Which is the Best Elliptical Machine for Low Ceiling?
If you only have limited space at home, you need to find an exercise machine that’s compact and easy to store. Furthermore, if you intend to place the unit in a basement with low ceiling, you have to find an equipment that can accommodate your build and height so as not to hit the ceiling while exercising.
Best Elliptical machine for low ceiling
Things to Consider when Buying the Best Elliptical Trainer for Low Ceiling
Aside from the overall size of the exercise equipment, the model of elliptical machine should also be designed with a low stepping height. This minimizes one’s efforts on getting on and off the device. The stride length is also an important feature as it will determine the efficacy of the unit in providing for a vigorous routine. The more natural-feeling it is, the less stress and impact it will have on your knees and joints.
Top Best Elliptical Machines
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- Compact design but still offers the 18" Stride of large elliptical
- 16 levels of resistance allow you to dial the challenge up or down
Starting off on the right foot (or left one, it doesn’t matter), we present the 411 compact elliptical from Schwinn Fitness. Schwinn is a name you’ve likely heard of or used before. As one of the best-known and respected names in the biking world, they uphold their reputation with their quality elliptical machines. The 411 tops many lists, due to how well it balances premium features with affordability.
It goes without saying that the 411 has a compact footprint, making it a great selection if you don’t have room for a dedicated home gym or workout area. The only downside to said compact size is that it’s limited to an 18” stride, which isn’t ideal for particularly tall users (though still long enough for most).
13 built-in workout programs offer enough flexibility for you to improve body composition, increase lung capacity, perform HIIT, and much more. In addition, it features 16 resistance levels which is generous considering the price, and ensures you’ll stay challenged even if you’re already in great shape.
The wireless heart rate tracking is accurate, which will aid in you achieving your goals quicker. On top of that, the console has Bluetooth connectivity so you can sync up your heart rate monitor or fitness tracker to keep track of your workouts.
- Competitively Priced
- Compact Design Saves Space
- Quiet Operation
- Push Button Resistance Change
- No Power Incline
- Assembly Can Be Time Consuming
- 【8 Resistance Magnetic & 11lbs Flywheel】--Magnetic elliptical machine for home use includes a sturdy flywheel (11lbs) with enough resistance to ensure you exercise super smoothly and stably. And the elliptical machine has 8 levels resistance,which means you can adjust the exercise intensity according to the exercise needs. The elliptical exercise machine bear up to 286.6lbs as the reliable frame is made of solid steel and excellent welding technology.
- 【Dual-track Design Pedal & Stride】 --The extra-large foot pedals (15.7 * 5.9inches) with dual-track design are not only non-slip, but also have a precise design of the stride, which gives you the extra smooth workout. With a wide and suitable step size (36 cm), elliptical exercise machine fits different users of different heights.
- 【Dual Handle & Heart Rate Detection】--The stationary elliptical machine with dual action handle bar has double functions: ①The outer part is a movable . When you ride, your arms push and pull the outer handles forward or backward at the same time, so that muscles in all parts of your body can be better coordinated.② Additionally，when you exercise, you hold the inner handles of the elliptical training machine , your heartbeat rate will be tracked and displayed on the LCD monitor
Heading towards the end of our list, we have the MaxKare Elliptical Machine. Though it’s small in size and price, they’ve taken extra care of the visual aesthetics and performance. The streamlined black body with light blue accents make for a machine that’s anything but an eyesore. Built with solid steel, it’s more than just looks too. It’s capable of supporting up to 330 lbs. and is a model made to be a cornerstone piece of workout equipment.
With 8 resistance settings, you get as much as most others on this guide. Dual-track pedals are great for targeting the quads and hamstrings, avoiding muscular imbalances and maximizing results. The pedals also come oversized to work with any size or shape of foot, and a non-slip surface helps to boost confidence, even with grueling and sweaty workouts.
Dual-action handlebars consist of exterior bars and inner handles, complete with pulse sensors which transmit your data to the clear LCD monitor in the center console. If you’d like to keep yourself entertained, there is also a handy tablet/smartphone holder located right underneath.
