Live in a small space? There’s no reason you can’t get a good workout even in a compact area. You just need to find the right piece of fitness equipment to suit your fitness goals, your needs, and your space.
One of the pieces of equipment we like for compact spaces is an elliptical. It’s still important to find the best compact elliptical and not a cheaply made one, so we’ve compiled a list of our top choices for those who are short on space.
Limited space shouldn’t be an excuse to not get fit and healthy! Choose one of these ellipticals and you’ll be off to a great start.
- 1 In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks
- 2 Why Trust BoxLife?
- 3 Who Should Choose a Compact Treadmill?
- 4 How We Chose the Best Compact Treadmill For Home Use
- 5 How We Tested Them
- 6 The Best Compact Elliptical – Our Top Picks
- 6.1 Schwinn Fitness 470 – Best Overall
- 6.2 Schwinn Fitness 470
- 6.3 ProForm Carbon E7 Smart Elliptical – Runner-Up
- 6.4 ProForm Carbon E7 Smart Elliptical
- 6.5 Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical Trainer – Lowest Step-Up Height
- 6.6 Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical Trainer
- 6.7 Sole Fitness E25 Elliptical – Best With Incline
- 6.8 Sole Fitness E25 Elliptical
- 6.9 NordicTrack Spacesaver SE9i Elliptical Trainers – Best Built-In Programs
- 6.10 NordicTrack Spacesaver SE9i Elliptical Trainers
- 6.11 Smart Strider 695 CSE – Best Foldable
- 6.12 Smart Strider 695 CSE
- 6.13 Schwinn 411 Elliptical – Smallest Footprint
- 6.14 Schwinn 411 Elliptical
- 7 Buyer’s Guide: What To Look For In A Compact Elliptical
- 8 FAQs
In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks
|Product's name||Best Overall|
Schwinn 470 Elliptical
ProForm Carbon E7 Smart Elliptical with 7” HD Touchscreen...
|Lowest Step-Up Height|
Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical Trainer Exercise Machine...
|Best With Incline|
SOLE Fitness E25 Indoor Elliptical, Home and Gym Exercise...
|Best Built-In Programs|
NordicTrack Spacesaver SE9i Elliptical Trainers
ProForm 695 Cse Smart Strider 695 Cse Elliptical
SCHWINN Fitness 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
|Final Thought||The Schwinn 470 is a decent size to fit into smaller spaces. Aside from its size, it’s packed with excellent features and is super affordable as well.||Those who love follow-along workouts, guided “tours”, and instructor-led exercise sessions will love the ProForm Carbon E7.||The step-up height makes this elliptical easy to get on and off, so it’s a great choice for older users or those with mobility issues.||With 20 Power Incline levels, this is the one to choose if you specifically want an incline feature.||With 30 onboard workout programs, 24 levels of resistance, and a 10% incline, you don’t need any outside apps to get a superb workout.||We love the way this machine folds. It’s easy and convenient, especially in compact spaces.||Considering this is the most compact elliptical on this list, it still manages to pack a punch with its features.|
|User Weight Capacity||300 lbs||325 lbs||325 lbs||350 lbs||325 lbs||300 lbs||
|Screen||Backlit LCD displays||7-inch Smart HD touchscreen||2 Window, LED Display||6.5" White Back-lit LCD display||7” Smart HD Touchscreen||LED Display||5.5” LCD display|
|Incline||0-10 degrees incline||20-Degree Adjustable Power Incline||No incline||1 – 20 Power Adjustable incline levels||10% Power Adjustable Incline||0 - 10 degrees of incline||No incline|
|Stride Length||20" stride lenght||Adjustable 19” stride length||18 Inches. The pedals are 15" x 9"||20" stride length with 15" Cushioned Foot-pedals||18” stride length with larger, adjustable pedals||18” Stride Length||18" stride length|
|Resistance Levels||25 resistance levels||24 levels of magnetic resistance||10 resistance levels||20 Levels magnetic resistance||24 Digital Resistance Levels||20 resistance levels||16 levels of magnetic resistance|
|Programs||29 workout programs: 12 profile, 9 heart rate control, 4 custom, 2 fitness tests, 1 recovery test, 1 quick start||No built-in workout programs. iFIT enabled and comes with a 30 day Family Membership||5 preset programs||6 pre programmed workouts: 6 Standard Programs|
2 Custom Programs
2 Heart Programs
|30 Preset Workout Apps||24 preset workout programs and is iFit enabled||13 workout programs|
|Warranty||10-year frame, 2-year parts, 1-year electronics, 90-day labor||10-year frame warranty, a 2-year parts warranty, and a 1-year labor warranty||Lifetime: Frame, Parts: 1 year; Warranty: labor 1 year, Warranty: Brake/Flywheel 20 years||Lifetime Frame|
3 Years Electronics
3 Years Parts
1 Year Labor
|10-Year Frame , 2-Year Parts , 1-Year Labor||Lifetime Frame Warranty, 2-Year Parts Warranty, and 1-Year Labor Warranty||
10-Year Frame, 2-Year Parts, 1-Year Electric, 90-Day Labor
|Learn more||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon||See at Amazon|
Why Trust BoxLife?
