Best Compact Ellipticals of 2021 – Reviews & Buying

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Staying fit at home should be a possibility for everyone, regardless of the space available. Elliptical machines are the perfect choice for many people, as they are smooth with the joints, provide a full body cardiovascular workout and generally come with a variety of configurations to suit any level of fitness.

Although you may need substantial space in your home for a traditional machine, there are compact models that work well in tight spaces.

However, they can get lost in the sea of options, where most ellipticals have bigger steps. In this guide, we’ll examine the best compact ellipticals on the market today so you don’t waste time and start your low-impact workouts as quickly as possible.

Our Top Pick

Last update on 2021-04-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 10 Best Compact Ellipticals To Buy In 2021

Last update on 2021-04-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

10 Best Compact Ellipticals Review

Bestseller No. 1
Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
  • Access the Explore the World app and digitally immerse yourself in a world of virtual courses, exotic locales, and stunning trails from around the globe (3 free courses available). Unlock more with Explore the World app subscription.
  • Compact design but still offers the 18" Stride of large elliptical
  • 16 levels of resistance allow you to dial the challenge up or down
  • Streamlined console displays time, speed, distance, calories, and heart RATE
  • Moving and fixed handlebars with contact grip heart RATE sensors
Bestseller No. 2
Stamina InMotion Compact Strider with Cords
  • Adjustable tension to control workout intensity level; Use while seated or while standing; The foot pedals can be worked in a forward or reverse direction to target your lower body in different ways
  • Convenient handle for easy portablility; Electronic fitness monitor displays number of strides per minute, total number of strides, exercise time, and calories burned or scan all stats
  • Medium resistance tubes with padded, adjustable handles
  • Includes workout DVD
  • Sturdy steel construction, non-slip pedals.Weight Limit:250 lbs
Bestseller No. 3
Stamina InMotion E1000 Compact Strider
  • PORTABLE, QUIET AND EFFICIENT CARDIO: This mini strider is compact and lightweight, making it easy to use and transport to any home or office space. It’s quiet and unintrusive, too. The minimal space required is 24.5 x 17 inches
  • ADJUSTABLE TENSION WITH MONITOR: Vary the intensity of your workout by turning the adjustable dial while you stride. See your stats while exercising with the display monitor.
  • MULTIPLE MOVEMENT OPTIONS: Depending on your needs and abilities, the In Motion E1000 Compact Strider can be used sitting or standing. Pedal forward or reverse to target different muscles.
  • THREE COLOR CHOICES: Customize your exercise machine by choosing one of three vibrant color options. Weight Limit:250 lbs
  • GREAT FOR GAMERS: Get an effective workout while gaming – passive, low-attention exercise promotes leg movement and improved circulation in a non-distracting way while playing video games
Bestseller No. 4
LifePro Under Desk Elliptical Trainer for Home & Office - Calf Leg Foot Pedal Exerciser - Seated Compact Elliptical Bike Machine - Core Fitness Low Impact Exercise Equipment w/Adjustable Resistance
  • SEATED ELLIPTICAL MACHINE: Compact, mini elliptical machine for home use and office use helps you incorporate aerobic exercise wherever you are, with a built-in handle for easy transport. Workout equipment for men, women and seniors provides you with convenient fitness while sitting down.
  • ADJUSTABLE RESISTANCE: Customize your workout routine with 8 resistance levels, calibrated to suit your needs. Decrease stress, burn calories, boost your metabolism, and keep track of your progress with the LCD display.
  • UNDER DESK CYCLE: Our under desk bike pedal exerciser features wide pedals with rugged, non-slip rubber surfaces. Improve your core strength, circulation, flexibility and muscle tone while seated at your desk at work or relaxing on the couch.
  • IMPROVE ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE: Use this calf exercise machine for pre-workout warmup and post-workout recovery - improve blood flow and lymphatic drainage, reduce inflammation, and promote faster healing.
  • LIFETIME WARRANTY: We’re always on your team. Every elliptical bike bearing our name undergoes rigorous scrutiny to make sure it delivers on power and efficacy, and our built-in lifetime warranty ensures LIVE support from our ‘guiding angels.’
SaleBestseller No. 5
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer Elliptical Machine Glider w/ LCD Monitor, 220 LB Max Weight and 45 Inch Stride, Black/Gray
  • Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer provides an aerobic workout, giving you all the benefits of stretching, walking, running, cross-country, skiing and aerobic dancing without jarring impacts or damaging movements to your body.
  • Air walk Trainer: The non-slip pedals will help simulate a slow walk or work up to a full run while maintaining a continuous motion capability without interruption. Maximum weight capacity is 220 Ibs with 45 inch stride length
  • Total BODY workout: The air Walker exercise machine targets muscles in your arms as well as your legs. When you maintain an upright posture on the machine, your abdominal muscles will work as stabilizing muscles increasing your stability and endurance
