Best Elliptical Trainers for Small Spaces

Elliptical trainers make ideal in-home exercise equipment, but not all trainers are created equal when it comes to size and space saving technology. Check out our top picks and tips if you don’t want to compromise durability for space.

Initial Considerations

When searching for that perfect elliptical trainer to fit your small space, it’s a good idea to consider a few things other than the size of the trainer, like the weight capacity, warranty, and flywheel weight. All of these components make the elliptical either durable, sturdy, and quiet, or cheap, rickety, and loud. When it comes to noise, the weight of the flywheel is probably the most important thing to check out. The heavier the flywheel, the smoother the ride, and quieter the operation, so a heavier flywheel is great for apartment use where noise is definitely an issue. The weight capacity is important because the heavier the capacity, the heavier the trainer. If you are a relatively small person, you may not need a 400 pound weight capacity, so buy only what you need because that extra weight will make the trainer even harder to transport. Heavier weight capacities typically also mean a bulkier trainer overall. Finally, the warranty. Warranties are important to consider any time you purchase workout equipment, but especially an elliptical trainer because the drive system can get noisy overtime in some models. A quality warranty is worth the money.

Best Brands

Horizon Fitness elliptical trainers are perfect for smaller spaces as the average deck length is around 60 inches long, and on average 25 inches wide, depending of course on the model you choose. Horizon Fitness trainers are known for their durability and quiet operation, also perfect for small spaces where noise is a concern. In addition, many of their models are foldable and come with built-in transport wheels so you can easily move around and store the trainer as needed.

NordicTrack makes a line of elliptical trainer called the SpaceSaver series that is built with a Vertical Spacesaver ® Design which allows users to fold the trainer on its end, and also offers the smallest folded footprint of any home elliptical. The flywheel is relatively light but the trainers still manage to offer an 18 inch stride length and 325 pound weight capacity. Those two compact models are the SE9i elliptical and SE7i elliptical.

Sole Fitness may not build foldable designs of their E series elliptical trainers, but they are probably one of the quietest, most compact elliptical trainers on the market. With a flywheel weight of up to 34 pounds and a magnetic resistance system, these elliptical trainers are commercial grade trainers that are very compact yet affordable. Sole has even managed a 20-22 inch stride, very rare in more compact models.

Best Type

Front drive designed elliptical trainers are naturally the most compact design, as opposed to rear and center drive trainers. Front drive means that the drive system (the motor and brakes) are located to the front of the trainer. Front drive trainers are also the most popular because they typically require the littlest maintenance, are cheaper, and easier to move and tilt or transport since the back is lighter than the front. Average dimensions will vary by brand of course, but front drive trainers are built for residential use (whereas rear drive are typically used in commercial gyms, but not always), so they are going to naturally be much lighter and just better for in-home use overall.

Features to look for

Even though not all elliptical trainers are considered “compact,” there are many standard elliptical trainers that include features that make them just as ideal for small spaces. Most trainers, no matter the dimensions, will come with transport wheels. Of course front drive designed trainers are easiest to move with these wheels, but how easy it is to move the machine also depends a lot on the overall dimensions and weight capacity of the trainer. It’s ideal to find trainers that can be folded up, but not all have this feature, especially light commercial grade quality trainers or trainers with rear drive systems.

We’ve compiled a list of reviews of the top compact elliptical machines.