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Sitting in front of a computer has become an inevitable part of our lives for most of us and it’s not just for a couple hours a day. We also watch a lot of TV now. So how can you avoid being completely sedentary for so long while also getting the work done and catching your favorite shows? You can get yourself some type of fitness equipment that you can use while working or watching TV and won’t distract you from it. Take a look at our portable elliptical machine reviews in this article to see if any of these pieces of equipment would be right for you.
A portable or under the desk elliptical machine is quite a versatile piece of equipment. It is not a full elliptical because you don’t get a full stride or moving arms for a proper arm workout. So if a thorough cardio workout is what you’re looking for then don’t get one of these. If storage space is an issue, you might want to consider a full but compact elliptical. Another good portable piece of equipment is a mini stair stepper. These aren’t really for use when sitting down but they’re very good for simulating climbing stairs.
If you place a portable unit under your work desk or in front of the couch while you’re watching TV and just sit and pedal, you’re at least moving your lower body. Studies have shown that being completely sedentary for hours at a time will raise the risk of developing heart disease. If you get yourself a portable elliptical trainer, it is possible to reduce that risk. Not only can some be used while sitting down, but a few are strong enough to handle you standing up and using it almost like a normal elliptical. When you’re done, it’s very easy to just pick it up or roll it away to store in a closet. If you prefer a pedalling action rather than a stepping one, then choose a mini exercise bike instead. If you already have a standing desk for work, consider getting an under the desk treadmill that keeps you walking slowly at the same time.
So what should you look for when buying the best portable elliptical machine for your needs? If you want it primarily for use under a desk, we recommend measuring the height of the desk first and checking to make sure that your knees won’t bang the underneath of the table. For this primary use, the highest point of the pedals from the ground should be quite low. If you want to use it standing, you’ll get a better stride and more resistance if the pedal height is higher. Some of the models allow you to adjust pedal height.
The machine should be sturdy and not move while you pedal and there should be a simple way to increase and decrease the resistance to vary the intensity of your workout. If you’re going to use it at work in a cubicle instead of in an office, then the machine should be absolutely silent. Some portable ellipticals come with hand resistance bands that you pull up so that you can simultaneously work your arms when you’re pedaling while upright. In order to track the amount of exercise you get, some have a display monitor that you can place on your desk for easy reading, while others only have it right on the trainer itself.
So now that you know what to look for in a portable elliptical exercise machine, let’s get to our top picks. If you want to see more options, Amazon has many.
Table of Contents
|Product||Rating (out of 5)||Height of pedal at highest point||Max. User Capacity||Price|
|Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer||4.2||12"||250 lbs||$$|
|FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical||3.8||8"||n/a||$$$$|
|jFit Under Desk & Stand Up Mini Elliptical||4||3 adjustable levels||n/a||$$$|
|Stamina InMotion Compact Strider with Cords||4.1||12"||250 lbs||$$$|
Best Under Desk Elliptical Reviews
Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
Put your life in motion with this best-selling portable elliptical. The Stamina Inmotion e1000 elliptical trainer has adjustable tension controls that regulate the intensity of your workout. You can choose to go hard during your routine or take it easy by altering the gears in the middle of the machine and it can be used for sitting and standing workouts.
You can decide to move forwards or in a backward course as the pedals are versatile. This compact elliptical provides the motivation that you need to finish by having a monitor on the machine that displays the duration of exercise and number of strides per minute along with the total number of strides at the end of a workout. The number of calories burned is also shown, which makes it even easier to document your progress, although don’t expect it to be accurate. You can choose to read all these stats in scan mode also.
The Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer is built to last with steel construction. The machine is also the epitome of safety with non-slip pedals – particularly important for standing workouts. However, you may find that you’ll need to hold onto something to steady yourself while pedaling standing up.
Among the many benefits of the portable trainer is the convenience that comes with placing the compact elliptical underneath the bed or in the closet after a good workout. It does not have a handle to lift it, so it may be a bit awkward to move. Also, the stride of the machine makes it the ideal choice for those with weak knees and ankles. The many customers also enjoy the straightforwardness of reporting that the monitor delivers.
