Ever paid for a gym membership, but never stepped a foot in the gym?
You’re not alone, pal!
Whether you constantly deal with a tight schedule or you lack the motivation to head out just for the gym, you can still reach your fitness goals.
I know a simple, yet clever solution to all those problems — and it’s just a single machine!
Get yourself a folding elliptical.
The elliptical trainer is mentioned as one of the top calorie-burning gym machines.
In fact, Harvard Medical School has recently discovered that you can burn up to 270-400 calories within an hour of exercising.
All fold-up ellipticals allow you to perform cross-training, like cardio and strength exercises, for toning and strengthening your body.
One of the best folding elliptical models is the rear-drive elliptical.
Rear-drive ellipticals are known for their durability and comfortable handling. However, their lengthy size always makes customers have second thoughts about getting the elliptical.
But with a foldable elliptical cross trainer, you can get the best of both worlds.
An elliptical trainer is the ideal full-body workout machine for two reasons:
1. It is a cross-trainer, so you can do cardio and strength exercises.
2. It is a low-impact machine. That means you can work out without excessive pressure on your joints.
Compared to other stationary cardio machines, compact elliptical machines you can workout at the comfort of your home without space being a problem
There are hundreds of fold-up ellipticals. But we’ve found and reviewed the five best folding ellipticals so you don’t have to scour the internet for answers.
5 Best Folding Ellipticals at a Glance
1 – Best Runner Up Compact Elliptical: “Horizon Evolve 5”
2 – The Best Folding Elliptical Trainer Money Can Buy: “Nordictrack SE7i”
3 – The Top Elliptical Trainer: “Nordictrack SE9i Space saver Folding Elliptical”
4 – The most Affordable Folding Elliptical: “Gazelle Freestyle Folding Elliptical Trainer”
5 – Great Folding Elliptical: “Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Folding Elliptical trainer”
Read further if you want to find out what makes them the best. Let’s dive into their details, especially their dimensions, capabilities, and unique features.
Best Runner Up Compact Elliptical: Horizon Evolve 5
|Stride length||20 inches|
|Resistance||20 Levels Electronically Controlled|
|Dimensions||69’’L x 28’’w x 69”H (where L=Length,W=width,H=Height)|
|Screen||6.25-inch Blue Backlit LCD|
|Warranty||Life Time frame; 3 Years Electronics & parts 1 Year labor.|
|✅ Built-in speakers||❌ Shorter Warranty duration.|
|✅ Compact Design.||❌ A shorter frame can decrease stability.|
|✅ Heavier Flywheel.||❌ No USB port or Blue-Tooth activity|
|✅ More built-in programs|
One of the best fold-up ellipticals is the Horizon Evolve 5 machine.
This machine has a weight capacity of 300 pounds and a stride length of 20 inches.
So, if you have a big body built or tall figure, then you might want to consider the Horizon Evolve 5 elliptical machine.
Besides its design, the Horizon Evolve 5 has much more to offer.
It has 20 different electronically adjustable resistance levels. You can adjust your workout intensity as you get stronger.
And, no matter how intense your workout is, its heavy 23-pound flywheel will always have your back. It will keep you stable and fixed to the floor without a single squeak.
To top that, the Evolve 5 folding elliptical provides you with a large collection of inbuilt programs.
You can choose from 37 programs that suit you the most:
- 3 interval workouts
- 4 performance programs
- 2 custom workouts
- 9 calorie workouts
- 10 step workouts
- 10 distance programs
- Manual Mode
The Horizon Evolve 5 measures 69 inches long x 28 inches wide x 69 inches. But with its one-step rear folding frame, it can be folded and stored away easily.
The Horizon Evolve 5 elliptical trainer provides extra features like a bottle holder, device shelf, and built-in speakers. These will make your training more comfortable and worthwhile.
But, how about tracking your progress?
The Horizon Evolve 5 has covered all of the little details to provide you with the smoothest workout experience!
It has a 6.25-inch blue backlight LCD so you can track your speed, distance covered, heart rate, and the number of calories you have burned so far.
But, it doesn’t stop there.
This folding elliptical is compatible with the Via Fit program, which lets you track your workouts online.
|Given its compact design, diverse features, and advanced built-in programming, the Horizon Evolve 5 is a folding elliptical definitely worth adding to your home gym. |
Just keep in mind that this model has a short frame design, which may affect stability as you work out at a higher intensity.
