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Best Compact Elliptical Trainer

Elliptical trainers have grown tremendously in popularity because of their ease of usage and versatility in providing a whole body training. Moreover, using an elliptical trainer has no impact on joints and provides a wide variety of workout methods. Having said that, they are a serious contender to the traditional treadmills and come with a diverse collection of features and price ranges. Have in mind that ellipticals come in all shapes, and there are many brands of ellipticals on the market that it can be a daunting task to pick out the best compact elliptical machine that fits your needs and demands. Below, you can read everything that you need to know about compact ellipticals in order to make an informed buying decision.

  • EX-59-02
  • Brand: Horizon Fitness
  • Dimension: 68.2 x 22 x 646 inches
  • Weight: 145 pounds
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • 470
  • Brand: Schwinn
  • Dimension: 70.1 x 28.2 x 63.2 inches
  • Weight: 186 pounds
  • Warranty: Frame: 10 years, Mechanical: 2 years, Electrical: 1 year, Labor: 90 days
  • Max Trainer M3
  • Brand: Bowflex
  • Dimension: N/A
  • Weight: 667 pounds
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • Champ 3-in-1 Trio-Trainer
  • Brand: Body Flex Sports
  • Dimension: 41 x 26 x 15 inches
  • Weight: 103 pounds
  • Warranty: Manufacturers
  • 1200
  • Brand: Exerpeutic
  • Dimension: 31 x 19 x 46 inches
  • Weight: 42.8 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 year limited

Horizon Fitness EX-59-02 Elliptical

From a trusted brand, the EX-59 is a low cost and highly effective home-based elliptical for cardio workout solution. Boasting a six star certified frame and a 14.3 lb front end flywheel, this machine can support up to 275 lb weight. There is an easy-to-reach hand bar grip and a Zero GAP paddle overlapping that provides comfort during workout sessions. Additionally, it comes with 10 program options that include: weight loss, reverse train and calorie goals intervals. This machine features 18” stride and 10-inch step on height that works perfectly for short people. Moreover, the electromagnetic resistance braking provides constant pedal resistance and a quiet experience. Every workout data can be easily read on the quality 5” LED display panel that monitors distance, time, calories, watts and grip based heart rate.

On top of that, it comes with a water bottle handle, reading rack, sonic surround MP3 speakers and a handy tray for accessories. It takes only couple of hours to assemble and is very easy to use. It works well for beginners looking for cheaper elliptical that provides a low impact workout with varying resistance levels. The EX-59 is extremely compact and can be used anywhere in your house. Apart from the small design, this unit is extremely quiet in operation that enhances your workout experience even more. Sonic speakers allow you to play your favorite music and a reading rack supports Kindle, Ipad and other smart gadgets. At last, the whole package comes with a lifetime warranty on frame, 2 year parts and 1 year labor.

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Schwinn-470 Elliptical Machine

The massive 470 Elliptical from Schwinn features an ergonomic design, versatility, smooth quiet operation, display panels, workout programs and resistance levels that are developed to maximize your workout routines. It comes with optimally placed handlebars and front wheels for comfort and transportation. Dual backlit state-of-the-art LCD display provides 13 feedbacks such as burned calories, watts, distance, time traveled, progress, and heart rate. 20” precision stride works perfectly for any height range. 25 different Eddy Current Resistance Levels and 29 workout programs provide a great challenge to ensure that you reach your fitness goals in no time at all. High inertia and speed flywheel can support up to 275-300 lb weight. It also comes with a 10” manual ramp range accompanied by 6 different positions. For added convenience, it comes with a fan for cooling, chargeable USB port for smart devices, water bottle handler, MP3 sound system and a rack for accessories.

Apart from its compact design, it is extremely easy to assemble elliptical machine. Moreover, it is packed with awesome features that include customized user setup, workout programs, ergonomic design and progress monitoring. 4 customizable profiles means four individuals can easily use this machine while monitoring their  progress. Additionally, the workout data and results can be integrated with myfitnesspal.com through the console. The heart rate monitor provides information about burned calories to ensure effective cardiovascular training. Large pedals provide comfort and cushioning effect while accessories allow you to listen to your favorite songs or read book easily. Schwinn 470 Elliptical comes with 10 years warranty on frame, 2 years mechanical, 1 year electrical and 90 days labor service.

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Bow-Flex Max Trainer M3 Cardio Machine

Our next pick is the M3 Cardio which is a hybrid between a stair stepper, a treadmill and an elliptical. It brilliantly utilizes the benefits of all three, while removing the negative aspects. Moreover, you will experience 200% less impact on your joints, and you will burn two times more calories during a workout with an elliptical. Additionally, there are 2 workout programs and user settings that are enough to get you started on a comfortable training routine with lightening fast results.

Moving away from traditional models, Bow Flex M3 does not come with LCD display screen for feedback. However, it provides heart monitoring through chest strap. Although it does not come with a display, its intense workout design helps you towards a trimmer waistline and strong muscles. Have in mind that there is no integrated sound system but there is plenty of space for a water bottle and your favorite smart devices. The M3 is extremely durable elliptical and is built to support up to 300 lb weight and comes with 8 resistance levels that are interchangeable. Bow Flex M3 Trainer delivers upon its promise and benefits users by providing double-effective calorie burn with less physical stress.