Although economically priced, the Stamina Elliptical makes a bit of a squeaky noise after so many uses or at high resistance, which points to the idea of it being an occasional workout machine instead of an everyday option.
Click for the Stamina In-Motion Elliptical
FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical
This under desk elliptical by Fitdesk is a more user friendly option than the Stamina above but it costs a lot more as well. The Fitdesk really is good for using under a desk because its monitor is a separate unit that you can place on your desk using the included desk stand. Another great feature is the way you change the 8 resistance levels. You do so using a lever that goes up and down and can be adjusted with your foot. No need to reach down under the desk. You can pedal forwards and backwards to workout several leg muscles. The magnetic resistance flywheel helps keep movement smooth. You can also take a break and massage tired feet on the rollers in front.
It also has the lowest pedal height possible – 8 inches at its highest position, so you can use it with desks as low as 25 inches. There is a very useful rolling chair lock that keeps your wheeled chair from moving as you pedal. When you need to put it away, the FitDesk can be wheeled by a handle on one end and its two transport wheels on the other.
Customers warn that this is not a completely quiet machine because it may start to squeak after a while. Take that into consideration if you intend to use it in an open office cubicle.
Click for the FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical
jFit Under Desk & Stand Up Mini Elliptical/Stepper w/Adjustable Angle
Compactness meets silence with this mini-elliptical machine. The jFit is also designed for placement underneath the desk with front rollers that allow for easy transporting. Skateboard wheels propel the pedals forward providing for a quieter and smoother ride. The larger wheels also allow for slower deterioration and more durability.
The pedals can be adjusted to 3 different comfort positions, so whether you’re sitting on an office chair close to the desk, a sofa with a broad seat or if you’re standing on it, your feet and ankles are sure to feel ergonomically comfortable at all times. Couple that with the ability to adjust the resistance level with a turn of a tension dial and you have a good way to workout.
The Series 1050 monitor records your time along with distance and speed. Calories are also tracked on this machine so that you can easily record progress in your nutritional diary. You can read the monitor while in an upright or seated stance.
Customers have reported a clunking or squeaking sound coming from the back of the trainer that is a bit annoying but others say that all you need to do is oil the wheels where they meet the track to eliminate it. Therefore, this is our pick for the best portable elliptical trainer for office use.
Click for the jFit Under Desk Elliptical
Mini Elliptical with Bands for Arm Resistance
Now we come to mini ellipticals or steppers that also come with attached resistance bands that you pull to give your arms a workout too. You have to be in the standing position to use them but with some models you can also sit and only work your legs. However, this requires you to sit in a particular way with the elliptical as close to your chair as possible so that you can apply enough weight onto the pedals to move them. Don’t expect to get a very intense arm workout with these. If that’s what you’re after then get a set of true resistance bands. If you think that you won’t be able to maintain your balance while standing and stepping and don’t really need an arm workout, then try a stepper machine instead.
Stamina InMotion Compact Strider with Cords
Add a bit of arm resistance to your daily stepping routine. The Stamina InMotion Compact Strider comes with cords that make it possible to exercise your arms and legs simultaneously. The adjustable tension control lets you make the routine more difficult or less challenging. You can use this machine in an upright or seated position.
The resistance tubes come with padded handles so that intensifying your workout doesn’t have to come at the expense of comfort. This steel-built machine is ideal for those prone to accidents with slip-resistant pedals that help ward off falls.
One of the central benefits of the Stamina Strider is its versatility. Go forward or pedal backwards without pressing a button. Tension controls are also advantageous as you can slow down or pick up the pace without having to start a new routine.
One disadvantage of this Inmotion compact elliptical trainer with resistance bands is its weight. The machine is a bit heavy for its size, which makes storing it in your closet an extended workout. The machine can also get a bit squeaky after a few months of use.
Click for the Stamina InMotion Compact Strider