Gym Gear

The 5 Best Folding Elliptical Machines To Train In Compact Spaces

An elliptical trainer lets you get a great cardio workout without impact on your joints. Check our review to find the ideal machine for you.

Did you know that an elliptical trainer is one of the 4 top calorie-burning gym activities? In 30 minutes, you can burn between 270 and 400 calories, as tested by Harvard Medical School.

And best of all, you can do this with minimal impact on your knees and other joints.

Having one at home is one of the best ways to get in shape fast. You will not just burn lots of calories; you will also tone and tighten all the important areas.

Now, you might think that the best elliptical trainers are big and extremely expensive.

Well, that used to be true ten years ago. Now it’s a different story.

We have spent 31 hours on research and testing, so we can confidently recommend the 5 best folding elliptical trainers you can trust during your workouts for years to come.

Best Folding Elliptical Trainer Reviews

1. NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7I Folding Elliptical Trainer


Product Features

  • 18 Lb. Flywheel
  • Silent magnetic resistance
  • 22 Resistance levels
  • 10% incline adjustment
  • Solid steel construction
  • EKG Hear rate monitor in grips
  • Vertical space saver folding system
  • 24 Pre-programmed workouts
  • Easy assembly
  • 10-year frame warranty
  • 2-year parts warranty
Check price

If you are looking for the best folding elliptical trainer money can buy, this is it.

On the NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i you get an 18-pound flywheel. This is one of the heavier flywheels you can find on a folding elliptical and is sure to give you a great flow.

The heavier the flywheel on your elliptical, the smoother the movement will feel.

If you like a quiet machine, you will like the silent magnetic resistance on this machine. You can easily watch your favorite show or movie without distractions.

And you can finely adjust this resistance with 22 levels. No matter what your fitness level is now, you can find a perfect workout intensity.

If you want an intense workout, you will be happy to know that the incline can be adjusted up to 10%. With the incline and resistance at high, you can get a super powerful HIIT training.

The grips on the machine are equipped with EKG heart rate monitoring. Your heart rate will be measured and displayed on the 5” backlit display just by holding the grips.

Something I personally really like about this machine is the entertainment. Working out is not always the most interesting thing to do.

That is why a good entertainment system is crucial to achieving your goals on an elliptical. The NordicTrack SE7I is my favorite when it comes to entertainment.

The integrated tablet holder is great for playing shows and movies on your iPad. And the digitally amplified speakers can play music from any device you connect to the music port.

Now you only get a 5” display, which is less than many other (more expensive) machines. But in my experience, none of those other displays have the image quality and functionality of an iPad.

So, I would always prefer to bring my own tablet, which works really well on the NordicTrack SE7I.

I also found the machine to be very comfortable. The grips were soft on my hands, and the pedals could easily be adjusted for a perfect fit.

If you are looking for a great folding elliptical that with a 10-year warranty and a 325-pound capacity, this is our top recommendation. Check price here.


2. Gazelle Freestyle Folding Elliptical Trainer


Product Features

  • 1.75” diameter steel construction
  • Extra-wide nonskid foot platforms for great stability
  • Comfortable foam handlebars
  • Fitness computer with speed, distance, time, and calories burned
  • Folds completely flat
  • 300 lb. max user weight.

Not everyone wants to spend over $1000 on a full elliptical trainer. And if you are one of them, you will enjoy our top budget pick.

The Gazelle Freestyle looks very different from other ellipticals. But don’t be fooled by the exterior. You can get a great aerobic workout for your whole body on it.

And you can fold it completely flat, making it the most storable machine on this list.

The Gazelle Freestyle will give you a solid construction of 1.75” diameter steel tubing. And it can support up to 300 lb. of user weight.

Even during long workouts, your hands will stay comfortable on the high-density foam handlebars.

And your feet will be stable on the extra-wide nonskid foot platforms.

The Gazelle Freestyle doesn’t come with adjustable resistance or incline, like the NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7I. But this makes things more simple.

All you have to do is get on the machine and do one of the recommended routines. You will be tightening and toning all the main muscle groups.

And you will be burning a massive amount of calories. The Gazelle might look different; you still get a complete elliptical movement. And all the benefits of it.

So if you need an affordable folding elliptical that for simple training, you can’t go wrong with the Gazelle Freestyle. Check price here.


3. Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Folding Elliptical Trainer


Product Features

  • Very easy folding system
  • 18-pound flywheel
  • 20 inches stride length
  • Built-in speakers
  • Passport system to make workouts more interesting
  • Lifetime warranty on frame, 3 years on rest

The Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 is the best choice for people who want a great folding elliptical while also getting great value.

Not only does it come with almost all the features of our top choice, the NordicTrack Spacesaver. You can also fold it super easy with the SixStar frame, and get a lifetime warranty on the frame (3 years on parts).

On the Evolve 3, you get an 18-pound flywheel and up to a 20-inch stride length. This is among the highest we’ve seen on foldable ellipticals.

From kids to large adults, all can get a great workout on the Horizon Fitness Evolve 3.

If you like to watch movies or shows while training, you can easily place an iPad in the tablet holder. You can also hook it up to the built-in speaker system for

You can adjust the resistance in 20 levels and make sure you are always training at the right intensity.

The Evolve 3 doesn’t have an incline feature like the NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7I.

However, the incline feature does add some weight to the machine and makes it more difficult to move around. Unless you are an advanced user looking for inclined training, the resistance levels of the Evolve 3 are more than enough.

If you are looking for the best folding elliptical that is still affordable, you can’t go wrong with the Horizon Fitness Evolve 3. Check price here.


4. ProForm Smart Strider 895 CSE Folding Elliptical Trainer


Product Features

  • 18-inch stride
  • 24 resistance levels
  • Touch screen display
  • Space saver design

The ProForm Smart Strider has an 18-inch stride length and soft grips to protect your hands while working out. The pedals are oversized and adjustable to fit your needs.

If you are looking for versatility, this machine has 24 resistance levels. The flywheel is strong (18 pounds) and it is inertia enhanced making for a smooth workout.

Stay connected while working out with the integrated tablet holder. There is also a nicely placed water bottle holder on this trainer.

The touch screen display is in full color and it features 32 workout apps. You can keep track of your EKG heart rate and it also comes with wireless chest straps.

If you don’t have much room, no problem. The Space Saver design makes this elliptical great for both apartments and small spaces. This machine has a solid steel construction. It is easy to assemble and has a 325 weight capacity.

The built-in sound system is a great touch for your workout. This elliptical has adjustable leveling feet to fit the needs of both tall and short users. Check price here.


5. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Folding Elliptical Trainer


Product Features

  • Air walker trainer
  • Non-slip pedals
  • 220 lb. weight capacity
  • 30-inch stride
  • Space-saving design
  • LCD monitor – time, count, total distance, and calories

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 is an air walk trainer. This machine has non-slip pedals that are great for fast intense workouts. It is also beneficial for a slow walk motion. You can expect to work out with a continuous motion with no interruption.

Some machines in this class can hold more weight, this machine can only support 220 pounds. It may not be able to support a wide range of weights, but it is still sturdy and durable.

What sets this machine apart from others is that the stride length is a little longer. This machine has a 30-inch stride length. You can expect to receive a total body workout. The SF-E902 targets muscles in your arms and legs.

An amazing feature is that the machine can be easily folded. You can fold it to ½ the length, which makes it simple to store.

The LCD monitor allows you to keep track of your time, distance, count, and calories while working out.

You can increase body support while working out by using the adjustable abdominal pad. This pad ensures proper placement. While using this machine you are increasing cardiorespiratory fitness. Check price here.


Buying Guide For Foldable Elliptical Trainers

Stride Length

The span between the front pedal and the rear pedal is the stride. This is a significant measurement.

You don’t want to overextend with a large range. This is not common with most ellipticals. Stride lengths of 18 inches to 20 inches are common. Going by height, if you are 6 feet or taller you may want to consider a stride length above 20 inches. This will give you a safer more comfortable workout.

Design & Construction

When shopping for a folding elliptical it is important to keep the original goal in mind of finding a machine that is high quality and able to fold to save space.

Consider the different types of folding actions. Keep in mind that you will not find a machine that can be folded into a tiny shape, but you can find one that fits your storage needs.

When buying, take into account the space you have and the maximum size machine you can buy to comfortably and safely work out. Use the exact measurements of your space.

Consider stability and durability when purchasing an elliptical. The material frame is important. You want it to be able to support your weight with little to no shaking while working out. Stick to reputable brands to ensure the quality of design.