The team here at BoxLife has fitness experience on a wide range of workout equipment, ellipticals being one of them. We don’t just work out to stay fit and healthy—we also have a passion for testing and learning about different equipment so we can share the information with others like you.
Between us, we’ve been on just about every piece of fitness equipment you can imagine. Most of us have personal experience with at least one of the ellipticals on this list, so we bring you information based on real experience, not just guesses and Googles!
Who Should Choose a Compact Treadmill?
The main reason someone would want a compact elliptical is to save space. You might have minimal space in your apartment already but still want to get a great workout without leaving home.
Or, you might have plenty of space, but just don’t want a monstrous exercise machine taking up a lot of it. It’s perfectly okay to choose a compact elliptical because you want something smaller-than-average that fits easily and inconspicuously into your home.
- Have a small living space and limited room for exercise equipment
- Want a smaller-than-average treadmill so it’s inconspicuous
- Don’t want a foldable treadmill but need it to be space-saving
How We Chose the Best Compact Treadmill For Home Use
We put our heads together and came up with a list of compact elliptical machines we have personal experience with. From there, we jumped online to find out what others thought about them.
We read hundreds of reviews. We asked questions on forum websites. Some of us even contacted elliptical manufacturers to nail down the specifics so we could bring you the best compact elliptical list possible.
Between personal experience, reviews, and manufacturers’ advice and information, we selected 7 compact ellipticals we believe are great choices.
How We Tested Them
Once we had a good-looking list of space-saving ellipticals, we set to work testing them so we could find the best features and the flaws. Here are the essential features we paid particular attention to.
- Overall Footprint
- Built-In Programs
- Resistance Levels
- Stride Length
- Step-Up Height
The Best Compact Elliptical – Our Top Picks
Schwinn Fitness 470 – Best Overall
Schwinn Fitness 470
The Schwinn 470 is a decent size to fit into smaller spaces. Aside from its size, it’s packed with excellent features and is super affordable as well.
The Schwinn Fitness 470 is a surprisingly excellent quality elliptical trainer for its price. Its smallish footprint of 70.1 inches in length, 28.2 inches wide, and 63.2 inches high should fit into most small spaces.
Its maximum step height is not specified, but the company recommends adding 26 inches to any given user’s height to get the minimum ceiling height clearance. You should note that the 470 is not foldable, so you won’t be able to slide it out of the way when it’s not in use.
This elliptical is packed with some excellent features. If you’re a fan of using onboard programs, you’ll find 29 distinct programs to choose from for a never-ending range of workout options.
For those who enjoy training in manual mode, there’s an impressive 25 levels of resistance you can scale through. Plus, it has a 10-degree incline, which adds a whole extra level to your training idf you choose to use it!
The stride length is a very decent 20 inches, which means taller users can work out comfortably. Shorter users might find it a little long, but most people should be able to move within a comfortable range of motion.
Other things we like include a USB port for device charging, Bluetooth connectivity, and access to the Explore the World App, which allows you to “ride” through virtual locations and make every session more interactive and exciting!
