It’s hard to fit a cardio machine in a small home. And it’s even more challenging when you have neighbours who can hear every bump and thump during workout time. In that case, consider getting a quiet elliptical for apartment use instead.

An elliptical is generally not too loud for apartments or tight spaces as it is low impact. That means its base or frame does not hit the floor much during your workout. And there are also several ways to keep the elliptical noise down. 

But it’s also better to find a compact and magnetic elliptical with a heavy flywheel for your small home gym.

Let’s discuss these features more to understand what makes them ideal for you and your apartment neighbours.

I’m also sharing some tips on how to lessen elliptical noise output.

Then, scroll down further to learn some of my best ellipticals for apartment use.

What Makes an Elliptical Loud or Quiet?

Some elliptical machines are noisier than other similar units. And in most cases, these are the budget ellipticals.

These models often have low-quality parts and materials that are less stable and durable.

They tend to wobble and pose weight distribution issues that, in turn, generate noise.

So, if you want a quiet elliptical for apartment use, it’s best to consider options within the mid-price range.

You also need to check the following features.

Resistance mechanism

There are currently two types of resistance systems for elliptical trainers. One is air or fan based, and the other is magnetic.

With a magnetic elliptical, you can adjust the resistance levels through the console by boosting the strength of the magnets. This shift doesn’t generate any sound at all.

On the other hand, an air elliptical requires you to pedal faster for higher resistance.

The friction from the rotating fan, however, creates a lot of noise and vibration as you pick up the pace.

There are quieter air ellipticals available, though. But for maximum noise reduction, an elliptical with magnet-based adjustable resistance is best.

Some exercise accessories on the floor of a living along with an elliptical cross trainer

Flywheel weight

A flywheel is an essential part of your elliptical that moves its pedals and handlebars.

You can find it at the front, centre or rear end of your machine, depending on its design.

As this part is in charge of making your machine move and work, the flywheel weight determines how smooth and quiet your workout will be.

Specifically, a heavier flywheel keeps the machine more stable, so there’s less floor impact.

Also, the extra weight makes the moving parts rattle less, which reduces noise output.

Elliptical flywheel weights range from 5 to 18 kg. And a quiet elliptical for apartment use should have a 9-kg flywheel at least.

But you can go higher than this if your space allows it.

Note that flywheel weight is also a good indicator of your elliptical’s lifespan.

Drive system

A relevant part of your elliptical flywheel is the drive system. This part fits around the wheel and pedals to make them work together.

And like exercise bikes, this can be either a chain or belt drive. Most modern ellipticals come with a belt drive system that is much quieter and smoother.

Belt-driven ellipticals are also low maintenance.

Rear stabilisers

Rear stabilisers or adjustable levellers are parts that keep your elliptical stable on uneven surfaces.

It’s best to look for a machine that includes these parts to avoid wobble-generated noise.

Some elliptical brands sell these separately, though. In that case, make sure you’re buying a compatible leveller.

Check your instruction manual for correct parts attachment as elliptical noise can also come from improper assembly.

Are There Ways to Keep an Elliptical Quiet?

You might already have a budget elliptical in your apartment. Or perhaps, you have an old one generating more noise than usual.

If that’s the case, you can do one of these solutions to keep your elliptical quieter.

  1. Place a rubber mat underneath your elliptical. An exercise mat is a multipurpose accessory. Aside from absorbing noise and vibration, it can also keep your machine stable. Check out this how-to guide for stabilising ellipticals for more tips.
  2. Clean and maintain your elliptical regularly. Ellipticals have metal parts prone to dust build-up and rusting. Without proper cleaning and lubrication, these can affect machine performance and lifespan. They also cause squeaking noises.
  3. Check for any loose nuts and bolts. Retighten elliptical screws occasionally to keep its parts aligned and noise-free. Make sure to add this task to your maintenance checklist.
  4. Replace old parts when needed. A worn-out belt, for example, can create a noisy elliptical. So, look for a compatible replacement and ask for professional help to install it if needed.
A young woman doing elliptical cross trainer exercise in her home

What Other Factors Make a Good Elliptical for Apartments?

