The Best Under Desk Bike for 2021
Your Ultimate Guide to Under Desk Bikes
Many of us by now know that sitting for long periods everyday in front of a desk can cause significant strain on our bodies. For those who can’t afford to move around while at their job, ergonomics has become more important than ever.
Luckily, there are plenty of available tools and equipment that promote movement and stand as a form of physical therapy. Under desk cycles are examples of such products. Let’s take a quick look at the best under desk bikes for you.
In a Hurry? This is the Best Under Desk Bike
The DeskCycle Pedal Exerciser is a great, easy to use appliance that can greatly improve one’s everyday life. With features that include an LCD screen that shows the user’s progress, the ability to choose between 8 resistance options, and the mini cycle’s portable design, you can’t go wrong with this DeskCycle offering. It comes at a relatively affordable price, too, and you’re getting more than what you pay for with its functions and features.
Whenever you’re feeling a little stagnant at your table, this device can help kickstart you into full focus and concentration so you’re able to work better. You can set the resistance to a low level so you maintain activity without working up a sweat. Even then, this magnetic mini-exercise bike doesn’t have to be used only at your workstation — you can use it to pedal while scrolling through your phone or catching the news.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks for the Best Under Desk Bike
DeskCycle Desk Exercise Bike-Pedal Exerciser
BEST AFFORDABLE UNDER DESK BIKE
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418 Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike
BEST LOW-HEIGHT UNDER DESK BIKE
DeskCycle 2 Under-Desk Exercise Bike and Pedal Exerciser
Full review >>
BEST PREMIUM PEDAL EXERCISER
BEST QUIET UNDER DESK EXERCISER
Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
BEST COMFORTABLE UNDER DESK ELLIPTICAL
FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical
What is an Under Desk Bike?
An under desk bike is one of the many forms of desk cycles. It’s also called a pedal exerciser or a mini exercise bike. It is an independent appliance that can be placed underneath a regular desk or a standing desk and works in much of the same way as a regular bike, keeping our lower bodies moving. A mini exercise bike can help keep the blood in our lower body flowing while we’re busy typing away on a keyboard at work.
Components of an Under Desk Bike
The pedals of a mini cycle mirror that of a regular bike, and sometimes have the added benefit of adjustable straps. These help keep the feet in place for different speeds and resistance levels. A good mini cycle will have room enough for different footprint sizes, as well as an adjustable strap to accommodate each size. The bike height is something to watch out for, as it must be compatible with your desk height. The lowest pedal height should be accessible, too.
Adjustable Resistance Settings
Most bikes nowadays come in different resistance levels. This is so that you’re able to control the amount of opposition when pedaling the bike, which in turn gives your muscles a better workout. You can choose a low level for an easy, passive exercise, or a higher setting to accommodate more intensive workouts for your lower body. Some models are even built to help exercise both arms and legs, so you’re also getting an upper body workout.
A desk exerciser can come with a bright digital display that shows your progress. It can display the user’s time spent on the machine, the distance covered, how many calories have been burned, and speed of the pedaling.
Benefits of an Under Desk Bike
A mini stationary cycle has a host of benefits that can give you the right push you need for the day. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Incorporates Movement Bit by Bit
Worried about not getting enough movement within the day? If you get too caught up in your job and forget to take breaks, chances are, getting a pedal exerciser can help significantly. It’s a portable exercise machine that can be placed anywhere, be it below a table or on a bench. Pedal exercisers are also incredibly helpful when you’re trying to lose a few extra pounds. Studies have shown that a pedal exerciser can burn up to 500 calories in the course of a month. Even if you start with a low-impact exercise, you’re still getting some movement into your otherwise stagnant work day, and that’s better than nothing.
More Affordable than Regular Bikes
Since they’re a lot smaller and way less heavy, pedal exercisers are the more economical option compared to regular bikes. A mini exercise bike can help you stay fit and healthy without spending too much. They’re also a great way to incorporate movement while sitting down and working, so you’re hitting two birds with one stone.
Can Be Carried Anywhere
Another added benefit of a desk cycle is its portability. Compared to a treadmill desk, which offers similar benefits for incorporating movement into your office life, the desk cycle is a lot more compact.
You can opt for a folding pedal exerciser, which is built for carrying around, so you can use it whenever you like. The folding pedal feature adds to its portability and compact design. Mini stationary cycles are made specifically to be used under a desk, but you can also use one on a bench for added intensity.
