5 Best Compact Elliptical Trainers: Perfect for Small Spaces & Apartments


Compact and folding elliptical machines are relatively new concepts in the exercise industry. It could be that the need to save on space has only just emerged, but that is a topic for another day.

The first indoor exercise machines were invented in the late 1700s. These were huge machines that filled whole rooms, and moving them from place to place was a nightmare. 

The first elliptical, called the EFX 544, was produced by Precor, in 1995. It instantly became a hit in gyms, but even then, the demand for compact machines had not caught on. 

However, in the last decade or so, the market for home fitness equipment has grown exponentially. Due to the limited space available, customers demand new designs that allow better portability and storage.

Best Compact Ellipticals USP Ratings Buy
Advanced console with internet and the iFit app. [wpsm_button color="green" size="small" link="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072C3QYGV/?tag=fitnessabout08-20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"]Buy Now[/wpsm_button]
Sturdy build to ensure a long service life. [wpsm_button color="green" size="small" link="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07JGGG92Y/?tag=fitnessabout08-20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"]Buy Now[/wpsm_button]
Innovative air and magnetic resistance system. [wpsm_button color="green" size="small" link="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RLYTG5X/?tag=fitnessabout08-20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"]Buy Now[/wpsm_button]
Compact and easy to move with the wheels provided. [wpsm_button color="green" size="small" link="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007595TKU/?tag=fitnessabout08-20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"]Buy Now[/wpsm_button]
Very affordable, presumably due to the lack of fancy features. [wpsm_button color="green" size="small" link="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004EX70GQ/?tag=fitnessabout08-20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"]Buy Now[/wpsm_button]

Best Compact Ellipticals of 2020

As of 2019, there are many models or compact or otherwise foldable ellipticals in the market. If you’re shopping around for one, you have to do your due diligence and find out as much as you can about them.

While there is a lot of information available online, the best way to get reliable information is from users. We collected feedback from people who currently own compact and folding elliptical machines and used it to rank the best ones available.

This is a reliable guide that will be of invaluable help to you as you look for the best buy.

[wpsm_titlebox title=”” style=”3″]

#1. NordicTrack Spacesaver SE9i

NordicTrack is a well-known name in the fitness industry. It introduced the Spacesaver series for those people who have limited space at home. The Spacesaver SE9i model is the best yet in this series.

This elliptical would not be considered compact as such, but rather foldable. That is because it is designed to fold downwards onto the bottom half and can then be wheeled away to storage. 

The reason for this design is to avoid hurting the quality of the machine. With this machine, you will be getting everything you need in an elliptical.

NordicTrack Spacesaver SE9i Elliptical Trainers

The NordicTrack Spacesaver SE9i comes with an 18-pound (8.1 kg) flywheel for smooth performance. Also, it has a stride length of 18″ which is suitable for short to slightly tall users. 

For the resistance, you will get a 24-eddy current resistance system to help you vary the intensity of your work out as you wish. It also features a motorized incline system with levels between 00 and 100. 

The SE9i model beats the rest of the Spacesaver models by having a better, more advanced screen. It is 7″ in size, high definition, and enabled for both internet and iFit Coach Plus. 

It is, on average, a very good elliptical packed with a lot of features that will give you extra value for your money.

[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”POSITIVES:”]

  • Advanced console with internet and the iFit app.
  • It is telemetrically enabled and comes with an included chest strap.
  • Motorized incline system.
  • Silent magnetic resistance system.
  • Sound system is built into the machine.

[/wpsm_pros][/wpsm_column][wpsm_column size=”one-half” position=”last”][wpsm_cons title=”NEGATIVES:”]

  • You have to pay a monthly subscription for the iFit app to keep track of your training stats.
  • There is no USB port to charge your devices.
  • The flywheel isn’t heavy enough.

[/wpsm_cons][/wpsm_column]

Verdict

Body Champ trio is a strictly practical, no-frills machine. It will give you all the cardio you need, but you will have to find a way to motivate and entertain yourself while at it.

