Ellipticals (also known as cross-trainers) provide an excellent full-body workout and, compared to running on a treadmill (read our article on quiet treadmills if that is of interest to you), is a much quieter form of exercise.
If you’re short of time here is our table of 5 of the best quiet ellipticals:
If you live in an apartment that is poorly insulated against noise then getting a workout in could irritate your neighbors and even your family.
It is important that you invest in a good quality elliptical that provides a smooth, quiet and effective workout without causing excessive noise or vibrations in your apartment.
How Effective Is An Elliptical Workout?
Ellipticals provide a great way of getting a low impact weight-bearing workout that is kind to your joints while allowing you to elevate your heart rate, get toned and improve your cardiovascular health.
Ellipticals are ideal for anyone who struggles with joint pain and may find running painful. This is because your feet maintain contact with the pedals so there is no jolt as your feet hit the floor.
You are still bearing your own weight though (unlike on a bike or rowing machine) which is important for maintaining bone strength and preventing the onset of osteoporosis.
The movement of an elliptical follows natural foot movements which is designed to mimic a walking action. If you can walk without joint pain then you will be able to use an elliptical without any problems.
If you’re short of time and want a full-body workout then you can’t go wrong with an elliptical. Its dual-action movement will work all of your muscle groups including quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, glutes, back, chest, triceps and biceps…and of course your heart and lungs!
Working all of your muscle groups at once means you can burn a lot of calories very quickly.
If you are unused to an elliptical it can be easy to overuse your arms or legs, meaning that either your upper or lower body does most of the work. In order to avoid this make sure you consciously think about how hard your arms and legs are working and strive to move in a way that works both effectively.
How Quiet Are Ellipticals?
Compared to treadmills ellipticals are very quiet.
This is because your feet are constantly in contact with the footpads so you do not get the impact sound that is created when your foot hits the treadmill belt as you run.
Ellipticals also have four weight-bearing points of contact making them quieter than a treadmill though potentially less quiet than a stationary bike as these have 5 weight-bearing points of contact (check out our quiet exercise bike guide).
With an elliptical, the footpads bear most of your weight but the arm levers also take some of your body weight too.
This means that your body weight is spread throughout the machine, rather than concentrated in one specific area, which helps to make ellipticals quieter than other exercise machines.
What Causes Elliptical Noise?
Ellipticals have moving parts so they will inevitably make some noise. These tips can help you to reduce irritating squeaking and vibrations related noises to an acceptable level:
- Squeaking Noises: Typically most squeaking noises will be made by the elliptical belt, oiling your belt will help prevent squeaking. It is also a good idea to regular oil any moving parts regularly too.
- Floor Vibration: Using a heavy machine on a bare floor will create vibrations which can easily travel through the floor and disturb people in the apartment beneath you.
Ensure that your elliptical is completely flat so that it does not wobble, even marginally, when in use.
We also strongly recommend that you use a good treadmill mat as this will absorb a lot of the vibrations before they get into your floor.
Magnetic vs Air Resistance Ellipticals
The two main methods of creating adjustable resistance on an elliptical are by using magnetic resistance or air fan resistance, similar to most rowing machines.
Magnetic resistance is the quieter of the two, this is because resistance is increased simply by increasing the strength of the magnets which resist the turn of the flywheel.
Air resistance works by having a rotating fan that pushes against the air pressure inside the flywheel casing. The faster you go the more air pressure is created and therefore the more noise your machine will make as air is forced out of it.
If silence is essential to you then magnetic resistance is the best option.
Other Factors To Consider When Buying An Elliptical:
1 – Maximum weight capacity
Most ellipticals can support body weight of up to 290lb (130kg).
If you weigh more than this you will have to invest in a bigger machine, be aware that bigger ellipticals carrying heavier bodyweight will be harder to fit into your apartment and they will create a lot more vibration noise due to the extra weight.
2 – Machine Height
Ellipticals require a good amount of ceiling space, most average ceilings should have plenty of space however if you have very low ceilings and you are well over 6 foot then you may need to reconsider and think about getting something like a quiet rowing machine instead.
3 – Machine Size
Ellipticals are big, they are long and tall and they can be fairly wide too (depending on how the arms are setup).
So carefully measure the available space in your apartment before purchasing one.
Be mindful of the fact that you will need extra room for the arms to move into when the machine is in use.
Best Quiet Elliptical Reviews
1. Diamondback 1060EF Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer
Diamondback Fitness are a brand who doesn’t mess around when it comes to building great (and often award-winning) exercise machinery and the 1060EF is no exception.
- Adjustable Stride Length. Easily adjust the stride length to 18, 20, or 23 inches to target different muscle groups and add variety to your workout.
- Compact Lightweight Design. At only 144 lbs., it’s half the weight of other ellipticals in its class and has a 35% smaller footprint.
- Easy to Use Console. 8 Preset programs, 4 heart-rate controlled programs, 4 custom programs.
They have effectively redesigned the concept of an elliptical from the ground up turning it from a clunky oversized piece of equipment into a far more compact machine that does an even better job of delivering an effective low impact workout than far bigger models.
