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For those of us still burning the midnight oil running our businesses from home, the lack of cardio we used to get from our commutes can be an inhibiting factor to our productivity. With that in mind, compounded with the surge in popularity of at-home exercise bikes such as those from Peloton and Echelon during the Covid-19 pandemic, it should come as no surprise that under-desk elliptical machines are having their moment as well.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises all adults over the age of 18 engage in 150 minutes of moderate physical activity, 75 minutes of high-intensity workouts, or some combination of both each week. While that might not sound like a lot, the unfortunate reality is that not everyone can afford the time away from their desks during the day to achieve even that. However, with the aid of one of the best under-desk ellipticals, you can keep writing those proposals, remotely managing your teams, and crunching numbers while biking without ever having to leave your workstation.
Regardless of budget, we rounded up what we think are the best under-desk ellipticals for movers and shakers of all breeds. Whether you’re heading back to the office or permanently working from your living quarters, these options can get you back on your feet in no time at all.
Overall Under-Desk Elliptical ($349): Cubii Pro
Compact Under-Desk Elliptical ($179): Ancheer Under Desk Cycle
Inexpensive Under-Desk Elliptical ($94): Stamina 55-1602
Quiet Under-Desk Elliptical ($199): DeskCycle 2
Standing Under-Desk Elliptical ($230): Ancheer Mini Compact Strider
Best Value ($249): Cubii JR1
Under Desk Elliptical Trainer ($284): LifePro FlexStride
Overall Under-Desk Elliptical: Cubii Pro ($349)
Cubii Pro is among the most popular choices on this list, and for good reason. Unlike some of its competitors, the $349 machine is on the expensive side but it also has a free companion app for both Android and iOS that is both well designed and intuitive to use. It’s also the only under-desk elliptical you’ll find that’s compatible with Fitbit and Apple Healthkit, giving it a leg up so to speak on other products in the category. Setting it up is a breeze, too, requiring only four screws to assemble and secure the pedals. If you’re looking for a plug-and-play pick that goes above and beyond in functionality, the Cubii Pro might be the best under-desk elliptical for you.
Compact Under-Desk Elliptical: Ancheer Under Desk Cycle ($179)
Measuring just 18 x 14 x 10 inches and weighing 20 pounds (compared to the Cubii Pro’s 23 x 18 x 10-inch, 32-pound form factor), Ancheer gives Cubii a run for its money in the size department. Made to be portable, a built-in handle lets you travel between home and work with the Under Desk Cycle in tow. The textured “massage” pedals feature ergonomic ridges similar to those you would find in a pedicure spa, and although it doesn’t have an app, a built-in LCD monitor helps you keep track of the distance, steps, and calories burned along with the amount of time spent exercising. Best of all, there’s zero setup involved. The Ancheer Under Desk Cycle is ready for your first workout out of the box.
Inexpensive Under-Desk Elliptical: Stamina 55-1602 ($94)
Given the $200+ price range you’ll generally find under-desk ellipticals sold for, the Stamina 55-1602 is the needle in the haystack budget shoppers have been searching for. Equipped with an adjustable resistance knob, you can turn it right for a more intense workout or lower the impact by turning it left. An integrated electronic monitor keeps track of your strides, exercise time, distance, and the number of calories burned in a given session. And because its pedals are bidirectional, you can choose to either move forward or backward depending on the muscles you’re aiming to exert. Sit or stand on a Stamina 55-1602 for $94 while it’s on sale.
Quiet Under-Desk Elliptical: DeskCycle 2 ($199)
From an optics perspective, you could argue that every under-desk elliptical is equally discreet due to their concealed placement (you know, under the desk). But another important component to your multitask efficient workout is the noise it produces. Especially when you’re sitting across from another person in a cubicle or open office, you’ll have to be stealthy, lest you face the wrath of passive aggressiveness from an irritated coworker. The DeskCycle 2 helps you avert that crisis, employing a hushed magnetic resistance mechanism to not only keep your workouts quiet but better on your joints as well.
Standing Under-Desk Elliptical: Ancheer Mini Compact Strider ($230)
Although it’s not the only elliptical out there that encourages you to decide for yourself whether you want to work out while sitting or while standing, the Ancheer Mini Compact Strider was created with the intent of versatility. Positioned as a safer alternative to running for those with bad knees, this elliptical is suited to simulate jogging in addition to biking. Sit, stand, move forward, reverse, pedal, or run—Ancheer’s masterful engineering ensures nothing is off the table. Assembly is required, but with only eight screws, it shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes to complete. Anti-slip pedals round out the Mini Compact Strider as the best standing under-desk elliptical you can buy.
Best Value: Cubii JR1 ($249)
If forking over $349 for the Cubii Pro is out of the question, allow us to introduce you to the Cubii JR1, the company’s more entry-level or junior alternative to its professional grade elliptical that offers many of the same perks for $100 less. Join the “Cubii Communitii” on Android and iOS as you toggle between eight levels of resistance as you take part in a collective fitness endeavor that you never have to be alone in undertaking. Even if it lacks the Bluetooth compatibility of its more expensive, the app’s social features are still available at your disposal, and a built-in LCD display allows you to monitor your performance in real time.
Under-Desk Elliptical Trainer: LifePro FlexStride ($160)
Chronic pain doesn’t have to mean cutting out exercise altogether, it just means rethinking the types of exercises you spend your time doing. As far as low-impact routines go, you’ll break a sweat using any machine on this list, without putting unnecessary strain on your joints. But the LifePro FlexStride in particular takes this philosophy a step further, introducing a belt drive system accompanied by a set of silicone wheels to maintain smooth circular movements and put your arthralgia at ease. Adjustable tension, an LCD display, and a travel handle are all there for the sake of convenience, but the FlexStride proves you don’t have to pay a premium for high-quality rehabilitation from an under-desk elliptical trainer.