The Best Folding Elliptical Trainer Money Can Buy: Nordictrack SE7i Folding Elliptical
|Weight capacity||325 pound|
|✅ You can finely adjust the resistance with 22 levels.||❌ Heavier in weight than other models|
|✅ Your heart rate will be measured and displayed on the screen.|
|✅ Good entertainment system.|
The next compact elliptical machine worth taking a look at is the NordicTrack SE7i elliptical.
Forcing its way into the home fitness market, the brand was capable of showing over the years how a compact elliptical machine should be.
Thanks to its heavy 18-pound flywheel, the NordicTrack Space saver SE7i provides a sense of smooth movement and great flow. Plus, it can withstand a 325-pound maximum capacity.
The NordicTrack has a quiet magnetic resistance to keep distractions away. You get to listen to music or watch a movie while working out — sounds fun, right?
NordicTrack’s most notable features are the 22 resistance levels and 24 workout programs it provides.
Hence, no need to worry about your fitness level. Just adjust and go!
The NordicTrack SE7i also has a sweet treat for intense workout lovers.
It also has an inclination option. The elliptical incline can be adjusted up to 10% for more intense workouts.
This combination of inclination and high resistance features will provide you with a super powerful HIIT.
The NordicTrack SE7i has a plethora of features and will provide you with an effective low-impact workout.
Equipped with grip pulse sensors, the NordicTrack monitors and displays your heart rate and other exercises on its 10’’ LED screen.
Workouts are meant to challenge you. But with the NordicTrack SE7i, you’ll have a fun and comfortable sweat sesh!
It’s equipped with a cooling fan, a media shelf that can fit a tablet, digitally amplified speakers to enjoy your music, and the iFit system!
To keep the customers happy, this folding elliptical machine grants a 10-year warranty upon purchase.
|The silent magnetic resistance, quiet folding technique, heavy flywheels, 10’’ LED screen for heart rate monitoring, and luxurious entertainment system are the unique features that made me put NordicTrack SE7i in this list.|
This folding elliptical is a great choice if you prioritize your comfort during your exercise.
The Top Elliptical Trainer: Nordictrack SE9i Spacesaver Folding Elliptical
|Stride length||18 inches|
|Dimensions||78.7’’L x 31.9’’w x 66.4”H (where L=Length,W=width,H=Height)|
|Screen||7-inch HD Touch screen|
|Warranty||10 years’ Time frame; 2 Years Electronics & parts 1 Year labor.|
|✅ Compact when folded.||❌ Shorter 18” stride length.|
|✅ Access to iFit.||❌ A bit heavy to fold.|
|✅ 14” Touch screen Display|
|✅ More built-in programming.|
|✅ 24 Resistance levels.|
Moving on with the Space Saver Series, the NordicTrack SE9i SpaceSaver is one of the best folding elliptical trainers among others.
It shares many performance specs with the SE7i Nordictrack folding elliptical. Some of these are Bluetooth compatibility, 2’’ speakers, adjustable oversized cushion pedals, and auto breeze fans.
However, the SE9i has more advanced features!
With the automatic trainer control feature, iFIT trainers can control your machine in real-time! This allows you to focus more on your workout with a trainer’s guidance for better results.
Furthermore, this folding elliptical delivers an immersive interactive experience through its low-impact technology.
Unlike the SE7i, the SE9i forged ahead its resistance to 24 levels instead of 22.
You also have the ability to adjust the inclination level through the14’’ smart screen. You have a range between 0% and 10%.
The NordicTrackSE9i is more convenient than the SE7i due to SE9i’s vertical space storage design. Just make sure your storage can fit 32” wide and 80” long.
For extreme comfort during your workout, the handles are not only soft but also integrated with control buttons
|Despite all these amazing features and the space-saving specs, the SE9i weight is relatively heavy when handling, so make sure you ask for help if you have any back pain.|
The most Affordable Folding Elliptical: Gazelle Freestyle Folding Elliptical Trainer
|Sturdy Steel Construction||2” diameter|
|Weight capacity||Maximum 300lb|
|Product Weight||Approximately 46lb|
|Dimensions||Unfolded Dimensions: 44″ L x 33.5″ W x 53.5″ HFolded Dimensions: 66″ L x 33.5″ W x 10.5″ H|
|✅ Training focuses on core muscles||❌ It doesn’t come with adjustable resistance or inclination.|
|✅ Simple||❌ No technological advancement|
|✅ Folds flat for easy storage|
Next on the list is the Gazelle folding elliptical, aka “Tony Little’s Folding Elliptical” or “America’s Personal Trainer”.
