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It’s been a busy month here, and I’ve put together the best of the best for you today. This article is for people who want the whole enchilada. With all the excellent office fitness equipment available these days, it can be a challenge to choose just one machine. That’s why this wonderful site is here to make your decision easy-peasy. You are now entering my guide to choosing the best under desk exercise equipment.
In this sparkly guide, I share:
- Top 10 Best Under Desk Exercise Machines
- A Helpful Buyer’s Guide
|#1) Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical
- My personal favorite under-desk elliptical trainer
- The smoothest motion on the market makes for a very low-impact cardio workout while you work
- Bluetooth fitness stat tracking with the free Cubii app (compatible with iPhone, Android, Fitbit, and Apple Health)
- Low-Profile Design to fit under low desks
- Extremely-Quiet Operation
- 8 Magnetic Resistance Levels
- Further Reading: Cubii Pro Review
|#2) JOROTO 2-in-1 Under Desk Elliptical & Mini Stepper
- Dual-Track & Dual-Wheel Design set the Joroto apart from its competitors as the best 2-in-1 under desk elliptical & mini stepper on the market
- Hands-Free Resistance Foot Shifter
- Convenient Top Handle
- Built for both sitting & standing low-impact cardio workouts
- Bi-Directional Design for forward and backward movements
- Quiet Belt-Driven Flywheel w/ Steel Bearings
- Further Reading: Joroto Elliptical Review
|#3) DeskCycle 2
- My personal favorite under-desk pedal exerciser
- The quietest operation of all under-desk mini-cycles
- Adjustable pedal height function and low-profile design make it compatible with nearly all desk heights (as low as 27″)
- 8 Magnetic Resistance Levels
- Desktop Console displays your stats
- High-Inertia Flywheel for a smooth, even pedal motion
- Further Reading: DeskCycle 2 Review
|#4) Exerpeutic 900 Bluetooth Under-Desk Exercise Bike
- The patent-pending chair hook allows you to lock your chair to the cycle to prevent sliding (I love this feature)
- Track your fitness stats and virtually travel the world on the MyCloudFitness App (Bluetooth)
- 14 Magnetic Resistance Levels
- Convenient Top Handle and Transportation Wheels
- Compact Design takes up minimal room below your desk
- Further Reading: Exerpeutic 900 Review
|#5) FitDesk Under Desk Cycle
- My favorite feature is the standard anti-slip strapless pedals (this feature makes it easier to get up and down from your desk while cycling)
- Hands-Free Foot Shifter instead of a tension control knob (my 2nd favorite feature)
- Wide, Stable Base with Anti-Skid Feet
- Desktop Console for fitness stat tracking
- One of the quietest under-desk pedal exercisers available
- Further Reading: FitDesk Under Desk Cycle Review
|#6) iMovR ThermoTread GT
- The quietest and most premium under-desk treadmill on the market
- Smartphone-Inspired Desktop Console for fitness stat tracking
- Tracks your stats while walking, standing, and sitting
- Premium 3 Horsepower 4000 RPM DC Motor and 6 Compression Shocks
- Built Ready for Unlimited Daily Use
- Further Reading: iMovR ThermoTread GT Review
|#7) LifeSpan Fitness TR5000-DT3
- LifeSpan manufactures the widest range of premium & reliable under-desk treadmills
- Bluetooth Connectivity for fitness stat tracking on the included LifeSpan App
- Ample 20″ x 50″ Walking Belt
- LifeSpan Intelli-Step technology detects personal settings, steps, and automatically pauses the belt when not in use
- Whisper-Quiet Operation
- Further Reading: LifeSpan TR5000 Review
|#8) FlexiSpot Under-Desk Cycle
- Compatible with tall sitting desks and most standing desks
- Smooth-Rolling Caster Wheels
- Comfy Height-Adjustable Seat
- Whisper-Quiet Operation
- 8 Magnetic Resistance Levels
- Supports up to 300 lbs
- No Assembly Required
- Further Reading: FlexiSpot Review
|#9) Exerpeutic Exerwork 2000i
- The top all-in-1 under desk stationary bike
- Bluetooth connectivity for exercise stat tracking through the MyCloudFitness App
- 4-Way-Adjustable Thick AirSoft Seat
- Fully-Adjustable Integrated Sliding Desktop
- Supports up to 400 lbs
- 24 Workout Programs & 24 Resistance Levels
- Folding, Compact Design for easy storage
- Further Reading: Exerpeutic ExerWorK 2000i Review
|#10) ANCHEER PE-Bike Pro
- ANCHEER’s latest pedal exerciser sports Bluetooth connectivty for exercise stat tracking with the FitShow app (compatible with iOS and Android Devices)
- Includes 2 sets of pedals (1 w/ straps and 1 w/o straps)
- Easy-to-Read Digital Display
- 8 Magnetic Resistance Levels
- Smooth, Quiet Operation
- Further Reading: ANCHEER Pedal Exerciser Review
Under Desk Exercise Machine Buyer’s Guide
This is the crème de la crème of under-desk exercise equipment. In the guide below, I summarize how each type of machine works, along with the pros and cons of owning them. By the end of the guide, you’ll know without a doubt which piece of equipment is best for under your desk.