How to Use an Under Desk Bike
Using a pedal exerciser is simple and intuitive, and a lot easier than an actual bike because you won’t need to stay balanced for this one! All you have to do is sit down, relax, put your feet in the pedals and start moving. The motion is familiar so it won’t feel like a new sensation at all. Just make sure to pick a low resistance level at first so you won’t feel too sore afterwards. Gradually increase the resistance as you go along.
What to Look for in an Under Desk Bike
With our different needs and living situations, there are plenty of factors to consider when picking the right desk cycle. We’ve narrowed it down to a few key components:
Since under desk pedals will live under your desk, you’ll have less leg room underneath your table. Because of this, always make sure to check how much space you’ll need between the underside of the desk and your knees so you don’t end up hurting your shins every time you start pedaling! The perfect pedal exerciser height should depend on the length of your legs as well as the height of your table. Both factors will vary from person to person.
When riding a bike, rough pedals can ruin the entire experience. They disturb the momentum and otherwise distract you from enjoying your ride. The same thing goes for under desk pedal exercisers — you’ll need smooth, well-oiled pedals to get the most out of your exercise. Make sure your device runs smoothly and can stand long hours of pedaling without getting stuck.
Imagine having a busy work day full of Zoom meetings to attend, unanswered emails to reply to, and documents to sign. You start to place your feet on your mini-cycle pedals, eager to get some relief and exercise to get the blood flowing in your feet again. But instead of the peaceful relaxation you’re trying to achieve, you’re met with the high-pitched sound of the pedals screeching. Not exactly conducive to working, right? This is why quietness plays a big factor when choosing the right pedal exerciser. You’d need a whisper quiet bike in order to work without any distractions.
Under desk bikes don’t work exactly the same way regular bikes do, because they aren’t meant for strenuous exercise. They’re a lot less intensive — you’re not likely to break a sweat while using them. However, that doesn’t mean your pedal exerciser shouldn’t have some level of tension in them, because that’s what keeps your energy going. It’s important that your under-table appliance comes with different resistant levels so you’re able to switch it up while working.
Nowadays, under desk bikes come in portable packages. Some can be folded up after use and are lightweight enough to be carried around. If you like to work in different areas and are always on-the-go, you can opt for a lightweight, foldable mini stationary bike to bring with you anytime, anywhere. A folding pedal exerciser can greatly increase the convenience of your machine and enhance transportability.
Are Under Desk Bikes Worth It?
Keeping in shape should always be a priority, and many workers tend to underestimate the importance of moving even in small amounts while at their desk. So are under desk bikes worth it? We say yes.
Our feet can easily get stressed from staying stagnant too long, which can bring about soreness and stiffness in the legs, too. If you’re concerned about spending money, there are plenty of budget-friendly options in the market. They’re also one of the best ways to keep energy levels up, your mind alert, and your work day productive.
Do Under Desk Bikes Really Work?
Absolutely. The benefits of pedal exercisers have been proven time and again: they’re a great way to move part of your body without distracting you from your job, and they also don’t cost much. The constant movement that mimics biking or walking is a great way to get in extra exercise while you aren’t in the position to actually go outside for a bike ride or a walk. You can also set the intensity of each workout, which is of great help. With a higher resistance level, you’ll be able to get a fuller exercise.
Can You Lose Weight with an Under the Desk Bike?
Any form of exercise that keeps your body and heart rate going can help you maintain your figure. If your work entails working in front of a monitor all day, then it’s certainly likely that you’ll be gaining weight if you’re inactive. While under desk bikes are meant to be less strenuous than regular bikes, the constant movement can help you maintain your weight and stave off the extra pounds.
In a study conducted to test the weight loss capacity of pedal exercisers, participants were tasked to use the machines for 12 days for 23 minutes. These machines were hooked to computers that noted calories burned as well as pedal speed and distance covered. The results showed that participants were able to cover distances that ranged from a ⅓ mile to 13.5 miles, with 9 to more than 500 calories burned. For maximum effect, we recommend pairing a pedal exerciser with a regular cardio workout in order to lose weight.
Which is better: Elliptical or Under Desk Bike?
