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The Best Under Desk Bikes and Ellipticals for Staying Fit While Working

A desk job certainly has its benefits, but one of the major setbacks is the lack of physical activity during the day. 

An exercise routine outside of office hours definitely helps, but unless you’re making time for physical activity throughout the day, it isn’t enough to cancel out the effects of sitting all day.

But if you don’t have much time during the day to take breaks for physical activity, what’s a busy professional to do?

One option is investing in an under desk bike or elliptical.

These handy little units fit right under your desk so that you can pedal while you work. It’s a great way to burn extra calories, strengthen your lower body, and keep your waistline in check.

But a quick search online will yield dozens of different options. So which is the best under desk bike or elliptical? 

As with any piece of fitness equipment, the best one for you will depend on your budget, preferences, and intended use. To that end, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 under desk bikes and ellipticals based on my research.

**I was not paid to write this review. However, this post does contain affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission on purchases you make after clicking on those links. (At no extra cost to you!) These are my own opinions and honest thoughts after using the app. Full disclosure here. **

Overview of the Best Under Desk Bike & Alternatives

Under Desk Brand NameCost ($ – $$$$)Pedal StyleAssembly RequiredWorks ArmsWeight (Lbs)Dims (Inches)Reverse PedallingSit or Stand
1. CUBII$$$$EllipticalYesNo28 lbs23.15 x 17.56 x 10YesSit Only
2. ATIVAFIT$$EllipticalYesNoApprox. 25 lbs22.4 x 19.7 x 51.2YesYes
3. PEXMORE$EllipticalYesNo26 lbs24.02 x 16.93 x 11.42YesYes
4. DECELI$BikeYesYes12 lbs16.1 x 7.7 x 12.6YesSit Only
5. ANCHEER$$EllipticalNoNoApprox. 22 lbs18 x 14 x 10YesSit Only
6. STAMINA INMOTION$$EllipticalYesYes24 lbs24 x 18 x 12YesYes
7. SERENELIFE$$$EllipticalYesNo29.45 lbs23.62 x 16.92 x 11.81YesYes
8. SUNNY HEALTH & FITNESS$$EllipticalNoNo25.4 lbs25.2 x 18 x 10YesYes
9. FITDESK$$BikeYesNo24 lbs25.5 x 11.5 x 9.5YesSit Only
10. DESKCYCLE$$$BikeYesNo23 lbs24 x 20 x 10YesSit Only

The Best Under Desk Bike: 

1. Cubii Pro or Cubii Jr

As far as these kind of units go, the Cubii is the Rolls Royce, with a price point to match. The large pedals are built low to the ground for smooth, quiet pedaling. 

At only 10 inches high, the Cubii will fit well under most desks so you can pedal without banging your knees. However, it is 28 pounds which is not as lightweight as some other options out there.

The main difference between the Jr and the Pro – besides the Pro being $100 more – is the Pro is equippeded with Bluetooth and can sync your stats to your phone and fitness apps. 

The Jr does not have such connectivity, but comes with an LCD display so you can visually track your calories burned, distance travelled, and active minutes. 

The company also offers live online classes that incorporate your Cubii as well as other workout items. 

The machine is sturdily built but is only designed to be used while seated. If you are looking for pedals you can use while sitting and standing you will need to look at an alternative model.

Lastly, the company is also well known for its stellar customer service and are quick to resolve issues. 

I go over my personal experience with the Cubii JR in this in-depth review.

Pros 

  • Smooth, quiet pedaling 
  • Sits low on the ground to accommodate most desks
  • Customer service is reported to be almost legendary 

Cons 

  • The price is definitely up there, especially the Pro version
  • A little bit on the heavy side compared to competitors 
  • Can only be used while seated

Alternative Under Desk Elliptical/Bike Options

2. ATIVAFIT Under Desk Elliptical Bike

The ATIVAFIT is another great option featuring large, anti-slip pedals and an LCD monitor. It’s also a sturdy piece of equipment that weighs around the same as the Cubii. 

