6 Best Space Saving Elliptical in 2023 and Buyer’s Guide
If you often find yourself waiting for your turn to use the elliptical machine, especially during peak times at the gym, you’re not alone and we understand your frustration. The elliptical machine is considered one of the most in-demand cardio machines. Not only is it considered the most sought-after machine at fitness centers but it’s also considered a top choice for home exercise equipment.
If you are considering building a home gym, or you are simply thinking of exercising at home, the best home elliptical machine will really come in handy. Instead of running outside or going to the gym, investing in an elliptical trainer for your home will be the permanent workout solution you are looking for.
Now although an Elliptical is a great workout machine, it is undeniable that they require a lot of space. Many fervent users who actively use an elliptical machine at the gym, shy away from purchasing the machine for their home gym, that is because it is not feasible to fit the regular gym-sized elliptical in your home.
Don’t worry, if you are looking to buy an elliptical machine that won’t take up a lot of space we have got you covered. There are many compact elliptical machines on the market that offer the same functionality as commercial elliptical machines but take up very small floor space.
A compact elliptical is considered one of the most practical purchases you will make for your fitness journey, especially if you are looking to perform cardio workouts to lose weight or increase muscle strength.
If you are looking for some guidance on what are the best space-saving ellipticals and what to look for in the compact elliptical you have come to the right space. In this article, you will learn everything you should know about an elliptical. We will present you with the best compact elliptical trainers on the market and evaluate and compare the best elliptical based on ergonomics, exercise range, and ease of use. Keep on reading our buyer’s guide to finding out more about the most compact elliptical trainers to save space.
What is an elliptical?
Before diving into the details, it is important to understand what an elliptical machine is and what it is used for.
An elliptical machine, also known as an elliptical trainer and cross trainer is a stationary exercise machine designed for users to run, walk, or climb without putting any pressure on their joints. Ellipticals are one of the most widely used exercise equipment both in homes and in health clubs.
It works both the upper and lower body and therefore has the upper hand over other exercise equipment. The machine is easy to use and is highly beneficial, here are a few good reasons that make the machine appealing.
Benefits of Using an Elliptical
Explore these benefits of using an elliptical. It should be noted that there are many different brands and models of ellipticals, each machine offers slightly different advantages but here we discuss the overarching benefits.
Cross Trainers are effective for Weight loss
An elliptical offers the perfect training to lose weight because it is very effective at burning calories and fat. Depending on your weight, on average an elliptical workout allows your body to burn between 450-830 Kcals per hour, which is two to four times more than walking. During an intensive workout (high-intensity training), you burn a lot of calories in a short period of time, that’s why you may burn over 800 calories per hour.
Boosts your stamina & promotes healthier Heart and Lungs
Aerobic/ Cardio exercise is a vital part of a balanced workout routine. The elliptical machine allows you to get a decent aerobic workout, which results in strengthening your heart, lungs, and muscles. In the long run, this can help you boost your stamina and endurance.
- Toning Muscles: Exercising on an elliptical will get your muscles stronger, so your body will also benefit from toning. When exercising using a higher resistance, your muscles will work harder to match the resistance, resulting in an increase in strength of your whole body
- Getting a full body workout: Elliptical training works both the lower body and the upper body. It typically engages the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, chest, back, triceps, and biceps.
- Good for your joints and back: Unlike running an elliptical trainer does not cause any shock to the joints. It is considered a no-impact exercise (your body is always supported), therefore it reduces the stress and strain on your joints and back through an elliptical motion. That is why an elliptical is considered a safe workout option for those with back and joint problems.
- Versatile: Many elliptical models allow you to change the intensity of your workouts based on your fitness level or even your heart rate. An elliptical is equipped with many demanding exercise programs that mimic exercises such as brisk walking or rapid stair climbing.
You might ask yourself are there any drawbacks to using an elliptical machine? Yes, there may be some drawbacks but that does not mean that you should completely rule it out.
– Elliptical machines provide cardiovascular exercise, however, the exercise you obtain is not sufficient on its own to gain muscle strength, it must be paired with weight-bearing exercise.
– Some people tend to find the dual-motion on the elliptical awkward and are more comfortable using a treadmill or jogging.
Let’s debunk some of the greatest myths surrounding the elliptical.
Ineffective: The elliptical is actually one of the most diverse machines when it comes to benefits and results. It has been proven that the elliptical can get your heart rate higher than the treadmill. Also, working out on an elliptical gives you better activation of the glutes and muscles.
Boring and lack of variation: People sometimes overlook what an elliptical has to offer in terms of a variety of workouts. Most ellipticals offer many programs such as HIIT training, increasing incline and resistance is also a great option to keep your workout challenging. You can also go for an elliptical hybrid that comes with a stepper, you may even try a multidirectional workout where you paddle backward as well as forward.
