9 Best Compact Ellipticals | Space Saving, Fat Burning, Cardio Machines

Join us as we look at the best compact ellipticals for home gyms with limited space
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Getting into shape at home should be a possibility for everyone, no matter how much space they have available. Elliptical machines are the perfect option for many people, as they’re easy on joints, provide a full-body cardio workout, and often come with an array of settings to suit any fitness level.

While you may need substantial room in your home for a traditional machine, there are compact models that work nicely in tight spaces.

However, they can get lost in the sea of options where the majority of ellipticals have larger footprints. In this guide, we’ll go through the best compact ellipticals on the market today so you aren’t wasting any time and can get started on your low-impact workouts asap!

Top Compact Ellipticals At a Glance

Best Compact Elliptical Overall

Schwinn 411
Compact Elliptical

The Schwinn 411 gives you the best of both worlds. It takes up minimal room while allowing for natural, fluid movement. Two sets of handlebars and plentiful entertaining courses allow for versatility, making it easier to reach your fitness goals and stay motivated. You’ll receive modern technology at an affordable price with this model from Schwinn Fitness.

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Best Unique Compact Trainer

Bowflex
Max Trainer M6

Blurring the lines between an elliptical and a stairmaster, this compact trainer offers a full-body workout that few others can provide. Packed with top-notch features, it’s particularly targeted towards beginner and intermediate athletes, with 8 resistance levels. Get ready for the fat to melt away with the M3.

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The SF-E905 is a great compact cross trainer

Best Budget Compact Elliptical

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine

The simple yet feature-filled SF-E905 is ideal for all fitness levels. Smooth, consistent movement along with anti-slip foot pads and handlebars makes for a comfortable and reliable machine. To ensure you keep progressing, you’ll get 8 levels of magnetic resistance, and a digital monitor with pulse capabilities to accurately track results.

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Best Compact Elliptical Overall

Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical

The Schwinn 411 gives you the best of both worlds. It takes up minimal room while allowing for natural, fluid movement. Two sets of handlebars and plentiful entertaining courses allow for versatility, making it easier to reach your fitness goals and stay motivated. You’ll receive modern technology at an affordable price with this model from Schwinn Fitness.

Read the review

Check the current price

Best Unique Compact Trainer

Bowflex Max Trainer M6

Blurring the lines between an elliptical and a stairmaster, this compact trainer offers a full-body workout that few others can provide. Packed with top-notch features, it’s particularly targeted towards beginner and intermediate athletes, with 8 resistance levels. Get ready for the fat to melt away with the M3.

Read the review

Check the current price

The SF-E905 is a great compact cross trainer

Best Budget Compact Elliptical

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine

The simple yet feature-filled SF-E905 is ideal for all fitness levels. Smooth, consistent movement along with anti-slip foot pads and handlebars makes for a comfortable and reliable machine. To ensure you keep progressing, you’ll get 8 levels of magnetic resistance, and a digital monitor with pulse capabilities to accurately track results.

Read the review

Check the current price

The Best Compact Ellipticals

The 411 from Schwinn is the best compact elliptical you can getSchwinn 411 Compact Elliptical
  • Footprint: 53.8″ L x 24″ W x 62.5″ H
  • Stride Length: 18″
  • Cost: $$

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The Max Trainer M6 from Bowflex is a great unique option for those looking for a quality compact ellipticalBowflex Max Trainer M6
  • Footprint: 46″ L x 26″ W x 64.2″ H
  • Stride Length: NA
  • Cost: $$$

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Sunny's SF-E905 is a very serviceable space saving elliptical trainerSunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine
  • Footprint: 28″ L x 17″ W x 57″ H
  • Stride Length: 11″
  • Cost: $

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The cubii jr won't take up much room as its a mini ellipticalCubii Jr. Mini Elliptical
  • Footprint: 23.1″ L x 17.5″ W x 10″ H
  • Stride Length: NA
  • Cost: $