There are two kinds of under desk bikes: desk ellipticals and mini-bikes. Both have the same function and usually come in the same weight and size. But if you want to know which one suits you better, then there are a few things to keep in mind. Let’s break down their key differences:
A desk elliptical doesn’t look like your regular bike. Instead, you’ll find it looks more similar to regular ellipticals you see at the gym. Desk ellipticals have a larger platform for your feet to rest on. Desk ellipticals also have a different stride and motion than under desk exercise bikes because they let you move your feet forward and back, much like walking or going up the stairs. If you have larger-sized feet or have a low-height desk, then you could opt for an elliptical instead of a bike. With their flat platforms, you’re also able to target different muscles by trying different positions: flat-footed, tiptoed, and even in heels.
On the other hand, an under desk exercise bike looks like a regular, more portable bike. It involves moving your feet in a circular motion, much like riding a bicycle. If you have more clearance for your legs underneath the desk, then you won’t have to worry about bumping your knees while you pedal. For that reason we give the pedal exerciser one point more than the elliptical.
Top 10 Best Under Desk Bikes
Let’s Go Over Each Under Desk Bike
Our pick for the best pedal exerciser is none other than the Desk Cycle Pedal Exerciser. This model is highly popular because of its enhanced features and functions, such as multiple resistance levels, a big and bright LCD display to track progress, and a feature to make the pedals quiet. Available in white, this product weighs in at 23 pounds and measures up at 24 x 20 x 10 inches.
A pedal exerciser can serve as a form of physical therapy, and this product is just what you need if you’re worried about being stuck in front of a desk for too long. With its patented magnetic resistance mechanism, pedaling at your desk is easier and smoother than ever. It gives you just enough of a challenge to work your muscles without tiring you out too much.
This device also helps boost productivity by keeping movement in your lower limbs. Studies have shown that these constant motions are vital to keep your health in tip-top shape. If you’re worried about leg clearance, this desk cycle can work with desks with heights as low as 27 inches. This product ranks #17 in the Amazon Exercise Bikes category.
Pros and Cons of the Desk Cycle Desk Exercise Bike-Pedal Exerciser
|✔ 8 resistance levels|
✔ Uses magnetic resistance
✔ LCD display shows time, speed, distance, calories used/burned
|✘ Some models can be loud |
✘ Might be complicated to assemble
If you’re looking for a magnetic elliptical that’s also relatively affordable, the Sunny Under Desk Elliptical is your go-to. Available on Amazon, the SF-E3872 comes with full-fledged features for making your work at home or office life easier, more active, and a lot more productive. The compact size makes it easy to transport just about anywhere, and it weighs only 24.2 lbs.
If you’re also concerned about your health and want to track the progress you make, be it calories burned, distance traveled, and speed, this elliptical has an LCD monitor that shows you important statistics. You can say goodbye to the sedentary lifestyle with this machine, and with the help of the LCD monitor, you’ll be able to keep track of workout milestones. The greatest part is you won’t even have to leave your desk to get a healthy lower-body workout.
One hassle with desk ellipticals or desk bikes is their assembly. Not everyone has the time to put together a complicated piece of equipment, and many would rather have their appliances pre-assembled when possible. This Sunny Health model, thankfully, is pretty easy to assemble and doesn’t take more than one person to put together, so you will be able to use it right away.
Pros and Cons of the Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical
|✔ Has a wide range of motion|
✔ It’s easy to assemble and easy to use
✔ Different resistance levels and magnetic resistance
✔ Compact size for easy transportation
|✘ Some models develop a noise after few weeks of use|
Think mini ellipticals aren’t for you? This model might change your mind. Another pick for the best under desk elliptical, Cubii Pro has come up with a model that’s hard to resist. It’s one of the more advanced appliances in our lineup, which is why we’ve named it our best smart under-desk machine. Its edge over the other models? The Cubii Pro comes with a bluetooth sync for your devices, including Fitbit and Apple watch, as well as a phone app.
Perfect for fitness junkies who lament sitting still at a desk all day, this device not only helps you keep your body in motion but also keeps track of your fitness goals. All you have to do is connect this device to your Fitbit or download the app (available on both the iPhone app store and android Play Store), and you’ll be able to see your distance, calories spent, etc. If you’re conscious about gaining a few pounds while sitting for long periods of time, the Cubii Pro can burn up to 125 calories in just an hour.
