Best Compact Elliptical – Our Review of the Top 8 Ellipticals in 2019

Best Compact Elliptical

Getting in shape at home requires a quality cardio machine to build your program around. When it comes to quality cardio, you can’t do much better than an elliptical. The problem is that most home use ellipticals require a pretty large footprint. If you’re living in a small space, that presents a big problem. That’s why we’re focusing this article on compact ellipticals that will deliver the cardio benefits you need without dominating your living space.

There are a lot of compact ellipticals on the market. Many of them compromise quality for compactness. However, some standouts deliver on all fronts – sturdy build, a decent range of motion and quality power output. We’ve scoured the marketplace to bring you the 8 best compact ellipticals that you can buy right now. We’ve also got a compact elliptical FAQ to give you the knowledge you need to buy with confidence.

Product Name

Preview

Type and Our Rating

Buying Options

1. Diamondback Fitness 1060Ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer

Diamondback Fitness 1060Ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical

Best Overall

2. Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef

Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef

Best High End

3. Bowflex Max Trainer M7

Bowflex Max Trainer M7

Best Bowflex Compact Elliptical

4. Fast88 Portable Elliptical Machine

Fast 88 Portable Elliptical Machine Fitness Workout Cardio Training Machine, Magnetic Control Mute Elliptical Trainer with LCD Monitor, Elliptical Machine Trainer (Black-2)

Best Portable Compact Elliptical

5. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905

Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer by Sunny Health & Fitness with LCD Monitor, 220 LB Max Weight, 8 Level Resistance and Pulse Monitor - SF-E905

Best Cheap Compact Elliptical

6. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer Elliptical Machine Glider w/ LCD Monitor, 220 LB Max Weight and 45 Inch Stride

Best Manual Compact Elliptical

7. Schwinn 411 Elliptical Machine

Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine, One Size

Best Compact Elliptical Machine for Home Use

8. ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer

ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer

Best Compact Elliptical for HIIT Workouts

The Top 8 Best Rated Compact Ellipticals

1. Diamondback Fitness 1060Ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer


​Dimensions: 49.2” L x 29.5” W x 30.7” H

- Unique Design Elements

The Diamondback Fitness 1060 Ef has a compact, lightweight design that is 50 percent lighter and 35 percent smaller than other industry-leading models. The cumbersome flywheel has been replaced by a magnetic resistance model. This not only reduces the weight and footprint, it also provides you with greater precision of movement.

The Diamondback Fitness 1060 Ef allows you to pedal in both forward and reverse motion.

- Stride Length

An outstanding feature of the Diamondback Fitness 1060 Ef is its adjustable stride length. You can set the stride length at either 18, 20 or 23 inches. This allows you to get a full, natural, ergonomically maximized stride length. You also have the flexibility to match the optimized stride length for people of different heights.

- Workout Programs

The Diamondback Fitness 1060Ef provides you with 8 preset programs, 4 heart rate controlled programs, and 4 custom programs. This enables you to choose a specific program to target a specific training goal.

- Smart Features

The Diamondback Fitness 1060 Ef has built-in wireless heart rate compatibility. For a limited time, your purchase includes a free Polar heart strap ($39.99 value).

- Console

The dual color LCD console that comes with this treadmill allows you to clearly read your training data and view your workout program. It provides you with a running record of your wats, distance, heart rate, speed, calories, RPMs and Basal Metabolic Rate.

A cool new Pulse Recovery feature allows you to measure how quickly your pulse returns to a resting state after your workout.

- Max User Weight

The max user weight on the Diamondback Fitness 1060 Ef is 300 pounds.

- Assembly

The Diamondback Fitness 1060 Ef is relatively easy to assemble. It comes with user-friendly instructions that allow you to be up and exercising within 30 minutes of unboxing your purchase.

- Warranty

This product comes with a 5-year frame warranty, with 3 years on parts and electronic components. You also get a 1-year labor warranty.

2. Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef


Dimensions: 69.5” L x 27.5” W x 65” H

- Unique Design Elements

The Diamondback Fitness 1260 Ef has been rated as the best buy by a leading consumer magazine for 8 years in a row! It delivers an ergonomically designed workout system that sculpts both the upper and lower body. A smooth, magnetically controlled braking system provides low impact comfort to the ankles and knees. The unique Diamondback design has been lauded by physical therapy and rehabilitation experts.

- Stride Length

The Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef provides you with a 19-inch stride length. That should be sufficient for most users to get a full range of motion.