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This fan elliptical from body rider is a great compact elliptical machineBody Rider Fan Elliptical Trainer
  • Footprint: 25″ L x 9″ W x 36″ H
  • Stride Length: 12″
  • Cost: $

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The Reebok zjet is one of the best compact ellipticals you can buyReebok Zjet 430 Cross Trainer
  • Footprint: 53″ L x 23.2″ W x 67.3″ H
  • Stride Length: 13″
  • Cost: $$

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The Sf-E3804 is a good option in compact elliptical trainersSunny Health & Fitness SF-E3804 Elliptical Trainer
  • Footprint: 43″ L X 24″ W X 62.5″ H
  • Stride Length: 13.5″
  • Cost: $$

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This MaxCare cross trainer is a great compact optionMaxKare Elliptical Machine
  • Footprint: 40.9″ L x 18.9″ W x 63″ H
  • Stride Length: 13.5″
  • Cost: $$

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Exerpeutic's gold 2000xlst compact elliptical is very goodExerpeutic Gold 2000XLST Elliptical Trainer
  • Footprint: 53″ L x 25″ W x 63″ H
  • Stride Length: 13″
  • Cost: $$

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Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical
The 411 from Schwinn is the best compact elliptical you can get
  • Footprint: 53.8″ L x 24″ W x 62.5″ H
  • Stride Length: 18″
  • Cost: $$

Check current price

Bowflex Max Trainer M6
The Max Trainer M6 from Bowflex is a great unique option for those looking for a quality compact elliptical
  • Footprint: 46″ L x 26″ W x 64.2″ H
  • Stride Length: NA
  • Cost: $$$

Check current price

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine
Sunny's SF-E905 is a very serviceable space saving elliptical trainer
  • Footprint: 28″ L x 17″ W x 57″ H
  • Stride Length: 11″
  • Cost: $

Check current price

Cubii Jr. Mini Elliptical
The cubii jr won't take up much room as its a mini elliptical
  • Footprint: 23.1″ L x 17.5″ W x 10″ H
  • Stride Length: NA
  • Cost: $

Check current price

Body Rider Fan Elliptical Trainer
This fan elliptical from body rider is a great compact elliptical machine
  • Footprint: 25″ L x 9″ W x 36″ H
  • Stride Length: 12″
  • Cost: $

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Reebok Zjet 430 Cross Trainer
The Reebok zjet is one of the best compact ellipticals you can buy
  • Footprint: 53″ L x 23.2″ W x 67.3″ H
  • Stride Length: 13″
  • Cost: $$

Check current price

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3804 Elliptical Trainer
The Sf-E3804 is a good option in compact elliptical trainers
  • Footprint: 43″ L X 24″ W X 62.5″ H
  • Stride Length: 13.5″
  • Cost: $$

Check current price

MaxKare Elliptical Machine
This MaxCare cross trainer is a great compact option
  • Footprint: 40.9″ L x 18.9″ W x 63″ H
  • Stride Length: 13.5″
  • Cost: $$

Check current price

Exerpeutic Gold 2000XLST Elliptical Trainer
Exerpeutic's gold 2000xlst compact elliptical is very good
  • Footprint: 53″ L x 25″ W x 63″ H
  • Stride Length: 13″
  • Cost: $$

Check current price

1. Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical

The 411 compact elliptical from Schwinn is the best compact cross trainer on the market

Starting off on the right foot (or left one, it doesn’t matter), we present the 411 compact elliptical from Schwinn Fitness. Schwinn is a name you’ve likely heard of or used before. As one of the best-known and respected names in the biking world, they uphold their reputation with their quality elliptical machines. The 411 tops many lists, due to how well it balances premium features with affordability.

It goes without saying that the 411 has a compact footprint, making it a great selection if you don’t have room for a dedicated home gym or workout area. The only downside to said compact size is that it’s limited to an 18” stride, which isn’t ideal for particularly tall users (though still long enough for most).