If you’d like to move your elliptical for whatever reason when you’re finished, simply use the transportation wheels to roll it wherever you need to stow it away.
- Attractive design
- Dual-track foot pads
- Tablet/smartphone holder
- Dual handlebar sets
- Smooth and consistent motion
- Not many preset workout options
- Short stride length
- RESISTANCE: Easily adjust the intensity of your workout with the twist of the precise micro-controller equipped with 8 levels of magnetic resistance.
- DIGITAL MONITOR WITH PULSE: Follow along with your workout progress on the digital monitor that displays your time, speed, distance, calories, and pulse.
- ANTI-SLIP HANDLEBARS AND FOOT PADS: Complete a safe and stable workout thanks to the anti-slip handlebars and footpads.
If you’re working on a budget then one of the best compact elliptical machines then the SF-E905 is certainly worth a look. Sunny Health & Fitness has made a name for themselves by consistently producing simple yet high-functioning exercise machines at very affordable prices. The SF-E905 is a straightforward piece of equipment that doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles a more expensive machine does, but it’s great for getting in a good workout in a tight space.
With nicely sized anti-slip footplates, dynamic moving arms, and smaller stationary arms, you have comfort and versatility packed in. While it’s not as smooth as some other models on our guide, it’s not rough by any means. The one-piece frame is, however, one of the most durable in this category, made of tough steel that’s strong enough to withstand heavy daily use.
With 8 magnetic resistance levels, it’s fairly typical for this equipment in this price range and provides sufficient options for varied, challenging workouts and quiet operation.
To monitor performance, a digital monitor is built in that shows general stats (e.g., calories, time, distance, etc.), along with a heart rate readout when the hand pulse monitors are being gripped.
- Simple and straightforward
- Two sets of handlebars/arms
- Micro-adjustment knob for resistance
- Lacks some of the more premium features
- Is slightly bumpy at times
- Very short stride length
- Bluetooth connectivity, syncs with the Schwinn Trainer App and other apps for fitness tracking
- Sync with free downloadable Run Social App and run through 19 locations with 27 routes alongside people from all over the world in real time
- 29 workout programs: 12 profile, 9 heart rate control, 4 custom, 2 fitness test, 1 quick start
The Schwinn 470 Compact Elliptical is a full featured machine, offering almost everything you would expect on a commercial machine, in a compact form factor that is perfect for home use. Schwinn makes high quality products that stand the test of time. One of the coolest features of the Schwinn 470 is the workout programs it offers. Sync your Schwinn 470 with the free Run Social App and run alongside real people from all over the world in real-time. An adjustable fan keeps you cool while built-in speakers allow you to play your favorite audio via Bluetooth connection.
This is a fun elliptical machine. The interactivity and training programs are highly motivational – and the social aspect is incredibly cool. There are 29 workout programs in total, and the machine provides 25 levels of resistance so you can continue to push yourself as you advance. The Dual-LCD display is awesome, providing all the data points you need with separate push button controls below so you can change things up at your leisure. The Schwinn 470 Elliptical is a fantastic option for home use.
- Extremely Quiet
- Fun to Use
- Smooth Operation
- Motorized Incline
- Bluetooth Speakers
- Built-in Fan
- 29 Workout Programs
- Dual LCD Displays
- 25 Resistance Levels
- Small LCD
- Assembly Required
- Relatively Heavy
If you’re training for a marathon, are an athlete, or simply want to feel that extra burn in your legs, then check out the Reebok Zjet 430 Cross Trainer. We’ve all heard of Reebok, so it should come as no surprise that this model is pure quality.
Solid steel construction makes this machine relatively heavy, but it’s firmly planted to the ground for greater stability and will last you a long time. Two sets of handlebars (one fixed, one mobile) allow for more versatility, so you can choose to work your arms and legs simultaneously, or just work legs without feeling off-balance.
With rear-drive construction, the elliptical path is placed at a slightly forward incline, which adds extra burn to the thighs and glutes. The 15.4-pound flywheel provides superior inertia, creating a smooth and steady ride every time.