Probably the biggest pro over the Cubii is the cost, which is significantly less. Unlike many other competitors on the market, the ATIVAFIT is easy to put together. 

Although the machine comes with a wide range of tension settings, some users find that it doesn’t offer enough tension for a real workout. 

You can also use the ATIVAFIT while standing up, but take care to have something sturdy to hold onto nearby as you may find it difficult to keep your balance. 

Most consumers report that the machine is very quiet, but some claim that it starts making a clicking sound after a while. 

Some people also find it a bit too big to use under their desk, so if you are considering this option you may need a high desk or be willing to use it with your chair a little further away from the desk.

Pros

  • A sturdy machine comparable to the Cubii but more affordable
  • Large, anti-slip pedals

Cons

  • Some people find it makes a clicking noise after a while
  • Tension settings may not be enough if you’re looking for a more high-intensity workout experience
  • Like the Cubii, it’s a bit heavy.

3. PEXMORE Under Desk Bike

The PEXMORE is a good balance between quality and price; its likely the best under desk bike you can find for under $100. The large pedals have a textured surface which prevents slippage, and is pretty compact at only 11 inches tall. 

At 26 lbs, it’s sturdy but a little lighter than the Cubii. It’s not as quiet as some of its higher-end competitors and it may elicit a squeaking sound. 

The PEXMORE sports a small LCD screen that displays speed, distance, and a calorie burn estimate. 

There is a bit of assembly required with this model and some consumers report it took them a little time to figure out how to put it together. But for the price point, it may be worth the additional labour. 

Pros:

  • A good balance between quality and affordable pricing
  • Built low to the ground
  • Anti-slip pedals

Cons:

  • Some users report a squeaking sound
  • Some assembly required

4. DECELI Under Desk Bike

If you’re on a particularly tight budget, this DECELI model might be the ticket for you. For under $50 you get a considerably sturby peddlar complete with adjustable levels and an LCD monitor that takes 1 AAA battery.

It’s also only 12 lbs which makes it quite portable. You can even put it on a table and use it to exercise your arms, if you want. 

However, because it is so light, some consumers report that it shifts while in use.

And at this price point, you will likely notice that the ride isn’t as smooth as the more expensive models. The resistance levels are also limited so if you’re looking to get your heart rate up there when you pedal this might not be enough for you. 

Some assembly is required before the bike is functional, but is relatively easy to put together.

Ultimately, you can’t argue that the DECELI is good value for the cost.

Pros

  • Very budget-friendly
  • Light and portable
  • Can use for your arms or your legs

Cons

  • Light on resistance
  • May shift while in use
  • Use only while seated

5.  ANCHEER Under Desk Cycle

With this little elliptical you can pedal forwards and backwards to target different muscle groups. It also comes with a cord you can plug in for extra power during your workout. 

ANCHEER is clear on their sales page that you can only use this while seated, so if you’re looking for an under desk elliptical that you can also use standing up, you’ll need to look at something like the Sunny Health model. 

One perk to the ANCHEER is that you don’t have to worry about any assembly, it comes ready to use. It’s sturdy at 22 lbs but has a built in handle that makes it easier to move around. 

It also comes with a remote control so you can access all the functions without touching the control panel. 

This unit is touted to be whisper-quiet, but some users find that it does make more noise than they thought it should. Some consumers also find it is hard to pedal fast enough to get their heart rate up. 

Pros

  • Forward and backward pedaling
  • No assembly required

Cons

  • Might make more noise than other units
  • May not be suitable for intense workouts
  • For seated use only

6. Stamina InMotion Compact Strider with cords

If you could use a little more movement than just pedaling your feet, you might want to look at the Stamina InMotion unit. The main feature on this mini elliptical is the build-in resistance cords with handles that you can use to work out your arms while you pedal. 

It’s a sturdy 24 lbs and is also equipment with reverse-motion pedals and the capability to be used while standing or sitting. It also sports a convenient handle for moving from one room to another.

It comes with a small, basic screen for displaying info like your strides per minute and calories, but there have been complaints that it doesn’t work that well and you may need another option for tracking your calories and duration.  