Its treadmill design also ensures that you get full running speed while exercising your muscles. The Cardio workout is programmed for 14-minute sessions that will give you ideal calorie burn, and you will notice a surprising difference in no time at all. When it comes to warranty, the Bow Flex product offers full coverage for 1 year.

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Body Champ 3-in-1 Trio-Trainer

The Body Champ trainer is a versatile 3-in-1 trainer that is designed to maximize the impact of your workout routines. You can transition from cycling to jogging seamlessly. It is built for both seated and upright transitions where you can maximize the impact of your workout sessions. The patented design features an elliptical trainer, upright bike, and recumbent bike.

It is user friendly elliptical machine that improves productivity while you work out. No adjustments are required as it has multi-facets catering for all your workout transitions. Built-in hand pulse rate monitors helps to track your heart rate as you workout. Its sensors are considered as one of the most accurate in the business, thanks to Body Champ’s extensive experience in fitness and health where you can read all the important workout data from the high-quality LCD screen.

The frame features a durable design of top rated plastic and steel. Its built-in exercise console boasts 21 training programs and you can tweak the programs to suit your different training for better results. For those who train while seated, a backrest is provided for extra support and the backrest-cushion is adjustable horizontally or vertically for improved comfort. An 8-level magnetic resistance helps tweak tension levels for its users. Extra base support is provided to reduce instances while training when upright.

Overall, this is a fantastic quality elliptical that includes plenty of awesome features. This machine is also extremely versatile and combines the best workout from recumbent cycle, upright cycle, and elliptical trainer. On top of that, there is a built-in pulse and heart rate monitor along with an adjustable magnetic resistance. Moreover,  there is a programmable training console with an LCD display and a comfortable seat with a backrest. This compact elliptical comes with an extendable 1-year warranty plan.

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Exerpeutic Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse

Although this unit is not in the elliptical category, this training bike offers excellent workout sessions for those who are looking for something compact to get into shape. Its unique design makes getting on and off easy in order to reduce the chance of injuring yourself. With its overall weight of 48.2 pounds, the bike can comfortably support 300 pounds, thanks to its sturdy frame. Its main selling point is the tension system that is powered by magnets.

Another popular feature are the heart rate sensors, that are located on the handlebars. It goes without saying that the Exerpeutic production team kept in mind user-comfort and efficiency while they designed this trainer. For improved efficiency, there is a magnetic tension control that features an 8 level tension system that does not only maximizes your results but also improves productivity while you workout. One advantage of the magnetic tension system is that it is not prone to wear and tear. Therefore, users should not be worried about reduced tension with the continuous use of the bike.

There are pulse sensors inside the handlebars that allow you to keep track of your heart rate on the LCD screen. Different tension settings provide better workout levels, and you can track the distance cycled, calories burnt, workout time, and speed of your workout session. To minimize noise, the Exerpeutic upright bike is fitted with a balanced flywheel and V-Belt. The three piece cranking system provides the smoothest cycling motion and comfort and you can easily move it around and fold it after workout.

This exceptional elliptical machine has a high weight capacity of 300lbs, a heart rate monitor to monitor your heart beat and large seating that provides excellent comfort. It is very compact and folds to half its size when storing. There are large pedals with secure straps for your feet. Additionally, with the 8 tension levels and the magnetic tension, users can easily adjust to the level that suits them best. Overall, this is a fantastic machine that comes with a 1-year warranty for the frame and 90-day warranty on all other components.

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Nordic-Track C 7.5 Elliptical

Our next pick is the C 7.5 by Nordic ellipticals that seriously holds up to the standards set by its predecessors in fitness. It offers front heavy duty flywheel, one-touch features, IFit smart integration, adjustable incline ramp, adjustable stride, certified workout programs and dual-grip sensor heart rate monitoring. 26 trainer certified workout apps provide versatility during training sessions. The workout apps can be set to monitor calorie burn, intervals, intensity and performance during workout. The machine can support 325 lb weight using its 20” front end flywheel that is fine-tuned to provide smooth and quiet performance.

This unit comes with 22 digital resistance levels, 0-20 degree incline adjustment along with a one-click function that allows you to switch gears during training easily. The adjustable power ramping helps you to train specific muscles on natural google map terrain, through the Ifit subscription feature. The 5” LED display is extremely handy and monitors your heart rate and calories level while displaying other valuable feedback. Its unique feature is adjustable power stride, which allows you to workout based on your specific strength levels.

This unit is extremely easy to assemble and store after a workout. It comes with a tablet shelf and an integrated sound system with jack-connectivity. The speakers deliver decent sound quality through the built-in 2-inch speakers. IFit is especially handy application to use in conjunction with the C 7.5 as it helps you to monitor and track your cardio training goals. Nordic also provides a lifetime frame, 2 years parts and 1 year labor warranty for this elliptical model.

