How to Choose a Quiet Elliptical for an Apartment (or Small Space)

You live in an apartment, townhouse or condo with a noise ordinance and want to buy an elliptical machine, but you’re worried about your elliptical machine creating too much noise.

It’s understandable that you want to be courteous to your neighbors and being that ellipticals are quieter than jogging in place or running on a treadmill, they do still make some noise.

Thankfully, there are some quieter elliptical options available and your neighbors will probably never know that you have one!

In this article, we provide our recommended approach for purchasing a quiet elliptical machine for an apartment, townhouse, condo or any other place with a noise ordinance.


What Makes a Quiet vs Loud Elliptical Machine?

Some machines are just loud in general, but there are other reasons that could contribute to some unwanted noise coming from your elliptical machine.

These reasons could range from easy fixes to major issues that would need to be addressed.

Any noise that is very loud coming from your elliptical could indicate that something major is wrong, like:

  • The machine was assembled incorrectly with improperly secured fasteners.
  • The elliptical could have a faulty drive belt.
  • If you bought a used machine, it could have normal wear and tear. Note that we don’t recommend buying used elliptical machines unless you’re pretty handy and can fix issues with the machines. We recommend saving up to purchase a new machine with a warranty. You can also burn calories by climbing stairs (for example) and use other manual exercises techniques until you’ve saved up the money required to purchase a reliable machine with a warranty.
  • The elliptical is out of balance. Here’s more information about correcting issues with an out of balance machine.

As mentioned before, some elliptical machines are simply louder than others even if they are brand new. Some lower quality machines are made with subpar materials and overall they’re poorly constructed and noisy.

Some cheaper ellipticals are not as sturdy and have weight distribution problems making them wobbly.

The noise from these machines can often travel through floors, which could upset neighbors, especially if you live in an apartment, townhouse or condo.

If you are looking for a truly quiet elliptical machine for your apartment be prepared to spend some money.

However, elliptical machines provide a fantastic workout, so we believe that you’re making a good investment in a great exercise machine that is durable and will last a long time.


Additional Considerations When Purchasing an Elliptical for an Apartment

When purchasing an elliptical, there are several options and features that you consider for apartments, townhouses, and condos.

Noise is only one part of the equation when choosing an elliptical for your apartment. While shopping, keep in mind these additional factors that will keep your landlord and neighbors all happy.

Compact Design for Storage

Most ellipticals are big and can take up a lot of room. Most apartments don’t offer a lot of extra room, especially for workout machines.

However, with today’s modern ellipticals, they often offer more compact machines that can be folded and stored away when they’re not in use.

Choosing an elliptical that will fit in your small space is an important factor in choosing your machine.

Height of the Elliptical

Apartments with lower ceilings can cause problems with certain machines. If you are a taller person, you will want to make sure you have enough clearance to use the machine properly.

Check the height of the elliptical and make sure to account for your own height once on the machine. We’re also writing a buying guide on the best ellipticals for short ceilings. We’ll link it here once the guide has been completed.

Shipping and Assembly

Some machines are very heavy. Some machines will need to be assembled. Making sure to account for delivery in your budget is another important factor in choosing an elliptical.

Usually, there is also an option to have it professionally assembled as well, unless you want the challenge yourself. Note that professional assembly is likely an additional cost.


The Best Quiet Ellipticals for an Apartment

Now, let’s move on to our top recommendations for the best quiet ellipticals for an apartment.

Best Quiet, Budget-Friendly Elliptical for Apartments: Nautilus E614 Trainer

Best Quiet, Budget-Friendly Elliptical for Apartments: Nautilus E614 Trainer
In this picture, you see an illustrated image of the Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer, which includes several new features for the money – get more info: https://amzn.to/2lhor0h

Overview: There are some ellipticals that cost as low as $200 but could potentially require earplugs for you and your surrounding neighbors. The Nautilus E614 is the best option for your budget that’s packed with features and it’s a quiet elliptical machine. It also comes with “cool” extra features like a USB charging port, speakers, and 2 LCD display screens.

Product Dimensions:

  • Length: 71.5″ (181.7 cm)
  • Width: 26.7″ (67.7 cm)
  • Height: 63.2″ (160.5 cm)
  • Max Weight: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Machine Weight: 167.3 lbs (75.9 kg)

Why It Is Recommended: The Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer has several amazing features and reviews (across the internet) indicating that it is a top-notch machine. The price is great compared to other ellipticals on the market and people love that it is truly quiet and a great size for apartments.