The multi-panel LCD display shows all necessary workout metrics in one place, though it’s important to note that it doesn’t come with preset workout programs which may not be ideal if you’re an absolute beginner. However, you can create “goals” based on time, distance, or calories and the console will adjust the machine’s settings accordingly.
The only real downside would be if you’re on the tall side, as the stride length is only 15” which is somewhat limited.
- Very smooth and consistent
- Display shows all metrics at once
- Two sets of handlebars
- Solid steel construction
- No preset workouts
- Not ideal for very tall users
- Elliptical machine provides challenging cardio workout, supported by blue, backlit LDC display that helps you track essential training data
- Adjustable pedals and console and power adjustable stride and incline; 20-to-22-inch maximum stride length; six standard programs, two custom programs, and two heart rate programs
- Pulse grip and chest strap heart rate monitoring; LCD console with 7.5-inch display; front drive system with bBuilt-in fan and 15-inch pedals; includes sound system and water bottle holder
The Sole Fitness E35 is a luxury elliptical machine. It has all the features you want and probably some that you didn’t know you wanted (but will love). This is a serious elliptical machine, built to last, supporting up to 375 lbs. The E35 Elliptical operates smoothly on four rollers (which also makes it more stable) and is relatively quiet. It features two different heart rate monitors (grip and chest strap) and comes with a built in sound system, fan and water bottle holder.
The E35 comes with a 7.5 inch LCD display that shows you all of the data points you could ever want and has both power incline and stride with conveniently located adjustment buttons. There are 6 standard workout programs and you can also set 2 custom programs. You can’t go wrong with the E35 Elliptical. It has everything.
- Durable and Solid
- Lifetime Warranty on Frame
- Five Year Warranty on Electronics
- Supports up to 375 LBS
- Dual Heart Rate Monitors
- Over-sized Pedals
- Built In Speakers and Fan
- Smooth and Quiet
- Somewhat Expensive
- Assembly Required
- Introducing Bowflex JRNY , the personalized coaching technology that integrates with your M8 to create daily, custom workouts that automatically adjust time and intensity as your fitness improves. JRNY App subscription required.
- Whether you've got 4 minutes to burn or 30, Max automatically adjusts to make even the shortest workouts count
- Max combines the full-body, low-impact motion of an elliptical with the calorie-burning power of a stepper to help you torch calories
Leave it to Bowflex to really change the game. Lying somewhere between a stair stepper and an elliptical, it’s perfect if you live in a small space!
You’ll be able to take advantage of low-impact motion to burn a large number of calories like you can on a stepper. With just 14 minutes on the elliptical, you’ll receive significant cardiovascular benefits.
Just to make sure, you’ll be able to track your progress with the clear display monitor. The model’s unique burn rate display shows how many calories were burned per minute and lets you set activity level targets. The interactive backlit display also features 8 different workout programs and 16 resistance levels to vary your workout further.
The included heart rate monitor chest strap provides accurate feedback, and you can change your settings accordingly to speed up or slow down, depending on how you’re doing. If you’re more comfortable with your smartphone, you can set, monitor, and track your fitness goals and even stream videos from Bowflex’s pro trainers with the free Max Trainer App.
- Small footprint
- Powerful and versatile
- Fluid, smooth motion
- Various workout and resistance options
- Real-time tracking
- Not ideal for those recovering from injuries or who are just starting out
- Bring Home Interactive Personal Training powered by iFit; 12-month iFit family membership included; create up to 5 individual exercise profiles; Access live, studio, and global workouts ($396 value)
- 7” HD Interactive Touchscreen Display streams on-demand iFit workouts into your home directly on your elliptical; AutoBreeze Workout Fan keeps you cool and comfortable as you exercise
- 24 Digital Resistance Levels; With iFit, your trainer auto-adjusts your elliptical; Adjustable Power Ramp allows you to train at an incline; Adjustable stride is perfect for multiple users
NordicTrack is another commercial-quality brand, so it makes sense that they’d name this next model the Commercial Elliptical. Quite possibly the most technologically advanced machine featured on this guide, it combines serious workout equipment with an entertainment center.
