Best Compact Elliptical: Ultimate Guide

Sometimes compact elliptical machines can be quite small, but some take up a lot of space in your home. Therefore, not everyone can place a huge simulator in their room or in the living room.

This is where we come to buying compact elliptics. These cross-simulators are designed specifically for apartments, Dorm rooms, offices, and all those places where a large elliptical simulator will not find a place.

So that you don’t get lost in the crowd of elliptical cars, we have examined the entire available market for you and compiled a list of the best that we have found. We took all the available exercise equipment: from budget options to high-end machines that easily compete with those that are placed in gyms.

First, we will tell you about our choice, and then we will look in detail at how to buy a good elliptic, which functions should be taken into account and how to avoid making a mistake in this difficult choice.

Best Compact Elliptical

1. Horizon Fitness Evolve 3

compact elliptical


·        It is easy to fold and does not require any extra effort from you

·        Smooth and quiet operation due to high-quality flywheel and magnetic resistance

·        A variety of resistance levels and the presence of a large number of pre-installed software

·        A large set of additional features



·        No incline function

There are a huge number of offers from this company, so it is difficult to choose anyone. But we have tried and are ready to present you a space-saving elliptical with handles that you can easily fold and move to any place convenient for you.

Despite the fact that it is small, you will get at your disposal a very good step length, which is equal to 20 inches. In addition, the simulator has a heavy-duty frame, a high-quality flywheel and magnetic resistance. This gives it the ability to work without too much noise and gives smoothness to your training.

This is a great challenge for you, because in it you will find twenty levels of resistance and a significant set of training programs.

And, it would seem, much better, but there are also additional features: good display with built-in backlight, speakers and shelf for your mobile devices. This is an excellent solution for any home that does not have a large amount of free space.

2. Schwinn 411

best compact elliptical


·        Excellent in appearance and compactness of the case

·        Good step length

·        Ability to record your heart rate

·        You can connect to a special app that will help you out during training



·        The data that is output to the console is not always accurate

·        It creaks a little while working


This small footprint elliptical may be one of the most expensive options to buy, but it will be a great solution for you. This elliptical small perfectly represents the essence of such simulators: it is compact, takes up little space, is not very high and has an amazing performance.

The step length is inferior to some other models, but the simulator works quite quietly. There are 16 resistance levels and 13 pre-prepared programs for productive training.

The center console may look nondescript, but it is modern, it has an excellent LCD screen and a shelf for your devices. You can connect a tablet or phone to it, install RunSocial on Them, and add a huge variation of different exercises to your workouts.

3.Body Power StepTrac BST800 Elliptical Stepper

compact eliptical machines


·        Elliptical and stepper hybrid for high-quality training

·        It will perfectly fit into the interior of even a very small room

·        It works smoothly and has a magnetic resistance

·        Heart rate monitors are located on the handles



·        Assembly is a rather difficult task

·        Fluctuations during operation

This portable eliptical machine has some differences from the usual elliptical simulators, as it carries more of a step element. Despite this, it fits easily in a compact box. Since this car combines two completely different styles, you have a choice: step smoothly or add intensity to your training.

Modern technology eliminates dead zones on the pedals, which makes training on it smoother. This machine is ideal for a wide range of users, thanks to its eight levels of magnetic resistance.

It is more affordable than the exercise equipment described above, but still fits people up to 250 pounds. A nice element is the heart rate monitors, which are located on fixed handles, a modern screen and a shelf for your mobile devices.

4. Cubii Pro Under-Desk Elliptical

small eliptical machines


·        The simulator is so compact that it will fit perfectly into an office space

·        There are eight levels of resistance

·        Works smoothly and without annoying noise

·        There is an app that monitors the results of training and motivates you to continue



·        Only suitable for sedentary training

·        Despite its size, it is very heavy

·        The price is a little high

We have reached the smallest elliptical machine that embodies the definition of compactness. It is slightly more expensive than most similar elliptics on the market, but this price pays off with build quality, high performance and additional features.

