If you have a smaller space but want a good workout, you’re in luck: There are plenty of foldable ellipticals that save room. Nothing works up a satisfying sweat quite like a good ol’ easy-on-the-joins elliptical session. But between work, kids’ schedules and various schooling situations, going to the gym seems like a luxury of yesteryear. So maybe you’re considering investing in an at-home elliptical so you can take advantage of early mornings, quick work breaks and nap times – without the expensive monthly fee and commute time of going to a gym. (Hell, you can even have a foldable treadmill, portable sauna tent, and all of this other workout equipment at home, so there’s really nothing to miss about the gym.)
But who has the space for a giant elliptical machine in their home? (Not us, that’s for sure.) Compact and folding elliptical trainers are where it’s at if you’re going to buy an at-home elliptical. They take up less floor space and are easier to move, all without compromising features or mechanics, since they still offer full strides and a variety of resistance options. Now we just have to inspire ourselves to actually get on the elliptical.
Read on for our 10 top picks for small, space saving ellipticals.
Best Foldable Ellipticals
Say hello to NordicTrack’s top elliptical trainer in their SpaceSaver series. It’s 7” high-definition touchscreen allows you to browse the web while it collects exercise stats (our ideal take on multitasking), and it also includes a tablet shelf and a set of 3” console speakers to really motivate you to keep moving. Additional features include wireless heart rate monitoring, an 18” stride and an 18-pound flywheel. Space-concious in its design, the NordicTrack SE9i can be folded vertically and wheeled away when guests come over.
While this Sole Fitness elliptical comes with a slightly lower price tag, it doesn’t skimp on any features, which include an integrated tablet holder, Bluetooth audio speakers and the ability to pedal both forwards and backwards. Take advantage of the Sole Fitness app, which monitors your exercise data in the background while you can take in another episode of Hacks. (We think of watching TV while working out as multi-tasking…)
The heavier an elliptical’s flywheel, the smoother the movement will feel. So NordicTrack’s SE7i is ultra-smooth, since it comes with an 18-pound flywheel – a huge advantage to this design. There are 22 (!) resistance levels, so there’s an intensity for you no matter how energetic or tired AF you feel. Additional features include EKG heart rate monitoring, a 5” backlit display, a 10-year warranty and an integrated tablet holder so you can catch up on Grey’s Anatomy on your iPad while stepping away.
Best Mini Ellipticals
If space is super limited, or you find yourself stuck at a desk all day, this ultra sly under desk elliptical foot exerciser could be just the trick to getting in your pedals for the day – all while banging out emails. It has eight levels of resistance, a digital monitor and easy-to-carry handles. As one of the 5,000+ glowing Amazon reviewers says, “No assembly required! Took right out of the box and put it under my desk. Spend long hours on the computer and suffer from hip and leg pain. Use the exerciser on and off all day, especially first thing in the morning to loosen up joints. Just what I needed.”
If you’re rehabbing from an injury or illness, sneak one of these Cubii Pro elliptical machines under your desk or in front of your couch. It’s nearly silent, so it’s perfect for getting a little exercise in while working or reading. Cubii’s mobile app syncs with iPhones, Androids, Fitbits and Apple Health Kit to track your distance and how many calories you’ve burned, which can be up to 125 calories per hour, all while watching your favorite show or writing emails and more emails.
We’re sore just looking at this stair stepper. It has all the features: Bluetooth capabilities, an LCD display to track your steps and calories burned, and various workout intensities. Plus you can add resistance bands to the stepper, if you’re brave. This stepper arrives already assembled (thank goodness), so you just need to install the resistance bands, adjustment knob and console batteries.
Best Compact Elliptical Machines
No need to decide between an elliptical or a stair stepper: the Bowflex M6 does both. And since it’s built with 16 resistance levels, the M6 is a challenge for both fitness enthusiasts and for those looking for low-impact workouts. Monitor your vitals on its burn rate display, as it shows you how many calories you’re burning minute-by-minute, and take on some serious HIIT training with one of its 29 workout videos. While this Bowflex doesn’t fold, it’s compact –the average treadmill requires more than two times the space.
This elliptical is slim and compact, ideal for people looking for a killer workout but who don’t have loads of space to get a sweat on. This Sunny Health & Fitness elliptical features a digital monitor to follow along with your workout progress, anti-slip handlebars and foot pads and onboard stabilizers, so you can glide along with smooth and even movement – all at a very reasonable price.
Just because this Schwinn design is compact doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a quality workout. This elliptical offers the same 18” stride of a large elliptical, with 16 resistance levels and a streamlined console that displays your time, speed, distance, calories and heart rate. As one Amazon reviewer says, “I love this machine! What I love is that it’s compact (I have a one bedroom apartment), feels smooth (I’m 5’1”), and it’s so quiet. The machine feels stable and is perfect for my evening workouts while watching my favorite shows.”
Get steppin’! This compact-as-can-be mini stepper still allows you to get a whole body workout, especially thanks to the removable training bands. The height adjustment knob allows you to adjust the step motion, so you can workout with short bursts or long steps, and the hydraulic drive system provides a smooth stepping motion. One Amazon reviewer, who has lost 80 pounds with the help of her stepper, says, “I’ve had this stepper for nearly four months now, and I love it. I have had no problems with malfunctions, aside from some squeaking that WD-40 fixes right up. It’s easy to use, and easy to store away when not in use.”