A lady workout on an elliptical for low ceilings

This is our review of the Best Elliptical for Low Ceilings in .

Although ellipticals can be excellent home exercise equipment, not all homes are set up to accommodate them. An elliptical often demands more ceiling space than other home exercise equipment due to the arc of motion you experience.

If you are tall and your home’s ceiling is low, your head might bump into the ceiling, forcing you to slouch while working out. So, before you purchase an elliptical, you need to make sure that its footprint and height are optimal for the room in which you will place it.

After extensive research, we bring you the top 5 ellipticals for low ceilings. Each of these presents its benefits and highlights. 

That said, the Life Fitness E1 Cross Trainer is the best option for low ceilings, with a step-up height of only 6.5 inches. It has a 20-inch long stride and a maximum weight capacity of over 400 lbs, making it ideal for tall users. With over 20 levels of resistance and 16+ workout programs, it ensures a power-packed workout. 

But we understand that you might want to explore other options, so we’ve also curated a few other ellipticals for low ceilings you might want to consider.

Here is a quick look at our 5 top picks:

Best elliptical for low ceilings (Overall)Life Fitness E1 Cross Trainer
Best elliptical for low ceilings (Below 7”)Diamondback Fitness 1060ef Elliptical
Best elliptical for low ceilings (Below 11”)Horizon EX-59 Elliptical
Best elliptical for low ceilings (Connected)Sunny Power Stride smart Elliptical SF-E321005
Best elliptical for low ceilings (Hybrid)Sunny Essential Interactive Seated Elliptical SF-E322004

We recommend reading this article till the end to understand the elliptical that fits you the best. We have also covered the most frequently asked questions and have enumerated a useful buying guide.

Top 5 Ellipticals for Low Ceilings in 2023

Each of our recommended ellipticals is capable of meeting your fitness goals. However, we strongly advise you to consult a qualified physician if you have any specific medical conditions.

Life Fitness E1 Cross Trainer – Best elliptical for low ceilings (Overall) 

Step-up height: 6.5 inches

Stride length: 20 inches

Resistance: 20 levels

Max User Weight Capacity: 400 lbs

Warranty: Lifetime warranty for the frame, 5 years for the parts, 3 years for the console, and 1 year for the labor

The Life Fitness E1 cross trainer combines natural motion with smooth operation to give you an outstanding workout experience. With a step-up height of just 6.5 inches, the E1 cross trainer is the best elliptical for low ceilings for a low-impact, full-body workout.

It comes with a 20-inch long stride, accommodating users up to 6’5″ in height. The E1 elliptical also offers 20 levels of resistance and 16 workout programs, which include access to high-intensity workout training, goal-based, and custom workouts. This lets you get in a good and effective workout every day.

Despite a good resistance range, the elliptical has a surprisingly near-silent operation. This is because of the WhisperStride technology that uses ball bearings that help to reduce friction. 

Oversized, textured pedals give a non-slip grip, which is essential during long workouts.

In addition to offering a quiet workout, the elliptical has a durable quality with high sturdiness. The aluminum and steel frame can not only withstand challenging activities but can sustain a weight of up to a very impressive 400 lbs.

Coming to the display, the console has a dual-zone design placed at an ideal level for viewing. The upper half of the console can hold all kinds of smartphones and tablets, so you can watch videos or movies while working out. The console’s lower half displays all the workout metrics, including calories, speed, distance, time, etc.

The elliptical is Bluetooth-enabled, allowing you to track all the progress via various fitness apps like Nike+, Apple Health, Fit Bit, etc.

Why do we love itWhat you need to consider
High maximum weight capacity Large footprint
Near-silent operation
Able to accommodate tall users  
Utility-friendly console design

Summary of customer reviews

Customers love the E1 Cross trainer as it offers a quiet, smooth, sturdy workout. The pedal motion provides a comfortable and natural running experience. The elliptical is whisper-quiet, but some customers have complained that it makes some knocking sounds after a few weeks of use.

