Top 4 Best Folding Ellipticals – Compact But Capable Performers

Getting a good cardio workout at home isn’t always as easy as just getting a fitness machine. Sometimes there are limitations which need to be addressed. One of the most common limitations is the lack of space. 

Depending on where you live, having a large elliptical in the middle of your room may not be an acceptable solution. That is why we have folding ellipticals. 

Today we are going to show you our top 10 picks for this category. Some of these are easily among the best ellipticals on the market, and for a good reason. Lets get to it.

Top 4 Best Folding Ellipticals:

ProForm is one of the few brands out there who are consistently building folding ellipticals. The name of their lineup is Smart Strider and there are some pretty interesting models in there. Pro Form Smart Strider 935 is definitely among the best ellipticals you can get if space saving is a concern for you.

The frame is a compact but very stable unit that offers plenty of support even as you go hard on the machine. Its drive system comprises of a 17lbs precision machined flywheel that is connected to a pair of adjustable pedals via a direct crank linkage. With a length of stride measuring up to 18 inches, Smart Strider 935 is easily capable of going head to head with some of the best ellipticals on the market.

The fact that this is a modeled designed around space saving doesn’t mean that Pro Form didn’t include some cool tech. The control module you get is quite impressive. You’re looking at a full color display paired with intuitive controls. In addition to that you have wide variety of workout programs, and other features built into the console. Overall, this is by far one of the most complete packages available.

Smart Strider family of ellipticals from ProForm includes a number of great models. ProForm Smart Strider 735 represents their mid range solution but is ultimately comparable to their top tier models. It is worth mentioning that ProForm has used the same frame for the most of this series, which probably has to do with the way these ellipticals fold.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Although we don’t get to see a diversity of aesthetics, we are presented with a consistent performance and plenty of stability. The flywheel is the same 18lbs unit they put in their flagship model. As a matter of fact, you will find very few differences aside from the control module. On Smart Strider 735, we have a more traditional control module that packs a dual color, back-lit display, a built cooling fan and the usual controls layout.

When it comes to actual built in feature, Smart Strider 735 comes with 20 levels of computer controlled resistance, 22 workout presets and a number of other apps. This model is also iFit compatible if that’s your fitness app of choice. At the end of the day, Smart Strider 735 is a very solid elliptical to have.

What makes Horizon Fitness an interesting brand is their take on folding ellipticals. Aside from the fact that there aren’t many brands dealing with this type of fitness gear to begin with, Horizon Fitness has decided to use a different approach to how folding ellipticals should operate. Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 represents an alternative that works, but is different from what we get to see on the market.

For the most part it looks like a regular elliptical, with the addition of the fact that the whole drive mechanism folds up. Speaking of which, folding this thing is pretty easy thanks to a hydraulic system built into the elliptical. When it comes to good old performance, Evolve 3 is right up there with the best. It offers a high mass flywheel that offers smooth inertia and runs very silent under heavy loads.

As you could expect, the whole thing is computer controlled and features 32 workout presets. Computer module itself is quite intuitive for use which is partially due to its large display and a rather clean control layout. Last but not least, you can connect your elliptical to your smart device or phone and track your progress that way.

Finding a folding elliptical on a budget may prove to be quite difficult. However, there are a few great models that fill this niche quite nicely. The one we are looking at today comes from NordicTrack and offers an impressive value for your money. NordicTrack went with an already proven chassis design and folding mechanism.

The flywheel is mounted in the back and comes in form of a 18lb unit. Interestingly enough, this elliptical brings all the right features that you find in much more expensive models. By that we mean 18 inches of stride length, adjustable pedals and more. The control module is pretty interesting on its own. It features two displays where you have a dual color one that shows you your stats, as well as a color display at the top used for entertainment.

There is more, though. NordicTrack has sweetened this deal by installing a cooling fan and thus improving the comfort aspect of using this elliptical on a daily basis. So far NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i sounds almost too good to be true, but it isn’t. NordicTrack has simply found a way to pack the core features in a machine that won’t completely destroy your wallet.