What made this compact elliptical machine earn these monikers? Let’s find out.
When it comes to looks, the Gazelle folding elliptical surely looks very different from other ellipticals. Despite that, it can still provide you with a great aerobic workout experience.
It is designed to conveniently fit all homes, even small apartments.
The Gazelle Freestyle folding elliptical targets every muscle in your body with its 10 exercises mode.
What is more important is that this compact elliptical ensures a smooth transition from beginner to pro in no time.
The Gazelle folding elliptical has a solid structure of 2” sturdy steel construction, and it can withstand up to 300 pounds.
The high-density foam grip bars, along with the extra-wide and non-skid foot platforms, will allow both of your hands and feet to remain comfortable and stable as you sweat it out.
No need to worry about your fitness level, because this elliptical is simple and straightforward!
However, the Gazelle folding elliptical is different from the other compact elliptical machines I’ve mentioned in the list.
It lacks sophisticated features, such as adjustable resistance or inclination, that the other folding ellipticals have.
But, this compact elliptical provides you with the minimum technological requirements for your workout.
The Gazelle folding elliptical possesses a fitness computer that gives immediate feedback on speed, distance, time, and approximate calories burned. It also has built-in thumb pulse monitor for tracking your heart rate
If you are on a tight budget and you don’t want to spend over $400 on a full elliptical trainer, the simple and affordable Gazelle Freestyle Folding Elliptical Trainer is the answer you are looking for.
|If you are a “basics” kind of person who likes simple machinery, this small elliptical is the choice for you.|
The Gazelle Freestyle Elliptical Trainer is a traditional folding elliptical with low or no maintenance required.
It will strengthen the core muscles and give you an amazing workout even without the advanced features!
Although this straightforward design doesn’t offer you the resistance levels that other modern ellipticals do, it will do the trick if you are looking for an affordable foldable machine to fit into your room.
Great Folding Elliptical: Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Folding Elliptical Trainer
|Stride length||20 inches|
|Resistance||20 Electronically Adjustable|
|Dimensions||69’’L x 28’’w x 69”H (where L=Length,W=width,H=Height)|
|Warranty||Life Time frame; 3 Years Electronics & parts 1 Year labor.|
|Screen||5.5-inch Yellow-Green Backlit LCD|
|✅ A tablet holder is available.||❌ No incline option.|
|✅ Easy to assemble||❌ 5.5-inch screen|
|✅ Long stride||❌ No virtual Active Integrated|
|✅ Heavy flywheel|
|✅ ViaFit Connectivity|
The Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 is the best choice for people who want a simple folding elliptical machine with great quality.
The Evolve 3 is an earlier version of one of the best folding ellipticals, Horizon E5.
Even though it has a smaller flywheel, it offers you a great workout experience with its 20 different electronically adjustable resistance levels.
However, the Evolve 3 folding elliptical does not possess the incline feature as the NordicTrack models.
But among other foldable ellipticals, The Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 will definitely break the score with its 18-pound and 20-inch stride length, and weight capacity of 300 pounds.
You also get a lifetime warranty on the frame and 3 years warranty on the other parts.
I’d say that the people behind Horizon Fitness definitely understand fitness enthusiasts.
After an intense workout, you might be too tired to store your folding elliptical.
But with the hydraulic Feather Light System, will take care of the rest and make your life easier when folding away your E3.
The E3 also has an Integrated Via Fit technology that allows you to track your workouts online.
On its 5.5-inch Yellow-Green backlight LCD screen, you can check the workout programs and the feedback readings.
Some of the workout feedback: Calories, Cardio Compass, Distance, Heart Rate, Resistance Level, RPM, Speed, Time, Watts.
As for the programs it carries: Calorie, Custom, Distance, Intervals, Manual, Performance, Step.
You can also connect your elliptical to the television, and enjoy your favorite movie, or some beautiful outdoor locations on a large screen.
|This folding elliptical comes with an ideal pedal placement and optimal handlebar spacing. You can enjoy your workout and not worry about joint pain anymore.|
For those of you who don’t like to waste time and monitor their work while working out, the E3 folding elliptical designers got you covered.
