One of the biggest factors in choosing home gym equipment is space. If you are a serious bodybuilder or athlete, you may already have a home gym based around resistance equipment.
What about cardio? It’s no secret that some cardio machines can take up a lot of space.
If space is a concern for you, a folding elliptical machine could be the solution. Once you’re done using the machine, just fold it up and roll it away.
In this guide, we will review the best folding ellipticals and help you match them to your goals. Let’s get started!
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
Quick Answer – The Best Folding Ellipticals
- Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Folding Elliptical Trainer – Best Overall
- NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i Folding Elliptical – Best For Bodybuilders & Athletes
- ProForm 495 Cse Smart Strider Folding Elliptical – Best For Beginners
- ProForm 895 Cse Smart Strider Elliptical – Best For Fitness
- Gazelle Edge by Tony Little – Best Space Saver
- Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Elliptical – Best Budget
Reviews – The Best Folding Ellipticals
1. Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Folding Elliptical Trainer – Best Overall
One of the main features of the Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Elliptical is the patented hydraulic folding system. It’s easy to fold and transport for storage.
Assembly of exercise equipment is not always easy, the Evolve 3 requires only 3 steps and claims to be fast and easy.
The Evolve 3 has 32 exercise programs, including manual, 6 calorie, 10 distance, 10 step, 3 interval, and 2 performance.
There’s a Cardio Compass display that helps users stay in their heart rate zone. There’s also ViaFit Connected Technology to keep track of your calories burned.
This elliptical is “Passport” ready, which is a program that lets you see exotic locations while you exercise.
Also, there’s an Energy Saver Mode, built-in speakers, reading rack, and water bottle holder.
Finally, there’s a lifetime warranty on the frame. All of these features make the Evolve 3 the best overall folding elliptical.
- Easy 3-Step Assembly
- Features A Patented Hydraulic Folding System
- 32 Exercise Programs
- The Stride Is Not Adjustable
2. NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i Folding Elliptical – Best For Bodybuilders & Athletes
The NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i Folding Elliptical has 22 Digital Resistance Levels and a user weight capacity of 325lbs.
It comes with a 1-month membership to iFit, an interactive personal trainer program that provides live, studio, and global trainer-led workouts.
There’s a 5-inch display to track your exercise performance, and an AutoBreeze fan to help keep you cool.
Also, there’s an adjustable Power Ramp that lets you exercise at an incline and the stride is also adjustable.
The combination of the Power Ramp incline and the resistance levels makes the Nordic Track a good choice for bodybuilders and athletes that demand high-level workout capabilities.
There’s a 10-year warranty on the frame with a 2-year part and 1-year labor warranty.
The Spacesaver SE7i is quiet and folds up for easy storage when your workout is over.
- 22 Levels Of Resistance
- Adjustable Incline & Stride
- Extensive iFit Workout Library
- The iFit Membership Costs Extra After The One Month Trial
3. ProForm 495 Cse Smart Strider Folding Elliptical – Best For Beginners
The ProForm 495 Cse Smart Strider features 18 resistance levels, commercial-gauge solid steel construction, and has a user weight capacity of 275lbs.
The stride length is 18”, and it has padded upper-body workout arms, along with adjustable pedals. There’s a 13 lb. Effective Inertia-Enhanced flywheel for smooth, quiet operation.
The 495 Cse comes with a tablet holder and iPod-compatible audio. It’s iFit ready and comes with 18 workout apps.
There’s also an EKG heart rate monitor and a holder for your water bottle.
The Smart Strider comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and a 1-year warranty on parts and labor.
It folds easily and has transport wheels for easy storage. If you’re new to exercising and want to get started with a good machine, the 495 Cse is the best choice.
- 18 Resistance Levels
- iFit Ready, Includes 18 Workout Apps
- Folds & Rolls For Storage
- iFit Is Only Available At Extra Cost
4. ProForm 895 Cse Smart Strider Elliptical – Best For Fitness
The ProForm 895 Cse Smart Strider Elliptical is made using commercial-grade steel construction with a 325lb user weight limit.
There are 24 resistance levels and an 11lb Effective Inertia-Enhanced flywheel.
The stride length is an 18” and there are padded upper-body workout arms. The large adjustable pedals are cushioned for comfort. Also, there’s a 7” display that is iFit ready, and includes 32 workout apps with a wireless EKG heart rate monitor chest strap.
Additional features include a water bottle holder, a CoolAire workout fan, an integrated tablet holder, and iPod-compatible audio.
This elliptical folds quickly and has transport wheels for easy storage.
Finally, there’s a lifetime warranty on the frame with a 3-year warranty on parts and a 1-year labor warranty.
The features of the 895 Cse make it the best choice for serious fitness enthusiasts.
- The Steel Frame Has A Lifetime Warranty
- Features 24 Resistance Levels
- iFit Ready – 32 Workout Apps
- Some Users Have Experienced Display Module Problems
- The Stride Length May Not Be Long Enough For Taller Users
5. Gazelle Edge by Tony Little – Best Space Saver
The Gazelle Edge is a no-frills, easy to use elliptical with a user weight capacity of 250lbs. There’s a simple 5-function display that tracks speed, distance, and time.
The non-skid foot platforms are extra-large, and the handlebars are padded.
While the Edge has a great price point, its major downside is that there’s no adjustable resistance. This limits how far a serious fitness-minded user can go in terms of workout intensity. Still, it also means this is a great choice for users that can’t exercise too intensely.
Users use their body weight to change exercises. As an example, crouching down, standing sideways, and pushing off with the heel. These techniques help the user perform the advertised 6-10 exercises that can be done on the Gazelle Edge.
Finally, it folds up almost completely flat, making the Gazelle the best compact elliptical available.