13 built-in workout programs offer enough flexibility for you to improve body composition, increase lung capacity, perform HIIT, and much more. In addition, it features 16 resistance levels which is generous considering the price, and ensures you’ll stay challenged even if you’re already in great shape.

The wireless heart rate tracking is accurate, which will aid in you achieving your goals quicker. On top of that, the console has Bluetooth connectivity so you can sync up your heart rate monitor or fitness tracker to keep track of your workouts.

The Good

  • Great for small spaces
  • Wireless HR capability
  • Bluetooth workout tracking
  • Generous workout programs and resistance options

The Not So Good

  • Resistance may feel too high, even on lower settings
  • Console metrics may register less than what you’re really doing

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2. Bowflex Max Trainer M6

The Bowflex M6 Max trainer is a great unique compact cardio machine

Bowflex is another one of the most recognized brands in the fitness world due to their unique designs and highly functional technology. In fact, the company was so successful that they actually acquired Schwinn Fitness and parent company, Nautilus, in the 2000s. From their beginnings in creating unique home gyms they’ve moved into developing innovative cardio equipment, such as their Max Trainer series of ellipticals.

The Max Trainer M6 is the best value model in this elite product line, yet still comes with many of the same features as the more premium models (M8 and Max Total).

At first glance, you can see it’s different to your traditional elliptical. This is due to the configuration that combines the latter with a stairmaster. The upright shape makes it amazing in small spaces, as it takes up less than half the space of an average elliptical!

While you do only get 5 workout programs to choose from, there are 16 resistance levels that will help you effectively build stamina and muscle in your legs, and burn fat. The resistance difficulty adjusts via the Up/Down dials beside each handlebar. The display will help you track calories burned, burn rate, and more. The monitor looks just as interesting as the elliptical itself but is very easy to see without straining your eyes.

Overall, the Max Trainer M6 can’t be missed if you’re super tight on space and love ingenious engineering!

The Good

  • Combines stair stepper and elliptical functionality
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Intuitive control panel
  • Very small footprint
  • Wireless HR monitoring capabilities

The Not So Good

  • Only space for 2 saved users, meaning some members of the household may miss out
  • Very expensive

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3. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine

The Sf-E905 from Sunny is one of the best budget compact ellipticals on the market

If you’re working on a budget then one of the best compact elliptical machines then the SF-E905 is certainly worth a look. Sunny Health & Fitness has made a name for themselves by consistently producing simple yet high-functioning exercise machines at very affordable prices. The SF-E905 is a straightforward piece of equipment that doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles a more expensive machine does, but it’s great for getting in a good workout in a tight space.

With nicely sized anti-slip footplates, dynamic moving arms, and smaller stationary arms, you have comfort and versatility packed in. While it’s not as smooth as some other models on our guide, it’s not rough by any means. The one-piece frame is, however, one of the most durable in this category, made of tough steel that’s strong enough to withstand heavy daily use.

With 8 magnetic resistance levels, it’s fairly typical for this equipment in this price range and provides sufficient options for varied, challenging workouts and quiet operation.

To monitor performance, a digital monitor is built in that shows general stats (e.g., calories, time, distance, etc.), along with a heart rate readout when the hand pulse monitors are being gripped.

The Good

  • Simple and straightforward
  • Comfortable
  • Two sets of handlebars/arms
  • Micro-adjustment knob for resistance

The Not So Good

  • Lacks some of the more premium features
  • Is slightly bumpy at times
  • Very short stride length

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4. Cubii Jr. Mini Elliptical

The Cubii Jr is a great mini elliptical, which is naturally extremely compact

You’re simply not going to find a better compact elliptical in terms of size, than the Cubii Jr. Being that it’s a mini elliptical, it’s one of the smallest pieces of exercise equipment currently on the market. This quiet trainer is made to suit a variety of situations: Use it while watching TV, gaming, or working at the desk. The possibilities are substantial.

