5 of the best compact ellipticals 2021

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Ellipticals are versatile exercise machines a person can use for aerobic exercises and high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These products provide low-impact cardio that can help a person reach their fitness goals.

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An elliptical machine is a piece of low-impact cardio workout equipment. A person holds onto the handlebars and uses the pedals to move their legs in an elliptical pattern to walk, run, stair climb, or sprint.

Ellipticals have several features, including static and movable handlebars, different resistant levels, inclines, and preset programs. Many of these machines also allow backward pedaling.

Ellipticals can provide a person with a whole-body workout and offer both steady cardio workouts and high-intensity training.

Compact ellipticals are smaller and lighter in comparison to traditional ellipticals. These products save space, and people may be able to move and store these machines when not in use. Some ellipticals are also foldable, allowing individuals to exercise in different rooms.

Some factors to consider before purchasing a compact elliptical include:

  • Features: People who want a full-body workout may wish to consider ellipticals with movable handlebars. Some devices are hybrids, which cross ellipticals with stair-steppers and bikes. Many machines also come with smart device and bottle holders, fans, speakers, and USB ports.
  • Drive design: Ellipticals featuring rear drive systems are usually quieter and provide a more natural feel but take up more space. In contrast, compact ellipticals often have front drives that take up less space.
  • Resistance and incline: Machines with varying resistance and incline levels offer workouts with more variety and intensity. Many ellipticals also come with preset programs to help an individual meet specific activity goals.
  • Ease of use: For comfort, an elliptical’s stride length should match the person’s height, with a step-up height that gives enough space between them and the ceiling.
  • Durability: Compact ellipticals often contain lighter materials, which may make them less durable than heavier machines.
  • Connectivity: People who wish to join virtual classes and stream trainer-led classes may opt for connected fitness devices. A person may also want to check if the product allows syncing with smartphones for easier fitness tracking.
  • Warranty: Many manufacturers offer a limited warranty for a set period. Individuals should take note of any warranty policies before purchasing.

Below are some of the best compact ellipticals available to buy online.

Diamondback 1280ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer

This elliptical is suitable for people with a height of between 5 feet (ft) 3 inches (in) and 6 ft 5 in who weigh up to 350 pounds (lb). It features an adjustable stride length, digital touchscreen display, and multiposition handlebars.

Additional features include:

  • 12 preprogrammed workouts
  • 16 magnetic resistance levels
  • a low step-up height
  • hand pulse sensors for heart rate
  • adjustable floor levelers
  • transport wheels
  • forward and backward pedaling
  • built-in entertainment apps
  • USB charging port and water bottle holder

The dimensions of this product are 50 x 36 x 66 in.

Diamondback also offers the following warranties:

  • 5-year product lifetime limited warranty
  • 3-year warranty on parts and electronic components
  • 1-year labor service warranty
  • 90-day warranty on wear items such as seats and handlebars

The company also offers a 30-day return policy.

At the time of publishing, the Diamondback 1280ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer has a retail price of $1899.99.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905

This elliptical uses a magnetic resistance drive system with a micro-tension controller. Its built-in computer displays eight stats, including calories and pulse.

Additional features include:

  • an LCD screen
  • a step-up height of 14 in
  • a max stride length of 11 in
  • 8 levels of resistance
  • a pulse sensor

Sunny Health & Fitness offers a 3-year warranty on the frame and a 180-day warranty on all other parts. People can return unused and unopened items with 30 days of purchase.

This product’s dimensions are 28 x 17 x 57 in, while it is suitable for those who weigh up to 220 lb.

At the time of publishing, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 has a list price of $178.99.

Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical

This elliptical trainer features movable handlebars and a console that displays calories, heart rate, distance, time, and speed. People can sync the product with Schwinn’s Explore the World app, allowing them to exercise alongside friends through various routes and tracks.

Additional features include:

  • a 5.5-in high-contrast display
  • a step up heigh of 10 in
  • a max stride length of 18 in
  • 13 preset programs
  • 16 resistance levels
  • a built-in bottle and tablet holder
  • a pulse sensor

The product’s dimensions are 53.8 x 24 x 62.5 in, and it is suitable for people who weigh up to 300 lb.

Schwinn offers the following warranties:

  • 10-year warranty on the frame
  • 2-year warranty on parts
  • 1-year warranty on electronics
  • 90-day labor warranty

Individuals can return the elliptical within 6 weeks after delivery for a refund.

At the time of publishing, the Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical has a list price of $549.

Sole E55

This compact elliptical trainer has a high gear ratio and a 20-lb flywheel, which reportedly results in a smooth, natural motion. It supports both forward and backward pedaling.

Additional features include:

  • a white backlit 9-in LCD
  • adjustable ramp with 20 incline levels
  • a step-up height of 14 in
  • a max stride length of 20 in
  • 10 preset programs
  • 20 resistance levels
  • an integrated table and water bottle holder
  • a USB port and Bluetooth audio speakers
  • a heart rate monitor with a chest strap

Sole offers the following warranties with the E55:

  • lifetime frame warranty
  • 5-year warranty on electronics and parts
  • 2-year labor warranty

The company also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

The product’s dimensions are 71 x 27 x 71 in, and it is suitable for people weighing up to 375 lb.

At the time of publishing, the Sole E55 has a retail price of $2799.99.

ProForm HIIT H14 Elliptical

This compact elliptical can connect to iFit, allowing people to stream training videos and attend virtual classes. Additionally, iFit trainers can automatically adjust the device’s resistance level remotely.

Additional features include:

  • a 14-in smart HD touchscreen
  • a step-up height of 10 in
  • a max stride length of 5 in
  • 26 resistance levels
  • a built-in fan and water bottle holder
  • a heart rate monitor and heart rate sensor
  • an auxiliary audio post with Bluetooth speakers

ProForm offers the following warranty and returns policies on the H14:

  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 10-year frame warranty
  • 2-year parts warranty
  • 1-year labor warranty

This product’s dimensions are 52 x 29 x 66 in, and it is suitable for those who weigh up to 325 lb.

At the time of publishing, the ProForm HIIT H14 Elliptical has a retail price of $1699.

Before purchasing a compact elliptical, people should consider the advantages and drawbacks of these machines.


Elliptical workouts place less pressure on the joints compared to several other forms of exercise. A 2020 study stated that steppers and elliptical trainers could substitute running when people need to avoid this exercise, such as those recovering from injuries.

Individuals with long-term health conditions may find ellipticals beneficial. In a case study, a child with cerebral palsy who underwent gait training with an elliptical machine showed improvements in walking speed, balance, and endurance.

Another study found ellipticals to be a suitable source of aerobic exercise that may offer several health benefits for people who have experienced stroke or have Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. The researchers found that using an elliptical machine lowers blood pressure and lipid profile, reduced tremors and rigidity, and reduced fatigue and depression.


As with any exercise, people who use elliptical machines have a risk of sports injuries, which can include muscle sprains and strains. However, most injuries resolve with rest using the rest, ice, compress, and elevate method.

Individuals should also not exercise if they have an injury, as doing so may worsen the damage. Additionally, people need to seek medical attention if their injury is severe or the pain does not go away after resting.

Compact ellipticals offer a full-body workout without needing as much space as a traditional elliptical machine. People may wish to consider the features most useful to them before purchasing these machines.

Elliptical machines may offer several health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing fatigue and depression. However, individuals should always be careful when using any exercise equipment to reduce the risk of injury.

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