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Last Updated on October 22, 2022

It’s hard to stay active when you spend most of the day seated. An under desk bike vs elliptical, each one can help you with that, but which one is better?

Woman at work on an under desk bike vs elliptical

With the advent of the computer, desk use has skyrocketed globally. The amount of time we spend seated in the office, in class, and even at home has gone up. It has gotten to the point that we have to worry about our health and fitness.

More people have started visiting the gym to get a workout and sit in the sauna and escape the sedentary lifestyle, but not everyone has the time. For example, office workers can barely find time on the weekends to go out and have fun, not to mention sweating at the gym.

If you don’t have any particular fitness goals and just want to get your heart rate up for your health, then you don’t need to leave your chair. You can burn calories while seated with an under desk exerciser. Likewise, you can get a cardio workout while seated with desk bikes and ellipticals.

Under Desk Bike vs Elliptical: Which is Better?

Under desk bikes are just as good as under desk ellipticals. It just depends on what you need. If you have bigger feet and want more movement in your daily life for the health benefits, you can get an under desk elliptical.

On the other hand, if you want more versatility, and are working on a budget, then an under desk bike is the better choice. It gives you more for your money as well since you can get weight loss in your arms too.

Ultimately, desk bikes and ellipticals are equal, and your choice depends on your budget, pedal preference, and the sort of movement you would find more comfortable.

What is an Under Desk Bike?

Under desk bikes are small pedal machines that fit under your desk. They require you to move your legs up and down like riding a regular bike. You need to sit and move your feet in circular motions as if you’re cycling.

It is just like the stationary bikes at the gym, but while regular exercise bikes do not offer the option of upper body workouts, with an under desk bike you can put it on your desk and cycle with your arms instead.

The Pros of Under Desk Bikes

  • You can place it on a raised surface to get an upper body workout.
  • It is cheaper than the elliptical.
  • It is quieter than the elliptical.

The Cons of Under Desk Bikes

  • The correct position can be awkward and uncomfortable.
  • It would be best to have a taller desk; otherwise, your knees will keep knocking into the table.
  • The size of the pedal can be uncomfortable for people with big feet.

Top Under Desk Bikes on Amazon

  1. DeskCycle Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser
  2. DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser with Adjustable Leg
  3. Himaly Mini Exercise Bike
DeskCycle Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser - Desk Exercise Equipment with Magnetic Resistance - Leg Exerciser While Sitting for Office Workout or Home Fitness
DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser with Adjustable Leg - Mini Exercise Bike Desk Cycle, Leg Exerciser for Physical Therapy & Desk Exercise (White)
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Mini Exercise Bike, himaly Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser Portable Foot Cycle Arm & Leg Peddler Machine with LCD Screen Displays
Title
DeskCycle Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser - Desk Exercise Equipment with Magnetic Resistance - Leg Exerciser While Sitting for Office Workout or Home Fitness
DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser with Adjustable Leg - Mini Exercise Bike Desk Cycle, Leg Exerciser for Physical Therapy & Desk Exercise (White)
Mini Exercise Bike, himaly Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser Portable Foot Cycle Arm & Leg Peddler Machine with LCD Screen Displays
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$169.97
$51.74
DeskCycle Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser - Desk Exercise Equipment with Magnetic Resistance - Leg Exerciser While Sitting for Office Workout or Home Fitness
Title
DeskCycle Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser - Desk Exercise Equipment with Magnetic Resistance - Leg Exerciser While Sitting for Office Workout or Home Fitness
Reviews
Price
$199.00
DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser with Adjustable Leg - Mini Exercise Bike Desk Cycle, Leg Exerciser for Physical Therapy & Desk Exercise (White)
Title
DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser with Adjustable Leg - Mini Exercise Bike Desk Cycle, Leg Exerciser for Physical Therapy & Desk Exercise (White)
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Price
$169.97
Most Affordable
Mini Exercise Bike, himaly Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser Portable Foot Cycle Arm & Leg Peddler Machine with LCD Screen Displays
Title
Mini Exercise Bike, himaly Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser Portable Foot Cycle Arm & Leg Peddler Machine with LCD Screen Displays
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What is an Under Desk Elliptical?

Under desk ellipticals are smaller versions of regular elliptical machines, portable enough to be slid under your desk. They require you to move your feet back and forth in a sort of shuffling motion while sitting down. They are like a gym-standard elliptical bike but go underneath your desk instead.

This desk exerciser is focused on lower body exercise, and due to its flat-footed position, you don’t need to create more space under your desk to accommodate your movement.