With a small display monitor in the center of the machine, you can track your calories burned, distance traveled, duration, and steps/strides in real time. Eight different resistance levels give you complete control over the intensity over your workout, and you can choose to sit or stand to use it.

Patented ergonomic angles mimic that fluid elliptical motion full-size machines have, which is low impact and nice for those recovering from an injury or with other chronic conditions that limit their mobility. Thanks to its whisper-quiet operation, you can use it just about anywhere without worrying about disturbing those around you.

The all-black design comes with either Purple or Turquoise accents, and you can tell they’ve put just as much thought into the looks as functionality. Despite being so small, it’s surprisingly sturdy and quick to assemble. It’s obvious that Cubii have really kept the end-user in mind.

The Good

  • Very small
  • Versatile/can be used sitting or standing
  • Display monitor tracks essential stats
  • Ergonomic design

The Not So Good

  • Somewhat heavy for being so small

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5. Body Rider Fan Elliptical Trainer

The body rider fan elliptical is another great compact elliptical trainer

Next up, is the Body Rider Fan Elliptical Trainer, which is not to be missed if you’re on a tight budget. Another very affordable model, it’s a little different in the sense that it uses an air resistance system. Don’t worry though, it’s actually very quiet, so you can work out at any time of day or night! You’ll also be saving on power as it works without needing to be plugged in!

The digital display monitors workout time, calories burnt, and distance covered, though it would be nice to add in heart rate monitoring as it currently doesn’t include this feature.

Resistance is easy to adjust, with a tension knob that you can twist quickly, making it great for simulating hill climbs. It may come with a small price tag, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheaply made. The frame is made of solid steel, which will provide you countless workouts for years in the future. If you’re new to working out or elliptical machines, an included video workout guide will help you get started.

The Fan Elliptical Trainer isn’t made with the most cutting edge technology out there, but if you’re someone who wants something straight-to-the-point, then this is the best compact elliptical machine for you.

The Good

  • Very inexpensive
  • Doesn’t require electricity
  • Quiet and easy to use
  • Included video guide

The Not So Good

  • No heart rate tracking
  • No Bluetooth
  • Short stride length

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6. Reebok Zjet 430 Cross Trainer

Reebok's zjet 430 cross trainer is a great compact option

If you’re training for a marathon, are an athlete, or simply want to feel that extra burn in your legs, then check out the Reebok Zjet 430 Cross Trainer. We’ve all heard of Reebok, so it should come as no surprise that this model is pure quality.

Solid steel construction makes this machine relatively heavy, but it’s firmly planted to the ground for greater stability and will last you a long time. Two sets of handlebars (one fixed, one mobile) allow for more versatility, so you can choose to work your arms and legs simultaneously, or just work legs without feeling off-balance.

With rear-drive construction, the elliptical path is placed at a slightly forward incline, which adds extra burn to the thighs and glutes. The 15.4-pound flywheel provides superior inertia, creating a smooth and steady ride every time.

The multi-panel LCD display shows all necessary workout metrics in one place, though it’s important to note that it doesn’t come with preset workout programs which may not be ideal if you’re an absolute beginner. However, you can create “goals” based on time, distance, or calories and the console will adjust the machine’s settings accordingly.

The only real downside would be if you’re on the tall side, as the stride length is only 15” which is somewhat limited.

The Good

  • Very smooth and consistent
  • Display shows all metrics at once
  • Two sets of handlebars
  • Rear-drive
  • Solid steel construction

The Not So Good

  • No preset workouts
  • Not ideal for very tall users

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7. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3804 Elliptical Trainer

The Sf-E3804 is a good option in compact elliptical trainers

We’re back again with another Sunny Health & Fitness product, but this time we’re going to talk about the SF-E3804 Elliptical Trainer. Made with dual-action forward and backward pedaling capabilities and 2 sets of handlebars, it does a great job of allowing flexibility and versatility in your workouts .

