The 3 Best Folding Ellipticals of 2024 (Expert Tested)

The best ellipticals we’ve tested tend to feature adjustable resistance levels, cutting-edge tech, and even incline and decline capabilities. Of course, these machines can also take up a lot of space, looming there in the shadows where you used to keep your great-grandmother’s urn. Sorry, Nana, there’s just no room for the both of you. But did you know some ellipticals can fold? It’s true. We’ve seen it with our own eyes. That’s why we put our noggins on the path to finding the best folding ellipticals so you can get your sweat on and then make room for more important things.

Ellipticals provide low-impact cardio that targets the upper and lower body and have been shown to improve sleep quality, lift your spirits, and strengthen your heart, but there are several things you’ll want to consider before bringing a folding model into your home. (1) How much training intensity do you want? How much space do you have available? How heavy is too heavy when moving an elliptical? Our expert testers considered these questions while selecting the best folding ellipticals. Read on for our top picks.

Best Folding Ellipticals

Best Folding Elliptical Overall: YOUNGFIT Foldable Elliptical Machine

Best Budget Folding Elliptical: Sunny Health & Fitness Air Walk Trainer

Best Portable Folding Elliptical: Gazelle Sprinter

About Our Expert

This article has been reviewed by Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC, a certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level 1 instructor. She reviewed the research we cited and the ellipticals we listed to help ensure we were providing helpful, accurate descriptions and recommendations. 

How We Tested and Chose the Best Folding Ellipticals

The team here at BarBend is stacked — I mean, it’s really unfair to the competition. We’ve got former D1 athletes, CrossFit coaches, and certified personal trainers who are eager to help you find the right fitness equipment to support your fitness goals. We’ve tried and tested more than 20 of the most popular elliptical machines on the market, taking note of options with folding capabilities and how those options stack up.

Our testing methodology utilizes a 5-point scale, from 1 (bad) to 5 (we love it) in categories such as portability, workout experience, durability, and tech capabilities. Below are a few specific areas we focused on when making our choices.


Obviously, each of our choices needed to have the ability to shrink when not in use for simpler storage and transport. While browsing the options available, we kept our eyes on how easy this foldability was for the user and how compact each exercise machine became once folded like a piece of origami. 

While most ellipticals fold inward like an accordion — increasing the height and shortening the footprint — we also sought to include an option with the ability to decrease in height for those interested in tucking it behind furniture. 


Unlike the best commercial ellipticals which can cost an arm and a leg — or, in mathematical terms, between about $1,000 to $1,800 — folding ellipticals are much more affordable. Knowing that tech features, construction, and durability are often limited on these models, we made sure that their price tags reflected their limitations. Our list includes models that range from $159.99 to $479 — well under the average for high-end ellipticals — while still offering adjustable levels of resistance, LCD monitors to track metrics, and user weight limits up to 330 pounds.


“Budget-friendly [equipment] won’t boast the hottest new LED touchscreen display, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for nothing,” says BarBend expert reviewer Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC. “Look for, at a minimum, an LCD console that displays your current speed, time elapsed…and distance covered.” 

While even compact ellipticals can come with impressive technology and fancy features, folding ellipticals with advanced features and impressive functionality are limited. Many of our options provide simple low-impact workout experiences, and tech is limited to basic LCD screens to help track user metrics. However, there are some options with resistance adjustments, heart rate monitors, and tablet holders to stream content from your own device. 

[Related: The 7 Best Compact Ellipticals]


A quick look at a machine’s weight capacity can help determine its durability. “The industry standard is 300 pounds, [but] budget-friendly ellipticals are likely to have a lower weight capacity,” notes Capritto.  While not all of our choices reached that standard, we still made sure to note how much weight it could support. Additionally, we combed through customer reviews in search of common complaints related to the longevity of each item, sharing our findings in the reviews below.