- Workout Programs

The Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef gives you access to 5 classic workout programs, 5 heart rate controlled programs, and 3 cross-training programs.

- Smart Features

The Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef has a built-in wireless heart rate compatibility and comes with a Polar heart rate monitor.

- Console

The LED console on the 1260Ef provides you with ongoing feedback on the following data points: time, segment time, watts, level, incline, % of maximum heart rate, calories, heart rate, calories, calories per minute, speed, pulse, RPM, and distance.

- Max User Weight

The max user weight on the Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef is 325 pounds.

- Assembly

The Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef arrives 80 percent assembled out of the box. Minimal light assembly will be required to get the machine operational. All the tools you need to do the job are included in the box.

- Warranty

The warranty on the Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef is the same as you get on the 1060Ef:

  • 5 years on frame
  • 3 years on parts and electronics
  • 1 year on labor

3. Bowflex Max Trainer M7


Bowflex Max Trainer M7

Best Bowflex Compact Elliptical

Dimensions: 49" L x 30.5" W x 65.5" H.

- Unique Design Elements

The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 combines the full-body workout of an elliptical with the intense calorie burn of a stepper to provide a unique and intense workout experience. The M7 has inbuilt smart features that allow it to react and respond to your training needs and deliver a truly customized workout.

The Max Trainer 7 has an impressively compact footprint which allows you to get in your workout in even the most cramped of environments. This machine also makes use of extremely effective joint stress reduction technology to take the pressure off your ankles and knees.

The steel pedals on the M7are another standout feature. They are more stylish, ergonomic and durable than the majority of competitor pedals.

- Stride Length

The Bowflex Max Trainer 7 marketing material does not divulge the stride length of the machine. From what we can ascertain, however, it appears to be around 18 inches.

- Workout Programs

The Bowflex M7 gives you access to 20 computer-controlled workout programs. These are divided into Target Mode and Performance Mode. In Target Mode you get the following programs:

  • 7-minute interval
  • 14-minute interval
  • 21-minute interval
  • Power interval
  • Calorie goal
  • Steady pace

The following are offered in Performance Mode:

  • Fat burn
  • Calorie burn
  • Stairs
  • Manual and fitness test
- Smart Features

The Max Trainer M7 console will connect you to the Max Trainer app, connecting you with a whole world of training and analysis. This elliptical is also set up to work with a wireless heart rate monitor, which is included in your purchase price.

- Console

The computer that is built into the console of M7 is intuitive so that it will immediately adjust to your goals as you progress through your workouts. This provides a superior level of workout customization. As soon as you exceed your current training goal, you will be presented with a new challenge that will make you dig deeper to complete.

- Max User Weight

The max user weight on the Bowflex Max Trainer M7 is 300 pounds.

- Assembly

The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 will arrive partially assembled. Putting the whole thing together, whoever is quite a challenge. Expect to put aside at least an hour. It would also pay to have a buddy to help with assembly.

- Warranty

The warranty on the Max Trainer M7 provides you with:

  • 3 years on frame
  • 3 years on mechanical parts
  • 3 years on electronics
  • 90 days on labor

4. Fast88 Portable Elliptical Machine


Fast 88 Portable Elliptical Machine Fitness Workout Cardio Training Machine, Magnetic Control Mute Elliptical Trainer with LCD Monitor, Elliptical Machine Trainer (Black-2)

Best Portable Compact Elliptical

Dimensions: 41.7" H x 23.2" L x 11.6" W.

- Unique Design Elements

The Fast88 Portable Elliptical is a compact rear flywheel machine that is quite durable, being made from premium steel. It will handle up to 250 pounds of user weight, which is quite reasonable considering its size and budget price point.

The Fast88 delivers a quiet and smooth operation that allows for a jerk-free workout. The stride length at 15.6 inches, is a little constricting, however.

- Stride Length

The stride length of the Fast88 Portable Elliptical is 15.6 inches. You also get movable arms with this machine to deliver a full stride upper body workout.

- Workout Programs

The Fast88 Elliptical is a no-frills machine that does not include any built-in workout programs.

- Smart Features

There are no smart features on the Fast88.

- Console

The console on the Fast88 is quite basic. It features an LCD display that gives you a running readout of your important training data, including distance, calories burned, time, speed, scan, and target zone heart rate monitoring. Your pulse rate is taken through the handgrip pulse monitors.

- Max User Weight

The max user weight on the Fast88 compact portable elliptical is 250 pounds.

