If you are looking for a gym equipment that you can effectively work out with and still have enough space to house other exercise equipment, then a compact elliptical is one of the best options you can choose. While there are some low priced compact ellipticals do not live up to their expectations, there are others that can become your best companion throughout your fitness journey.
All the compact ellipticals in this review have frames that are non-folding. They take less space and have their flywheels located at the front or center of the trainer. Compact ellipticals can be compared with the folding ellipticals that have the highest popularity. The drives of folding ellipticals are located at the back and have frames that are longer. However, folding ellipticals can be folded into a compact space for storage.
You will find high quality ellipticals at reasonable price points. In the chart below, the elliptical machines listed range from the moderately priced to the more expensive ones.
Comapct Elliptical Buying Guide
Recent trends in production and manufacturing has shown that products are no more as big and clunky as they used to be. They are now producing things that are more compact. A very good example of this is the cell phone we use. Cell phones were humorously awkward during their early production. But fast forward to today and they are so compact that some can even fit comfortably in your palm.
Such is the way technology and design in electronics production has changed and companies in the fitness industry are also following the trend. A result of this is the design of compact ellipticals. Compact ellipticals provide several unique benefits and they are lightweight and portable. Some of them may fold and others may not. Because of their compactness, they are easy to move from one place to the other. The also conserve a lot of space especially when you are not working out with them. This is a plus for many people in today’s world as consumers are running out of room to store good they purchase.
- PROS & CONS
As of this writing, compact ellipticals have three unique features. They are:
Dimensions (in Length and Width)
Type of design (Folding or Non-Folding)
The first thing to consider when choosing a compact elliptical is its weight. How light the machine is will determine how compact it will be. The second thing you have to consider is its dimensions. If the machine is too big in dimensions, then forget about it being compact. Compactness should also be checked for in the transport wheels and in the flywheel of the trainer.
Despite all these, the world hasn’t become aware of the folding ellipticals like they are with treadmills. The result is that only a few folding ellipticals are being produced and some of them are not even produced well. We could see that change in the next few years as all indications points to a more positive future for the compact ellipticals market.
Compact ellipticals are lightweight and you can easily take them with you on a vacation
They don’t take much space and so you don’t need to worry if you have a small room.
Some Compact Ellipticals may fold and give you more space where you keep your workout equipment.
It features wheels that aids transportation from one place to another
They are affordable compared to other gym equipment
Because of the size of Compact Ellipticals, they may not come with the high tech specs you might expect.
The frame stability of some of them are unreliable.
The machines may be considered as not well manufactured.
In the end, it all comes down to availability of space in your home. If you don’t have much storage space in your home, then you must consider an Elliptical that is space efficient. If you’re on the other side and you have more than enough space, then space-saving ellipticals may not be the best option for you.
The common misconception among fitness experts is that Compact Ellipticals do not possess the level of quality that other Ellipticals have. They believe that buying a Compact Elliptical is only about minimizing space and sacrificing performance. While this is true to some extent, you need to be aware that Compact Ellipticals have come a long when it comes to high quality and performance.
To start with, fitness companies producing compact ellipticals have found ways to redesign them with their compactness in mind while still retaining the high quality, strength, durability and performance.
Besides the changes in the design, several other fitness companies have joined in the production of compact ellipticals and are providing a strong competition for those that are already into it. This means more quality and more options are available to choose from.
Review of the NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical
Of all the elliptical machines in the NordicTrack SpaceSaver collection, the SpaceSaver SE9i is the best and finest model at the moment. It is similar to the previous model, the SE7i, but features several unique advancements in design and an extended warranty. One of those features that distinguishes it from the others is its 7″ HD touchscreen display for monitoring the stats of your workout sessions and for browsing the internet. It also has premium entertainment features such as the integrated iPod compatible sound system and a shelf that can accommodate a tablet computer. Some other major specs are, a fully functional heart rate monitor, a comfortable stride length of 18″, effective power incline from 0 to 10 degrees, and a heavy duty 18-pound flywheel.
Compact ellipticals in the SpaceSaver series have their flywheel at the rear. Such ellipticals are known to provide support for natural strides and ensuring maximum balance during workouts. The size however, may be a drawback, but the SE9i was built with availability of consumer space in mind. Its transport wheels allows for easy movement to and fro, and it can be easy folded away when it’s not in use.
Impressive Features of the SE9i
It features a foldable frame to help you make the most of the space in your home.
Its range of up to 24 resistance levels allows for an effective workout.
The 7” HD touchscreen display helps you to easily track your progress and surf the web.
Up to 30 powerful workout applications to help you get the best out of your workouts.
It is iFit enabled to make your workouts more enjoyable.
Power Incline up to 10 degrees To Help you target several muscle groups.
Pedals that are adjustable for maximum comfort.
Rear drive mechanism that is more comfortable on the back than those with front drive.
Downsides of the SE9i
Large amount of space taken when it’s unfolded
It has a light drive which reduces the force of the ride and won’t feel as smooth as it should be.
Taller people may find the 18” stride length uncomfortable. A stride length of 20” would be more ideal for maximum comfort and effective workout.
The SpaceSaver SE9i may be the perfect elliptical for some people with certain needs, but it is not the type of elliptical that can satisfy every athlete’s workout goals. You should be aware that the foldable frame and the quality of the electronics are some of the things factored into the price of this compact elliptical. It may not be suitable for you if you are very tall. However, if what you are looking for is an elliptical that can provide beginner to intermediate exercise levels, and not advanced levels, then the SE9i may just be the answer to your fitness needs.