It’s hard to find a more flexible elliptical machine than this model, with a 32-pound, smooth flywheel, 26 resistance settings, and a power incline that reaches up to a 20-degree angle. You can also choose 3 different foot angle positions and change the stride length from 18 to 20 inches. This makes it easier to target certain muscles. It also ensures people of varying sizes can use it with comfort.
Both moving and stationary arm bars with padded grips let you work out your whole body or just your lower body. Contact sensors and an included chest strap ensure accurate heart rate monitoring. You can easily track this and other workout metrics with the high-definition, 7” display screen. Not only that, but you can even browse the web and play music on it.
Finally, you get a free 1-year membership to iFit, with over 12,000 on-demand video workouts right at your fingertips!
- Very versatile/adjustable
- Moving and stationary handlebars
- Power adjustable incline
- Large, clear screen with web browsing capabilities
- Two heart rate monitoring options
- More expensive than most
- iFit membership is required for a year
- 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
- 22 programs, 2 user settings and goal tracking are all there to keep you motivated and challenged
In proving your efforts of body building, you have to consider about some suggested products. One of them is Schwinn 430. This type of elliptical machine is really valuable because you will have some special features inside. The features are in the form of 20 level resistances which can produce high speed power for your workout plan. It also has special inertia perimeter weighted flywheel system that will give very quiet and smooth workout activities. To perform better control, you can maximize the presence of its LCD window. This type of element will give you a good monitor for 13 type of different display. The presence of Schwinn connect features is also give you better goal tracking results. To give better workout experience for users, it offers 22 different programs with 2 different user settings.
- Home-friendly machine size
- 20” elliptical stride length
- Quiet digitally-controlled resistance
- 20 resistance levels
- User-friendly backlit LCD display
- 22 preset workout programs
- Two user profiles
- Mobile device shelf and charging port
- Sound system for MP3 player
- Multi-speed cooling fan
- Water bottle holder
- Transport wheels
- Tends to work well for less than a year or two
- Pedals don’t have adjustable angle
- Manual incline instead of automated incline
- No wireless heart rate monitoring
- Inaccurate calorie estimates according to customer reviews
- Plastic rollers wear down quickly
- GET AN UNMATCHED WORKOUT AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE - With foot pedals designed by physical therapists, the E25 provides unmatched workout function and no impact to your joints, all for a price that won't break the bank.
- SUPERIOR BUILD FOR A SUPERIOR WORKOUT - Made from a heavy-duty steel frame and featuring four rear wheels to provide stabilization and eliminate side-to-side motion. Rated for users up to 350 lbs.
- LOW IMPACT AND MADE FOR ALL FITNESS LEVELS - Features foot pedals designed by physical therapists that helps eliminate all strain on knees, hips, and ankle joints. Has a smooth feel thanks to its 20 lb. flywheel and high gear ratio. The 20 levels of incline provide challenges to users of all fitness levels.
Have you ever check the performance and features of Sole Fitness E25? This is an elliptical machine which can give you various functions in the same tool. It has cardio workout that can maximize body fit of its user. The way to control your activities is fully represented in the backlit LCD screen in the machine. This will be functional to track your own progress of gym activity. To product better comforts, it has adjustable pedals with some support of pulse grip and also chest strap. It makes the feature of the tool is really valuable. It has impressive console of program that give you six different programs with two custom programs availability. For you who want to do heart rate workout, it also give you 2 different programs. This machine has a very long time warranty. Indirectly, it ensures the buyers to bring the device home.
- Electronically adjustable incline ramp
- Adjustable pedals
- 20 Magnetic resistance levels
- 20-22 Inches adjustable stride
- Multi hand-grip handlebars
- Built-in controls on the handlebars
- Bluetooth and App connectivity
- Good value for the money
- Large Back-lit LCD display
- Chest strap included
- It’s not self-powered
- It’s not durable for very intense training
- The stride length changes only when you adjust the incline ramp
- The speakers are not great quality
- 【US STOCK】 ♦ Ergonomic & Adjustable Resistance: The compact ergonomic design, 8 levels of magnetic resistance adjustments, friction-free linkage system and tubular steel construction mean long-lasting durability, the wide base provide robust stability.