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It is recommended by a large number of fitness organizations. It can be easily placed under the table, and it does not make noise when used, while maintaining smooth operation. The step length may disappoint you, but it is compensated by eight levels of resistance.

You can train very productively if you fully use all the available functionality of this model. The simulator comes with a mobile app that tracks your results at the end of each workout and provides you with motivation for the next productive sessions.


compact eliptical machine


·        One of the smallest options on our list

·        Variety of your workouts, thanks to eight levels of resistance

·        Works without noise and smoothly

·        The structure is not heavy and is equipped with wheels for moving



·        Very small step length, so you can not recommend it to everyone

·        When you place your tablet in the holder, you can’t use the built-in display

Let’s pay attention to the budget options for small elliptical for home and take a look at one of the most popular options in the category up to two hundred dollars. If your expectations match the funds you will spend on it, you will get a very impressive result after the purchase.

Of course, the step length of 11 inches is not suitable for every user and will discourage many from buying this model, but for people of low stature, pedestrians and older users, it is enough.

Another advantage is the comfortable pedals that can help you position your feet correctly without feeling uncomfortable. Additional features include a heart rate monitor that measures your heart rate and is located on the handles, a media shelf, and a small screen with all the necessary information about your workouts.

Shopping for a Compact Elliptical

elliptical compact

If you have ever been to a large gym, you will often see a huge set of cardio equipment at your discretion – treadmills, spin bikes and elliptical machines. However, not all people have a home that allows you to turn part of it into a large gym, so saving space for your desires plays a big role.

For large and medium-sized houses, it will be enough to install a standard elliptical, and for apartments and Dorm rooms, you will have to buy something more compact.

This is where compact elliptics come in handy for training. But how do you know which one of this wide range to choose for yourself? In this section, we will carefully analyze the General functions of compact elliptics and their positive and negative qualities.

This will give you the opportunity to get a clear idea of what you should look at first before buying a new simulator in your apartment.

Design of Compact Eliptical Machines

As you can see from our selection, compact elliptics can cost you completely different prices – there are premium class, middle class and inexpensive options for people with a limited budget. No matter which class you choose, you will still encounter two types of designs: a compact version of a full elliptical or a mini version that fits easily under the table.

Those that are similar in function and appearance to their older brothers are well-made enough to take up a little space in your apartment. Often you will see front-wheel drive options, because in this case the machine can be compact. Although in this niche you can find rear-wheel drive elliptics.

Portable elliptical machine that fit under the table are designed for this type of placement. In their design, you are unlikely to find features such as a heart rate monitor on the handles and so on, but you can still use them effectively in your training.

Whatever design you choose in the end, you will get a regular sliding track at your disposal, although you can determine how effective your training will be based on the length of the step.

Stride Length of Small Eliptical Machines

Step length is a fundamental category that you should focus on when purchasing absolutely any cross-trainer: from space saver elliptical machines for beginners to something professional and athletic.

This term refers to the distance between the outermost part of the rear pedal and the edge of the front pedal when they are as far apart as possible. For most users, a length of 18 to 20 inches is suitable, taking into account that you are not short or not very tall.

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It is quite obvious and logical that compact elliptics are not able to impress you with a large step length, especially if you decide to buy a mini model in which the limit of dreams is only ten inches. You can still use such a simulator effectively, but you will have to change your normal step and put up with a small speed.

Fortunately, many compact elliptics allow you to practice at home with a normal step length. Of course, you will have to spend a lot more money to buy a compact version of a regular elliptical with a good step length.

Step-Up Height of Compact Eliptical Machine

When you think about buying compact models, you often just make sure that it fits easily into the free space on your floor, but have you often thought about the height of the simulator? When you first go to the simulator and start training, you can pay attention to one interesting detail.

When the pedals are in motion, you bounce slightly. It’s okay if you are short or have high enough ceilings in your room, but if you have a low ceiling and an impressive height, then you may face an unpleasant problem.

