The Best Folding Ellipticals: Maximize Your Home Workouts

kialei kappel
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woman on an elliptical

Working your cardiovascular system is an essential part of any exercise routine, and the elliptical machine is a classic for helping you reach those cardio goals. Opting to purchase one for your home can be an excellent investment in your overall health and fitness, and there are some great machines on the market that can fit your particular space and budget. The best folding ellipticals allow you to knock out your cardio at home without taking up too much of your precious space, and many options offer excellent built-in programming to keep your workouts safe, smart, effective, and interesting. A fold-up elliptical can be folded (duh), wheeled away if needed, and stored until the next time it's required.

Lower-impact than treadmills and more ideal for the total-body workout that many exercisers prefer, ellipticals can be used for steady state cardio, interval training, and a plethora of cardio workouts that help you get closer to your health and fitness goals. Read on to learn more about choosing the right elliptical for your personal goals, space limitations, and budget requirements.

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Benefits of Folding Ellipticals

While there are many options available for functional ellipticals on the market, folding ellipticals have really changed the game and allowed people to reap the cardio benefits in their own homes. When space is a hot commodity and every square foot counts, being able to fold up and store your elliptical between uses means home ellipticals are now an option for many more people. If you want to enjoy the benefits of regular elliptical workouts from the comfort of your own home without sacrificing an entire room to the endeavor, a fold-up elliptical might just be your ideal solution.

The Best Folding Elliptical - Our Top Picks

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Best Overall Folding Elliptical - NordicTrack Space Saver

NordicTrack Space Saver


  • Dimensions: 80" x 32" footprint, 67" high
  • Weight: 218 lbs. in box
  • Features: The SE9i has a 14" touchscreen, two built in speakers, Bluetooth capabilities, iFIT programming, up to 10% incline, 24 resistance levels, a 325 lbs. weight limit, water bottle holder, and built-in fan


The NordicTrack SpaceSaver comes in two different models: the SpaceSaver SE9i and the SpaceSaver SE7i. Both are excellent models that offer top-of-the-line programming, and they have a few key differences that include different-sized screens (the SE7i is smaller) and different resistance levels (the SE9i has more). They both offer a smooth gliding experience thanks to quality build and design, amenities such as a fan and water bottle holder for comfort and convenience, and an ideal low-impact cardio experience due to top-of-the-line construction. They both utilize the Vertical SpaceSaver™ Design and fold down to a more compact size for convenient storage.

With your NordicTrack elliptical purchase, you get a free 30-day trial of iFIT programming, which you can continue with or choose to cancel at the end of your free trial. The iFIT experience is a subscription-based workout and training program that allows you to stream thousands of workouts led by world-class trainers, all from the built-in screen on your elliptical. For $39/month you get access to all kinds of walks, runs, and hikes set in spectacular locations around the globe that you can immerse yourself in while working out on your elliptical. You can also use it for non-elliptical workouts at home, allowing for a more complete and holistic exercise experience. iFIT is highly recommended by users thanks to its variety, extensive library, immersive feel, and science-based programming that yields excellent results.

What We Like

  • Free 30-day iFIT trial membership
  • Large touchscreen allows for easy programming and a more immersive experience
  • Higher weight limit (325 pounds) makes this elliptical accessible for more people/bodies
  • Smooth ride for a joint-protecting workout

What We Don't Like

  • Takes up more floor space than some other fold-up ellipticals
  • If you don't like the subscription model and opt out of iFIT, you do miss out on some of this elliptical's key benefits
  • Cost may be prohibitive

BUY: NordicTrack Space Saver

Best Budget Folding Elliptical – Sunny Health Airwalk Trainer

Sunny Health Airwalk Trainer


  • Dimensions: 25" x 19" footprint, 57" high (15" x 19", 61.5" high when folded)
  • Weight: 35 lbs.
  • Features: LCD monitor, 220 lbs. weight limit, non-slip pedals, adjustable abdominal pad


The Air Walk Trainer Glider Exercise Machine by Sunny Health & Fitness is an excellent, economical, and space-saving elliptical for someone who wants to save space and money while still hitting their cardio goals. At 35 pounds and with a footprint of only about 2 feet by 2 feet (and it gets even smaller when folded up!), you can set this glider machine up just about anywhere and then stow it away between uses.

The Airwalk Trainer allows you to get that full-body, low-impact cardio workout without making things complicated. You control your speed and distance/time, choosing what your workout looks like that day. The small display tracks time, speed, distance, heart rate, and calories burned. This is an excellent choice for exercisers who want to turn their TV time into something more physical and less sedentary or who want to change up their cardio routine without a major investment of floor space or money.

