j/fit Under Desk Elliptical Trainer Review
The j/fit Under Desk Elliptical looks a lot like the desk ellipticals from Stamina on the surface. They are all portable ellipticals that offer sit/stand capability. But we hope there the similarities end, since the Stamina products suffer poor durability. The jury is still out on the j/fit, as it's relatively new to the market.
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1 year frame, 90 day parts
27" L x 15" W x 11" H
Offers two angles for pedaling while sitting (allows users to switch up the muscles groups targeted and find the optimal under desk elliptical motion). Includes a convenient handle and rollers for transportation. j/fit claims that their use of skateboard wheels create a smoother glide.
Squeaking noises are common—needs regular lubrication. Taller users have difficulty with the short stride. Customers complain of its bulkiness (but it is not much heavier or broader than the average for this product category). We don’t recommend the standing-while-pedaling feature while working at a desk.
An Unproven Desk Elliptical
Judging by the relatively smaller number of customer reviews on Amazon as compared to its peers, the j/fit Under Desk Elliptical is the least proven in the marketplace at this time. (Compare to thousands of customer reviews for the Stamina Under Desk Elliptical Trainer.) The unit has rallied a four-star rating on Amazon so far, which, for this product category, is not terribly impressive (read about the true meaning of Amazon star ratings). We’ve only seen one product below this rating in the desk pedal category, and that’s the $30 Stamina Folding Cycle.
Two Angle Option
Even if the j/fit is unproven, it does have some benefits to bring to the table in the market for under desk pedals. It has two pedaling angles you can use in sitting mode. Not only does this offer a way to work different muscle groups while you’re sitting at your desk, it also gives you a better chance of finding a range of motion that works without smashing your kneecaps against the bottom of your desk. (This is a common issue, among others, for desk cyclers—see our primer on How to Use a Desk Cycle for more pointers.)
Larger Than We’d Like
Right off the bat, one of the concerns we have about the j/fit is its length. It’s only 2 inches shorter than the FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical, which regularly has trouble fitting underneath users’ desks without poking out the back side. Before purchasing, we’d definitely recommend measuring your desk space (among a host of other workstation prep activities) to ensure you actually have room for the machine. Otherwise, pedaling could put you in a position where you have to lean over greatly to reach your keyboard and mouse. Unless you have an adjustable-height desk with an articulating keyboard tray (highly recommended for any desk cycle setup), you could be risking some wonky ergonomics that can lead to serious repetitive strain injuries.
Some customer reviews complain that the unit is bulky. Based on its specifications, coming in at 27.2" x 15" x 11" and weighing a little over 26 pounds, the unit is longer than average and a couple pounds heavier—but not dramatically bulkier than other products on the market. It does come with a handle and rollers for easier transport.
Sit or Stand
This product, like the Stamina elliptical, is sit-stand, so it does offer users the option to go "hands free" and pedal in the upright position. Not only is this a balancing trick, but we also don’t think it belongs in the office, as this posture makes typing and mousing nigh impossible. It even makes reading difficult, as you’re constantly lunging back and forth from the monitor. Besides, it’s likely to cause even more wear and tear on the machine. (See the Stamina Elliptical review where we spell out the problems with the stand function.)
Larger users also complain about the small strides of the unit, and some mention a squeaky sound. (This last compliant is no surprise, as it is a common theme in this product category.) Various lubricants are recommended, including Pledge (not kidding).
In passing, we should note that the marketing material for the j/fit mentions that the "skateboard wheels" give a smooth ride, but we think this is pretty gimmicky, especially since the fluidity of motion is more determined by the mechanism inside the machine than the wheels, which help stabilize it.
To put it in a nutshell, we’d recommend waiting on the j/fit Under Desk Elliptical until it’s been better vetted by the office fitness community. However, we have a sneaking suspicion this product is a lot like the Stamina products in terms of quality. They look similar and offer the same sit-stand functionality. We’d be surprised if the durability issues that plague the Stamina don’t apply as well to the j/fit in the long run.
For kicks, our review staff created what we imagine is the world's first sit-stand-walk-pedal workstation. Check out the blog article on our Quad-Modal Office Fitness DreamStation. We integrated a Cubii with an iMovR Everest Dual-Tray desk, an iMovR ThermoTread GT office treadmill, a Tempo TreadTop Office Chair, and an EcoLast TreadTop Anti-Fatigue Mat to optimize movement during the workday.
If you do end up deciding to invest in a cycling workstation, definitely check out our primer on How to Set Up an Ergonomically Proper Desk Cycle to ensure a successful experience.
See our comprehensive Comparison Review of Desk Cycles and Bike Desks.