Therefore, do not lose sight of such an indicator as the height of the ascent. It is measured by the distance between the floor and the pedal when it is at its lowest point. Many elliptics have a lift height of less than 14 inches.

Estimate this indicator, calculate your height, add to it the height of the lift, and you will understand whether you will touch the ceiling during training. If you make incorrect calculations, you risk hitting your head quite hard.

If you saw during the calculations that you are risking your head when training at home, you should not buy an elliptical. But even for such cases, manufacturers have found a solution: they produce elliptics with a low lift height that does not exceed eight inches.

Unfortunately, not all models are provided with a description of this category when purchasing. The worst thing that can happen: the simulator will come to your home, you will install it and realize that it is completely unsuitable for training due to the fact that you hit your head during them. It is good if your exercise machine is low, and you will be able to work out effectively without worrying about your health.

Resistance of Elliptical Compact

This indicator, such as resistance, is also worth considering when you decide to buy an elliptical trainer – it can add complexity to your regular training. The budget class often uses the force of air or friction for resistance, which works quite well, but at the same time makes loud and annoying sounds.

But the simulators of the middle and premium class are equipped with magnetic resistance. They use a series of magnets that remove unnecessary noise and make the movement smoother. Some elliptics even suggest that you adjust the resistance yourself.

This will give you the opportunity to adjust your training according to your personal request, from a normal walk for prevention to a real uphill climb.

On many ellipticals, the ability to adjust will be in the form of a simple dial on the simulator stand. On different models, the dial may look different: a simple button without numbers or a special one that allows you to see the resistance level on a small screen.

On premium models, you will find that you can adjust the resistance using the main console, and this is much more convenient.

Incline of Compact Elliptical Machines

For a greater variety of training, some ellipticals have not only the function of adjusting the resistance, but also the ability to change the slope. The tilt changes the position of the simulator, forcing you to either move slower or spend more energy on training.

This is a great feature for regular elliptics, but in the case of compact models, it is often only harmful. If you increase the slope, you increase the height of the elliptical, that is, you get closer to the ceiling.

Even a small change in height can damage your training, especially if you have accurately calculated the height of your ceiling and purchased a simulator that closely matches your calculations.

This is why we do not recommend that you choose a car with a slope, if you decide to stay in this category of elliptical simulators.

Control Module of Space Saving Elliptical

If you buy a non-budget simulator, then most compact Ellipticals will have a built-in control console – they can even be on the model that you place under the table. It can be quite primitive, like a normal spinning disk for selecting resistance, or advanced, as if you are in a rocket control room on the territory of NASA.

The control panel can be equipped with simple precision controls, as well as advanced resistance and tilt control functions. You can change the resistance either by using the controls located on the handles of the simulator, or by using the Central control panel.

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There are advanced controls that offer you to immediately select the desired level without any extra clicks on buttons or levers.

Depending on the price of your simulator, you can find other features that you can manage: for example, training programs or pleasant additions. Another thing that most compact elliptics come with is a built-in screen.

It can also range from a cool touch screen that can play videos in high quality to an old panel straight from childhood, like on simulators that were produced many years ago.

The main purpose of these screens is to give you all the necessary information about your training, such as speed, time, calories and heart rate measurement. What statistics will be included in the screen depends on the model and manufacturer of your simulator.

Secondary Features of Small Elliptical Trainer

Now let’s move on to additional features. Although they look desirable, they do not play a special role for a normal compact elliptical trainer, and are not as important as the length and height of the step, resistance, and other functions that we described above.

We prefer to say that the additional features serve for a more comfortable and enjoyable workout. For example, a special fan, which is often built into premium fitness equipment, allows you to not sweat so much during training, cooling your body.

Almost every middle-class simulator has such a thing as a heart rate meter, which is built into the handles of the simulator. When you put your hands on the soft pads on the handles of the simulator, they display data about the state of your heart rate.