Eight levels of magnetic resistance is the norm, and you should find this model to be very quiet and smooth with essentially zero maintenance required. The heavy-duty frame is capable of supporting up to 285 lbs, which is more than even some full-sized ellipticals can carry!

Stationary handlebars let you choose if you’d like to opt in for a full-body workout or isolate your lower body. The display tracks performance, showing speed, time, RPM, distance, and calories burned. Conveniently located pulse grips on the handlebars even let you track your heart rate, to make sure you’re in the ideal HR zone for your goals.

Though it’s very compact and won’t take up much space, should you ever need to move it, the transportation wheels make it incredibly portable.

The Good

  • Compact and easy to transport
  • HR monitoring
  • Two sets of handlebars
  • Tough frame
  • Smooth and steady

The Not So Good

  • Short stride length

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8. MaxKare Elliptical Machine

The MaxKare elliptical is one of the most stylish compact ellipticals on the market

Heading towards the end of our list, we have the MaxKare Elliptical Machine. Though it’s small in size and price, they’ve taken extra care of the visual aesthetics and performance. The streamlined black body with light blue accents make for a machine that’s anything but an eyesore. Built with solid steel, it’s more than just looks too. It’s capable of supporting up to 330 lbs. and is a model made to be a cornerstone piece of workout equipment.

With 8 resistance settings, you get as much as most others on this guide. Dual-track pedals are great for targeting the quads and hamstrings, avoiding muscular imbalances and maximizing results. The pedals also come oversized to work with any size or shape of foot, and a non-slip surface helps to boost confidence, even with grueling and sweaty workouts.

Dual-action handlebars consist of exterior bars and inner handles, complete with pulse sensors which transmit your data to the clear LCD monitor in the center console. If you’d like to keep yourself entertained, there is also a handy tablet/smartphone holder located right underneath.

If you’d like to move your elliptical for whatever reason when you’re finished, simply use the transportation wheels to roll it wherever you need to stow it away.

The Good

  • Attractive design
  • Dual-track foot pads
  • Tablet/smartphone holder
  • Dual handlebar sets
  • Smooth and consistent motion

The Not So Good

  • Not many preset workout options
  • Short stride length

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9. Exerpeutic Gold 2000XLST Elliptical Trainer

This compact elliptical from Exerpeutic is a very good option

Last but not least, is the Exerpeutic Gold 2000XLST Elliptical Trainer, which is a bit more expensive than others here but is packed full of premium features. With a whopping 21 workout programs and 16 levels of magnetic resistance, you’ll never be short on workout options. Quick push controls allow you to rapidly adjust the program and resistance to your liking, which is perfect for HIIT and intervals.

A beautiful backlit LCD display tracks your time, speed, distance, calories burned, pulse, odometer, RPM, and watts which is more than most provide. Bluetooth Smart Technology comes built in, complete with the free MyFitQuest4 app so you can track your workout results, no matter where you are. Of course, you can also sync up to any other of your preferred fitness apps too.

A heavy, solid steel frame is there to make sure you’re always secure and properly supported. This build is made to last throughout heavy usage as well, so the investment will end up paying off in the long run with its increased longevity. While it’s near-perfect, it’s probably not ideal if you’re particularly tall, due to the somewhat-short stride (13”).

The Good

  • Bluetooth technology
  • Backlit LCD display
  • Solid steel construction
  • Large variety of workout and resistance settings
  • Ergonomic

The Not So Good

  • Not ideal for very tall users

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Should You Get a Compact Elliptical?

If you’re short on space in your home gym, and need a low-impact cardio machine, then a compact elliptical trainer is your best bet. They’re footprint is small enough that you won’t have to keep stowing them away or pulling them out like you might with a treadmill or exercise bike; you can leave them as is without them being a burden.

What’s great about the compact elliptical machines on our guide, is that they’re smaller, but many still come with top-of-the-line features. However, if you’re looking for something more basic, you can also select a model that comes with the bare necessities but that still functions on the same level as the larger and more expensive ellipticals.