- ♦ Multi-function Digital Monitor: The advanced LCD digital monitor tracks your Time, Speed, Distance, Calories Burned, Pulse Rate, Scan. Pulse pads on the additional stationary handle bars provide heart rate monitoring, pulse monitoring system allows you to control your heartbeat, recording your fitness statistics.
- ♦ Dual Power Motion & Quiet Driven : Dual power motion works your upper and lower body simultaneously, modify the workout by isolating your legs or arms for added intensity. Quiet and smooth design, especially, the precision balanced flywheel and V- belt drive provide a smooth and quiet operation.
The Ancheer Magnetic Elliptical is a compact and sturdy machine that is budget priced. The digital monitor tracks speed, distance, pulse, time and calories. If you are trying to add an elliptical machine to your home gym setup without breaking the bank or taking up too much space – the Ancheer Magnetic Elliptical is a great option.
In spite of its budget price, the Ancheer offers 8 levels of resistance adjustment with smooth and quiet operation. One of the advantages of this machine over some of the heavier-duty models is – you can actually move it. It also has wheels for easier portability should you need to move it. The Ancher Magnetic Elliptical supports users up to 350 LBS and features large, non-slip pedals so your feet don’t come off when you’re working out. Overall, a great addition to any home gym at a fraction of the price of other Elliptical models.
- 8 Levels of Adjustment
- Easily Movable
- No Power Incline
- Shorter Stride Than Larger Models
- 【FASTER FREE SHIPMENT】This product will be shipped from our California warehouse within 24 hours after ordered. And it will be delivered within 3-8 days after shipment.
- 【SMOOTH AND QUIET WORKOUT】The high-quality flywheel provides a smooth and quiet workout. Doufit elliptical machine is great to exercise your arms, legs, calves, hip, abdominal muscle and waist, but is safe for the knees. It is a advisable option for home workout.
- 【DIGITAL MONITOR AND PULSE SENSOR】The sensitive digital monitor and the pulse sensors can track and scan your sport data including calories, time, speed, virtual distance, total mileage and heart rate during exercise, which makes your exercise more reasonable and effective.
The Doufit Elliptical is a very basic elliptical that offers reliable, low-impact striding for users up to 264 LBS. It tracks all the essentials with a small digital display. (speed, time, heart rate, distance and calories). It has a relatively small footprint, making it a good option for rooms with limited space. With 8 levels of resistance adjustment, it offers a great range of resistance while cutting some of the more expensive features such as power incline, to achieve a much lower price tag.
This is an affordable, compact Elliptical that is built well and gets great reviews. It operates quietly and doesn’t take up a lot of space. The machine is also relatively light and comes with wheels to make moving it a breeze. It’s soft on the knees and pocketbook. A great choice for any home.
- 8 Levels of Adjustment
- Easily Movable
- Sleek Design
- No Power Incline
- Shorter Stride Than Larger Models
If you’re on the hunt for the best elliptical machine and don’t care about how much it will cost you, then check out the Sole Fitness E95S. In terms of quality, it’s in a league of its own.
With a weight limit of 400 pounds, it can accommodate a wide range of users. The adjustable stride length (18-24 inches) allows you to target specific muscles more precisely. The machine’s resistance is some of the smoothest you’ll experience, due to a solid 30-pound flywheel. Various incline levels and 10 different programs ensure you’ll be able to change up your routine regularly.
For the most accurate readings, you have an included chest strap heart rate monitor and pulse grips. Cooling fans keep you comfortable while a built-in sound system allows you to play your music while exercising. You can keep your smartphone charged with a USB input and set it securely on the tablet holder so you can keep your hands free for the moving hand bars.
To track your workout progress, a large color LCD display will show all necessary exercise metrics. It is no wonder the Sole Fitness E95S is considered the best elliptical trainer!
