Are you ready to purchase a piece of home gym equipment that will finally get you into shape? Yes, we’re talking about compact elliptical machines. If you’re like most people, you don’t have an entire large room to dedicate to a home gym. Many people love ellipticals but don’t think they can purchase one because they are notoriously gigantic.
Don’t resign yourself to a gym membership that you won’t use just because you don’t have much space. Not all ellipticals are mammoths. Today’s compact elliptical machines offer you the great benefits and features of the machine you love without taking up too much space.
Due to their popularity, small elliptical machines are now easy to find on the market. But, which one should you choose? What features should they include? Why should you even choose an elliptical in the first place? We’ll cover all of this and more in this complete guide to an elliptical trainer.
If you’re ready to kick your home workouts into high gear with a piece of awesome piece of equipment, consider one of the following compact machines. Most will allow you to get in a full-body workout without requiring you to compromise by sacrificing loads of space.
Are you ready to buy a compact elliptical machine? There are lots of choices out there. From options that can fit under your desk, to small elliptical machines and fold up elliptical options, it can be tough to make a choice. Get a sense of what each of these popular options has to offer by reading through our product reviews:
The 5 Best Compact Elliptical Machines
Here are the best elliptical machines:
#1. Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine
- With enhanced Bluetooth connectivity, users can set, track and monitor progress with popular app-based...
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- 10° motorized adjustable ramp enables incline control for fun and challenging workouts
If you’re serious about your workout, you want a Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine. It gives you a full 18-inch stride as well as 16 levels of resistance, the most you’ll find on a compact elliptical.
The high-tech touches of the Schwinn Elliptical are impressive, too. Built-in Bluetooth allows it to sync with Schwinn’s RunSocial and Explore the World apps. You can race against friends on 27 different routes—a great way to bring more fun to your workouts. The streamlined display also monitors important workout stats.
While the Schwinn Compact Elliptical is on the heavy side, it has a relatively small footprint, about 5 feet long by 2 feet wide. It’s quiet enough to use in your living room, too, making it an appealing choice for apartments.
- Integrated RunSocial app provides race routes and tracking
- 16 resistance levels
- Padded handlebars with heart rate monitors
- Constructed of durable steel tubing
What We Liked:
- Easy workout tracking with the streamlined display
- More resistance levels than most ellipticals
- Full 18-inch stride in a compact design
- All tools needed for assembly included in box
What We Didn’t Like:
- Fixed handlebars are awkwardly placed
- Higher cost
The Bottom Line: The Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine has more resistance levels and syncs with their RunSocial app for accurate, in-depth tracking.
#2. MaxKare Elliptical Machine Trainer
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The MaxKare Elliptical Machine has 8 levels of resistance, giving you a lot of options for customizing your work-out. It has wide foot pedals and the solid steel frame can hold up to 330lbs, so it’s a versatile option that almost anyone can use.
You’ll love how smooth and quiet the MaxKare Elliptical is at all resistance levels. It also has plenty of nice modern touches, including heartrate monitors on the inner handles. The LCD display shows your speed, calories burned, and other helpful information.
This is also a very compact elliptical. Though it doesn’t fold up, it also doesn’t take up too much space. Moving it is easy, too, thanks to the wheels on the base.
- Large non-slip foot pedals with dual-track design
- LCD monitor provides detailed workout information
- Wheeled for easy transportation and storage
- Dual handle bars with built-in heart rate monitor
What We Liked:
- Versatile for users of all heights and builds
- Smooth and whisper-quiet operation
- Reliable solid steel frame
- Built-in iPad and phone holder
What We Didn’t Like:
- Takes a while to assemble out of the box
- Doesn’t fold up
The Bottom Line: The MaxKare Elliptical Machine is perfect for home workouts. Its compact design is apartment-friendly and it’s built to accommodate a wider range of users.
#3. Cubii Jr. – Get Fit While You Sit
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Cubii Jr.’s Seated Under-Desk Elliptical is a revolutionary way to integrate working out into a busy lifestyle. This elliptical is perfect for desk workers, who can pedal away to burn calories throughout the day.
Don’t under-estimate the Cubii Jr. because of its size. It still has a real-time display of distance and calories, along with 8 levels of resistance. The only thing lacking compared to a full-sized elliptical are the handlebars.
The low-impact workout from the Cubii Jr. is ideal for people with limited mobility, as well. Since you sit while you use it, there’s no risk of falls. It’s also easy to assemble—most people can start using it within 15 minutes of opening the box.
- Display monitor provides real-time tracking
- 8 resistance levels
- Only weighs 30 pounds
What We Liked:
- Minimal assembly required
- Super portable
- Completely silent operation
- Safe and easy for anyone to use
What We Didn’t Like:
- No handlebars for upper body exercise
- No heart rate tracking
The Bottom Line: The Cubii Jr. is the elliptical you want for multi-tasking workouts. It’s by far the most portable elliptical on the list, though the lack of handlebars means there’s no upper body component.
What Is An Elliptical Machine?