It has a pad holder, and the feature to link it to a TV so you can keep track of your endeavors while staying fit.
But, special features come with a special price!
Unfortunately, it is not quite the cheapest of all folding ellipticals, and it might not be the best choice for intense training such as those requiring incline features.
How to Use a Folding Elliptical?
Always start with a gradual warm-up. Go easy for the first few minutes, then start walking until you’re ready to gradually work up to a brisk pace.
Every machine has different features and controls. Take a minute to read the instructions on the machine’s manual.
Here are some basic step-by-step directions for beginners:
- Assemble as instructed
- Step onto the machine facing the console. Typically, nothing will happen until you start pedaling.
- Activate the monitor. Begin pedaling by using your feet to push the pedals forward. Push and pull on the handles evenly.
You can select any of the preset programs displayed on the screen, or you can click on “manual” and work out at your own pace and intensity.
Adjust the pedaling resistance by pressing the up and down arrows.
Elliptical trainers usually have a heart monitor function in the handles. Firmly grip the elliptical handles if you want to gauge your workout intensity.
Folding Ellipticals generally share the common basics with regular elliptical trainers.
Relative to traditional home ellipticals, folding ellipticals take up less floor space and are easier to move.
Despite their compact design, folding elliptical machines are still sufficient and don’t lack any features compared to the regular elliptical trainers.
Also, they support full strides, offer comfort, and provide a variety of resistance options.
If you want to learn some tips, you watch the video below :
Benefits of Using a Folding Elliptical:
- Gets you in shape in no time if you stay consistent
- Burns tons of calories
- Relieves the stress and pressure off your joints during your workout
- Exercises your core muscles
- Rebuilds your fitness after an injury
- Improves your endurance and cardiovascular activity
Some Of The Folding Elliptical Cons
Ellipticals May Take Space
A foldable elliptical can still take up some space. So make sure to have space for the machine you’re buying.
You also need to consider room for the pedals while you’re in motion. Some ellipticals might extend up to a foot or so behind the main structure.
Also, you’d want to add around 20 inches of free space on either side for your comfort and safety.
One-Plane Of Motion Syndrome
It’s always good to mix up what you’re doing and not just stick to one plane of motion.
Cross-training and running engage our bodies in the forward and back plane of motion.
In fact, to get the maximum amount of exercise we need to tackle the other two planes.
These are the frontal plane, or what we call from side to side, and the transverse plane, which is in rotation.
Many will start to read a book or watch a series while using the elliptical trainer. This will make them forget the true purpose of why they are using this machine in the first place.
As a result, the workout intensity is compromised.
Try to play around with the resistance level or inclination feature, especially when you feel like your workout is getting too easy.
Ellipticals Are Not For Everyone
Almost everybody agrees that elliptical trainers are very low impact — good news for the knees!
However, if you have a knee condition or injury, this machine could make things worse.
If you suffer from a knee injury and still would want to have your home workout, you may benefit more from a stationary bike. Better refer to your healthcare professional for advice before getting any home gym machine.
What Are The Factors to Seek When Buying a Folding Elliptical?
1 – Design & Construction:
When shopping for a folding elliptical, it is important to keep the original goal in mind: finding a machine that is of high quality, easily foldable, and space-saving.
Remember to take accurate measures of your room, and how lengthy your machine should be.
Keep an eye on these two when purchasing an elliptical: “Stability” and “Durability”.
You sure don’t want any wobbling during the workout, so it has to support your weight.
2 – Stride Length:
Your workout won’t be safe and comfortable when you’re overextending your strides.
Going by height, if you are 6 feet or taller, you may want to consider a stride length above 20 inches in a folding elliptical.
This will create a safer and more comfortable environment for your workout.
3 – Resistance:
It’s all about intensity, so choose wisely.
Low resistance can resemble a slow walk, whereas higher resistance permits you to test your inner core as with a full run or a steep hike.
4 – Incline:
Incline features can also spice up your workout. This adds more resistance to your training.
If you want to challenge yourself, consider an elliptical with inclination features.
Are Folding Ellipticals Expensive?
Having additional features in your folding elliptical might actually cost you some cash.