Common Misconceptions About Folding Ellipticals

Space saving designs and fitness equipment aren’t always the best solution. That much is simply a fact. We mention this because many people have a misguided understanding that folding or compact fitness gear is gimmicky and not really comparable to the full sized models. 

While this is true in some very specific cases, it doesn’t apply to ellipticals. As a matter of fact, folding ellipticals can easily be larger than models found in the budget segment of the market

The idea behind a compact, folding elliptical isn’t to make the overall product tiny, but rather to allow you to change its geometry in a way that makes it suitable for storage.

The Question Of Stability

That change of frame geometry has lead some users to think that these machines are inferior to those with standard single piece frames. 

The logic itself makes sense but the moment you actually inspect the frame of a folding elliptical, you will know that there is simply no room for worrying. 

As long as you stick with reputable brands, you should have no problem finding a folding elliptical that is rock solid no matter how hard you go at it every day.


Another misconception that definitely lacks any roots in reality is that folding ellipticals are cheap. The truth is that these types of ellipticals are often times more expensive than their non folding counterparts. 

Again, following the logic that folding ellipticals are more complex by default, this additional cost kind of makes sense. You will see models that cost $1000 and perform on par with the standard machines in that price range. With that said, there are some pretty basic ellipticals that can be had for less than $500

We will address these different types in the next segment. The point we are trying to get across is that price isn’t really a defining factor when it comes to folding ellipticals.

Different Types of Folding Ellipticals​

The reason why so many people are confused when ellipticals are mentioned is because not everyone has the same idea of what a folding elliptical actually is. 

To be more specific there is a good number of users who see a very rudimentary, manual elliptical that is basically just a lightweight frame held together by a few screws and some strings. 

The reality is that those ellipticals represent just one type. There is also the other side of the coin where we find rather larger models which offer are generally more massive than their ‘normal’ counterparts. 

The key is that these models have a smaller footprint when you are actually ready to store them away.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Folding Elliptical

This leads us to another point worth making. Most of the users who are looking into folding ellipticals are doing so because they are dealing with a very limited amount of space. 

However not many of them take into account the actual size of the machine when it is ready for use. 

You would be surprised how many users order a machine only to find out that it doesn’t fit their allotted space at all. Because of that, we urge you to make sure that you have enough room to house the model you are thinking about getting.


One cool thing about folding ellipticals is the fact that they aren’t lacking in features. The features to price ratio is pretty much the same as the one found on standard ellipticals. 

It really all comes down to how much you are willing to invest in a machine. The only thing to keep in mind is that folding ellipticals can be inherently pricier, hence the same set of features may cost you more than it would on a regular elliptical. 

Tailoring features and finding appropriate models just takes some research and is not that hard to do at all.

What To Look For In A Folding Elliptical?

No matter what kind of fitness machine you are getting, the basic shopping guidelines remain the same. You should start off by covering the basics. 

That means finding a model with a good frame, a good flywheel, an acceptable length of stride, and decent resistance control. Depending on how much you are willing to invest, this can be easy or it can be a bit harder. 

Once you cover these fundamentals, the rest is pretty much up to you. This is where factors such as aesthetics, secondary features and other come into play. 

Add to that an understanding of how big the elliptical is and you should have no problems finding a good candidate for yourself.

The Ver(ve)dict!

As you can see, folding ellipticals are far from a gimmick. These machines have a real world value and can solve a huge problem for those who are living in smaller spaces. 

If we had to choose one of the models on our list as our personal favorite, it would be the. Reasons for this are numerous, starting with a good frame, good length of stride, compact form when folded and more. With that said all of the models on this list are great in their own way.

Getting a good cardio workout at home isn’t always as easy as just getting a fitness machine. Sometimes there are limitations which need to be addressed. 

One of the most common limitations is the lack of space. Depending on where you live, having a large elliptical in the middle of your room may not be an acceptable solution. 

That is why we have folding ellipticals. Today we are going to show you our top 10 picks for this category. Some of these are easily among the best ellipticals on the market, and for a good reason. Lets get to it.