BEST UNDER DESK ELLIPTICAL
Ellipticals are one of the best cardio machines to ever exist, but if you have low ceilings, the handles can scrape against the ceiling and break down some of the sheetrock above.
It can damage the ceiling, get dust on your elliptical, and chunks of plaster can actually damage the moving parts of your elliptical.
That wouldn’t be good, now would it? It’s time to use a treadmill that’s designed for lower ceilings.
We’re about to show you the best elliptical for low ceiling height and a few alternatives as well, all before answering all your burning questions surrounding low ceiling ellipticals and how they work.
Recommended Elliptical for Low Ceiling
Best Overall: Niceday Elliptical Machine and Cross Trainer
Right on the top of our list, we have Niceday with their hyper-quiet elliptical machine. That’s the main selling point here because if you live in an area with low ceilings, it could be an apartment or an in-law suite. You probably have neighbors who really want you to be quiet when you exercise early in the morning. The drive is seriously near-silent despite whatever speed you choose.
Speaking of speeds, take your pick—there are 16 different resistance levels for you to choose from. You can completely contour your exercise depending on what you’re trying to do, resulting in the perfect scaling for your workout. You’ll never feel stuck or like you plateau either, because the maximum resistance level is akin to gym workout machines that really work up a sweat.
So it’s quiet, it’s powerful, but what else can it do? Nice day’s machine has an above-average weight limit of 400 lbs, whereas a lot of other ellipticals cap out around 300. If you’re really trying to get in shape and you’re serious about it, this is your way to do it without worrying about damaging a machine.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. If you try to fold this up, it’s going to take you quite some time. It comes mostly assembled (which is excellent), but even then, it’s still a 30-minute endeavor. That’s how long it takes to disassemble it to put it away if you aren’t using it, so it’s recommended to have a permanent place in mind before you purchase this.
While the magnetic movement is great at providing resistance, this doesn’t feel like it moves in an ellipse. In fact, it feels more circular than anything else. You can still get an amazing workout on it, but the stride will feel different to any other elliptical you’ve used.
It’s powerful, it doesn’t require any electronics to get going, and the flywheel is about as smooth as we’ve ever experienced. This works for anyone up to 6’2” even though it’s designed for shorter ceilings, and the sound from your machine never goes above 20dB (⅓ the volume of a conversation between two people, for context). It’s the best elliptical option right now.
- 16 different levels of resistance for maximum effectiveness
- Insane 400 lbs maximum user weight limit
- Hyper-quiet magnetic drive to keep things nice and quiet
- Magnetic movement that feels smooth as butter to use
- Not practical to fold it up often due to how long it takes
- Very unnatural feeling stride
Runner Up: Sunny Health & Fitness Electric Elliptical Trainer
You need an elliptical machine for low ceiling environments, and that’s exactly what Sunny Health & Fitness drummed up for you. This elliptical is a bit bigger for floor space, but it feels like the smoothest ride you’ll ever have on an elliptical.
With a 300 lb maximum weight limit and durable steel frame, this elliptical is built to last. The handles aren’t too tall, so when you go through an intense session you don’t have to worry about the handles scraping the ceiling. As long as your head isn’t hitting it, you’ll be good to go. That’s a good thing, too, because you’re going to want to test out all 16 levels of resistance.
The only bad thing about the resistance levels is that they’re computerized, so if you have a hard time accessing the panel while you’re on a run, you might have a hard time. Turn-style knobs are much better and don’t rely on a machine to change the resistance for you. While that is one thing we would change about this machine, it’s not the only thing.
The performance monitor—as in the one that’s required to change your resistance level—simply isn’t that good. It’s hard to use, the screen is too bright in some areas and too dim in other areas. We’re fairly critical of LCD screens on exercise equipment because, in an age of amazing smartphones and tablets with crazy high resolutions, they could step it up a bit and make the UI actually fun to use.
The grievances stop there. You can use any one of the 24 integrated fitness presets right out of the box to start taking dynamic movements and motions to the next level. With excellent rubber feet that can contour to the floor you’re on, you won’t have to worry about where you place this in your home. Just keep in mind that the caster wheels on the front are pretty small, so don’t expect a lot from them when you go to move your elliptical to another room in the future.