The Diamondback elliptical is compact measuring 49.2″ (124cm) L x 29.5″ (75cm) W x 65″ (165cm) H and is fully adjustable allowing you to customize the stride length so that it better fits your own natural stride length whether you’re 5”2 or as tall as 6”6 the stride length can be adjusted to perfectly suit you.
This feature can also be used to limit the range of motion in places where space is limited making it perfect for use in a small apartment.
It has oversized pedals so you can position your feet in different ways to target different muscles more directly, the pedals also have good grip so slipping won’t be an issue even when things get sweaty!
It features a super quiet magnetic resistance flywheel which is housed in casing that is positioned much higher than most ellipticals. This means that any vibrations created by the flywheel have to travel further to reach the floor making it even more silent than other models.
Its unique design is as a result of innovation which does away with the bulky incline motor commonly used in other ellipticals.
Instead, this has been replaced with a system that combines adjustable stride with magnetic resistance to allow you to better target different muscle groups without the treadmill being enormous!
Some additional features include:
- Heart rate monitoring
- Hand pulse sensors
- Water bottle holder
- 8 pre-set workout programs
- Distance tracking.
- Calorie tracking.
- RPM tracking
- Metabolic rate calculator
It is easily maneuverable with built-in wheels for rolling it around and, if you want to put it on an uneven floor such as in a garage, it has adjustable floor levels so you can ensure it is stable even on bumpy surfaces.
If it does break it comes with some decent warranties too:
- 5-year frame warranty
- 5-year brake warranty
- 3-year parts & electronics warranty
- 1-year labor warranty
Overall this is a uniquely designed elliptical that is very compact, has a small footprint and is very quiet, making it ideal for apartment use.
2. The Schwinn 470 Elliptical
Schwinn is a well-known elliptical manufacturer with a wide range of different models available.
- With enhanced Bluetooth connectivity, users can set, track and monitor progress with popular app-based tracking tools
- Explore the world and discover 50+ global routes that auto-adjust in real time to your speed (Explore the World subscription required)
- 10° motorized adjustable ramp enables incline control for fun and challenging workouts
The Schwinn 470 has a ton of features that make it great for getting a serious workout on without being obscenely expensive, making it ideal for apartment use.
It features a 20lb (9kg) flywheel which uses an electromagnetic system to create resistance without creating additional drag noise.
It has a 20-inch stride length and uses Schwinns patented Precision Path Foot Motion Technology to mimic a fluid and natural running gait.
The Schwinn 470 is packed with extra features that lower budget models don’t have including:
- A 3-speed fan to keep you cool while you’re using it.
- Water bottle holder.
- USB charging slot.
- A device (tablet/mobile) storage rack.
- Built-in speakers.
The digital screen is also full of great features including:
- Bluetooth Connectivity.
- Heart rate monitoring (this requires a chest strap which is not included).
- Oxygen and blood pressure monitoring system (also requires a chest strap).
- The ability to store up to four user profiles.
- Distance tracking.
- Calorie tracking.
- All data can sync with popular fitness apps including MyFitnessPal, Apple Health, GoogleFit, Run Social etc.
Schwinn also has their own app called the Schwinn Trainer 2 App which can easily be linked up with the Schwinn 470 via Bluetooth to give you every piece of data you could ever need about your workout and performance while allowing you to set goals and targets for your next workout.
It features 25 different resistance levels and if that’s too easy for you then you can use the motorized ramp which will put you on a 10 degree incline to make it even harder!
It weighs 164lb (75kg) so if you need to carry it upstairs to get in into your apartment then make sure you get plenty of help!
It does have wheels built into the frame so it can easily be wheeled about and moved from room to room if required.
The Schwinn 470 has a maximum user weight capacity of 300lb (136kg) and once assembled it will cover an area measuring 70.1” (178cm)L x 28.2” (71cm)W x 63.2” (160cm)H.
It’s a lot bigger than some apartment-friendly ellipticals so make sure you measure up and ensure you have sufficient space for this before buying.
The Schwinn’s frame is covered by a 10-year warranty, however be aware that if any repairs are required on moving parts etc the warranty for repair work expires within 90 days of purchase.
All in all, this isn’t the smallest elliptical for apartment use but if you have a bit of spare space then this is a great choice that is packed with features and is fairly quiet even when being used at high intensities.
3. Ancheer Magnetic Elliptical – Best Small Budget Elliptical
The Ancheer Magnetic Elliptical is a small, lightweight budget elliptical ideal for apartments with limited space.
It weighs 83lb (38kg) and can support body weight of up to 330lb (150kg).
It doesn’t take up much space measuring in at 41″ (104cm) L x 18″ (46cm) wide on the floor. Be aware that the handles are 28″ (71cm) across so you will need more than a square meter of space to be able to use it.
The Ancheer does a great job of minimizing noise first off it uses magnetic resistance which creates very little noise as there is no friction nor fan noise that you get with other resistance methods.