A quiet elliptical for apartment use may be at the top of your buy list. But there are other things to consider. Here are some of them.

Compact size or foldable feature

Ellipticals can be bulky, and most apartment units do not have the luxury of space.

So before buying a machine, find the spot where you want to put it.

Then take measurements and choose an elliptical with the correct size.

Some models fold up, too, so you can keep them out of the way after your workout.

Ceiling and machine height

The elliptical motion moves the rider up and then down. But most apartments have low ceilings.

And so, you need to have the ideal height and enough ceiling clearance to work out comfortably.

Generally, any elliptical should fit in an apartment with a ceiling height of at least 274 cm (9 ft). The elliptical users at home should also be 183 cm tall (6 ft) or below.

If you have a ceiling height lower than this or have taller riders, check if your elliptical still allow at least 43 cm of clearance.

A machine with a low profile might suit your space best.

Otherwise, you might have to consider getting other alternatives to an elliptical machine.


Some ellipticals can be heavy and a hassle to take to an apartment unit several floors up.

Also, if you tend to move from place to place, a heavy machine can be problematic to pack.

So, when choosing a quiet elliptical for your apartment, consider looking for a lightweight yet durable machine.

Alternatively, you can allocate a budget for delivery and assembly services.

What are the Best Ellipticals for Apartments?

Noise level, construction, size, height and weight are a few essential factors to check when looking for an elliptical for your apartment space.

To help you hunt for the best elliptical, here are some models that should fit the bill.

NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 Elliptical

This NordicTrack model may be a high-end elliptical. But it’s a virtually quiet machine with magnetic resistance – perfect for apartment workouts.

It’s heavy, though, that you probably need to hire delivery services.

But once assembly is over, you can complement your full-body workouts with its excellent features, including the adjustable stride and incline levels.

It also has a built-in workout fan, audio speakers and Bluetooth connectivity.

And you get a 30-day free iFit membership to experience live classes and global workouts.

Note that the assembled machine is 174 cm high. So, make sure to double-check your ceiling height.

You can learn more about the NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 Elliptical here.

An elliptical machine at the corner of the living room

Lifespan X22 Elliptical Cross Trainer

This Lifespan elliptical model is apartment-friendly for its compact size (131 x 62 x 160 cm) and quiet operation.

Its 7-kg flywheel is slightly lower than the ideal weight. But its magnetic resistance and belt-drive systems ensure a smooth, quiet ride.

This 45-kg machine is also lighter than most ellipticals, making it easier to move up and assemble in your apartment.

The best part? It’s a mid-price elliptical with pre-set workouts, built-in pulse sensors and a body fat calculator.

Check out my detailed Lifespan X22 Elliptical Cross Trainer review here.


The elliptical trainer is one of the best choices to help you stay fit and healthy.

But if you are working out in an apartment, you need to be more discerning when choosing a machine.

Aside from checking the noise output, its construction, size, height, and weight are also worth considering.

Good thing there are tons of elliptical options suitable for small spaces with neighbours.

Make sure to read reviews and buying guides while looking for the elliptical that’s best for you.

1. Is it safe to have an elliptical on the upper floor?

It’s safe to place your elliptical machine upstairs. Floorings built according to any country’s building code should be strong enough to support your exercise machine. The circular motion while using the elliptical lessens the impact that could affect flooring integrity, too. It’s also best to follow proper machine placement guidelines to reduce risks, damage, noise and vibration.

2. Is a rear-drive elliptical better?

A rear-drive elliptical is best if you’re an experienced rider who prefers smooth and quiet workouts. This type is often low-maintenance but more expensive. If cost and space are your priority, getting a more compact and affordable front-drive elliptical is a smarter choice. This option is also excellent for beginner or casual users who like elliptical workouts with a variable incline.