Ellipticals may be among the best tools for a full-body cardio workout, but they're also among the largest. Our best-reviewed Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine (Est. $2,000) is a whopping 83 inches long and 27 inches wide. Even our top recommendation for a cheap elliptical, the Schwinn 430 Elliptical (Est. $600), is 70 inches long and 28 inches wide. Only one of the elliptical machines highlighted in our Best Home Ellipticals discussion, the True Fitness M30 Elliptical (Est. $2,300), has a smaller footprint than most full-sized ellipticals -- but at 42 inches long and 30 inches wide, that's still too large for some people's homes.
However, for a truly compact and lightweight elliptical, look no further than the Sunny Air Walk Trainer (Est. $100). At a mere 28 inches long, 16.5 inches wide and 57 inches tall, it will fit in all but the tiniest of spaces. In spite of its basic construction (it's got a pendulum motion that "glides" back and forth), owners say it offers a very effective, albeit light, cardio workout that most agree you can't beat for the price. It's one of the highest-rated home ellipticals we saw anywhere and it's as popular with those who want to use it as their primary exercise machine as it is for those who just want to tuck it in a corner so they'll have something to do besides sitting while watching TV.
The Sunny Air Walk Trainer lacks the bells and whistles of a full-sized elliptical, but users don't seem to care. Many say this is specifically what they were looking for because they didn't want to have to plug it in, learn programs, or figure out displays. Most say that the basic electronics, which track total distance (in strides), total workout time and calories, and displays that on an LCD readout, is more than sufficient. We saw comments from a number of users who don't bother with the elliptical's tracking features at all, preferring to instead wear a fitness tracker, such as those we cover in our separate report.
In spite of its 37 pound weight, users say the Sunny Air Walk Trainer is very stable and solid. It has an upper weight limit of 220 pounds, though some owners at the upper range of that limit say they reinforce its stability by laying a 25 pound weight across the front bar. The one consistent complaint we did see was about the abdominal pad that's supposed to provide support as you work out. Many say it's very uncomfortable, but it's also very easy to remove and doing so doesn't affect performance.
If you need something even smaller and more portable than the Sunny Air Walk Trainer, you may want to take a look at the Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer (Est. $90). At only 24.5 inches long and 17 inches wide, it gets thousands of positive reviews from owners who love its very small footprint and extreme portability -- it weighs just 24 pounds. Reviewers love that they can move it from room to room or tote it between home and office. Plenty use it as their primary exercise machine -- and it's very popular with those who live in apartments or dorm rooms -- while others keep it at work to "pedal" as they sit. Others say they can use it as a standing desk (which we cover in a separate report) "hack" to move as they work at their computer -- it's much more affordable for that purpose than a treadmill and fits in spaces where a treadmill would simply be too large.
The Stamina In-Motion is virtually silent, users note, so can be used anywhere without disturbing others or forcing you to turn up the volume on the TV. Unlike most ellipticals, which are either black, white or gray, the Stamina In-Motion comes in black, green and orange.
There is another versions of this small home elliptical that might be of interest to those who also want an upper body workout, the Stamina InMotion Compact Strider with Cords (Est. $140). The "cords" are resistance bands that can be used sitting or standing to work the upper body. While it's not exactly body building level resistance, it's great for those who just want a light workout and want to feel as if they've worked every part of their body.