Sports Magazine

7 Best Compact Elliptical Machines for Maximum Results with Minimal Space

By Jessicashaw

You don’t need to sacrifice a ton of space to get a big workout with an elliptical. Here is a look at the best compact elliptical machines for every budget and workout space.

Best Compact Elliptical Machines

Every home gym nerd knows that space is one of the biggest constraints when it comes to investing in new workout equipment.

Especially when it comes to cardio machines, which can quickly tie up a ton of real estate.

Fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice functionality and performance when it comes to compact elliptical machines, which reduce the footprint of the machine while keeping all of the fat burnin’ and cardio-boosting benefits of elliptical trainers.

In this guide, we will show you the best of the best compact elliptical machines on the market right now. We’ll cover the pros and cons of each machine and who its best for.

By the end, whether you are looking for a premium standard elliptical or a simplified under-the-desk elliptical trainer, you’ll have a crystal-clear idea of which one is right for you and your goals.

Let’s jump right in.

The Types of Compact Ellipticals

Before we jump into our breakdown to the top compact elliptical machines, I want to quickly outline the two types of space-saving elliptical trainers that we chose to include in this list.

They include:

Compact standard ellipticals.

These are the regular ellipticals you see at the gym—swinging arms for upper body workout, sturdy base, console, and an elliptical stride.

Types of Compact Ellipticals - Standard Elliptical Machines

We chose standard ellipticals that are either compact in footprint or compact when folded up.

Within this category, there is your “standard” elliptical, with either a front or rear drive, and hybrid machines that have a center drive.

Under desk ellipticals.

Portable, very compact, and inexpensive compared to standard ellipticals, under desk ellipticals are apex space-savers as they only have the elliptical pedals and not the arms or console.

Types of Compact Ellipticals - Under Desk Ellipticals

They are also highly portable and very inexpensive compared to standard ellipticals.

What you gain in a compact frame and portability is lost in reduced intensity (you can only push them so hard, after all) and the upper-body part of an elliptical workout.

Best Compact Ellipticals – Standard

Okay, let’s start off with some standard ellipticals that a) can be folded up, reducing the amount of space they take when not in use and b) ellipticals that have a relatively small footprint.

Our top picks include:

NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9iBest Overall Compact Elliptical Trainer

⭐
Best for people who want a compact and foldable elliptical for doing online workouts

Best Compact Elliptical Machines - SpaceSaver SE9i

Key specs:

  • Price: $1,699
  • Screen: 14” HD touchscreen
  • 24 levels of resistance and power incline
  • 325lbs user capacity
  • 80” x 32” footprint (32” x 32” when folded up)

The NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i, as the name would suggest, is a foldable elliptical machine that takes up just 32” x 32” when folded and stacked vertically.

Although it folds up like a lawn chair when not in use, the SE9i does not skimp on performance. It’s got a monster 14” HD touchscreen that is awesome for using iFit, an online portal that features over 17,000 workouts (and counting).

If you like trainer-led classes, striding across various outdoor locals across the globe, and get hyped up on challenges and leaderboards, the SpaceSaver SE9i is the ultimate compact elliptical trainer for you.

Even if online classes aren’t your jam, there is lots to keep you challenged and focused on the SE9i, including a power incline feature, 18 levels of resistance, and an 18lb flywheel for a sturdy ride.

The SE9i—and this goes for all of NordicTrack’s elliptical machines—has foot pedals that I consider among the best in the business. Comfortable, ergonomic, and perfect for extended use.

My only real beef with this elliptical is that for some reason it has a tiny water bottle holder. Oversized water bottle holders should be the standard with ellipticals at this price point.

✅
PROS
❌
CONS

Foldable design that can be stored vertically between workoutsSmall water bottle holder

Super comfy foot pedals 

Power incline and 18 resistance levels 

30-day iFit subscription included 

NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical Trainer
NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical Trainer

+ 14" touchscreen

+ Perfect for online classes and programs

+ Folding, space-saving design

+ Very comfortable foot pads for extended use

Click Here for Best Price

NordicTrack FS14i Elliptical

⭐
Best compact elliptical machine for stride versatility

Best Compact Elliptical Machines - NordicTrack FS14i
  • Price: $2,299
  • Footprint: 58” x 29”
  • Screen: 14” HD touchscreen
  • 3-in-1 hybrid machine (stepper, elliptical, treadmill)
  • Power incline (up to 10) and decline (-10)

The NordicTrack FS14i is hybrid elliptical trainer that incorporates stepping and a really extended stride (up to 32”!) that can simulate a running gait (without running impact).

