Foldable Elliptical – The 7 Best Options

best foldable ellipticals

The world is in a state of change right now, and there is a need to keep yourself busy and active. 

In this article, we will look at one type of cross trainer that will keep you going even if it is just within the vicinity of your home. 

We shall be looking at the best foldable ellipticals, a shopping guide, the prices, the pros, and the cons plus the most important of them all, the public opinion.

My Top Pick
#1 Schwinn 411
Best Price
#2 Sunny Health SF-E90
Heavy Duty Option
#3 Bowflex M3 Max Trainer
SCHWINN Fitness 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer Elliptical Machine Glider w/ LCD Monitor, 220 LB Max...
BowFlex Max Trainer M3
My Top Pick
#1 Schwinn 411
SCHWINN Fitness 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
Best Price
#2 Sunny Health SF-E90
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer Elliptical Machine Glider w/ LCD Monitor, 220 LB Max...
Heavy Duty Option
#3 Bowflex M3 Max Trainer
BowFlex Max Trainer M3

7 Best Folding Elliptical Machines

The Nordic Track SpaceSaver SE9i offers you comfort. It is a folding elliptical that is easy to assemble and use. It has a small footprint that allows it to fit in the smallest of spaces.

Users who love convenience will find it’s Android browser handy. It allows you to browse online while you work out. You can even check out the latest workout videos.

This is the cheapest place to get it from.

  • Inbuilt Android browser
  • iFit technology
  • 24 resistance levels
  • Up to 10 degrees of power incline
  • Wireless chest strap
  • Adjustable oversized pedals
  • Tall users find the 18″ fixed stride length uncomfortable

What Do People Say

Word on the virtual streets is that this elliptical has pleased most users. The professional quality and additional features such as the touch screen are unbeatable. 

The fact that it can be folded after use makes it all the better.

The ProForm Smart Strider 895 CSE is a folding elliptical that offers you low impact training right at home. Most people complain about folding ellipticals not being suitable for upper body workouts, but the case is different with this one. 

With this machine, you get to work out your arms, shoulders, back, and chest. The Smart Strider also comes with a one-year iFit membership.

This is the cheapest place to get it from.

  • Easy to fold and carry around
  • 18″ stride length
  • Consistent and smooth movement
  • Plenty of additional features
  • It could be complicated to use 
  • Quality control issues
  • Can get wobbly

What Do People Say

Users of the Smart Strider love the smooth pedal rotation and how easy it is to assemble the entire equipment

Intuitive functionality encompassed in simplicity and quality. Those are some of the words that can be used to describe the AFG Sport 5.5. This folding elliptical is best suited for you if you want to achieve your fitness goals affordably.

This is the cheapest place to get it from.

  • Lifetime frame and brake warranty
  • Has a fitness fan
  • Superior motion with a great incline to achieve natural movement
  • It does not have a cup holder as depicted in product photos

What Do People Say

For a home elliptical, it is quite heavy but stable and sturdy. The best part is that it can withstand daily use. The 10 difficulty levels make the workouts an interesting challenge.

You are not a pro, and neither are you an amateur, but you want to train seriously. 

The Horizon Fitness Evolve 5 is an easy-to-assemble folding elliptical that offers expansive programming, which is easily visible thanks to its large backlit display. You can easily fold it when done using it.

This is the cheapest place to get it from.

  • Easy to assemble 
  • Comes with a cardio compass display
  • Ergonomic design
  • Longer strides
  • It is currently unavailable

What Do People Say

Most users have nothing to say but praises about this folding elliptical. Many were surprised how it comes in a huge box but turns out to be a lightweight. The other pretty impressive thing is that it is sturdy and easy to assemble.

This is an elliptical that works smoothly when you click a dial. Get the best 14 minutes of your workout schedule thanks to its 14 minute Max trainer workout.

This is the cheapest place to get it from.


