compact exercise equipment

The Best Compact Exercise Equipment for Cardio

It's a Small World. That's why You Need Exercise Machines with the Smallest Footprint.

Even the best-planned move can be stressful--not just for you, but for your cat, friends who are kind enough to listen to you complain and your nerves. What’s the worst move of all? Relocating from large spaces to small places.

I’ve been there and done that more times than I care to admit. But here’s the rainbow at the end of the storm: you can avoid moving stress by making wise buying decisions when choosing exercise equipment that doesn’t require its own room because it’s so big.

I’ve scoured the market and come up with suggestions for space saver exercise equipment you’ll love. What to do next? Work out, of course.

By owning small exercise equipment you’ll know the true meaning of “No sweat” and do a happy dance, because no matter where life takes you, you’ll always have room for apparatus that keeps you fit and healthy.

My Recommendations for Safe-Saving Cardio Equipment

marcy easy folding treadmill

I don’t know who Marcy is, but I’d like to thank her for producing a pre-assembled treadmill that’s as mobile as it gets! If you’ve ever had to wield a wrench, you know what I mean.

This equipment has lots going for it because it works nicely in small spaces and if you have to move it, the roller wheels make the task effortless.

The console is brightly lit to display speed, calories burned, time and distance. If you’re a creature of habit and stick to the same routine, you get 10 program choices. Affordably priced and sublimely storable, you’ll say “What space issue?” if you select this Marcy treadmill workout equipment.


  • Treadmill handles are adjustable
  • Workout at rates of speed that go from 0.5 and 8 mph
  • Enjoy fast, easy, out-of-the-box set up


  • Not engineered for long-distance/endurance runners
  • Tread could skip at the highest speeds

Product Specifications

sunny health and fitness row and ride

If the only thing smaller than your budget is your small apartment, rejoice. The Sunny Health & Fitness Squat Assist Row-N-Ride Trainer does more for your shape than compliments from the opposite sex and does it affordably.

This trainer must be assembled, but it’s worth the effort the minute you begin toning your quads, hamstrings and glutes for max flexibility.

Get the resistance you crave with every rep. The LCD monitor tracks vital statistics and 3 elastic bands add a total of 66 pounds of workout resistance.


  • Strengthens the lower body, shoulders, arms and back
  • Accommodates exercisers weighing up to 220 pounds


  • May not give you the level of resistance you prefer
  • The display function could stop working, owners report

Product Specifications

Aduro Sport Foldable Pedal Exerciser

aduro sport pedal exerciser

This exercise device is small but mighty—-especially if your prime concern is toning and strengthening your legs while being the ultimate space saving workout equipment.

Store it in a closet with one hand and bring it out when you need it. All of the health data you seek is available via a 5-function LCD display, so you get consistent progress read outs that includes calories burned, revolutions per minute and workout time.

Adjust the tension to suit your fancy and no worries about slippage thanks to anti-slip rubber pads on the base. All this for under $35!


  • Fold and stow this lightweight machine or transport it
  • Pedals are fitted with integrated straps so feet don't slip
  • Data displays automatically; no resets or programming required


  • Won’t tone the rest of your body
  • Does not come with a warranty

Product Specifications

gazelle edge tony little

You may need help assembling this equipment, but once nuts and bolts are secured, fly through the air just like a gazelle. Read my full review on this machine here

Tony Little invented this unique piece of gear and it’s beloved by brand fans eager to improve their range of motion without stressing the body's skeletal system.

Padded handlebars and extra-wide foot platforms keep exercisers weighing up to 250 pounds safe. The Gazelle Edge’s 5-function computer delivers consistent read-outs on progress that include time, distance and speed. Does this lofty gear fit small spaces when folded down? You bet!


  • Takes up only a small amount of floor space
  • Best way to exercise without stressing bones
  • Smooth and quiet, no ear buds required to hear your tunes!


  • If your aim is resistance training, this isn’t your best option
  • Quality control issues include missing hardware and support beam buckling

stamina bodytrac glider

The BodyTrac Glider 1060, the latest iteration of this company's rowing machines, can turn a burdensome rowing session into fun, especially in small apartments.

The large electric monitor means you can leave your glasses on the table and there’s a feature for your tablet in case you multi-task and have the energy to text or talk while exercising.

This workout machines seat was upgraded following consumer feedback, and footplate/strap configurations were also improved. Fold up the arms, stand the unit on end and store it fast when you need to clear the room.


  • Solidly-constructed steel frame and aluminum rowing beam
  • Achieve full range of motion via adjustable hydraulic resistance
  • Weighs just 37 pounds


  • Air cylinder may make squeaking noises not remedied by lubricants
  • Set at the highest level (12), you may not get the resistance you seek

Product Specifcations

Stamina ATS Rower Workout Equipment

There’s no mistaking this Stamina rower. The prominent fan casing at the front of this unit stands ready to power your fitness program--as long as the price tag doesn’t up your blood pressure.

Burn calories and develop strength using air resistance that mimics the pace at which you row. 