  • Space saving: when not in Use, easily fold the product and pedals up to 1/2 the length (15L x 19W x 61. 5H)
  • Lcd monitor: informative LCD monitor displays time, count, total Distance and calories. Step up your comfort with the adjustable abdominal pad. Move it up and down to ensure proper support and placement
Bestseller No. 6
Elliptical Assembly
  • Assembly of 1 customer-supplied elliptical per product instructions
  • Product should be in the room where it is to be assembled before provider arrives. Moving product after assembly is not included
  • Cleanup work area. Take packaging to customer's bins unless customer declines
  • Products requiring additional work may result in an updated estimate from provider
  • This service does not include haul-away of products
Bestseller No. 7
ANCHEER Magnetic Elliptical Machine, Fitness Compact Ellptical Machine with Digital Monior, 8 Level Resistance, LCD Heart Rate Sensor for Home Use (Silver)
  • 【Shipped and deliver in 5-8 days】[Enhanced LCD Display] LCD Digital Monitor Show Your Time, Speed, Distance, Calories Burned, Pulse Rate, Scan. Stay in your peak heart rate zone while monitoring your bpm on the convenient pulse grips.
  • [8-Level magnetic resistance] 8 Levels adjustable resistance can meet all the needs of you and your family in different training stages.Just challenge the highest level of this Elliptical Machine!
  • [Dual Handlebars] With dual-handle design, the outer handle allows you to exercise your upper body more significantly and helps shape your body. The inner handle is suitable for children to use, and a heart rate sensor is set inside to display your heart rate data in real time.
  • [Excellent Customer Service & Detailed Mannual] Shipped by U.S. warehouse, you will receive our Elliptical Machine within a few days. Detailed mannual are prepared for you to install the machine. If you have any problem with our product, please fell free to contact with us through Amazon.
Bestseller No. 8
Cubii JR1 Seated Under Desk Elliptical Machine for Home Workout, Mini Elliptical, Desk Bike Pedal Exerciser, Whisper Quiet, Under Desk Pedal Exerciser w/Adjustable Resistance & LCD Display - Aqua
  • COMPACT ELLIPTICAL- Leading compact and ergonomic mini elliptical that lets you workout or rehab while you sit at home or the office.
  • REHAB AND FITNESS EXERCISE PEDDLER - The smooth gliding motion can be switched between 8 resistance levels to increase desk exercise as you gain strength.
  • WHISPER QUIET MINI EXERCISE BIKE - Enjoy your favorite show, read your current book, and stay productive at work all while you Cubii without the worry of distraction!
  • BUILT-IN LCD DISPLAY - The digital monitor allows you to keep up with your progress by tracking calories burned, strides pedaled, distance traveled, and more!
  • PORTABLE ELLIPTICAL – The Cubii under desk elliptical allows you to move a little more and burn calories while you pedal at home in the living room or in office at your desk.
Bestseller No. 9
Ativafit Under Desk Elliptical Bike, Pedal Exerciser, Mini Elliptical Machine with Non-slip Pedal, Display Monitor and Adjustable Resistance, Quiet & Compact Electric Trainer Fitness Peddler
  • Multiple - Function: Ativafit mini exercise trainer supports sitting or standing position, forward or reverse motion, pedaling or running. Depends on the needs, you can workout your body while sitting or standing up and it makes your workout varied and convenient.
  • Highly Adjustable & Built-In Monitor: This mini elliptical is designed with multiple resistance levels, you can adjust and control the intensity of your workout according to your needs. A built-in LCD monitor features with 5 functions: time, count, distance, calories ,total count. You can see your training data while exercising with the display monitor.
  • Large Anti-slip Pedals: This Ativafit elliptical trainer has two large and sturdy anti-slip foot pedals, which can effectively avoid the damage caused by the friction and better fix the trainer, secures the feet and ensure high comfort ,allows you to pedal as hard and fast as you want.
  • Compact Design: This mini home trainer is compact and lightweight designed, which makes it easy to use and transport in any home or office space, provides comfortable and efficient training sessions. Size: 22.4*19.7*51.2 inch ( Length*Width * Height).
  • Quiet Use & Service: Ativafit mini elliptical works quietly with brake resistance mechanism, ensures high smooth and quiet pedal motion. You can enjoy your workout without disturbing others in the same room. If you have any questions, please contact with us.
Bestseller No. 10
Doufit Elliptical Machine for Home Use, Eliptical Exercise Machine for Indoor Fitness Gym Workout, Adjustable Magnetic Elliptical Cross Trainer with LCD Monitor and Pulse Sensors (Basic)
  • 【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.
  • 【ADJUSTABLE DESIGN FOR YOUR FAMILY】There are 8 adjustable levels of magnetic resistance, so you can achieve different training intensities as the needs of your family. Owing to the convenient design of moving wheels, you can easy to move it for storage.
  • 【RELIABLE SAFETY DESIGN】Doufit elliptical machine adopts heavy duty integrated steel frame to achieve a stable and safe performance while it is light weight. Equipped the large and textured pedals, it makes you more safe and comfortable during exercise. The maximum load bearing is 250lbs.