The Pros of Under Desk Ellipticals

  • The back-and-forth motion is better for under desk use.
  • It works more muscle groups in your legs.
  • It helps burn calories more.
  • Desk height doesn’t matter.

The Cons of Under Desk Ellipticals

  • It is more expensive than the bike.
  • You can only use it at moderate speeds as it doesn’t stand to intensive or prolonged use.
  • It doesn’t support upper body exercises.

The Top Under Desk Ellipticals on Amazon

  1. Cubii JR Pro, Under Desk Elliptical 
  2. DeskCycle Ellipse Under Desk Elliptical Machine 
  3. Fast88 Electric Desk Elliptical Machine Trainer 
Cubii JR Pro, Under Desk Elliptical, Bluetooth Fitness Tracker App, Bike Pedal Exerciser with LCD Fitness Tracker Screen, Adjustable Resistance, Work from Home Fitness, Noir
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DeskCycle Ellipse Under Desk Elliptical Machine, Compact Mini Seated Elliptical Desk Exercise Equipment, Desk Cycle Pedal Exerciser, Black
Fast88 Electric Desk Elliptical Machine Trainer,Desk Elliptical with Built in Display Monitor, Quiet & Compact (Gray)
Title
Cubii JR Pro, Under Desk Elliptical, Bluetooth Fitness Tracker App, Bike Pedal Exerciser with LCD Fitness Tracker Screen, Adjustable Resistance, Work from Home Fitness, Noir
DeskCycle Ellipse Under Desk Elliptical Machine, Compact Mini Seated Elliptical Desk Exercise Equipment, Desk Cycle Pedal Exerciser, Black
Fast88 Electric Desk Elliptical Machine Trainer,Desk Elliptical with Built in Display Monitor, Quiet & Compact (Gray)
Customer Rating
Price
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$199.99
$209.00
Cubii JR Pro, Under Desk Elliptical, Bluetooth Fitness Tracker App, Bike Pedal Exerciser with LCD Fitness Tracker Screen, Adjustable Resistance, Work from Home Fitness, Noir
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Cubii JR Pro, Under Desk Elliptical, Bluetooth Fitness Tracker App, Bike Pedal Exerciser with LCD Fitness Tracker Screen, Adjustable Resistance, Work from Home Fitness, Noir
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Price
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Best Choice
DeskCycle Ellipse Under Desk Elliptical Machine, Compact Mini Seated Elliptical Desk Exercise Equipment, Desk Cycle Pedal Exerciser, Black
Title
DeskCycle Ellipse Under Desk Elliptical Machine, Compact Mini Seated Elliptical Desk Exercise Equipment, Desk Cycle Pedal Exerciser, Black
Customer Rating
Price
$199.99
Fast88 Electric Desk Elliptical Machine Trainer,Desk Elliptical with Built in Display Monitor, Quiet & Compact (Gray)
Title
Fast88 Electric Desk Elliptical Machine Trainer,Desk Elliptical with Built in Display Monitor, Quiet & Compact (Gray)
Customer Rating
Price
$209.00

The Similarities Between Under Desk Bikes and Under Desk Ellipticals

Desk bikes and ellipticals share several similarities, and some of them are:

Primary Function

Both desk machines serve the same purpose: to increase productivity by making it possible to multitask while exercising. For example, you can use desk machines while watching TV or working at your desk. You don’t need to focus; with time, the movement will become muscle memory.

Size and Weight

Under desk bikes and ellipticals are very portable, both being about 10 inches tall with a weight of roughly 20lbs. They are ten times smaller than their gym versions, which are stationary bikes and the elliptical machine.

They don’t take up storage space; you can leave them under your table. Desk bikes require you to make a circular motion with your feet, though, so they can seem to take more space.

Features

There isn’t a big difference in features between an under desk bike and under desk elliptical. For example, you can find both types of machines that offer Bluetooth connectivity to keep track of your weight loss and fitness progress on your phone a magnetic resistance setting that can be adjusted. So you will not miss anything if you buy either one.

The Differences Between Under Desk Bikes and Under Desk Ellipticals

A few differences between an under desk bike and under desk elliptical are:

Movement

A desk bike works with a circular motion as opposed to the elliptical motion of an under desk elliptical, which is similar to the shuffling of feet back and forth, just like on a regular elliptical machine.

Desk Clearance

An under desk bike requires more desk clearance than an under desk elliptical as the circular motion of the bike will cause your knees to knock into a low table. If you buy a desk bike, you will need to pay attention to your knees when you move your legs or buy a new desk.

