In this article, get the answers to 27 desk elliptical FAQs that cannot be found anywhere else on the internet! Find out whether desk ellipticals help you lose weight, along with the most popular types of desk ellipticals. Also, find out if desk ellipticals are any good!
Plus, I disclose some expert tips which will get you thinking like a pro whether you’re purchasing or using a desk elliptical.
Did you know? A study has shown that users expressed more interest in using a desk elliptical while watching TV and completing computer work as opposed to during office meetings. Source
Can you lose weight on a desk elliptical?
Compact elliptical trainers have been shown to contribute to weight loss and energy expenditure. In one study, users burned a median of 87.9 more calories when using a desk elliptical trainer compared to an hour of sedentary sitting. Based on this study, the amount of weight you can lose with a desk elliptical could range between 108.2–269 calories per hour. This makes desk elliptical trainers an efficient method of increasing energy expenditure, particularly during sedentary activities. However, compact elliptical trainers are not as effective at reducing weight and belly fat as standard ellipticals. Users could burn as much as 270 – 400 calories in 30 minutes on a standard elliptical trainer.
Aside from weight loss, other health benefits of peddling include elevated heart rates and energy expenditure in the sample group. This is associated with supporting improving cardiac health and energy levels. Source
Are desk ellipticals worth it?
Desk ellipticals are a good means of becoming active at your desk and increasing energy expenditure while you are sedentary. Desk peddlers also an efficient method of burning calories and contributing to weight loss while you sit. Standing desk ellipticals can also be used for intense cardio workouts. However, the workout intensity, muscle toning abilities and rate of calories burned on a compact elliptical trainer are less effective than a standard elliptical. The number of calories burned is often over hyped by manufacturers. Despite this, desk ellipticals are certainly worth the investment.
A rising number of studies are proposing that desk bikes can be a positive intervention, particularly in a sedentary work environment.
In one study, desk bikes were perceived to encourage a positive attitude and improve work performance in two-thirds of the sample group. 50% of participants felt more confident and more energetic after using the bike desk.
Do desk ellipticals come assembled?
Most desk ellipticals are sold as flat packs so they generally require assembly. In most cases, assembly should take no more than 10 – 15 minutes.
One of the very few ellipticals which requires zero assembly is the Sunny Magnetic Under Desk Elliptical Peddler Exerciser
Where assembly is required, it is thankfully minimal and it usually comprises of attaching:
- Foot pedals
- Digital monitor
Plus, the necessary tools are often provided in the parts.
Tip: Look out for assembly videos which are often provided to make the construction process simpler.
Can you use desk ellipticals on carpet?
Desk ellipticals can be used on carpet, provided that it is not a very chunky carpet that will get caught in or interfere with the motion of the desk elliptical. Desk ellipticals can also be used on laminate, wood or tiles.
Beware that the suction caps may damage, leave marks or flatten your carpet or floor due to the force being placed on it.
Do desk ellipticals damage the floor?
Most desk ellipticals feature non-skid suction cups on each end of the front and rear that are designed to prevent movement and protect the floor from damage while peddling. Despite having non-slip grips, there is a slight risk that the elliptical could damage your floor if it moves.
If this is a concern for you, a protective mat or carpet should be placed underneath the elliptical trainer to prevent damage occurring.
Polyurethane wheels or polyurethane coatings on the bottom of the desk ellipticals are one of the best materials to reduce scratching or damage to floors. However, they may flatten or dent carpet.
Despite all these measures, if the weight of the desk elliptical is heavy, you probably won’t be able to easily lift it, which could lead to dragging it on the floor.
This could increase the risk of damaging the floor.
Tip: Some desk ellipticals feature a handle which makes it much easier to move and lift the item.
Are desk ellipticals portable?
Under desk ellipticals are very portable due to their low weight and compact size. The lightest compact elliptical exerciser weighs 7.71 pounds and one of the heaviest compact ellipticals is 37 pounds.
The average weight of desk ellipticals is 25.94 pounds. This is much lower than desk bikes which have an average weight of 43.30 pounds.
The type of elliptical trainer that you opt for will not significantly impact on the size as the average weight of an under desk elliptical is product dependent.
