Fitness

7 Compact Ellipticals That Turn Any Corner Into a Gym

Your days of fighting for gym machines are over.
By Lauren Bedosky
February 7, 2024

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If running doesn’t agree with your knees, and you’re not sold on cycling or rowing, the elliptical might appeal to you. It allows you to mimic the running movement, but because your feet never leave the pedals, it’s a bit friendlier to your joints. And with so many compact ellipticals on the market, you can easily do this low-impact, total-body cardio workout at home.

Think of a compact elliptical as a friend of small spaces. With so many size options, even studio apartment-dwellers can get in on the action. Just be sure to check the machine’s specs against the footprint of your space before buying to make sure it’ll fit comfortably.

You also have to decide how much you’re willing to spend. Some compact ellipticals come at a higher price point, offering the same advanced features as the full-sized models in a gym or health club. Meanwhile, others strip away the bells and whistles for a more bare-bones machine with a much friendlier price tag.

Narrow your options with our roundup of the best compact ellipticals. The following seven machines stood out from the rest, while reflecting a range of price points, features, and specs.

Our Top Picks
ProForm Pro HIIT H14
BowFlex Max Total 16
NordicTrack AirGlide 7i
Sunny Health Air Walk Trainer
Schwinn 411 Elliptical
SOLE E55 Elliptical
Gazelle Sprinter

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The 7 Best Compact Ellipticals

ProForm Pro HIIT H14

More than your standard elliptical, ProForm’s offering takes things to the next level with a 10-inch vertical stepping path that simulates stair climbing. That, plus handles that encourage a punching action for your upper body, ensure maximum burn. You’ll activate most of your major muscle groups in a single workout. Need a structured routine? Try instructor-led classes through iFIT.

  • 14-inch HD touchscreen
  • Free 30-day iFIT membership
  • 325 lb weight capacity
  • 26 resistance levels
Pros
  • Heavy duty construction
  • Wide range of resistances
  • High-fidelity screen
  • iFit-compatible
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Some reviews suggest the machine can be noisy

Bowflex Max Total 16

This Bowflex option packs a mighty machine into a small footprint. Oversized textured pedals and six-grip handlebars make it easy to settle into a comfy hand and foot position, so you can focus on nailing the perfect pace. Use the spacious touchscreen to stream through your favorite apps (NetflixHuluPrime, etc.) or on-demand classes and real-time coaching.

  • 16-inch HD touchscreen
  • Free 1-year JRNY membership
  • 300 lb weight capacity
  • 20 resistance levels
Pros
  • Massive screen compared to most competitors
  • Handles support many positions
  • TV supports nearly all video streaming apps (Netflix, Hulu, etc.)
Cons
  • Super-premium price

NordicTrack AirGlide 7i

Like many competitors, NordicTrack offers an HD touchscreen for streaming workouts and entertainment. But there are a few features that set this elliptical apart. Mainly, the ability to customize your stride length and bump up the incline to target specific muscle groups. This compact elliptical also boasts one of the highest weight capacities among our picks.

  • 7-inch HD touchscreen
  • Free 30-day iFIT membership
  • Up to 20% incline
  • 350 lb weight capacity
  • 26 resistance levels
Pros
  • Customizable stride length
  • High weight capacity
  • Sturdy build
Cons
  • Limited iFit functionality
  • So-so screen quality

Sunny Health & Fitness Air Walk Trainer Glider Exercise Machine

  • LCD monitor
  • Foldable
  • 220 lb weight capacity

 

Looking for a budget-friendly option? The search ends with Sunny Health & Fitness. Not only is the air walk trainer lightweight and effortless to move, but it folds to half its size for easy storage. Don’t expect much tech. But at less than 200 bucks, this compact elliptical is definitely a steal.

Pros
  • Incredibly affordable
  • Gets the job done
Cons
  • Lacking in customization options
  • Low max weight limit

Schwinn 411 Elliptical

  • LCD monitor
  • 300 lb weight capacity
  • 16 resistance levels

 

If you’re on a budget but want more features than the Sunny elliptical, go for this Schwinn machine. By spending a few hundred more dollars, you’ll get a sturdier machine to support heavier builds (up to 300 pounds), 16 resistance levels for added burn, heart rate monitoring to track intensity, and a built-in media tray for your phone or tablet. All in all a great compact elliptical.

Pros
  • High-intensity resistance
  • Great for taller users
  • Wireless heart rate tracking
Cons
  • Some reviews suggest resistance is too high even on lower settings

Sole Fitness E55 Elliptical

  • LCD console
  • 20 incline levels
  • Free 1-year Studio membership
  • 375 lb weight capacity

 

Meet the smaller, more compact version of the brand’s highly-rated E95 elliptical. Like its bigger sibling, this machine features foot pedals engineered to reduce ankle and knee stress. You can also easily adjust the angle of the foot pedals with a dial to prevent toe numbness and Achilles tendon soreness— common on other ellipticals. Access workout stats and classes through a free one-year Studio membership.

Pros
  • Extremely well built
  • Loads of customization options
Cons
  • Not much in the way of "smart" tech

Gazelle Sprinter

  • LCD monitor
  • 300 lb weight capacity
  • Includes nutrition guide and meal plan
  • Foldable

 
Another option for a budget-friendly compact elliptical, Gazelle’s Sprinter may not offer a long list of features, but it gets the job done. Each leg moves independently with this machine, providing a greater range of motion and a more challenging workout. Reclaim your space by folding and rolling the elliptical into a corner or closet when you’re done for the day.

Pros
  • Super affordable
  • Folds up into a corner quickly
Cons
  • Lacking customization options
  • Feels cheap