Diamondback Fitness 1060ef Elliptical – Best elliptical for low ceilings (Below 7”)

Step-up height:  6.7 inches

Stride length: 18,20 or 23 inches

Resistance: Whisper quiet magnetic resistance

Max User Weight Capacity: 300 lbs

Warranty: 5 years for frame and brakes, 3 years for parts and equipment, 1 year for labor, 90 days for wear items

The Diamondback Fitness 1060ef is a very economically priced elliptical with only a 6.7″ step-up height and is packed with upgraded technology.

It offers three stride lengths – 18, 20, and 23 inches, making it a top option for tall users. You can also adjust these stride lengths to target different muscle groups. However, we did feel that users with a height of 5’2″ and below may have to stretch more than they naturally do.

The 1060ef is among the few machines to have included dual-spindle technology. It replicates your natural running motion to give you a smoother, more realistic workout experience. This is excellent news for your joints because it exerts minimal stress while you train.

This is another lightweight elliptical with a small footprint. Again, a massive advantage for those looking for a machine that saves space. Transportation wheels add to the portability and user-friendliness of the elliptical.

To ensure maximum comfort, the elliptical has oversized pedals that fit users of differing heights and built requirements.

The dual-color LCD console is easy-to-read and operate. It has a total of 16 programs which include 8 presets, 4 heart rates, and 4 customs. Hand-pulse sensors help to monitor heart rate in real-time, which can also be tracked through a built-in Polar wireless heart rate receiver. The receiver, however, needs to be connected to a monitoring device.

Why do we love itWhat you need to consider
Upgraded technology No Bluetooth connectivity
Compact and lightweight 
Transportation wheels

Summary of customer reviews

The Diamondback Fitness 1060ef is easy to assemble. Customers love how comfortable and versatile the stride length is. The elliptical has a small footprint, making it easier to fit in a small room. However, a few customers complained about the elliptical making squeaky noises after about an hour of workouts.

Horizon EX-59 Elliptical – Best elliptical for low ceilings (Below 11”)

Step-up height: 10 ¾ inches 

Stride length: 18 inches

Resistance: 10 levels 

Max User Weight Capacity: 300 lbs

Warranty: Lifetime for the frame, 1 year for brakes, parts and labor

The Horizon Fitness EX-59 is a SIXstar-certified elliptical that meets the six key elements required to deliver the most realistic training experience. It has a step-up height of just over 10 inches, making it a viable option for low-ceilinged homes.

The frame is very sturdy and ergonomically designed, making the machine easy on the joints even during the most challenging sessions. While the frame ensures durability, the heavy-duty flywheel and magnetic brake resistance ensure a smooth and quiet stride. The fact that the manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty for the frame shows their confidence in its quality and design.

The EX-59 has an 18-inch stride length replicating a natural walking and running experience. Another reason why this elliptical is a great choice is the short Q-Factor (distance between the pedals). A tighter inter-pedal gap reduces stress on the back and hips and prevents fatigue from setting in early.

The elliptical allows you to create and experiment with a unique training session every day with over 10 levels of resistance and 10 workout programs. The workout programs include 3 target training (calories, distance, time), 3 workouts (weight loss, hills, reverse train), and 1 customized workout.

Other features like sonic surround speakers, an MP3 player, and a cooling fan to make your workout more entertaining. 

The elliptical also has transportation wheels which helps in easy mobility and portability.

Why do we love it?What do you need to consider?
Durable, sturdy, and ergonomic frame Only 10 resistance levels
Tighter Q-Factor for joint health
Lifetime warranty for frame
Not a large footprint

Summary of customer reviews

The step-up height of 10 ¾ inches makes Horizon EX-59 an excellent choice for customers looking for an elliptical for low-ceiling homes. It is easy to assemble and does not take much room. However, some users complained of a squeaky sound within a few weeks of working out and found their after-sales customer support lacking.