- Excellent dynamic movements that engage your core
- Can be picked up and rolled away for easy storage
- 24 integrated fitness presets that you can use right out of the box
- Built-in tablet mount
- Takes up quite a lot of horizontal space
- Performance monitor, as is with most Sunny Health & Fitness machines, isn’t that good
Alternative: Sunny Health & Fitness Pre-Programmed Compact Elliptical
They’re back because they’re awesome. Sunny Health & Fitness hits the perfect mark in between price and performance, and they’re making it known with this compact elliptical. This beautiful little machine includes a whopping 24 pre-programmed fitness presets for you to run through as you please. These help escalate your workouts so you can boost the resistance and see some leg gains while the pounds come off.
Speaking of resistance, that’s the next major point. Sunny Health & Fitness equipped this with 16 different resistance levels for you to toy around with. Scale your exercise as you see your fitness goals come to life. They say no pain, no gain, and if your muscles aren’t feeling it after 30 minutes on this beast, it’s time to boost the intensity.
The flywheel is a total of 11 lbs, which is half the size that you’d see in full-scale gym ellipticals. This is partially because they wanted to make it compact enough to fit into a low ceiling home, but also because it’s more cost-effective while still giving excellent results.
The truth is, most people aren’t using ellipticals on the highest setting with a 22 lb flywheel, so a lot of that power is wasted (and it makes the machine weigh so much more). You get to actually utilize most of the power that this elliptical offers you.
So where’s the dark side of the moon? Well, you may notice some small caster wheels on the front of the machine. They’re small, and that’s exactly how they feel when you try to move this. You’re not going to get far unless you’re on a hardwood or tile floor, and even then it makes steering extremely difficult.
The only other major pain point is the floor stabilization system. It’s severely lacking, all because it relies on the rigid portions of the steel tube end caps to do the work. This machine makes you move, so if you’re not on a mat or a carpeted floor, the machine is going to move right along with you. Trust us: you need a mat to get the most out of this machine.
There’s a built-in tablet mount for you to catch up on Netflix shows while you run. The handles are compact but effective, so you won’t have to pull the machine all the way to your shoulders just to get a good, engaging workout.
- Includes 24 pre-programmed fitness presets to help you exercise the way you want to
- 16 resistance levels that you can scale up to as you exercise
- Built-in tablet mount for easy viewing
- 11 lb flywheel is compact and lightweight while providing excellent resistance
- Caster wheels are very small and almost impossible to use
- Floor stabilizers are lacking; you should use this on a mat or a carpeted area only
Best Under Desk Elliptical: Cubii JR2 Original Non-Slip Under Desk Elliptical
We said ellipticals for low ceilings, right? That’s exactly what this little guy is best at, but don’t let its stature fool you: there’s a lot under the hood here that we have to talk about before you decide to grab it. To start, the pedals on the Cubii JR2 are rigid and designed to hold onto many different shoe types, so whether you’re in heels at work or loafers, you’ll be able to make the most out of it.
This elliptical trainer for low ceiling rooms includes 8 total resistance levels. While that’s not what you get with a larger elliptical, it provides some impressive power for being such a small form factor device. You can feel a noticeable change in the resistance levels when you shift from one to another, which is something we were a little skeptical of at first.
Cubii mentions that this can be used at any seat type, and they’re not wrong about that. However, it’s a lot of money for a mini elliptical, even if it can move from room to room on a whim. The built-in LCD display is also a lost feature, because how often are you really going to pay attention to it? It seems more like a novelty than anything else.
Cubii can already connect to your Apple Health account, although there’s no luck for Samsung Health or Google Fit since they have their own Cubii app. So the screen just doesn’t make sense in the long run.
When you get into the measurements, it takes about 4,000 strides to lose 160 calories, and according to Cubii that could take around an hour depending on who you are. This is labeled as light cardio, so it’s not going to double your heart rate or anything (especially since you’ll be sitting down), meaning you can still do other more strenuous forms of cardio without this interfering with it. It’s just a way to burn additional calories while you sit down.
- Excellent Cubii mobile app helps with monitoring your fitness every day while you sit at your desk
- 8 resistance levels with noticeable changes as you progress
- Works with just about any seat thanks to the compact design
- Great way to measure fitness progress; 4,000 strides equals around 160 calories burned
- Minimal movement for a high price
- Built-in LCD display is a lost concept since it’s meant to be used while doing other tasks
Runner Up: Stamina Inmotion Elliptical
Another under-the-desk elliptical, but much more cost-effective. Stamina built this little marvel; to fit underneath your desk or dining room table without being too invasive, and we’d have to say that they’ve definitely done a good job with that. It’s not the overall best elliptical machine for home use, but it gets the job done without breaking the bank. Let’s break it down.
First and foremost, you get textured pedals with a semicircle design and plenty of slats cut into this. This helps provide excellent traction to almost any type of shoe you could wear while using one of these things. Beyond the pedals and preventing slippage, you have a nice quiet level of operation. This won’t be disruptive if you use it in an office setting.