However, for the price, it is a great option, especially if you’re just starting your exercise journey.

NordicTrack Spacesaver SE9i Elliptical Trainers

$1,541.47  in stock
1 new from $1,541.47
Free shipping
Buy Now
Amazon.com
as of September 25, 2020 2:51 am

Features

  • At the touch of a button: Adjust your resistance between 24 different levels for a higher calorie burn using the convenient one Touch & Rag; controls.
  • Heart RATE training: find the right heart RATE zone for your fitness goals using the built-in heart rate sensors and included iFit bluetooth; Smart chest strap.
  • Wireless iFit Bluetooth chest strap, adjustable oversized pedals, 18 lb. Effective flywheel
  • 7" Smart HD Touchscreen, 30 Workout Apps, Auto Breeze Workout Fan, Integrated Quick Touch Handle Controls,
  • The Space Saver SE9i comes with a 10-Year Frame , 2-Year Parts , 1-Year Labor . Weight Capacity 325 Lb.
[/wpsm_titlebox][wpsm_titlebox title=”” style=”3″]

#2. Body Champ Three-in-One Trio Trainer (BRT 6300)

Just like the name suggests, this is not just an ordinary elliptical. The Body Champ Trio Trainer was created by Body Champ to give three functionalities in the same machine. These include an elliptical, a recumbent bike, and an upright bike.

The most attractive thing about it is that it manages to solve your space issues in two ways. The main one is that the three functions mean you don’t have to buy any of the other two machines. Secondly, it is incredibly compact with a footprint of just 53″L x 28″W x 61″H compared to a full-size treadmill such as the Sole E35 that measures 58″L x 27″W x 83″H.

Body Champ 3-in-1 Trio Trainer Plus Two, Silver

It features a 20 lb (9 kg) that serves all three functions. The drive is the usual V-belt found in most industrial applications.

The Pedals of the Trio Runner are a little different. They are more like two sets of pedals integrated into one, with a large flat part for the elliptical function and another smaller one for the spinning. 

Unfortunately, this dual function leaves them without cushioning. You can wear exercise shoes instead. The biking part also lacks a strap, so that is also another inconvenience you might have to deal with.

This machine makes use of a magnetic resistance system with 16 levels. These can be used for all three functions, and adjustments can be made easily using the numbered quick-select buttons or the Up/Down ones on the console.

Due to its design, the Body Champ Trio Runner does not feature an incline system. 

The console is also quite basic. It has a matrix display without backlights. However, it is wide and multi-paneled, which means that it can display all the data you need on the same screen without the need to press a lot of buttons. 

Also, no speaker or fan is available, and there is no holder available for your media devices.

[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”POSITIVES:”]

  • The most obvious advantage is the 3-in-1 functionality, which enables you to get all your cardio needs from one machine.
  • Compact design is perfect for small rooms.
  • Magnetic resistance for smooth and silent operation.
  • Sturdy build to ensure long service life. 
  • Very affordable, gives you great value for money.

[/wpsm_pros][/wpsm_column][wpsm_column size=”one-half” position=”last”][wpsm_cons title=”NEGATIVES:”]

  • No incline option is available.
  • Bland display, which even lacks backlighting for use in dark rooms.
  • No speakers, tablet holder, or other forms of entertainment is available.

[/wpsm_cons][/wpsm_column]

Verdict

Body Champ trio is a strictly practical, no-frills machine. It will give you all the cardio you need, but you will have to find a way to motivate and entertain yourself while at it.

However, for the price, it is a great option, especially if you’re just starting your exercise journey.