Best Folding Elliptical Overall: YOUNGFIT Foldable Elliptical Machine

YOUNGFIT Foldable Elliptical Machine

YOUNGFIT Foldable Elliptical Machine

This elliptical’s center console and arms fold onto the machine’s base, transforming its height from 63 inches to 15 inches.  You’ll also find 22 levels of adjustable resistance,  a device holder, and heart rate pulse sensors to help you dial in on your cardio routine.

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Price: $479

Resistance: 22 levels of magnetic resistance

Dimensions: 63” H x 44” L x 25” W; (folded) 15” H x 46” L x 25” W (unfolded)

Weight Capacity: 330lbs

Weight: 104lbs

Stride Length: 15”


When folded, this impressive elliptical shrinks from 63 inches to 15 inches tall.

Twenty-two levels of magnetic resistance can provide a wide range of intensity suited to athletes of varying fitness levels.

Built-in transport wheels make moving this unit from room to room fairly easy.


Some reviews have mentioned that the elliptical can wobble during use.

Though its height shrinks to just 15 inches when folded, you won’t save any floor space with this elliptical.

The 15-inch stride length may not be enough for taller users, and we tend to recommend 17 to 20-inch strides on ellipticals.

If you don’t want your elliptical being the first thing people notice when they enter your home — perhaps you’ve got a green velvet couch sitting right there front and center, begging for attention — the YOUNGFIT Foldable Elliptical Machine can fold down and roll out of the way. We like this folding elliptical because of its 22 levels of magnetic resistance, 330-pound user weight capacity, and ability to shrink from 63 inches tall down to just 15 inches, thus keeping home gym equipment eyesores to a minimum.

When not in use, transport wheels can help move this machine around. We recommend moving the machine while it’s unfolded since pressing down on the handles will help give you leverage to tip the machine onto its transport wheels. Once it’s where you want it, you can fold the moving handles and center console down onto the base of the machine. While this doesn’t change the footprint, it will save on height, making storage behind couches ideal.

Many online reviewers appreciated the limited noise produced by this elliptical. Similar to some complaints we’ve seen for even the best folding exercise bikes, however, some mentioned that they didn’t always feel steady. One review noted, “[This is a] whisper quiet, easily movable elliptical,” while another review said that it “wobbles when [I’m] using it.”

This YOUNGFIT profile has one of the highest levels of resistance we’ve seen among folding ellipticals. It has 22 total levels of resistance, a wide range that we believe can accommodate both beginners and seasoned athletes. These 22 levels are on par with what you’ll find on many commercial ellipticals, which tend to provide between 16 and 26 levels. 

While there’s lots of good in this compact package, one thing to consider is the limited 15-inch stride length. We like to recommend 17 to 20-inch stride lengths for most users, and taller riders may find the 15-inch stride length limiting.

This machine doesn’t need to be plugged into a wall, and the only juice needed is for the LCD monitor, which is powered by two AAA batteries (not included). While tech is limited, the LCD provides stats like time, speed, distance, and calories burned, as well as heart rate readings, pulled from pulse sensors located on the stationary handles. For those looking for an affordable folding elliptical with a large range of training intensities, this choice may be just the ticket.

Best Budget Folding Elliptical: Sunny Health & Fitness Air Walk Trainer

Air Walk Trainer

Air Walk Trainer

This glider can help provide a simple total body workout and comes with a basic LCD display that tracks time, calories burned, step count, and total count. When the work is done this 37-pound unit can fold up for easy storage.

Shop Sunny Health & Fitness


Price: $159.99

Resistance: N/A

Dimensions: 57” H x 25” L x 19” W (folded); 61.5” H x 15” L x 19” W (unfolded)

Weight Capacity: 220lbs

Weight: 37lbs

Stride Length: 30”


At $159.99, this folding elliptical costs less than even some of the best budget ellipticals.

When folded, this elliptical transforms from 25 to just 15 inches long.

An LCD monitor displays step count, time, and calories burned.


Since there are no resistance adjustments on this elliptical, we think it’s best suited for low-intensity cardio. 

It has no transport wheels. 

The 220-pound user weight limit is under the 300-pound industry standard.