If the under desk elliptical features a handle, it will make it even more portable.
The range of dimensions of 20 popular desk ellipticals are listed below to give you an insight into the lowest to the highest sizes:
Do desk ellipticals require maintenance?
Desk ellipticals require a negligible amount of care and maintenance. Every month or so, the desk elliptical fittings should be checked to ensure that they have not come loose. Each product is different, so the best practice is to refer to the user manual of the compact elliptical; it should provide clear instructions on what is required.
If the desk elliptical feels shaky or makes squeaking sounds, then parts should be checked immediately to identify the cause and to prevent damage or injury.
Some desk peddlers, such as the Cubii stipulate that lubrication should not be applied
to the product as it can damage the elliptical. However, when I read up on the response from Cubii on tackling a squeaky noise, they provide clear instructions on using WD-40 to lubricate.
Non-skid pads should be checked to ensure that they are intact and not worn. In addition, dirt and hair could become trapped and clog up the wheels, so this should be removed to ensure a smooth wheel movement.
How to clean a desk elliptical?
Since the desk elliptical will not be subject to the outdoor elements, the majority of cleaning will consist of wiping away the dust, stains and sweat. This can be accomplished with a damp cloth. However, if stains occur, soap and warm water can also be used.
Spills around or on the desk peddler should be cleaned instantly to prevent it drying in or staining.
With under desk peddlers, it’s advisable to clean them frequently. They should be cleaned after each workout and at the end of the day. If the desk elliptical is shared with others, it should be sanitized after each user.
The room where the desk elliptical is located should also be kept clean.
The floor where the desk elliptical will be positioned should be free of dust, hair and liquid as this will minimize the amount of dirt and hair that can become trapped in the components and wheels.
Can you sanitize desk ellipticals?
Desk ellipticals can be sanitized and this is good practice, especially if the desk elliptical is shared with others. To disinfect a desk elliptical, use an alcohol wipe or a cloth with sanitizer sprayed on it and wipe down the touch points.
The key touch points include the pedals, tension adjustment knob, LCD monitors and handles. Avoid spraying IPA directly on to the desk peddler.
Where can I use a desk elliptical?
Due to their lightweight and compact size, sit-stand ellipticals and under desk ellipticals can be used in a wide range of environments. Despite being typically marketed for use in office environments, desk ellipticals can be used in a large range of areas.
However, they are not advised for outdoor use.
Below are some suggestions where you can use a sit stand elliptical or desk elliptical:
- studying or working at a desk
- for a workout in your bedroom or sitting room
- sewing machine
- while watching TV
- while gaming
- at a workshop
- at a bench
- at the kitchen table
- in a meeting room
Can I use a desk elliptical at a standing desk?
Since under desk ellipticals are only designed for seated peddling, the compact desk elliptical is not suited for use at a standing desk. However, if you opt for a standing elliptical instead, this can be used in conjunction with standing desks.
What you will need to consider is the type of activity that you intend to perform while you are using the standing elliptical at a desk. The movement of your body while using the sit-stand elliptical may make it difficult to perform certain tasks, particularly if you intend to pedal at a decent rate.
Such activities that could be difficult to perform on a desk elliptical include:
- writing or reading documents
- using sharp objects, e.g., for food preparation
Activities that you could perform while using a standing elliptical could include:
- taking phone calls
- on video meetings
- watching TV
- chatting with friends/family
- performing a workout
It is easier to fit a desk elliptical with a height-adjustable desk since you can adjust the desk height to prevent your knees banging off the desk.
Using a sit-stand desk elliptical along with a sit-stand desk can help minimize static positions. This helps escape the ominous “sitting disease” that is becoming a growing health concern for sedentary people, particularly in the workplace.
Can I use a desk elliptical on a swivel chair?
Desk ellipticals can be used on a swivel chair, provided they grant the user a comfortable seating position while peddling. However, if the swivel chair features wheels, it may lead to the chair rolling away from the user.
The Cubii Go has an ingenious wheel cup which is designed to minimize swivel chair movement while you are pedaling. It’s essentially a pull-out slot which features a cup with side guides for the caster wheel to sit into.
