10 Best Compact Elliptical Machines (2024 Review) Small

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Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: February 28, 2024
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

I was recently asked by a client that's the best compact elliptical machine. To give him the best answer possible, our team scoured the market for good-quality ellipticals. We put them to the test over several months and read hundreds of user feedback to determine out the best options.

Here are our top 10 compact elliptical machines.

The Best Compact Elliptical Machines

Editor's Choice
Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine
Schwinn
Durability
5.0
Price
5.0
Weight Capacity
300 lbs
Overall Score 5.0
5.0
Check Current Price
2nd Best Choice
Gazelle Edge by Tony Little
Tony Little
Durability
4.4
Price
5.0
Weight Capacity
250 lbs
Overall Score 4.7
4.7
Check Current Price
3rd Best Choice
Cubii Pro Seated Under Desk Elliptical
Cubii Pro
Durability
4.6
Price
4.6
Weight Capacity
250 lbs
Overall Score 4.6
4.6
Check Current Price

Our Top Compact Ellipticals (March 2024)

1 - Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine (Best Overall & for Beginners)

Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine
5.0
Durability
5.0
Price
Weight Capacity
300 lbs
Overall Score 5.0
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Substantial 18-inch stride length
  • Smooth and silent operation
  • Sturdy and stable usage on different surfaces

Cons

  • Some customers say the elliptical may give inaccurate workout stats

When I first set up the Schwinn compact elliptical in my living room, I was amazed by how space-efficient it was, especially given its robust features.

With its Explore the World app integration, you can make your workouts more interesting by exploring various virtual courses, destinations, and trails.

I was impressed with the built-in fan, which can keep you cool while exercising.

Whether you’re in the mood to go fast or slow, the 16 levels of resistance will allow you to adjust the difficulty as you please.

The moving and stationary handlebars also have a contact grip heart rate monitor, so you can check if you're going at the right rate.

2 - Gazelle Edge by Tony Little (Best Foldable)

Gazelle Edge by Tony Little
4.4
Durability
5.0
Price
Weight Capacity
250 lbs
Overall Score 4.7
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Easy on the whole body
  • Lightweight but durable
  • Folds easily for a hassle-free storage

Cons

  • May not work for users looking for intense workouts, but great for beginners

During one of my workout sessions on the Gazelle Edge, I truly appreciated its range of motion. It felt like I was gliding, making my exercises both effective and enjoyable.

You can switch from a slow walk to a full run with no sudden stops on this machine. I found out that this safety measure significantly benefits individuals who suffer from joint diseases or injuries.

The five-function computer is straightforward and gives instant feedback on speed, distance, time, and calories.

The extra-wide non-skid pedals provide stability, while the high-density foam handlebars ensure an ultra-comfortable hold.

It has a foldable footprint and a weight capacity of 250 pounds.

3 - Cubii Pro Seated Under Desk Elliptical (Best Small-Sized)

Cubii Pro Seated Under Desk Elliptical
4.6
Durability
4.6
Price
Weight Capacity
250 lbs
Overall Score 4.6
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Nearly silent operation
  • Bluetooth capability and multiple app integrations
  • Users say customer service is superb

Cons

  • Very heavy, so it can be quite tricky to move around

As someone who's often tied to the desk, the Cubii Pro was a revelation for me. It seamlessly fit under my work table, allowing me to keep active without interrupting my workflow.

What sets it apart from the other ellipticals on this list is its Bluetooth capability, which will allow you to connect it to the Cubii iOS and Android app.

With this desk elliptical, you can communicate—and even compete—with other Cubii Pro users. Belonging to a community that shares the same fitness goal can give you that extra motivation when you need it, so you might find this feature useful.

You can also sync your workouts to FitBit and Apple HealthKit to efficiently keep track and share calories, strides, miles, minutes, and more.

4 - Doufit Elliptical

Doufit Elliptical
4.4
Durability
4.8
Price
Weight Capacity
220 lbs
Overall Score 4.6
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Not nearly as large as other compact ellipticals
  • The simple display is great for non-tech savvy users
  • Front wheels make moving and storage easy

Cons

  • Some users complained of a loud squeaking noise

I was on a budget when I came across the Doufit Elliptical. Its performance, given its price point, exceeded my expectations, making my workouts both challenging and rewarding.