Body Champ 3-in-1 Trio Trainer Plus Two, Silver

$398.99  out of stock

Free shipping
Buy Now
Amazon.com
as of September 25, 2020 2:51 am

Features

  • Use as Elliptical Trainer, Recumbent Bike, Upright Bike plus Seated and Sprint Road Bike Cycling (NEW)
  • Hassle free Transitions without unmounting or adjusting hardware
  • Three (3) Sets of Integrated Handlebars to choose from: 1. U-shaped (fixed frontal w/ Built-in Hand-grip Heart Rate Monitor System), 2. Dual-action (moving elliptical style), and 3. Wraparound (seated reclined)
  • Programmable Exercise Console Features 21 Training Programs with Media Shelf
  • Integrated Hand Pulse / Heart Rate Monitor with Magnetic Adjustable Resistance and Motor drive with AC Adaptor
[/wpsm_titlebox][wpsm_titlebox title=”” style=”3″]

#3. Bowflex Max Trainer M7

The Bowflex Max Trainer is an exciting new design first introduced in late 2016. When you first look at it, you will see that it looks very different. That is because the drive system is vertical instead of horizontal, as is the case with most other ellipticals. 

The vertical design effectively cuts the size of the machine by almost half, making it an excellent option for small rooms. It also means that you do not have to sacrifice too much for size, because it is still an elliptical with full specs.

First of all, this elliptical is supported by a tubular steel frame held together by precision welding. It makes the whole machine durable and sturdy even under intense use and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Bowflex Max Trainer M7

The other important feature is the resistance system. It combines air and magnetic resistance to give an overall experience that is tuned to your needs. That happens because air resistance improves with speed, which means that resistance automatically depending on how fast you pedal.

However, there are also buttons on the console for manual resistance adjustment.

The other important feature is that this machine is, by design, more like a stepper. The pedals move in a distinctively vertical (10″) and horizontal (10.1″) fashion. However, the pedals articulate with the movement so that it is more oblique. Overall, it resembles the motion of climbing stairs.

An advantage of this design is that there are virtually no height limitations to those who can use the machine. 

As for the console, it features a very eccentric design that resembles a tachometer. It has a radial dial and a narrow display below it. Between them, the two displays show all the information you need. This information includes includes pulse, cadence, resistance, speed, time, and calories burned.

[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”POSITIVES:”]   

  • More compact than most other ellipticals, occupies only 49â€L x 30.5â€W x 65.5â€H
  • Innovative air and magnetic resistance system.
  • Articulating pedals to reduce joint impact.
  • Stylish design.
  • Very sturdy build.

[/wpsm_pros][/wpsm_column][wpsm_column size=”one-half” position=”last”][wpsm_cons title=”NEGATIVES:”]   

  • It lacks an HD display for entertainment, as well as a tablet holder.
  • It lacks a sound system for entertainment.
  • If you’re after a true elliptical, the step-like motion of the M7 might put you off.

[/wpsm_cons][/wpsm_column]

Verdict

The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 is an innovatively designed elliptical that will give you the full workout experience without taking much of your space.

However, it lacks much of the media features you might want, such as a USB, Bluetooth, and music. If you do not mind that, this machine is worth the money and will give you the workout of your life

Bowflex Max Trainer M7

$2,198.88  out of stock
1 new from $2,198.88
Free shipping
Buy Now
Amazon.com
as of September 25, 2020 2:51 am

Features

  • 11 workout programs and 20 levels of computer controlled resistance available
  • Syncs with Free Max Trainer app to set, monitor, and track goals while streaming video content from professional trainers that will instruct, motivate and help you be more successful with Max (Available for Apple iOS and Android devices)
  • M7 performance targeted programming learns and adapts to each user's fitness level over time to set new targets.Maximum user weight:300 lbs
  • Oversized, high contrast, dual backlit LCD/LED display for easy use
  • The M7 is a fraction of the size of most ellipticals and treadmills with a small footprint (49 Length x 30.5" Width x 65.5 Height Inches )
[/wpsm_titlebox][wpsm_titlebox title=”” style=”3″]

#4. Exerpeutic 5000

The Exerpeutic 5000 is the definition of performance and affordability. It is a low-priced model lacking in fancy features, but one you can trust to give you a high-quality workout for a long time.