With the caster wheel snugly positioned inside the wheel cup, the office chair is connected to the desk elliptical and thus prevents the chair from rolling away from the Cubii Go.
Furthermore, wheel stoppers can be attached to the swivel chair caster wheels to prevent them from moving. These are a disc-shaped object with a concave groove designed for the wheel to sit on and prevent it from rolling.
Tip: Wheel stoppers also act as a floor protector from the caster wheels.
How to stop a desk elliptical from moving?
Desk ellipticals feature stabilizers which are designed to prevent unwanted movement while peddling. However, this is not always effective at eliminating movement.
Below are techniques which can be employed to minimize the risk of your desk elliptical from moving. These techniques should be followed in the order that they are listed in.
- Avoid positioning the chair on slippery or wet floors
- Ensure that the stabilizer cups are adequately attached and clean
- Position the mini elliptical on a mat or carpet
- Position the desk elliptical against a wall
How to stop a chair rolling away from the desk elliptical?
Chairs can be prone to moving while peddling which can make it difficult to pedal with comfort. This is further exacerbated if you’re working from an office chair with wheels.
Once you have verified that it is your chair and not the under desk elliptical that is moving, follow the below techniques in the order that they are listed to eliminate chair movement:
- Place the chair on a mat or carpet
- Lock the caster wheels on the chair
- Attach wheel stoppers to your chair caster wheels
- Invest in sit-brake caster wheels which stop movement when you sit on the chair
If you have purchased the Cubii Go, the wheel cup strategy can be employed to minimize movement of the under desk elliptical. Furthermore, Cubii even have a dedicated workout mat for this to prevent movement of the mini elliptical.
How to stop a desk elliptical from rocking?
If the compact elliptical moves from side to side while you pedal, the below techniques can eliminate rocking:
- Confirm that the floor is solid, clean and free of debris
- Confirm that the item is positioned on an even floor surface
- Check that the stabilizers are not worn and clean
- Verify that the stabilizers of the compact elliptical are level and properly attached
- Place the mini elliptical on a mat or carpet
Are desk ellipticals noisy?
Most desk ellipticals are extremely quiet, so much so that you could use it next to a coworker or friend and they would barely notice you using it. The quietest desk peddlers are magnetic resistance desk ellipticals, which the majority of them are. You can also expect electric desk ellipticals to be practically silent.
Some under desk ellipticals develop a squeak in the wheels which can often be alleviated with lubrication. As with any piece of equipment, desk ellipticals can noise if parts become worn, faulty or are not properly maintained.
Furthermore, if desk peddler is located on a squeaky floor or moves while peddling, then you can expect noise to be created during peddling. However, this can be alleviated with a carpet or rug to dampen the noise from a floor.
There have been numerous reports on some desk ellipticals, such as the FitDesk under desk elliptical trainer, stating that after a few weeks or months of use, a squeaking noise develops. However, some people have attributed this to the rollers squeaking off the metal plate.
According to these users, this noise can be eliminated by simply oiling the mini elliptical wheels with something like WD-40. I’ve dropped a quick video below showing you exactly how easily this can be completed.
However, always read the manufacturer’s user manual first as some brands advise against lubricating the equipment, such as on the Cubii Go product.
Noise can also be lessened by stopping the desk elliptical from moving.
Following the manufacturer’s guidelines for caring for the desk elliptical will keep such squeaks to a minimum.
Tip: If the manufacturer has provided or recommended a specific type of lubricant, this should be used.
How fast should I cycle at a desk elliptical?
The speed at which you pedal on a desk elliptical will be dictated by desk elliptical capabilities. Not all desk ellipticals are designed for intense workouts. Furthermore, if you intend to use the desk peddler for building muscle or challenging yourself, it’s likely that you’ll need a higher resistance level.
The higher the resistance level, the slower the speed that you’ll be able to achieve.
The majority of people using a DeskCycle could achieve a leisurely pace of 15 mph while using a low resistance level. However, few people could maintain 30 mph at resistance level 4 for more than a few minutes on the DeskCycle.