Sunny Health & Fitness Power Stride Smart Elliptical SF-E321005 – Best connected elliptical for low ceilings

Step-up height: 13.6 inches

Stride length: 17.7 inches

Resistance: 16 levels

Max User Weight Capacity: 265 lbs

Warranty: ‎3 years for the frame and 180 days for other parts and components

Another great elliptical for low ceilings is Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E321005. With a step-up height of 13.6 inches and a stride length of 17.7 inches, the elliptical can comfortably accommodate users between 5’ to 5′ 8 ” in height.

The SunnyFit App comes bundled with this elliptical and keeps you engaged while you work out. With 500+ workouts and real workout maps, training virtually becomes a different experience every time. This app also lets you stay in touch with a wider community focused on fitness to keep you motivated and on track.

With full-body workout capabilities, the elliptical allows you to power your sessions with 16 levels of magnetic resistance that push you to a new extreme every day. And yet, it offers a quiet workout experience primarily because of the high inertia 13.2 lbs flywheel that mutes noises. This makes the SF-E321005 an excellent choice for home use.

The performance monitor is fitted to the elliptical displays and keeps track of all your workout statistics, including calories, speed, time, distance, odometer, and pulse. Bluetooth connectivity allows you to view all your performance metrics on your mobile device.

The pulse rate is tracked through the built-in pulse sensors on the handlebars and displayed on the performance monitor and SunnyFit app.

Other elliptical features include a device holder, transportation wheels, non-slip pedals, etc.

Why do we love itWhat you need to consider
Smooth and silent operation Short warranty
Wide variety of workout options Cannot accommodate tall users 
Connects with the SunnyFit app

Sunny Essential Interactive Seated Elliptical SF-E322004 – Best hybrid elliptical for low ceilings

Step-up height: Minimum 6.5 inches and maximum 12.9 inches

Stride length: 10.6 inches 

Resistance: 8 levels

Max User Weight Capacity: 220 lbs

Warranty: 3 years for the frame and 180 days for other parts and components

The Sunny Essential Interactive Seated Elliptical for low ceilings is among the most versatile ellipticals because you can train on it in standing and seated positions. This is especially useful when multiple users with different requirements are using the same machine.

The seated design allows for a low-impact workout that is easy on the knees and ankles. It’s also great for people who have limited mobility or balance issues.

The elliptical comes with a comfortable seat. It can be adjusted 4 ways, and the dimensions can support people of different sizes well.

Another plus point is that the footprint of the trainer is space-saving and comes with a sturdy flywheel.

There are a total of 8 resistance levels that can be adjusted easily using the magnetic resistance system for a smooth and quiet training experience. A digital monitor helps you keep track of your time, speed, distance, and calories burned.

You also get access to the SunnyFit App, which displays all your workout-related metrics in real-time. It also has 100+ workout videos based on your goals and lifestyle.

Why do we love itWhat you need to consider
Allows for workouts in standing and seated positionsDifficult to assemble
4-way adjustable seat
Small Footprint

Summary of customer reviews

While many customers have appreciated the sturdy design and quiet function of the Sunny Essential Interactive Seated Elliptical, others have complained about the pedals being short, apart from having some issues with the console display screen.

How to select an elliptical when you have a low ceiling height?

If your apartment has a low ceiling, you need to take care of the following before buying an elliptical:

Step 1: Measure the ceiling height

The floor-to-ceiling height is the most critical thing to measure while buying an elliptical for your home. The average floor-to-ceiling height of most American homes is 8 feet. We recommend a low step-up height elliptical if the height is 8 feet or less. 

Generally, if the height is over 8 feet, you don’t have much to worry about.

Step 2: Consider the height of the tallest user in the household

The user’s height is the second step in selecting an elliptical with a low ceiling. We recommend you consider the tallest person in your family who will use this machine. 

You may want to consider a low step-up elliptical if the user is above 6 feet in height and the floor-to-ceiling distance is 8 feet or below.

