12 Best Ellipticals for Short People in 2023 and Experts Buyer’s Guide

While you are searching for an elliptical machine, there are a few factors to keep in mind, especially if you are not particularly tall. For instance, the best elliptical for a short person is one with a shorter stride length because an excessively long one wouldn’t only be uncomfortable but also can cause you some injuries. 

Basically, it is not uncommon for people to not make up their minds regarding the best elliptical for a short person. Many individuals believe that elliptical machines are only meant for tall people which is so incorrect. Manufacturers of these kinds of training machines understand well the relevance of stride length and height in workout machines. Therefore, they take people of shorter heights into their consideration as well. 

Ellipticals are one of the most popular training equipment whether in the gym or at home because they provide their users with a total body workout.

One of the most important factors to consider while exercising on an elliptical machine is your height, because your arms and legs, both of them, have to swing in the perfect timing throughout the training session.

While finding the best elliptical machine for a short person is so challenging because most workout equipments is designed to fulfill the needs of considerably taller people. Thus, learning how to choose the best elliptical machine for your body would be beneficial.

So, before you choose the best elliptical trainer for your smaller body, you have to remember these few key points:

Working out on an elliptical machine may be both enjoyable and safe since it is characterized by a mechanism that protects users’ knees and joints while also allowing them to have a variety of exercises. 

This type of workout machine can be used by anyone whether they are big or small, tall or short. However, if you are a short person purchasing an elliptical, there would be a few critical elements to consider before you buy it, the most important of these elements is the stride length.

What is a stride length? It is simply the maximum distance between the two pedals. Most ellipticals advertise those of 20-22 inches stride; however, if you are a short person, this may be a disappointment for you because the longer the stride length, the less comfortable the exercise would be. A short person’s perfect stride length would be around 18 inches; anything above it would put strain on your legs and you would have no smooth exercise and super difficulty as well, not to forget the injury that might occur!

Many ellipticals have a stride length varying from 14 to 18 inches. Nonetheless, many of them are inexpensive, indicating that they are not manufactured with high-quality materials and parts; putting you at risk of damage and injuries. Therefore, selecting an elliptical that would meet the preferred stride length and provide you with a decent workout while meeting the following characteristics is also crucial. 

The short stride length elliptical may have a lot of features, but it wouldn’t be a plus to your home gym if it is not going to be durable.

While fancy and low pricing would attract your attention, make sure to consider the quality as well. 

Always choose those with a sturdy build and smooth performance. Moreover, in order to improve your workout experience, take a look at those with extra features like a bottle holder, or cooling fans. Most importantly, the handlebars should provide strong grip support, the pedals should be operating smoothly, and the mechanism of cycling should not cause any discomfort to your body.

So, what is the optimal stride length for you?

You should be comfortable with the gap present between the two pedals at their farthest distance; so you can have a pleasant and effective workout. The optimal stride length for an elliptical machine that is meant for a shorter individual would be 13-inch stride. 

And why is that beneficial?

The advantages of using a high-quality elliptical machine that matches your natural stride would ensure you a more effective workout. It would feel uncomfortable if you are on an elliptical with a stride that is too lengthy. The cardio workout would be less intense and you will suffer from cramps and injuries. Although, you must include Cardio exercise in your workout routine is beneficial; why?

  • Helps in maintaining overall cardiovascular health.
  • Reduces fat and excess weight.
  • Assists in increasing lung capacity. 
  • Better and higher bone density.
  • Gives you a better sense of self and increases your self-confidence!

Also, if the stride length is proper, you will have a greater workout experience, a complete full extension of the muscles, and no soreness or any potential injuries. 

After you know which feature is the most important, check out the finest ellipticals that are designed for short people on the market.

Also, keep in mind that ‘short’ as an adjective is relative. The ellipticals we will list here are built for trainees who are shorter than the average person. 

1. Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E905

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  1. Weight capacity of 220 pounds.
  2. Footpads that are anti-slippery. 
  3. Convenient tension knob.
  4. A digital monitor that has many purposes.