There are 8 levels of magnetic resistance that you can use, be aware that while magnetic resistance is good for lower intensity workouts it won’t offer the same levels of resistance that you can get from an air resistance elliptical.
Its 5.5kg (12lb) flywheel is precision balanced and uses a V belt drive which helps reduce the sound which a chain drive would create and give the elliptical a smoother feel when in use.
It features a digital monitor with a large screen that displays all the information you would expect including distance traveled, calories, time, speed, and heart rate monitoring data.
As with most ellipticals, it features built-in pulse rate grips so you can keep a close eye on your heart rate and even do some heart rate training if you want.
One drawback to this machine is that the grips are only present on the smaller stationary handlebars, not the large moving handles. So you will have to switch periodically to check your heart rate which can be irksome.
It has generously sized foot pedals, with a solid tread to prevent your feet from slipping, which will comfortably accommodate even the biggest of feet.
They do offer free replacement parts if you should need them at any point while it is still under warranty.
Be aware that although the Ancheer says it has a three-year warranty however some users have complained that the warranty that they received was only valid for one year.
It’s very easy to set up (it shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes) and can easily be wheeled around your apartment with the inbuilt rollers when you need to get it out of the spare room to make space for a guest.
4. Sole E25
The Sole E25 is a well-built elliptical which is ultra-quiet, while it’s larger than some of the ellipticals mentioned on this page if you have the space to spare then this is perfect for apartment use.
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It weighs in at 189lb (85kg) which is heavier than many comparable models however this it because it features an extra-strong frame (which comes with a lifetime warranty) which can accommodate body weight of up to 350lb (159kg).
Having a strong frame also helps to ensure that your elliptical lasts for a long time.
The E25 is also very quiet. It owes its exceptional quietness to two features:
- It’s whisper quiet drive system – the flywheel has been carefully engineered to minimise all vibrations.
- It’s dual rail pedals – most ellipticals feature one rail for each pedal to slide along, the E25 has two for each pedal. This helps to reduce any instability thereby further reducing vibrations through the frame.
For anyone planning on using the E25 for longer workouts you will be pleased to know that it is designed ergonomically to help reduce joint pain.
It achieves this with its specially designed foot-pedals which have a slight 2 degree inward angle on them.
This helps to ensure that your body moves in neutral alignment better mimicking a natural running style without putting stress on your joints.
It also features:
- 20 levels of incline – these change the angle of the pedal rails making it more challenging the more you increase the incline by.
- 10 preset workouts for you to choose from.
- Smart device docking station.
- Built in speakers.
- Heart rate tracking.
- Pulse sensors (a wireless chest strap is also available for more accurate heart rate monitoring however this isn’t included).
The E25 also had Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to pair your phone with it and upload workout data to your favorite fitness tracking app, it is compatible with all major apps including FitBit, Apple health and more.
Sole also have their own app (called the Sole App) which is free to download, however it does have a lot of one-star reviews so we advise you stick with a tried and tested 3rd party fitness app.
All in all the E25 offers great value at a great price.
It is ideal for apartment use thanks to its super quiet dual rail system and quiet flywheel.
It comes with a lifetime frame warranty, 3-year parts & electrics warranty and a one-year labor warranty so you will be able to get a good few years of fitness out of it.
5. Body Rider Fan Elliptical
The Body Rider is a fan elliptical.
Fan based resistance is typically far noisier than magnetic resistance because of the wind noise it creates, however this is primarily airborne noise rather than vibrations, that said fans will usually create more vibrations than magnetic machines too, however providing you place your elliptical on a thick soundproof exercise mat then the vibrations should be imperceptible to your downstairs neighbor.
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The Body Rider Fan elliptical is a low budget machine which outperforms it’s low price point.
Fan based machines are great for high intensity workouts, the faster you go the more resistance is created.
The Body Rider also allows you to further increase the intensity by tightening the belt tension using the friction control knob which means you can also get a high intensity workout at a slow pace if you wish.
If you are the kind of person who likes to do short, high intensity workouts then a fan based elliptical is ideal as it will deliver a total body workout that will definitely get you sweating!
It features a basic monitor which shows all the essential stats you need such as time, distance, speed and calorie counter, it doesn’t have any Bluetooth connectivity so if you are a big-time MyFitnessPal user this may not be the best choice for you, but if you aren’t too concerned about recording every calorie you burn then this is a great affordable option.
It weighs in at 58lb (26kg) so is easy to maneuver around and it measures only 25” (63 cm)L x 9” (23cm) W x 36” (91cm) H, so it will fit into even the smallest of spaces.
If you’re looking for a low-cost way of getting a high-intensity workout into your life without having to leave the apartment or join a gym then the Body Rider fan elliptical is a great solution that won’t take up too much space and it doesn’t weigh too much so carrying it up your apartment stairs shouldn’t require the whole family to help out!
Ellipticals are a great way of getting a quick, low impact, full-body workout.
Even noisier ellipticals (fan based ones) are nowhere near as noisy as a even the quietest of treadmills.
This makes them the perfect way to exercise in an apartment without disturbing your neighbors.
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