What We Like

  • Exceptionally low cost
  • Good for someone who doesn't care about bells and whistles and just wants a basic, well-designed exercise machine
  • Extremely portable and storable; takes up very minimal space in your home

What We Don't Like

  • No smart programming or variable settings
  • Weight limit of 220 lbs. makes this elliptical less accessible for some exercisers

BUY: Sunny Health Airwalk Trainer

Best Folding Elliptical for Beginners – Horizon Evolve 5 Elliptical

Horizon 5


  • Dimensions: 69" x 28" footprint, 69" height (41" x 28", 69" height when folded)
  • Weight: 181 lbs.
  • Features: 20 resistance levels, built-in speakers, tablet rack, water bottle holder, 6.25" LCD display, ViaFit connectivity, and a 300 lbs. weight limit


The Evolve 5 Elliptical by Horizon Fitness is our top pick for elliptical beginners who are looking to increase their cardio minutes and overall fitness. This full-size elliptical provides an excellent, smooth workout and folds up with an exceptionally compact footprint of 28" x 41". The LCD display provides you with feedback on your workout stats and allows for customizable programming and variety. Feedback display options include calories burned, distance traveled, current heart rate, resistance settings, RPMs (rotations per minute), speed, time, and watts (power output).

ViaFit connectivity allows you to sync your elliptical's workout data with your other tracking devices or fitness apps. It is an excellent way to ensure your overall workout plan is holistic and integrated, and it makes tracking a more streamlined process for all the data junkies out there. Whether you're a true exercise beginner or are looking to elevate your elliptical game, the Evolve 5 Elliptical is an excellent all-around machine that offers a solid workout in a space-saving design.

What We Like

  • Variety of feedback options displayed during your workout as well as option to sync with your other trackers and apps
  • 30-day trial period (full refund offered if you're not completely happy with it)
  • Solid build offers stability while folding design saves space

What We Don't Like

  • No option for customized training or workout subscription upgrade
  • No built-in fan

BUY: Horizon Evolve 5 Elliptical

What to Look for in a Folding Elliptical


When looking to buy any piece of workout equipment, the first thing you need to consider is the space in which you expect to house that equipment. Your needs will vary wildly if you plan to use your elliptical in your full garage gym vs. a small living room with space in front of the TV, for instance. How small an elliptical can fold up will make a major difference in a multi-purpose room where that space is needed for other things when your elliptical is not in use. Before you purchase any piece of equipment, take a measuring tape, measure out your intended space, and take the time to think through your intended use and storage of the machine.

Frequency of Use

Another thing to keep in mind when considering your space—you should ask yourself how often you plan on realistically using your elliptical. A machine that gets used daily will need to be set up and stored differently than one you plan on using occasionally and then storing away in a closet for several days between uses.


After ensuring that the fold-up elliptical you're considering meets your space requirements and restrictions, it's time to fully consider the features of the model(s) on your list. Of course, one of the main make-it-or-break-it features that you need to consider is the programming capabilities of each machine. If you want full-on workouts, classes, and coaching from your elliptical screen, a super basic machine without that capability won't be able to meet your needs. On the flip side, if all you want is a workout machine that allows you to move your body while you watch your weekly shows, paying for high-tech programming may be wasted on you and you should consider more trimmed-down options.

In addition to programming and fitness class capabilities, other important features to consider include water bottle holders, built-in fans, speakers, feedback/display options, weight and size of the machine, weight restrictions and recommendations for users, and/or a spot to store your phone or tablet while you exercise. Consider the comforts and conveniences you prefer while you use the elliptical and keep them in mind as you compare products.

FAQs About Folding Ellipticals

Are folding ellipticals worth it?

Folding ellipticals are an excellent investment for any exerciser interested in improving their cardiovascular fitness. In particular, anyone with joint pain, weight loss goals, or who just prefers the elliptical for their cardio workouts will find that a fold-up elliptical makes a great addition to their home workout routine. The folding component saves you a ton of space and makes it a more realistic piece of equipment to purchase for your home.

Is an elliptical a better workout than a treadmill?

While ellipticals and treadmills have many overlapping benefits, there are also many key differences to consider when deciding between the two. Ellipticals integrate the muscles in your upper body, core, and lower body for a more total-body workout experience than the treadmill, and the gliding design of the elliptical is often better for people who experience joint pain with higher-impact exercises. Ellipticals also offer a greater variety of movements than treadmills, which is an added benefit many exercisers prefer.

Does the elliptical tone your legs?

Elliptical workouts recruit many of the major muscle groups in your lower body, including your glutes, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, and others. By offering leg toning benefits in addition to burning overall calories, the elliptical is a favorite for people looking to tone and strengthen their legs.

Are ellipticals good for losing belly fat?

Decreasing your overall body fat, particularly in your abdominal region, is a matter of burning more calories than you take in. By regularly utilizing the elliptical machine and therefore increasing the number of calories you burn each week, you can certainly improve your body composition and decrease your belly fat. For both weight loss and body fat loss goals, the elliptical is an excellent choice.