Nearly 25% of Americans sit for over eight hours a day, according to The Heart Foundation, and get less than 20 minutes of exercise on average per day.

Too much sitting increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other life-threatening illnesses. 

I found some of the best pedal exercisers to help you stay active while at your job. I recommend the DeskCycle as the best pedal cycler, but there are plenty of other options to choose from. 

8 Best Pedal Exercisers


Best Overall Pedal Exerciser


1. DeskCycle Under Desk Bike

DeskCycle Under Desk Cycle,Pedal Exerciser

My top choice is the DeskCycle.

Set up is a breeze. It gets working within minutes. I particularly like the easy-to-read digital display so I don’t have to bend down under my desk to see my stats.

The display shows your speed, time, calories burned, and distance. 

The DeskCycle goes as low as 27 inches. You can adjust its height if you’re worried about hitting your knees on your desk.

The exerciser also has a smooth and quiet pedal motion thanks to its patented magnetic resistance mechanism. 

You have eight calibrated resistance settings to choose from.

They range between so-easy-grandma-can-do-it to super challenging.

No matter what setting you choose, the DeskCycle gives you twice the range of other pedal exercisers. 

It’s easy on your joints. You should be fine if you have knee problems or recent surgery. 


Pros

  • Easy assembly
  • Quick start-up
  • Easy-to-read LCD display
  • Eight calibrated resistance settings
  • Adjustable height

Cons

  • Could be too bulky, depending on how much under desk space you have
  • Some experience resistance setting issues
  • A bit heavy

Best Pedal Exerciser For Seniors


2. Vive Desk Bike Cycle

Vive Desk Bike Cycle - Foot Pedal Exerciser

The Vive Desk Cycle Bike offers compact and budget-friendly cycling for those stuck sitting all day.

I like this exerciser because it’s not bulky like the other ones.

The Vive Desk Bike Cycle would fit seniors without much arm strength and who want a low impact workout with easy storage and quick start-up.

The simple assembly initially attracted me to this machine. You only need the tools included in the package to build it. 

The machine’s tension levels adjust with a knob on the size. I can challenge myself on days when I want a more intense workout (like when I ate a lot of dessert the day prior).

The large LCD display tells me my speed, time, calories burned, and RPM with the touch of a button.

Elderly users improved their mobility after cycling with this exerciser. I find that I’m more alert when using machines like this one as well, thanks to improved blood circulation. 


Pros

  • Compact design
  • Adjustable tension levels
  • Easy-to-read LCD display
  • Simple assembly

Cons

  • The metal can burn you after a workout due to the friction
  • Slides A Bit when in use
  • Tension wears out over time

Most Compact Pedal Exercisers


3. MOMODA Pedal Exerciser Desk Bike

MOMODA Pedal Exerciser Leg and Arm Desk Bike

This minimalist pedal exerciser from Momoda takes up very little space and weighs virtually nothing.

But, it can still give you a killer workout. 

Momoda designed this bike to aid knee recovery. Its settings range from a gentle workout to heart-pumping cardio.

The pedal exerciser improves blood circulation, strengthens legs (or arms, if you want), and relieves ligament tension after hours of sitting. 

The machine’s quiet cycling motion will barely be audible under your desk, allowing you to discreetly exercise in the office.

The compact design makes it easy for everyone one to use, but seniors will especially get a kick out of it. (Or, well, a cycle.)

The Momoda pedal exerciser includes an easy-to-read LCD screen. It displays your time, cycle count, RPM, burned calories, and other stats.

The reinforced steel pipes and ABS plastic constructing this peddler means you can go as hard as you want without fear of breaking it.

The crank is wrapped in heat-insulation foam and won’t overheat either; it’s stable to use throughout your eight hour workday.

Simply fold up the Momoda pedal exerciser once you finish. You’re good to go until the next day. 


Pros

  • Quiet
  • Adjustable resistance levels
  • Durable design
  • Compact design
  • Sturdy pedals

Cons

  • May be too tall for some desk users
  • Slides around when in use
  • Some users find even the hardest tension is too soft

Best Budget-Friendly Pedal Exercisers


4. DECELI Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser

DECELI Under Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser - Portable Mini Exercise Bike

This DECELI pedal exerciser comes in at 13 pounds and a little over a foot tall.

To help you visualize that, it reaches halfway up your shin (roughly). It's perfect for transporting between your office desk and in front of the sofa at home. 

The multifunctional LCD display shows pertinent stats like time, number of cycles, distance, and calories burned. The screen needs one AAA battery to function. 

