In the past, cardio machines for your own home were only for wealthy people. The machines were not only very expensive–they were huge. It took a lot of work to get them delivered and set up–which cost even more money. This is one of the major reasons people join a gym: you get access to the very expensive cardio equipment for only a few dollars a day.
When you walk into any fitness club, the majority of the people there are using the cardio equipment. And what are the most used machines? Treadmills and ellipticals. People go for these as they are a great way to exercise and help get results. But what if you could use an elliptical in your own home?
Many people don’t look into home cardio equipment as they feel it will be too expensive, or that they won’t have room for them. If you live in a small space or an apartment, you may feel that there’s no chance to create your own home cardio set up. But things have changed. The advancement in technology for cardio equipment has grown by leaps and bounds. Not only are these machines more affordable–they come in more compact sizes to accommodate even the smallest of spaces.
Elliptical machines–which are often some of the biggest machines out there–can now be found in compact, folding models. And this is a list of the best folding ellipticals you can buy to start getting fit and healthy in the comfort of your own home.
Best Folding Elliptical
4. Gazelle Supreme by Tony Little
If there were one person that represents the elliptical machine, it would be Tony Little. He is synonymous with the infomercials of him riding the Gazelle elliptical. But the Gazelle Supreme is a high-end piece of equipment that can get you to your fittest state ever.
This trainer is all about the gazelle-like motion that not only gives you a great cardio workout–there is zero impact on your joints and knees. This will allow you to go for extended cardio sessions as you won’t have to stop due to discomfort. This can really boost the results you get.
The Gazelle Supreme is a unique machine that trains your entire body. This is what makes it one of the best cardiovascular exercises you can do. You can also use it at whatever fitness level you find yourself. You can start with a slower walking pace, but move up to a more intense run.
What makes the Gazelle stand apart from other elliptical trainers is the different positions it can be used in. This will target different muscles and give you a different cardio stimulus each time you use it. It also provides resistance making it a muscular endurance form of training along with the cardiovascular benefit you get.
- LCD display to track time, distance, calories burned, pulse rate, etc
- Extra-wide, non-slip foot platforms
- Water bottle holder
- Comes with 3 workout DVDs.
- A different elliptical experience than standard machines
- No support console for electronics and tablets
3. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer
The Air Walk Trainer from Sunny will be your best friend if you’ve had problems with your joints, feet, ankles, and knees. Most often, fitness is cut short not due to cardiovascular fatigue–but joint discomfort and pain.
You may be able to continue your workout–but you are stopped short. This elliptical trainer from Sunny Health & Fitness is a true glider. The full-body motion of this elliptical not only works the full-body–it helps to stretch your muscles while exercising.
This is a good choice no matter what level of fitness you are at. It works great for just a gradual walking pace, but can also handle a more intense stride. It has large, non-slip foot pedals to keep you secure and a 45-inch stride length which will give you a full range of motion leading to more cardiovascular improvement.
This is one of the most compact units you will find. Not only does it already have a small footprint, but it folds up easily and can be stored in small areas. What makes the Air Walk training unique is that it incorporates different types of activity in one motion. When using this trainer, it is a similar effect to walking, running, cross country skiing, and even aerobic dancing all at the same time.
- LCD display to show you your stats
- Adjustable abdominal pad to keep you even more secure
- Extremely smooth and quiet
- Max user weight of 220 pounds
- No tablet or device holder
2. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine
The SF-E905 is another great option from Sunny Health and Fitness. This looks like more of a traditional elliptical machine compared to the Air Walk Trainer. This very affordable elliptical is great for an intense workout as it features 8-different levels of magnetic resistance. This will allow you to make intensity changes to make your workout more engaging and challenging.
You will also find non-slip pedals that will keep you secure and allow you to go at a more intense pace. And if you have knee or joint problems, you can take comfort going faster knowing there will be zero impact.
The SF-E905 has a built-in heart rate sensor which will help give you an accurate heart rate reading. This is important if you need to train in a certain target heart rate zone. If you have any balance or stability issues, this will be the best choice for you as the SF-E905 features onboard stabilizers. This will keep you more secure, level, balanced, and in the proper workout position.
