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Best Elliptical for Apartments and Small Spaces


Big Things Come in Small Packages

Getting exercise in small spaces such as apartments, studios, or personal gyms can sometimes be a hassle. Proper exercise equipment can be bulky and difficult to fit in areas with little room. One such piece of popular exercise equipment are elliptical trainers. These are normally long and take up a lot of room, especially the models commonly found in gyms. Fortunately, we have searched for some of the most popular compact models to determine which ones are best suited for those without the room normally found in gyms.

These compact ellipticals range from the semi-commercial models down to budget models that offer a lot of features without costing an arm and a leg. Ellipticals generally fall into four categories: budget, mid-grade, high-end, and commercial. Budget models are commonly short on convenience features or have quality issues that could lead to reduced durability and lifespan. As the quality of the elliptical trainer improves, the price commonly increases as well.

In our comparison we looked at these compact ellipticals based on their durability, array of features, ease of use, quality of materials, depth of workout, and value. The Bowflex M8 Max Trainer came out on top due to its high quality rating and slew of features to enhance your workout. If you are looking to get the most for your dollar, the ANCHEER elliptical offered a budget price with superior materials, strong workout, and extreme flexibility.

Our Top Picks

Bowflex M8


Schwinn 430


HonorsBest in ClassBest Value
The GoodHigh quality and near commercial-grade elliptical. ‘Max’ App is revolutionary. Sturdy and durable. Excellent comfort. Lots of features in a small package.Easily moved, lightweight, and very small footprint. Silent while in use. Fast assembly can be completed by 1 person. Extremely affordable.Highly regarded company. Numerous features that work well for convenience. Smooth operation and durable components. Long stride for comfort. Lightweight for a larger compact elliptical.Excellent pricing. Very compact and able to work in very small spaces. Dual workout does a good job.
The BadPower cord is too short and inhibits placement.A budget model that can’t compete with higher-end models. Compact design leads to short leg strokes.Larger model than most compact machines. May not be suitable for extremely small environments. Minor quality concerns.Takes time to “settle”. Some noises and squeaks crop up after a period of use. Short stride can be a hindrance for taller users. Quality concerns.
OverallOne of the best ellipticals you can get for home use. Durability and craftsmanship are top-notch. Should last for a very long time.Budget model that holds up well to daily use. Higher quality materials than expected and works well. Excellent model if you are cramped for space.Good mid-grade elliptical that has a strong reputation. Threads the line between budget and moderately expensive. Some minor complaints, but nothing too bad.A budget-friendly offering that relies on price to sell. Adequate in many areas, but not excellent in many. Higher quality models are available at similar prices.
Our Rating9.
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The Reviews

Best Choice

Bowflex M8 Max Trainer

By: Bowflex

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  • 20 resistance levels
  • Bowflex JRNY App
  • Dual mode LCD/LED screen
  • 7 workout programs
  • Supports 4 users
  • Magnetic media rack
  • Bluetooth heart rate monitor
  • USB charging port

Bowflex Max Trainer M8 Review

The Bowflex M8 is the most recent offering in the Max Trainer series. Based on the Bowflex M7, the M8 offers numerous improvements designed to make your workout more convenient, focused, and flexible. The Bowflex M8 features various unique offerings such as their Bowflex JRNY App. The JRNY App provides users coaching as you work out. The coaching adjusts, based on your current needs to maximize your workouts to their fullest. This is great as you can feel the workouts getting more and more difficult as you become accustomed to the regimen.

Aside from the JRNY App, numerous features are available to keep you motivated. A Burn Rate display is located directly in front while you work out to track how many calories are burned. The display is very well made and easy to read. This is one of the better control units you will find on almost any elliptical/stair stepper. Additionally, the Bowflex Max Trainer is made of exceptionally high quality materials. It is very sturdy and doesn’t budge while you work out. Solid metal components with very few plastic parts make up the assembly of the unit.

Other factors that help this elliptical stand out are the slim profile, technology features, and comfort levels. The M8 is easily fit in some very tight spaces. It gives plenty of room if you don’t have a lot of space or work out in a small personal gym. The power cord is somewhat short, so it could make positioning difficult. It would have been nice to have a longer cord for greater flexibility. Various features such as the heart rate monitor and integrated handles actually work well together, unlike many other units that almost force you to purchase a third-party monitor. Working out is comfortable and doesn’t require any odd angles or weird positioning to get the best workout possible. Overall, this is one of the best ellipticals you can buy, at any price. It easily competes with the best commercial models and blows away most of the competition in the home market.