The activity that you’re performing while you pedal will also dictate how fast you can pedal while comfortably being able to complete your task. For instance, if you’re using a desk elliptical while typing on a laptop or working in an office, it’s likely you won’t go above 25 mph since this would make it difficult to type.
If you’re looking to complete a cardio workout on the desk elliptical, starting a speed of 15 mph and working up to 25 mph at your desired resistance level is recommended by DeskCycle.
This is all part of learning how to use and choose the perfect desk elliptical, which will come with time!
Tip: Many popular desk elliptical websites feature exercise plans and videos that you can follow to achieve a quality and heart-pulsing workout.
Can you pedal without sweating?
People can pedal on a compact elliptical without sweating by adopting a low resistance and low speed on the desk elliptical. By pacing yourself to around 15 mph while maintaining a low resistance level, DeskCycle suggest that you can pedal without breaking a sweat!
This is probably something that will concern people that use their desk elliptical at work or on meetings.
Pedaling at a speed of approximately 25 mph is considered a cardio workout.
Incorporating short breaks from pedaling and maintaining a cool temperature in the room will also prevent sweating.
Are desk ellipticals suitable for children?
Desk ellipticals are suitable for children and teenagers provided they have the appropriate height set up for the desk elliptical and are mature enough to use the product. Most under desk ellipticals can be used by to people 4’0” and taller.
One user even claimed that it could even accommodate heights from 3’7” upwards.
Allowing a child to use a mini elliptical will be contingent on the child either being supervised
or responsible enough to use it safely.
Plus, the Sunny Pink Under Desk Elliptical might even be more appealing to kids (or bigs kids too)!
Are desk ellipticals expensive?
On average, desk ellipticals can cost anywhere in the range of $97.99 – $369. This makes them accessible to many budgets. They can be a budget-friendly type of furniture for an active office setup. This is particularly evident when compared to the price of a standing desk.
That said, they are not as cheap as desk bikes. For example, the most cost-effective type of desk peddler is the under desk bike which ranges from $29.99 – $209.99.
For more information on the price of desk ellipticals and to avoid being ripped off, I compiled this desk ellipticals price comparison article on 20 of the most popular and budget-friendly mini ellipticals.
Can you stand on a desk elliptical?
Desk exercise ellipticals are not designed for being stood on. If you require a desk elliptical for standing on, opt for a sit-stand desk elliptical. I have a blog here with the top 20 mini ellipticals and their price so you can easily identify one that suits your needs and budget. Most mini desk peddlers do not facilitate standing on them since there is nothing to support your balance while you stand.
Furthermore, the under desk elliptical won’t balance properly if you stood on it and it could cause you to fall over. In addition, the weight capacity of some under desk ellipticals, don’t always provide a weight limit. If an individual did stand on them, it could exceed the weight threshold of the desk elliptical and break under their weight.
Since this information isn’t readily available on the websites, I reached out to manufacturers to clarify if you could stand on their desk ellipticals.
Examples of top brand compact ellipticals which you cannot stand on include the:
- Cubii JR1/JR2/Pro/Go
- DeskCycle Ellipse
- FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical
My recommendation for a branded and reliable standing elliptical is the Sunny Portable Stand Up Elliptical
Can you pedal backwards on a desk elliptical?
Practically all desk ellipticals enable both forward and backward peddling. Some manufacturers even recommend that users alternate between forward and backward pedaling to ensure all muscles are being used equally. From a mechanical standpoint, pedaling backwards won’t harm your desk exercise elliptical either. There is a study from the American Council of Exercise stating that pedaling backwards provides physical benefits which:
- better engage your quadricep muscles
- decrease stress on the knee joints
- increases your heart rate
I wouldn’t be shocked if there are mental benefits too since it varies your way of using the under desk elliptical which could make it more interesting to use and also better engage the brain.
Do desk ellipticals have foot size limitations?