This elliptical from Sunny Health and Fitness group is one perfect elliptical machine for a cardiovascular workout that would fit anywhere in your house, thanks to its 37.8 by 26.6 by 60 inches dimensions; therefore, it doesn’t take so much room. Moreover, it is simple to tune it to your preferred resistance level. 

Not to mention it is user-friendly for people who are just getting started. It offers you different exercise activities in order to meet all your necessities. That explains the elliptical handy tension knob that features eight magnetic resistance levels.

Furthermore, the anti-slip handles that are designed for eliminating any risk for beginners, and the safety footpads as well. 

Another feature that would impress you is the elliptical built-in digital monitor that would assist you in keeping track of your training progress with a computerized system, covering time, calories burned, speed, and distance traveled. It also provides you with your heart rate readings while you are working out. 

  • It does not occupy a lot of setup space.
  • It may be adjusted to different levels of resistance according to your preferences.
  • It is not really suitable for expert level trainees. 

2. Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine

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It is suitable for all users, including people whose heights are 5’7’’ or below. 

The best of equipment is manufactured to be user-friendly and also satisfies its users’ comforts and needs. And this elliptical, a product from Sole Fitness, which is a leading manufacturer of fitness equipment, is no exception. They are known for their excellent customer care services and high-quality machines, which also include the E35 Elliptical Machine. The main benefit of this tiny elliptical is the numerous customizable choices it provides you WITHOUT sacrificing your comfort. 

Most fitness freaks enjoy a good challenge. With its various inclination and resistance levels that can be easily adjusted using a simple button in the handlebar, the equipment guarantees you a challenging training experience. Moreover, the adjustable stride length of 20-22 inches suits everybody of any shape, size, and height! The elliptical features 16 different resistance levels, and the inclination may be set up to 30 degrees.

The string metal flywheel makes this elliptical durable, and the handlebars are constructed with several grip settings in order to make your training experience more comfortable.

The elliptical maximum weight capacity is also 375 pounds! It has ten distinct programs that include 6 pre-programmed, 2 user-defined, and 2 heart rate programs. It uses information on the screen to help its users assess their own performance according to their speed, time exercised, calories burned, distance covered, pace and inclination.

Due to its good resistance and outstanding connectivity with different electronic devices, this is the perfect elliptical for a newbie or an intermediate-level trainee seeking a good value purchase.

It is strong and has various customizable options when it comes to pedals, consoles, and inclinations. 

  • Outstanding comfort and durability. 
  • The maximum weight capacity of 375 lbs.
  • Powered incline levels.
  • 16 resistance levels.
  • Customizable stride and 100% adjustable footrests.
  • A built in fan for a cooling effect. 
  • Water bottle holder.
  • Screen display to monitor your workout.
  • Quite expensive!
  • Some ellipticals feature more workout programs.
  • Not the best option for advanced trainees.

3. EFITMENT Magnetic Elliptical Trainer

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If you are concerned about the space at your house but still want to commit some of it for your own fitness routine and build a home gym, the EFITMENT Magnetic elliptical is your perfect choice, why? Simply, because of its compact size that could fit into the smallest spaces. Despite being a relative newcomer to the fitness market, this brand has established itself as a solid worthy investment with a low cost, high quality, and pleasant elliptical machines.

While most elliptical machines are designed for those who are taller, this one stands out because of its 11-inch stride length, which makes it ideal for people shorter than 5’6’’. 

If you are over 5’6’’ and weighing more than 220 pounds, this would not be your best option, because it will not get you a proper body workout. 

The EFITMENT magnetic elliptical cross trainer machine is the best budget-friendly elliptical. It has eight distinct levels that are suitable for everybody, but the drawback is that changing them requires a knob instead of pressing a button, but can also be reached simply by lowering your hand.

No inclination is available too in this model; but it appears to be the case with many of the inexpensive ellipticals. 

Its design allows for both static and moving handlebars, allowing its users to have a complete body workout. 

The static handlebars decode heart rate, which you can follow on the LCD screen that displays not only the heart rate, but also exercise time, distance covered, speed, calories burned, and odometer as well. 