The sensitive digital monitor and pulse sensor tracks calories, time, speed, virtual distance, total mileage, and heart rate during exercise.

I was impressed with the tracking stats while exercising which is essential, especially if your goal is weight loss. According to an article on Mayo Clinic, that's because the more intense or longer your workout, the more calories you burn [1].

Its maximum load-bearing is 220 pounds.

Like most of the elliptical machines reviewed so far, this one features textured and expansive pedals that can accommodate varied foot sizes and ensure a safe workout.

5 - ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer (Best With Climbing Feature)

ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer
4.5
Durability
4.4
Price
Weight Capacity
325 lbs
Overall Score 4.5
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Compact footprint
  • Unique climbing motion provides a more intense workout
  • Great price-quality ratio

Cons

  • Some users say other parts may start to unravel after months of use

I was initially skeptical about the ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer's vertical climbing feature. But after a few sessions, I noticed a significant increase in my calorie burn, making it a favorite in my routine.

Its inertia-enhanced flywheel made my workouts smooth, while its oversized cushioned pedals and beefy handles ensured a zero-impact experience.

It has 24 digital resistance levels and comes with a 30-day iFit trial membership that will give you access to workouts led by expert iFit trainers.

It has a stride length of 10 inches and a weight capacity of 325 pounds.

6 - Sunny Health & Fitness (Best Easy-to-Assemble)

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
4.4
Durability
4.3
Price
Weight Capacity
330 lbs
Overall Score 4.4
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Pre-programmed workouts are great for beginners
  • Very sturdy and stable design

Cons

  • Some users say it may develop a slight creaking/whistling sound over time

I've always loved variety in my workouts, and the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Trainer provided just that. With its 24 modes and 16 adjustable magnetic tension levels, every session felt fresh and challenging.

It is made with a heavy-duty steel frame and fitted with floor stabilizers, promising a secure usage no matter how vigorous the exercise.

The elliptical machine has a weight capacity of 330 pounds, a stride length of 15.5 inches, and a built-in media holder so you can keep your devices close to you as you workout.

My clients were impressed with the machine's transportation wheels which allowed them to tilt and roll it away quickly after exercising—no need for any heavy lifting.

7 - Fitness Reality Air Walker (Best Multi-Direction)

Fitness Reality Multi Direction Air Walker
4.3
Durability
4.3
Price
Weight Capacity
225 lbs
Overall Score 4.3
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes almost completely assembled
  • Substantial stride length
  • Multiple direction air walker works out nearly every muscle of the body

Cons

  • Users say it may not be suitable for advanced users for being too easy

I was intrigued by the Fitness Reality Multi Direction Air Walker's 36-inch stride length. After using it, I felt the difference in my legs and core, making it a valuable addition to my fitness regimen.

With its 180-degree range of motion, you can do forward, backward, and side-to-side leg stretches so you can sculpt your hamstring muscles in no time.

It is constructed with a sturdy, powder-coated, 2.75-inch thick tubular steel mainframe.

I liked its adjustable floor stabilizers and oversized ribbed foot pads which ensured a safe exercise, no matter the intensity of our workout.

This elliptical machine can carry up to 225 pounds.

8 - Body Power 2-in-1 Elliptical Stepper (Cheapest)

Body Power 2-in-1 Elliptical Stepper
4.3
Durability
4.0
Price
Weight Capacity
250 lbs
Overall Score 4.2
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Comes with a tablet holder
  • Curve-crank technology gives an intensive full-body workout
  • Good-quality fitness machine for the price point

Cons

  • Some users report that it can be a bit wobbly

I've always been wary of 2-in-1 machines, but the Body Power 2-in-1 Elliptical Stepper changed my perspective. Its unique combination of elliptical and stepper motions gave my workouts an added dimension.

This cross trainer’s most notable feature is its patented Curve-Crank Technology that applies sustained tension to both the X and Y axes, giving you a dead-zone-free rotation as you pedal.

This elliptical is a 2-in-1 HIIT trainer that combines the oval motions of an elliptical and the up and down movements of a stepper, giving you a calorie-blasting full-body workout.