First, and most importantly for your needs, in this case, is that it is a very compact machine. It measures 55â€L x 25â€W x 64â€W, which is impressive for such a good elliptical. 

The other advantage is the 18″ stride length. Given that it is a rear-drive type elliptical, that is a very good figure. Most people, regardless of their height, can use it comfortably.

Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse

The Exerpeutic 5000 uses a dual-drive system, with two belts and two flywheels. For this reason, it operates very smoothly and silently and is guaranteed to last for a very long time. It also requires very little maintenance to keep in good working condition.

Even with its compact size, this elliptical still packs a punch with its resistance. It makes use of an eddy current magnetic resistance system with 24 levels. It is the most advanced there is and allows for effortless control with just the touch of a button. 

A console is available with this machine that has an elementary display. That is because it is not backlit, is barely 5″ in size, and is only there to display your exercise data such as time, cadence or RPM, calories burned, resistance level, distance covered, among others. 

It does come with a tablet holder but lacks speakers for music.

[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”POSITIVES:”]

  • Very affordable, giving you great value for money.
  • Well built, durable, and strong.
  • Compact and easy to move with the wheels provided.
  • 24 level magnetic resistance system.
  • Tablet holder available.

[/wpsm_pros][/wpsm_column][wpsm_column size=”one-half” position=”last”][wpsm_cons title=”NEGATIVES:”]

  • Lacks telemetry for wireless pulse monitoring.
  • Lacks both speakers and a fan.
  • Has no incline function.

[/wpsm_cons][/wpsm_column]

Verdict

The Exerpeutic is an Elliptical machine designed to give quality exercise without taking up too much space. If you are not put off by the lack of fancy features, then go for it by all means. 

Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Exercise Bike with Pulse

$199.99
$149.00  in stock
12 new from $149.00
2 used from $137.08
Free shipping
Buy Now
Amazon.com
as of September 25, 2020 2:51 am

Features

  • [MEN'S HEALTH EDITOR'S CHOICE]: Supports up to 300 lbs. weight capacity which is 75 lbs. more capacity than most other folding bikes. Very easy to get off and on the bike, providing a more effective and comfortable workout.
  • [Large LCD Display]: An easy to read large window (3.3"W x 1.5"H) LCD display that indicates distance, calories burned, time, speed, pulse and scan. Hand pulse sensors for monitoring your target heart rate
  • [SEATING COMFORT]: Large seat cushion for people of any size. Easily adjustable to fit 5'3" to 6'1" user heights. 3 piece "high torque" cranking system provides a smooth and consistent pedaling motion. Intended to be used on the hard flat floor
  • [SPACE SAVING Design]: The bike can be easily folded to half of the assembled size, so it's uniquely compact. Can be moved with the included transportation wheels. Folded Dimensions: 22" L x 20" W x 55.5" H
  • [8 LEVEL TENSION]: An 8 level Magnetic Tension control system allows the user to adjust the tension level for an easier or more difficult workout. Refer to the manual for troubleshooting steps of tension system. Quiet operation
[/wpsm_titlebox][wpsm_titlebox title=”” style=”3″]

#5. Body-Solid Best Fitness Cross Trainer (BFCT1)

After being 30 years in business and making different fitness equipment and machines, Body Fitness has become an important name in the fitness industry. It is well known for its white or silver products, as well as for its ‘Built for Life’ motto. It was the first company to introduce a lifetime warranty.

With that in mind, the BFCT1 cross trainer from Body Fitness is built and assembled to the same high standards. It features thick steel tubes for the frame that are precision welded to give the reliability you expect. It is rated for a maximum weight limit of 225 lbs (102kg).

The size of this machine is quite compact, with dimensions of 45â€L x 26â€W x 66â€H. Thus, it is ideal for small spaces. It is also easy to move due to its front wheels.

