Many people rule out having an elliptical machine in their home gym due to a lack of space. This is foolhardy. It’s possible to have a high-quality cross trainer that will help you reach your fitness goals but won’t take up too much room. For this, you need a good quality folding elliptical.
There are three manufacturers that rise above the rest when it comes to folding cross trainers: Horizon Fitness, NordicTrack, and ProForm. Each are major players in the home fitness industry and have proven time and again that they produce top quality equipment at a reasonable price.
All three manufacturers produce a series of folding ellipticals that comprise two models: A basic model and a more advanced one.
The Top Folding Ellipticals At a Glance
Best Folding Ellipticals Overall
The Horizon Evolve Series consists of the Evolve 3 and the Evolve 5. The 5 is a step up from the more affordable 3, with a heavier flywheel, more fitness programs, and a larger/updated console. However, both are made with heavy-duty frames that assemble easily, and are compact to suit any living space.
Next Best Folding Cross Trainers
NordicTrack’s SpaceSaver Series may be foldable and compact but they’re not lacking in features. Heavy flywheels and a long stride length ensure comfortable use for most users. A good variety of preset workouts, power adjustable incline, and various resistance options makes every workout interesting and challenging. If you value cutting edge technology, this is one to consider.
Another Great Series of Ellipticals
Both the ProForm 695 and the 895 offer various resistance levels and a ton of workout programs to accommodate any fitness level. An integrated tablet holder, built-in audio, and Coolaire workout fan are some of the extra features that keep you motivated and entertained. Count on these lasting for years thanks to their commercial-gauge solid steel construction.
The Best Folding Ellipticals
|Horizon Evolve Series Folding Ellipticals||
|NordicTrack SpaceSaver Series Folding Ellipticals||
|ProForm Smart Strider Series Folding Ellipticals||
|Horizon Evolve Series Folding Ellipticals|
|NordicTrack SpaceSaver Series Folding Ellipticals|
|ProForm Smart Strider Series Folding Ellipticals|
Starting things off, we have the Horizon Evolve Series Folding Ellipticals. Both the Evolve 3 and the Evolve 5 are great mid-range options (in terms of price), which promote maximum comfort with an ergonomic design that makes getting in shape easy.
The stride on both models is a generous 20 inches in length, which is perfect for even the tallest of users. The flywheels are relatively heavy: The Evolve 3’s flywheel weighs 18 lbs, while the Evolve 5’s flywheel weighs in at 23 lbs. However, the heavier flywheel on the Evolve 5 makes for one of the smoothest experiences, and the Evolve 3 isn’t lacking in this regard, either. Heavier flywheels anchor the machine for greater stability.
Both come with 20 adjustable resistance levels, which is more than enough to challenge you, no matter what your current fitness level is. On top of that, with over 30 built-in workout programs, you’ll be able to get going at the push of a button with modes designed for specific goals. You’ll find just a few more on the Evolve 5, but overall, they’re about the same.
A backlit, dual-color console comes with an array of one-touch buttons. The Evolve 5’s is slightly larger than the 3’s. You’ll be able to track all the basic stats, along with heart rate, watts, and RPM. While they lack Bluetooth connectivity, they do work with Viafit, which tracks calories burned while it transmits the data to the fitness app of your choice. To keep you entertained, you’ll get Passport on both, which lets you “run” through an array of captivating locations around the world.
Finally, when you’re finished, take advantage of FeatherLight Folding, which consists of one-step and folds from the rear! With a lifetime Six-Star frame warranty, this is an investment that you won’t regret.
- Tough, ergonomically designed frame
- Passport technology with virtual “worlds”
- Water bottle holder, iPad holder, etc.
- Long stride for users of all heights
- Very comfortable
The Not So Good
- Lacks Bluetooth connectivity
NordicTrack is easily one of the most respected names in the fitness world, and their SpaceSaver Series Folding Ellipticals demonstrate why. Both machines in the series are top of the line, with some serious thought and production put into them. The SE9i and the SE7i have a lot of similarities and a few notable differences.
Featuring a flywheel in the rear, both models take up little room. Both are almost identical in size (the SE7i is about 0.5” taller) and fold up quickly and easily when you’re done using it. As both come with an 18-pound flywheel, you can expect the same smoothness and consistency, regardless of which one you pick.
Neither model is short on variation, with each offering 20+ resistance levels and 20+ preset workouts. However, the SE9i comes with a few more of each. To adjust, you have one-touch controls, along with a 10+ power adjustable incline to make the workout more challenging.
You can track your stats through the beautiful high-end digital displays. The SE9i has a full-color 7-inch touchscreen, while the SE7i has a 5-inch backlit display which does not come in full color. While the more affordable SE7i’s is good, there’s simply no comparison to the stunning monitor the SE9i offers.
Both machines feature strong, long-lasting frames made to support up to 325 pounds. However, it’s important to mention the SE9i has a better warranty than the SE7i. While the price tag may be greater, the SE9i may end up saving you money in the long run thanks to this.
Both models feature large, non-slip footplates and soft touch upper body grips to ensure comfort and safety. No matter which you decide on, you can rest easy knowing you’re getting a carefully engineered elliptical.
