One of many common questions that I get in answering consumer questions is “how much space does a elliptical take up in my house?” The answer, unfortunately is not as easy as the question and mainly depends on what elliptical that you purchase.
If you don’t have any space at all you could go for an elliptical like the Stamina 55-1610. It’s basically a couple of elliptical pedals attached to a weighted flywheel and brake. You sit on a chair and spin the pedals. For the price, it has surprisingly good quality. Unfortunately, since you aren’t standing and bearing your weight, it is not good for exercise. The only thing this machine is good for is for helping people that are currently trying to get back on their feet after an injury or suffering from an age related illness. Another option is the Foldaway Full Body Elliptical from Hammacher Schlemmer. It hardly takes up any room but is a unmitigated piece of crap in terms of quality and design. Lighting cigars with $50 bills is a better use of money.
Past these two items, there are really no “compact ellipticals” on the market. Some will have folding features, etc, but don’t really fit the bill. My simple rule of thumb is that you will need a space that is at minimum 4 feet wide by 8 feet in length to place the elliptical and use it. Also, since you stand on the elliptical and are essentially moving up and down on the machine you also need to think about height requirements which are not usually a consideration when using a treadmill. Most residential homes have ceilings that are 8 feet tall which gives plenty of room when using almost any machine you can buy. If you are putting it in a basement you can and sometimes will run into problems. Seven foot ceilings are not tall enough for a tall person using an elliptical. I recommend you have at a minimum 7’ 6” in ceiling height to use these machines.
The final consideration for space is the price of the machine. Machines that cost less that $500 use the least amount of space in your room. Machine costs that fall in the $500 to $3,000 range, believe it or not, tend to use about the same amount of functional space. Residential ellipticals above $3,000 tend to use moderately more space than the $500 to $3,000 price range machines but not significantly more. Finally, commercial machines use more space than premium ellipticals, but again, not significantly more.
Just remember the 4’ by 8’ rule of thumb for the floor space of your elliptical and you should be just fine. Just don’t forget the ceiling requirements. Nobody wants to be bumping their head on the ceiling while they are working out!