Body-Solid Best Fitness Crosstrainer Elliptical Machine (BFCT1)

The small size seems to have a significant effect on the stride length because it has only 12″ available. It could be because it is connected directly to the flywheel (no belt). Such a short stride length makes it inappropriate for tall users who might feel that it is too constrained.

The machine features 8 levels of magnetic resistance with a manual adjustment. What happens is that there is a knob connected through a tension wire to the magnetic pads. Turning the knob moves then closer or farther away from the flywheel, thus varying the resistance.

The console is not very advanced, which is expected for this price range. It features an unlit LCD on which you can see your exercise information such as mileage, time, calories burned, RPM, among others. 

For pulse monitoring, there are sensors integrated into the fixed handlebars. The console is not telemetrically enabled to sync with chest straps. Neither does it offer media options like speakers or a device holder.

[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”POSITIVES:”]

  • Solid construction, which if used within the weight limit, will likely last a lifetime.
  • Very smooth and quiet operation.
  • Very affordable, presumably due to the lack of fancy features.
  • 8 level magnetic resistance.
  • Slight downward incline, which makes it easy to start, stop, and for beginners.

[/wpsm_pros][/wpsm_column][wpsm_column size=”one-half” position=”last”][wpsm_cons title=”NEGATIVES:”]

  • No incline available.
  • The console is not backlit, has no tablet holder, and no telemetric functionality.
  • Short stride length.

[/wpsm_cons][/wpsm_column]

Verdict

The Body-Solid Best Fitness would give you the idea that it is a small machine for small individuals, but that is very wrong. Even medium height and slightly taller ones can use it comfortably with a few minutes of getting used to.

With its solid construction and efficient performance, it is set to last you for many years. However, if you need entertainment, you will have to bring your own.

Body-Solid Best Fitness Crosstrainer Elliptical Machine (BFCT1)

$445.74  in stock
12 new from $445.74
Free shipping
Buy Now
Amazon.com
as of September 25, 2020 2:51 am

Features

  • Enjoy calorie-burning elliptical workouts from the comfort of your home
  • Synchronized arms combine upper- and lower-body movements for a total-body workout
  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance and 5-function LED console
  • Integrated transport wheels for easy portability
  • Measures 45 by 26 by 66 inches (L x W x H) and weighs 97 pounds
[/wpsm_titlebox]

Compact Elliptical Trainer Buying Guide

Buying a compact ellipticals is a tricky business. It is the same with small city cars and other small machines, namely, that something has to give. However, you do not have to sacrifice too much for the sake of space.

Here is what you need to look for to get the best compact ellipticals for your money, other than the apparent space requirements.
Stride Length

Some manufacturers tend to scrimp on the stride length because of the design limitations. Typically, a stride length of 18″ to 22″ would be advisable. For compacts, 14″ and 16″ could be good, but not for very tall people. Bear in mind, however, that the path design also matters. You can have a short stride length but a very comfortable experience.

Quality Standards: It matters how well an elliptical is built and assembled since it directly influences performance and durability. Only go for the best, preferably those with positive user reviews.

Resistance and Incline: Some manufacturers tend to limit the resistance and incline in an attempt to save on space and cost. If you want a machine on which you can truly challenge yourself, make sure it has some reasonable levels of resistance and incline. Even manual ones are better than none.

Extras: Once you have a working elliptical, it also matters how well it motivates you to work out. For that reason, any other feature that the manufacturer throws in is a big plus. Bluetooth speakers, tablet holder, or telemetry will all be a significant advantage to you.

Conclusion

There was a time when exercise machines and equipment belonged strictly in gyms; size did not matter then. Nowadays, however, you want convenience more than anything else, and that is why getting a good machine that will fit the small confines of your home is essential.

It is possible to have an elliptical machine small enough to fit your home and budget, and good enough to give you the workout you need. When you find the compact elliptical you want, go for it and fulfill the next step on your fitness journey.

Leave a Comment