Intuitive? Yes. No programming required; your moves determine speed. Monitor your speed, distance, time and number of calories burned. The easy-to-read LCD is a favorite of today’s dynamic senior, and the Stamina frame and wheels fold down for fast storage, defining the word “compact.”


  • Extra seat padding means a more comfortable session
  • Adjust footplates and rowing handle to customize fit
  • Comes with a 3-year frame warranty and 90-day parts coverage


  • The price tag could exceed your budget
  • Assembly is complex; this is no DIY project

Product Specifications

xterra fitness fb150 folding exercise bike

Talk about the ultimate space saving bike! This Xterra compact exercise folds down to occupy only 16.75 x 18 inches of real estate. The seat is anything but wimpy; it’s anatomically designed to fit all bums and the multi-grip padded handlebars are kind to arthritic hands.

Use the easy-to-reach dial tension knob to select from 8 levels of resistance. No need to stop mid-workout to make adjustments; do it on the fly.

This Xterra product features an LCD window that displays time, distance, speed, calories and pulse readings. Having trouble finding a bike that fits small apartments? Your search ends here. Check out my full review here.


  • Bike features a 3-piece pedal crank to improve durability
  • The price is manageable if you’re on a stringent budget
  • Weighs only 32 pounds; it’s easy to move


  • The LCD display is tiny; just 2 x 1 inch
  • Some purchasers report display malfunctions

Product Specifications

Exerpeutic Gold 525XLR Folding Recumbent Exercise Bike

If the reason you need space-saving exercise gear is to lose weight, this machine, made of 27-percent more durable steel than its 400XL cousin, accommodates exercisers weighing up to 400 pounds. Despite its beefy construction, this recumbent bike folds down in a jiffy.

Set the magnetic tension system for up to 8 options, then climb onboard and enjoy the oversized seat cushion and contoured back rest.

Are you tall? This bike is designed for folks up to 6-feet, 5-inches. Here’s the feature you’ll love most: it folds down to half its size. How many workout machines can make that claim? Check out my full review of this recumbent bike here


  • Large LCD display tracks a long list of relevant statistics
  • No struggle getting on and off; this bike is engineered for easy access
  • The dual transmission flywheel delivers a higher resistance workout


  • Only comes with a 1-year limited warranty
  • Exerciser can't reverse pedal on this bike

Product Specifications

Sunny Health & Fitness Dual Function Magnetic Rowing Machine

This dual-function rower isn’t the least expensive gear on the market, but you might not care when you see how many features and benefits it has.

Start at your feet: heavy-duty plates keep them stable so whether you stand to work your shoulders and arms or sit to row pounds away, you can shuffle between the two without getting up and making adjustments. 

Get 8 levels of magnetic resistance in an environment that’s so quiet, you won’t need ear buds to eliminate noise.

Further, you get all of the read-outs you need to track your progress: distance, scan, count, time, calories and totals. When you're done with your workout, fold and lock the unit down before putting it away.


  • Suits exercisers weighing up to 275 pounds
  • Despite weighing 63 pounds, wheels make moving the unit easy
  • Thick seat padding and ergonomic silhouette


  • You will have to remove hardware to fold down and lock the unit
  • May not provide the amount of tension you require to get and stay fit

Product Specifications

Stamina InMotion Compact Strider

stamina inmotion compact strider

This compact elliptical machine is perfect for people that need to get some exercise but are too busy with work or other activities. It’s portable enough that it can be carried between home and work with a handle, and it can be used in either a standing or sitting position. The pedals can be used in a forward motion and in reverse. 

The tension can be easily modified to control the intensity and an included electronic fitness monitor displays details such as the total number of strides, strides per minute, calories burned, and exercise time. To engage the upper body, you can attach and use resistance tubes with adjustable padded handles. 

This is the kind of exercise machine you should buy if you have a tendency to procrastinate. Having this item at home or in the office gives you an opportunity to get some kind of cardio exercise done, even if you have other things you’d like to do. You can use this elliptical for low impact, joint-friendly exercise while working, or you can use it while watching movies or playing video games. For more products such as these, please read my roundup review of the best mini ellipticals.


  • Easy to Assemble
  • Sturdy and Stable build
  • Helps you stay motivated


  • Not easy to use at first
  • No support when in standing position, so requires a sense of balance.

Product Specifications

Choosing Workout Equipment

Deciding to buy compact exercise equipment that’s versatile enough to fit everywhere you go is one of the smartest moves you can make. My 10 recommendations cover all bases, so whether you need gear that focuses on cardio or you’re only interested in strengthening your leg muscles, a machine that suits your budget and goals should stand out. Small apartment? No biggie! Which unit will you choose for your home?

If you still haven't found what you're looking for, take a look at my list of the best foldable exercise equipment. If you have a little more space to fill and you're trying to find suggestions for your home gym, please take a look at my roundup of best cardio exercise machines.

  • If you still haven't found what you're looking for, take a look at my list of the best foldable workout equipment.
  • Another option if you're trying to save space are mini steppers.
  • If you have a little more space to fill and you're trying to find suggestions for your home gym, please take a look at my roundup of best cardio exercise machines.

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