The Sunny Health & Fitness Air Walk Trainer is our choice for the best budget folding elliptical due to its sweet $159.99 price tag, a drop in the bucket compared to other budget ellipticals, many of which will run you more than $500. You won’t find much tech on this model for that price, but it does have an LCD monitor that displays time, calories burned, and step count so you can keep tabs on your stats. 

The Air Walker takes up just 3.3 square feet of space and, when not in use, it can fold up to a measly 1.98 square feet (a little smaller than an 18-inch throw pillow). “If you’re thinking you don’t have room for [an elliptical], this is what you can get,” noted one customer review. 

Plus, at only 37 pounds, most users should be able to easily move it out of the way when not in use. However, we do wish there were included transport wheels to help the process that much more. 

[Related: The Best Budget Home Gym Equipment]

Of course, budget home gym equipment has its shortcomings. The 220-pound user weight limit is 80 pounds less than the standard 300-pound limit we like to see, and the lack of resistance adjustments likely won’t support athletes looking for a high-intensity home workout. 

There are also some mixed reviews about the comfort of this elliptical’s stride.“The stride…is determined by the user as the machine is basically a free-swinging pendulum,” noted one customer review. “In practice, I find it hard to take really long strides on this, but the range is certainly comfortable for me.” 

We’d describe this machine as more of a glider than a typical elliptical machine, making it most suitable for older adults or those who are looking for a low-impact way to stay active. Gliders tend to keep your legs straight as you swing them back and forth, while ellipticals mimic more of a stepper running motion by forcing the user to bend and straighten their legs. 

Best Portable Folding Elliptical: Gazelle Sprinter

Gazelle Sprinter

Gazelle Sprinter

This glider offers users up to 300 pounds access to glider training with 10 levels of adjustable hydraulic resistance. When the work is done, this unit can fold up almost totally flat, allowing for easier storage.

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Price: $374.99

Resistance: 10 levels of hydraulic resistance

Dimensions: 53.75” H x 43” L x 28” W; (folded) 8.5”” H x 66” L x 28” W

Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Weight: 40lbs

Stride Length: 18”


This folding elliptical weighs just 40 pounds and includes transport wheels for easier transport.

Grip pulse sensors can help track your heart rate.

A device holder allows you to watch content or programming from your own device as you sweat.


Resistance adjustments are made by removing the hydraulic pin and choosing a new level of tension, and this can’t be done while in use.

While this equipment folds almost totally flat, the curved handles arc up, which may make it difficult to store under furniture.

Some users have complained about their units squeaking or clicking.

The Gazelle Sprinter is our choice for best portable folding elliptical due to its reasonable 40-pound weight, folding capabilities, and built-in transport wheels. This unit folds up almost totally flat, with a height that shrinks from 53.45 inches down to 8.5 inches. It’s worth noting, though, that storing this under low-profile furniture may be difficult, as its curved handles stick up a bit.

For users looking to move this machine from room to room, there’s no need to find an outlet or pull out an extension cord to make sure you’re set for your workout. This elliptical doesn’t require electricity, though you will need two AAA batteries (included with your purchase) for the display. 

This display can deliver readings from the pulse sensors located on the unit’s fixed handlebars, allowing you to track your fat-burning heart rate zone. It can also track your speed, distance, and time.

We also like the device holder located on the crossbar between the handles, as it allows you to stream content from your own phone or tablet while you stride. However, you may have to turn the volume up, as some customers have complained about the noise made by this machine. 

“Periodically, it squeaked or clicked or made some other rhythmic noise… not loud, but annoying enough when watching TV,” noted one customer review. Other customers have mentioned how increasing the resistance also increased the noise.

There are 10 levels of hydraulic resistance, which we appreciate. However, this resistance can only be adjusted while the unit is not in use. To make this adjustment, users will need to manually remove the hydraulic pins and choose a new level of tension. 

Customers also appreciated this resistance capability. “The hydraulic [resistance] is a must for anyone in decent cardio shape already,” mentioned a review. “The hydraulics make for a tougher workout,” noted another.

