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If you’ve had to work from home these past few years, there’s a good chance you’ve felt like you haven’t been moving around as much and getting your daily steps in. On top of that that, many gyms are either still closed, shut down permanently, or people understandably don’t feel comfortable working out in such close proximity to others.
That’s where an under-the-desk fitness device fits in flawlessly. These machines keep your circulation going and can even enhance alertness and focus, all while you’re multi-tasking and not losing any productivity time.
These are also ideal for keeping your legs and body moving instead of staying stationary for hours at a time. A little exercise can go a long way in how you feel physically and mentally all day.
Under-Desk Exercise Equipment Buying Guide
For this guide, we took a look at two main types of under-desk exercisers — seated ellipticals for regular desks, as well as smaller-sized treadmills for people with standing desks. Here’s what you should consider.
Sitting vs. Standing: Choosing your under-desk exercise equipment all depends on your office space and how much room you have under your desk. If you have a standing desk you’re happy with, a small treadmill to walk while you work might be the perfect addition. For those who prefer sitting, one of these small ellipticals can slide right under your desk, letting you pedal with adjustable resistance for as long as you want. If you have a hydraulic desk that changes heights, you might want to try an elliptical machine.
Screen: Most machines have at least a small LCD screen to tell you basic stats, like the distance you’ve traveled and an estimate of how many calories you’ve burned. Since the machine will be under your desk, an attached screen often ends up in a spot where you can’t see it, but some companies have found clever workarounds for this, like a detachable screen that sits on your desk’s surface. A small screen can only tell you so much though, but having Bluetooth connectivity to your phone opens up the opportunity for much more detailed information right in the accompanying app.
Noise: If you’re working out while you work, a noisy machine can be a big distraction. Most of the machines we tested sounded quiet, but some created a revving or whooshing sound that was hard to ignore even with headphones.
Measurements: For an under-desk fitness bike’s height, one that measures about a foot high should give you enough space to comfortably pedal. As for treadmills, having enough width so you won’t be constrained to a perfectly straight line is important.
Extras: Things like grips and a non-slip surface on pedals is a simple addition that can go a long way for comfort and proper posture. A built-in handle can also make it a lot more portable to take with you so you don’t miss a workout, even when on vacation.
1. Sit2Go FlexiSpot Home Workstation
You may have seen this bike/desk combo making the rounds on TikTok, and for good reason. For starters, you won’t technically need a desk to use it, because it fuses the convenience of a workstation with the benefits of a bike into one unit that can fit into even a dorm or small apartment.
It can also accommodate a wide range of heights, from 5’1″ all the way up to 6’2″, with an adjustable seat and rollers to wheel it around the house or office. The desk surface is big enough to hold a laptop or full-sized notebook, and this can also be used as a regular standing desk when approached from the opposite side.
2. DeskCycle 2 Under-Desk Bike
This sleek, simple exercise machine slides right under any desk, letting you burn off calories and keep your legs in motion while you work.
An attached LCD screen shows you stats like calories burned, distance traveled, RPM and how much time you’ve been pedaling, easily toggling between them with a one-touch button. It’s also detachable for easier viewing if you want to put it up on your desktop, and the adjustable pedal height makes it easy to use for an entire family or office.
It doesn’t sound loud during use. Plus, you can cycle through eight manual magnetic resistance settings, from a breezy pedaling session up to a workout where you’ll feel the burn.
3. Cubii Pro Seated Under-Desk Elliptical Machine
This Bluetooth-enabled elliptical is extremely easy to get started on for anyone, whether you’re looking to increase your heart rate or need a gentle and low-impact way to work out at home. The pedals produce little noise (similar to a small fan), making it a safe choice if you’ll be on conference calls or gaming headsets.
The Cubii app can link up to devices like FitBits and Apple HealthKit, tracking all your stats and showing your progress for your personal fitness goals. There’s also live and on-demand workout classes, as well as a community of users you can compete with around the world.
4. Urevo Under-Desk Folding Electric Treadmill
If you’re living in a small space and had completely written off treadmills as being too big for your standing desk, this Urevo might just be the perfect fit.
The motor can support an impressive 2.5 horsepower, allowing you to move at speeds up to 7.6 mph, and supports weight up to 265 pounds on its shock-absorbing, non-slip running belt. When using this, we found that the 16.9-inch width gives space to veer a little left and right while moving, and plenty of length (42.5-inches) for the average person’s full stride. It also gave the most satisfying workout out of the ones we tested.
There’s a handlebar (with a phone holder) that folds up and down, and a display that counts things like calories burned and distance traveled. Also included is a small remote for adjusting speed and powering on/off. This is pretty much ready to use right out of the box, with built-in wheels to set it right where you want it. When you’re done, fold down the bar and this can slide under a bed or couch, with an impressively low height of only 5.1 inches.
5. Stamina 55-1602 Inmotion Elliptical
This smooth-gliding machine is built for either sitting or standing, with the ability to pedal forward and backwards to work different muscles. It’s also pretty quiet, making it a great option for gamers to keep moving during long sessions, or if you just want to stay in motion while binge-watching a series.
The build feels sturdy, while still being fairly portable (30 pounds). At 24.5 x 17 x 11.4 inches, it should fit most desks, and an included LCD screen for stats is far enough back that it’s still visible when you glance down.