What to look for in an Elliptical?
What to expect and what do I look for when buying a space-saving elliptical? The best compact elliptical will have similar features and functions to the commercial elliptical that you use at the gym. Yet, it should be noted that a folding/compact elliptical will tend to come with a price tag higher than the non-folding models, even if it has similar specs and functions. Below are some factors to consider and look for before buying an elliptical.
Resistance is how much force you have to apply on the foot pedal to complete a full stroke. The best elliptical machines offer resistance levels that support a smooth motion. This motion is important because a smooth exercise experience means a longer and more durable exercise that won’t tire the user before completing the exercise. In addition, Smooth resistance also helps reduce the risk of injury. To assess the resistance of an elliptical, it’s always best to look at the flywheel weight. It can also tell you the user skill level that is supported on that machine. For example, beginners may require a flywheel weight of 18 pounds, however advanced users will want to require a heavier flywheel. Also, the heavier the weight of the user the more resistance and the heavier the flywheel he will need to have a comfortable experience.
One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing an elliptical is the stride length because the Stride length is a main factor that contributes to the effectiveness and comfort of your workout. Stride length is the length between the pedals on an elliptical when they’re at their furthest point away from each other, to put this into perspective it actually has a great impact on how effective and comfortable your workout is. The best ellipticals for adult users within the average heights have about 20” long stride lengths. Shorter users might find ellipticals with 18” strides more well suited for them. By all means, you should avoid anything shorter than 18”. The most effective ellipticals are equipped with adjustable stride lengths( from 18 to 22 inches) to accommodate the needs of all users and heights.
Most ellipticals come with an incline setting feature that enables more diverse exercises, better options for targeting different muscle groups and calorie burning. It’s a setting that allows you to alter the angle at which you pedal, which makes the workout more challenging and focuses on toning certain muscle groups. For example, if you increase the incline, your position will shift backwards, targeting the posterior chain muscles – primarily the glutes and hamstrings. However, if you decrease the angle, your body will automatically follow along and lean forward. Most ellipticals have a maximum incline of about 20%, but sometimes advanced trainers have even steeper inclines.
The best compact ellipticals are durable, rarely need maintenance and last you a long time. You should note that compact ellipticals often contain lightweight materials, which could make them less durable than the traditional heavier machines. Rear Drive design ellipticals are usually more durable than front drive because they have less moving parts and therefore require less maintenance. Also, the best durable compact ellipticals have a higher maximum user weight, most ellipticals have a maximum user weight of 300 pounds. Finally, warranties will affect durability. Warranties on compact and folding ellipticals vary from one model and manufacturer to another. The middle range priced machines generally have parts warranties of two to five years. In most cases, lifetime coverage is usually included for the frame, and labor warranties vary between a year or two.
The best home ellipticals share features with the traditional and commercial machines you find at the gym. Here are some examples of features you may like. If you are looking for a full-body workout you should consider an elliptical with moving handlebars. Some machines are hybrids and offer 2in1 ellipticals with stair-steppers. Many ellipticals also come with smart devices and bottle holders, fans, speakers, Bluetooth, and USB ports.. Nowadays many ellipticals allow connectivity to fitness apps that monitor your workout and some even offer virtual classes and programs to join. Users may also look for an elliptical that allows syncing with smartphones for easier exercise monitoring.
Ellipticals for home workouts
You may ask yourself, why is an Elliptical the most suitable machine for your home gym or if you are simply looking to workout at home?
If you are always on the go or barely have time to go to the gym, an elliptical trainer in your home is great. There are many affordable options on the market that do not take up a lot of space.
Besides, even if you prefer exercising outdoors, there will be rainy, windy and cold days that will make it really difficult for you to get your workout done. Also, the perk of having an elliptical at home is that you can hop on it in your pyjamas, while you’re watching your favourite show, and that is something you can’t do while exercising outdoors or at the gym.
Moreover, another advantage of having an Elliptical at home over a machine such as the treadmill is low maintenance. The low-impact elliptical motion means it is unlikely to require service. They also typically have less parts than treadmills and bikes, resulting in less routine maintenance. You do not have to worry about replacing motors, belts and rollers, which also means reduced costs.
Compact Ellipticals (Product review)
Below we have compiled a list and analyzed the best compact. folding Elliptical trainers. Size and ergonomics are not the only reasons these Ellipticals are so popular, there are also different highlights to each model.