Users will have more of a straight leg while using this machine, as compared to the running motion facilitated by typical ellipticals. However, the adjustable resistance can allow users to increase their intensity or work towards progressive overload as their strength and cardio endurance improve.

Benefits of Folding Ellipticals

Folding ellipticals can help users work up a sweat while protecting their knees and joints from impact. In addition, these machines’ compact footprints fold up to even more compact footprints, providing users with limited space access to low-impact cardio sessions.

Space-Saving and Lightweight

“People interested in an elliptical for home use will be pleased to find that ellipticals come in a wide range of sizes and styles, with many different options to suit different needs and budgets,” says BarBend expert reviewer Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC.

Most cardio machines are available in foldable models, and ellipticals are no exception. While some fold in on themselves, halving their footprints, others fold down, allowing for easy storage behind couches. The ability to fold your elliptical and store it in a closet, under a bed, or behind furniture allows those living in tight quarters or with limited space access to these machines.

Low-Impact Cardio

When looking for a cardio alternative to running, an elliptical is a worthwhile consideration to protect knees and joints. “For those who need low-impact exercise options, ellipticals sit near the top of the list. These cardio machines provide a full-body workout without putting undue stress on the joints,” notes Capritto.

Maintaining constant contact with the foot pedals while on an elliptical machine incurs less downward gravity force —like the repeated banging often experienced with running — and is why this type of low-impact cardio is beneficial for those who struggle with knee and joint pain. (2)

Total Body Workout

Ellipticals are great for increasing your cardiovascular health, but they’ll also get your upper body, lower body, and core working. (1) One study showed that training on an elliptical, in comparison to walking and cycling, elicited the greatest activation in users’ quadriceps and co-activation of quadriceps and hamstrings than the rest. (3) The booty is also joining in on the fun, with the glutes activating during this work. (4)

We wouldn’t want to leave the upper body out of the equation, and users can get their biceps, triceps, chest, and back in on the benefits by pushing and pulling on the moving handlebars.


Budget-friendly [equipment] specifically provides access to exercise for A) individuals with a lower income who know they are ready to commit to exercise and B) individuals at any income level to test the waters in this exercise category without spending thousands of dollars on a machine they may end up not using,” notes Capritto. While you won’t find fancy tech features or added conveniences on these folding ellipticals, they provide a reasonable entry point into elliptical fitness for those on a budget. 

How Much Do Folding Ellipticals Cost?

The price range for these compact cross trainers is on the lower end of ellipticals, which can cost up to several thousand dollars. The options on our list range in price from $159.99 to $479, with higher-priced models offering more levels of resistance and heart rate monitors.

All of these machines resemble traditional ellipticals in that they pair pedals with a set of moving arms. They’re also all non-motorized and feature basic LCD displays to help track your training metrics. There are, however, some notable differences between each choice.

The YOUNGFIT Foldable Elliptical Machine is the most expensive option, and is also the most like a traditional elliptical, as the rest are best viewed as gliders. It also supports high-intensity training thanks to its 22 resistance levels, a wide range on par with pricier models. 

The Sunny Health & Fitness Air Walk Trainer is our most budget-friendly option, coming in at just $159.99. This machine has limited adjustments, and may only be suitable for seniors, beginners, or those just looking to add some movement to their day.

The Gazelle Sprinter is a mid-range option. Its glider-like form resembles the Air Walker, but it distinguishes itself with 10 levels of hydraulic resistance, which can be adjusted when off of the elliptical. Plus, it has heart rate monitoring pulse sensors on the fixed handlebars.

What to Consider Before Buying a Folding Elliptical

While all of these options are considered budget buys, investing in a piece of home gym equipment, regardless of the price tag, can be a difficult choice. To help you narrow in on the right folding elliptical trainer for you, here are some points of consideration that may help you find the perfect fit.

Personal Goals 

“Ellipticals are a wonderful option for individuals who want to increase their cardio exercise volume but need a low-impact way to do it. Compared to other forms of low-impact cardio, like cycling and rowing, ellipticals keep the user in the upright position, making them ideal for individuals who struggle with back pain, too,” notes Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC.