We are talking about charging ports, Wi-Fi, USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, and wireless heart rate monitors, speakers, water bottle holders, tablet holders, smart touch screens, workout programs, virtual trainers, and so much more!
With a high budget, you can always get the pre-set programs that match your fitness level.
Cheaper ellipticals have fewer features. They come with fewer options and provide you with less sophisticated ways of adjusting the resistance.
So according to what you are looking for, the prices can range from $200 up to $2000.
Exercises and Workout Plans To Go With Your Folding Elliptical
1 – Interval training:
If you are aiming for the highest number of burned calories in the shortest time, then interval training is your cue.
It’s considered a great way to mix things up, burn more fat, and kill boredom.
2 – Change the Incline:
Running on an incline adds a little bit of action and resistance to your workout. Obviously, the higher the incline, the harder your workout.
Are you ready for such a challenge?
3 – Increase the resistance:
Most ellipticals have a wide range of resistance, so you can have some fun with them while reaching your fitness goal.
4 – Target the upper body:
Your arms, chest, back, and shoulder should all join the action to target the upper body — so move those pedals!
5 – Switch between HIIT and LISS:
HIIT is a great way to burn fat and improve cardiovascular health.
On the other hand, LISS (low-intensity steady state) has its time and place.
6 – Go Backwards:
Some folding ellipticals have pedals that can move in both ways: forwards and backward.
7 – Go Hands–free:
Set your hands free and try working out without the handles.
Frequently Asked Questions
1 – Can Ellipticals Fold Up?
It depends on what you are looking for. Some ellipticals do fold, while others don’t.
You should always keep in mind that folding ellipticals are a bit more expensive than ordinary ones because of the folded design.
Therefore, you should assess all the options first before you decide,
If you live in a small space, will a folding elliptical be suitable?
If you got a regular elliptical and you are struggling to relocate your furniture so everything fits in, then maybe it is time that you reconsider your options and get the best folding elliptical.
But always keep in mind that we are only folding the elliptical trainer and not making it invisible!
2 – What Is The Best Space-Saving Elliptical?
Among the 5 best folding machines, the Nordictrack SE9i is considered the best space-saving elliptical machine.
3 – Which Is Better: Cardio Treadmill or Elliptical?
Ellipticals will surely beat a cardio treadmill when it comes to providing a low-impact or cross-training type of workout.
4 – What Muscles Do Folding Ellipticals Target?
A folding elliptical can do miracles on both your lower and upper body.
You can target the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. They can also fix your anterior tibialis.
Since you will be using your arms and legs, your core will also take part in this action.
A strong core is all you need for preventing injuries, relieving back problems, and achieving good posture.
So why choose between health and fitness when you can get both?
5 – How Much Space Do You Need For A Folding Elliptical?
A good rule to follow is the 4 by 8 feet rule! Most ellipticals won’t need too much space beyond this measurement.
Others may even fit in smaller spaces.
6 – Does The Elliptical Burn Stomach Fat?
The most commonly asked question among users is: “Will the belly go?”
The only true way to lose fat is to be in a calorie deficit status. Being in a 3,500-calorie deficit state over a week means you’ll lose one pound of fat each week.
Of course, using an elliptical is an excellent way to burn those extra calories.
An adult weighing 180 pounds will burn around 750-950 calories on average during the first hour.
Here are some tips to burn more calories using a folding elliptical trainer:
- The greater the resistance, the faster the pace, and the more vigorous interval, the more calories you’ll burn.
- The longer the workout, the more calories you expend
- The more the upper body is engaged, the higher the calorie expenditure
Once you combine these calories burned with a healthy diet, you’ll be heading towards a calorie deficit state.
Keep this up for a few weeks, you will start to see results and your body fat percentage will start to decrease.
Consistency is the ultimate key in achieving any fitness goal.
Get the best cardio workout at the comfort of your home with any of the 5 best folding elliptical machines.
Whether it’s your upper or lower part, these machines will make sure you get proper exercise.
Remember to choose wisely the folding elliptical trainer that fits your goals and needs. Some are designed to provide comfort, others will test your limits and bring you a step closer to your goal.
This review is to provide you in a nutshell with the specs of each of the 5 five mentioned folding ellipticals. You can always give it another try and reread the above just in case you missed some information.
Do you think you’ve found the right compact elliptical machine for you?