#1 Under Desk Elliptical Machine
Summary: Of all the under-desk fitness equipment on the market, the under-desk elliptical is the lowest-impact cardio workout. It’s also one of the quietest of all the machines in my Top 10. The clear advantage is the ability to thwart the damaging effects of a long-term sedentary lifestyle without much effort.
The clear disadvantage is the ease of the workout. What makes this machine great also makes it burn the fewest calories of the bunch. Depending on your fitness goals, the under-desk elliptical might or might not be the perfect fit for you.
If you’re familiar with using a full-size elliptical machine, the movement is similar in a mini-elliptical machine, expect more compact. One qualm I have with all under-desk ellipticals and mini-cycles is calorie tracking. It’s almost impossible to accurately track calories burned without more advanced equipment such as a heart rate monitor. However, in the same breath, this is under-desk fitness, not hardcore fitness.
Are under desk ellipticals effective?
- An excellent low-impact cardio workout for improving circulation, recovering from injury/surgery, and physical therapy
- Very easy to assemble
- Truly whisper-quiet operation for a distraction-free experience
- They slide under almost any desk, and the user is less likely to strike their knees on the bottom of their desk than a cycle since the elliptical motion is more compact
- Burn more calories than sitting alone
- Engage your lower-body muscles for toning instead of resting them for hours on end
- Extremely easy to use, this benefit cannot be understated
- Bluetooth fitness tracking in the phone apps helps to keep you motivated
- Under-Desk Ellipticals are more prone to sliding around than other under-desk exercise equipment (may require an anti-slip mat on hard surfaces)
- The fitness stat tracking is only so accurate for calories, which is essential for people who are trying to lose weight
- The ease of the workout might be too easy for you
- Big and tall individuals might find the movement to be too compact
- Under-desk ellipticals are heavier than they look – mostly over 25 lbs – with no transportation wheels
#2 Under Desk Bikes & Cycles
Summary: There are two primary types of under-desk bikes, and they are 1.) the mini under-desk bike and 2.) the stationary under-desk bike. An example of a mini under-desk bike is the DeskCyle 2, and a good example of the stationary under-desk bike is the FlexiSpot or Exerpeutic Exerwork 2000i. Both versions come with their own sets of pros and cons.
The mini-cycle is a step up from the elliptical in terms of the workout intensity level. A desk cycle allows for greater stride length and overall greater length of motion per revolution. The cycling motion equals more calories burned and muscles engaged during your workout. While this sounds great, it may also have a negative impact on your focus.
If you opt for a stationary under-desk bike, your options are limited, and you may want to choose a bike with an integrated desk such as the Exerpeutic Exerwork 2000i. The folding frame of the Exerpeutic Exerwork 2000i makes it easy to stow away in the corner of your office or for use as a full-time desk in a home office. Personally, I prefer a stationary bike because the workout is harder, and the AirSoft seat is oh-so delightful.