An elliptical trainer is an exercise machine that allows you to get in a cardio or weight loss workout. When using an elliptical machine, you walk in a circular motion. Most machines allow you to go either forwards or backward, allowing you to target different sets of muscles.
In addition, most elliptical machines also include an upper body component. Your arms move back and forth, also supporting the motion of your legs. This means that when using an elliptical machine, you get a full-body workout.
The downside of most elliptical machines is that they are quite large. However, the home fitness industry has developed a number of high-quality compact machines that won’t overtake an entire room.
These small elliptical machines offer the perfect compromise. You can still get in a great workout without dedicating a whole room to your home gym. There are even portable elliptical machines and folding elliptical machines that you can hide in your closet or take to work!
The Pros and Cons of Small Elliptical Machines
So, now you know about some of the most popular compact elliptical machines. However, every buyer should also know the pros and cons of going this route. What will you gain by choosing a smaller elliptical? What will you sacrifice? Obviously, purchasing a smaller version has both benefits and consequences. Here’s what you need to know:
- The most obvious benefit? You save space. If you don’t want an exercise machine to overtake your living room, bedroom or designated gym area, choose a compact machine and solve this problem. Many of these units can even be stored in a closet so you don’t even have to look at it when not in use.
- You’ll also be more likely to exercise with equipment right in your home. If getting yourself in gear is your goal, an elliptical machine will help you get there.
- These machines are often mobile and include little wheels for easy moving.
- Compact elliptical machines are often quite cheap.
- It’s not like what you get at the gym. Obviously, the smaller footprint of the machine means there’s less space to work with. Usually, this means a much smaller stride than what you’d find on a full-sized machine. While this may not be all bad, it will certainly take some adjusting.
- The frame may not be as stable as a larger machine.
- Fewer features are included on these compact machines.
How to Shop for the Best Compact Elliptical Machine
Are you ready to choose your elliptical? After perusing reviews, you still need to reflect on how to make your final choice. You’ll need to weigh your options based on your needs, budget, preferences and how much space you have at home.
The bigger the budget you have, the better quality elliptical you can get. If you’re looking for an experience that most mimics the larger machines in the gym, choose an elliptical that still offers great features like the Nautilus model.
Models on par with the Nautilus give you many advantages such as automatic workout programs, stability and heart rate monitoring. As far as a great workout, models in this range will give you the best outcomes.
However, if it’s essential that you have a portable elliptical that you can shove in a closet, you might consider some of the foldable elliptical models or even the tiny models that don’t include the upper body portion. Many people also rave over the small elliptical machines that can be used under your desk.
This is a highly personal choice. If you’d rather workout while sitting, these models offer a great option. But, you’ll miss out on the upper body workout.
Ultimately, the choice of which compact elliptical to buy is a very personal choice.
The Bottom Line: Which Compact Elliptical Should You Buy?
After going through the reviews and prioritizing your goals, you’ll know what kind of elliptical to get. With the many options available on the market, you’re sure to find something you’ll love.
Buying home exercise equipment is a great investment in your health and will help you reach your fitness goals. The elliptical is a great choice because it’s low-impact on your joints and can offer a full-body workout.
Do you already own a compact elliptical machine? Do you love it or hate it? Tell us all about your experience with compact ellipticals in the comments below.
I love that “In-Motion Compact Strider by Stamina”. It is portable and movable. That resistance cord is an added advantage for me. I must get one.
I live in a small apartment so there’s no way I can go for a bigger model. The elliptical trainer from Stamina isn’t that big and it seems to have a lot of positive reviews. I’ve been doing a lot of HIIT workouts lately along with lighter pilates sessions but I do miss my cardio. This compact elliptical will help me to squeeze some cardio when I watch my favorite shows or when I’m on my phone. I’m very curious to see if I can adjust though, it’s a bit weird not having support for my upper body.
Hi Usman, I agree! Let us know how you like it if you choose to purchase one.
I love using the elliptical at the gym and had no idea that there were compact elliptical machines for this inexpensive. You point out how the strides are obviously smaller, but for you, has this affected the quality of the workout you feel that you get? Thanks for your wonderful and thorough article.
Wow! The Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical looks super cool!! I have a sedentary lifestyle because I’m glued to my laptop and workstation all the time, this really is a great option to get fit while you sit. No need to change into your gym clothes either! Super awesome!
I spend a lot of time at an adjustable height standing desk. I’m looking for a compact strider/elliptical with 1) no arms and 2) longest stride possible. Any suggestions? I have access to a full size elliptical in our community clubhouse, which I’m on pretty much every day. I think that one has about a 22″ stride. I’m just looking for something to keep my legs in motion at my desk – with a stride long enough to not drive me crazy.
Or should I be looking at treadmills?
My grandmother has joint pain due to arthritis. Heard that elliptical exercise can reduce joint pain and stiffness. Are ellipticals really helpful for knee injuries?
I was wandering how these small elliptical effect my weight. Looks like they target belly fat as well, which is great! Thanks for shedding the light.
My kids can exercise with Cubii Jr. it looks easy to use and we can use it while watching TV ahahaa