The Stamina InMotion is easy to assemble, and decently priced. It’s relatively quiet although some consumers found it developed a squeak after a while. 

Pros 

  • Cords help you work out upper body as well as lower body simultaneously 
  • Can be used sitting or standing
  • Comes with a workout DVD

Cons

  • The screen is really small and may not be reliable

7. SereneLife Elliptical

The SereneLife Bike is a bit on the expensive side but still considerably cheaper than the Cubii. It’s a good quality machine with 8 resistance levels and smooth, quiet pedaling in forward and reverse. 

It also comes with a carrying handle for portability and easy to assemble. You can use it standing or while seated. 

At 29.45 lbs, it’s sturdy and well-built, but as it has some heft, it may prove to be a pain if you frequently need to move it around.

It also offers some decent resistance, so much so that some older users have reported it too difficult to use. 

Pros

  • Sturdy
  • Quiet pedaling forward and reverse
  • Can use standing and sitting

Cons

  • Quite heavy and may be difficult to lug around from one room to another

8. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Underdesk / Standing Portable Elliptical

The Sunny Health & Fitness bike is another middle-range option that offers 8 levels of belt drive magnetic resistance. It’s about 11 inches tall and is suitable for using under your desk or while standing. 

It touts great stability, especially for those who wish to use it while standing, and can accommodate users up to 220 lbs. However, some users find the range of motion is too limited to use while standing for an extended period of time. 

Another big plus is that there’s no assembly required, so you can take it right out of the box and get pedaling. 

There are some consumers who find it makes a noise after a while and needs frequent greasing. 

Pros

  • No assembly required
  • Made to be used sitting or standing

Cons 

  • Needs to be greased frequently
  • Pedals offer only limited range of motion

9. FitDesk Under Desk Cycle

Standing at only 9.5 inches high, the FitDesk boasts a low pedal height which makes it ideal for desks as low as 26 inches. This is more of “bike” model with small pedals for your feet rather than the large elliptical-like pedals on the previous models. 

Another nice-to-have feature is the hands-free tension adjustment that you can shift with your foot, so you can change intensity without needing to stoop down and adjust a knob. That said, some users find the tension range could be greater and doesn’t offer enough resistance for harder pedaling.

FitDesk sports an LCD display which is powered by two AA batteries and records to usual stats like speed, distance, and calories. 

Aside from securing the foot plates, there isn’t much assembly required when you receive the machine. 

Some users report that the machine may not have the best longevity, so if you are going to be using it a lot you may need to replace it after a while. It also doesn’t come with any foot straps, and some people find it’s hard to keep their feet from slipping off the pedals. 

That said, its also roughly half the price of some of the higher end models which is an attractive feature if you’re on a budget. 

Pros

  • Sits low to the ground
  • Affordable
  • Hands-free tension shifting
  • Smooth pedaling

Cons

  • Could use stronger resistance settings
  • May note stand up to heavy use over an extended period of time
  • No foot straps
  • Can only be used while seated

10. DeskCycle

The DeskCycle is very similar to the FitDesk in appearance, with small bike pedals. It’s reported to be easy to assemble and very quiet to use.  

It has 8 resistance settings and a patented magnetic mechanism that makes the ride smooth and quiet. Adjustable foot straps help keep your feet on the small pedals. 

A digital monitor is attached to the bike that displays your speed, distance, and calories. You can also find their calorie-burn calculator on their website. However, the monitor is not that sturdy and some users found that it broke after a while. 

At 23 lbs, it’s one of the lighter options available but still substantial enough to prevent shifting during use. 

Pros

  • Relatively lightweight
  • Adjustable foot straps
  • Smooth and quiet pedaling

Cons

  • Cannot use while standing
  • Digital monitor is not too sturdy

How to Choose the Best Bike or Elliptical for You

Now that we’ve run through all the best options on the market, you may still be wondering which of these 10 bikes is best for you. Here are a few things to consider before making a decision:

Noise level

If you work in an office, the last thing you want is your coworkers glaring at you over their cubicles because your bike is squeaking or otherwise making a racket. Likewise, noisey bikes can distract you from staying focused on your work. 

