Comprehensive Compact Cardio Machine Guide

So you’re looking for a cardio machine for your home. With so much choice it can be tough to find the best machine for you, your goals, and to suit your home. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

I am going to look at solving one of the biggest problems most people will face when looking for a cardio machine. Finding space to keep the thing! They tend to be quite big. However cardio equipment comes in all shapes, sizes and designs. From resistance bands to treadmills, I’ve tried them all. In this guide I will help you find the perfect cardio machine.

So the first three things you need to consider are: your goals, your budget, and how much space you have at home. Wherever you stand with these three aspects, there is a perfect choice for you because with cardio equipment there is just so much variety.

Bulky cardio equipment doesn’t need to stop you. In this article I have reviewed the five best compact cardio machines.

Before we look at the machines. What about your goals?

How do I tone up at home?

Firstly, what does toning even mean? Tone is when you have a bit of muscle. Not necessarily super buff, but more importantly low enough body fat percentage so that your muscles can be seen. If you’re looking to tone up, you need a little bit of strength or resistance exercise combined with a healthy amount of calorie burning. This is also much easier to achieve by not eating too many calories. It’s never easy, but if thousands of people around the world can do it, you can too. It will only happen if you keep trying; if you don’t try, nothing will happen.

What is the best cardio machine for weight loss?

Weight loss is a little simpler than toning but can also bring similar results. Weight loss in its simplest form comes from burning calories and not eating too many calories. The best machine for weight loss will burn the most calories. Second to this it will involve as much of your body as possible. The machine which burns the most calories is a bit of a debated topic. Most will agree that treadmills are the winner here.

What is the best equipment for a full body workout?

As the name hints, a full body workout uses all of your body. This is a workout aim that really requires more than one piece of equipment. However some of the most popular machines for this are cross trainers and rowing machines.

I’m just looking for equipment to keep fit

You’ll be wanting a good all rounder. It’s hard to make a bad choice here. A bike, treadmill, or rowing machine will be right down your alley.

But Scott, I don’t have the space for any of these things in my home!

I hear you! There are some cleverly designed compact cardio machines out there. Folding equipment allows you to can keep it well out of the way when you’re not using it. With the right design your equipment will fit!

In this review I have found the best compact and foldable cardio equipment. So space doesn’t have to be a problem!

Best Budget Folding Bike

I am impressed with this little bike!

A friend donated one of these to my home gym and it is great. It is even in the picture at the top of this article.

It folds up to about the size of an upright hoover so it can be stored in a cupboard. It has a strong and sturdy frame so you can go all out with your pedaling. The computer display starts tracking your cycle as soon as you start your workout.

The resistance can vary by a wide amount. So you are guaranteed to get a great workout.

Perfect for beginners and people on a budget.

  • Compact & Foldable
  • Strong
  • Variable Resistance
  • Easy Assembly

Best Mid-Range Foldable Rower

The JLL R200 Folding Rowing Machine is becoming super popular with home gymmers!

This rowing machine is sturdy, compact, and good value. The seat is comfortable. The build quality is great; it provides consistent tension. Although the highest resistance could be a bit stronger the movement feels nice and smooth and it is nice and quiet to use.

It is simple to assemble; however the instructions that come with it are not great. There are plenty of instructional videos on YouTube for it.

The main drawback to this machine is the tracker monitor leaves something to be desired. It tracks your distance based on how far the seat has moved rather than how you have rowed. This leaves it prone to mis-counting. Although if you just use it to time yourself, it is ideal.

  • Compact
  • Quiet
  • Comfortable
  • East Assembly
  • Superb Build Quality

Best Premium Foldable Rower

Are you are looking for a professional quality rower for your home? Want it to fold away quickly and easily? Look no further than the JTX Freedom Foldable Air Rower.

The JTX Freedom Foldable Air Rower is a professional commercial gym quality rower designed for your home. It is very similar to the Concept 2 (with a comfier seat), which you may have found in commercial gyms, but it is also foldable. It is a premium bit of kit in a super compact form.

It is very easy to assemble. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. It is an excellent sturdy build.

The rowing action is very smooth. Smoother than the JLL R200. It is a chain driven mechanism, not quite as quiet as a fabric belt rower, but still very quiet. You can definitely enjoy TV or music while rowing. The fan also blows a fresh draft, keeping you cool mid-workout.

The tracker monitor has an easy-to-use interface. It includes a good selection of pre-set programs. The heart rate monitor seems to give a reliable reading.

The JTX Freedom Air Rower gives a great workout. The resistance is stable even at the highest setting and at speed. A premium rower made for the comfort of your home.

  • Professional Quality
  • Excellent Build
  • Quiet
  • Excellent Workout
  • Folds away quickly and easily
  • No-fuss customer service

Best Budget Folding Treadmill

The JLL S300 and S400 folding treadmills are an excellent choice for home gymmers on a budget. The main difference between the two models is with the S400 you get a slightly larger running deck and bluetooth connectivity.

The S300 and S400 both arrive well packaged. They are easy to set up despite the instructions being a bit unclear.

They are well built, sturdy, and heavy. Weighing about 77Kg, it will stay put, but you will need some help to move it. The S300 has a good size running belt and the S400 has even more space. There is a nice spring in the platform and it isn’t too noisy either.

There is a handy shelf for holding a tablet or phone while you workout and good speakers to connect it to.

They fold away neatly taking up a floor area of 1m x 0.7m.

The only improvements which could be made to the S300 and S400 are a slightly faster max speed and a slightly greater max incline. Despite these two minor drawbacks you get a lot for your money here.

  • Brilliant value
  • Easy assembly
  • Solid build
  • Good speakers
  • Quiet
  • All of the features of the S300
  • Larger running deck
  • Bluetooth Connectivity

Best Premium Foldable Treadmill

The NordicTrack is a professional gym quality treadmill built for your home. It is solid, excellent quality, and it folds away! With its well-cushioned, spacious deck and its heavy frame you will feel confident in thundering out some sprints on this treadmill. You will definitely give out before it does!

It arrives well-packaged. Whilst being easy to build out of the box, it could take about an hour, and you may need someone to help.

I cannot say enough how much this feels like a treadmill you would find at a commercial gym. I have even been informed that it is made out of the same internal parts as other commercial equipment.

One downside to the C100 is its speakers. They could be louder. However it is clear that the actual build quality has not been compromised. A nice set of headphones or a stereo will sort the small speaker issue.

There are 20 different types of sessions built into the monitor. It is guaranteed to push you. Don’t worry about getting sore feet either; the cushioned deck is adjustable.

If you are looking for a top class professional treadmill then this is for you.

  • Professional gym quality
  • Adjustable cushioned deck
  • 20Km/h maximum speed
  • Electronic ‘easylift’ folding function
  • Quiet
  • Large running deck

The amount of space you have available doesn’t have to be a showstopper! Working out in the comfort of your home can be a reality!

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Have you found a fantastic piece of compact cardio equipment? Please leave a comment below!

Thank you!

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