However, I found it a bit wobbly while working out.

9 - EFITMENT Magnetic Elliptical

EFITMENT Magnetic Elliptical
4.1
Durability
4.1
Price
Weight Capacity
220 lbs
Overall Score 4.1
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Genuinely compact yet sturdy
  • Noiseless operation
  • Lightweight and easy to assemble

Cons

  • Screws may require occasional tightening as they tend to loosen up and make noise with gradual use

I loved that this compact machine is built with a phone and tablet holder so I could watch my favorite shows while working up a sweat.

It has a stride length of 11 inches, a maximum user weight of 220 pounds, an LCD monitor to track your progress, and hand pulse sensors to help you monitor and maintain a steady heart rate.

To determine your target pulse, you first need to identify your maximum heart rate.

According to an article on Live Strong, if you’re a man, subtract your age in years from 220. If you’re a woman, subtract 88 percent of your age from 206 [2].

Your target pulse rate is anywhere between 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, so make sure to check the LCD screen of your machine and see if you’re staying within that.

10 - Aceshin Elliptical Machine

Aceshin Elliptical Machine
4.0
Durability
4.0
Price
Weight Capacity
330 lbs
Overall Score 4.0
Check Current Price

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Many usage variations with the option to target different muscle groups
  • Easy-to-read LCD screen, even in dim light
  • Super smooth and noiseless operation
  • Sturdy and well-built

Cons

  • Some users say assembly was easy, but it can take quite a while

I live in an apartment with thin walls, so noise is always a concern. The Aceshin Elliptical Machine, with its quiet operation, ensured I could work out without disturbing my neighbors.

Thirty minutes or less on this elliptical trainer can have you sweating and panting with its eight levels of magnetic resistance and variable tension control.

Furnished with a wide base, tubular steel construction, and heavy-duty anti-slip pedals, this machine's solid build can keep you safe, no matter how intense your workout.

It has a 13-inch stride length and a maximum weight capacity of 330 pounds.

How We Tested Compact Elliptical Machines

Here's how we chose the best compact elliptical machines:

Durability

We subjected each machine to rigorous daily workouts, simulating months of regular use in a condensed timeframe. We also took note of the materials used in construction, the sturdiness of the joints, and the quality of the moving parts.

Machines that exhibited any signs of wear, unusual noises, or instability were flagged, ensuring only the most robust ellipticals made our recommendation list.

Price

Each elliptical was assessed not just on its price tag but also on the value it offered for that price. We considered features, durability, and user experience against the cost, ensuring that whether you're on a budget or looking for a premium product, you're getting the best bang for your buck.

Weight Capacity

We tested machines with users of varying weights, ensuring they remained stable, efficient, and safe. Ellipticals that could accommodate a broader range of user weights without compromising on performance or safety scored higher in our evaluations.

Buying Guide for Compact Elliptical Machines

credit card and laptop

Here are some of the most important factors you should consider when shopping for these machines.

"It's not about being the best. It's about being better than you were yesterday."

 

- Stephanie Chapa, Fitness Competitor

1. Stride Length

You measure stride length by setting both pedals at their longest stride and measuring the distance between the very back of the rear pedal and the very front of the rear pedal.

Generally, the optimal length should be around 18 inches to 20 inches for most people.

Compact ellipticals will have shorter stride lengths than regular-sized ellipticals.

Although some compact models in the market will have 18 inches to 20 inches of stride length, you should be prepared to shell out a few more bucks to avail of those.

Another thing to note is the foot spacing. The best compact ellipticals have narrow gaps between the foot pedals to mimic a natural stride.

When your feet move past each other while you’re walking, they shouldn’t be separated by over 2 inches. That’s also how it should be with ellipticals.

2. Resistance

compact-elliptical machine resistance

The best ellipticals have varied resistance levels. After all, an effective workout involves experiencing a level of difficulty enough to make you sweat and burn calories.

The higher the resistance level you set, the more challenging it will be to pedal, making you expend further energy into the action. That also equates to increased fat burning.

With that being said, high-quality ellipticals should provide enough support for smooth motion. The smoother the exercise, the longer you’ll last on an elliptical without tiring too fast.