  • Very high quality
  • Sturdy and stable
  • Gradually increase workout difficulty
  • Slim profile allows for flexibility
  • Moderately quick assembly (approx. 1 hour)
  • App is intuitive and easy to use
  • Power cord could be longer
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Best Value

ANCHEER Elliptical Trainer


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  • Magnetic resistance
  • 8 Levels of resistance
  • LCD digital monitor
  • Arm & Leg workouts
  • Non-slip pedals
  • 350 lbs. weight capacity
  • Transport wheels

ANCHEER Elliptical Review

If you’re looking for a solid workout without breaking the bank, the ANCHEER elliptical trainer may be just what you need. While it doesn’t compare to the elliptical’s you may find at your local gym, it is a very affordable piece of equipment that you can jump on whenever you want. Although affordable, the ANCHEER elliptical is a solid machine that is made of solid components. There is very little shifting or squeaking like you may expect from a budget elliptical. While in use, you will notice that comfort is something the company paid specific attention to. The strong pedals and easily gripped handles work fluidly and feel like they are always in exactly the right position.

This is a compact elliptical that can be easily moved around your apartment with little effort. Transportation wheels allow for tilting and rolling it to a storage area or out of the way after use, if necessary. Moving may not be necessary as the ANCHEER elliptical machine is slim and offers little in the way of bulk. Furthermore, the quiet ride is great for when you like to watch television or listen to music while working out. The LCD display is a basic model that gives all the normal metrics you would expect such as time, distance, pulse rate, and speed. The pulse rate monitor does ok, but isn’t the most accurate monitor at all times.

Overall, this is a good value buy. It offers a solid workout and durability at a reduced price. It may not have some of the features you would expect in a premium elliptical, but it does a lot with what it has. Assembly is a breeze and is almost just unpack and start using. There are some bolts that need to put in place, but don’t expect more than a half-hour to fully assemble the unit. One of the few drawbacks is that the leg stroke length may not work for taller individuals. It can support a strong 350 lbs., so heavier users may find this is perfect for them. If you are looking for a good, affordable, and compact machine to help with staying in shape, take a look at the ANCHEER elliptical.

  • Low impact and comfortable
  • High degree of portability
  • Very quiet
  • Quick and easy assembly (1/2 hour)
  • Affordable
  • Doesn’t compare to gym ellipticals
  • Shorter leg strokes
Full Review

Schwinn 430 Compact Elliptical Machine

By: Schwinn

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  • 20 Resistance levels
  • 20” Precision Path Stride
  • 22 Preset programs
  • 2 LCD screen displays
  • Goal tracking
  • Cushioned footpads
  • Dual handlebars

Schwinn 430 Compact Elliptical Review

Well known in the exercise equipment world for providing quality products, Schwinn offers a variety of elliptical models. The Schwinn 430 elliptical is a lower to mid-grade machine that tries to provide users with high quality features at near-budget prices. This elliptical has many of the features you would expect in a mid-grade machine such as numerous workout programs, large range of resistance levels, and multiple convenience features. What often distinguishes a budget model from a higher quality tool is the quality of construction.

The Schwinn 430 lives up to the Schwinn name by using sturdy and durable materials to ensure the elliptical will last for many years. The motion is smooth and comfortable as you work out. Large and padded pedals enhance the comfort and ensure that you feel secure at all times. If you experience a noise, make sure to check that the pedal has not slipped the track as it could cause unnecessary noise. While using the elliptical, there is very little shifting or wobbling as the machine feels very solid. Although sturdy, the Schwinn 430 is lightweight and easily moved to different areas of the apartment or home. Additionally, this elliptical is slightly larger than the other models we have reviewed, but it easily fits in a variety of locations if you don’t have a lot of room. This enhances the length of the stride and better fits those that are taller and require more room.

Convenience features such as the dual LCD monitors, goal tracking, multiple users, dual handlebars enhance almost any workout. Overall, this is a good, but not great elliptical. It doesn’t quite live up to a mid-grade model, but it offers similar functionality while saving you a few bucks. There are a few problems such as the manual being subpar and the power cord being located in the front. While those aren’t deal-breakers, it is something to be aware of before purchase.

  • Durable and made to last
  • Multiple users
  • Smooth movement
  • Good customer support
  • Lightweight and easy to move
  • Comfortable stride
  • Footpad can come off track and cause noise
  • Instructions are vague
  • Power cord should be in back instead of front
Full Review

EFITMENT Magnetic Elliptical


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  • Compact design
  • Upper/Lower body workout
  • Digital display
  • Belt-driven flywheel
  • Transport wheels
  • Phone/tablet holder
  • Adjustable resistance

EFITMENT E006 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer Review

The EFITMENT E006 elliptical trainer offers users a budget-friendly option to those expensive elliptical trainers. These ellipticals feature a dual-body workout as you use your arms and legs for the elliptical glide motion. While it is aspires to be an elliptical trainer, it is much closer to a stepper due to the short stride. It is extremely compact and can be used in almost any situation. It is easily moved due to being very lightweight and including convenient transport wheels. Additionally, stabilizer bars are in place during use to better improve stability during use.

The E006 offers various features such as the LCD monitor to display speed, distance, calories burned, and more. Like many budget models, this information is somewhat accurate, but a third-party solution is almost always preferable to the on-board instruments for measuring pulse-rate. Adjustable resistance is included, although it is of the manual variety. A simple wheel can be twisted to increase/decrease the resistance as desired. One of the better features is the phone and tablet holder that works surprisingly well. There is very little wobbling or shaking while you work out and your tablet/phone is safe and secure.