Given the large footprint of the pedals, desk ellipticals can accommodate the largest of feet, even with footwear on. With some pedals measuring 13.4 x 5.1 inches, users with smaller feet may find it clunky trying to manoeuvre the pedal. Furthermore, the desk elliptical pedals also lack straps which can be prohibitive for larger feet; such is the case with under desk bikes. For smaller feet, the lack of pedal straps can make it difficult to maintain grip with the pedal. However, the majority of pedals feature a non-slip surface to minimize this.
Tip: The Cubii JR2 provides an optional foot strap that can be attached to the pedal if you find these easier to pedal with.
Can you wear heels on a desk elliptical?
Flat footwear should be worn when using an under desk elliptical. This could comprise of trainers or shoes that are relatively flat and comfortable. Users can also go barefoot on the desk peddler if it’s comfortable. Trainers or running footwear are most preferable when peddling fast or performing a workout. Heels are unlikely to be comfortable or easy to pedal with on a mini elliptical. Furthermore, heels should not be worn while standing on a mini elliptical as they could result in injury to the user and damage to the equipment. Most desk elliptical manufacturers don’t specify the type of footwear to be worn on a desk elliptical.
Some desk elliptical pedals are textured with massage balls and groves which allows users to comfortably pedal barefoot and achieve a better grip. However, some people may find that their foot slips while peddling barefoot.
Tip: Under desk ellipticals can also be used as a footrest while sitting at your desk.
Are desk ellipticals suitable for short/tall people?
Desk ellipticals are suitable for a wide range of heights and can accommodate from 3’7” upwards. The height suitability of a mini elliptical is more contingent on the appropriate height chair and desk that the desk elliptical will be used at. Most desk ellipticals are designed to accommodate the average user height at a desk between approximately 28 – 30 inches or more in height. There is the potential that the desk elliptical can cause taller users to hit their knees off the base of their desk. Therefore, the user should ensure that they have at least 3-4 inches of clearance between the desk and their knees while peddling.
Height is less of a constraint if the user does not plan to use the mini elliptical at a desk; this eliminates the risk of their knees coming into contact with the desk. If the user will be using a standing desk elliptical, then height is even less of a concern since they don’t need to worry about their knees hitting off a desk or table. In this instance, verifying that the person has adequate space clearance around them is the priority. If the desk elliptical needs to accommodate multiple people, most desk ellipticals can easily fit a range of heights.
If your knees bang off the table while peddling or if you don’t feel comfortable while peddling, these expert techniques for properly using a desk peddler will instantly guide you to perfectly and comfortably position yourself while using a desk elliptical.
I go into more depth on the height suitability of desk peddlers in this guide to choosing the perfect desk elliptical.
Tip: Desk ellipticals are a better option than desk bikes if they are being shared between people of different of heights.
What are the most popular types of desk elliptical?
Desk elliptical are primarily available in the below 3 categories which are listed in order of most popular types of desk ellipticals:
- Mini under desk elliptical
- Sit-stand ellipticals
- Electric desk elliptical
Tip: If it’s a popular brand of desk peddler, there are often videos on YouTube or on the website demonstrating how to use and assemble it.
Do desk ellipticals have a long warranty?
A desk elliptical should have a minimum of a 1-year warranty. The warranty on desk ellipticals can have separate durations for the structure and the components.
For example, the Sunny Health Fitness warranty entitles you to
- 1-year warranty on the structural frame of the Magnetic Mini Exercise Pedal Cycle
- 180-day warranty on other parts and components
Both the DeckCycle, FitDesk and Cubii warranty lasts 1 year and covers all parts.
Amazon offers a 1-year warranty on the Stamina Inmotion structure and 90 days on the parts. But they do also offer an extended warranty for a total of 2 years for $8.
Hopefully you found these 27 desk elliptical tips and FAQs useful and learned something new or valuable! In many cases, these answers were not readily available without reaching out to companies! Do you own a desk elliptical or are you considering purchasing one?
If you’re keen to learn more about one of the newest active sitting machines or you are still in the process of selecting a desk elliptical, then this article will help to ensure you purchase the perfect product first time around: How to choose a desk elliptical
My personal favorite products to promote an active work space are the:
My aim with this website is to help you on all matters related to your home office and your work area. With that in mind, if you have any questions or comments on the above, please drop them in the box below. I’d love to hear them!