Sole E25 (Overview):
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In comparison with other Elliptical trainers on the market, the Sole E25 offers the best value for money because it is slightly cheaper than other machines. However, it’s low price tag doesn’t sacrifice any of its many features, such as the Bluetooth Speakers, cooling fan, water bottle and integrated tablet holder and the option to pedal both forwards and backwards. Physical therapists at Sole fitness have designed the foot pedals to decrease pressure on the ankle, hips, and knees, therefore reducing chances of an injury.
Here are the dimensions of the Sole E25:
- Length: 70 in
- Width: 24 in
- Height: 71 in
- Item weight: 217 lb
Sole Fitness has introduced the E25 as an entry-level elliptical which provides an affordable exercise whilst protecting your joints from injuries.
The machine offers a variety of features such as the integrated tablet holder and Bluetooth audio speakers, that are guaranteed to make your workout experience more enjoyable. The E25 is designed to work out your entire body from head to toe. It is equipped with molded handlebars that will support multiple grip positions. It also offers a maximum of 20 degrees power incline that will certainly workout and sculpt your lower body. Adding on to this, the option to pedal in forward and backwards motions will also work out your lower body muscles.
The E25 could be connected with the Sole Fitness app. The Sole Fitness app is great because it monitors your exercise activity in the background as you enjoy using other applications on your device. You may also sync your workout data with other fitness apps such as MyFitnessPal or Apple Health.
The E25 comes with a 20-pound resistance flywheel, which is heavier than what you would expect for a machine with this price tag. It provides 20 resistance levels for a diverse workout and has a 350-lb maximum user weight.
Finally, the E25 trainer comes with a standard 6.5-inch LCD for display, but you may connect your device to the integrated tablet holder to set up workouts and track your progress.
Priced online at $1899 (MSRP: $2599) on Sole’s official website. Sole Fitness offers a lifetime warranty on the frame, a 3-year warranty on electronics and parts and a 1 year labor warranty.
Sole E55 (Overview)
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The Sole E55 is the perfect model for trainees with small workout areas but rather high expectations. It is compact and capable
The Sole E55 is very similar to the E25, the main difference is that the E55 comes with a heavy duty frame that withstands more weight and it also comes with a better warranty. This model is not a simple upgrade of the E35, actually, the E55 model offers a selection of different features. You could consider it a mixture between the E25 and E35.
In comparison to the E25, the main difference is that the E55 offers an extra 25 lb in weight capacity and extra years on parts and labor warranty. In terms of similarity The E55 is also equipped with the multi-grip handles and adjustable pedals.
The E55 comes with a higher price than the E25, and a flywheel weighing (20lb). Although it is expected to have a heavier flywheel on an elliptical with this price, it is possible that the company was aiming to keep this model as compact as possible.
Here are the dimensions of the E55
- Length: 70 in
- Width: 31 in
- Height: 69 in
- Item weight: 227 lb
The new model has the smallest footprint of all Sole elliptical machines at 27 by 71 inches, which is perfect for saving space. It also has a heavy duty 375-pound weight capacity.
One of the most popular performance features of the E55 and other Sole ellipticals is that it offers a 20″ stride length as well as 20 resistance levels and 20 levels of power incline. Similar to the E25, this model does come with multi-grip handlebars and adjustable foot pedals for added comfort. Also for convenience, it is equipped with incline controls in the arm bars.
Sole has equipped the E55 with many of their best features for home ellipticals. The model comes with digital renovations including an upgraded 9″ LCD display screen on the console with an adjustable angle, the option to connect with the Sole Fitness App, an integrated tablet holder, Bluetooth speakers and a USB charging port. The E55 also comes with music speakers and a secure tablet/ computer holder. It also has cooling fans, and a water bottle holder to keep you comfortable.
Priced online at $2299 (MSRP: $3199) on Sole’s official website. The model offers an excellent value for money, especially considering the longer warranty period.
Sole E25 vs E55
If you are searching for a compact elliptical and don’t mind the minor differences mentioned above, it is advised that you go with the E25 and save money.
However, If you’re looking for the best compact model by Sole and you don’t mind paying a little extra then it is advised that you go for the E55.
NordicTrack SE9i (Overview)
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NordicTrack manufactures many types of home exercise machines, including the SE9i elliptical. The NordicTrack SE9i is the highest ranking elliptical trainer in the NordicTrack SpaceSaver series. Most importantly, the NordicTrack SE9i is designed with Space-saving elements, you can fold it vertically and store it away easily when you are looking to save some space.
One of its most distinctive features is it’s 14” HD touchscreen. It also comes with a tablet holder and integrated console speakers that will keep you motivated throughout your workout. Another distinctive feature is that it is equipped with a wireless heart rate monitor.