You also get transportable wheels so you can move the machine anywhere you want. Since it doesn’t take up much room at all, it can be left in any room without feeling cumbersome.
- Very smooth and quiet operating experience
- Efficient stride design to get the most out of your strides
- Floor stabilizers to prevent tipping or rocking
- Max user weight of 220 pounds
1. ProForm 895 Cse Smart Strider 895 Cse Elliptical
The best folding elliptical on our list is the ProForm 895. This is an amazing machine that looks like it’s right out of a high-end gym–but it’s foldable and can be easily stored away. If you’ve used a commercial gym elliptical–this will make you feel right at home. It has built-in handles if you want more support just for a lower body workout, but also soft-padded upper body arms for that full-body workout.
The 895 has an 18-pound inertia flywheel which creates an incredibly smooth, but quiet stride motion. It also comes with an amazing 24 different levels of resistance. This will allow you to take on an endless amount of workout variations because of the different intensities you can create.
The 895 also has an HD touchscreen color display which you don’t often find on machines at this price point. On this display, you have 32 different workout apps along with all your other stats. This machine also comes with an EKG heart rate monitor that you measure with a wireless chest strap.
It is adjustable so that you can find the perfect fit for yourself, and it even comes with a cooling fan which you don’t often find on home machines. The 895 is like having your own team of fitness professionals to help get you in the best shape of your life.
- Built-in sound system to plug your device into
- Rear-mounted transport wheels
- Water bottle holder
- 10-degree incline capability
- Might be too technical for some people
Important Things to Consider When Buying an Elliptical Trainer
If you’re reading this article about folding elliptical trainers, space has obviously been an issue for you. Ellipticals tend to be some of the biggest pieces of cardio equipment, and you might have had limited room to keep one. With foldable trainers, you don’t have to worry about it taking up too much space which is usually a major concern when buying fitness equipment.
You might also want to consider how much guidance you may–or may not–need for your workouts. If you are happy to go at your own pace, you can opt for a machine that has simpler functions. The great thing with many of these ellipticals is that you can just jump on and go. This is great when you are excited to exercise and just want to get going.
Some machines can take a lot of pre-set up which can delay your workout. But if you like to have more instruction–or specific workouts to follow–you’ll want to choose a machine that has pre-programmed workouts, or instructional videos via apps to have more variety in your workouts.
If you’re on a budget, there is always the option to watch YouTube instructional workouts to follow along with. With a foldable elliptical–this is easy. Since they are more transportable, you can set them up in front of your TV–or laptop–to follow along with a workout, or just watch your favorite content.
Personal Trainer Recommendation & Conclusion
If this is your first time using an elliptical trainer, it takes a little getting used to. The exercise part is simple, but if you’ve only been a runner–the motion might feel a little foreign. Since there is no impact or propelling yourself off the ground, you may feel like you’re floating a bit through the movement. This rarely a problem but can be a bit disorienting–so keep that in mind.
You may also feel like you’re still moving when you get off one–this is normal too similarly to getting off of a boat and back onto solid land. But it’s this level of machine support that is taking away the impact and protecting your joints and knees. This makes it one of the top cardio choices if you find yourself suffering from knee problems, but are still healthy enough for intense exercise.
It’s important to start with a 5-10 minute warmup at a gradual pace to get your heart rate up and blood flowing to the muscles. Just as important is to finish with a 5-10 minute cool down to return your body to a resting heart rate. The cooldown also helps avoid blood pooling in the muscle which can lead to discomfort and cramping. The end of your workout is also a good time to stretch as this will help in the muscle recovery process.
It’s important to pay attention to your breathing while using an elliptical trainer. There’s not as much demand on the body that can happen with running and that tends to force heavier breathing. An elliptical is not as strenuous (despite providing a great cardiovascular workout) so it can be easy not to pay attention to breathing. Make sure to take your breaths in through the nose and exhale through the mouth to oxygenate the lungs and muscle tissue and get the most out of your exercise.