Are you ready to purchase a piece of home gym equipment that will finally get you into shape? 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 compact elliptical machines.
What Is An Elliptical Machine?
An elliptical 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.
There are many benefits to using an elliptical exercise machine. This type of machine, like recumbent exercise bikes, allows you to workout without pounding your joints. With an elliptical, you get low-impact exercise along with all of the weight loss, heart and muscle benefits. A compact elliptical machine is ideal for those who have joint problems and for any person interested in home fitness.
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 elliptical 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!
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 elliptical machines. Most will allow you to get in a full-body workout without requiring you to compromise by sacrificing loads of space. Here are our top picks for compact elliptical machines:
The Top 5 Compact Elliptical Machines
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:
#2. Stamina In-Motion Elliptical: Easy, Small and Quiet
- PORTABLE, QUIET AND EFFICIENT CARDIO: This mini strider is compact and lightweight, making it easy to use and...
- ADJUSTABLE TENSION WITH MONITOR: Vary the intensity of your workout by turning the adjustable dial while you...
- MULTIPLE MOVEMENT OPTIONS: Depending on your needs and abilities, the In Motion E1000 Compact Strider can be...
Stamina’s In-Motion Elliptical is a great compact little strider you can tuck under your desk or put in your living room so that you can exercise while sitting. Impressively small, sturdy and effective, you can get great use out of this machine.
- Adjustable resistance
- Can be used while sitting or standing
- Pedal forward or backward
- Features small display monitor to track progress which includes: exercise time, calories burned, strides per minute, and total strides
- Small footprint: 11.38 inches tall, 17 inches wide, 24.5 inches long
- Weight capacity of 250 pounds
What We Liked:
- Compact so it can slide in a closet or under your desk
- It’s very quiet
- Helps you lose weight while sitting, working or watching TV
What We Didn’t Like:
- No handle for moving, so it’s difficult to move from place to place
- Not the best range of motion on the pedals
#3. Schwinn 411 Elliptical Machine (Long Stride, Small Footprint)
- Sync with the mixed-reality app RunSocial and race through 19 locations with 27 routes Alongside friends while...
- Compact design but still offers the 18" Stride of large elliptical
- 16 levels of resistance allow you to dial the challenge up or down
All of the features of a full size elliptical without the footprint is what the Schwinn 411 has to offer. From the large screen that allows you to use a mixed reality app to the 18 inch stride, impressive 16 levels of resistance and choice of two handlebars, the Schwinn packs in value. With this excellent compact elliptical, you can get a full body workout. The best part? With the app and tray for your tablet or phone, you’ll never be bored while working out.
- Full elliptical experience with a compact footprint
- 18 inch stride length
- Compatible with RunSocial
- 16 levels of resistance
- Contact and telemetry heart rate
- 13 exercise programs
- LCD screen that helps you track your progress
The Bottom Line
The Schwinn 411 is a great choice in a compact elliptical for those who want a full functioning machine at a fraction of the size. Loved by customers, the Schwinn is the perfect piece of exercise equipment to add to your home for easy cardio that gives you a full body workout. Choose this elliptical for great workouts that offer a comfortable stride and plenty of resistance levels.
#4. Bowflex Max Trainer M5 – Quick and Intense Workouts
- Save time with the Breakthrough 14-minute max internal workout
- Blue backlit display with Tachometer showing target & burn-rate zones
- Bluetooth allows you to sync to the free max Trainer app
The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Elliptical is an upright machine that can give you an intense workout within 15 minutes since it contains special programming to maximize calorie burn. For those consumers who have both minimal space and minimal time to work out, consider the spunky and fun Bowflex M5 Elliptical.
One thing to consider with the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is that it is one of the pricier products on the list.
- Includes a 14-minute high intensity workout to get in and get on with your day
- Contains a total of 9 exercise programs to grow and change with your fitness abilities
- Includes a FREE training app with purchase
- Comes in several colors and patterns: Florida State University colors, Michigan State University colors, black
On most ellipticals, pre-programed fitness programs are set to at least 30 minutes. If you want a high intensity workout in under 15 minutes, the Bowflex M5 Elliptical should be on the top of your list.
Expert installation is available and recommended for this product. Here are some installation details about this product:
- Dimensions: 46in x 25in x 63in
- Total product weight is 173 lbs
- Total assembly time: 4 hours
- May contain parts that may be difficult for some consumers to assemble on their own
- Expert assembly may be an extra cost associated with this machine
- If you are a Florida State University or Michigan State University super fan, you will enjoy the university-centric color options
- Can give you a high intensity, pre-programmed workout in under 15 minutes
- Contains several programs and levels to continue a challenging calorie burn, even when you become more fit
- Comes in the school colors of only certain universities
- The price of this product may be out of reach for some consumers
- May not be able to be assembled without expert assistance
While the fun colors and high intensity workout in under 15 minutes may appeal to many consumers, budget may play a big role in the decision to purchase this product. It is important to consider the pricing and features offered on all of these compact elliptical machines before deciding which is the best purchase for you.
#5. Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine – The Bells and Whistles Included
- Dual track two LCD window system allows you to monitor up to 13 different display feedbacks
- Schwinn Connect goal tracking and data export keep you up to date on reaching your fitness goals, Product...
- 29 programs, 4 user settings and goal tracking are all there to keep you motivated and challenged
The Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine can really amplify your workouts by making them more fun. For exercisers who need to work out with music and Bluetooth capabilities all while charging their electronics, the Schwinn Elliptical should be their first choice. Aside from the bells and whistles, consumers who purchase this machine will have a wide range of programs and resistance levels for various fitness needs that may change over time.
If you are not interested in having all the bells and whistles on your elliptical machine, then don’t pay for it! Make sure to always analyze which fitness equipment features you will actually use. Don’t pay for features that are not important to you.
- Contains a total of 29 exercise programs to grow and change with your fitness abilities
- Includes 25 resistance levels for multiple exercisers, various workouts, and to accommodate your increase in fitness abilities
- Glides with a 20-inch stride length
- Connects with the Schwinn fitness app
The Schwinn 470 Elliptical contains the most programs and the most resistance levels compared to the other machines on the list. Included in the programs are 4 custom programs to suit your specific needs. This machine also can perform fitness tests so that you can measure your progress over time.
Expert installation is available and recommended for this product, especially since it is a heavy machine. Here are some installation details about this product:
- Dimensions: 50in x 21.5in x 33.5in
- Total product weight is 207 lbs
- Total assembly time: 4 hours
- Expert assembly may require additional fees
- May need to install several apps and media mechanisms on this product
- Includes high tech Bluetooth connectivity, MP3 player attachment, speakers, and charging stations for the tech-savvy and tech-connected exerciser
- Contains the highest number of programs to customize the workout to your needs (highest number of programs does not equate to highest price)
- Long 20-inch stride length increases the intensity and range of motion during the workout
- Some people may like the various programs included, however, not everyone will appreciate all the techy features on this product
- Pricing listed above may only reflect a temporary price for this product (this product was advertised as having a price reduction during the time this article was written.
It is important to think about what motivates you to workout. If you need your music blasting and ability to connect with your electronic devices while working out, the Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine allows you to do that. If you do not need all the bells and whistles, still consider the wide range of exercise features that this machine has to offer.
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, a compact 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 compact 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 a compact 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.