There’s never been a better time if you’ve been considering ditching your gym membership and working out at home.
What kind of equipment do you need, though?
This depends entirely on your fitness level and the type of exercise you’re looking for. Today, we’ll be hunting for the best elliptical machine for home.
What are these machines, exactly?
Well, an elliptical machine allows you to perform a range of cardio routines without leaving home. These machines are big and bulky but typically last for years.
These machines come in multiple configurations – more on the types below – and you can often get a whole body workout with both upper and lower body engaged.
Elliptical machines – commonly called cross-trainers – are stationary machines enabling you to walk, run, or stair climb. Despite giving you a great burst of cardio, you won’t get any damaging impact on your joints.
Many ellipticals will fold down when not in use.
You can find models robust enough for commercial use and a range of more lightweight offerings for the more casual home user. As with all fitness gear, you should start by honestly analyzing your needs and fitness levels. Taking time at this stage will minimize the chance of you getting the wrong equipment for your gym.
While elliptical machines might seem pretty new, they were first brought to market back in the 1990s.
So, if you’re looking to get some great cardio sessions in at home, check out our curated list of the best elliptical machines suitable for home use…
What Kind of Elliptical Machines Are There?
Now, before we touch on what you should consider when you’re shopping for ellipticals, a quick word first about the various types of machine that qualify as ellipticals.
- Elliptical Trainer
- Elliptical Cross-Trainer
- Elliptical Glider
Standard elliptical trainers are designed to target the lower body only.
These machines come with pedals and a stationary handlebar. This gives you the support you need but you won’t be involving your arms or upper body in the workout.
Super-simple to use, simply stand on the pedals and make circular movements by pushing down. As you perform this motion, you’ll extend your knees and your hips while also targeting your glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
While this is a basic form of elliptical machine and also quite limited, you can still get a really meaningful cardio session from one of these simple units. Don’t write them off.
How about if you’re looking for a little more versatility, though?
With an elliptical cross-trainer, you can work out your upper body and lower body with one nifty machine.
These machines share a pedal platform with a regular elliptical. They also move in the same circular pattern but here comes the twist…
The arms on these units move so you can involve your upper body in the training routine. Push and pull the arms using a pattern alternating with your feet. As with a straight-up elliptical, you’ll hit your leg muscles through knee extension and hip extension. You can also involve your elbows and shoulders as you pull back. The upper back and chest are also brought into the equation for a true all-body workout.
At a glance, an elliptical glider is not dissimilar to an elliptical trainer. You get the stationary handlebars and pedals but there’s a key difference. As the pedals move up and down, they do so angled slightly backward.
You’ll be working your legs in the same way. While you can pedal backward and forward, the resistance only kicks in when you’re pedaling forward.
With those different types of elliptical machines sketched out, it’s time to double down more on what to look out for on the buying trail.
Factors to Consider when Buying an Elliptical Machine
Buying an elliptical machine is not the easiest decision you’ll face but we’ve got some good news…
If you take your time and you don’t skip the planning stage, you should be:
Start By Analyzing Your Needs and Fitness Level
Before you even think about brandishing your credit card, you should focus first on your own requirements as well as your overall fitness level. Not all ellipticals are created equal and you want to get the right piece of kit for the job.
How often will you be using your machine? If you’re only likely to take an occasional walk or jog, almost any mainstream machines will be fit for purpose. If the elliptical is likely to sustain heavy, daily use, you’re better off angling for a commercial-grade model. At a minimum, you’ll need to look for something designed for regular use.
Are you particularly tall or heavy? If so, you should check closely that the machines on your shortlist cater for your weight and stride length.
Do you intend to track your fitness goals? How about sharing the data with other fitness platforms? You’ve got plenty of highly connected and interactive ellipticals ideal for that purpose.
Do you feel you’re of above-average fitness and likely to give your elliptical a pretty hard session from time to time? Choose accordingly.
We’d suggest you use these thoughts above as inspiration. Grab some paper and a pencil. Brainstorm. Get to the bottom of what makes the perfect workout for you and this will make choosing the right equipment an absolute breeze.
By analyzing your needs, this will also help you select the most suitable type of elliptical machine. We outline your 3 main options right above.
Do You Have Space To Accommodate The Elliptical Machine?
The next issue you should address is whether or not you have the room for the machine you’re looking at.
Firstly, can you get the machine delivered and offloaded or do you need assistance? Due to the dimensions of these things, many brands offer a paid service where you can get the machine taken indoors and assembled. Look out for this if you’re likely to need a helping hand.
If space is tight, we’ve covered a number of compact and space-saving ellipticals today so there’s absolutely no need to go without.
For anyone with a little more at their disposal, there are many machines that weigh hundreds of pounds and need to be positioned and left in place.
You should also think about machines with transportation wheels if you feel you might need to relocate your elliptical at any stage.
Also, you can find ellipticals that fold down when not in use. This is especially valuable if you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated home gym.
Now, linked to the overall size of the machine is your own size so you should double down on that next to ensure a neat fit.
Size and Comfort Factor
Check the maximum load-bearing capacity first if you’re heavy and concerned about the machine not taking your weight. Many offer capacities of 300 pounds and upward so you’re not going to be left out.
You should also think about how tall you are. This will affect stride length.
Make certain you’ve got a high enough ceiling in your home gym. Bear in mind how high you’ll be when you’re pedaling.
The handlebars and pedals should be anti-slip for obvious reasons. Look, too, for adequate cushioning.