The battery is not included upon purchase, but it means you can use this machine anywhere without needing a power outlet nearby. 

DECELI took two measures to reduce slippage: The adjustable foot straps and four anti-rubber pads fitted on the machine.

The company includes extra straps but not rubber pads. 

You manually adjust the resistance level to your liking with the tension knob.

Get anywhere between light cycling to heart-pumping workout. When you’re done, the built-in carrying handle facilitates taking the machine between locations. 

In all, the DECELI pedal machine comes relatively lightweight, includes easy handling, and gives a low impact workout. It’s an affordable way to start exercising at home or in the office. 


Pros

  • Affordable
  • Use this machine anywhere
  • Easy transportation
  • Quiet
  • Strong pedals

Cons

  • Screen needs a battery to operate, which can get annoying
  • May be a little bulky under your desk

Best Bluetooth Pedal Exerciser


5. EXERPEUTIC 900E Bluetooth Under Desk Pedal Exerciser

EXERPEUTIC 900E Bluetooth Under Desk All User Height

The Roll-On and Lock design stops you from moving while exercising. I found it was the only one on the market with that technology so far. 

The wheel holder adjusts its height so taller or longer-legged people can avoid hitting their knees on their desk when working. 

Set the intensity of your workout with 14 levels of magnetic resistance.

You don’t have to bend under the desk to see your stats. The machine includes Bluetooth technology and a free My Cloud Fitness app (available on iOS and Android) to store your stats. 

There’s an optional weight scale attachment to give you a better sense of your weight loss progress. 

Check your time, speed, distance, burned calories, RPM, and workout goals by glancing at your phone. 

The ultra-quiet operation won’t alert others around you that you’re working, which fits well with open-office designs.

The carrying handles and bottom wheels make it easy to transport the machine. 

Overall, the Exerpeutic 900E Pedal Exerciser allows you to not only stay moving while at work but to actively lose weight — all without disturbing your coworkers.


Pros

  • Prevents sliding away
  • Optional weight loss scale attachment
  • Great Bluetooth connectivity
  • Quiet
  • Durable pedals

Cons

  • Height doesn’t adjust very well
  • Metal around the machine can get hot after a workout

Best Durable Pedal Exerciser


6. ANCHEER Pedal Exerciser, Under Desk Cycle Mini Exercise Bike

ANCHEER Pedal Exerciser

You’ll notice that the Ancheer Pedal Exerciser has a durable build and a non-slip base.

The machine can take a beating. It’s perfect for those who want harder workouts at home or in the office. 

The large LCD displays time, speed, distance, RPM, and burned calories with a simple touch of a button. However, it requires two 1.5 volt batteries to use. 

The eight levels of tension provide your preferred workout intensity. The lowest setting helps those in physical therapy gently work out their legs. The highest setting can make you break a sweat. 

The Ancheer Pedal Exerciser’s pedal motions don’t make a lot of noise. You can cycle without disrupting your coworkers.

The built-in handle lets you transport the machine throughout your office, work, or home, as well as store it wherever you need. 

In all, this pedal exerciser from Ancheer is built from high-quality materials. It would be a long-term addition to any attempt to exercise at home or in the office. 


Pros

  • High-quality build
  • Large LCD screen
  • Eight tension levels
  • Easy transport with built-in carrying handle
  • Sturdy pedals

Cons

  • LCD screen needs batteries to operate
  • A bit heavy

Best Pedal Exerciser Upgrade


7. DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Cycle — Pedal Exerciser

DeskCycle 2 Under Desk Cycle

Quiet, portable, and efficient, the DeskCycle 2 is the upgraded version to its predecessor. 

This pedal exerciser works with desks as low as 27 inches. The adjustable height lets you workout with this machine no matter how long your legs are. 

The high-quality build means the machine can withstand that accidental kick under the desk. 

You can check your speed, time, distance, RPM, and calories burned with the bright LCD display.

The smooth pedaling motion lets you cycle without making much noise. It’s great for those who share office space. 

With eight calibrated magnetic resistance settings, you can get either an easy or challenging workout — with more than twice the range of other pedal exercisers. 

It’s a bit more expensive than the first DeskCycle pedal exerciser without offering many other features.

That’s why I didn’t include it higher in the list. But it still provides a great workout. It would be a good investment for those looking to get their first pedal exerciser. 