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Compact Elliptical Buying Guide

Compact Elliptical Buying GuideThe compact elliptical cross trainer is currently one of the most fundamental pieces of gym equipment that help in cardiovascular exercises. These machines include two pedals and two long handles on a stationary frame. The essence of the machine is to help duplicate the patterns you experience when walking, running or climbing, only with a little more resistance than you would experience naturally. The best elliptical cross trainer machine effectively provides a full body workout.

What to Expect From a Compact Elliptical

Compact Elliptical Buying GuideA good elliptical machine allows the user to perform lower and upper body exercises without any impact at all. With a compact elliptical machine, you get to choose the resistant level of the exercise you are doing. There is, however, much more to expect from a good compact elliptical machine and below, you can read what you can expect from a quality compact elliptical;

  • A multifunctional console that will allow you to adjust resistance level. The console usually has a monitor that displays speed, distance and time during your exercise session. Advanced models also display the amount of calories you have burned
  • A chain driven fan which offers quiet and smooth resistance
  • A manufacturer’s warranty. The length of the warranty is usually an indicator of the manufacturer’s confidence in the product.
  • A video workout guide to help you get started
  • Motion handlebars that allow for lower and upper body exercise.
  • Compact design that is ideal for small spaces like you would have in a studio apartment.
  • Interactive workouts. Some of the best machines have interactive workout technology like street simulations with the help of Google Map Street View.
  • App integration capabilities that allow you to sync the machine with a number of mobile apps.

Benefits of a Compact Elliptical Machine

Compact Elliptical Buying GuideAccelerated weight loss

Elliptical machines are quite useful when included in a weight loss regime. Research show that users prefer cross trainers over alternative machines like exercise bikes and treadmills. The thing is that elliptical machines engage more muscle groups and help you burn more calories than other stationary exercise machines.

Improves your balance and mobility

The elliptical machine is a great way to improve your balance and mobility. It helps you to regain motion and is good for physiotherapy procedures. There are many hospitals that have adopted elliptical machines to help patients recover from injuries and surgeries.

Exercise for the whole body

When using an elliptical machine, you realize that you will have so many muscle groups working together. The higher the resistance levels, the better the exercise and the more muscle groups you get to engage.

Mimic many different exercises

An elliptical machine allows you to mimic various types of exercises. You can simulate jogging, walking, climbing stairs, boxing and running. You can do all this at different levels of resistance while monitoring the distance traveled, the speed and the time taken. The best machines will monitor your heart rate and adjust your exercise accordingly.

Use in minimal space

If you live in an apartment, a campus dorm or you simply don’t have a lot of space to spare, compact elliptical machines are designed to fit into tight corners. There are compact elliptical machines like FitDesk that are designed to fit under your desk.


You can watch your favorite TV series, an inspirational video or read a novel while exercising. All you have to do is to feed your preferences into the machine depending on your routine. Some machines are fitted with speakers to allow you to play audio when exercising.

Easy maintenance of the machine

Elliptical machines give you that elusive balance of cost and maintenance. With lesser moving parts and minimal impact on the machine, you don’t have to worry about wear and tear on the machine. Machines like the Horizon Fitness EX-59-02 Elliptical Trainer offers a lifetime warranty on the frame and a 2 decade warranty on the motor. With coverage like that, the machine requires hardly any maintenance at all.

Protection for your joints

One of the most important benefits of elliptical trainer is that it protects your joints from injury. This is basically because it is a non-impact exercise machine. Working out on a treadmill is high impact. Cross trainers are a welcome alternative for people with joint problems; particularly on the knee and hip.

Things to Consider

Best Compact EllipticalIt is no doubt that elliptical machines are incredible exercise companions, but there are few things that you need to be aware of before you invest in a unit for your home.

– Since you are usually in control of the pace at which your legs and arms are moving, it may be tempting to slack off. This is unlike what you would do on a treadmill which ensures that you keep up with its pace.

– Elliptical machines are kind of a one size fits all machines which is great for taller people but quite inconvenient for short people. Shorter people may end up over-extending their limbs which may result in unnecessary injuries.

– The low impact exercise from an elliptical machine ensure that you gain muscle strength. The exercises are very good for cardio but not as much for bone and muscle strength since they have a little less weight bearing index. You might need to supplement your elliptical machine exercise routine with muscle and bone workout routines.

Final Thoughts

Since their inception in the early 90s, elliptical machines have revolutionized the way people experience cardiovascular exercises. The low impact nature of these machines is effective in improving your fitness levels while improving your overall strength with maximum safety. Not only are they easy to use, but they also have many great features and are very versatile, can easily fit in any space and be moved to the best location for an amazing workout experience

Most manufacturers extend helpful customer support in form of videos, easy to read user manuals and product warranties. The average product warranty on compact elliptical machines is about 20 years with most machines having lifetime warranties on certain parts. This means that they are a good investment to have since they are durable and quite easy to maintain. If you are on a tight budget, you can find good elliptical machines for under $1000. The key is always to find the one that suits your demands, therefore it is essential that you do your homework properly to ensure that you end up with the best compact elliptical on the market.