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In case you haven’t heard yet, sitting is TERRIBLE for you. We all do it, of course — but in this new Zoom Age, we’re sitting more than ever for work. And since that can be pretty draining, we spend a lot of time recovering by sitting even more.

Fortunately, there are some ways to make sitting a little less sedentary, such as by using under-desk pedals or cycles.

So, it’s time to cut the bull-sit. Here are our favorite under-desk ellipticals to get your active sitting on.

Best under-desk ellipticals

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When it comes to under-desk ellipticals, here are the criteria we analyzed in our ratings:

Our criteria

  • at least 8 resistance options
  • built-in display or app interface to view stats
  • weight of at least 15 pounds (lbs.) for stability
  • overall positive reviews from consumers
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  • Resistance options. Most under-desk ellipticals offer at least some resistance options, but we wanted to make sure to include resistance so you can make the workout a bit more difficult if needed. All the ellipticals on this list offer at least eight resistance options, with the exception of a motorized one that offers speed options (so it still has that challenge aspect).
  • Display. A display is helpful so you can see stats like your distance, speed, time, and calories burned. All the ellipticals on this list have either a display or a connected app that allows you to view your stats.
  • Weight and durability. We wanted ellipticals that weren’t gonna be easily pushed around by your feet. All the ellipticals on this list weigh at least 15 lbs., so they’ll stay in place while you pedal away.
  • Reviews. We also checked reviews to make sure customers, for the most part, had positive experiences with the ellipticals.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $150
  • $$ = $150–$275
  • $$$ = over $275
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Best overall under-desk elliptical

Cubii JR2

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 22 x 12 x 12 inches (in.)
  • Pedal height: 12 in.
  • Weight: 19 lbs.
  • Pros: chair hook, foot straps, not as heavy as some others
  • Cons: may be noisy

The Cubii JR2 is a lightweight (but still durable) under-desk elliptical from a fitness company that specializes in under-desk ellipticals and other equipment to help you be more active while sitting. It features eight resistance levels and an LCD screen, as well as a convenient chair hook and foot straps to help keep you and your chair in place.

The Cubii JR2 is our top pick because, while it’s lighter than most other models, it’s still heavy enough to stay in place. It also comes with extras like the chair hook and foot straps to make it a bit easier to use.

The reviews are mostly positive, though some people report that their JR2 started making a knocking noise shortly after purchase, which appears to be a defect in only some machines (many of these same reviewers mention that their replacement devices are quiet).

Highly rated under-desk elliptical

LifePro FlexStride Pedal Exerciser

  • Price: $$
  • Dimensions: 23 x 19 x 13 in.
  • Pedal height: 13 in.
  • Weight: 27 lbs.
  • Pros: carrying handle, lifetime warranty
  • Cons: tall

LifePro makes workout equipment and devices to assist with physical rehab, and their FlexStride Pedal Exerciser is a popular choice thanks to its price and durability. It has a battery-powered display and eight resistance levels.

Reviewers love this device, and it has an average rating of 4.5 stars on Amazon and 4.8 stars on the LifePro website.

However, some reviewers say it didn’t fit under their desks because of the angle and height of the pedals.

Best budget under-desk elliptical

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Under-Desk Elliptical Peddler

  • Price: $$
  • Dimensions: 24 x 19 x 11 in.
  • Pedal height: 11 in.
  • Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Pros: less expensive than others, arrives assembled
  • Cons: loud

We love this elliptical from Sunny Health & Fitness. It’s the one catching food crumbs under our desk right now, actually. It arrives fully assembled and offers eight resistance levels and a simple digital display. At 25 lbs., it’s sturdy as heck.

It’s also fairly affordable, especially when compared to similar models like the LifePro and Cubii JR2.

Reviewers agree (and we can attest) that this elliptical can be annoyingly squeaky, but fortunately that’s easily remedied by a squirt of WD-40 every couple of weeks.

Best motorized under-desk elliptical

Orbitrek MX

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 18 x 16 x 10 in.
  • Pedal height: 10 in.
  • Weight: 15 lbs.
  • Pros: motorized
  • Cons: no resistance, may break easily

The Orbitrek MX is a motorized seated elliptical that comes with an optional remote control. It also offers a display and five speed levels.