- Assembly

The Fast88 arrives partially assembled. Putting the rest of it together is a relatively painless exercise, which should take less than 30 minutes.

- Warranty

No warranty information is provided on the Fast88 portable compact elliptical.

5. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905


Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer by Sunny Health & Fitness with LCD Monitor, 220 LB Max Weight, 8 Level Resistance and Pulse Monitor - SF-E905

Best Cheap Compact Elliptical

Dimensions: 57" H x 28" L x 17" W.

- Unique Design Elements

The Sunny SF-E905 is powered by magnetic resistance which sets it apart for its budget price point. It also provides you with a micro tension controller to allow for a precise tension adjustment. This model is slightly heavier but also more sturdy than most of the competition.

- Stride Length

The Sunny SF-E905 stride length is just 11 inches. This makes it quite restrictive for more people to get a full range of motion.

- Workout Programs

There are no built-in programs with the Sunny SF-E905.

- Smart Features

There are no smart features available with this model.

- Console

You get a quality display on the Sunny SF-E905. The easy to read display indicates your time, speed, distance and calories.

- Max User Weight

The maximum user weight of the Sunny SF-E905 is 220 pounds.

- Assembly

Assembly of the Sunny SF-E905 will take a single person about an hour and a half.

- Warranty

The Sunny SF-E905 comes with a 3-year frame warranty but just 90 days on parts.

6. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk


Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer Elliptical Machine Glider w/ LCD Monitor, 220 LB Max Weight and 45 Inch Stride

Best Manual Compact Elliptical

Dimensions: 57" H x 28" L x 17" W.

- Unique Design Elements

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 is an air walker which allows you to stride freely in an elevated position. As such it is a manual compared to a powered elliptical, meaning that you do not get the same level of resistance that you would an electronic model. This form of cardio provides you with a zero-impact way to train.

- Stride Length

The SF-E902 provides you with a 30-inch stride length, which is a whole lot more than you get with an electronic elliptical. That is a huge bonus of using a manual elliptical as it gives you a more natural range of motion.

- Workout Programs

There are no built-in workouts of the Sunny SF-E902.

- Smart Features

There are no smart features on the Sunny SF-E902.

- Console

The SF-E902 screen displays your total distance and time in scan mode so you can keep an eye on your training diagnostics.

- Max User Weight

The max user weight on the SF-E902 is 220 pounds.

- Assembly

This machine comes unassembled. It will take about 30 minutes for two people to put the machine together.

- Warranty

No warranty information is provided on the Sunny SF-E902 portable compact elliptical.

7. Schwinn 411 Elliptical Machine


Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine, One Size

Best Compact Elliptical Machine for Home Use

Dimensions: 53.8" L x 62.5" H x 24" W.

- Unique Design Elements

The Schwinn 411 is very compact, being about 30 inches shorter than a standard model. It provides you with a smooth natural and ergonomically friendly elliptical motion.

You get 16 levels of resistance with the Schwinn 411 to provide you with plenty of options to progressively increase your training intensity.

- Stride Length

The stride length of the Schwinn 411 Elliptical is 18 inches. That is about standard for a model in this price bracket, but maybe a little restrictive for people over 5’11” in height.

- Workout Programs

The Schwinn 411 provides you with a range of training programs. These include interval training, challenge workouts, and heart rate training.

- Smart Features

The Schwinn 411 has built-in Bluetooth compatibility to allow you to track your workout and wireless heart rate. This is a feature that you usually wouldn’t find on an elliptical at this price point. You can pair with the Run Social app to open up your training options

- Console

The console on the Schwinn 411 allows you to monitor your training data, including distance, calories burned, time, speed, and scan.

- Max User Weight

The max user weight on the Schwinn 411 compact portable elliptical is 300 pounds.

- Assembly

Assembly on the Schwinn 411 is quite easy and quick. One person will be able to do the job in well under half an hour.

- Warranty

The Schwinn 411 provides you with the following warranty:

  • 10 years frame
  • 2 years mechanical parts
  • 1-year electronics
  • 90 days labor

8. ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer


ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer

Best Compact Elliptical for HIIT Workouts

Dimensions: 50" H x 34" L x 18" W.

- Unique Design Elements

The ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer is specifically designed for high-intensity interval training. It combines a 10-inch vertical stride path with powerful upper body movements. This combination effectively simulates stair-stepping while boxing. The result is an intense cardio burn that is also targeting the muscles of your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, biceps, and triceps.