Last update on 2021-04-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why Use an Elliptical Machine?

Going to the gym is great as you have access to top quality machines and can exercise along with friends. However, gym memberships can be pricy and if you’re not a super-fit athletic type, it can be intimidating to walk into a room full of body builders.

Also, while we all like to get our money’s worth when we’ve paid for something, it’s all too easy to back out of gym plans at the last minute.

“I was going to go to the gym tonight… but I can’t be bothered.” We’ve all been there. So for this reason, having a home gym – even if it’s just one elliptical machine – is a great alternative.

Having an exercise machine to use at home means that there is no excuse not to get on with your workout.

With so many compact machines on the market, it’s easy to do your exercise while you’re listening to music or watching TV. With super-compact ellipticals, such as step machines, you can even use them while sitting and working at a desk.

Having home gym equipment doesn’t mean you need to miss out on the social aspect, either. Top of the range equipment can be synced to social running apps that allow you to connect with your friends who are also exercising in their own homes.

Ellipticals are also a great option for people who want a low-impact exercise routine. If you have weak knees or are concerned about injuries, elliptical machines are worth considering because they are less likely to cause problems than other sorts of trainers.

And, just in case, if you don’t like any of the machines we reviewed here, and try to find other right ones, you can also read about our tips on:

Why Choose An Elliptical Trainer At All?

We all now know that for people of all ages, cardiovascular exercise is good for us and benefits our health and sense of well-being. Consider a cardio and strength exercise regime as a life long habit to get into.

As a way of exercising the heart as well as many of the muscle groups in our body, an elliptical cross trainer is a great tool. The value of it is the low impact nature of the elliptical exercise workouts.

The feet are planted in large ridged, cushioned pads and the hands are firmly attached to the ergonomic handles. Both sets of limbs move in alternate rhythm just like walking or running but without the jarring. What can go wrong?

The Best Compact Elliptical Should Have Certain Features

best Compact Elliptical

Machine Size

As mentioned before these machines have a lot moving parts and are big and even the small ellipticals have a certain bulk. The footprint dimensions need to be checked, bearing in mind a bit of buffer space behind the machine.

Because they sit off the ground, more than treadmills, the height needs to be taken into consideration, that is the height off the ground plus the biggest user height.

Delivery And Assembly

Check on delivery options. You want to receive the parts intact. And how difficult is it to assemble, are there offers of technician assembly. Often it takes 2 people to put the machine together.

And don’t forget you want to assemble the elliptical on the floor that it’s going to live. Any decent elliptical will have transport wheels but stairs will be a barrier.

Motion Quality & Comfort

The handles should be conveniently placed or in variable positions to encourage good posture which means not having to lean forward.

The motion of the pedals should be smooth imitating your normal walking or running movement with the pedals generally close together and the rotation on a flat trajectory.

Stride Length

A good stride length is good, 18″ and up. Some, but not many elliptical machines have adjustable stride lengths and some others have power inclines which changes the stride length.

