Ellipticals are quite popular now because they are an excellent way to get your cardio exercises without impacting your joints. Something popularly referred to as Low-impact training. The only downside to buying an elliptical trainer is that most of them take up loads of floor space in your home. If you’re like us and you only have little space to fit in an elliptical machine, shopping for the best compact elliptical trainers should be high on your list as not every compact elliptical in the market deserves your money.
These best compact ellipticals and folding elliptical trainers are the way to go as they take up less floor space and are easier to move around. What’s more is that they do not skimp on all the features that you can typically find on those hulking, full-sized elliptical trainers.
So what should you look out for in the best compact elliptical trainers?
Some factors to consider before purchasing a compact elliptical include:
- Drive Train: Ellipticals can either have front or rear drive train and while there are pros and cons to each type, manufacturers generally optimize their placement. As long as you’re interested in a compact elliptical, you’re most likely to buy a machine with a front drive train. Having a front drive train helps the machine to take up less space.
- Incline and Resistance: When you see machines with 8 levels of resistance versus another one with 24 resistance levels, it generally doesn’t mean “tougher” or better. It simply means that the machine with the higher number of resistance/incline settings has more precise controls.
- Workout Programs: At the very least, you should consider a compact elliptical trainer with built-in workout programs that can help you start your fitness journey if you are a newbie.
- Ease of use: How comfortable is the elliptical trainer? Can you take full strides? Do the handle bars move smoothly as you workout? These all combine to make your workout more entertaining and less stressful.
- Features & Extras: Some of the best compact elliptical trainers have connected fitness features, can function as hybrid ellipticals and steppers, and include mobile handlebars for total body workouts. It’s also common to see tablet and phone holders, bottle hoder, charging ports, bluetooth connectivity, fans, speakers, and more.
- Durability: More often than not, durability coincides with price. Some of the cheaper compact ellipticals are often made with light materials and may be less durable than their more expensive counterparts.
Here are our 5 top picks for small, space-saving, best compact ellipticals.
- Bowflex Max Trainer Series – M3
- Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
- Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3919 Hybrid Elliptical/Climber Trainer
- Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E320002 Compact Elliptical Trainer
- Body Power 2-in-1 Compact Elliptical Stepper Trainer
- Small footprint of 49 x 26 x 64.7 inches
- Can take a maximum user weight of 300 pounds
- long stride length of 19 inches
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance
- easy to assemble and sturdy construction
- runs smoothly in both forward and backward directions
- Can get loud at high speeds
Bowflex max Max trainer series are complex machines in small footprints. For most people looking for compact elliptical trainers, we recommend the entry-level Bowflex M3.
With a small footprint of 49″ x 26″ x 64.7″ (LWH), it is one of the most compact ellipticals in the market. It combines elliptical motion and a stepping mechanism to deliver intense workouts.
Assembly is easy, the machine runs smoothly, and the maximum stride length of 19″ and user weight of 300 pounds makes it suitable for tall and big people.
We don’t like that the machine can get loud when you crank up your resistance level, but for most people, this should not be an issue.
- small footprint of 53.8 x 24 x 62.5 inches
- 5.5-in high-contrast display
- Max stride length of 18 inches and weight of 300 pounds
- 13 preset programs
- 16 resistance levels
- Built-in bottle and tablet holder
- Heart rate sensors.
- Pedalling backward is not as smooth as most ellipticals.
Schwinn 411 compact elliptical trainer is one of the best compact elliptical trainers you can buy. It has a small footprint of 53.8 x 24 x 62.5 inches that takes up very little space in any room and has small wheels for easy moving.
It has more than enough oomph for beginners and pros and the forward motion is very smooth. The included workout programs are also fun and challenging.
Assembling the machine is easy for one person, and it does not make any squeaky noises when properly assembled. The backward pedaling motion is not as smooth as the forwards pedal motion, but you can easily get by, considering that this machine costs a fraction of the price of gym ellipticals.
- Small footprint of 44 L x 25 W x 64 H inches and max user weight of 260 pounds
- Combined elliptical/stepper motion
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance levels
- Mobile and fixed handlebars with pulse sensor
- Wheels for easy transport
- Small stride length of 10 inches.
- Not recommended for anyone taller than 5’11.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3919 Hybrid Elliptical/Climber Trainer is one of the best compact elliptical trainers for smaller people. It stays true to most other gym equipment made by Sunny Health and Fitness by ensuring that the basics are nailed down perfectly.
It has a solid steel construction that is easy to assemble, with small transport wheels. It is compact, runs smoothly and quietly, and has enough resistance for most people.
The stride length of 10 inches is perfect if you’re not too tall, but will be noticeably short for taller people. Considering this fact, the SF-E3919 comes at a very affordable price and is a great addition to any home gym.
- 24 different workout programs to chose from, including a create-your-own option.
- Small footprint of 49.4 x 23.4 x 63.4 inches
- Stable and sturdy build that is easy to assemble
- 16 magnetic resistance levels
- Basic LCD display
It’s no secret that ellipticals with rear drive trains perform smoother and runs more quietly when compared to those with front drive trains. The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E320002 Compact Elliptical Trainer is one of the best compact ellipticals with a rear drive train.
It is made from a sturdy steel base with a plastic casing for the drive train. It is easy for one person to assemble and runs smoothly after assembly.
A huge 24 workout programs are there for your workout fun, and you can create your own program. With 16 levels of magnetic resistance, it easily tops out some of the other ellipticals on our list.
For the price tag, this is one of the best compact elliptical trainers for small spaces that you can buy.
- Different elliptical motion that feels both like eliptical and stepper
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance
- Simple LCD display
- Max user weight of 250 pounds
- Small footprint of 42 x 24 x 62 inches
- Not the sturdiest construction
- Assembly is harder than all the other top picks
The Body Power 2-in-1 Compact Elliptical Stepper Trainer is not actually a 2-in-1 device. It has just one motion that feels like a hybrid between elliptical and stepping, which is quite unique and interesting. It has the smallest footprint of all the ellipticals we tested making it the most compact elliptical trainer you can buy at the moment that doesn’t sacrifice all the best parts.
Assembly is not as easy as our other top picks and should take one person anywhere between 2 to 5 hours with detailed instructions. Once assembled, it is smooth, whisper-quiet, and the most compact elliptical machine we’ve reviewed.
It’s designed and tested for a weight capacity of 250 lbs and has a stride length of 11 inches. 8 levels of magnetic resistance are more than enough to keep your workouts engaging.
The best compact elliptical trainers offer full cardio exercises with half the space of full-sized ellipticals. If you want much smaller ellipticals, you can also consider under-desk ellipticals that are become more popular in workplaces. Keep in mind that they lack the benefit of upper body workouts.
If you would love to save time on your research or for some reason you have decision fatigue, our top picks for the best compact ellipticals would be a good list to shop with.