This isn’t just for work, either. When you’re unwinding, try to use this machine while watching TV or reading a good book. It comes with whisper quiet technology, so there are no squeaking sounds to distract you from immersing in your favorite Netflix series while getting exercise at the same time.
Pros and Cons of the Cubii Pro Under-Desk Elliptical
|✔ Has bluetooth sync for Fitbit and other fitness bands |
✔ Burns 125 calories in just an hour
✔ Quiet and doesn’t disturb work or relaxation
Sunny Health appears again on our list, this time with a more budget-friendly mini exercise bike: the SF-B0418. We picked this as our best budget mini pedal because there’s tons to love about this product, from its adjustable safety straps on the pedals to its durable weight support. It’s also a lot more lightweight than other models at only 21 lbs., making it easy to transport from your home office to your living room while watching TV.
This product is designed not only to work out your feet but your hands, too, giving you a good upper body workout. Use this as an ergonomic device that keeps your hands moving. Simply dust off the pedals and place your hands where your feet usually go and start moving them in a circular motion. This helps keep the blood flowing in your upper limbs from when they’re too tired typing all day or preparing meals in the kitchen.
The Sunny Health SF-B0418 Magnetic Mini Exercise Pedal is also able to track your distance covered, speed, and time spent on the device. The LCD display shows your progress after each run so you won’t have to guess how many calories you’ve burned or miles you’ve covered. One downside of this product is its less than sturdy bottom surface which could be prone to slipping, so be careful.
Pros and Cons of the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike
✔ Adjustable pedals with safety straps
✔ LCD display
✔ Can support users of up to 220 lbs.
✔ Easy to use for both arms and legs
|✘ Bottom surface is not slip-resistant |
✘ Pedals can wear down after long use
The DeskCycle 2 is an upgrade from its predecessor, making it a little pricier. As for its features and functions, it still comes with 8 resistance settings so you’re able to ease into exercising without tiring yourself out on the first try. Once you’ve gotten the hang of the bike, you can increase resistance and give yourself more of a challenge.
You can use this device anywhere, from your home office to your room while you’re reading a book or watching TV. It’s portable enough (although a tiny bit heavier than the previous Desk Cycle offering) for easy, effortless transport. You can also use this on different surfaces because it has an adjustable height.
Its magnetic resistance gives you enough of a challenge to get your muscles pumping without making a loud noise or giving you a jerky, bumpy motion. It’s smooth and easy to operate so you aren’t even thinking too much about your legs moving.
Pros and Cons of the DeskCycle 2 Under-Desk Pedal Exerciser
|✔ Comes with 8 resistance settings |
✔ Works well even with a low table height
✔ Adjustable pedal height
✔ Magnetic resistance
|✘ Pricier than other models|
One of the best mini exercise bikes in the market, the MagneTrainer mini stationary bike comes packed with features and functions that haven’t been seen before in other models. With more than 20 resistance options for each workout level, you’re getting all types of exercises to meet your different needs. Let’s take a closer look at this model’s features and functions to understand why it’s such a well-loved product.
Customizable workouts are this bike’s premium offering. With different resistance levels aimed for different kinds of exercise levels, you’re able to switch it up with ease. Levels 1-5 are recommended for a warm-up as well as a cool-down, while levels 6-10 are built for light cardio and physical therapy. If you need a bit of endurance training to enhance your day, levels 11-15 are for you. Lastly, for toning those leg muscles, simply up the intensity to resistance levels 16-20 and you’ll be able to get shapely legs in no time!
No matter what level you’re at, the MagneTrainer-ER stays whisper quiet. It also has adjustable Velcro straps to accommodate any and every foot size so you won’t have to worry about your feet sliding off or the straps being too tight. Made with alloy steel, the 15-inch base is also fit for a wide range of footprint sizes. However, product reviews on Amazon show the base may not be as slip-resistant as one would like, so users are cautioned to be extra careful.
Pros and Cons of the MagneTrainer-ER Mini Exercise Bike Arm and Leg Exerciser
|✔ 20+ resistance settings|
✔ Sturdy steel base
✔ 15-inch base to accommodate different size footprints
✔ LCD monitor shows progress
|✘ Pricier than other models |
✘ Non-slip base not very effective
The Stamina-In Motion Elliptical Trainer is a great mini-elliptical for those who need to burn calories or simply get some rehabilitation for their lower body. Once fully assembled, you can use this trainer either sitting or standing, depending on your workout needs. It can be a great passive workout done while watching a movie or gaming, while it can also be part of a higher resistance exercise regimen.
