Best under-desk bike: Zoom through a Zoom meeting

Forget whistling while you work—try cycling while you work. Here’s what to consider when shopping for the best under-desk bike for you.

If multitasking is your happy place, then this one’s for you. The best under-desk bikes out there enable you to go about your day while stretching your muscles, getting your heartbeat up, and improving your circulation. They’re especially good if you spend so much time at your desk that you can’t get to the gym after work or hit the road for an actual bike ride. Those are the obvious benefits.

But there are other reasons an under-desk bike could be right for you: Do you have trouble sitting still? Think of a pedal exerciser as a fidget spinner for your legs. Are you in a thermostat war at work and constantly freezing? Warm yourself right up with a few turns of the wheel. Some fans of the cycling desk even report increased focus and concentration.

Maybe you’ve never considered incorporating home exercise equipment into your workday, but it could be time to! Here’s what to know to buy the best under-desk bike for your lifestyle.

What features should I look for in an under-desk bike?

The one thing you already know is that you’re interested in cycling while you work. Beyond that, choosing the best under-desk bike for you comes down to your particular wants and needs. Whether you desire something lightweight and portable, compact and stowable, or frill-free and cheap, there’s a desk bike for you (and some even come with the desk!).

I love the idea of an under-desk bike, but I travel for work. Is a portable pedal exerciser a thing?

It is! The key to a portable pedal exerciser is finding something that’s not terribly heavy, is easy to set up, and isn’t too bulky. (So not, for example, a bike that comes with the desk attached.) A travel-friendly under-desk exercise bike has all the features you need without the bulk.

Portable options range from bare-bones hydraulic models to battery-powered cycles with LCD screens and fitness-tracker capabilities. There’s a wide spectrum depending on how much you want to spend.

Best portable under-desk bike: DeskCycle Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser

Tiny but Mighty

This compact pick features an easy-to-read display, eight resistance settings, bidirectional motion, and an LCD screen. Amazon

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At 23 pounds, it’s not the most lightweight bike around, but it’s certainly portable enough to throw in the trunk of your car to take wherever you go. The number of extras you get on such a compact under-desk bike pedal exerciser makes it worth the price.

I prefer elliptical bikes to classic cycles—do those come in the under-desk variety?

They do! An elliptical bike differs from a classic style in that the pedal strokes are oval (so you glide more than pump). Elliptical bikes are easier on your joints and bones because, unlike traditional bicycles, they’re no-impact (i.e. your feet never leave the pedals). But as far as the benefits go—cardiovascular health, muscle building, distraction—there’s no difference. Some people just prefer an elliptical ride.

The biggest key to keeping up a consistent workout schedule is finding something you enjoy, so if you prefer an elliptical bike in the gym, you’ll prefer one under your desk too.

Best under-desk elliptical bike: Cubii JR1 Seated Under Desk Elliptical Machine

Ergonomic & Comfy

Whisper-quiet low-impact operation makes this one unobtrusive, but you’ll still burn more calories than if you were working at a standing desk. Amazon

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Another compact option, this under-desk elliptical bike has eight exercise levels and a built-in LCD monitor, and it allows you to connect upper-body tools (like resistance bands) for an allover workout. It also comes in three different colors.

I need the bike…but also the desk. Are there options that come with both incorporated?

If you’re starting your exercise-friendly home office from scratch, pick up a bike-desk combo and call it a day. You don’t even necessarily have to sacrifice style or function—just take note of the weight limit of the particular model you’re considering to make sure it’s inclusive of all who will be using it.

Best under-desk bike with the desk included: Exerpeutic 2500 Bluetooth 3 Way Adjustable Desk

Fourteen Resistance Levels

The desktop holds up to 44 pounds, meaning you can feel secure loading it up with your laptop, tablet, phone, and anything else you need for a productive day at work. Amazon

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An extra-large cushioned seat, adjustable backrest, swiveling desk, and soft hand grips mean comfort is the name of this desk bike’s game. Plus, buying an all-in-one removes the hassle of measuring to make sure your desk is compatible, size-wise, with your bike. (Remember: A desk needs to accommodate your knees when they’re raised to maximum pedal height.)