- 25 resistance levels and 29 built-in programs for a well-rounded workout
- 20-inch stride length makes it suitable for almost everyone
- Smallish footprint that fits in smaller spaces easily
- Quite affordable for its quality
- Not foldable
|Overall Footprint||70.1″ L x 28.2″ W x 63.2″ H|
|Built-In Programs||29 built-in programs|
|Resistance Levels||25 resistance levels|
|Incline||10-degree incline function|
|Stride Length||20 inches|
Fantastic Features for Its Price
The Schwinn 470 is a decent size to fit into smaller spaces. Aside from its size, it’s packed with excellent features and is super affordable as well. It’s a fantastic option for anyone who’s okay with a non-folding treadmill!
ProForm Carbon E7 Smart Elliptical – Runner-Up
ProForm Carbon E7 Smart Elliptical
Those who love follow-along workouts, guided “tours”, and instructor-led exercise sessions will love the ProForm Carbon E7.
The ProForm Carbon E7 is a smart elliptical, which means it offers a much more immersive experience than most others. This is evident by its 7-inch, full-color touch screen, which is enabled with iFit, allowing you to follow along to live, on-demand, instructor-led, interactive workouts.
It’ll fit in many compact spaces, with a size of 68.5 inches long, 25 inches wide, and 67.75 inches tall. There’s no indication of max pedal height on the company’s website, but user reviews suggest that the maximum height of the pedals above the floor is 28 inches, when fully inclined. With no incline, the max pedal height is 20 inches. Keep this in mind and calculate it to make sure nobody’s going to bang their head.
For a compact fitness machine, it’s quite sturdy, featuring a maximum user weight of 325 pounds and a heavy 25-pound inertia-enhanced flywheel.
We love that the stride length is adjustable, with a maximum length of 19 inches. Multiple users of different heights can use it quite easily without compromising on their full stride.
It comes with a free 30-day iFit trial so you can try it out. The app automatically adjusts resistance and incline for you, so you can just knuckle down and work hard while enjoying a variety of workout options.
You can use it without iFit if you want to. There are 24 resistance levels to progress through, and an impressive 20 incline levels. Between these two versatile features, you can get an amazing workout any time you step onto the machine.
While this elliptical doesn’t fold, it’s lighter weight—100 lbs—and does have easy transportation wheels so you can move it around if you need to make more space.
- iFit allows you access to hundreds of different workouts on an HD touchscreen
- 24 resistance levels and 20-degree incline for best workout combinations
- 19-inch adjustable stride length
- Small footprint fits easily into most spaces
- Doesn’t fold
|Overall Footprint||68.5″ D x 25″ W x 67.75″ H|
|Built-In Programs||Uncertain, but iFit-enabled|
|Resistance Levels||24 resistance levels|
|Incline||20-degree adjustable power incline|
|Stride Length||19 inches, adjustable|
Immersive Choice for Those Who Want On-Demand Training
Those who love follow-along workouts, guided “tours”, and instructor-led exercise sessions will love the ProForm Carbon E7. With its impressive screen and iFit capabilities, you’ll have plenty to play with. You’ll never get bored with this elliptical!
Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical Trainer – Lowest Step-Up Height
Lowest Step-Up Height
Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical Trainer
The step-up height makes this elliptical easy to get on and off, so it’s a great choice for older users or those with mobility issues.
A low step-up height means a low maximum pedal height, most of the time. This means you’ll have more clearance between your head and the ceiling, so you can use the machine safely without worrying about injury.
This elliptical features a step-up height of 10 ¾ inches, which not only makes it a short machine but also makes it ideal for seniors or those who are less mobile in the up-and-down plane. It’s not hard to get onto, thanks to how close it is to the ground.
The manufacturer recommends adding 12 inches to the tallest user’s height. As long as your ceiling is higher than that, you should be fine to exercise safely.
An 18-inch stride length is a pretty good in-between for taller and shorter users. Oversized pedals with a textured surface help to keep you stable as you work out.
It can handle a maximum weight capacity of 325 pounds, so heavier users should be able to use it quite comfortably as well.
There’s no incline, and it has just 5 built-in programs, which are valuable but might not offer enough options for some users. You also won’t be able to fold this elliptical, but you shouldn’t need to, with its decent 76″ H x 24″ W x 65.5″ L footprint.