Pros

  • Quiet
  • Portable
  • Eight calibrated magnetic resistance settings
  • Offers twice the range of other pedal exercisers
  • Strong pedals

Cons

  • A bit expensive
  • Doesn’t offer many more features than the first DeskCycle pedal exerciser

Best Pedal Exerciser For Arm Workouts


8. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418 Magnetic Mini Exercise Bike

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418

Most people use pedal exercisers to work out their lower body, but they can also build strength and coordination in the upper body too. 

For those hoping to workout their arms as well as their legs, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418 Pedal Exerciser gives you the best of both worlds. 

The safety straps work with both your hands and feet, adjusting to every size. Using these straps aid in safety and stability while cycling. 

There are also eight tension levels to choose from. Mix them to get a versatile workout. Tone muscles, burn fat, or use a low setting to increase blood flow while seated. 

The easy-to-read LCD display shows your time, distance, speed, cycles, and calories burned.

You never have to guess how intensely you workout. The machine supports up to 220 pounds. Larger people can use it — be sure you don’t put your whole weight on it. 

Otherwise, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B0418 Pedal Exerciser works great for both arm and leg workouts, making it one of the most versatile machines on this list. 


Pros

  • Works as well for arm workouts as with legs
  • Included safety straps improve stability when cycling
  • Large LCD display
  • Eight resistance levels
  • Durable pedals

Cons

  • Rubber mats don’t always prevent sliding
  • Somewhat low maximum user weight

How To Choose The Best Pedal Exerciser? 

A mini exercise bike comes in different forms. Here’s what you should look for in a pedal exerciser. 

Size

As with anything, size matters — especially when it comes to pedal exercisers. 

Pedal exercisers come in hemispheres to bare-bone bars. The biggest I’ve seen are about the size of a rice cooker, though some come smaller and without the bulk. 

From what I’ve seen, size correlates with how much resistance and intensity of a workout you can get — as well as durability and smooth pedaling experience.

Even for their small size, they provide resistance comparable to an exercise bike.

Resistance

The energy you need to turn the pedals? That’s resistance. Escalating resistance settings lets you choose your workout intensity.

You can pick a low-level resistance for mindless cycling while at work or higher levels to break a sweat. 

Most pedal exercisers I’ve seen have eight magnetic resistance levels. Some have 14, and others go beyond 20.

Eight gives you all you need for a thorough cardio workout, but those who like more control over calorie burning will like more resistance options. 

Forward And Reverse Pedaling

Bidirectional pedaling improves pedaling mobility and prevents you from stressing out your joints. You can target different muscle groups in your upper body and legs without jamming the machine. 

Digital Display

A large LCD display shows your speed, cycling time, distance, calories burned, time, RPM, and other stats. A prominent digital display lets you keep track of your fitness goals. 

Some machines use a mix of digital displays and Bluetooth-synced smartphone apps to help you log your fitness stats. 

Pedals

Pedal height should allow you to cycle under a desk or table with ease. Some pedals include safety straps so your feet don’t slip off. Others include little cup-looking designs in which you place your toes for easier pedaling. 

Noise Level

Manufacturers know most people use a pedaler exerciser at their office. They’ve designed them to be quiet. 

Some still manage to make audible whirring noises as the internal cylinders turn, which can disturb you and others while working.

Height For Use Under A Desk

Consider the space in which you’ll primarily use your pedal exerciser.

Under your desk? Ensure there’s enough legroom for the machine, your knees, and for storing it after a workout. This means the machine should be shorter than three feet. 

Assembly

You’ll have to attach the pedals, bottom bars, stabilizing rubber attachments, and other accessories to your pedal bike exerciser.

Most machines need some assembly before use — but the assembly difficulty depends on the manufacturer. 

Some manufacturers are also kind enough to include any tools you need for assembly in the box. Others force you to ask a coworker for the odd screwdriver to attach any bolts in place. 

Storage & Portability

Where do you plan on keeping the machine when not in use? How do you plan on transporting the machine? 

Pedal exercisers don’t take up as much space as a traditional exercise bike, but their unique shape creates issues when storing them. 

Some companies improve storage and portability by building handles straight into the machine. Including wheels on the bottom to let you tug it around instead of carrying it. 

Foldable

Less bulky pedal exercisers fold to take up even less space in storage. They often don’t provide as much resistance due to their smaller, thinner frames. What they lack in resistance levels they make up for in storage potential. 