Because your feet never leave the pedals, the ProForm Cardio HIIT elliptical also provides you with a zero-impact experience to reduce stress on the joints and spine.

- Stride Length

The stride length of the ProForm Cardio HIIT elliptical is 10-inches vertically. This provides you with a complete range of motion stepping action.

- Workout Programs

There are 34 workout apps built into this trainer, providing you with a huge range of workout options, across all training intensities. You also get 26 resistance levels to allow you to make infinite progressive resistance.

- Console

The 7-inch backlit display on the ProForm Cardio HIIT elliptical gives you a great view of your training programs, while also giving a clear readout of all of your important training data. Attached to the console are an integrated tablet holder, water bottle and cool air workout fan.

- Max User Weight

The max user weight on the ProForm Cardio HIIT elliptical compact portable elliptical is 350 pounds.

- Assembly

The ProForm Cardio HIIT elliptical arrives partially assembled. You will want to set aside an hour and have a partner to help you complete the assembly.

- Warranty

Your purchase of the ProForm Cardio HIIT elliptical is covered by a lifetime frame warranty, 3-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty.

Compact Elliptical FAQ

Why should I buy a compact elliptical?

The main benefit of a compact elliptical is that it can be easily moved. That is because it is lightweight and easy to transport. Many compact ellipticals will come with wheels to make it even easier to move it around. They will have a much smaller footprint than a standard elliptical, being smaller in both width and length. Many compact ellipticals are also foldable to make it easy to store the unit in a cupboard or under a bed.

Are compact ellipticals foldable?

You can purchase compact ellipticals that fold as well as those that do not. Folding ellipticals will usually fold to about half of their working footprint. They make use of hydraulic systems to facilitate the folding process so require the minimum of physical effort to pack away.

What are the differences between a budget and a high-end compact elliptical?

The biggest difference between a budget and a high-end compact elliptical is the stride length and motion. A more expensive model will provide you with a longer, more ergonomically smooth and natural stride motion. High-end models will also be more solid so that the machine will not shake when you are training at high intensity. They will also provide you with more built-in programs, and data display points, better cushioning to safeguard your joints and nice little extras such as a tablet holder and built-in speakers. Many high-end ellipticals will also have built-in Bluetooth compatibility.

Why is stride length important?

The stride length will determine your ability to move naturally on the elliptical. There is nothing worse than feeling constricted when you are trying to getting in a smooth, natural cardio workout. To effectively train the muscles of your lower body, you need to move them through a full range of motion. A shortened stride length will not allow this. Stride length is compromised on many compact ellipticals, so it should be one of the first features that you look out for.

Are there any good compact ellipticals under $500?

Yes, you can get a good compact elliptical under $500. However, ay this price range there will be few bells and whistles. You will also have a reduced stride length when compared to compact ellipticals in the $500+ range. For well under $500 you can purchase the Sunny Magnetic Elliptical Trainer.

What is the minimum ceiling height needed for a compact elliptical?

The ceiling height of your elliptical as an important, but often overlooked, aspect of assessing whether the machine will fit into your home. The pedals are elevated from the floor which elevates you when you are exercising. However, the distance of the pedals from the floor is not part of the specs that are provided in marketing information for most ellipticals. They do provide the overall height of the machine, but that is not much help.

Some elliptical manufacturers do provide the distance from the top of the foot pedal to the floor. One of these is Precor. The average distance is eight inches. Most ceilings are eight feet from the floor. So, if you add eight inches to your height, then you will get the maximum height needed to accommodate your exercise movement. Unless you are more than 7’4” in height, you will have no problem.

Can you pedal in reverse on a compact elliptical?

Some compact ellipticals will allow you to pedal in reverse as well as forward. However, this is an advanced feature that you will not find on a budget compact elliptical. It is worth spending a little extra for a compact elliptical that will allow you to reverse pedal. This functionality will allow you to target the rectus femoris at the front of the thigh and the biceps femoris muscles of the hamstrings. It will also work the glutes and calves more directly than a forward pedaling motion.

Final Thoughts

The best overall compact elliptical on the market today is the Diamondback Fitness 1060Ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer. We were impressed with its compact size, reverse motion, and adjustable stride length.

The best high-end compact elliptical is also a Diamondback, the Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef. This machine provides a smooth, magnetically controlled braking system and a complimentary Polar heart rate monitor.

When it comes to budget compact ellipticals under $500, our favorite is the Sunny SF E905, which provides you with magnetic resistance and micro tension controller.

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