- Advanced LCD display
- 2 sets of handlebars
- Compact/great for tight spaces
- Micro tension adjustment
- Incline not adjustable
Also popular elliptical Machines
- Bring Home Interactive Personal Training powered by iFit; 1-month individual membership included; Experience live, studio, and global workouts in the comfort of home; Trainers lead your exercise
- 5-inch Backlit Display; Easily view and track important workout metrics as you train in the comfort of your home; AutoBreeze Workout Fan keeps you cool and comfortable through low-impact exercise
- 22 Digital Resistance Levels; With iFit, your trainer auto-adjusts your elliptical; Adjustable Power Ramp allows you to train at an incline; Adjustable stride is perfect for multiple users
NordicTrack is another mammoth in the home wellness industry. They’re known for delivering top notch treadmills, ellipticals, and practice bicycles. The SpaceSaver ellipticals are interestingly intended for homes with constrained floorspace (henceforth the name). The progression up tallness is about 14″ on the SE7i, yet NordicTrack recommends you add 17″ to your stature to guarantee you have a lot of head space.
The SpaceSaver SE7i is not quite the same as the 3 past ellipticals in a couple of key ways. The main thing you will see is this is back drive circular. Conclusions change on which is better, however clients will in general feel somewhat more adjusted on a back drive machine. Now and then on a front drive curved you sense that you need to lean forward additional to remain adjusted.
Second, the SE7i is a collapsing circular. Truly, you heard me accurately, this curved can crease down the middle for capacity. It overlays and is put away vertically, which slices the floor space necessities down the middle. Basically unfurl and use at whatever point you need it. This is a distinct advantage on the off chance that you have low roofs and constrained floor space.
The SpaceSaver SE7i accompanies a 18 lb flywheel, somewhat littler than the others we’ve seen up to this point. It additionally has a littler walk length of 18 in. I’m speculating NordicTrack did this to make it somewhat more smaller. With the short walk length, this circular will be most appropriate for clients under 6′. The taller people out there might feel somewhat confined.
- Advanced Bluetooth connects to multiple devices to stream media through integrated speakers
- Includes free app to control your workout and push data to favorite fitness apps, plus device holder and rapid-charge USB port
- Quickly shift between 20 levels of resistance and incline with one-touch keys, quick-rotating dial and handle bar controls
In case you’re searching for an all the more mechanically progressed circular, the Horizon Fitness Elite E7 may be a decent wagered. Skyline Fitness is a piece of the Johnson Health Tech family, the third biggest wellness hardware maker on the planet. Skyline additionally creates treadmills and exercise bicycles for the home.
With a stage up tallness of just 10″, the Elite E7 is a shrewd decision if your roofs are low (or you are tall) and each inch checks. This is a further developed curved than the X Class 710 and it has a sticker price that matches. The E7 is valued in the mid-top of the line classification ($1000-$2000).
The Elite E7 has a 23 lb flywheel (I disclosed to you the 710 had an insane substantial flywheel) which is bounty to offer a smooth riding experience. Skyline has likewise created and incorporated their protected “SixStar Frame” framework essentially simply their term to show how ergonomically right the structure of the machine is.
The E7 additionally has a 20″ walk length which truly is the favored separation for most extreme solace. This curved additionally accompanies a power slant alternative of up to 10 deg to build the trouble. It likewise gives you more power over the vibe of the ride just as enabling you to focus on various muscle gatherings (higher grades ought to enact your glutes more).
The Nautilus brand needs no presentation, they have been an innovator in delivering quality home wellness items for quite a long time. The Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer is no special case. It’s a prominent mid-grade home curved that offers clients a decent mix of cutting edge highlights and sturdiness.
With a stage up tallness of 12″, the E616 is on the lower end of normal statures. This machine is pressing a 22 lb flywheel for a smooth ride and furthermore has a 20″ walk length. To add to your agreeable experience, the two arrangements of handlebars are cushioned and ergonomically found.
The Nautilus E616 additionally has a mechanized grade to change it up and trouble to your exercises. The grade maximizes at 10 degrees.
The E616 is bluetooth good and can interface with the free Nautilus Trainer App just as other mainstream wellness applications. In the event that you are into wellness following you may like that this circular can likewise interface with the free Run Social application that permits you join different sprinters around the globe through different tourist detours.
Which Elliptical Machine for Low Ceiling to go for and why?
If you have limited space at home, we recommend getting the Octane Fitness Elliptical Trainer because of its overall design and compact features. It has a low step-on height of only 4 inches, and this makes getting on and off the device extremely easy.