As a budget-friendly model, it is not surprising that it packs the Bluetooth connectivity feature, a cooling fan, or preset programs. 

  • Great machine for short people usage.
  • Compact size that would save space around your house.
  • Eight different resistance levels with statistics display.
  • Smooth workout training.
  • Quiet workout.
  • A built in fan and a water bottle holder.
  • Outstanding screen display.
  • Not suitable for people above 6 feet.
  • Lacking longevity.
  • Not suitable for advanced trainees or heavy weighted people.

4. Exerpeutic 4322 Heavy Duty Magnetic Elliptical

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An overview:

  • The stride length of 13 inches.
  • No inclination option.
  • 16 magnetic resistance levels.
  • 53 x 25 x 63 inches in dimensions.
  • Weighed 88 pounds.
  • Maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds.
  • Three years warranty.

This elliptical machine is lightweight and also characterized by having two convenient wheels under the flywheel for transportation across the house. Moreover, you can have it moving forwards and backward for a variety of workout options and for the sake of working your entire muscle system! The drawback here lies in being extra large with a no-skid ribbed texture for its users’ safety.

  • Quiet and smooth.
  • 3 years warranty.
  • One of the least expensive ellipticals out there.
  • Maximum weight capacity up to 300 pounds.
  • Compact size.
  • Short and non adjustable stride.
  • Manufactured of low quality materials. 
  • Not the safest option since it is easily breakable.
  • Complicated assembly.

5. Proform Smart Strider 895

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The Proform 895 is an excellent alternative if you want an elliptical with a shorter stride length of 18 inches but still want a high-quality machine. It is a rear-drive trainer that costs less than 1000 dollars, making it one of the options to put on your list if you are on a budget. 

The 18 pounds flywheel is not the heaviest on the market, but it is still heavy enough to provide you with a powerful and solid ride while running. It also includes a full-color touch screen HD interface that allows you to stream iFit exercises or rub trails from around the world.

Another perk? It is not hard to store because it folds up! This is another advantage in case you have a limited room in your house. 

Moreover, this elliptical trainer gives you up to 10 degrees of inclination for more challenging cross-training workouts. The slope of your jogging path is changed by the inclination feature, which allows you to work more on your lower body muscles. 

It is not the best, especially not a commercial-grade machine; but it is a good option if you want a cheap quality elliptical with an 18-inch stride length.

6. Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine

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  1. 17.5 stride length.
  2. No incline option. 
  3. 8 resistance levels.
  4. 7 preset workout programs. 
  5. 59 x 23 x 64 inches in dimensions.
  6. 105 pounds product weight.
  7. Maximum weight limit of 275 pounds.
  8. Two years warranty on mechanical and electrical components.

Top features

  1. It has a large and an easy to interpret LCD screen displaying all your crucial workout data clearly.
  2. Ergonomically placed grip heart rate monitors on each handgrip in order for you to keep track of your heart rate while working out.
  3. Schwinn uses a flywheel that is lightweight with a high inertia perimeter for a smooth and quiet workout experience.

This is another piece of workout equipment that should be on your to-consider list! It is from a well-known brand, Schwinn, that is known for creating high-quality home gym equipment. 

The A40 is a fantastic elliptical for entry-level trainees, with a significantly higher manufacturing quality than other small elliptical machines within the same price range. 

It is capable of providing you with motivating and challenging workout regimens that would evolve your fitness journey. 

Characterized by having 8 resistance levels for you to change from, 7 pre-programmed exercise programs (6 profiles and 1 quick start) and biomechanical engineered linkages with a 17 inch stride length for smooth foot movement. 

This type of elliptical machine is front-drive and has huge stabilizers that can hold up to 275 pounds maximum weight capacity, making it ideal for various workout training sessions. Moreover, it has a huge LCD panel that shows you the most important information such as distance traveled, calories burned, time spent, heart rate, and your current training program. 

Handles are ergonomically intended to support various different workout positions that are resulted from the three main workout programs: fun rides, mountain, and challenges.

