Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about lots of workout equipment before — including the best adjustable dumbbells, the best weight benches, and the best home-gym equipment — here, we’ve rounded up the best under-desk ellipticals and cycles, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated under-desk cycle
With over 1,600 five-star reviews, this under-desk cycle received high praise for being quiet and smooth. “I loved this so much at my desk at work that I bought a second one for my home office,” writes one reviewer. “It is silent and so smooth to pedal. Quick and easy assembly.” Another agrees that the assembly took no time but admits, “It takes a bit of trial and error to get it the correct distance from you, but eventually, you’ll figure it out.” Dozens even call this product “life-changing,” like one mom who has “little to no time to exercise at home.” She writes, “This product has changed my life. Seriously. Having this DeskCycle in the office, under my desk, is the best purchase I have ever made. It has changed my life from sedentary, sitting all day at work, to athletic, cycling at least an hour a day five days a week.” And lots more reviewers mention how they can bike dozens of miles without even thinking about it. “I now typically pedal 25 to 40 miles per day every day without even thinking about it, and that’s with resistance on 6, which means I’m burning 600 to 1,000 additional calories every day,” celebrates this reviewer.
Best-rated (less expensive) under-desk cycle
This simple pedal exerciser attracted reviewers looking for just a basic cycler. One shopper describes it as “a very simple to use and straightforward piece of equipment,” while another agrees that it’s “basic and simple,” adding that it “comes fully assembled with no gimmicks, just what is needed.” Many reviewers recovering from medical issues purchased this exerciser to help build strength and stay active during work hours. One reviewer recovering from knee surgery writes, “Love this small, compact, peddler. It worked better than the one I had years ago, which kept moving on any floor. Whether you are post-op or just want to exercise, this product is for you.” Another reviewer claims “this is perfect for office workers” and concludes, “I’ve gone ahead and thrown this under my desk at my job. It helps me stay awake and far more active than I would have been. It’s also silent, so you won’t bother your office buddies.”
And now some micro-picks for every type of under-desk elliptical or cycle you might be looking for.
Best quiet under-desk cycle
Half of all five-star reviewers call this newer version of the DeskCycle “quiet,” like one who says, “Testing it out, it is extremely quiet and provides plenty of resistance. I believe that if you take this seriously, you will definitely burn as many calories as on a full-size recumbent bike.” Another notes, “This thing is nice and quiet. Working at home and on office days, it’s not distracting.” One shopper put over 50 miles on it in the first week of ownership and calls it “well built, fairly heavy, and whisper quiet. Sitting at a desk over the past 4.5 years has been a bummer, and with a 1.5-hr round-trip commute, that adds up to a lot of sitting. Since I have been using this thing for 10+ miles a day, I have felt so much better. Best part is, when I stand up, my quads and hamstrings are jelly from actual work.” Another reviewer calls this bike “life-changing” because they have “no realistic possibility of exercising during the day. But with this bike, I can burn hundreds of calories — often over a thousand — while I work, all without actually breaking a sweat or leaving my desk.”
Best nonslip under-desk cycle
This desk cycle from Vive has rubber feet to ensure it won’t move while you’re using it. “This is a perfect piece of equipment for both young and old. It takes up very little space, and with the rubber feet it does not slide on any surface,” writes one reviewer. Another appreciates that it’s “covered with rubber,” confirming, “Unit does not slide on hardwood floors.” Dozens of reviewers rave about how quiet it is, like one receptionist who works “in a very professional environment with people coming through the area frequently.” She’s “in a pretty competitive group of Fitbit users, so she purchased this to get her steps during challenges and explains, “I was a little worried it would be noisy, but this thing is so quiet. It doesn’t slip on the carpet, and even though my chair has rollers, I’m able to pedal all day without having to readjust constantly.”
Best under-desk cycle with adjustable resistance settings
This under-desk cycle’s multiple resistance settings allowed reviewers to adjust the tension to their individual strength level, which makes this model stand out. “The different tension resistances are nice and click into place easily,” explains one reviewer, who adds that the highest setting actually gives him a workout. “If I pedal quickly at the highest tension setting, I’ll start to build up a sweat after not too long, but if you’re in the workplace using this, you probably don’t want to go all out and smell like you just got out of the gym around your co-workers.” Another shopper just switched from an active job to “working from home on a computer” and bought this to keep moving: “I was very worried that I would gain a lot of weight with being much more sedentary, so I got this to try out. It took some finagling to figure out exactly where to place it so that my knees do not hit my desk, but I am a pro at using it now. I typically go at least 20 miles per workday with it, and I can feel the burn when I am done.” And one more thinks this bike is overall “really excellent, supersmooth, and a great gift to your body. I’ve lost five pounds already in a few weeks.”
Best under-desk elliptical for a Fitbit
Nearly one quarter of all five-star reviewers appreciate that the Cubii Pro connects to a Fitbit (though it also has a proprietary app). “I love the Bluetooth connectivity and the ability to track my progress, both in the Cubii app and by syncing with my Fitbit,” notes one reviewer. Another competitive customer always tries “to get in 10,000 steps a day, and this helps me to achieve this and more,” adding, “I have days where I am stuck to my desk making calls and doing data entry (I am a social worker), and this device has been a blessing.” She bought it on sale for almost $100 off, but admits, “After having it for just a few days, I can say I would buy it at the regular price as well.” One chemo patient appreciates that when she’s “barred from exercise” she can still work out a bit with this: “I use it while watching TV and sitting on an exercise ball (in a base, because I didn’t survive cancer and cancer treatment just to roll away and break a leg), and it syncs to my Fitbit so I actually get steps counted (versus my arm exercises that trick my Fitbit into thinking I’m active). I love it. I actually wish I’d gotten it earlier in treatment. It has made me feel more like a productive person.”