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It seems like every cardio machine folds these days––you can find compact treadmills, exercise bikes, and even rowing machines that fold. But, no one ever seems to talk about foldable ellipticals. It’s likely because they’re incredibly difficult to find. In fact, this list used to have five machines on it, but NordicTrack discontinued its foldable line in early 2023, leaving us with very few choices for the best folding elliptical.

Our team has tested more than 30 of the best ellipticals on the market. We assess them for factors such as:

  • Portability: We favor machines that home gym owners can easily move around
  • Programming: We look for ellipticals that offer built-in or streaming workouts
  • Workout Performance: We personally perform workouts on these machines and rate their functionality

Whether you’re looking for the perfect barbell or a small, foldable exercise bike, our team has you covered. With countless years of experience in the fitness industry, our team brings a wealth of knowledge to the table––we’re certified personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and former college athletes. 

Editor’s Note

There are now only a few folding ellipticals on the market that we can safely recommend to our readers. We do have a list of the best compact ellipticals available, where you can find machines with a smaller footprint.

Top 2 Folding Ellipticals

Best Folding Elliptical for Beginners: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer

Good for: People who are new to exercising and want a basic machine to get their feet wet

Best Folding Elliptical for Beginners

Sunny Health & Fitness Air Walker Trainer

Product Highlights

  • Budget-friendly glider with a 30-inch stride that offers a low-impact, cardio-based full-body workout
  • Folding design so it is easy to store when not in use
  • Digital LCD monitor displays time, count, total count, and calories
  • Features and adjustable abdominal pad for stability
  • 220-pound maximum weight user capacity

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Low-impact
  • Compact
  • Folding design
  • Full-body workout

Cons

  • No programmed workouts
  • Monitor does not calibrate some metrics accurately
  • No support bar
  • Low weight capacity

Bottom Line

The Sunny Health & Fitness Air Walk Trainer may be an option if you are new to cardio, looking for a low-impact workout, or on a budget.

Sometimes simple really is best––especially if you’re a beginner or trying something new. The Sunny Health and Fitness Air Walk Trainer is an inexpensive way for new exercisers to try an elliptical without committing to one with a huge footprint. 

RELATED: Elliptical Workouts for Beginners

The Air Walk Trainer clocks in at just 35 pounds, so it can be folded and stored in a flash. This machine has a simple display, which takes any complications out of getting started. You’ll be able to view a few different metrics like calories burned, time elapsed, and counts per cycle by pressing the large red button to cycle through the information. 

The stride length on the Air Walk Trainer is one of the most impressive features at 30 inches. For reference, the industry standard for stride length on an elliptical is between 18 to 20 inches, so this well surpasses this expectation.

However, this isn’t a machine I’d recommend for heavy people, as the weight limit is just 220 pounds. This is slightly disappointing because it is well under the industry standard of 300 pounds. I do understand that this machine is under $100, so I shouldn’t hold it to as high of a standard (but I still think it is worth mentioning). 

Take a closer look at our full Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer review.

PriceUnder $100
Weight35 lbs
Warranty1-year frame, 90 days parts
Footprint19″ D x 25″ W x 57″ H

Best Budget Folding Elliptical: Gazelle Freestyle

Good for: Someone on a tight budget who just wants a way to get their heart rate up

Best Budget Folding Elliptical

Gazelle Freestyle

Product Highlights

  • 10 exercises in one machine
  • Dual action split suspension allows for full range of motion
  • Pulse grip heart rate monitor
  • Small monitor displays heart rate, speed, distance, time, and calories
  • Folds for easy storage
  • Comes with 2 DVDs, an exercise manual, and nutritional guide
  • Joint-friendly

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Folding design
  • Large water bottle holder
  • Pulse grips to monitor heart rate
  • Doesn’t require power outlet
  • Expert assembly option for additional cost

Cons

  • Can be tricky to get the hang of the motion
  • Reports of grinding noise when in use
  • Basic monitor

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a joint-friendly piece of cardio equipment that facilitates muscle tone as well as cardiovascular health, the Gazelle Freestyle glider is a good choice for beginners and more experienced cardio junkies alike.

Calling all avid QVC watchers––you may already be slightly familiar with the Gazelle Freestyle. This foldable elliptical was popularized by the network almost 30 years ago, and the price has barely changed. At under $250, the Gazelle is a crowd-favorite for budget-conscious exercisers. 

If you’re particularly tight on space, the Gazelle may work well for you. Besides the easy-to-fold mechanism, the elliptical has a compact footprint, and doesn’t have to be plugged in to work. Since this piece of fitness equipment is user-powered, you won’t have to hunt around your apartment for a plug-in spot. Plus, it’s lightweight and easy to move at just 46 pounds. Heck, my dog weighs more than that and I’ve lifted him up the stairs.

Gazelle Freestyle in use

Confession: The Gazelle is also downright fun to use. You can swing front to back, and the Gazelle actually comes with a form of programming in the way of DVDs. However, if you have balance issues, this isn’t your best choice. Since there isn’t any resistance on this machine, you really have to steady yourself before stepping onto the pedals because they do wobble.

Speaking of pedals, it is important to note that they are very small. My size 9 women’s feet barely fit, so I can only imagine how grossly undersized the pedals would be for the average man. 

Hungry for more? Read my entire Gazelle Freestyle review.

PriceUnder $250
Weight46 lbs
Warranty12 months
Footprint44″ L x 33.5″ W x 53.5″ H

Other Folding Ellipticals We Researched

Horizon Fitness Evolve 5: RIP to the Horizon Evolve 5, which was a solid foldable elliptical taken from us too soon. People seemed to have really liked this machine because of its foldability, durability, and lengthy stride, but you’ll only find it on the secondhand market today.

