Where Should I Put My Elliptical And How Much Space Does It Need?

Ellipticals are commonly used pieces of workout equipment. But do they need a lot of space to function properly?

Ellipticals need approximately 8 feet by 4 feet of floor space and ceilings 8′ to 10′ tall in order to properly function. Ellipticals work by moving your legs in an elliptical motion while your arms and legs move back and forth with the handles of the machine, so it needs space.

Ellipticals are are a great piece of equipment if you give them enough space to function. If you’re debating whether to buy one but aren’t sure you have the room for it, read on to find out more about the requirements of these machines.

How Much Space Does An Elliptical Need?

Ellipticals need 8 feet by 4 feet of floor space in order to function properly. Ellipticals have a large range of back and forth motion, so the pedals need a lot of room to maneuver without hitting anything. If they regularly bump against walls or furniture, you could be injured and the equipment could become damaged over time.

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Allow at least 20 inches of space around the machine so you have enough room to get on and off of the machine without getting hurt or tripping on anything. And before you say that you will not trip on anything, consider how steady your legs will be after you work out for a long period of time!

Why Do Ellipticals Need So Much Space?

Ellipticals work out your arms by moving them in a back-and-forth motion and your legs in an elliptical motion, so the equipment needs a lot of room to move, at least in a back-and-forth motion. They also need a lot of room because the machines are not exactly small and compact. They are meant to hold a human up with only two pedal-like steps, and they need to be able to handle that weight, so they need to be somewhat large.

Suggested: How much space does a home gym need?

Image of a person using an elliptical trainer

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Elliptical machines are typically 6 feet long by 2.5 feet wide, but it is easy to find larger ones, which contributes to the reason why they need so much space to function. Another reason why they need so much space is that the pedals and handles often move past the machine, so they need to be able to move with you without hitting a wall. That would limit their capability to work.

You may have noticed that many gyms do not leave a lot of room around their ellipticals and treadmills. This is because they want to put as much equipment as they can into their building, so they put their ellipticals and treadmills very close together. However, they make sure that each machine has enough room around it for people to step off of the machine without becoming injured.

However, when you consider how large elliptical machines are, they do not take up as much space as they could. Treadmills tend to be wider and longer than elliptical machines, so they need more room to function. They also need space around the machine for the belt to move and people to step off the machine. Treadmills just don’t require as much headroom as ellipticals, because the people using the treadmills don’t move up and down as much as the people on the elliptical machines.

Check out how to build a compact home gym here

Do I Need High Ceilings to Use An Elliptical?

You do not need high ceilings in order to use an elliptical. When you are standing on the machine you need to have at least 4-6 inches of headroom above you. So if you are really tall, then you will need to have very high ceilings so you can avoid hitting your head on the ceiling when you use the elliptical. Hitting your head repeatedly is not a great way to work out, and can cause permanent damage to yourself and your ceiling eventually.

I recommend having a ceiling that is 8-10 feet tall if you are planning on using your elliptical machine in your home. You would be surprised how short 7-foot tall ceilings feel when you are standing on an elliptical and moving up and down.

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Where Should I Put My Elliptical?

A bedroom, garage, living room, workout room, and laundry room are all great places to put an elliptical machine as long as there is enough for you to step on and off. If you have enough room in your garage, then feel free to put it there. However, many garages become very cold during the winter months, so I recommend heating your garage if you live in colder temperatures and want to put your elliptical machine there.

Suggested post: Can you put an elliptical in the garage?

Bedrooms are a great place for elliptical machines but many people tend to use ellipticals as clothing hangers while they are not being used, and you may not want to have such a large workout machine in your bedroom, guilting you into working out when you are really tired.

Image of people using an elliptical trainer.

Feel free to put your elliptical machine anywhere in your household that has enough room for you to work out and step off of the machine. The last thing you want to do is hit your elbows, legs, or knees while you are working out. You may put a hole in your wall if you put the elliptical machine too close to it.

Do not put your elliptical machine next to a wall unless you intend to move it every time you want to use it. Moving a machine every time you want to use it is a huge hassle that no one wants to deal with. It is also never fun if you are hitting your elbows and knees on the wall while you are exercising. That will just discourage you to use the elliptical machine, which defeats the purpose of buying it.

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Are There Compact Ellipticals?

There are no extremely compact ellipticals on the market. Some elliptical machines have folding features, but they still require a lot of room when they are unfolded and used. You still need at least 20 inches around the machine, and the measurements of a “foldable” elliptical machine are typically the same as a regular elliptical machine.

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The typical folding features on elliptical machines allow you to fold and lift the pedals and bottom of the machine up so that you can place it closer to the wall, and so it will take up less space while it is not being used. However, there is no way for you to fold the upper handles and front part of the machine, so they will always take up the same amount of height room, no matter how you try to compact it.

Some are smaller than others though. The best compact elliptical trainer is the NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i

Favorite Cardio Accessories

Check out these accessories that improve a home cardio workout:

  • Equipment mat: All cardio equipment should be put on an equipment mat. The Rubber-Cal mat (Amazon) is an affordable yet very high-quality choice.
  • Tablet holder: Cardio can be boring. With this tablet holder (Amazon) you can follow along with on-demand workouts or just watch a movie on any cardio machine.
  • Heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate is very important while doing cardio. The Polar H10 (Amazon) connects to almost anything you can imagine and is very accurate.

To find which cardio machines I recommend for home gyms, click here.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to HomeGymResource.com. After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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