Folding elliptical trainers can be perfect all-in-one home fitness solutions. Even when workout space is very limited, they let you accomplish quality cross training (cardio & strength exercise) that tones and strengthens your whole body. Nowadays the best folding ellipticals are just as sturdy, low impact and feature-rich as non-folding alternatives in their price classes.
As you can see with pictures on the chart below, most of the top-ranked models are rear drive ellipticals. Rear drive elliptical trainers are best known for durability and comfortable biomechanics. Their most common shortcoming is long length… so when a rear drive machine is foldable, you get the best of both worlds!
Ellipticals on the chart below are especially great values for people new to serious elliptical training. You can find more forceful space-saving ellipticals on our chart of the top five compact ellipticals.
Folding Ellipticals Buying Guide
While it is more popular to find the “folding” aspect on treadmills, a few folding ellipticals do exist. The purpose of folding ellipticals is exactly the same as folding treadmills — to offer a similar workout experience with a much more compact design when not in use.
If you are short on space, folding trainers is a very attractive option. The amount of space you save will depend on the individual product, however some of the best folding ellipticals may reduce space the trainer takes up by half — pretty good when you do not have a lot of room.
In addition to the folding feature, ellipticals that fold generally weigh less and are much more compact. Consequently, they are easy to move around and do not take up a lot of room in the first place. Folding ellipticals are becoming more and more desirable because a lot of home owners are running out of extra space. However, you should understand prior to purchasing a folding elliptical that you will need to sacrifice a few specs. Stability may also be a concern.
Unlike treadmills that fold, most folding ellipticals are available in the “budget” price range. The good news is that folding ellipticals are affordable, but the bad news is that the “budget” price range traditionally lacks the quality and guarantee of the higher priced models. As a result, if you want to purchase a folding elliptical you should (no pun intended) exercise patience. More homework = better investment.
The most important buying factor when considering an elliptical is performance. Will the trainer offer you a low impact, high cardio workout? If so, what is the reputation of the brand? How many years are parts guaranteed in the warranty? Are you losing a ton of value by opting to buy a folding elliptical compared to a non-folding elliptical?
Like folding treadmills, it is almost a guarantee that you will lose a few specs once you decide to invest in a folding elliptical. Consequently, when you begin shopping for an elliptical break down the features into ones you need to have, ones that would be nice to have and specs that you could do without. If having a smartphone dock on your elliptical is not that important you can afford to buy a folding elliptical without that specific feature. However, if you really think the comfort of the workout is enhanced by a cooling fan this is probably not a feature you’ll be willing to sacrifice.
Although most consumers assume that folding ellipticals lack the stability and durability of non-folding ellipticals that is not always the case. Yes, most commercial grade ellipticals are non-folding. However, some really terrific folding ellipticals for the recreational market do exist. If you need the extra space, buying a folding elliptical might make sense. Just do your homework.