Increasing your cardio can look different for everybody. If you’re looking to move your body and get your blood pumping, you may be happy with one of the gliders on our list. However, if you’re looking to increase your endurance and are a more experienced athlete, you’ll want an elliptical that can provide you with adjustable resistance so you can bust out HIIT workouts and really get your heart pounding.

Available Space

Since you’re here, it’s safe to assume space is one of your primary considerations. You’re in need of exercise equipment that can fold up for easy storage in small spaces when not in use. (If this isn’t the case, I’d recommend taking a look at some of the best ellipticals under $1,000, which may have larger footprints, but can also broaden your training capabilities with Bluetooth connectivity and integrated workout programs.)

Pull out a tape measure and make note of the dimensions of the floor space you have available. Additionally, you’ll want to measure any closets, corners, and nooks you see using as storage areas. Once you’re armed with the knowledge of what you have available, you’ll be able to peruse our list knowing exactly what works with what you’ve got.  

Personal Budget 

Your budget may be the deciding factor in determining which folding elliptical is appropriate for you. However, while lower-priced options may save you some cash upfront, these machines will often have less impressive warranties and need repairs or replacement parts sooner than the more high-quality and pricier options on our list. Consider how much you’re willing to spend, make a list of what would benefit you and your training the most, and then opt for the elliptical that provides for your needs. 

Final Word

A folding elliptical can provide accessibility to low-impact cardio workouts for those without dedicated home gyms. With compact footprints and lightweight builds, these machines, much like traditional ellipticals, can boost your heart rate and get you moving and then be folded up and tucked out of sight. 

Regardless of your goals, whether you want a machine that can up the intensity, or something to just get you moving a little, there’s an option on our list that can provide. Before you commit to bringing a folding elliptical into your home, make sure you know what type of training you’re looking to do. While our list is a great tool to help you make a choice, be sure to do your own research and look into what other consumers have to say. It might be stressful nailing down the perfect choice, but we’re so excited for you and the cardio routine you’re looking to build. 


What’s the best foldable elliptical?

The YOUNGFIT Foldable Elliptical is our favorite folding elliptical. Unlike some other folding models that offer more of a glider experience, this is a true elliptical that mimics the motion of running with the benefits of low-impact movement. There are 22 levels of resistance to help take your cardio routine up a level (or 22), plus a 330-pound user weight limit that’s above the industry standard. This machine also can fold down, transforming from 63 inches to just 15 inches tall.

Is a folding elliptical a good workout?

Folding ellipticals often have fewer bells and whistles than the average elliptical, so more advanced users may be disappointed by the capabilities of these machines. We think that users who are less experienced with cardio training and older adults will find the most benefit with one of these folding ellipticals. If you’re concerned about getting a good workout, consider your fitness level and look for a machine that provides enough resistance to challenge you.

Which folding elliptical has the smallest footprint when folded?

It’s a tough call between the Sunny Health & Fitness Air Walk Trainer and the Gazelle Sprinter. While the Air Walk Trainer’s footprint shrinks down to 15 inches by 19 inches when folded, the Gazelle Sprinter’s height shrinks to 8.5 inches, which provides a nearly flat and compact sliver of equipment, which may be easier to store under furniture.


Nystoriak, M. A., & Bhatnagar, A. (2018). Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise. Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine, 5, 135.

Will continuing to run make my knees wear out faster? (2014) Harvard Health Publishing.

Prosser, L. A., Stanley, C. J., Norman, T. L., Park, H. S., & Damiano, D. L. (2011). Comparison of elliptical training, stationary cycling, treadmill walking and overground walking. Electromyographic patterns. Gait & posture, 33(2), 244–250.

Burnfield, J. M., Shu, Y., Buster, T., & Taylor, A. (2010). Similarity of joint kinematics and muscle demands between elliptical training and walking: implications for practice. Physical therapy, 90(2), 289–305.

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