However, your knees are safe with an under desk elliptical, as the back and forth motion does not require you to raise your knees.

Pedal

Most under desk bikes come with foot straps attached to their pedals, which can be uncomfortable for people with big feet. On the contrary, foot size doesn’t matter with an under desk elliptical, as its pedals have a wide surface with slightly raised edges that keep your feet in place.

Variability and Versatility

Under desk ellipticals can work more muscle groups in the legs than an under desk bike. However, ellipticals are restricted to the legs, while an under desk bike can work your arms and legs.

Comparison Between Under Desk Bikes and Under Desk Ellipticals

These two desk workout machines are very similar, and we must compare them to determine which is a better desk exercise equipment.

Noise Made

As the whole point of getting desk workout machines is to get a workout in while multitasking, you might take your desk bike or elliptical to the office.

Even if you can bear the noise since the benefits outweigh the inconvenience, you must consider the others in your office. Having a noisy machine in the background can quickly become irritable, so you might want to go for the quieter option. For example, desk bikes are much quieter than ellipticals since they have fewer moving parts.

Winner: Desk bikes.

Burning Calories

An under desk elliptical or a desk bike can only provide a limited amount of exercise, and as such, they can’t help you get the same workout that their bigger counterparts can. However, they can burn enough calories to keep your body healthy.

An under desk elliptical engages different muscles in your legs and thighs, which will help you burn more calories. The number of calories burned also depends on your weight; the more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn.

Winner: Desk ellipticals.

Weight Loss

If you’re considering desk machines as an option to help you lose weight, you might see changes in your whole body after prolonged use. However, it is more likely that you will lose weight in your legs since that is the part doing the exercise.

Of course, with a desk cycle, you can do arm variations for an upper body workout. But ultimately, if your goal is to lose weight, a small machine like a desk elliptical machine or a desk bike will not cut it.

Winner: Desk bikes.

Cardio Exercise

While both desk bikes and ellipticals make you burn a decent amount of calories, they differ in how much cardio workout you can get. Since desk ellipticals use different muscles, they increase your heart rate and make you work harder.

Anyway, elliptical machines have less stability than bikes. They can not handle extreme movement the way a bike can since they have more moving parts. It is easier to stop pushing yourself on elliptical machines because you are trying to protect the machines.

Winner: Desk ellipticals.

Alternatives to the Under Desk Bike and Under Desk Elliptical

If you’re not convinced about desk bikes or under desk ellipticals, then you can consider the following options.

Treadmill Desks

Treadmill desks have been around for a long time, and their existence lead to the creation of the under desk bike and elliptical. They are desk attachments that create a standing desk for you by fitting onto your treadmill at home.

With this you can keep the calories down by walking or jogging, with your laptop right in front of you while you work. A desk treadmill is a great option to burn calories while working from home.

Resistance Bands

Unlike the under desk bikes and ellipticals, resistance bands were not explicitly made for under desk use. Nonetheless, you can sling a band over your arms or thighs while you work, so you will keep burning calories while doing mundane tasks.

Air Chair Squats

This exercise doesn’t require equipment, but it’s much harder than the previous options. To do air chair squats, you just have to get rid of your seat for a while and sit in the air at your desk.

It might be a bit difficult to concentrate on other things, however, as you will begin to feel the burn in your thighs pretty quickly. So, maybe, you can do it during your breaks instead of when you’re working.

Doing this for a few minutes daily and building your strength will keep you fit while you do other things. You may also do the wall sit, which is an easier variation of this exercise, as having your back against a wall will give you some support.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Desk Workout Machines Really Work?

Yes, under desk bikes and ellipticals fulfill their purpose, which is to make sure that those living a sedentary lifestyle can get more movement during the day without much change to their schedule.

These machines are not designed to replace gyms or proper exercise routines but to help those who don’t move at all and get their hearts pumping more often. Combining one of them with good diet habits, you can maintain your weight, improve your heart health and blood circulation, and stay fit without changing your lifestyle too much.

How Many Calories Do They Burn?

Studies have shown that incorporating these machines can help burn up to 500 calories. However, you should remember that calorie burn depends on several factors, such as time, intensity, weight, height, and more. Nevertheless, these machines have grown more popular for their results.

The Takeaway

Under desk bikes and ellipticals are both great options for maintaining your health and fitness even with a busy schedule, and neither is better than the other. Your best answer to the question of which device to choose depends on your needs and wants.

Use our information on both machines to make a good decision and take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle today!

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