NordicTrack SpaceSaver Series: These are no longer in production. If you can find one, know that we personally tested them and we really liked them.

How We Picked and Tested

In my day-to-day life, I ask a lot of questions. It isn’t much of a shocker that I also carry this same, sometimes endearing trait into my work. Here is the lengthy list of questions I asked myself when evaluating these ellipticals:

  • Foldability: Is this a folding elliptical machine? What direction does it fold?
  • Price: How expensive is this elliptical? Would this price range make it a low-end, mid-range, or high-end elliptical? 
  • Footprint: What is the footprint of this machine? Would it fit in a smaller space, or is it best in a larger, dedicated home gym?
  • Flywheel: Does the elliptical have a flywheel? If so, how heavy is the flywheel?
  • Stride length: What does the stride length look like on this machine? How does this compare to the industry standards? Is the stride length best suited towards someone who is taller or shorter? Does the stride length make this elliptical feel more like a stepper or an actual elliptical? 
  • Weight capacity: What is the weight capacity of this elliptical machine? Would it work best for someone who is heavier or lighter?
  • Machine weight: How heavy is this machine? Could someone move it solo or do you need the assistance of a second person?
  • Warranty: What is the elliptical warranty for the frame, parts, and labor? How does this compare to the industry standard?
  • Levels of resistance: How many levels of adjustable resistance does this elliptical have? At the highest level of resistance, does it feel challenging?
  • Type of resistance: What type of resistance does this machine have, if any? Magnetic resistance, air-based resistance or something else?
  • Workout experience: Does the machine wobble? Is it high-quality and made of durable materials? Would this machine work for all fitness levels?
  • Workout programs: Does this elliptical have any preset workout programs to follow along with? Can it work with interactive programming services like Peloton or iFIT?
  • Display: What type of display does this elliptical machine have, if any? Is it an LCD, backlit LED, or touchscreen display?
  • Handlebars:Does this elliptical have dual handlebars or just a single set?
  • Pedals: How large are the pedals? Are they oversized or textured for a better foot grip? Would these pedals fit the average person’s foot?
  • Extras: Does this machine have Bluetooth connectivity? Does it have a heart rate monitor or a chest strap? Is there a tablet holder? Does the elliptical have a cooling fan?

Benefits of Folding Ellipticals 

Still not convinced purchasing a folding elliptical is the right choice for you? Not to worry! Certified personal trainer (and GGR writer) Anthony O’Reilly will explain why you should at least consider it in order to hit your fitness goals.

“Ellipticals are one of the best cardio machines to burn calories and work both upper- and lower-body muscles, and if you let go of the arms and contract your torso, you can use it to work your core as well,” Anthony explained. “In other words, ellipticals are highly versatile machines.”

“One of the biggest benefits of folding ellipticals is that it can be stowed away to help maximize your floor space,” Anthony adds.

“And unlike treadmills, they’re low-impact and joint-friendly, making them a great option for anyone recovering from injury and seniors.”

Buying Guide: What to Look for in a Folding Elliptical

When picking out a folding elliptical, here are the top three things to keep in mind:

Foldability

Obviously, if you’re looking for a foldable elliptical, you need to make sure the machine actually folds. It sounds self-explanatory, but it can be more difficult to find than you may think. Carefully check the product page of any elliptical machine you’re considering to see if it has this capability. 

Footprint

If you’re looking for a foldable elliptical machine, chances are you don’t have a lot of space to work with. Measure the area you plan to put your potential exercise machine ahead of time to ensure it will fit, even when unfolded. 

Price

Ellipticals can be quite pricey, so check for additional ways to save or break payments into chunks. Plenty of brands like NordicTrack have great financing options that are worth looking into. You can also shop various sales periods, like Black Friday, President’s Day, or Labor Day for the best offers on the most popular ellipticals. 

Best Folding Elliptical FAQs

Which is the best compact elliptical?

Luckily for you, I previously wrote a wonderful roundup, which includes my favorite compact ellipticals. Here are my top picks:

Best Folding Compact Elliptical: NordicTrack Commercial SE9i Elliptical
Best Affordable Compact Elliptical: Body Rider Fan Elliptical Trainer
Best Compact Elliptical with High Weight Capacity: NiceDay Elliptical
Best Compact Elliptical for Streaming Classes: Bowflex Max Trainer M6
Best Rated Compact Elliptical: Gazelle Freestyle

Are there foldable elliptical machines?

Yes, there are foldable elliptical machines. However, there are not a ton of foldable elliptical options, so your selection may be limited.

What is the best elliptical trainer for home use?

Here are my favorite picks for best elliptical:

Best Elliptical Overall: NordicTrack AirGlide 14i
Best Elliptical Machine Runner-Up: 
Sole E25
Best Elliptical for Comfort: 
Bowflex Max Trainer M6
Best Elliptical for Knee Pain: 
ProForm Hybrid Trainer
Best Elliptical for Small Spaces: 
NordicTrack FS10i
Best Elliptical for Beginners: 
ProForm Carbon EL
Best Budget Elliptical: 
Horizon EX-59
Best Under-Desk Elliptical: 
Cubii Move
Best Elliptical Under $1,000: 
NiceDay Elliptical Machine
Best Elliptical Under $500: 
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Machine

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It seems like every cardio machine folds these days––you can find compact treadmills, exercise bikes, and even rowing machines that fold. But, no one ever seems to talk about foldable ellipticals. It’s likely because they’re incredibly difficult to find. In fact, this list used to have five machines on it, but NordicTrack discontinued its foldable line in early 2023, leaving us with very few choices for the best folding elliptical.Our team has tested more than 30 of the best ellipticals on the market.  » Read more about: Best Folding Elliptical (2024): Pack It, Store It, Stride It  » Read more