Built To Last

With so many moving parts it’s important that the trainers are durable and most frames are made of some sort of steel which is one reason why they’re so heavy.

Warranty

Most elliptical frames have a lifetime warranty with 3 year or more on parts. Any less is a negative.

Resistance

These cross trainers must have a good range of working resistance. You want to be able to work out hard at around the middle setting initially, with the other half of resistance an aspirational set of levels.

You want the resistance mechanism to be easily reached and smooth in it’s transition to higher or lower levels.

Programs

Preset programs can be initiated and automatically vary the intensity of your workout by adjusting the resistance and incline if that’s available. This can mean effective interval training.

You will be able to make adjustments manually as well as create custom programs that can be profiled to individual users.

Exercise programs like these help maintain interest and motivate you to track your exercise progress.

Many elliptical manufacturers have come up with 20, 30 or more different settings for these programs but the basic resistance program settings are probably good enough like random, hill climb, interval, longs low distance, target heart rate and manual.

Safety

The nice thing about the inherent design of good compact elliptical trainers is that they’re made with good handle features and solid, safe, enclosed foot pads. There should be 2 moving arms and 2 fixed so for older people especially, maybe a little unbalanced there is less risk of falling, than say, a treadmill.

And there is no powered belt so when you stop the machine does too.

It’s good to make sure that crawling tots don’t get curious about the moving parts of an elliptical. Some, but few, have a pedal locking device.

Console Clarity

Backlit consoles are always best but just make sure the display is big and clear enough so you don’t have to get your glasses out in mid-session.

Monitors, Connectivity

A lot of cardio equipment is getting more connect-ready these days allowing workout data sharing within a coached and/or competitive environment to social networks and apps.

The best compact ellipticals have Bluetooth and built-in wireless connectivity.

Some manufacturers are using this data gathering and app integration and giving user-friendly feedback by way of registration to their own software. Some like it, some don’t.

Sensors on the fixed arms (normally) are typically not that accurate, wearables more. If available as an option Bluetooth can hook up to a chest heart monitor for more accurate readings and can be linked to a heart rate monitored program. So the machine’s intensity changes according to your heart rate.

Treadmill Vs Elliptical

When I first walked into a gym I saw rows of elliptical machines all in use by young fit looking types who didn’t seem to be exerting themselves much. I was there for the treadmill, a proper workout!

After finally being seduced by the swinging arm and leg action I started giving it a go and it can be really tough. Crank the resistance up – the last level but be reachable but not for very long – and you have an all round workout that can produce a lot of lactic acid.

There are scientific studies to show that elliptical training is not just a ‘walk in the gym’ either, within one study, there was more perceived exertion on the legs using an elliptical over a treadmill and equal the amount of heart rate efficiency.

This means you can reach an optimum heart rate on an elliptical workout and not suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous pounding like you can with a treadmill, leading to joint and other problems.

Elliptical training has been tested on brain trauma patients and victims of serious strokes to increase their functional walking with positive results.

Even if you’re a runner, especially one on the mend, cross-training with an elliptical machine may be a good idea to give those joints a rest. You will use different micro muscles, especially if going backward, on an elliptical. You can go in reverse on the more decent compact ellipticals on the market.

We’ve also compared the stair stepper versus the elliptical showing the various benefits of both.

Getting The Most From The Compact Elliptical

One of the most important things to keep in mind when using an elliptical machine is keeping good posture.

Shoulders should be back and head up with your chin line parallel with the floor. The back should be straight and abdominal muscles taught. Use the handles by pulling and pushing, don’t lean forward on them.

The correct way you use an elliptical machine will mean a more effective workout by exercising the right muscle groups, increasing the heart rate and lessen the risk of stress on the neck shoulders and back.

To get the most from your new shiny cross-training machine it’s recommended to change the format of the exercise program regularly.

Most good elliptical machines have pre-set programs that will include interval training, speed, variable resistance etc. These will not only challenge your body but a bit of spice into the workouts not allowing complacency.

More and more available are training distractions which can let you connect to an in-built screen, your tv or app-based programs on a smart device which means you can ‘dial in’ to realty scenes and other users and coaches.

Personally, I think there is something to be said for concentrating on your own efforts but such programs are becoming more popular although it normally means an additional membership fee.