Resistance

The resistance of an elliptical determines the intensity of your workout. Consider an elliptical with good and adjustable resistance options for an effective workout. Look for ellipticals that have near 20-25 levels of resistance.

Flexibility in resistance allows you to cater to your workouts. Low resistance can resemble a slow walk, higher resistance works out your core and can resemble a full run. When buying an elliptical decide on how important intensity is to your workout. Choose a machine that allows you to reach that intensity.

Incline

Incline features also add intensity to your workout. If you want to challenge your muscles, consider an elliptical with incline features. By changing the gradient, you shorten your stride and therefore begin to work out other core muscles. It may be difficult to find a foldable incline elliptical.

Frequently Asked Questions About Folding Elliptical Machines

Does an elliptical burn stomach fat?

Most elliptical devices allow you to perform a low-impact workout and burn a lot of calories. You can work out your arms, legs, and core. Folding ellipticals work your core muscles in a great way. This means that you'll be strengthening and tightening the muscles on your stomach. And you will be burning more calories. One of the best ways to burn stomach fat is by using a folding elliptical and doing high-intensity interval training. This is often called HIIT. The big benefit of HIIT is that your body will continue to burn fat and calories long after you stop working out. Because ellipticals train all the right muscles, you will see drastic changes in your fitness and physique. Don't worry if you have a little experience with working out. Training on an elliptical machine is extremely friendly for your joints. So, you can work out to the fullest of your abilities without risking injury. This is why we can highly recommend using a folding elliptical machine to burn stomach fat.

How much space do you need for an elliptical

If you plan on purchasing an elliptical from the list above, you will need minimal space for storage. A good rule to follow is that you will need a space that is 4 feet by 8 feet for most traditional ellipticals. Some of the best folding ellipticals might fit in a smaller space. One thing to keep in mind is the height of the folded elliptical machine. Some machines occupy only a small area but are a lot higher than most people's ceilings. And that can be a problem when you first try to store your foldable elliptical machine.

Which muscles can you train with an elliptical

An elliptical can work out both your lower and upper body. You can target the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. You can also focus on the anterior tibialis. The gliding process of the machine makes your glutes and hamstrings work out more. The forward movement of your legs works out your quadriceps. Since you will be using both your arms and legs, your core is also engaged during the whole movement. A strong core is extremely beneficial for preventing injuries, back problems, and having a good posture. And a strong core will also make you look fitter, younger, and healthier.

Does an elliptical fold?

Some ellipticals fold, and others that don’t. Most of the larger ellipticals that you find in gyms do not have the folding capability. There is a small, limited class of ellipticals that can fold save floor space. And there are different ways in which their fold. Some are simple hydraulic machines that fold up to a flat frame. Some are full elliptical trainers with magnetic resistance and control panels. To make such a machine fold, the designers have implemented thoughtful hinges and springs. With an elliptical that folds, you can get a full-body gym-quality workout in the comfort of your home. Once you are done, you can easily fold and store the folding elliptical trainer and have all your floor space available.

Is It Better to go Forward or Backward on an Elliptical?

An elliptical machine allows for different types of training. If you walk on it for 20 minutes and be done with it, you're missing out on some of the greatest benefits. Most machines come with either manual and workout programs or a full control panel to guide you through a workout. By doing these workouts, you fully train your muscles. If you have never walked backward on an elliptical, I invite you to try it. I found myself using muscles I never knew I had. And, once you start cooperating with it in your workout routine, you notice some of the amazing benefits. Especially if you have bad knees and experience pain or discomfort while walking, walking backward on an elliptical is a great way to correct and strengthen your legs. After doing that for a few weeks, my knees were much less sore, and I could walk for long stretches again. It's really an amazing trick.

Are Mini Ellipticals Effective?

I get this question a lot, and I always say this: Mini ellipticals can give you a great workout. But you will need to adapt to their unique constraints. If you do that, a mini elliptical can certainly be effective. But, many folding ellipticals are about the same size and have many benefits over mini ellipticals. With a big display that guides you through their routines, it will be much easier to stay motivated. Bigger elliptical machines have longer stride lengths and smoother movement. They are more stable and generally last longer too. So, while mini ellipticals are effective, one of the folding elliptical trainers might be a better fit. Either way, a good elliptical cross trainer will be a great start towards any fitness goal.

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