- Quality display with one-touch controls
- Ample resistance and workout program options
- Bluetooth technology
- Motorized adjustable incline
The Not So Good
- More expensive than the others
The ProForm Smart Strider Series Folding Ellipticals are both popular and affordable. Both come with an incline or ramp, which isn’t commonly seen at this price point, along with an 18-inch stride which is good enough for short and tall users alike. Also, since they both fold up, they are ideal for limited spaces.
The 695 features a very simple yet effective console, letting you toggle between settings and stats. The 895, in contrast, is a full-color, touchscreen, HD console. The 895 console is, unsurprisingly, much more enjoyable to use, letting you run through virtual, captivating worlds. You can do the same with the 695, but you’d have to connect a tablet to take advantage of this feature.
Both have 20+ resistance levels, though the 895 comes with 32 workout programs, which is slightly more than 24 offered by the 695. An 18-pound Inertia-Enhanced Flywheel is found in both, making for a smooth and consistent workout. While both offer a 0-to-10-degree incline, the big variation here is that the 695’s incline is manual while the 895’s is power-operated. That can make a huge difference, especially if you’re short on time.
The weight limit is generous on both, with 300 pounds on the more affordable 695 and 325 on the 895. However, the frames both come with a lifetime warranty and are incredibly durable so you can plan on having them for as long as you want them around. Plus, they fold up and move around easily thanks to the included wheels.
- Large weight limit
- Interactive workout options
- Ample resistance and incline
- Easy to assemble
- Easy and comfortable to use
The Not So Good
- The 695 only has manual incline
Should You Get a Folding Elliptical?
No matter what your exercise goals are, a folding elliptical is always going to be a good investment. The best elliptical machines provide both an upper and lower body workout, making it ideal for cross training. Now take this and combine it with the large variety of exercise programs the models on this guide offer. No matter if you’re looking to improve body composition, expand lung capacity, or help recover from an injury or surgery, these machines will get you closer to your goals.
Ellipticals are perfect to use in the living room, basement, or exercise studio. They’re long-lasting and hold up well against daily usage. In addition, you can take advantage of a well-rounded routine without disturbing anyone else as they’re so smooth and quiet.
While many people already know the benefits, they don’t feel that they have the space for a traditional elliptical machine. That’s where the best folding elliptical comes in: they offer all of the benefits of a conventional elliptical but can be stored away conveniently! The models on this guide fold in just seconds, making it a swift and simple process.
Choosing the Best Folding Elliptical for You
Ensuring you get the best folding elliptical for your home or garage gym will come down to a consideration of the overall size, versatility, durability, and embedded technology.
Even though folding ellipticals are meant to be space-saving, it’s still important to consider the area you’re going to be using it in and actually measure that area. Make sure you’re not going to accidentally bump into any walls or furniture. The less expensive models are often going to be comparatively larger than the more expensive ones, so you should ensure you have mapped out the space correctly.
To get the most out of your investment, look for a model with plenty of variety when it comes to resistance levels, incline levels and preset workout programs. You can’t go wrong with a machine that comes with 20+ resistance levels and workout programs, although more is better. Regarding incline, 5-10% is great, too. Just make sure to take note if it’s a manual or motorized incline, as manual means you’re going to have to stop in the middle, get off the elliptical, and actually manually adjust it. This can be a bit disruptive to the workout.
Ellipticals at these prices are an investment but are more than worth it when you consider how long they are made to last. Steel frames are incredibly tough and usually come with a weight limit over 300 pounds. On top of that, you’ll often see lifetime warranty coverage on the frames. Regardless, make sure you’re aware of how long it is and what it covers.
In this price range, you can expect modern technology in most aspects. You’ll often have Bluetooth capabilities to sync to apps on your phone or tablet and built-in speakers to listen to music in a more immersive way. However, the models above vary quite a bit when it comes to the consoles. The more budget-friendly options will typically come with more basic (though still attractive) displays, while the pricier options will have full-color, HD touch displays with virtual worlds you can workout in.
Frequently Asked Questions About Elliptical Machines
Do ellipticals fold up?
The ones on our guide do! However, don’t expect your average elliptical to fold. This is a huge selling point, so unless it clearly states that they fold up, they probably won’t.
Are ellipticals effective?
Yes, they are. Research shows that an elliptical is just as effective as a treadmill when it comes to burning calories. Also, they are low impact, so they place much less stress on the joints and body, particularly the knees. No matter if you’re recovering from an injury or are a seasoned athlete, ellipticals will yield impressive results if you put in the work. Moreover, they offer a full-body workout with the moving handlebars targeting the upper body.
What size elliptical do I need?
If you’re 5’3” or shorter, you’ll need a stride length of 16-18 inches. If you’re between 5’3” and 5’7” an 18-20” stride length is perfect. If you’re taller than 5’7”, then look at 20-inch strides or greater.
What is the best elliptical machine for the money?
The Horizon Series is appealing because they offer top-notch features at a more budget friendly price. Enjoy smooth motion thanks to the 18-pound flywheel and workout in the immersive Passport worlds, all while taking up minimal space thanks to the compact footprint. Also, their certified Six-Star Frame is designed to place your body in the correct alignment, improving your posture and mobility.
Well, there you have it: The Best Folding Ellipticals.
We’ve done our research to show you the top-performing folding ellipticals. No matter what your budget is or how small of a space you have, we know there is at least one on our guide that’ll suit you perfectly. Each one of these brands have proven repeatedly that they’re the most reputable, and even their cheaper models are top notch.