reduces floor friction, and the pedals are non-slip textured with an anti-skid design.
The ABS pedal size is 15 by 5.5 inches, which is quite large compared to others and offers a good amount of support. It operates with a 5.5-pound flywheel and can be used in standing position as well as a seated position.
The maximum weight is 242 pounds, which may sound like a random number, but it's fairly standard compared to other standing-friendly mini trainers. It's equipped with an easy-to-read LCD screen for keeping track of stats in real time, including time, speed, distance, and calories.
My main complaint for the Goplus model is that the pedals typically start to squeak over time, but this can easily be solved with a bit of WD-40.
6. FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical
- WORKS FOR MOST DESKS: The lowest pedal height...
- QUIET & SMOOTH: Smooth and whisper quiet...
- HANDS-FREE ADJUSTMENT: 8 position magnetic...
- DIGITAL DISPLAY: Digital display meter mounts...
The 6th product on our list of best under desk ellipticals is manufactured by FitDesk. This is the 2nd version of the FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical, and it has been on the market for quite some time now.
It comes with a display built in directly to the frame, but it also features a display meter that can be mounted onto your desk. This makes it possible to track your progress without looking down, and you can even change your resistance settings without having to reach below the desk.
Another great think about the FitDesk machine is the very low pedal rotation height of just 8 inches. This makes it one of the best options for using under short desks and tables. The manufacturer claims that you can use it under a desk as low as 25 inches tall.
This mini elliptical is designed with a high-velocity flywheel and a magnetic resistance system that offers 8 resistance levels. This combination makes the motion smooth and quiet.
The dimensions are 28.4 x 11.3 x 18.4 inches and the weight is just 12.79 pounds. The price is higher than many of the mini ellipticals on this list, but it's worth the extra cash if you need a low-profile machine.
7. Cubii JR2
- NEW COMPACT SEATED ELLIPTICAL - Updated mini...
- REHAB AND FITNESS MINI EXERCISER - The smooth...
- PORTABLE EXERCISE PEDDLER - The lightweight...
- BUILT-IN LCD DISPLAY - The digital monitor...
Yet another product from Cubii that's worth checking out is the Cubii JR2. Just as you would suspect, this machine is very similar to the previous JR1, with a few minor improvements.
One of the improvements is the new strap design on each of the pedals. With the JR2, you now have the option to use pedal straps to keep your feet more secure. These adjustable foot straps offer a controlled stride while you sit at a desk or in your favorite seat.
Another improvement is the mobile app compatibility. Similar to the Cubii Pro, users can add their goals and progress into the Cubii app and keep track of stats on their phone or tablet. There's also a digital monitor that tracks your calories burned, minutes active, strides per minute, and distance pedaled.
Similar to all Cubii products, the price is high, but you certainly get what you pay for. As long as you're not on a budget, the smooth pedal motion, sturdy construction, and app fitness tracking make this an excellent choice.
8. ANCHEER Under Desk Elliptical for Home
- ★【2 in 1 & Auto or Manual Modes &...
- ★【Multiple Movement Function】Depending...
- ★【Smooth Quiet & Portable】Designed...
- ★【Large Anti-slip Pedals】Get an...
The Under Desk Elliptical by ANCHEER is another high-end option that's ideal for pedaling both at the office and at home. This mini elliptical can plug into a power source for an assisted workout, or you can use it directly without power.
Depending on your needs and goals, the machine has Auto (P1 to P3) and Manual (5 speed levels) to choose from. The pedals can move forward or backward to target different muscles, but you unfortunately won't be able to use this while standing.
ANCHEER has designed this specifically to be whisper quiet, so you can enjoy the convenience of working out without disturbing those around you. If you're in an office setting, this is a major benefit.
The pedals are large enough for most people to workout comfortably, but some users with larger feet have complained about their size. If that applies to you, you might want to go with a model that has greater pedal surface area.
9. Ativafit Under Desk Elliptical Bike
- Multiple - Function: Ativafit mini exercise...
- Highly Adjustable & Built-In Monitor: This...
- Large Anti-slip Pedals: This Ativafit...
- Compact Design: This mini home trainer is...
If you're unsatisfied with the prices of the mini ellipticals reviewed so far, then the Ativafit might be the perfect option for you. This budget-friendly machine supports sitting or standing positions, forward or reverse motion, and slow or fast pedaling.
It's designed with multiple resistance levels so that you can adjust and control the intensity of your workout according to your specific needs. The built-in LCD monitor displays 5 functions: time, count, distance, calories, and total count.