Like any computer system of this kind, it should be used as an approximate indicator, and not as an accurate measurement of your heart rate. If you want your heart rate to be in a certain rhythm during your workout, then a special chest strap will suit you.

Entertainment during a workout often makes the user return to them with great enthusiasm. Some elliptics offer either a simple set of entertainment, or their complete absence, while others will give you the opportunity to watch your favorite TV shows on your tablet, thanks to a special holder, listen to music from the built-in speakers, and charge your device during a long workout.

If the simulator has a Bluetooth connection, you can download a special app that will improve your training schedule and give you motivation for further actions. We recommend you RunSocial.

If these features play an important role for you, then you should look for elliptics in the premium market – on budget models, you are unlikely to find such additional pleasant things. However, you should not buy a device that will look uncomfortable in your room just because it has one of the entertainment functions.

What is a Space Saving Elliptical Machine?

smallest elliptical machine

Are you a lazy person? Want to get fit while watching TV? Then you may need a mini elliptic. This is a small device that has all the functions of an elliptical, but comes in a tiny form, so it doesn’t take up more than two square feet of your space.

Mini elliptics are different, both in price and quality. On average, you can buy such a device on the market at a price of one hundred to five hundred dollars. You have also seen elliptics that fit under the table more than once in this article.

They are very much appreciated by office workers who just put them under their office desk during work and train while sorting out morning or afternoon mail, or answering calls.

The functionality of these simulators is usually at the level of their older counterparts, but take into account the lack of handles. You will even have the ability to adjust resistance for intense training, and a small display will show you basic data and statistics of your exercises.

Among these simulators, there are also advanced devices that can allow you to connect a smartphone with a special app to track your progress. But there is one factor to consider: mini Ellipticals are not designed as a replacement for a normal exercise machine to burn calories.

But they do not allow your legs to atrophy and keep them in shape, they are also very useful for training the heart. However, these devices do not interfere with your favorite activities or work. You can sort out your email or watch your favorite program, while you do some useful training.

Are Elliptical For Small Spaces Good?

portable eliptical machine

They can be good. They can give you an excellent cardio workout without taking up a lot of space. Not all people can afford to buy a full-size elliptical. Compact elliptics are convenient to place, move and use them within a small apartment. But how good are they?

As the size decreases, functionality and quality often suffer. But this is true for budget devices. Even if your simulator is strong in construction, it still offers a small step length that is not suitable for everyone.

Therefore, you should be careful before buying such a device, and ask yourself the question: are you ready to experience some inconvenience with a small step length during training?

However, more expensive models offer you much more interesting conditions. And some of them almost look like their older brothers. They can provide you with a great workout and will delight you with a bunch of unnecessary at first glance, but pleasant features.

Therefore, it is impossible to give an unambiguous answer to the question: how good are compact elliptics? It all depends on your goals, preferences, and financial resources.

Which is Better, Elliptical or Stepper?

compact elliptical machines

If you just want to lose weight, then elliptical can be a great option for you. You should actively use the handles, training your upper body and toning your muscles. If you just want to slightly tighten the shape, then both types of machines will help you with this.

However, a stair step requires a lot of effort, and an elliptical one may not require it. Therefore, we can definitely tell you that the elliptical trainer is the best choice.

If you have read this article in full, you will now be able to understand perfectly why a compact elliptical will fit perfectly into your small apartment or office, where it is not possible to place a large exercise machine.

You also learned all the features of these simulators so that you don’t make a mistake when buying them. You will now be able to choose the perfect compact elliptical for your purposes. Good luck with your training!


Author of article
Steven Hopkins
Welcome to my website, or even a blog. For the past 15 years, I have regularly visited the gym, spending at least 2 hours a day there. I love protein shakes, quality athletic shoes, and I know a lot about exercise equipment. This is my hobby. Every day I run kilometers on the treadmill, do dozens of push-UPS, and hundreds of pull-UPS on the uneven bars. Sport is my life...  
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