Compact Ellipticals: Great for Small Apartments and Home Gyms

Struggling to find the perfect cardio machine for your small apartment or home gym? You’re in luck; compact ellipticals can help you get fit without taking up too much space.

This guide will explore the best ellipticals and provide tips on how to make the most of them.

If budget, availability of space, or a busy lifestyle are limiting your workout options, then getting an elliptical machine is one of the best and wisest decisions you can make. A compact elliptical trainer provides an excellent low-impact cardio workout that burns calories, strengthens and tones muscle groups while improving balance and posture. Furthermore, they’re lightweight and don’t take up too much space as compared to large pieces of gym equipment.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about compact ellipticals—from the benefits and features to our top picks. We’ll also cover frequently asked questions about using this equipment in the comfort of your own home or small apartment.

So if you’re serious about investing in an effective cardio workout without having a full-size elliptical taking up all your living space—read on!

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Compact Elliptical

When shopping for a compact elliptical machine, there are several important considerations that you should take into account. First is the size and weight of the machine: compact models are much smaller than standard machines and weigh considerably less, allowing them to fit easily into smaller homes or apartments with limited space. It’s important to measure the size of your room and make sure you purchase a model with dimensions that will fit comfortably.

The size limitations of a compact elliptical may also affect its features: features tend to be reduced on these models due to their smaller frames, but they do not need to limit your fitness progress. Look for machines that offer adjustable stride lengths, varied resistance levels, and goal-setting programs which can keep you motivated as you reach your goals.

Your budget is also an important factor in choosing a compact elliptical. Many models offer great value for money with plenty of features for an affordable price tag; however, more advanced technology such as touchscreens or Bluetooth capabilities can often increase the cost significantly so it is important to compare different products before making a final decision.

Finally, consider warranty coverage provided by the manufacturer – this is typically one or two years but may be dependent on where and how it is sold. Warranty protection gives peace of mind in knowing that you are covered if any parts become faulty during use and ensures that repairs can be performed quickly in order to minimize any disruption during your workout routine.

Size and Space

Compact ellipticals are affordable, space-saving exercise machines for home use and an ideal piece of workout equipment for small apartments or limited-space home gyms. Often referred to as small, mini, desktop or portable ellipticals, these mini machines come in many shapes and sizes.

When looking for the right size mini elliptical for your space needs and fitness goals, there are several important factors to take into consideration. The most obvious factor is the size of your living area or the room where you intend to place the elliptical. Compact ellipticals come in a range of sizes from just over 22 inches wide by 28 inches long to nearly 40 inches wide and 47 inches long. You also need to consider how much floor space you’re willing to give up as well as what height range it needs to accommodate so that you’ll be comfortable while exercising.

It’s also important that your compact elliptical is stable enough when in use so it doesn’t vibrate excessively during movements. This means its base should be wide and heavy enough not to tilt during use–even at higher speeds and resistance levels–and must include non-skid rubber feet that don’t move around on hardwood floor surfaces. As a safety precaution, some compact models even fold away when not in use for added storage efficiency. Ellipticals designed with this feature often include built-in castors on the base allowing you easily move them from one location to another without having to lift them numerous times a day or week.

Resistance and Workout Intensity

Compact ellipticals are designed with adjustable resistance settings which allow you to increase or decrease the intensity of your workout to suit your fitness level. The higher the resistance level, the greater the incline and the more challenging your workout. With some machines, it is possible to adjust both tension and incline manually to really challenge yourself.

Most elliptical trainers feature a range of preset programs that can help you achieve certain goals such as burning fat, strengthening muscle and increasing cardiovascular endurance. Many models also feature heart rate monitors which help you stay in an ideal fitness zone to maximize fat-burning potential. Additionally, newer models may have features such as built-in fan cooling systems and iPod integration for an audio track while you work out.

Stride Length

Compact ellipticals are often attractive options for small spaces, in part because of their shorter stride length. In general, the available range starts at about 13-14 inches and can go up to 18 inches. The smaller sizes are typically found on lower-priced models, where space is at a premium. Meanwhile, the larger size is suitable for most users and can be found on both entry-level and higher priced models.