I want a desk bike that folds up so I can store it when it’s not in use.

When you get right down to it, all an under-desk bike really requires are two pedals. If you don’t need lots of bells and whistles and easy storage is your main concern, a folding pedal exerciser is the way to go. Especially If you’re getting a pedaler for physical therapy use, a simple, scaled-down design may be all you need.

Best under the desk bike that folds: Vaunn Medical Folding Pedal Exerciser

Light as a Feather

At just 6 pounds and with an easy-release function, this baby folds down to nothing in one step, making it easy to stow. Amazon

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Searching for an under the desk bike that folds? This fully-assembled pedal exerciser doubles as an arm exerciser too. It runs on two AAA batteries and features an LCD display, an adjustable tension knob, and skid-resistant rubber feet for traction and stability no matter where you place it.

How about an under-desk exercise bike that I can also use on my arms?

Look at you, multi-multi-tasker! An arm bike gives you the same cardio benefits of a foot bike, but it also works your upper body, including your shoulders, neck, and core (major points of tension for those of us with desk jobs). Unlike with an under-desk bike, you can’t really type or answer the phone while you’re pedaling with your arms, but investing in a bike desk that doubles as an arm exerciser is a terrific way to get twice as much bang for your buck.

Best under-desk bike that doubles as an arm pedal exerciser: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike

Easy-to-Use Hand Grip

Pick up this 19-pound pedaler from the ground, place it on a flat, desk-high surface, and voilà: second piece of exercise equipment! Amazon

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Eight levels of magnetic resistance on this mini exercise bike—which uses magnets to create tension against the flywheel without making contact, like in a spin class—ensure a quiet, smooth ride. Each stride is 7 inches, perfect for arms and feet.

Best under-desk bike on a budget: What you get for under $25

If all you’re looking to do is boost your circulation, get your heart rate up, and give yourself something to do while working on a boring project, there’s no reason to shell out a ton of money on a desk exercise bike. Will the bike you’re looking at fit under your desk? Does it pedal? Will your feet fit? If the answers are all yes, that’s all you need. Here’s the best under-desk bike we’ve found for less.

Best budget under-desk bike: Wakeman Portable Fitness Stationary Under Desk Bike

Some Assembly Required

Use the included wrench to put this bad boy together, then pop it on the floor and get to work. Amazon

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You don’t get an LCD screen or Bluetooth capability with this no-frills stationary bike under desk, but if your main goal is cycling, it delivers. You can even adjust the resistance. It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done.

FAQ: Everything else you need to know about buying the best under-desk bike

Are under desk bikes any good?

It depends what you’re hoping to get out of it, but if you want to boost your heart rate, build muscle, find a productive way to fidget, squeeze in a workout when you have no time, or just give yourself a distraction during the day, then yes, desk bikes are great!

How do I choose an under-desk bike?

Think about how much money you want to spend, whether you need extras (like Bluetooth capability or an LED screen), and how important it is that the bike is lightweight and portable. Also consider whether you’d like it to double as an arm pedaler.

What features should I look for in an under-desk bike?

If tracking your stats and progress is important to you, look for an under-desk bike with app compatibility. If you prefer the elliptical trainer to the stationary bike, treadmill, or stair climber at the gym, consider an elliptical bike. And if you’re going to be taking your cycle on the road, make sure to pick something that’s not too heavy and transports easily.

A final word on shopping for the best under-desk bike

Once you’ve decided to invest in desk exercise equipment, all you really need to do is consider the features that are important to you, like magnetic resistance, Bluetooth capability, an LED screen, portability, and affordability to find the best under-desk bike for you. The good news is, it’s hard to go wrong when you’re making an investment in yourself and your health!