If you’re on the heavier side, you might want to invest in an elliptical that has more resistance than regular ones so you can achieve a comfortable momentum.

3. Step-up Height

You should always check the step-up height. You can measure this by measuring the distance between the ground and the pedal at its lowest point. Most ellipticals have the standard 10 inches to 14 inches step-up height.

“Shift the focus from what your body looks like to what it can do.”

 

- Jessi Kneeland, Personal Trainer & Fitness Coach

Unfortunately, not many companies disclose this information about their ellipticals. So if you're ordering equipment online and it doesn't say what the step-up height is, it’s best to assume that it's at 16 inches to be safe.

4. Space Considerations

Compact elliptical doesn't necessarily mean it'll fit into any corner of your living space.

When shopping for an elliptical, it's essential to consider its dimensions and compare them with the available space in your home.

Pro tip: Some models even come with foldable features or transport wheels, making storage and movement a breeze.

5. Accessories

The elliptical experience can be significantly enhanced with the right accessories. At the forefront are heart rate monitors, which provide real-time feedback on your workout intensity, helping you stay within target zones and track your fitness progress.

For those keen on multitasking, tablet holders can be a game-changer. They securely hold your device, allowing you to watch shows, read, or even attend virtual meetings while burning calories.

Protective floor mats protect your flooring from potential scratches, but they also provide stability and reduce noise during workouts.

Finally, ergonomic handlebar grips, wireless headphones, and specialized cleaning kits can further elevate your elliptical sessions, making them more efficient, comfortable, and enjoyable.

Health Benefits of Compact Ellipticals

The unique design of ellipticals allows for a full-body workout that simultaneously targets multiple muscle groups, from the calves and thighs to the arms and shoulders. But the benefits don't stop at muscle toning.

Moreover, according to a study published on the PubMed website, an elliptical device provides the same benefits as a treadmill, and can be used for cross-training [3].

Regular sessions on an elliptical can significantly boost cardiovascular health, aiding in better heart function and improved lung capacity.

One of the standout features of ellipticals is their low-impact nature. Unlike running or jumping, the elliptical motion ensures that your feet never leave the pedals, reducing strain on the joints. This makes it an excellent choice for individuals recovering from injuries or those with chronic joint issues, allowing them to achieve an intense workout without the associated risks.

FAQs

How long is too long on the elliptical?

You’re going too long on the elliptical if you spend more than an hour on it every day. Using it for approximately an hour, five days a week, should be enough to get you the best results. Following this recommended duration will already help you maximize the cardio benefits of this machine.

Does the elliptical help with belly fat?

Yes, the elliptical helps you eliminate belly fat. Although elliptical machines offer low impact cardio workouts, it still allows you to engage both your upper and lower body while exercising. More muscles working equals more calories burned, which means ellipticals can do a pretty good job of burning fat in your midsection.

Is elliptical better than walking?

The elliptical is better than walking if you want to burn calories and fat with a workout that's relatively easy on the joints. But if you simply want to get your steps in and spend more time outdoors, then walking might be the more ideal form of exercise for you.

Our Verdict on the Best Compact Elliptical

Having personally tested and compared various compact ellipticals, I can confidently say that the Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine stood out as the top contender.

Its robust construction, combined with a generous stride length and silent operation, made my workouts both challenging and enjoyable.

With a weight capacity of 330 pounds, it's versatile enough to cater to a broad range of users. While all the ellipticals on this list have their merits, Schwinn's blend of features, durability, and user feedback makes it a clear winner in my book.

 

Our #1 Recommendation

Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine (Best Overall & for Beginners)

Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine
Durability
5.0
Price
5.0
Weight Capacity
300 lbs
Overall Score 5.0
5.0
Pros
  • Substantial 18-inch stride length
  • Smooth and silent operation
  • Sturdy and stable usage on different surfaces
Cons
  • Some customers say the elliptical may give inaccurate workout stats
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One thought on “The Best Compact Elliptical Machines
Small Space Saving Trainers

  1. Compact ellipticals are a game changer for limited space – the incline options make it convenient to fold and store without cutting into workout experience.

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