- Low step-up height suitable for most people
- 18-inch stride length suits most users
- 10 resistance levels
- 325-lb weight capacity
- Doesn’t fold
- Only a few built-in programs
- No incline
|Overall Footprint||76″ H x 24″ W x 65.5″ L|
|Built-In Programs||5 preset programs|
|Resistance Levels||10 resistance levels|
|Stride Length||18 inches|
|Step-Up Height||10 ¾ inches|
Easy to Access, Easy to Use
The step-up height makes this elliptical easy to get on and off, so it’s a great choice for older users or those with mobility issues. But it would also be a good choice for younger, stronger users who don’t need an excessive number of built-in exercise programs or resistance levels.
Sole Fitness E25 Elliptical – Best With Incline
Best With Incline
Sole Fitness E25 Elliptical
With 20 Power Incline levels, this is the one to choose if you specifically want an incline feature.
If you’re looking for a compact elliptical with a powerful incline feature, the Sole Fitness E25 is our top recommendation. Although the machine has a surprisingly small footprint (71″ H x 24″ W x 70″ L) it packs some amazing features into that small frame.
The most impressive feature here is the 20-Level Power Incline function. Those who want to target glutes and hamstrings will appreciate the various levels of incline, as you can get a really well-rounded elliptical workout with so much incline.
There’s also 20 levels of resistance, plus it has a very comfortable 20-inch stride length. All in all, there’s plenty of scope for great workouts on this compact machine.
To ensure that you stay comfortable for longer workouts, the 15-inch pedals are cushioned and designed with a unique 2-degree slope that takes stress off the knees, ankles, and feet as you exercise.
There are only 6 onboard programs, which some may find to be too few. However, manual mode gives you so much to play with that you may not even miss built-in programs.
Take note that the step-up height on this trainer is 14 inches, which means the max pedal height is a little higher than others we’ve mentioned. When inclined, it increases the pedal height quite a lot, which can raise your head very close to the ceiling in compact spaces.
- 20 levels of power incline for a more challenging workout
- 20 levels of resistance
- Impressive 20-inch stride length
- Can handle up to 350 lbs of weight
- Not foldable
- Fewer built-in programs than others
- Incline may bring you too close to low ceilings
|Overall Footprint||71″ H x 24″ W x 70″ L|
|Built-In Programs||6 built-in programs|
|Resistance Levels||20 resistance levels|
|Incline||20 adjustable power incline levels|
|Stride Length||20 inches|
|Step-Up Height||14 inches|
All the Incline You Need
With 20 Power Incline levels, this is the one to choose if you specifically want an incline feature. Add to that the 20 resistance levels, 20-inch stride length, and made-for-comfort pedals, and you’ve got an excellent quality elliptical for its price.
NordicTrack Spacesaver SE9i Elliptical Trainers – Best Built-In Programs
Best Built-In Programs
NordicTrack Spacesaver SE9i Elliptical Trainers
With 30 onboard workout programs, 24 levels of resistance, and a 10% incline, you don’t need any outside apps to get a superb workout.
If you love having plenty of different workout options to choose from but you’re not keen on an iFit membership, the NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i is the ideal choice. Firstly, it’s designed to fit into compact spaces, as its name suggests—this one has a footprint of just 78.7″ L x 31.9″ W x 66.4″ H.
It’s one of the few foldable options, using the brand’s Vertical SpaceSaver design to make it even more compact and able to be moved out of the way easily.
You’ll find plenty of choice when you step onto the elliptical and prepare to work out. 30 different workout programs give you all the choice you need based on almost any goal—fat loss, muscle building, endurance, and so on.
Within those workouts, it’ll automatically move through the 24 resistance levels and 10% incline to give you an excellent workout. Or, you can adjust them on your own in manual mode.
The screen is impressive—a 7-inch Smart HD touch screen for viewing your workout stats. Thanks to a sturdy 18-lb flywheel, it can easily deal with users of up to 325 lbs. It also comes with a 10-year warranty on the frame, which is pretty good.
Note that at its highest point, the pedals reach 27 inches above the floor. Double-check if this will allow you to exercise safely without the threat of hurting your head.