Like the SpaceSaver SE9i, the FS14i has a big, glossy 14” HD touchscreen that is ideal for immersive training and workouts.

Because it’s a center-drive elliptical, the footprint of the machine is relatively compact at just 58” long and 29” wide.

(Note that the working length is going to be longer than 58”, especially if you are fully extending your stride.)

The FS14i also has one featured that I’ve never seen in an elliptical trainer before… a power decline feature.

While most ellipticals have an incline setting, raising your knees and making the stride more challenging, the FS14i breaks the mold by adding a decline setting. Using it feels like you are running downhill and is a bit trippy the first time you try it.

✅
PROS
❌
CONS

Ultimate elliptical for stride varietyDesigned primarily for iFit (added subscription after 30-day trial)

Center-drive design that saves space 

Big, 14” HD touchscreen for doing online workouts and classes 

Power incline and decline settings 

NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Elliptical Trainer
NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Elliptical Trainer

+ Combo elliptical (stepper and low-impact treadmill)

+ Center-drive design for saving space

+ 14" HD touchscreen for online classes

+ Both incline and decline options

Click for Best Price

ProForm Pro HIIT H14

⭐
Best compact elliptical for experienced users and HIIT workouts

Best Compact Elliptical Machines - ProForm Pro HIIT H14
  • Price: $1,699
  • Screen: 14” HD touchscreen
  • Footprint: 52” x 29”

The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 takes a lot of the things that are awesome about the NordicTrack FS14i—the compact footprint, the stepper and elliptical hybrid design, the 14” HD screen—and makes it even more compact.

Both in terms of footprint (it’s 6” less long) and cost ($500 less).

Additionally, because the Pro HIIT H14 is more of a stepper than an elliptical, you don’t have to worry about excess working footprint around the machine.

This is the perfect compact elliptical machine for more advanced users who love doing more challenging workouts, especially HIIT and Tabata-style workouts.

The Pro HIIT H14 has one of the heaviest flywheels in the business (a whopping 30lb) and tons of resistance levels to meet you wherever you are in your fitness journey.

ProForm’s parent company is iFit (the same as NordicTrack) and the Pro HIIT H14’s big screen pairs with iFit’s vast portfolio of workouts that can be done on and off the machine.

Because of the increased vertical stride path on the Pro HIIT H14, this machine is not a good choice for people with bad knees. Additionally, some beginners may find it’s too challenging to get started with a purely horizontal stride elliptical machine.

✅
PROS
❌
CONS

Best compact elliptical for HIIT workoutsNot ideal for total beginners or people with bad knees

Compact footprint 

30lb flywheel for a really smooth ride 

26 levels of resistance 

ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical + Stepper
ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical + Stepper

+ 14" HD touchscreen

+ Perfect for HIIT workouts

+ 26 levels of resistance

+ Heavy-duty flywheel for smooth stride

Click for Best Price

Niceday Elliptical Trainer Machine

⭐
Best for people who want a sturdy “regular” elliptical machine with a small footprint

Best Compact Elliptical Machines - Niceday Elliptical Trainer Machine

Key specs:

  • Price: $499
  • Stride length: 15.5”
  • Flywheel: 16lb
  • Footprint: 48” x 24.4”

The Niceday CT11 Elliptical is a surprisingly strong elliptical that has a low-cost price—around $500—a small footprint, and has one of the highest max user weight ratings on the market. Especially for a budget-friendly elliptical.

The Niceday CT11 has a 15” stride length, making best-suited for shorter users and people who don’t have super long legs, a simplified LCD display that covers the bare essentials, and because it doesn’t have to be plugged in, can be placed anywhere in your home.

The biggest perk of the CT11 is perhaps its 400lb maximum user weight capacity, which is 25-30% higher than other elliptical trainers in its price class.

The flywheel is a solid 16lbs, which is on par for a low-cost elliptical, and assembly is among the easiest I’ve performed, with almost the entire machine completely assembled upon delivery.