The NordicTrack SE9i has the following dimensions:
- Length: 78.7 in
- Width: 31.9 in
- Height: 66.4 in
- Item weight: 218 lb
The SpaceSaver SE9i is the most popular elliptical trainer in the NordicTrack SpaceSaver Series. There are many similarities in terms of performance with the SE7i, however, the SE9i is distinguished by its advanced electronics and offers a much longer warranty.
The new SE9i is distinguished by its 14″ high definition touchscreen, which enables you to surf the web while it keeps track of your exercise data in the background. Some of the perks of purchasing the SE9i is that it comes with a 30-day free trial of the iFit Coach workout app. It also comes with a Bluetooth chestrap and a wireless heart rate monitor which is always useful when exercising. And to better the entertainment experience the machine comes with a pair of 2″ amplified speakers.
It has an 18″ stride an 18-pound flywheel, a power incline of up to 10 degrees and offers 24 resistance levels The SpaceSaver Series ellipticals have a rear drive design, which is advantage because it makes the strides feel more natural to the user and it also means more balance during exercising.
Although usually, a rear-drive design takes up a lot of space, this is not something to worry about with the SpaceSaver SE9i because it is a space-conscious elliptical. It is designed so that you can fold it vertically thus facilitating the storage process when required and it also has wheels to make it easier to move and store.
The SE9i has padded foot pedals to reduce impact and injury possibilities, it is also equipped with a fan to keep the user cool while working out. The trainer has a 350 lb maximum user weight.
The SpaceSaver SE9i comes with a 10-year frame warranty, a 2-year parts warranty, and a 1-year labor warranty.
Horizon evolve 5 (Overview)
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Horizon currently has 4 different models on the market for their home ellipticals.
The Evolve 5 is Horizon’s elite home elliptical. It comes with a heavier flywheel, larger display, and more workout options to choose from in comparison with all other ellipticals in their series. The most noticeable feature is its feather-light folding frame which facilitates the storage process.
The most distinctive feature of the Evolve 5 is that it comes with a heavy flywheel, therefore it provides levels of resistance appropriate for almost all types of users.
This elliptical offers varied workout programs and options which you can access using the large console on the machine. It comes with 39 workout programs. Horizon is known to equip their machines with a variety of workout options and this elliptical has them all. These programs are guaranteed to give your body a challenging workout and are unlikely to ever leave you bored.
When it comes to saving space, you can fold up this trainer small without taking lots of space. When folded and stored, here is it’s measurement; Lengths of 41 inches, Width of 28 inches, and height of 69 inches. When expanded, here are it’s dimensions:
- Length: 69 in
- Width: 28 in
- Height: 69 in
- Item weight: 181 lb
This elliptical is equipped with a heavy 23-pound flywheel. A 23-pound flywheel is among the heavier offered in the market, especially models made for home use. The heavier flywheel brings a much more advanced workout opportunity to the floor. To control that flywheel, the Evolve 5 provides you with 20 levels of resistance, to control your workout intensity. The Evolve 5 comes with a comfortable, 20″ stride length, that is considered long enough to accommodate the majority of users and workout intensities. It is disappointing that this model doesn’t offer adjustable incline settings.
As for the Tech features, the Evolve 5 has a 6.25″ blue backlit display, nothing too fancy but more simple and effective. It is also equipped with a built-in speaker so that you can connect your device and listen to music.
The Evolve 5 has a Lifetime frame warranty, a 3-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty.
Bowflex M6 (Overview)
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There is no need to decide between an elliptical and a stair stepper, the Bowflex M6 has both functions. It is designed with 16 resistance levels that offer an exciting workout for users who are looking for low-impact workout and high-intensity workouts. This model of Bowflex doesn’t fold, however it’s compact and takes up two times less space than the average elliptical. The Bowflex is launched with the Max Intelligence App, which has 29 instructor-led workout videos and monitors your vitals and calorie burn rate.
The Bowflex M6 offers full body workouts without putting any strain on your joints. It is designed to feature the motion of a stair stepper and elliptical, making low impact workouts more challenging and intense. This elliptical comes with 16 levels of resistance; a wide range that is likely to challenge all levels of trainees as it includes high intensity interval training.
Although it can’t be folded, it doesn’t need to be because of its compact size. The Bowflex M6 has the following dimensions:
- Length: 46 in
- Width: 26 in
- Height: 64.2 in
- Item weight: 148
You can check your vitals on its burn rate display, which monitors how many calories you are burning per minute and can adjust your activity level to reach your target. You may also track your heart rate using the integrated contact grips by holding them.
The M6 comes with multi-grip handles to keep you comfortable, and the model has a magnetic device rack so that you can use your own device whilst working out.