Step 3: Measure the step-up height

Once you’ve identified the height of the tallest elliptical user in your household, you must consider the step-up height of the elliptical. Simply put, it’s the distance from the ground to where the elliptical puts you at the highest point while in use.

Step 4: Calculating the maximum step-up height for your elliptical

To know the maximum step-up height of the elliptical, you need to ensure that the ceiling height is more than the user height and step-up height of the machine. 

Ceiling height > Height of tallest user + Step-up height

In addition, providing a small buffer of 4 to 6 inches to account for any additional bounce is always a good idea.

What is the average step-up height of ellipticals?

The average step-up height of a home elliptical ranges from 12 to 14 inches. In some rare models, the step-up height can also go up to 20 inches.

If you’re unaware of the step-up height of the elliptical, it’s safe to add 16 to 18 inches to the height of the tallest user when comparing it with the ceiling height.

Note: Not all brands provide the step-up height details, and it may also change while adjusting the incline setting. So it is important to be super cautious while deciding on the elliptical if your house has a low ceiling.

Buying Guide: What to look for when buying an elliptical for low-ceiling households?

Here’s what you need to consider while buying an elliptical for low ceilings:

Ceiling height

Ceiling height is the most important thing to consider if your house has a low roof. If you’re under 6′ feet tall, an 8′ feet ceiling height would be sufficient for you to use an elliptical without any difficulties. However, if you’re taller than 6′ feet, you could consider buying an elliptical with a short step-up height.

It is also recommended to add a small buffer space of 4 to 6 inches between the ceiling and your head when standing at the highest point of elliptical motion to account for any bounces during the workout.

Space in the house

After the height, you need to consider the floor space. Typically, ellipticals require an area of 6-7 feet long and 2-3 feet wide. You also need extra space to comfortably get on and off the pedals, so about 20 inches of free space on either side is ideal.

Stride length

The stride length is crucial in ensuring a natural and comfortable workout. Having a short stride length can cause joint pain, whereas if the stride length is too long, you will experience discomfort during the training. 

An 18-inch stride-length elliptical is ideal for people of average height (5’8 and under). For those who are 6 feet and above, we recommend you go for a 20-22 inch stride length.


With all the wear and tear a workout machine goes through, having a good warranty is crucial. Always check the warranty specifications that come with any exercise equipment you buy. It should ideally give a good cover for the frame, different components, and if possible, even labor.


The price range for ellipticals starts from $150 and could go up to $11,000. Before shopping for an elliptical, you must decide on your budget. While you can get a very good quality elliptical within a small budget, premium features usually come at higher prices.


If you are keen on buying an elliptical for home use, don’t let a low ceiling deter you. All you need to do is choose a model with a low step-up height. Of course, do make sure that other important aspects, such as stride length, sturdiness, and resistance levels, match your requirements and quality needs.

We strongly recommend the Life Fitness E1 Cross Trainer as the best elliptical for low ceilings. It has a unique ‘WhisperStride Technology’ that offers a smooth, quiet workout thanks to the maintenance-free ball bearings. Its 16+ workout programs and 20 resistance levels are enough to challenge you and keep you engaged and invested in fitness. This makes the machine an ideal companion for your home workouts.


How much ceiling clearance do you need for an elliptical?

Generally, you require 16 to 18 inches of clearance accounting for the step-up height and some extra space to avoid bumping your head on the ceiling while working out.

If you are over 6 feet tall, consider getting an elliptical suitable for tall individuals.

How much space is needed for an elliptical?

Ellipticals usually require an area of 6-7 feet in length and 2-3 feet in width. Keep an extra 20-inch free space around the elliptical to comfortably get on and off the pedal.

If you are low on space but want to ensure you have a variety when you workout, consider getting a combo machine which has an elliptical and a stepper.

Disclaimer: The information mentioned in the article above is for educational and informational purposes only. It shouldn’t be considered health or medical advice. Please consult a doctor or a qualified health professional if you have any medical/health conditions questions.

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