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.
But what about cardio? It’s no secret that some cardio machines can take up a lot of room.
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. What could be easier?
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
- Gazelle Freestyle Glider – Best Celebrity Endorsed
- Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Elliptical – Best Budget
Reviews – The 7 Best Folding Ellipticals
1. Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Folding Elliptical Trainer – Best Overall
Here’s an elliptical that almost anyone can assemble. Assembly of exercise equipment is not always easy, yet the Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 requires only 3 steps.
One of the main features of the Evolve 3 Elliptical is the patented hydraulic folding system. It’s easy to fold. Also, there’s wheels so it’s easy to transport for storage.
The Evolve 3 Folding Elliptical comes with 32 exercise programs. They emphasize everything from calorie-focused workout programs to distance-focused programs.
There’s a Cardio Compass display that helps users stay in their heart rate zone. Also, there’s ViaFit Connected Technology to keep track of your calories burned. Plus, you can share your workouts with other fitness apps and social media.
This folding elliptical machine is “Passport” ready. That’s a program that lets you see exotic locations while you exercise. This program displays on your TV.
Also, there’s an Energy Saver Mode, built-in speakers, reading rack, and water bottle holder.
Finally, there’s a lifetime frame warranty. All of these features make the Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 the best overall folding elliptical trainer.
- Easy 3-Step Assembly
- Features A Patented Hydraulic Folding System
- 32 Exercise Programs For A Total Body Workout
- The Stride Length 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 30 trial iFit membership. iFit is an interactive personal trainer program that provides live, studio, and global trainer-led workouts.
One of the best features is the Automatic Trainer Control. This lets the iFit Trainer automatically adjust your elliptical to suit the workout.
There’s a 5-inch LCD monitor to track your exercise performance, and an Auto Breeze fan to help keep you cool.
Also, there’s an adjustable Power Ramp that lets you exercise at an incline and there’s adjustable stride length. That makes the SE7i ideal for multiple users.
The combination of the Power incline and the resistance levels makes the Nordic Track a good choice for bodybuilders and athletes that demand high-level workout capabilities. Use the SE7i to target all muscle groups.
Plus, you can use the SE7i for HIIT-style (high-intensity interval training) workouts, or cross-training workouts.
There’s a 10-year warranty on the frame with a 2-year part and a 1-year labor warranty. Also, there’s a max user weight of 325lbs.
The Spacesaver SE7i is quiet and folds up for easy storage when your workout is over.
- 22 Levels Of Resistance
- Adjustable Motorized Incline
- Adjustable Stride Length
- Extensive iFit Fitness Programs Available
- 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 max user weight of 275lbs.
The stride length is 18 inches, and it has padded upper-body workout arms, along with adjustable non slip pedals. There’s a 13 lb. Effective Inertia-Enhanced flywheel for smooth, quiet operation.
The 495 Cse folding elliptical machine comes with an integrated tablet holder and iPod-compatible audio. It’s iFit ready and comes with 18 workout programs to help you reach your fitness goals. It’s like having your own personal trainer.
There’s also an EKG heart rate monitor and a holder for your water bottle.
The ProForm Smart Strider 495 comes with a lifetime frame warranty 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 foldable elliptical.
- 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 ProForm Smart Strider has an 18-inch stride length and there are padded upper-body workout arms. The large adjustable pedals are cushioned for comfort. Also, there’s a 7” LCD monitor that is iFit ready and includes 32 workout apps with a wireless EKG heart rate monitor chest strap.
Additional features include a holder for your water bottle, a CoolAire workout fan, an integrated tablet holder, and iPod-compatible audio.
This elliptical machine 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 ProForm Smart Strider 895 make it the best foldable elliptical 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 folding elliptical machine 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 due to health concerns.
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 requires minimal space and 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. Gazelle Freestyle Glider – Best Celebrity Endorsed
Here’s a folding elliptical machine that comes with 2 workout videos. The Gazelle Freestyle Glider is Tony Little-endorsed. The Glider provides a low-impact workout and has fast folding capability.
This affordable, space-saving folding elliptical lets you do 10 total exercises to tone different muscle groups. Plus, it takes up minimal floor space while in use.
It has a patented dual-pivot system for a better range of motion. Also, the Gazelle Freestyle tracks all your workout stats.
There’s a built-in pulse monitor and a place for your water bottle. Plus, the Gazelle Freestyle comes with a special Nutrition Guide to help you reach your fitness goals.
Finally, the max user weight is 300lbs, and there’s a 1-year warranty.
- Lets You Do 10 Total Exercises
- Does Not Take Up Much Floor Space
- Affordable Folding Elliptical
- Some Users Feel It’s Too Noisy
7. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Elliptical – Best Budget
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Elliptical has a user weight limit of 220lbs and is designed for smooth, quiet operation.
With a 45-inch stride length, you can go from a slow walk to a full run on this compact machine.
The LCD monitor tracks calories burned, time, count, and total distance.
There’s an abdominal pad for support, padded handles, and large, slip-free footpads.
The Sunny Health & Fitness 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 machine.
- Compact Elliptical – Folds In Half
- Quiet, Smooth Operation Whether Walking Or Running
- Ab Pad Provides Good Support
- Some Users Feel It’s Not Sturdy Enough
Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Folding Elliptical Machine?
What Are Folding Elliptical Machines?
A folding elliptical is also known as a folding elliptical cross trainer or simply elliptical trainer. Regardless of what you call it, foldable ellipticals have been designed to fold up quickly and easily when not in use. This makes them a great choice for smaller spaces and for working out in your own home. Despite being compact and lightweight, the best folding elliptical machines will let you get in some great workouts.