Read our Gazelle Edge Review.
- Simple Easy To Use Design
- Folds Virtually Flat
- 6-10 Available Exercises
- There Is No Warranty Information Listed
- Some Users Complain Of Quality
6. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Elliptical – Best Budget
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Elliptical has a user weight capacity of 220lbs and is designed for smooth, quiet operation.
With a 45” stride length, you can go from a slow walk to a full run on this machine.
The LCD computer tracks calories burned, time, count, and total distance.
There’s an abdominal pad for support, padded handles, and large, slip-free footpads.
The SF-E902 Air Walk folds up and can be stored in any tight space, like under a bed or in a closet. It also has a 1-year warranty on the frame and a 90-day on parts.
The primary downside is that resistance is not adjustable. Still, the price point is exceptional, making the SF-E902 the best budget folding elliptical.
- Compact – Folds In Half
- Quiet, Smooth Operation Whether Walking Or Running
- Ab Pad Provides Good Support
- Some Users Feel It’s Not Sturdy
Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Folding Elliptical?
The truth is, there are not as many folding ellipticals as you might think. There are many compact designs available, but they do not fold.
Many ellipticals have transport wheels, so you can lift the front end and roll it somewhere else. However, the footprint doesn’t change, so you’ll need enough space to store it. Or, you can simply leave it set up in a predetermined exercise area.
Compare that to some of the folding ellipticals in this guide that fold up virtually in half and can be stored under a bed, or in a closet. It should be clear that a true folding machine makes more sense in terms of space-saving and portability.
There are several different folding elliptical designs. There are lightweight no-resistance machines that fold up almost flat. There’s also larger machines that fold up vertically and can be rolled out of the way.
Regardless of the design you choose, it should be suited to your goals.
For example, if you’re a serious trainer, don’t choose a machine that offers no real resistance.
If you’re a senior that does not want to work out too hard, don’t choose a high end elliptical with 20+ resistance levels and streaming trainer-led workouts.
Additionally, when choosing the type of elliptical you want, you need to take into account how much space it will require for use.
The size of the footprint when using a folding elliptical can be more than you may have imagined.
As always, before you make your choice, measure your space, and make sure you have enough room.
While this is an important consideration, it is not advertised with every type of elliptical.
Here’s what it means: it’s the distance or span between the toe of the front pedal and the heel of the rear pedal when the pedals are farthest apart from each other.
It’s important to remember that the stride has to accommodate your height.
If the length is short, your stride won’t be natural. If the length is long you’ll overextend your natural stride.
Most folding ellipticals provide stride length and corresponding height guidelines.
Depending on the design and price point, folding ellipticals can offer quite a few resistance levels, some even auto-adjust it for you. Of course, some of the inexpensive models offer no resistance at all.
Given the range of options here, from zero resistance to trainer-led workout programs and variable resistance during your workout, you will need to be sure you choose the folding elliptical that best matches your workout goals.
Each approach has its advantages. A folding elliptical with no adjustable resistance is a good choice for seniors, or users recovering from an injury. The more advanced models are a great choice for bodybuilders, athletes, and serious fitness enthusiasts.
As you can see, when it comes to resistance, there’s something for everyone.
Some folding ellipticals offer an adjustable incline. This, of course, adds to the intensity of the workout. Not all ellipticals offer this option, so if this component is important to you, make sure you check and see if the elliptical you are considering has it.
Control display features vary from machine to machine but the basics should be such things as time, calories burned, and distance.
Some provide more data, and feature push-button adjustable resistance or even incline height. Of course, many also feature users’ choice of workout programs.
The features you want are dependent on your budget and your goals.
As always, budget is one of the primary deciding factors concerning any folding elliptical you’re interested in.
There are some exceptional choices available but, let’s face it, the prices can be exceptional too.
While budget is a guiding factor in your choice, it’s not the only factor. Shop around and look for the best combination of features vs. cost.
Some of the higher-end folding ellipticals have a lifetime warranty on the frame, with varying warranties on parts and labor.
On the other hand, the lower-priced units have a very short warranty, such as 1-year on the frame, or no warranty at all.
Of course, the warranty should always be an important consideration when choosing your folding elliptical.
This includes amenities such as a cooling fan, water bottle holder, magazine rack, built in speakers, or smart device holder. Many of these features add to the convenience factor of the unit but do not increase workout intensity.
One of the more important considerations for many users will be the amount of calories burned per exercise session.
This will depend on a number of factors, such as the features of the machine, body weight, the intensity of your workout, and the length of your workout.
As an example, if you weigh 200lbs and use moderate effort, you will burn approximately 477 calories per hour.
If you weigh 150lbs and use moderate intensity, you will burn approximately 358 calories per hour.
Regarding the features of the machine, folding ellipticals that have an adjustable incline will burn more calories than those that don’t.
Additionally, the number of resistance levels will play a role. Therefore, on average, users can burn 350-450 calories per hour using moderate effort.
Our best overall folding elliptical is the Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Folding Elliptical Trainer. It has a unique hydraulic system that makes folding up the Evolve 3 simple and easy. The ease of use carries over to the assembly, which can be done in 3 simple steps. You can unbox the unit and be exercising in no time.
If you want something more budget-friendly, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Elliptical is the best way to go. It’s a simple machine that allows slow walking to fast running for a complete cardio workout. However, it does not have adjustable resistance.
For those users that want the maximum in resistance, there’s the NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i Folding Elliptical. It features 22 resistance levels that are digitally adjusted and there’s an adjustable Power Ramp incline. This combination creates the kind of intensity serious bodybuilders and athletes demand.
There are not as many choices in true folding ellipticals as you might like, but the choices presented here cover everybody’s needs.