✅
PROS
❌
CONS

Very compact footprint for a rear drive ellipticalVery basic LCD screen

16lb flywheel for a sturdy rideFrequently out of stock on Amazon

☹

90% assembled when shipped 

Best-in-class weight capacity of 400lb 

Niceday CT11 Elliptical Machine
Niceday CT11 Elliptical Machine

+ Budget-friendly pricing

+ Compact footprint

+ 400lb max user rating

+ 16lb flywheel for a stable ride

Shop Now @ Amazon

Sunny Health E905 Elliptical Trainer

⭐
Best for smaller users who don’t require a heavy flywheel

Best Compact Elliptical Machines - Sunny Health E905 Elliptical

Key specs:

  • Price: $218
  • Footprint: 28” x 17”
  • Max user weight: 220lbs
  • Stride length: 11”

The Sunny Health E905 has one of the smallest footprints you will see in a full-size elliptical trainer at just 28” long and 17” wide.

It is the definition of a no-frills elliptical, with a stopwatch for a console, an 11” stride length, and a quiet magnetic drive that is perfect for shorter users.

(The 11” stride length is way too short for taller trainees. Heavier users will also want to look elsewhere—the E905 is rated up to 220lbs.)

The E905 is also very easy to move, has 8 levels of resistance, and the machine weighs just 60lbs. Combine that with the transportation wheels and you’ve got an elliptical with a compact footprint that is also very easy to move.

✅
PROS
❌
CONS

Hilariously inexpensiveShort stride length

Extremely compact designNo tray for smartphone or water bottle holder

Lightweight frame—easy to move 

Silent, magnetic drive 

Easy to assemble 

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine $149.56

+ Compact design

+ Short stride length (11”)

+ Budget-friendly pricing

+ Whisper-quiet magnetic drive

Shop @ Amazon Shop @ Sunny Health 12/28/2022 09:33 pm GMT

Best Compact Ellipticals – Under Desk

Under desk ellipticals are the ultimate when it comes to compact ellipticals.

Although you do sacrifice the full-body workout of a full-size elliptical by losing the arms and the overall intensity is limited by the size of the machine, they are a great way to increase activity levels over the course of the day.

Our top picks include:

Cubii GO Under Desk Elliptical

⭐
Best-rated compact under-desk elliptical trainer

Best Compact Elliptical Machines - Cubii GO Under Desk Elliptical

Key features:

  • Price: $299
  • Footprint: 17.5” x 24.5”
  • Stride length: 6”

Looking for a truly compact elliptical you can use while working at your desk or sitting on the couch?

The Cubii GO is the best under desk elliptical on the market (with thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon to back up the claim), with a whisper quiet magnetic drive and a tiny footprint for sliding under your workstation.

The GO also has transportation wheels, a retractable handle, and light frame (less than 20lbs) which makes it easy to wheel around between workouts.

All of us struggle to get enough time to exercise each day, and the GO is a great way to get some low-impact, cardiovascular exercise without having to drive to the gym, buy a big and expensive elliptical machine, or take up a lot of space.

While there are limitations to these kinds of machines—you simply aren’t going to get as intense of a workout—the convenience and compact size are two key benefits that can override this downside.

✅
PROS
❌
CONS

Portable and compact designNot as intense as full-size elliptical

LCD displayShorter stride length (6”)

Most highly-rated under desk elliptical on Amazon 

8 levels of resistance 

Cubii GO Under Desk Elliptical
Cubii GO Under Desk Elliptical $299.00

+ Portable and Compact design

+ LCD display

+ 8 levels of resistance

+ 6" stride length

Shop Now @ Amazon 12/28/2022 10:47 pm GMT

Sunny Health Classic Magnetic Under Desk Elliptical

⭐
Best low-cost under-desk compact elliptical

Compact Elliptical Machines - Sunny Health Classic Under Desk Elliptical

Key features:

  • Price: $129
  • Stride length: 7”
  • 8 resistance levels
  • Footprint: 24” x 19”
  • Magnetic drive for quiet operation

Another of our favorite under desk ellipticals that takes “compact” to another level is the Sunny Health Classic Under Desk Elliptical.

It has the same teeny-tint and compact footprint of the Cubii GO (actually, it’s slightly smaller), 8 resistance levels, and a stride length of 7-inches (which is one inch longer than the Cubii GO).

The Sunny Health Classic Under Desk Elliptical is also half the price of other compact ellipticals like it.

Under desk ellipticals do have their limitations, as you can imagine with a small stride, compact footprint, and no arms, but they are an excellent weapon against something we all struggle with—a lifestyle that has become overwhelmingly sedentary.