Drawbacks: If you’re assembling the machine yourself, it could become a chore. Also, the machine may not be sturdy enough for individuals that are 250 pounds or over. However, it claims to support users up to 300 pounds. If you’re between 250-300 pounds, I recommend finding a local fitness that has this machine in stock, so you can test it before making the purchase.

Click here to read recent reviews and check the current pricing of the Nautilus E614 on Amazon.


Best Compact Elliptical (For Storage and Small Spaces): Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Elliptical Trainer

evolve 3 elliptical cross trainer
In this picture, you see an illustrated image of the Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Elliptical Trainer, which one of quietest, most compact machines on the market. To get additional information, use this link: https://amzn.to/2lePwB6

Overview: The Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Elliptical Trainer is a bit more pricey but can be completely folded up and stored out of the way, making it great for smaller apartments. The elliptical runs smooth and quiet, and since it’s a smaller, compact design, it gets the job done.

Product Dimensions:

  • Length: 69″ (175.26 cm)
  • Width: 28″ (71.12 cm)
  • Height: 69″ (175.26 cm)
  • Max Weight: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Machine Weight: 175 lbs (79.38 kg)

Why It Is Recommended: This elliptical is small and compact. It’s also lower to the ground and stored away very easily. It is great for apartments with a nice sturdy construction that runs smooth and quietly. It won’t break the bank as it is less expensive than most ellipticals.

Drawbacks: According to some reviews, others weren’t impressed with the ellipticals on-board computer. Also, while it’s a fairly inexpensive model, it isn’t the cheapest model available. Although, it was specifically made to be a quiet machine.

Click here to read recent reviews and check the current pricing of the Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Elliptical on Amazon.


Best Quiet Elliptical Machine: NordicTrack Spacesaver SE 9i Elliptical Trainers

Best Quiet Elliptical Machine: NordicTrack Spacesaver SE 9i Elliptical Trainers
In this picture, you see an illustrated image from the user manual of the NordicTrack Spacesaver SE 9i Elliptical Trainer, which the best quiet elliptical Machine (overall): Get more details using this link: https://amzn.to/2likLLN

Overview: If you were to combine the other ellipticals mentioned and all of the latest innovative technology enhancements, you’ll get this great machine. NordicTrack always delivers top of the line products and this elliptical is no different. This one is the priciest ellipticals that we recommend, but it’s worth the money if you want an all-around great machine.

Product Dimensions:

Length: 74″ (187.96 cm)
Width: 25″ (63.5 cm)
Height: 69″ (175.26 cm)
Max Weight: 325 lbs (136 kg)
Machine Weight: 218 lbs (98.88 kg)

Why It Is Recommended: While I do my own independent research, I’m also a huge fan of social proof. As I was reading reviews and participating in forum discussions about this item, people raved about the many features and extra capabilities that come with this elliptical. It offers a superb digital display screen, built-in fan, speakers and has an added bonus of a 30 plus workout app included. The machine is easily assembled, folds-up easily for storage and is almost completely silent.

Drawbacks: It is expensive. However, the saying, “You get what you pay for” is true in this instance and this machine has it all.

Click here to read recent reviews and check the current pricing of the NordicTrack Spacesaver SE 9i Elliptical Trainers on Amazon.


Some Final Considerations

If you choose to purchase a “used” second hand elliptical, remember that the wear and tear of the machine could make for poor stability and cause excessive noise.

Making the investment in a top-of-the-line elliptical will ensure you are receiving a high-quality product with a warranty if something goes wrong.

There are many ellipticals on the market to choose from and hopefully, these three recommendations can make your search for the quietest ellipticals for your apartment, townhouse or condo a little bit easier.

Remember, you can visit Amazon to read more about our recommended elliptical, the NordicTrack Spacesaver SE 9i Elliptical Trainer.


Quiet Ellipticals: FAQs

What should I do if my elliptical is making loud noises?


Start by trying to diagnose the problem yourself. Check to ensure that the machine is balanced properly. Ellipticals need to be placed on a sturdy surface to avoid any rocking.