This is one of our picks for the best under desk elliptical because it comes with a few unique features, such as three different color options (green, orange, and silver), adjustable tension, and a pedal that can move both forward and backward. You can adjust the resistance via the adjustable dial. To view your progress and stats, simply take a quick look at the monitor.
Pros and Cons of the Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
|✔ Three color choices|
✔ Adjustable tension
✔ Can be used to pedal forward or reverse
|✘ Pricier than other models |
✘ Non-slip base not very effective
Looking for an exercise machine that can fit right into your smartphone-synced health and wellness ecosystem? The Cubii Jr. Under Desk Elliptical has an ergonomic design that’s specifically built for a low-impact workout. This model promotes active sitting, because you’re able to get movement into your legs even when you’re working.
This elliptical is compact. With dimensions of 23.15 x 17.56 x 10 inches, you can transport it to any part of your home with ease, from your bedroom to your living room. It’s also a sturdy option and can accommodate a user weight of up to 250 lbs. It’s easy to move in and out of your standing desk, so you won’t have to worry about the hassle of moving your office chair away and then leaning down to get your mini elliptical.
While it’s designed for low impact exercises, this device can double as a high-resistance workout tool. Simply switch from one of its eight resistance settings to another and you’ll be able to customize your workout as you see fit. Not only that, the device is made with whisper quiet technology, so you can perform hobbies like reading and gaming without disturbance.
Pros and Cons of the Cubii Jr. Desk Elliptical
|✔ Quiet and smooth movement |
✔ Lightweight and portable
✔ Eight adjustable resistance options
|✘ Can be expensive|
One mini elliptical that’s sure to give you relaxation and comfort is this FitDesk offering. With its magnetic resistance technology, you’ll be able to get a smoother, more effective exercise for your lower limbs. With its 8 different resistance options, you can go from a low impact workout to a more intensive workout to burn calories.
If you prefer ellipticals over a mini cycle or stationary bike, then you’re certainly looking at the right product. An elliptical makes sure your feet are more relaxed and planted firmly on its pedals. You can even try different foot positions with this model, such as tiptoed or in heels. The 6-function display shows a variety of menu settings for different types of use. However, it’s also worth noting that Amazon reviews show some versions of this product to develop a squeak over time, so it’s important to read the manual carefully in order to take the best care and avoid any unwanted issues.
Pros and Cons of the FitDesk Elliptical
|✔ Low pedals work with any desk height|
✔ Includes magnetic resistance
✔ Comes with a 6-function display w/ menu
✔ Menu settings for different uses
|✘ Comes in only 1 color |
✘ May develop a squeak
While this is our best pick for a simple mini cycle, the Vive Pedal Exerciser still manages to incorporate many of the essential functions and features of a great ergonomic appliance. Coming in at 12.5 inches high, this is a compact exerciser that can fit even under a desk that has little clearance.
With its adjustable resistance choices, the Vive under desk bike can help you build a customizable workout that adjusts to your different everyday needs. Simply switch the resistance up or down, depending on if you want a low-impact exercise while relaxing with a good book, or a high-impact workout for building muscle and toning the body.
The quiet and smooth cycling motion helps you move with ease. It helps boost your concentration at work, so you’re able to answer calls and process papers with full focus. The LCD display also shows time, speed, distance, and calories burned, so you can keep track of your progress over time.
Pros and Cons of the Vive Pedal Exerciser
|✔ Easy, simple assembly |
✔ Tones muscles and improves concentration
✔ Compact design fit for even low desks
✔ Adjustable resistance
|✘ Doesn’t work on carpeted surfaces |
✘ Straps are not adjustable
✘ Instructions not easy to read
Best Under Desk Bike Comparison
Mini cycles and ellipticals are great low maintenance machines that can give you a low-impact workout or a high-intensity training session. Whether you need to get those muscles moving in front of a desk or want to maximize your relaxation time with a low-impact passive exercise, pedal exercisers are the compact, portable solutions to your fitness needs. They also provide great physical therapy for those who might have trouble walking, whether due to a physical condition or old age. They’re also a good tool to help aid your weight loss journey.