✅
PROS
❌
CONS

7” stride lengthNo transportation wheels

Very compact footprint 

8 levels of resistance 

Budget-friendly pricing 

Fully assembled 

Sunny Health and Fitness Classic Under Desk Elliptical
Sunny Health and Fitness Classic Under Desk Elliptical

+ Best low-cost under desk elliptical

+ 7" stride length

+ 8 levels of resistance

+ Fully assembled

Shop Now @ Amazon

Compact Elliptical Machines – FAQs

Are compact ellipticals any good?

Compact elliptical trainers carry nearly all of the same features and benefits as regular ellipticals.

Our top picks, including the NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i are excellent picks as regular ellipticals—featuring the same workout functionality and stride smoothness—let alone the added bonus of being compact and foldable.

Under desk ellipticals do trade some functionality and intensity for a significantly more compact size, but used properly they can still generate sizable progress for your fitness goals.

Which elliptical has the smallest footprint?

Here is a look at some of the best elliptical machines we’ve tested, along with their footprint when open and when folded up:

EllipticalLength*WidthHeightFolded

Sunny Health E90528”17”56”N/A

Niceday Elliptical Machine48”25”62”N/A

Bowflex Max Total 1649.3”30.8”65.7”N/A

ProForm Pro HIIT H1452”29”66”N/A

NordicTrack FS14i58.5”29.5”74”N/A

NordicTrack Commercial 9.968.25”28.75”68.5”N/A

ProForm Carbon E1068”25”67”N/A

NordicTrack SE9i80”32”67”32” x 32”

*Note that these figures represent the dimensions of the machine when not in use. Working distance of the machine may be longer in some cases.

What are the benefits of a compact elliptical machine?

The primary benefit of a compact elliptical trainer is saving space!

Because it doesn’t require as large a footprint, you can still get a great workout without requiring the space of a traditional elliptical trainer.

Compact ellipticals are also easy to store between workouts and are typically less expensive compared to full-sized trainers.

How much space do I need for a compact elliptical machine?

Elliptical machines vary in dimensions based on the brand, model, and features like extended stride length.

A “regular” elliptical machine can be up to 80” in length, 24” to 35” in width, and around 5 feet tall.

Remember that you are going to want to factor in the working footprint when allocating space for your fancy-pants new elliptical machine.

This should include enough room for the elliptical to complete its full stride, space to get on and off the machine safely, and also vertical clearance so that your head doesn’t bonk the ceiling when you step on the elliptical.

What is the best elliptical for a home gym?

We’ve covered all the main types of ellipticals to help you find the best elliptical machine that fits your goals and needs:

  • The 8 Best Elliptical Machines for Home Gyms
  • The Best Ellipticals with Adjustable Stride for Home Gyms
  • Best Ellipticals Under $800: Studio-Grade Ellipticals on a Budget
  • Best Center-Drive Ellipticals for Home Gyms: Pros, Cons, and Key Features

The Bottom Line

Elliptical trainers are one of my favorite tools for getting in shape. Whether it’s doing interval training or low intensity and steady state fat burnin’ cardio, the elliptical is the best cardio machine in the gym for weight loss.

Fortunately, for people who are low on space at home don’t have to sacrifice on the benefits of ellipticals.

To recap:

🏆
The NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i is our top overall pick with a foldable and full-size design that doesn’t skimp on performance with a big and shiny screen and lots of workout functionality.

The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 is our top choice for more experienced “ellipticalers” who want the ultimate HIIT workout with a tiny footprint.

The Niceday Elliptical Trainer is our favorite for lighter users looking for a rear drive elliptical that takes up minimal space.

And the Cubii GO Under Desk elliptical is the ultimate compact elliptical for people looking to vanquish the sedentary lifestyle.


More Elliptical Guides and Reviews

How Much Do Ellipticals Cost? (44 Different Models Compared). Ellipticals can be a costly investment in your workout goals. Here is a look at how much each type of elliptical costs and how much to spend on one.

How Many Calories Do You Burn on an Elliptical? (and How to Burn More). Wondering how many calories the elliptical trainer burns? Here’s how much calorie burning you are doing, how the elliptical compares to other machines in the gym, and tips for how to burn even more calories on an elliptical.

Elliptical Buying Guide – Everything You Need to Know to Buy with Confidence. Want to buy an elliptical but don’t know where to start? Arm yourself with the knowledge to choose the perfect elliptical for you and your workout goals.


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