- 30 preset workouts to choose from
- 24 levels of digital resistance
- 10% adjustable incline
- Easily foldable for space-saving
- Unknown step-up height
|Overall Footprint||78.7″ L x 31.9″ W x 66.4″ H|
|Foldability||Vertical SpaceSaver Design|
|Built-In Programs||30 preset workouts|
|Resistance Levels||24 digital resistance levels|
|Incline||10% adjustable power incline|
|Stride Length||18 inches|
So Much Choice, Suitable for Anyone
With 30 onboard workout programs, 24 levels of resistance, and a 10% incline, you don’t need any outside apps to get a superb workout. Plus, it folds, which is rare and convenient!
Smart Strider 695 CSE – Best Foldable
Smart Strider 695 CSE
We love the way this machine folds. It’s easy and convenient, especially in compact spaces.
The ProForm Smart Strider 695 CSE isn’t the smallest elliptical when it’s unfolded, at 65” L x 32” W x 80” H. But it features an easy folding design that allows you to fold it close to flat, which makes it a lot easier to move out of the way.
We like that the folding design is unique in that the handlebar/screen section folds downwards, instead of the conventional way. It makes it a little easier to slide behind a sofa or underneath a table.
It’s packed with other great features as well. You can use iFit on this machine if you want access to thousands of on-demand workouts. But there’s plenty built into the machine as well, so you can choose one of the 24 built-in programs if you aren’t interested in iFit.
The 18-pound flywheel, 20 levels of magnetic resistance, and a 10-degrees incline range give you plenty to work with if you like creating your own manual workouts. Plus, the 18-inch stride length is suitable for almost anyone to use with ease.
The only potential issue here is that there’s a bit of mystery around the step-up height. Considering this elliptical has an incline, you may get closer to the ceiling than expected when working out.
- Vertical-folding design saves space when it’s not in use
- iFit-enabled, but also has 24 programs built into the machine
- 20 resistance levels and an 18-lb flywheel
- Great functionality for a compact treadmill
- Unknown step-up height
|Overall Footprint||65” L x 32” W x 80” H|
|Built-In Programs||24 built-in programs, plus iFit|
|Resistance Levels||20 resistance levels|
|Incline||10 degrees of incline|
|Stride Length||18 inches|
Great Features, Great Foldability
We love the way this machine folds. It’s easy and convenient, especially in compact spaces. Plus, it’s got a very versatile range of features that cater to almost anyone of any ability and preference.
Schwinn 411 Elliptical – Smallest Footprint
Schwinn 411 Elliptical
Considering this is the most compact elliptical on this list, it still manages to pack a punch with its features.
The Schwinn 411 has a super compact footprint, at just 53.8 inches in length, 24 inches wide and 62.5 inches high. It’s one of the most compact, space-saving ellipticals we’ve come across, although it doesn’t fold.
There’s 16 adjustable resistance levels and 13 pre-programmed workouts, which is pretty decent for a machine of this size and price. We also love that it has an 18-inch stride length, which is superb for such a compact machine.
The maximum pedal height of 17 inches is not bad at all. Make sure users won’t get too close to the ceiling. For such a small trainer, it can handle a maximum user weight capacity of up to 300 pounds, which is excellent.
As a final cherry on top, this elliptical comes with a 10-year frame warranty and a 2-year warranty on parts, which is great for its price. Additional features we like include a water bottle holder, Bluetooth connectivity, and the ability to sync with the fun, immersive workout app, Explore the World.
- Naturally compact design despite not being able to fold
- Decent array of built-in programs
- Great stride length for a compact machine
- 16 resistance levels
- No incline function
- Not foldable
|Overall Footprint||53.8” L x 24” W x 62.5” H|
|Built-In Programs||13 built-in programs|
|Resistance Levels||16 resistance levels|
|Stride Length||18 inches|
|Step-Up Height||Max pedal height 17 inches|
Compact In Size, Still Packed With Features
Considering this is the most compact elliptical on this list, it still manages to pack a punch with its features. There’s more than enough for just about anyone to get a solid workout, and you can move it to a corner using the transport wheels if you do need it even more out of the way.