It is equipped with these five program workouts:
- Max 14 Minute Interval
- Calorie Burn
- Fat Burn
One of the greatest perks is that when you purchase the machine it comes with a one year free trial of the JRNY app . The app uses artificial intelligence to evaluate your fitness level, monitor your workouts. It even suggests workouts that align with your goals as if you have your own personal trainer with you.
The warranty on the Bowflex M6 is 2 years on the frame and parts and 90 days on labor.
ProForm HIIT H14 (Overview)
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The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 works out your entire body without putting strain on your knees or other sensitive joints. Unique in its design, it has a more vertical elliptical shape and is considered part of the elliptical/stepper hybrid. It has impressive tech features as well, with a 14″ touchscreen, music speakers, and tablet holder.
The machine has a multi-grip handlebar that stimulates a boxing-like motion working the arms, legs and core. There is an option to alternate between intensity levels, which is beneficial in boosting your metabolism not only during workouts but thought-out the rest of your day.
This compact elliptical comes with a 14’’ screen and can connect to iFit, allowing people to watch online training videos and attend classes virtually. Moreover, trainers on iFit can automatically adapt and change the resistance level remotely. It offers 26 levels of resistance to suit a wide range of abilities and levels.
Thanks to it’s 30-pound flywheel, the Pro HIIT H14 performs as efficiently as any commercial elliptical that you’d find in a gym. It has a maximum stride length of 5 in.
Additionally it comes with a built-in fan and bottle holder for extra comfort, a heart monitor/sensor and an auxiliary port to connect your device.
This machine is compact in size due to its vertical design feature and has the following dimensions :
- Length: 39 in
- Width: 29.25 in
- Height: 66.7 in
It carries a 10-year warranty on its frame, 2 years on parts, and one year on labor.
- Video workouts
So, which is the best space saving elliptical? After looking closely at the above models, their features, advantages and disadvantages we have ranked each one based on category.
- Overall Best: Sole E55
- Second Best: Horizon Evolve 5
- Smallest dimensions: Bowflex M6
- Budget-friendly: Sole E25
- Best Hybrid elliptical (Elliptical and stepper): ProForm HIIT H14
- Best vertical fold and Best Tech features: NordicTrack SE9i
How to choose best space saving elliptical?
You should consider the below when making your final decision.
- Features and program options: different models include different features and program options, for example, tech features, performance, and weight capacity.
- Dimensions: Make sure to check the dimensions mentioned for each feature and cross-reference it with The amount of space you have available and the weight capacity you need may vary, too, so we’ve included a range of options.
- Budget: The price of each of the machines mentioned above is different, we have included machines at a variety of price points.
A note on Price
Generally, prices range from $1000–$2000 t, although this may vary depending on where you shop. The same model is priced differently at different outlets. It is always best to check at different retailers although it is also recommended to purchase from the manufacturer directly as it often comes with certain benefits like subscriptions to compatible apps.
Elliptical machines have many health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and even depression. However, users should always be careful when using any exercise to avoid the risk of injuries. Make sure to always start slow, use a low incline and resistance and slowly go up. It is always beneficial to monitor your heart rate to make sure you are not overexerting yourself. It is also important to stay hydrated and dehydration can cause dizziness and tiredness. Last but not least, maintain your alignment to avoid being uncomfortable and injured. It is so important to watch your posture, always step on the elliptical with your back straight, and keep your shoulders back and your head high.
The best compact and folding models that don’t take up space without compromising on the features that you would find in a commercial elliptical machine. In order to decide on which machine to purchase, you should consider the features that are most useful to you as a user. You can check out our “what to look for in an elliptical” section to better understand the features.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the best space-saving elliptical for home use?
The best elliptical depends on your needs, budget and the features you consider important. There is no one size fits all. However, the Sole E55 is considered the best overall, with great features.
Are compact ellipticals as effective as traditional ones?
Ofcourse, there are many top tier compact ellipticals and they share features similar to the commercial ellipticals.
Do ellipticals help with losing weight?
Ellipticals are a great workout for the full body (upper body and lower body). On average you may burn up to 400 calories per hour thus reducing body weight.
What brand of elliptical is the best?
All the brands mentioned in this guide are top tier brands that manufacture ellipticals of great quality.
Which is the best folding elliptical?
The Nordictrack SE9i is our first option when it comes to folding ellipticals because it folds vertically and it can be stored away easily when you are looking to save some space.
Are home ellipticals worth it?
There are definitely many benefits of using an elliptical. Ellipticals are effective for Weight loss. It also boosts your stamina & promotes healthier Heart and Lungs whilst working out your whole body.