For exercise that your body does for you (no thought required), this motorized option is a great choice. It’s definitely one to consider if you want to move more while engaged in deep, focused work that requires your full attention.

Reviewers are mostly older adults who needed a passive low impact exercise option (and who adore their Orbitrek), but some say their unit broke rather quickly after arriving.

Best under-desk elliptical with chair hook

Exerpeutic 900E Exerwork Under-Desk Elliptical

  • Price: $$
  • Dimensions: 31 x 19 x 14 in.
  • Pedal height: 10.5 in.
  • Weight: 32 lbs.
  • Pros: 14 resistance levels, adjustable chair hook
  • Cons: heavy, no physical display

By far the most annoying part of using under-desk pedals is the slow slide backward in your office chair. That’s why we love a good chair hook, and this elliptical from Exerpeutic comes with an extendable one to accommodate people of all heights.

The Exerpeutic 900E also comes with 14 resistance levels, which is more than most other under-desk ellipticals. Although it doesn’t have a physical display, it connects via Bluetooth to the My Cloud Fitness app, where it can display your workout stats.

But at 32 lbs., it’s a bit of a whopper. One reviewer also says the angle of the pedals makes it difficult to use at their desk. Otherwise, reviewers are big fans.

Best connected under-desk elliptical

Cubii Pro

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 23 x 18 x 10 in.
  • Pedal height: 10 in.
  • Weight: 27 lbs.
  • Pros: wheel stoppers, workout mat, Bluetooth connectivity
  • Cons: expensive, no physical display

The Cubii Pro is the Peloton of under-desk ellipticals. It’s got a hefty price tag but comes packed with features like wheel stoppers, eight resistance levels, a workout mat, and Bluetooth connectivity.

Although it doesn’t have a display, you can sync it up to the Cubii app to see your workout stats. It also connects to Apple HealthKit, Fitbit, and Apple Watch. Cubii also recently unveiled Cubii Studio+, a subscription service offering on-demand seated workouts. (Your purchase comes with 7 days free.)

And if you’re tryna occupy that C-suite, you can opt for the C-suite-worthy Elite Wood Grain edition.

The reviews are mostly excellent, but some reviewers wish there were a way to reset their stats for individual workouts rather than having a cumulative total for each day.

Best for desk workouts

Stamina InMotion Compact Strider with Cords

  • Price: $$
  • Dimensions: 24 x 18 x 12 in.
  • Pedal height: 12 in.
  • Weight: 24 lbs.
  • Pros: free Muuv subscription, adjustable resistance
  • Cons: can’t add your own bands

Want to work your upper body a little bit too? Check out this under-desk elliptical with attached resistance bands, which is great for fitting in a quick full-body low impact workout on work breaks. No more lunch and learn — only lunch and *get lean*.

This elliptical also comes with a free subscription to Muuv, an audio-based fitness coaching service. In addition, it has a fully adjustable tension knob to change the resistance.

Most reviewers love their Strider, but some report that the machine fell apart pretty quickly.

Best for standing or sitting

Sunny Health & Fitness Portable Standing Mini Elliptical Trainer

  • Price: $$$
  • Dimensions: 25 x 18 x 11 in.
  • Pedal height: 11 in.
  • Weight: 25 lbs.
  • Pros: can use while sitting or standing
  • Cons: reviewers say pedals may break off

Finally, we can’t forget our standing desk devotees! Here’s an elliptical you can use while standing or sitting, with just a few design changes that allow you to balance on the machine while standing.

It also has a simple digital display and eight resistance levels and is surprisingly affordable considering it’s the only standing option we came across. (FYI: This elliptical has a weight limit of 220 lbs.)

But some reviewers report pedals breaking off, which could be seriously harmful if it were to happen while you were standing on the elliptical.