One key feature I want to highlight is the chair hook on the Exerpeutic 900 cycle. This is an awesome feature that’s worth taking a look at before you buy a machine. The hook locks your desk chair to the bike to keep the machine from sliding around while you use it. A common complaint with under-desk ellipticals and cycles is they can slide around during use, which defeats the purpose of distraction-free office fitness on autopilot.
Under Desk Elliptical vs Bike
- A higher-intensity, low-impact cardio workout than an under-desk elliptical
- Just as quiet, if not quieter, than an under-desk elliptical
- A greater range of resistance for switching between harder workouts and autopilot workouts to improve circulation
- Better fitness stat tracking apps, such as the MyCloudFitness app offered in Exerpeutic machines
- Optional chair hooks and straps to connect the unit to a chair or another fixed object
- Integrated transportation wheels for easy moving and storage
- Versatility: seniors and the elderly may also choose to use an under-desk pedal exerciser for arm exercises (this isn’t possible with an elliptical)
- The cycling motion is better for big & tall individuals than an elliptical motion
- Under-desk bike riders are more likely to hit their knees on the bottom of their desks (important to measure before buying)
- Like ellipticals, under-desk cycles can be heavier than they look and not senior-friendly
- Cycles are more prone to wobble than an elliptical
- Pedals with straps are more annoying to step out of than an elliptical (one reason I prefer strapless pedals, Tip: it’s possible to remove the DeskCycle 2 pedal straps)
#2 Under Desk Treadmill
Summary: If you’re looking for an under-desk exercise machine that’ll burn the most calories, the under-desk treadmill is your best bet. Keep in mind, under-desk treadmill motors are made for walking long distances at slow speeds and extra-quiet operation. The max speed usually ranges from 2.5 – 4 mph, and the motor is quieter than a standard treadmill.
The second consideration is the impact of the workout. While walking on a treadmill is a relatively low-impact cardio workout, exercising on an under-desk elliptical or cycle is a lot lower impact, especially on an elliptical. Also, standing up and walking while you work might not be your cup of tea since it requires a greater level of concentration.
The third and perhaps the most important consideration is most under-desk treadmills require a standing desk or sit-stand desk converter. Ellipticals and cycles are easier to pop under your desk for a quick workout without having to get up from your seat. If your work requires laser focus, you’re most likely better off choosing an elliptical or cycle for a workout that requires close to zero focus.
Overall, under-desk treadmills are better for shared office spaces with standing desks or for individuals whose work requires less attention to detail, while ellipticals and bikes are better for people who want a low-impact, distraction-free workout experience.
Under Desk Treadmill Pros & Cons
- Better than ellipticals and cycles for burning calories
- Quieter operation than standard treadmills (most users are impressed by how quiet iMovR and LifeSpan treadmills are)
- More accurate fitness tracking
- The best under-desk exercise machine for use with a standing desk
- No need to worry about a treadmill sliding around or wobbling
- One reason a lot of people don’t use treadmills is they get bored. The ability to work while walking on a treadmill is undeniably awesome and will lead to many more miles walked (calories burned) each month.
- Treadmills are the best office exercise equipment for weight loss
- It’s easy to hop on and off a treadmill if you like to stay mobile while you work (the automatic pause function on LifeSpan treadmills is pretty cool)
- Better speed options and workout intensity control
- A quality under-desk treadmill costs significantly more than an elliptical or cycle
- A LOT harder to move than an elliptical or cycle (The LifeSpan TR5000 weighs well over 100 lbs)
- The workout requires more of your focus and requires you to stand in most cases
- May require an additional purchase of a standing desk or desk riser
- A significantly larger footprint than an elliptical or cycle
Since you made it this far, I’m confident that you know everything you need to know about the best under desk exercise equipment on the market. I’m also sure that you know which piece of equipment is best suited for your workspace.
Ellipticals, bikes, and treadmills all have their pluses and minuses. Depending on your needs, your job, and your desired intensity level, there’s a machine that matches you. Which machine did you choose?
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