Because the unit is designed to be short and small, this model of exercise machine can be placed even in rooms with low ceilings. Its 300-pound capacity also makes it suitable for every member of the family.
Should You Get a Compact Elliptical?
If you’re short on space in your home gym, and need a low-impact cardio machine, then a compact elliptical trainer is your best bet. They’re footprint is small enough that you won’t have to keep stowing them away or pulling them out like you might with a treadmill or exercise bike; you can leave them as is without them being a burden.
What’s great about the compact elliptical machines on our guide, is that they’re smaller, but many still come with top-of-the-line features. However, if you’re looking for something more basic, you can also select a model that comes with the bare necessities but that still functions on the same level as the larger and more expensive ellipticals.
All of that being said, standard ellipticals often have extremely large footprints due to the length needed to create the elliptical stride pattern. And therein lies the main drawback of a compact cross trainer: They have smaller stride lengths by design. This limits the extent to which they provide the same challenge to your leg muscles, especially the glutes and hamstrings.
It’s also for this reason that they may provide a less intense workout than a larger machine with a longer stride. Ellipticals are so highly revered precisely because they provide a workout equal to or greater in intensity than a treadmill, stair stepper, or exercise bike. This effect is largely contingent on the activation of large muscles such as the glutes and hamstrings. Compact cross trainers may, therefore, be less effective than their longer counterparts.
In most instances, a compact elliptical machine will feel quite different to a commercial model you might use in a public gym and could feel more like walking downstairs than low-impact jogging or running. If stride length is something you’re unwilling to compromise on, then you may want to look into a good folding elliptical. Be warned, these are relatively expensive.
Choosing the Best Elliptical Machine
Purchasing a good compact elliptical trainer will generally come down to getting a machine that’s suitably versatile for your training goals and progress, is durable enough to withstand whatever you throw at it, has decent technology, and is comfortable for all those intending to use it.
Flexibility and versatility is important in any solid fitness program. What may be challenging for you for the first few weeks is going to end up being a walk in the park in a few months. To change and progress, our bodies need to constantly be challenged and we can’t keep working out on the same resistance levels or workout programs if we want that.
Eight resistance settings is the standard in compact ellipticals, and we strongly recommend finding higher than that if you can. You’ll also want a model that has some pre-programmed workouts, so you can set and start and let the machine take care of adjusting resistance for you.
The best compact elliptical machines for home use will obviously be smaller, but still very sturdy. This is why the majority of our picks feature frames made of solid steel. Steel is one of the most coveted materials for high-quality machines, as they will perform like new for years to come, lasting you 10 years or longer. Also look over the warranty and make sure you know how long it’s for and which parts and faults it covers.
As you may have noticed, technology varies greatly with the aforementioned models. Some come with the very basics, while others have Bluetooth to connect to HR monitors and smartphone/tablet apps. If you’re someone who’s already comfortable with smartphones and/or tablets, then the latter may be the best option for you as you can track your workout stats from anywhere.
If your elliptical isn’t comfortable, you shouldn’t use it. Ergonomic designs are the most coveted, placing your spine in correct alignment in relation to the rest of your body. Padded handlebars and large footplates with anti-slip surfaces can help with performance and are great for extended sessions. Dual sets of handlebars also give your arms a rest if you just want to target your lower body.
frequently asked questions (FAQ)
All of the machines on our guide are the top performers on the market today. If you’re looking for more modern tech, then we’d go for the Exerpeutic Gold or the Schwinn 411, though it all comes down to your personal preferences.
That depends on how you define “effective”. They keep you mobile, which is important, but they’re not going to offer the full-body benefits nor the calorie burn that a compact or standard-sized elliptical would.
Ideally, you’ll want a stride length of 18 inches or greater in order to get full activation of the large muscles in your legs. However, stride length is a sacrifice you inevitably make when choosing a compact elliptical trainer. Generally, these models are compact precisely because the manufacturers have greatly reduced their stride length. The Reebok Zjet, for example, has a mere 13” stride. As mentioned, if you’re unwilling to compromise on stride length but you still need something that won’t take up too much space, consider a folding elliptical.