I particular love the large pedals. The machine has 2 large and sturdy anti-slip foot pedals, which effectively secure the feet, ensure high comfort, and essentially allow you to pedal as hard and fast as you want.
Another great feature is the quiet operation. The Ativafit mini elliptical works quietly with a brake resistance mechanism to ensure smooth and quiet pedal motion. That means you can enjoy your workout without disturbing others in the same room.
10. IDEER LIFE Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser
Last up on our list is the mini under desk exerciser manufactured by IDEER LIFE.
The machine’s frame is built with heavy duty steel and it’s small and compact in design. The resistance system works smoothly and quietly and comes with 8 levels of tension. The included LCD display is basic, but it still manages to monitor 5 functions: stride count, distance, time, total stride count, and calories burned.
The strapped pedals of this mini exerciser keep your feet secure with their non-slip texture design. The machine can be used in standing (max 242-pound weight support) as well as in a seated position. However, I personally don't recommend using this machine while standing as it's not as sturdy as other standing-friendly options on this list.
It can be assembled in as little as 5 minutes, according to the manufacturer. The assembled dimensions are 23.62 x 19.69 x 10.63 inches. Best of all, this elliptical falls in the under $100 price point, so it's an excellent choice if you're on a budget.
Mini Ellipticals Vs Steppers Vs Twister Steppers - Differences Explained
One of the best ways to know if a mini elliptical is right for you is to compare this machine with similar cardio trainers, like steppers and twister steppers.
While mini ellipticals and mini steppers are very similar, there is one big difference. Ellipticals utilize a circular motion to get the lower body moving, and steppers mimic a movement that's similar to walking up and down a set of stairs. In other words, the foot pedals of a stepper machine simply move up and down rather than rotate forwards and backwards.
Then there's the twister stepper (also called twist steppers) which are another option for getting a low-impact cardio workout at home. These machines are very similar to the standard stepper, but they incorporate a twisting motion to further target the glutes, inner and outer thighs, and obliques.
To be honest, there's really no right or wrong answer when deciding between these pieces of mini cardio equipment. Each one does a good job of targeting the muscles of the lower body. But since steppers and twist steppers require more pressure when pushing the pedals down, ellipticals are considered the better option for anyone who is looking for a low-impact workout.
Under Desk Workout Routines For Losing Weight
Embarking on a weight loss journey while working in an office setting can be tough. Most of your time will be spent at the desk, and it's not uncommon to sit for most of the workday. This is where an under desk elliptical can help.
If your main goal for using your elliptical is to lose weight, then you should be trying to get in at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio throughout the week, or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio.
The good news is that it's easy to rack up time on your elliptical when it's hidden neatly under your desk. For the best results, it's recommended that you use your mini machine 3 to 5 days a week for 30 to 60 minutes each session.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Do under the desk ellipticals really work?
Although under desk ellipticals are a great solution for getting cardio in at the office, they aren't capable of delivering the same intensity as a full-sized model.
But in terms of whether or not they work, the answer is yes. You just have to be realistic about what you can do with this type of machine, especially in terms of calorie burning and weight loss.
How many calories do under desk ellipticals burn?
According to a report from US News, "you do get somewhat of a calorie burn while using an underdesk elliptical, but it's a small number. On average, users will burn 150 calories an hour... Compare that to the 350-plus calories typically burned on a regular elliptical machine in an hour."
Can you stand on an under desk elliptical?
It depends on the model you've purchased. Some are sturdy enough to support your entire weight, while others are designed to only be used while seated.
Are under desk ellipticals good for seniors?
Yes! Under desk ellipticals are an excellent cardio tool for seniors or for anyone experiencing limitations with their physical fitness. They deliver a low-impact workout that's easy on the muscles and joints, so as long as you're using your machine properly, there's very little risk of strain or injury.
That completes the list of the best under desk elliptical machines on the market. Don’t forget to check the pros and cons of each trainer reviewed above to make sure you choose the right model based on your budget, fitness needs, and limitations.
I personally love the Cubii JR1 for its built-in LCD, quiet pedaling motion, and sturdy base. However, there are plenty of other models to choose from if the JR1 doesn't fit within your cardio budget.
- Pendlay Row Vs Barbell Bent Over Row (Which Is Better?) - June 30, 2022
- Push Pull Legs 5 Day Split (PPL Routine For Home Gyms) - June 30, 2022
- How To Paint Kettlebells (Easy DIY Spray Painting Guide) - June 30, 2022