Pedal Exerciser Benefits

  • Avoid a sedentary work environment. Science has repeatedly shown that sitting still for too long increases your risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, deep vein thrombosis, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other negative health outcomes. But you can’t quit your desk job to become a park ranger. The best pedal exerciser lets you continue to work at your desk job but avoid the negative health outcomes from too much sitting. 
  • Burn calories. Cycling moderately for an hour can burn about 600 calories an hour. Casually using your pedal exerciser lets you burn fat while at the office.
  • Strengthen joints and muscles. Work out your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves — all while answering emails.
  • Improve mood. Science shows that exercise boosts creativity, staves off depression, and helps treat it if you already have depression.
  • More compact than an exercise bike. Pedal exercisers are cheaper than exercise bikes, and you can carry them between your home and office. 

How To Use A Pedal Exerciser

To use for your lower body:

  1. 1
    Sit down in a comfortable chair.
  2. 2
    Place the pedal exerciser in front of your feet.
  3. 3
    Adjust the resistance to your liking.
  4. 4
    Place your feet on the exercise pedals. Secure any safety straps around your toes or shoes. 
  5. 5
    Begin your pedal exercises.

To use with your arms: 

  1. 1
    Place the pedal exerciser on a table. 
  2. 2
    Set the desired resistance level. 
  3. 3
    Grip each exercise pedal with your hands. 
  4. 4
    Begin cycling with your arms. Reverse cycle to target different muscle groups. 

Which Muscles Does A Pedal Exerciser Target? 

some of the muscles worked on a pedal exerciser

A portable pedal exercisers target your upper leg’s quadriceps and hamstrings. In the lower leg, these machines strengthen the gastrocnemius and soleus — both in the calf. 

The forward and backward pedaling motion works out the muscles in these main areas, though the quadriceps and hamstrings do most of the work. 

When used to exercise the upper body, a portable pedal exerciser targets the biceps, triceps, forearms, and shoulders. Increasing your grip on the pedals strengthens your hands and wrists too. 

How Many Calories Can You Burn on a Pedal Exerciser?

complicated math

There's no exact formula that will tell how much you can burn, but....

Exact energy burned depends on your weight, age, gender, and resistance level on the pedal exerciser. But I can tell you this: Moderate cycling can burn between 210 and 311 calories in 30 minutes depending on your weight, according to a study from Harvard University. 

Vigorous cycling burns even more calories — between 315 and 466 depending on weight. You can burn even more fat when lightly cycling throughout your 8-hour workday. There’s also plenty of time to exercise during your lunch break.

In other words, you lose weight using a mini exercise bike. That is, as long as you’re not consuming more than you’re burning. Careful how much sugar and milk you put in your morning coffee!

How Or Will It Benefit Seniors?

Physical exercise benefits seniors in many ways, according to the Center for Disease Control. Exercising regularly helps seniors maintain independence and reduces the chance of falls. It also lowers the odds of dying from cardiovascular illnesses, as well as maintaining joint, bone, and muscle health. 

Exercise peddlers provide an excellent way for seniors to get such important physical activity. First, these machines are lightweight, compact, and portable. Seniors can easily move one around without help. 

The best pedal exerciser gives low-impact cardio that won’t damage knees and hips. They’re also much cheaper than an exercise bike or monthly gym membership. Wheelchair users or those with low mobility can use a pedal exerciser from where they’re seated. 

In short: Yes, a pedal exerciser will benefit seniors because of their affordability, compact size, and easy access to low-impact cardio. 

Can I Use A Pedal Exerciser At Work?

Yes. If your employer has no restriction on personal foot pedal exercisers, you can use a pedal machine at work. 

Manufacturers design pedal exercisers to make as little noise as possible. That’s due to either magnetic resistance or muffled cylindrical design. You can cycle at work without disturbing your colleagues. 

Ensure you get a bike pedal exerciser with an adjustable height, as you don’t want your knees banging against your desk to disturb those around you. 

Final Thoughts

A pedal exerciser provides affordable exercise in a compact form. 

The best don’t take up much space, they’re affordable, and they give you as strong a workout as you’d like. That’s why I like the DeskCycle Under Desk Bike. You get all those traits at a fair price. 

It’s a great tool for those with an office job, with low mobility, and otherwise sit a lot to stave off the negative health effects of a sedentary lifestyle. 

You can burn fat while answering emails. You can improve your mood and blood circulation sitting at your desk. And you can easily stick the exerciser away once it’s time to leave. 

I hope this list of the best pedal exercisers motivated you to stop sitting and start getting fit. You could have been cycling while you read this article. You don’t have any excuses anymore. 

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