Overall, the EFITMENT E006 is a true budget model elliptical stepper/trainer. It has all the features you expect, but it will not compare to the equipment you may find at a gym. There are some issues that consistently pop up. These include the short stride being difficult for taller users, squeaking, and a breaking in period. The E006 may start off with a slight wobble, but as it is used more, it settles in and become more stable. This breaking in period can be annoying, but it usually only lasts through the first few uses. If you’re looking to save a few bucks and want something simple, the EFITMENT E006 may work for you, but there are better models available that only cost slightly more.

  • Very affordable
  • Compact, lightweight, easy to move
  • Good for smaller users
  • “Breaking in” period
  • Noises and squeaks appear over time
  • More stepper than trainer
  • Short stride
  • Seems to deteriorate over time
Full Review

Compact Elliptical Buying Guide

Elliptical machines are exceptional cardio machines and offer a long list of high-value features. It’s important to choose an elliptical machine that’s in line with your requirements and will be a perfect fit in your gym. This is why more and more buyers are looking for the best compact elliptical machine on the open market right now. This buyer’s guide will offer insight into what to look for and what the best elliptical machine should have.

Happy young woman drinking water during training on elliptical machine at homeKey Features To Look For


You will have to start with the ergonomics. What this means is you look at how easy the machine is to handle when you’re on it. Some elliptical machines are not comfortable to stand on and can start to take a toll on your joints. This will vary as to what causes this to happen.
In general, you will want to get a read on the machine’s measurements along with how it feels when you are standing on it. Some machines might look the part but don’t have the necessary grips to feel comfortable. This starts to take away from the experience and might push you to stop using the machine after a while. This is why you have to see how the elliptical machine is going to impact your joints and body as a whole. If you don’t do this, you might end up with a machine that has a long list of quality features but is simply impossible to use comfortably.


This is the reason you are going for a “compact” machine. You will want something that fits in your small home gym whether it’s in a traditional house or an apartment. Wherever the machine is going, you have to ensure it will be a perfect fit. Some of the larger elliptical machines don’t fit well even though they are packed with good features. When shopping for a compact elliptical, you will find a variety of different sizes. Some of the best ellipticals for compact spaces often allow for folding to be put away when not in use. Keep an eye out for machines with a small footprint that allows you to fold it up and store it under the bed or in a closet and you’ll be much happier.

Workout Programs

What programs are available through the compact elliptical machine? Many ellipticals include pre-loaded workout programs. Depending on the elliptical, there may be many workouts, just a few, or none at all. The more affordable ellipticals often come with minimal features to keep costs down. If you are interested in workout programs, ensure that the ellipticals you are investigating include what you want. Pre-loaded workouts are very helpful in being able to hop on and get going without too much fuss. Many of these machines will also include a digital readout and other features to help you track your progress to better reach your goals.

Woman Training On Elliptical Trainer At HomeResistance Options

If the elliptical machine doesn’t have resistance options then it is not easy to progress. You are going to get stuck in a rut with a machine that has basic features that don’t allow for further customization. This is why more and more users want something that allows them to change the resistance instantly. These transitions should be seamless and in line with what you want from a gym machine. Look at the different resistance levels and ensure you can transition through them without having to think twice. This alone is ideal when you want to do things the right way and consistently improve on your workout.

Safety Standards

There is nothing more important than ensuring the machine is safe to use. You don’t want a situation where you hop onto the machine, turn it on, and then get hurt because it is not designed to be safe. Stability, efficiency, and safety have to be on your mind when buying any machine. The same applies to an elliptical machine. Keep things simple and only choose vetted machines that are the real deal.


Are Compact Ellipticals Worth It?

Compact ellipticals are worth it for home gyms. They are well-designed, robust, and don’t take up a lot of space once assembled. Those wanting something simple to use and that works well in all situations should be looking at this cardio machine.

Can You Lose Weight With A Mini Elliptical?

You can lose weight with a mini elliptical machine. Although they offer fewer features than a full-size model, a mini elliptical can be handy for consistent workouts while at the office. Mini ellipticals are often much more compact than even compact ellipticals and are primarily intended to be used in very small spaces such as under a desk.

Are Compact Ellipticals Powerful Enough?

Compact elliptical machines are exceptionally powerful and work well in all situations. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced user, this is a machine that is a powerhouse among cardio enthusiasts.

Final Thoughts

These are the key details to think about when buying a compact elliptical machine. The one thing to note is you don’t have to settle. The market is flooded with new elliptical machines and each one has something unique to offer. It’s important to dig through these details and ensure you are focusing on what works the best. If you want a machine that has exceptional safety standards and multiple resistance levels then keep that in mind during the research phase. Remember, a good elliptical machine is going to have all of these qualities in one package.