Types Of Folding Elliptical Machines
Basically, there are two main types of ellipticals. One has more length with a flywheel in the back to provide adjustable resistance. This design may also have an adjustable incline feature.
An example of this type is the NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i.
The other type is much shorter and looks like more of a glider than an elliptical. This style may not have adjustable resistance and probably does not offer incline training. It’s much more compact. Plus, it’s better suited to those that may have trouble exercising intensely, such as seniors.
As you can see, folding ellipticals can cover the needs of anyone from seniors to serious bodybuilders and athletes.
What Muscles Do Folding Elliptical Machines Target?
Just like non-foldable elliptical machines, a folding elliptical cross trainer targets all the muscles in the body. Your lower body will get a good workout as you increase your stride. If you’re using the upper body handles; your arms and upper body will get a great workout too. A folding elliptical machine is good for cardio and limited strength training. Still, if muscle mass is your goal, it’s not meant to replace resistance training.
Another consideration is the different training styles you can do. With an elliptical, you can do cross-training, HIIT, and steady-state training. Plus, many elliptical machines provide preset workout programs.
What To Consider When Choosing Elliptical Machines
The truth is, there are not as many folding elliptical machines on the market as you might think. There are many compact designs available, but not all ellipticals fold.
Many elliptical machines have transport wheels, so you can lift the front end and roll it somewhere else for storage. 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. That works well for cheaper models that do not have wheels.
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 foldable elliptical makes more sense in terms of space-saving and portability.
There are several different folding elliptical designs. There are lightweight no-resistance cheaper elliptical machines that fold up almost flat. There are also larger machines that fold up vertically and can be rolled out of the way. One prime example of this is the NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i. It’s an exceptional machine but it’s also one of the longest in this guide.
Regardless of the design you choose, any foldable ellipticals you’re considering should be suited to your goals.
For example, if you’re a serious trainer, don’t choose a machine that offers no real resistance. Instead, go with a solid elliptical machine that gets the job done safely and effectively.
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 live-stream trainer-led workouts. Instead, go with an elliptical that fits your fitness level.
As noted, when choosing the type of elliptical you want, you need to take into account how much space it will require for use. Specifically, the length of the machine should be the primary consideration.
The size of a folding elliptical can be more than you may have imagined. If you work out in compact spaces, you’ll need a compact elliptical.
That means one that’s 78 inches long, such as the NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i, make not work for you. Even though it folds up, your space has to have enough length.
In this case, perhaps the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk, at 25 inches long, is better suited to your needs.
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 them 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. As noted, 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 serious fitness enthusiasts or elite athletes.
As you can see, when it comes to resistance, there’s something for every fitness level.
Some folding ellipticals offer an adjustable incline feature. 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.
The best example in this guide is the NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i with its exclusive Power Ramp incline feature.
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.
If you have an app such as iFit, you will need to be sure you have Bluetooth connectivity. You’ll find these types of ellipticals have preset workouts, a library of workout programs, and a live streaming option.
Our best overall, the Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Elliptical Trainer, features an advanced control module with 32 available exercise programs. It also has the “Passport” feature allowing you to train to exotic locations using your TV.
In comparison, the Gazelle Edge by Tony Little has a very simple display that tracks basic exercise stats. Still, for some users, that’s all that’s needed.
Ultimately, available features 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 elliptical with the best combination of features vs. cost.
Elliptical trainers are an investment but are more than worth it if they are well-made. The best folding elliptical have durable steel frames. They usually come with a weight limit over 300 pounds and, as we will see below, a good warranty. The best folding elliptical trainers should be able to stand up to years of intense workouts.
Some of the high-end folding ellipticals have a lifetime frame warranty on the frame, with varying warranties on parts and labor. Most users should at least want a good frame warranty.
On the other hand, a lower-priced elliptical will 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 trainer.
Additional Features Of Folding Elliptical Machines
This includes amenities such as a cooling fan, water bottle holder, magazine rack, built-in speakers, or integrated tablet holder. Many of these features add to the convenience factor of the unit but do not increase workout intensity.
Still, who doesn’t want an elliptical trainer with some good amenities?
One of the more important considerations for many users will be the number of calories burned per exercise session.
This will depend on a number of factors, such as the features of the elliptical, 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 on your elliptical trainer.
If you weigh 150lbs and use moderate intensity, you will burn approximately 358 calories per hour on your elliptical trainer.
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.
Are Compact Ellipticals Worth It?
After reading our folding elliptical reviews, the answer is clear – yes, they are worth it. They are low impact, easy to use, compact, and foldable to save space. Plus, elliptical machines burn a respectable number of calories for the effort.
Should You Go Forward Only – Or Can You Go Backward On Your Elliptical?
As noted, most ellipticals allow for different training styles. You walk briskly for 20 minutes but you’re missing out on some of the benefits. Most ellipticals come with either manual settings and workout programs or a full control panel to help you train. By doing these workouts, you can completely train your muscles.
You can walk forward or backward on a folding cross-trainer. If you have never walked backward on an elliptical, try it. It will work the muscles differently.
Our best elliptical machine 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. Most users can unbox the elliptical and be exercising in no time. No wonder it’s our best folding elliptical.
If you want an elliptical trainer that’s more budget-friendly, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Elliptical is the best way to go. It’s a simple elliptical 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 incline ramp. This combination creates the kind of intense elliptical training serious bodybuilders and athletes’ demand.
There are not as many choices in true folding ellipticals as you might like, but the elliptical reviews presented here cover everybody’s needs.