What To Look For Before Purchasing

There are several factors you should consider before the purchase. I’ll outline them below. Here are some factors to consider.

Maximum Weight Support

You do not want to get an elliptical that supports 200 lbs, if you have 220 lbs weight, right? One of the first things you should definitely check is the maximum weight support. From my own experience I know that every manufacturer states this information.

Noise Level

It is a good thing that most of these machines are not very noisy, although some are nosier than others. If you are sensitive and you prefer silent machine, or if you plan to work-out while watching TV, noise level is definitely a factor worth considering.

It Should Be Transportable

If you plan to move the machine around the house or apartment, make sure you pick a model with front wheels. Alternatively, you can consider it a strength workout. ^^

Stability

You don’t want to fall off the machine during your workout now, do you? Make sure the frame is sturdy and the construction will not fall apart during the workout.

Circle Of Motion

Another important thing to consider is the circle of motion. Some ellipticals, especially cheaper ones, tend to have a small circle of motion, which can be uncomfortable and awkward for people with long legs who are used to make longer steps.

Price

The last but not least feature to check is the price. If you meet every criteria mentioned above, make sure the chosen elliptical is worth the money.

What to do before buying compact elliptical machines?

So you’ve decided to get a small elliptical to realize your fitness goals. Here’s what you should think about before pulling out your wallet.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, when buying any home fitness equipment, pick a spot in your home and measure it. This includes the ceiling height. That way you’ll know how big of a machine your space can hold and how much headroom you need.

Consider your needs and try to make a fitness schedule so that you’ll actually use the machine. Because once you’ve bought it, you’ve already made that commitment.

Lastly, determine your budget. This will also depend on how much use you’ll get out of your equipment.

Benefits of a Compact Elliptical Machine

1. Accelerated weight loss

People are more focused on weight loss than bodybuilding these days. Elliptical trainer for the home is a good choice for those people. Nowadays there is an increasing trend among people to choose cross trainers over other conventional machines like bikes and treadmills. The biggest advantage of elliptical trainers is that they are capable of burning much more calories than any other fitness equipment while also engaging all of your muscle groups in a single workout.

2. Improves your balance and mobility

Elliptical trainers also provide many physiotherapy related advantages during your workout sessions. It improves your overall balance and mobility. It is nowadays being popularly used in hospitals for patients who have suffered severe injuries to get their body balance back.

3. Exercise for the whole body

Training on an elliptical engages all the muscle groups in your body. This is a big advantage for people aiming for full body workout sessions. With the help of varied resistance levels, you also have the possibility of doing very intense workouts on the same machine.

4. Mimic many different exercises

The best elliptical trainers have the ability to mimic many different exercises. You can jog, walk, box, run and even climb stairs using the same elliptical trainer. All these are done by varying the resistance levels of the machine. With effective monitoring, you can also know about the distance you traveled and the time taken for that travel. Some even have heart rate monitoring and that is a good advantage.

5. Use in minimal space

Compactness keeps the compact elliptical trainer for home the favorite option for space conservatives. You can fit this kind of elliptical into almost any tight corner. There are even machines like FitDesk that are designed to fit under your desk.

6. Multitasking

Modern ellipticals are a delight to the enthusiasts. Nowadays they even have the facility to watch your favorite shows or read a novel while working out on them. Some of them are fitted with sound systems to let you enjoy music during your work out session.

7. Easy maintenance of the machine

Compact ellipticals are cheaper to many other fitness machines making it an easy buy for many people. It has very less moving parts so it is less susceptible to wear and tear with time. Reputed machines like Horizon Fitness EX-59-02 Elliptical Trainer provide a lifetime warranty on the frame and 20 years warranty on the motor. These are an indication of the durability of the elliptical trainer.

8. Protection for your joints

Compact ellipticals cause less impact on your joints while working out and this prevents your joints from getting injuries. It is highly likely to get your joints hurt on fitness equipment like the treadmill. Cross trainers are a preferred choice for people suffering from knee and hip problems.

Conclusion

The Proform Endurance 920 E Elliptical came out on top as the best compact elliptical machine when considering compactness, features and price.

All the features you would expect from a good elliptical has been done well like the ergonomic multi-placement handles and then there are the added features like the 0-20% power incline.

On top of that is made to a high standard all at a very reasonable price. Looks good too.

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