However, it’s not perfect. The feed of the elliptical itself will slip, so the whole thing will start to slowly scoot forward if you aren’t careful. The plate in the front does a good job of keeping it in place; it’s a gradual shift. Additionally, it’s marketed as being something you can use while standing, but trust us on this: don’t stand while you use it.
Balancing becomes a chore and it throws off the entire point of the workout. Utilize Muuv, a fitness app that connects to your elliptical, and begin tracking your progress. It’s a shame that this doesn’t come with integration into Samsung Health, Google Fit, or Apple Health (not even FitBit).
Adjust the tension levels on this low-profile elliptical, fire up your app, and you’re off to the races. You can listen in with iheartRadio, integrate other equipment that you own into the Muuv app, and use the follow-along assembly video during setup. It’s a simple, straightforward device that does exactly what you think it does.
- Adjustable tensions levels have noticeable changes
- Includes Muuv, a fitness app to track your progress
- Textured pedals help prevent slippage
- Marketed as usable while standing, yet it wobbles and is hard to balance on
- Device feet will slip on the floor slightly over time
Elliptical for Low Ceiling FAQ
How Tall Does Your Ceiling Need to be for an Elliptical?
Ellipticals have to somewhat match your height, and then you have the ellipse movement of the handles and moving machine parts. Ideally, you should have an 8-foot tall ceiling or higher.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of homes where this simply isn’t a reality, so you have to make due. We’ve chosen shorter machines on purpose to help you not have to worry about ceiling height quite as much.
Are Home Ellipticals Worth it?
Yes, home ellipticals are worth it. They’re not only better for burning calories than going on walks or runs, but they’re compact and allow you to exercise even on days where it’s blisteringly hot outside or frigidly cold.
You don’t have to worry about conditions, and you can burn a ridiculous amount of calories without even leaving your bedroom first thing in the morning if you really wanted to.
Home ellipticals aren’t just worth it; they’re something that everybody should have; they want to take their personal health seriously. The long-term benefits of lowering your resting heart rate and burning through belly fat are enough for anyone to want to hop on an elliptical.
Is Elliptical Better Than Walking?
Ellipticals burn more calories than walking in a fraction of the time. Going on a walk is nice and relaxing, and a great way to get fresh air that you’re not going to get in the house on a machine, so there are obvious benefits to both. If your sole goal is to burn calories, an elliptical will be a much better exercise for you.
On average, a 30-minute walk will burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 to 200 calories. That’s not bad, especially if you go on a morning walk and an evening walk. That ends up being around 2,000 calories a week, give or take, which is more than half a pound.
Ellipticals condense this into 30 minutes per day with only 5 days per week. You burn around 350 calories on an elliptical during this time, so you can burn 1,750 calories and save yourself nearly 3 hours of time.
Is Treadmill or Elliptical Better for Belly Fat?
Ellipticals will burn more calories than treadmills. However, they operate differently, and it’s important to know the differences between them.
- Dynamic Movement: Ellipticals are forcing a very specific movement based on how you hold the handles. If done properly, you can engage your core when you do this and make it a very viable experience. However, treadmills give you the freedom to engage the muscles you want and tighten up your core in a different way. Both are good, it just comes down to choice.
- Calories Burned: Ellipticals help you burn more calories, plain and simple. Because there’s less impact on your joints, you can maintain a specific stance and make sure you’re not slacking. Sometimes on a treadmill, you can get lackadaisical and start falling behind, but since you’re still moving fast enough on the tread you don’t really feel the negative effects. Ellipticals burn more calories, plain and simple.
- Ease of Use: Treadmills make you entirely exhausted in a way that ellipticals don’t. You can overdo it on either machine and end up exhausted, but 30 minutes on an elliptical will leave you with a bit more energy than 30 minutes on a treadmill will. Both are easy to use, but as long as you’re engaging your core and holding the handles on an elliptical, you don’t really have to think about anything else. That’s definitely easier to use if you ask us.
The Best Compact Elliptical for the Best Compact Workout
It’s time to make your workout a little more compact. At-home gym equipment can be extremely daunting to purchase, especially when you don’t have high ceilings for an elliptical.
These models will solve every one of your problems. Beyond the compact size, these ellipticals also offer some of the best workouts you can possibly get at home.
It’s time to take a look at a better, more compact option for your home so you don’t damage your ceiling. If you’re renting, you can’t afford to damage the place either – it’s time to start living smarter.