Reviews Ellipticals Gym Equipment

4 Best Ellipticals for Low Ceilings

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Ellipticals provide an excellent low-impact cardio option by combining the movements of a stationary bike, cross-country ski machine, and stepper. Due to the leg arc motion, ellipticals tend to require more ceiling space.

If you’re worried about the size of your home gym, I’ve reviewed the best ellipticals for low ceilings below.

4 Best Ellipticals for Low Ceilings

Top 4 Best Ellipticals for Low Ceilings Reviewed

  1. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Cross Trainer – Top Pick
  2. SOLE Fitness E20 Elliptical Machine – Runner-Up
  3. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Machine – Best Compact
  4. Horizon Fitness 7.0 AE Elliptical Trainer
ProductTotalDurabilityPortabilityVersatilityAdjustabilityPrice/
Quality
SunnySF-E395548109.59.5910
SOLE479.59.59.599.5
SunnySF-E390846.59109.59.58.5
Horizon469.591098.5

1. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Cross Trainer – Top Pick

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Cross Trainer

Founded in 2002, Sunny Health & Fitness aims to make a healthy lifestyle accessible to anyone who wants it. They look to do this by providing a high-quality workout experience with their range of affordable, easy-to-use exercise equipment.

  • Item Dimensions: 43.7″ L x 24″ W x 59.4″ H
  • Item Weight: 58.5 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 240 lbs
  • Stride Length: 12.5″
  • Display: Digital Monitor
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • App Compatibility: Sunny Health & Fitness App
  • Additional Features: Device Holder, Transportation Wheels, Pulse-sensing Grips
  • Warranty: 3-year Structural Frame, 180-days Other Parts and Components

Sunny Health & Fitness has become well-known for producing high-quality, affordable fitness equipment. Their magnetic elliptical cross trainer follows the same trend, taking my top-pick low profile elliptical machine spot.

The SF-E3955 Elliptical is an entry-level model that comes at an excellent budget-friendly price point without sacrificing quality. This elliptical combines a compact design with a small footprint of 43.7″ L x 24″ W x 59.4″ H making it a great option for a home gym with a low ceiling height.

Sunny Health & Fitness has given you two models to choose from, with a standard and interactive version that includes Bluetooth functionality and the interactive workout app.

Constructed from alloy steel, the elliptical frame weighs 58.5 pounds and can support up to 240 pounds of additional user weight. The 12.5″ stride length is on the smaller side but results in a more efficient workout for average-sized users. At the bottom of the frame, the handy transportation wheels allow you to move the elliptical around effortlessly.

The SF-E3955 operates using a silent magnetic resistance mechanism, with a black dial at the front of the frame offering eight different resistance levels. Above the dial, the built-in performance measure is rather simple but gives you the basic workout metrics which include time, calories, distance, pulse, and speed.

The textured non-slip foot pedals keep your feet firmly fixed, with enough space to accommodate all user sizes. The elliptical handles feature pulse-sensing grips which allow you to monitor your cardiovascular performance using the heart-rate graph as a reference point.

Above the monitor, the device holder allows you to use the Sunny Health & Fitness app or follow along with a workout of your choice. Each elliptical purchase includes a decent 3-year structural frame and a 180-day parts warranty.

48 EXPERT SCORE

The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3955 Elliptical is a compact and affordable trainer with adjustable magnetic resistance, performance tracking, pulse-sensing handles, and a device holder for added convenience.


Durability:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Adjustability:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • The pulse-sensing handle grips allow you to monitor your heart rate as you workout
  • You can choose between the budget-friendly and interactive model version that features Bluetooth app compatibility
  • The smaller 12.5" stride length results in a more efficient workout for normal-sized users

Could be better:

  • The simple monitor has no pre-set workout programs to choose from

2. Sole Fitness E20 Elliptical – Runner-Up

Sole Fitness E20 Elliptical

Sole Fitness aims to produce commercial-grade health and fitness equipment at affordable prices. They want their equipment to perform well at any level and meet a diverse range of customer needs.

They offer a range of cardio machines including space-saving ellipticals and treadmills.

  • Item Dimensions: 65" L x 22" W x 63" H
  • Item Weight: 175 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Stride Length: 18"
  • Display: 5.5" LED
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • App Compatibility: Sole Studio app
  • Additional Features: Built-in Pulse Grips, Water Bottle Holder, Device Tray, Built-in Fan
  • Warranty: Lifetime Frame, 1-year Parts, 1-year Labor

The E20 is part of Sole Fitness’s entry-level elliptical range. It combines durability with some nice added features which make it my runner-up elliptical pick for low gym ceilings.

What makes the E20 stand out is the 2" inward slopes on the foot pedals that have been specifically designed with the help of Orthopedics. Numbness in your toes and feet can be a common problem when exercising, with the inwards ergonomic foot slopes helping to improve circulation and comfort.

Another great feature of the E20 is the three incline levels to choose from giving you a great way to incline your workout intensity. However, they do need to be adjusted manually at the side of the elliptical.