Buyer’s Guide: What To Look For In A Compact Elliptical
Looking for the perfect compact elliptical training machine for your space? Here’s what you should consider to make sure it’s got everything you need and will fit right into your space.
The overall footprint is what makes the elliptical compact. On average, ellipticals are around 72 inches long and 30 inches in width, so you’ll want to find something that’s smaller than that and obviously that fits in your available floor space.
Keep in mind that the pedals may move further back than you expect when using the elliptical, and you should also allow for about 15 to 20 inches of open space on either side, just to be safe.
Foldability & Portability
The ability to fold makes ellipticals even more compact. You can simply fold them up and slide them out of sight when they aren’t in use. A foldable compact elliptical will help you keep your small space clutter-free, as long as you have somewhere you can store it safely.
Many smaller ellipticals don’t have a foldable design, so if this is a feature you really want, double-check before buying. You can find folding ones, but it’s not something you should pick over quality and usability.
You want to be able to get a good workout on your chosen machine, even if it is compact. While you don’t need built-in programs to work out effectively, it does make life easier when you can get on, pick one according to your goal, and just press and go.
But you don’t necessarily need an elliptical trainer with 20+ preset workout programs onboard. As long as there are a few different options to choose from, you’ll be good to go. Most offer 5 to 8 different choices at a minimum, based on goals like fat burning, endurance building, and heart rate training.
The more resistance you work against, the more muscle you’ll build and calories you’ll burn. While the built-in workouts will probably adjust the resistance automatically, if you want to go manual, you’ll want a good range of resistance levels to work through.
Not every elliptical moves from one resistance level to the next in the same increments. On one elliptical, the difference between level 5 and 6 might be quite noticeably difficult. On another machine, you might hardly notice the difference between the two levels.
It’s always a good idea to go for a machine with more resistance levels rather than less. Rather have too many that you may or may not get to, than have too few and find yourself wishing you could move up a level again!
Not every elliptical comes with an incline. The function is extremely handy, because exercising on an inclined surface adds a natural resistance thanks to gravity.
It’s definitely not a requirement when shopping for an elliptical, but it’s a nice-to-have that does help boost your workout. You may want to consider whether or not incline is a function you need or want.
Also, note that ellipticals with an incline function may be more expensive than those without, so budget for it if you want an incline!
Compact ellipticals may come with a shorter stride length to keep the footprint smaller. This shouldn’t be an issue for average to shorter people, but may present a problem to taller users.
If you’re shopping for a compact elliptical, make sure it has a decent stride length for all the people who may want to use it. We’ve made sure every machine on this list has a comfortable stride length despite being compact!
If your apartment’s ceilings are compact too, you’ll need to consider your elliptical step-up height and highest pedal height as well. This will help you to make sure nobody hits their head on the ceiling when exercising!
Remember, the elliptical moves slightly up and down as well as in the forward-backward elliptical motion. So the step-up height is important, but it’s also important to know the max pedal height.
Add the tallest user’s height to the maximum pedal height and make sure that’s lower than your ceiling height. If you’ve got really high ceilings, then this isn’t something you need to worry about!
Are Compact Ellipticals Effective?
In general, compact ellipticals are as effective as less compact ones. The mechanism is exactly the same, and although a compact elliptical might be a less sturdy machine than bigger ones, you should be able to get a great low-impact workout nevertheless.
It’s worth noting that taller, heavier users may not get such a great workout on a compact elliptical, as they’re probably better suited to smaller, lighter users in terms of max user weight and stride length. But anyone with any kind of fitness level should be able to get a good full-body workout.
What Are the Disadvantages of Compact Ellipticals?
Some compact machines can also be a little less stable, due to a reduction in material used, which could be a problem for taller or heavier users. You’ll still need to look at well-engineered machines, and make sure to double-check the weight capacity.
Not all compact ellipticals can fold. They may be a little smaller than average, but if you’re looking for something you can fold and slide into a closet when you’re not using it, you’ll need to double-check if it’s a folding one.
Are Compact Ellipticals Affordable?
The price of an elliptical is generally based on its features rather than its size. Which means compact ellipticals can still come in a range of prices. However, they’re generally a little less material-heavy and have fewer features than bigger ones, so you can expect them to be more affordable than commercial-style cardio machines.