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It’s important to remember that even a small stride length difference–say two or three inches–can have an effect on your workout experience. With a slightly longer stride length you’ll get a better workout overall—you’ll be able to work your entire body and get more cardiovascular benefit from each exercise session.

Keep in mind that you may need to keep higher resistance with shorter strides; otherwise you’re not going to gain much of an advantage with this type of equipment over other types such as treadmills or bikes.

Display and Controls

One of the most popular features of compact ellipticals is their easy-to-read displays and accessible control panels. Most brands produce machines that are equipped with tracking technology, such as those that record distance and calories burned, as well as a number of preset training programs. Displays also feature adjustable incline settings, which can be changed while using the machine to make your workout more challenging.

In addition, it’s common for these machines to come equipped with Bluetooth connectivity capabilities; enabling you to connect your smartphone or other device with compatible fitness apps. Controls are typically located in the handlerails for easy access during workouts. You’ll have various buttons or dials that allow you to adjust speed, resistance levels and incline settings from low to high intensity, depending on your goals.

Portability and Storage

When it comes to portability, compact ellipticals usually have adjustable feet with locking pins so the machine does not rock when going through more vigorous exercises. They are light enough to be moved around the home and generally take up less space than a treadmill.

Most compact ellipticals can also be easily folded for storage. If you live in a small apartment or are looking for an exercise machine that doesn’t take up a great deal of room, these can be perfect solutions. Some even come with handles and wheels to make moving them easier and more efficient when needed.

III. Maintenance and Care of Compact Ellipticals

Proper maintenance and care of your compact elliptical machine is important to keep it working properly for prolonged use and time. Routine maintenance can include tightening of nuts, bolts, and screws, checking of belts if present, lubricating bearings to make less noise etc., but do remember not to lubricate any parts that do not require lubrication.

A few general tips that should be followed while taking care of your machine include:

  • Check the frame periodically for loose bolts or nuts. Tighten any loose parts before using the elliptical again.
  • Apply a silicone-based lubricant or a dry Teflon spray on parts such as rails that often move against each other.
  • Keep the area around the elliptical clean and free from dust; vacuum the area regularly to avoid too much dust accumulation.
  • Be cautious not to drop anything onto the foot pedals. This can damage them considerably; especially if they are plastic foot pedals. Damage caused by dropping something heavy onto them also voids most of their warranties.
  • Most compact ellipticals run on batteries which can sometimes be finicky depending on usage so check battery compartment regularly for any corrosion due to misplaced liquids or moisture buildup coming from humidity or sweat during workouts (i.e.: in indoor home gym set ups).
  • Also, adjust resistance levels frequently – having low resistance levels make workouts too easy while having high levels puts undue strain on the motor which eventually causes wear and tear of various elliptical components over time decreasing its life span significantly quickly than expected.

Cleaning and Maintenance

It is important for elliptical users to understand the importance of properly cleaning and maintaining their machines. Doing so can have a major impact on the lifespan and performance of the machine, as well as a user’s overall workout experience. Below are some general tips and guidelines to help ensure a safe and effective user experience on an elliptical.

– Wipe down the frame, handlebars, railing and other contact points with an appropriate cleaner before each use.
– Immediately after use, wipe table surfaces, stairs and/or handrails with alcohol or another disinfectant.
– Make sure that all debris is cleaned off after each use in order to prevent any slipping or injury while working out.

– Regularly inspect your machine for any signs of wear or damage in order to reduce any risk of injury or damage to parts over time.
– Properly adjust brake tension, roller clearance, belt tension etc., according to manufacturer’s instructions if applicable.
– Replace worn parts such as foot pads or straps promptly if needed for ease of use and comfort when exercising.
– If purchasing preowned, make certain that both the assembly instructions have been followed properly before using it for exercise sessions.(specific instructions may vary depending on model type).

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections are essential for compact elliptical owners. To ensure your machine is functioning properly and safely, it is important to inspect the machine each time you use it. Check the frame’s welds, bolts and screws for any cracks or warping that may have occurred since your last use. Inspect any cables and fasteners involved, such as on the arms and handles, for proper tension and connectivity. After replacing parts, retighten them with a torque wrench for added security.