  • Smooth motion thanks to its perimeter weighted flywheel. 
  • The quality is not compromised and the performance is considered outstanding.
  • Great for small and short people.
  • Simple assembly.
  • High speed with seven different preset programs and eight different resistance levels.
  • Not suitable for people who are above 6 feet and 275 pounds.
  • Only two years warranty on frame and 30 days on the parts.
  • You need regular lubrication for maintenance in order for you to have a quiet performance.

7. ProForm 150I Elliptical

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This elliptical is suitable for trainees who are between 4’11’’ and 6’1’’. It is ideal for those who enjoy bulking up their muscles because it comes with so many features they would use for this sake. The ICON mid-range purchase is suitable for home gym use as it offers many features at a reasonable price. Unlike any other elliptical, this machine takes your workout experience to the next level; how? by offering you 12 various resistance levels you can choose from. 

If you get bored while exercising, you can simply switch the exercising mode up with one of the other 11 alternative plans available, all promising you a different style of workout. 

Despite supporting a maximum weight capacity up to 250 pounds, the 150I only has a 17-inch stride length, making it a decent choice for those below 6 feet. The pedals are large, giving even taller people the opportunity to adjust to the machine over time. 

The ProForm 150I is solid, not to mention being long-lasting as well; and this is thanks to its rust-resistant steel frames and heavy-duty wheels the pedal bars are built in. The machine includes two handlebars, one static and the other one is movable; and both are rubberized grips for your own comfort. 

Moreover, the ProForm 150I includes a standard console with a backlit LCD screen that allows you to display information such as distance covered, calories burned, speed, resistance level, exercise programs, and more. The contact heart rate monitor allows trainees with heart problems to maintain optimal heart function by continuously detecting their heart rate value. 

This elliptical too has a Bluetooth connectivity feature, which allows you to sync with your smartphone via the iFit app which is available as a premium subscription. 

And the sound system as well! Which is accompanied by volume settings and a tablet holder!

  • Durable
  • Large pedals
  • Inertia enhanced flywheels
  • The LCD screen displaying the important details
  • Good sound system
  • Minimal maintenance 
  • 17 inch stride length making it suitable for short people
  • Variety of workout programs (12) with also 12 resistance levels.
  • The heart rate monitoring isn’t accurate
  • Takes from 1 to 4 hours to be assembled 
  • 20 seconds button press for t

8. Nordictrack Freestrider

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In case you want something a little more upscale, the Nordictrack Freestrider should be in your to consider list.

This unique elliptical offers you a variety of features that other machines lack: an adjustable stride for example! Therefore, using this machine would allow you to choose your own stride length all up to 32 inches. 

You can quickly determine which stride length is the most comfortable for you. In addition, if there are any taller users in the house, they can still use the elliptical too; all they have to do is choose the stride length they are more comfortable with. You can change the stride from short, up and down stair-stepping motions to longer running strides! You can keep your body challenged and burn more calories while having fun as well, all by altering your running action. 

There are different Freestride Trainer models, each with its own console and features. They are all compatible though with iFit Coach. So you can use your machine to stream high-intensity studio workouts or run popular trails all over the world, from Paris streets to Hawaii beaches. 

9. Bowflex Max

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This is not quite what you would call an ‘elliptical’ but it will do the trick if you are short. The Max Trainer combines a stair climbing lower body motion with elliptical arms for the sake of training your upper body as well. 

This is beneficial for burning up to 2.5 folds more calories than a normal elliptical, according to the Bowflex lab tests.

But how would this benefit you if you are shorter?

You would not have to think about the stride being too lengthy and stressing your legs because it is not a ‘running’ elliptical kind of machine. The Max Trainer is more of a climbing motion rather than being a running one; therefore it would suit anyone of any height. 

You also do not have to worry about being unable to reach the moving arm bars because you are closer to the machine arms, which is another problem shorter people struggle with while exercising on an elliptical machine. 

There are four different Max Trainer models; they all look the same with only different console features, resistance levels and built in workouts. 

10. Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine

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Another magnificent piece of workout equipment from Schwinn is a well famous brand that creates high-quality home gym equipment. The A40 is a fantastic beginner elliptical, which is with significantly higher quality manufacturing than other small elliptical machines that exist within the same price range. It is capable of providing demanding training routines, making it one of the top choices in this category.

It has 8 resistance levels to change your training routine from time to time, 7 pre-programmed exercises (6 profiles and 1 quick start), and biomechanically engineered linkages with a 17-inch stride for smooth foot movements. 

This front-drive elliptical machine has huge stabilizers and a maximum weight capacity of up to 275 pounds, making it ideal for a lot of trainees. 

It also has a huge LCD panel that shows you crucial information like distance traveled, calories burned, time exercised, speed, heart rate and your current program. Despite having a provision for simply contact heart rate (CHR), the numbers seem to be inaccurate. 

Handles are ergonomically manufactured in order to support various workout positions that exist as a result of three main types of workouts: fun rides, mountains, and challenges.

  • Perimeter weighted flywheel
  • Smooth movement 
  • High quality manufacturing 
  • Excellent performance 
  • 17 inch stride so it is compatible for both short and tall people
  • Easily assembled 
  • High speed
  • Various preset programs (7)
  • 8 different resistance levels.
  • Not compatible with people over 6 feet or people weighing more than 275 pounds
  • Only 2 years warranty
  • Requires regular lubrication for maintenance and a quiet performance.

11. Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer by Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3804

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Sunny Health & Fitness enterprises’ elliptical machines give everyone the benefits of a low-cost high-quality workout. Suited for people under 5’10’’, the entire machine is made up of a steel frame and various high-quality materials like ABS material weighs less than 81 pounds and has exceptional stability. 

The Sunny SF-E3804 features a manual magnetic resistance system and does not require any power connection or an internal motor, not like most elliptical machines. All you will need are two batteries. The magnetic system provides you with eight variable tension control options; and the higher the number, the more intense the pedaling. 

The machine also includes an LCD display that shows you speed, RPM, time exercised, distance covered, calories burned, pulse and heart rate, and other information. 

Two new features have been added: a recovery function and a BMI function! Which will assist you in maintaining your physical health better. 

The former calculates your body fat percentage while the latter measures the time it takes for your heart to return to normal.

Although the stride length is not particularly long (13.5 inches), the handlebars can be moved forward and backward in order for you to have varying performance output.

  • Can withstand a maximum weight capacity of 286 lbs.
  • Easily assembled and maintained.
  • Wheels transportation is provided.
  • Recovery and BMI features.
  • 8 different control levels offering good resistance.
  • Three years warranty on frame and 180 days on parts.
  • The LCD screen does not include a backlight.
  • The calories and BMI features may not be accurate.

12. MaxKare (Runner up)

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In the home gym equipment industry, MaxKare is a market leader. It is no surprise that they offer their customers a good elliptical machine. The MaxKare elliptical machine may help you in getting a total body workout while not stressing on your knees, resulting in a comfortable and effective workout. The front flywheel’s unique design gives you a level of stability and smoothness that no other flywheel can match. It is a durable and strong piece of home gym equipment because of the heavy-duty structure that can support up to 264 pounds. 

Features and Pros

  1. The front flywheel is designed to be smooth and extremely quiet.
  2. LCD monitor and device monitor that would track your progress along with the exercise.
  3. You can move both ways, forward and backward; all thanks to the two-way operation.
  4. Great for trainees who are around 5’ and 5’2’’ because the stride length is 13.5 inches.
  5. Provides 8 levels of resistance making it suitable for both easy and hard workout days. 

Buying guide for you when you want to purchase an Ellipticals for Short People:

Size of the elliptical machine

Unless you have a large garage or an extra place you can place the elliptical machine in, you will want to think about how much space the machine will take up. Do not consider only the machine size, but also the space you need for utilizing it. You want to make sure you would not hit anything with your arms as they swing forward. Moreover, make sure you have enough room to get on and off the machine. The ceiling height is also a factor to consider. If your ceiling is low, make sure you check the height of each one to make sure you will not hit your head. 