All of that being said, standard ellipticals often have extremely large footprints due to the length needed to create the elliptical stride pattern. And therein lies the main drawback of a compact cross trainer: They have smaller stride lengths by design. This limits the extent to which they provide the same challenge to your leg muscles, especially the glutes and hamstrings.

It’s also for this reason that they may provide a less intense workout than a larger machine with a longer stride. Ellipticals are so highly revered precisely because they provide a workout equal to or greater in intensity than a treadmill, stair stepper, or exercise bike. This effect is largely contingent on the activation of large muscles such as the glutes and hamstrings. Compact cross trainers may, therefore, be less effective than their longer counterparts.

In most instances, a compact elliptical machine will feel quite different to a commercial model you might use in a public gym, and could feel more like walking down stairs than low-impact jogging or running. If stride length is something you’re unwilling to compromise on, then you may want to look into a good folding elliptical. Be warned, these are relatively expensive.

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Choosing the Best Compact Elliptical Machine

Purchasing a good compact elliptical trainer will generally come down to getting a machine that’s suitably versatile for your training goals and progress, is durable enough to withstand whatever you throw at it, has decent technology, and is comfortable for all those intending to use it.

Versatility

Flexibility and versatility is important in any solid fitness program. What may be challenging for you for the first few weeks is going to end up being a walk in the park in a few months. To change and progress, our bodies need to constantly be challenged and we can’t keep working out on the same resistance levels or workout programs if we want that.

Eight resistance settings is the standard in compact ellipticals, and we strongly recommend finding higher than that if you can. You’ll also want a model that has some pre-programmed workouts, so you can set and start and let the machine take care of adjusting resistance for you.

Durability

The best compact elliptical machines for home use will obviously be smaller, but still very sturdy. This is why the majority of our picks feature frames made of solid steel. Steel is one of the most coveted materials for high-quality machines, as they will perform like new for years to come, lasting you 10 years or longer. Also look over the warranty and make sure you know how long it’s for and which parts and faults it covers.

Technology

As you may have noticed, technology varies greatly with the aforementioned models. Some come with the very basics, while others have Bluetooth to connect to HR monitors and smartphone / tablet apps. If you’re someone who’s already comfortable with smartphones and/or tablets, then the latter may be the best option for you as you can track your workout stats from anywhere.

Comfort

If your elliptical isn’t comfortable, you shouldn’t use it. Ergonomic designs are the most coveted, placing your spine in correct alignment in relation to the rest of your body. Padded handlebars and large footplates with anti-slip surfaces can help with performance and are great for extended sessions. Dual sets of handlebars also give your arms a rest if you just want to target your lower body.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Compact Cross Trainers

Which is the best compact elliptical?

All of the machines on our guide are the top performers on the market today. If you’re looking for more modern tech, then we’d go for the Exerpeutic Gold or the Schwinn 411, though it all comes down to your personal preferences.

Are mini ellipticals effective?

That depends on how you define “effective”. They keep you mobile, which is important, but they’re not going to offer the full-body benefits nor the calorie burn that a compact or standard-sized elliptical would.

What stride length do I need on an elliptical?

Ideally, you’ll want a stride length of 18 inches or greater in order to get full activation of the large muscles in your legs. However, stride length is a sacrifice you inevitably make when choosing a compact elliptical trainer. Generally, these models are compact precisely because the manufacturers have greatly reduced their stride length. The Reebok Zjet, for example, has a mere 13” stride. As mentioned, if you’re unwilling to compromise on stride length but you still need something that won’t take up too much space, consider a folding elliptical.

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Well, there you have it: The Best Compact Ellipticals.

We’ve searched high and low, taking countless reviews and feedback into consideration to bring you the top-performing ellipticals we’ve seen here today. While it can be difficult to choose just one, we hope our guide has helped you find the perfect one for your needs. Elliptical machines can be life changing, both mentally and physically and you’re about to find out why!

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