  • 2 workout programs
  • 8 resistance levels
  • 14-minute workout interval
  • Issues with warranty and customer support

What Do People Say

The users who have managed to buy the Bowflex Maxtrainer M3 say that it is excellent. The main issue is its high-end price.

The XF40 is a highly durable, compact elliptical. It has a welded steel frame and patented folding pedal arms that provide enough storage. Thanks to its overlapping pedal movements and overside footpads, different users find it comfortable.

This is the cheapest place to get it from.

  • Great warranty
  • Multi-position hand grips
  • This is a great product that is not available

What Do People Say

Only time will tell if this elliptical is worth the noise. Currently, very few people have given it accolades, but again, this is not uncommon with expensive models.

The ProForm 925 is a quick incline elliptical. It comes with a quick speed control of up to 15% and a backlit display to help you track your progress.

Cheapest place to get it from.

  • Solid construction
  • There are complaints that this machine is extremely noisy

What Do People Say

Word is that this machine does exactly what it was meant to do. It keeps you fit and can be folded.

The Bottomline…

folding ellipticals

Here are your 7 best options when it comes to brands of foldable ellipticals! These products made it to our list because of their build, practicability, functionality, and high demand in the market.

The ProForm Smart Strider 895 CSE emerged as the best of the best. It stood out for us because of its ability to enhance upper body workout. It also has several additional features, including a one-year iFit membership. Nothing can beat that machine. It is comprehensive enough.

If you loved this article and you would like to know more about workout machines, check out our equipment and dumbbell reviews.

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What To Look For When Buying Folding Ellipticals

elliptical machine buying guide

Folding ellipticals are an answered prayer for those who hate crowded gyms and do not have space in their house for fitness equipment. 

Most of the folding ellipticals are still too big, and the mini ones are not just big enough. It is a goldilocks issue, but the folding niche is just right. 

You get full-size functionality, and when done, you can fold it up to half its size.

In this section, we want to focus on some of the considerations you should make before narrowing in on folding ellipticals. Here is your shopping guide.


Compact and folding ellipticals are the best when it comes to minimal space. The positive aspect is that they are very affordable, and every home can have one. 

They do not consume much space, and once you are done using them, all you need to do is to fold up and store them. 

A folding elliptical is normally light in weight, which makes them mobile. On the downside of things, folding ellipticals have minimal resistance, and most of them lack an upper body option. 

However, you should note that this is just something to keep you going and get your circulation on health mode.

A folding elliptical can still deliver, but you should ensure that it has the following:

  • A reasonable weight limit
  • Is the right size for you
  • Has a stable frame

Other additional features, such as a heart rate monitor, are a bonus.


In the universe of folding ellipticals, the intensity is defined by the resistance of the machine. 

The folding ellipticals that we cover have a similar resistance level as their non-folding counterparts. 

This does not mean that every folding elliptical offers the same kind of resistance. The cheaper ones give you fewer options.

The best ones offer up to 25 selectable levels. This allows you to set the resistance level that fits your fitness goals. 

A cheaper elliptical with minimal resistance might create the illusion that you are working hard, but that is not the case. 

The truth of the matter is that your body will not be getting the right workout, and you will not raise your heart rate. 

But still, cheaper folding ellipticals are better than nothing at all, especially if you understand its workings in and out.

Stride and Incline

Talking about stride, we mean the stride length. It refers to the distance between the front pedal’s toe and the heel of the rear pedal. 

This might seem like a small deal, but when the pedals are at their furthest distance, it makes a huge difference as to how uniquely useful the machine will be to you. 

If the distance is too short, then the stride will not be natural, and if it is too long, you will be exposing yourself to serious injuries.

A good stride length for adults ranges between 18 to 20. If you are a bit taller that is 6ft and above, something between the range of 20 and 22 should work just fine. 

Shorter people will be just fine with a shorter stride length.