The mobility of the home elliptical

You should not have to move the elliptical much, if not at all! A lightweight elliptical, on the other hand, makes moving it easier if you will be needing to move it around the house. Some ellipticals include wheels and/or are light enough to be moved around by at least one person. If you will have to move it around, portability is essential. 

Resistance levels

Eight levels of resistance are available on some of the cheaper models. For some, this may be sufficient; for others, they would like to go beyond the first eight levels of intensity, so they will require additional levels. Beginners may be fine with eight, but if you are a frequent gym-goer who is accustomed to having access to a much greater number of levels, you would need a more sophisticated machine that would suit your interests. 

Displays feature on ellipticals

The best home elliptical machines will have a display that shows you the results of your activity. The size of a display, as well as the amount of information it shows, can vary. If time, distance, and heart rate are all what you need, there is no need to pay more dollars for features you would never use. You should also purchase home equipment that is user-friendly as well! The best home ellipticals will include easy-to-read screens and monitors, adequate backlighting, and a simple user interface. 


There are magnetic resistance ellipticals, chain drive ellipticals and belt drive ellipticals; and each has its own advantages, as well as disadvantages! But if you are seeking a quiet elliptical, you would better go for one with magnetic resistance. 

Length of the foot stride

The distance between the front and back foot pedals is used to calculate the foot stride; it is also a measure of how far your legs travel while jogging on the elliptical. 

Purchasing an elliptical machine with a compatible stride length based on your height can help you achieve your fitness goals you are expecting from your elliptical. 

Taller people have longer legs, so their foot strides should be longer than those of a shorter person which are usually between 13 and 18 inches. 


Before settling on a model, determine the maximum space it would need and the space available; pick one that matches your needs.

Any person is always captivated by numbers displayed on the screen, therefore, an LCD denoting various figures should also be a key criterion.

Many resistance levels may be satisfactory for a beginner or intermediate; but if you want a long-term fitness machine that would offer you a difficult and motivating performance, choose a model that gives you high numbers.

Moreover, whether you are planning to buy an elliptical or use one at your local gym, stride length is an important factor to consider. Finding the right stride length should be your top priority, especially if you want to do a low-impact workout at home. 

The machines in this list are the best-rated home elliptical machines with a lot of positive feedback and happy customers. Take a look at their specifications and evaluation and evaluate them on your own according to your needs. 

Before you purchase the elliptical, take your time and explore your options. Search for high-quality manufactured ones to ensure that you acquire an elliptical that would last with you for years.

Best of luck!

Frequently Asked Questions  (FAQs)

Is an elliptical a good option for people who want to decrease belly fat?

Cardio activities are the most effective approach for you to lose weight and fat on your stomach. An elliptical purchased according to your body’s needs can provide an intense cardio workout. Therefore, yes, it is great.

What is the best elliptical training machine?

The finest elliptical trainer is the one that would provide you with proper stride length, resistance, and any other characteristics that would keep you engaged and wanting to use it even more because it suits your needs and is comfortable for you.

Why does my elliptical make a squeaky sound?

Your elliptical may squeak because of loose or improperly installed screws. When assembling the machine altogether, make sure the screws are tightened and that there are no loose ones. But do not over-tighten the screws. 

Why does the stride length of the elliptical matter so much?

The stride length of ellipticals are not all the same, as simple as that! Furthermore, the stride length is the ideal distance between the elliptical pedals’ two ends. As a result, it determines the distance covered by your legs while exercising. If you are tall, a stride length of 13 to 20 inches may not be compatible for you to stretch completely. Your workout session will be less effective if you take such tiny strides.

Can I trust the accuracy of the digital LCD monitor readings?

While some ellipticals provide extremely accurate readings, it is important to remember that not ellipticals are manufactured equally. The majority of ellipticals contain poor sensors that were installed just for the sake of boosting customer appeal. The price of the elliptical, on the other hand, is usually an indicator of its quality. As a result, the rule is to not expect too much precision from the less expensive ones.

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