With a 14.4-pound flywheel and dual-rail drive system, the E20 offers great durability and a smooth exercise motion. The 18" stride length is enough to accommodate taller elliptical users.

The E20 weighs a solid 175 pounds and has a 300-pound max weight capacity. It’s finished in a black powder coating to protect it from changes in the environment and repeated contact.

The E20 console keeps things simple with a 5.5" LED screen that displays time, speed, distance, and calories burned. It also has 8 pre-set workout programs to choose from.

The elliptical handles feature built-in pulse grips to monitor your heart rate, with other added convenience features including a water bottle holder, built-in speakers, and floor stabilizers.

47 EXPERT SCORE

The Sole Fitness E20 elliptical is a durable and user-friendly machine with ergonomic foot slopes, adjustable incline levels, and a smooth dual-rail drive system, providing a comfortable and effective workout experience at home.


Durability:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Adjustability:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • The 2" inward foot pedal slopes help to reduce numbness in your toes and feet when exercising
  • The three incline settings provide an added workout challenge
  • The black powder coating protects the frame from changes in temperature and the environment

Could be better:

  • The incline has to be adjusted manually at the side of the elliptical

3. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Machine – Best Compact

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Machine
  • Item Dimensions: 33.5" L x 18.5" W x 51.75" H
  • Item Weight: 32.6 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 220 lbs
  • Stride Length: 7"
  • Display: LCD Digital Monitor
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • App Compatibility: Sunny Health & Fitness App
  • Additional Features: Smooth Glide Rail Wheels, Transportation Wheels, Carry Handle, 2-way Adjustable Handlebars
  • Warranty: 1-year Structural Frame, 180-days Other Parts and Components

The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Machine has a footprint of just 33.5" L x 18.5" W x 51.75" H making it the smallest one out of my top four choices. It’s my best compact elliptical choice for low gym ceilings.

Alongside being super compact, it’s extremely lightweight at just 32.6 pounds. Combined with the transport wheels and built-in carry handle, this makes the SF-E3988 super easy to move around to different spaces in your home gym.

Sunny Health & Fitness has used a magnetic resistance system with eight levels to choose from via the tension control dial at the front of the frame. The glide wheels track along a smooth glide rail using a smaller 7" stride length.

At the front of the frame, the LCD digital monitor tracks your time, speed, distance, and calories.

The foam-padded non-slip handlebars provide a firm grip and can be adjusted to maintain balance and increase user comfort. Other added features include textured oversized foot pedals and rubber frame stabilizers.

46.5 EXPERT SCORE

The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Machine is a compact and lightweight option for small spaces, offering smooth magnetic resistance, an LCD digital monitor, and adjustable handlebars for a comfortable and convenient workout.


Durability:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Adjustability:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • The carry handle makes the elliptical easier to move around your home gym space
  • The compact frame is perfect for smaller gym spaces
  • The foam-padded handlebars can be adjusted to improve comfort

Could be better:

  • The tension dial is at the bottom of the elliptical which may be hard to reach during exercise

4. Horizon Fitness 7.0 AE Elliptical Trainer

Horizon Fitness 7.0 AE Elliptical Trainer

Horizon Fitness believes in making real exercise equipment for real people. The brand wants a healthy lifestyle to be effective, exciting, and accessible to all regardless of age, ability, or background.

  • Item Dimensions: 76" L x 24" W x 65.5" H
  • Item Weight: 220 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 325 lbs
  • Stride Length: 18"
  • Display: 7" LCD
  • Resistance: Magnetic
  • App Compatibility: Multi-device Bluetooth Compatibility
  • Additional Features: Transportation Wheels, Device Holder, USB-compatible
  • Warranty: Lifetime Frame, 3-years Parts, 1-year Labor

The Horizon Fitness 7.0 AE Elliptical is a mid-range cardio machine choice that offers an immersive workout experience from the comfort of your own home. The multi-device Bluetooth connectivity feature is specifically designed for a range of live and on-demand fitness classes that can be streamed through your phone or tablet.

The integrated device speakers provide a vibrant sound whilst exercising, with the built-in device holder and USB port keeping your phone or tablet perfectly in view and fully charged.

Another great feature of the 7.0 AE Elliptical is the huge range of incline and resistance settings. Choose from 20 levels of incline and tension via the one-touch keys on the handles and monitor at the front of the frame.

Constructed from alloy steel, the elliptical frame weighs 220 pounds and supports up to 325 pounds of user weight which is the largest capacity out of my top four choices.

The Horizon Fitness Elliptical monitor features a 7" LCD screen that monitors calories, time, speed, distance, heart rate, and workout pace. You’re also able to choose from nine pre-set workout programs if you prefer a set structure to follow.

Other features include non-slip handlebars, textured foot plates, transportation wheels, and a carry handle at the back of the frame.

46 EXPERT SCORE

The Horizon Fitness 7.0 AE Elliptical offers a range of immersive features, including multi-device Bluetooth connectivity, a wide range of incline and resistance settings, and a robust frame design, making it a great choice.