Also check all moving parts of the elliptical like flywheels, pulleys and sprockets for consistent operation around each revolution point of the foot pad so that each step is smooth without any hiccups or stalls in its revolutions along its guide rails which could cause injury due to a sudden jolt or jerk during use.

Lastly look over any form of lubrication on your machine such as those found in lubricated systems or those used on moving parts such as chains, axles or bearings for correct viscosity levels and adequate amount present. Make sure to clean off dirt and debris to help extend part lifespan.

7 Best Compact Elliptical Machines of 2023 - SI Showcase - Sports  Illustrated

Follow all instructions provided by the manufacturer regarding regular inspections and/or servicing procedures when they become due as these activities help maintain optimal performance while supplementing safety protocols especially when it comes to possible malfunctions which can be exacerbated by lack of attention to routine maintenance procedures particular to your model of compact elliptical machine.

Repairs and Replacements

Compact ellipticals are generally easy to repair, with parts easily sourced online or on the phone. If your elliptical develops a noise, or part of it breaks during use, contact the manufacture’s customer service department. They might provide you with simple instructions that make repairs quick and easy. If not, you may need to pay for a technician to come in and look at the problem for you. The most common repairs are to worn-out belts, pulleys and rollers that do not move as easily as they should. Tightening any parts that appear loose often solves some of these issues.

In the rare event that major damage occurs on your compact elliptical due to manufacturer error or defect, you will likely have some kind of warranty coverage where you can get replacements parts for free or at a very low cost. Most warranties provide coverage for a specific number of years (often around 5) so check when exactly it started right after purchase in case something happens during this period.


In conclusion, compact ellipticals offer a great way to fit a full-body workout into your lifestyle, even when you have limited space. This type of machine is ideal for small apartments and home gyms, allowing you to get the same results as a large elliptical without taking up too much room. Compact ellipticals are also more portable than their larger counterparts, making them ideal for people who need to store the machine away after each use.

Compact ellipticals offer a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise that’s easy on the joints and can help you burn calories quickly. However, it’s important to remember that no single piece of equipment can provide a complete workout – it’s important to combine strength training with aerobic exercise in order to achieve maximum health benefits.

If you are looking for an effective yet low-impact way to get fit and stay healthy in limited space, then consider investing in a compact elliptical machine. With careful selection of the right model for your needs, this versatile piece of home gym equipment can help you achieve your fitness goals without taking up large amounts of space or time!


Are compact ellipticals effective?

Yes, compact ellipticals can be effective for low-impact cardio workouts, especially for those with limited space.

What is the best elliptical for a small space?

There are several options for compact ellipticals, such as the Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical, the ProForm Endurance 520 E Elliptical, and the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine.

Which is the best elliptical for home use?

The best elliptical for home use depends on personal preferences, budget, and fitness goals. Some popular options include the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9, the Sole E35 Elliptical, and the ProForm Pro 16.9.

What are the disadvantages of elliptical?

Some potential disadvantages of ellipticals include their high cost, limited upper body workout, and the risk of overuse injuries if not used properly.

Is Mini elliptical better than walking?

Both mini ellipticals and walking can be beneficial for cardiovascular health, but the intensity and calorie burn may differ depending on the individual and their workout habits.

Is elliptical better or worse than treadmill?

Both ellipticals and treadmills offer cardiovascular benefits, but the best option may depend on personal preferences and fitness goals. Ellipticals are low-impact and easier on the joints, while treadmills can offer a more intense workout and simulate outdoor running.

Is 30 minutes of elliptical enough?

30 minutes of elliptical can be enough for a cardio workout, but the intensity and duration of exercise should be tailored to individual fitness levels and goals.

Why use an elliptical instead of a treadmill?

Ellipticals offer a low-impact workout that can be easier on the joints, while still providing cardiovascular benefits and working multiple muscle groups. They also offer the option for upper body workout with moving handlebars.

Will elliptical everyday lose weight?

Consistent exercise, including using an elliptical, paired with a healthy diet can contribute to weight loss. However, the amount of weight loss will depend on various factors such as caloric intake, intensity of exercise, and individual metabolism.

Are ellipticals safer than treadmills?

Ellipticals can be considered safer than treadmills as they are low-impact and reduce the risk of joint impact injuries. However, both machines can pose risks if not used properly, such as falls or overuse injuries.

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