Review of the Bowflex Max Trainer M3
The M3, as we like to call it, is among the most affordable and basic in the collection of gym equipment produced by Bowflex. With a price that is below a thousand dollars, it features an impressive design and can help you burn calories more than twice of what you’ll burn with other workout equipment and work your upper body effectively up to 80% more.
The trainer is complete with all the right tools to help you take your workouts up a notch. It is quite obvious that the design of the M3 doesn’t look like that of a treadmill, instead, it has a Low or zero impact design to help reduce the risk of injuries on places such as the back and knee during workouts. This helps you to put your focus and effort on effectively exercising rather than worrying about how the shock and impact might damage your body.
Compared to running on a treadmill, the M3 ensures that your arms and legs will experience up to 200% reduced impact. Even through there are certain similarities between the M3, treadmills, stair climbers and elliptical machines, the M3 has a lot of distinct features that makes it very special. It has 8 resistance levels that can be adjusted to suit your requirements. It has a weight limit of 300 pounds and you can workout at higher intensity than you would in most gym equipment.
It also features a unique technology in its console design. It is different from the normal ones you’ll see in other gym equipment as it is not built with any display screen. You’ll only find easy to use controls and a simple dial with which you can adjust the resistance levels.
There is chest strap heart rate monitor to help you keep an eye on your heart rate. There are 2 pre-installed workout programs and you can create up to 2 user profiles on the M3. There is also a small shelf where you can keep your phones and tablets, and a water bottle holder to keep you hydrated always. However, there are no built-in entertainment units within the machine and you’ll have to keep yourself entertained by making use of the media shelf to keep your media devices.
Bowflex commercials are not uncommon on TV with many of them making fitness promises and showing workout results that are hard to believe. They might be hard to believe but keep in mind that Bowflex advertises using only real and successful athletes and not fake people or actors. That is more than enough to clear any doubts about buying the M3.
Impressive Features of the Maxi Trainer M3
It has some of the functions of an elliptical and a stair stepper combined together into one versatile machine.
It is a zero impact machine and won’t cause injuries in the knees or back.
The controls are easy to use and the display screen can be read easily.
Burns calories at a faster rate every 30 minutes.
It works the upper body more effectively than many ellipticals can.
Included with the purchase is a free Daily Burn subscription for 8 weeks on which you can access over 600 exercise videos.
It has a shelf where phones and tablets can be kept.
A chest strap for monitoring your heart rate.
Provides value for money and comes at an affordable price below $1000.
Downsides of the M3
The warranty period of 1 year is too short.
Poor entertainment features
Resistance levels that are 8 in number but not up to that of the M5 Trainer which has 16.
Poor range of workout programs with only 2 available.
The M3 is the kind of gym equipment that can meet anyone’s fitness needs because of its compact size and low impact. By working out with the M3, you’ll be able to burn a large amount of calories and give you the satisfaction of someone who have worked out effectively and to the maximum level. Unlike some gym equipment that makes you feel discouraged, the M3 will leave you anticipating your next workout session.
With the range of fitness equipment currently available in today’s market, there is really no category that you can put the M3 into. It only comes close to being a stair stepper or an elliptical or something in-between.
The Maxi trainer comes equipped with 2 workout programs. There have been a few complaints about how infrequent they use them, but it has to be said that these are the workout programs that will come in handy the most.
There are 8 different resistance levels that can choose from to keep your workouts intense and effective without the added problem of gaining weight after another few months.
When it comes to providing maximum workout features for maximum fitness, the M3 is one of those machines at the very top of the list. A higher version, the Max Trainer M5 may be superior to the M3, but it comes at a higher price. But if what you need is a simple yet effective workout equipment, the M3 may just be what you’re looking for. You’ll be impressed with its compactness and easy to use features and most importantly, its effectiveness in producing results.
Review of the Horizon Fitness Evolve 5 Elliptical
With a solid and heavy flywheel, the Evolve 5 is the perfect compact elliptical to help you and your household achieve any fitness goal. The display console design will allow you to enjoy several different workout programs while giving your body a smooth and effective workout. It also takes up little space in your home because of its small footprint of 41″ x 28″ x 69″.
Impressive Features of the Evolve 5
It has a longer stride length which means more comfort for your whole household using it.
It features a wireless fitness tracking option.
You can keep track of your workout activity and progress through the CardioCompass feedback system.
It can be folded compactly for easy transportation.
It has a solid and heavy flywheel for more resistance and intensity during workouts.
Simple 3-step assembly that allows you to set up the machine in no time at all.
ViaFit technology to help you track your progress online.
Natural elliptical motion for rewarding and comfortable workouts.
Its compactness makes it a perfect fitness equipment for people with small homes or spaces.
Downsides of the Evolve 5
The Evolve 5 is specifically designed for advanced trainers and athletes who are beginners may find it difficult to use.
Its longer stride means users of all heights and body shapes will find it easy to use. However, petite people may find it not too easy or comfortable.
Stability of the machine may be an issue because of its compact design.
The Evolve 5 is sure to impress the fitness world with its extremely easy folding design. This, and because it can accommodate all body types and shapes makes it perfect for people that want to get the unique benefits of regularly working out with an elliptical but do not have enough space to house it. It can be easily folded and stored away when not in use. The simple 3-step assembly makes it a very easy gym equipment to set up and running, helping you avoid any extra money and time. What is more appealing is its high tech workout tracking technology that helps you monitor your workout progress.