PriceDimensionsPedal heightWeightFeatures
Cubii JR2$$$22 x 12 x 12 in.12 in.19 lbs.chair hook, foot straps
LifePro FlexStride Pedal Exerciser$$23 x 19 x 13 in.13 in.27 lbs.carrying handle, lifetime warranty
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Under-Desk Elliptical Peddler$$24 x 19 x 11 in.11 in.25 lbs.8 resistance levels
Orbitrek MX$$$18 x 16 x 10 in.10 in.15 lbs.motorized, remote-controlled
Exerpeutic 900E Exerwork Under-Desk Elliptical$$31 x 19 x 14 in.10.5 in.32 lbs.14 resistance levels, adjustable chair hook
Cubii Pro$$$23 x 18 x 10 in.10 in.27 lbs.wheel stoppers, workout mat, Bluetooth connectivity
Stamina InMotion Compact Strider with Cords$$24 x 18 x 12 in.12 in.24 lbs.free Muuv subscription, adjustable resistance
Sunny Health & Fitness Portable Standing Mini Elliptical Trainer$$$25 x 18 x 11 in.11 in.25 lbs.can use while sitting or standing

Ready to go (home) office supply shopping? Here are some things to consider before you put the (elliptical) pedal to the metal:

  • Price. There’s not a whole lot of price variation among these ellipticals. Most clock in at about $200. On the lower end of the range, you’ll pay $100 to $130, while the models with all the bells and whistles are in the $300 to $350 range.
  • Desk height and pedal height. Be sure your desk is tall enough to accommodate the height of the pedals at their highest point — in addition to your legs. If your knees are knocking the bottom of your desk every time you rotate the pedals, that’s gonna be a no-go (both literally and figuratively).
  • Reviews. Make sure to give the reviews a read, no matter the brand, so you know what to expect after your purchase. If you see lots of negative reviews with the same complaint, that’s a big red flag — so be sure to do your reading before you hand over your CC details.

In our experience, two things are gonna make your under-desk elliptical-ing much quieter, smoother, and less frustrating: some lubricant to keep the wheels from squeaking (we keep WD-40 Specialist Water Resistant Silicone Lubricant on hand) and a chair hook or wheel stoppers — if your chair wheels don’t lock — to keep you from constantly pushing yourself backward while you’re pedaling.

What are the benefits of under-desk ellipticals?

An under-desk elliptical is essentially a recumbent (seated) elliptical, just BYO seat. A recumbent elliptical has all kinds of benefits:

  • Muscle strengthening. Under-desk ellipticals can help strengthen your muscles. One 2016 study found that a recumbent elliptical primarily worked the rectus abdominus muscles (the abdominals), along with the lateral gastroc (the calves) and — to a lesser degree — the lumbar erector spinae (the back).
  • Cardio gains. According to the CDC, 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week is enough to give you some solid cardiovascular benefits, including reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels. So as long as you’re elliptical-ing at an intensity that makes you a bit breathless (or puts your heart rate at 64 to 76 percent of your maximum heart rate), you’ll reap those cardio benefits.
  • Low impact. A recumbent elliptical is a low impact alternative (easier on your hips and knees) to other cardiovascular activities like running and walking. That makes it a good choice for all kinds of people, including people with lower-body injuries.
  • Improved mental health. According to the CDC, regular exercise can help improve brain health. That means it can help reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, improve sleep, and keep you sharp as hell. And because under-desk ellipticals are built for multitasking, you can make a habit of exercising even when you have other stuff to do (like work, ugh).

Do under-desk ellipticals work?

It depends on what your definition of “work” is. If you’re using one to reduce your stillness and sitting while working on your computer, you’ll be limited in terms of the speed and resistance you can manage — so it’s not gonna be a really intense, vigorous workout. (It’s a great form of active sitting, though!)

On the other hand, if you bought it for a low impact and inexpensive workout option, you can definitely get a rigorous workout by cranking up the resistance and pedaling hard (with no distractions other than TV, of course). You can also buy one with resistance bands to incorporate some upper-body work.

Which one is better: An under-desk elliptical or an under-desk bike?

According to the same 2016 study, when compared to a seated elliptical, seated cycling offers a great deal more activation of the calves, abs, and back, along with significant activation of the glutes and other leg muscles.

That’s not to say an under-desk cycle will be a better fit for you, though. Based on our experiences, a cycle requires more clearance under your desk because the motion is more up and down than back and forth, like an elliptical.

Additionally, because cycling can be a little bit tougher, it may be harder to double-task and get any work done. Still, it’s totally up to you!

Under-desk ellipticals are a decent way to get some movement in while you’re working or chilling.

Be sure to look for one that offers resistance levels so you can keep it challenging, peep the reviews for red flags, and choose one that’s sturdy and durable. You may also want to get wheel stoppers and lubricant to keep the wheels from squeaking.

Time to take a seat and get moving!