On matters incline, the purpose is to improve the intensity of your workout. Incline gives you a fresh challenge causing your heart rate to improve, resulting in more calories burning.

How is a great incline achieved? Well, it is achieved by increasing the gradient and shortening your strides. 

Most folding cross trainers offer various degrees of motorized incline, but again, this is not possible with the cheaper models.


Several aspects contribute to the durability of a folding elliptical. First of all, the manufacturer. Are they a well-recognized brand? 

Secondly, the warranty. A good warranty covers one year of labor and one to three years of the various parts. 

You should also ensure that you go for elliptical trainers that are maintenance-free. 

This is because good machine brands should be able to withstand tear and wear.

Additional Features

We have covered the basic parts of elliptical machines.  But if you are able to afford something on the higher side, then you will definitely enjoy the additional features that come with it. 

Some of these features are inbuilt speakers, a cooling fan, or a USB charging port. As we mentioned, they are not important, but they do make working out much more fun.

Frequently Asked Questions

working out elliptical

What is a folding elliptical?

A folding elliptical, also known as a folding cross trainer, is an elliptical machine that has been specially designed to fold away compactly when it’s not in use. This makes them a great choice for smaller spaces and for working out from the comfort of your own home. Don’t be fooled by their size, though! Despite being compact, lightweight, and portable, you’ll still be able to work up a decent amount of sweat when you train on a folding elliptical. 

What muscles does a folding elliptical machine target?

Just like stationary elliptical machines, a folding elliptical can target muscles pretty much anywhere in the body. Your legs get a good workout as you pick up your stride and, as you push the handles, your arms and upper body get a workout too. It is worth noting, however, that while a folding elliptical machine is good for cardio and strength training, it’s not a substitute for dumbbell training. Even on its highest setting, a folding elliptical machine will still be too light to work your muscles in the same way that weight training can. 

Are folding ellipticals the same as treadmills?

Although you’re probably more familiar with the concept of a folding treadmill, and they are much more widely available, folding elliptical machines are generally smaller. This makes them a good choice for anybody living in shared accommodation or a studio apartment, where space is a precious commodity. The workout you’ll get from a folding elliptical is similar to the one you’d get from a folding treadmill, only with less impact. 

Are folding elliptical machines good for arthritis?

First of all, it’s always worth checking with your doctor before you even begin thinking about using a folding elliptical machine if you have arthritis. Generally speaking, however, they are much better for arthritis sufferers than a treadmill as they provide a low-impact workout. This means you’ll be able to raise your heart rate and work up a sweat, without having to worry about the exercise damaging your joints. 

Are folding elliptical machines good for fitness? 

Yes, they are! A folding elliptical machine offers you the opportunity to take on a cardio workout at home as well as strength training through cross-training. They don’t take up a lot of space and, when you’re done, you can fold it down and store it away. 

How much do folding elliptical machines cost?

As with all exercise equipment, the price of a folding elliptical machine can vary depending on brand and features. With this in mind, it’s worth setting yourself a budget and deciding what features you need from your elliptical machine before you start shopping. This is especially important if you’re working with a limited amount of money. However, if you’re feeling a little more flush, then you can also look at some of the extra features some folding elliptical machines have to offer. Some of these can help to enhance your workout further, giving you extra value for money.

My Top Pick
#1 Schwinn 411
Best Price
#2 Sunny Health SF-E90
Heavy Duty Option
#3 Bowflex M3 Max Trainer
SCHWINN Fitness 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer Elliptical Machine Glider w/ LCD Monitor, 220 LB Max...
BowFlex Max Trainer M3
My Top Pick
#1 Schwinn 411
SCHWINN Fitness 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
Best Price
#2 Sunny Health SF-E90
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer Elliptical Machine Glider w/ LCD Monitor, 220 LB Max...
Heavy Duty Option
#3 Bowflex M3 Max Trainer
BowFlex Max Trainer M3

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Article by:

Daniel DeMoss

I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.