Durability:0
Portability:0
Versatility:0
Adjustability:0
Price/Quality:0

Positives:

  • The multi-device BlueTooth compatibility offers a range of live and on-demand workout options using your device
  • The elliptical has a huge range of resistance and incline settings to choose from
  • The monitor features nine pre-set workout programs to choose from

Could be better:

  • The elliptical may be hard to move around if you want to store it away or use the space when you’re not exercising

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What to Consider When Choosing the Best Elliptical for Low Ceilings?

When choosing the right elliptical to add to your home gym collection, you need to think about a few things first. For each of the ellipticals I've reviewed, go through the main factors below and think about if they would suit your home gym.

1. Elliptical Step Height

The step height is a measure of how high you go above the floor at the peak of the elliptical arc motion. Most ellipticals commonly have a step height of 12-14". To work out if your elliptical is suitable for your low ceiling space, add this figure to your height and add a little extra just to be safe.

2. Elliptical Footprint

Before looking at the elliptical dimensions, measure your home gym space and any potential areas you want to put it in.

Once you have your possible dimensions, check the footprint of the elliptical and add a little on to allow you to perform the elliptical motion safely and correctly.

3. Portability

If you have a smaller gym space or want to store the elliptical away when not in use, check how easy it is to move around.

First, look at the elliptical weight and dimensions. Check if the elliptical has any added portability features such as a carry handle or transportation wheels which make moving it around easier.

Choosing the Best Elliptical for Low Ceilings

Benefits of Low Profile Ellipticals

Ellipticals for low ceilings have multiple physical and mental benefits that can be achieved using a range of workout modes. Here are just some of the main ones below:

✅ Low Impact

Whilst cardiovascular exercise is great for improving your fitness and burning calories, it can be tough on joints when performed regularly.

Ellipticals essentially work the same muscle groups but use an arc motion where your feet stay firmly against the pedals. This makes them a great low-impact cardio option for people with joint issues or recovering from injury.

✅ Full Body Movement

Ellipticals use a combination of moving handles and foot pedals that push against the flywheel using magnetic resistance to build the tension level. They can be used to work your full body or isolate certain muscle groups depending on your needs and goals.

The moving handles provide a great upper-body conditioning workout and can be used on their own if you want an extra challenge. The foot pedals can also be used individually to target your lower body more or you can opt to use both together for a great full-body workout.

Full Body Movement

✅ Small Learning Curve

Compared to other cardio machines, the motion used on an elliptical is extremely easy to learn. With the handles and pedals using a fixed path, it’s much easier to maintain the correct form as you get used to the elliptical motion.

The smooth range of motion on an elliptical also makes it feel much easier to perform compared to higher-impact cardio meaning you should find it much easier to do for longer periods.

FAQ

How Tall Do Ceilings Need to Be for an Elliptical?

Most elliptical machines require approximately 8 feet of ceiling height. The base of most ellipticals raises the user off the ground meaning you need to allow for this alongside the height of the tallest elliptical user in your household.

Does Height Matter on an Elliptical?

To operate a low ceiling elliptical safely, you need to allow for an extra 12" of clearance above the head of the tallest elliptical user. This allows you to perform the elliptical motion correctly without worrying about hitting the ceiling.

With each elliptical, check the step height and add that to your height before checking if your ceiling is tall enough.

Conclusion

Ellipticals provide a great low-impact cardio option that is easy to learn and can be used to work different muscle groups depending on how you use them.

The four ellipticals I’ve reviewed above provide excellent options if you have a low home gym ceiling space. The Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Cross Trainer is my top pick choice, scoring the highest overall total. It’s a compact elliptical that offers excellent value for money and comes with some nice added features which include a device holder, transportation wheels, and pulse-sensing grips on the handles.

Do you have a smaller home gym space? Have you considered buying any of the ellipticals I’ve reviewed above? Comment below and let me know!

Also read:

References:

  1. Referent body weight values in over ground walking, over ground jogging, treadmill jogging, and elliptical exercise // NCBI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ 24095267/
  2. How to Use the Elliptical Trainer // Verywellfit: https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-use-the-elliptical-trainer-3120806
  3. Lower Limb Joint Angular Position and Muscle Activity During Elliptical Exercise in Healthy Young Men // Humankinetics: https://journals. humankinetics.com /view/journals/jab /31/1/article-p19.xml
  4. 20-Minute Elliptical Workout for Beginners // Verywellfit: https://www.verywellfit.com /elliptical-trainer-workout-for-beginners-1230802
  5. Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights // Harvard: https://www.health. harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/calories-burned-in-30-minutes-for-people-of-three-different-weights
  6. The Association of Recreational and Competitive Running With Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis // NCBI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ 28504066/
  7. Muscular Activation Patterns During Exercise on the Treadmill, Stepper, and Elliptical Trainer // NCBI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ 32881840/
  8. Physiologic response to a prescribed rating of perceived exertion on an elliptical fitness cross-trainer // NCBI: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ 14625510/

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Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko
Pro Olympic Weightlifter, Coach

Experience: 26 years
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.

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