It is best not to open the machine yourself but rather call customer service for a professional technician to check it out as most companies are more than happy to help with problems.

These machines are typically using good quality standards and you shouldn’t have too many issues, definitely start with the manufacturer, especially if the machine is still under warranty.

What is the cause of excessive noises from my elliptical machine?


Typically, ellipticals make excessive noises due to them being poorly constructed or just cheaply made. Poor assembly or components can cause joints to creak, the machine to wobble, and other noises that can stem from the machine’s flywheel.

With improper assembly, loose parts or fasteners can rattle when the machine is in use or another mechanical problem could lead to noises. Contacting support for help is best when trying to diagnose the issue.

Leave it to professionals to evaluate and disassemble the machine to address any problems that are leading to noise.

Can an elliptical machine fit in apartments comfortably?


Yes, but you must be aware of the dimensions of the space you plan to keep the elliptical and the dimensions of the machine itself.

Ellipticals that can be folded for better storage are great for apartments (like the NordicTrack model mentioned above) and they can take up much less space than non-foldable options.

Finding a good balance between size and noise is important as some smaller machines have cheaper materials leading to more noise. Look for high-quality machines that will ensure sturdiness and quiet operation.

My elliptical machine is making knocking, clunking, grinding and squeaking noises. Do you know why?


As mentioned before, trying to self diagnose any problem with your machine could cause more damage. If trying to fix it yourself, you could make things much worse and possibly void your warranty.

Calling the manufacturer is the best idea for them to help walk you through the problem or send a technician to fix any issues. Depending on the warranty details, you may even get a replacement elliptical if the issue is severe enough.

Being that these machines aren’t cheap, companies and big fitness brands want to uphold their reputations and make quality ellipticals. Reputable companies like NordicTrack, Nautilus, and Horizon Fitness are all good choices to ensure reliable machines.

How expensive are quiet ellipticals? How much do they cost?


For a few hundred dollars, there are several decent models to choose from. Again, choosing a second-hand machine for a bargain should mostly be avoided to ensure you purchase a quality, good running quiet machine that won’t bother your neighbors.

Higher end models typically run around $800-$1,500 but you are sure to get a great piece of equipment that will fit your needs. Commercial grade ellipticals can go for $5,000 or more but are more suited for actual home gyms or traditional gyms in general.

What is the lifespan of ellipticals? How long do they typically last?


Like most fitness equipment, ellipticals have a 10-20 year life span if properly taken care of. With frequent checks of the foot pedals, hand grips, and screws that could become loose will ensure good up-keep of your machine.

Also making sure to lubricate the moving parts and checking the belt-drive twice a year can keep your elliptical in the best shape.

Remember, you can call the manufacturer for any issues that you have with your machine.

How do you lubricate your elliptical if it becomes noisy?


Lubrication of your elliptical every now and then will prevent squeaks and help to prolong the life of your machine.

It should be noted to be careful when lubricating as you don’t want to use too much or place it in the wrong areas which could damage your machine.

Referring to your user’s manual for the correct way to lubricate your elliptical is the best option for proper care

Which one is better: Ellipticals or Treadmills?


Both ellipticals and treadmills are great for cardio exercising, so it truly depends on your fitness needs. Treadmills give a slight heart rate advantage but can be hard on the muscles and joints at times.

Treadmills and ellipticals are comparable from a cost standpoint. Read this article to determine how much treadmills cost (on average). Within the article, we include 13 example price points, reviewing treadmills for a variety of price points.

Ellipticals are also much easier on your joints while still giving you a good workout. With ellipticals, your feet never leave the pedals placing a lot less stress on your muscles and tendons giving you an overall lower RPE (Relative Perceived Exertion).

This means people are working harder on ellipticals than they think they are. You can also raise the resistance levels on ellipticals to make workouts harder and give your heart and muscles a boost as running does.

Another option to elevate your workout on an elliptical is to let go of the hand grips to help work your core stability for a more complete workout.

Again, both treadmills and ellipticals are great pieces of equipment that will give you what you need in terms of working out. However, it is very hard to use a treadmill quietly.

The machine itself can be quiet but the repetitive motion of your feet hitting the platform can cause a lot of noise making difficult to use a treadmill in apartment buildings.

Ellipticals beat out treadmills in the quiet department which gives it a slight advantage when making a choice.

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