In that case something like the Cubii is a ideal, whereas some of the cheaper models are prone to squeaking after a while. 

Portability

If you are only ever going to use your bike in one place, like under your desk, then portability isn’t going to be much of a factor.

However, if you plan on moving it from your desk to the living room, etc. then you may want to look at some of the more lightweight options. 

The DECELI, FitDesk, DeskCycle, and Stamina InMotion are likely your best options if weight is an issue. 

Intended Use

If you’re reading this, it’s likely that your primary use for a mini-bike or elliptical is to have a way to stay active and burn calories while you’re at work. 

But you may also want something with more functionality. For example, you may appreciate the option to stand or use resistance bands to work out your arms simultaneously.

The Stamina Inmotion is likely your best choice in this sense.

Also remember that not every under desk unit with elliptical pedals can be used while standing, so be sure to double check that before purchasing. For example, the Cubii and ANCHEER were designed to be used while sitting only. 

Best Ways to Use Your Under Desk Bike or Elliptical While at Work

The prospect of burning calories while you work is pretty exciting, but using one of these units for the first time can be a bit of an adjustment. Here are some tips to get the best use out of your new bike or elliptical:

Switch your shoes while using the bike

If you pedal in your work shoes, you might end up with a stinky problem over time. It’s a good idea to swap out your pumps or work shoes for a running shoe to eliminate this problem. 

Start with 5-10 minutes an hour

If you find cycling while you work a little distracting at first, that’s normal. Start out with low resistance and shorter time frames and work your way up to doing pedaling for long periods of time!

If sliding is an issue, try getting a small rug or mat to put under it

While most unites have rubber grips to prevent sliding, you may find putting a small rug or exercise mat under the unit really helps keep it in place. 

Pedal up and down, not out

Especially with the bike-pedal models, make sure you are pedaling up and down, and not pushing out as you pedal. This prevents slippage and activates the right muscles!

Set up your workstation ergonomically 

Of course, this goes whether you have an under desk bike or not, but make sure your workstation is set up ergonomically to prevent unnecessary stress on your back, shoulders, and neck while you work and pedal.

Your station should be set up in such a way that the computer monitor is eye level and forearms parallel to the floor. 

Optimize for knee clearance

Your bike is built to go under your desk but you may find that depending on your desk height and the length  of your legs, you may need to make some adjustments in order to pedal without having your knees bang against the desk.

Lowering your chair and moving it further back can help improve clearance. 

Summary

If sitting is the new smoking, then finding a way to keep active while at work is imperative to your health. 

Implementing “active sitting” with an under desk unit can not only improve your weight, but overall health and quality of life!

And while the Cubii is our top pick, there a lot of other great options out there to choose from.

Take your time with this guide in order to choose the best bike or elliptical for your needs. 

FAQ

What’s the difference between an under-desk elliptical and bike?

The main difference is the pedals. Bikes have smaller pedals like a road bike and can only be used while sitting down. Depending on the model they may be used with your feet to work out your legs, or your hands to work out your arms. 

The elliptical versions have wider, longer pedals that can only be used with your legs, but because of this some models can be used both while seated or standing.

Does the Under Desk Bike Really Work? Do they help you lose weight?

It depends what your goals are. If you’re looking to stay active and burn extra calories during the day to help keep your waistline in check, then yes, an under desk bike is a great idea. 

If you’re looking to get shredded, then this kind of low-intensity pedalling isn’t going to be nearly enough exercise to reach your goals. (Though it will still help!)

How many calories does an under desk bike burn?

Depending on the intensity of the activity, you can expect to burn to be around 100-150 calories per hour, which is a little less than you would burn through moderate walking. 

It doesn’t sound like a lot, but trust me when I say it adds up quick!

best under desk bike or elliptical for staying fit at home
 

Corrie Alexander is an ISSA certified personal trainer, home fitness advocate, and founder of The Fit Careerist. A proponent of personal growth and a self-proclaimed fitness app-junkie, Corrie shares tips and product reviews with the goal of helping others on their own fitness journey.

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