Onboard fans help to keep things cool while a bottle holder and tablet holder are nice extras.
The best elliptical machines allow you to tweak things so you’ll get a personalized set-up.
Every machine offers you some latitude with resistance – more on that below – so make sure this is easy to manipulate.
You’ll also get a degree of choice with programmed workouts that you can individualize. This varies from machine to machine.
Make sure you can also fine-tune the pedals and positioning of the handlebars if you’re opting for a machine with moving bars.
Console and Computer
The centerpiece of your elliptical machine, make sure the console has everything you need and nothing you don’t. The last thing you should do is hunt out the most feature-rich machine if you won’t be taking advantage of those features. It’s a waste of money and will end up confusing you.
The screen varies in size from a tiny display to 10-inches in full HD. Again, all that counts is finding something that’s fit for purpose.
All the data you need will be clearly displayed from speed and distance to calories burned.
Heart rate monitors can help you to stay in your ideal fat-burning zone so look out for these if you’re interested in that functionality.
Then it’s time to think about programming…
Most of the best elliptical machines come with a range of pre-programmed workouts. This is a great way to get started, especially if you’ve never trained like this before.
You should also determine what degree of customization you’ll enjoy. Many machines let you individualize your workouts so you can more precisely meet your fitness goals.
Having said this, if you have your eye on a more basic machine that lacks this functionality, you can easily search online and find some great routines to get you going. Here’s a very demanding HIIT workout if you’re looking to push yourself. This video is a nice beginner’s guide to using an elliptical. YouTube is a great resource with the added benefit of visuals to better show you how to use your new cardio tool.
The best machines are equipped with magnetic resistance and 24 or more progressive levels so you can tailor your training to your fitness level.
Make sure you are not finding it too easy early on at the upper resistance level or you won’t have room to grow with your machine.
You should also check that the machine you’re considering doesn’t come with a reputation for being fiddly to adjust.
Instant braking systems are ideal if you need to stop in a hurry. They also come into their own if any of your clothing gets caught in the machine when you’re working out.
Cover the machine when it’s not in use. This will protect household debris from working its way into the machine.
Try Before You Buy
Even if you intend to buy your elliptical machine online, there’s no reason not to road test one first. Think of this as active window shopping!
You should put the machine through its paces so you can get a feel for the intensity level and also overall comfort.
Don’t panic if you can’t get to a store for this purpose but it’s a nice bonus if you can.
As with all equipment that comes backed by a warranty, the length of this guarantee typically represents the stage at which the manufacturer expects problems might develop. Let’s face it, they don’t expect to lose out by offering that warranty.
With that said, if you see machines with short guarantees, you shouldn’t write them off completely. You should, though, conduct more thorough research. In particular, focus on user reviews and look for any mention of problems manifesting during the first few months.
OK then, with all those pointers in place, you should be ready to scope out some of the best ellipticals so you can determine which best fits your needs.
Buckle up for our reviews of the 14 finest machines on the market and decide which ones makes most sense
Best Elliptical Machines for Home Use
Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine
- Compatible with fitness apps
- Bluetooth connectivity
- 29 preset training programs
- 25 resistance levels
- Dual LCDs
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First up and our overall favorite elliptical machine ideal for home use comes from bicycle specialist Schwinn. What makes this unit stand out in a glutted field, then?
First up, you’ll get a full 25 resistance levels. This should give you more than enough latitude whether you want a gentle stroll or a serious burst of CV work.
If you’re just starting out and you don’t have much idea what you’re doing, take advantage of the wealth of pre-programmed workouts. You can fine-tune these programs to personalize them and get what you need from your session regardless of your fitness goals.
Bluetooth connectivity enables you to sync this elliptical with your favorite fitness tracker. From MyFitnessPal to ExploreTheWorld, you can stay motivated and chart your goals digitally.
The 470 comes with 29 workout programs and it’s enabled for both telemetry and contact helping you to stay in your optimum fat-burning zone.
All the data you need is clearly displayed front and center. A DualTrack LCD comes backlit so you won’t need to squint even if the lighting in your gym is slightly dim.
Measuring up at 52 x 22 x 35.5 inches and weighing in at just under 190 pounds, this qualifies as fairly compact for an elliptical.
As you’d fully expect from Schwinn, build quality is enviable and you’ll get smooth and consistent power delivery without too much by the way of noise.
Pros: Works well with most popular fitness apps. Bluetooth-enabled. Wide variety of workout programs. Impressive 25 levels of resistance. Great aesthetics. Solid build. Very quiet in operation.
Cons: Display could be improved. Some complaints about squeaking developing over time.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a powerful elliptical machine with a reasonably compact footprint to jazz up your home gym, it’s got to be Schwinn.
Bowflex Max Trainer Series
- Get benefits of elliptical and stepper combined
- Max out short workouts for maximum calorie burn
- Unbeatable brand heritage
- Robust build quality and impressive lifespan
- Space-saving machine
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Bowflex is a titan in the fitness industry and you can expect exceptional build combined with precision engineering in equipment built for the rigors of a commercial gym. This makes Bowflex kit ideal if you’re a keen athlete looking to push yourself with some demanding cardio sessions at home.
The proprietary JRNY is a superb interactive training program. This personalized coaching is a great way to feel more connected than working out solo in a basement gym. You will need a paid subscription for this, though, so factor that into your budgeting.
This Max model is designed to help you get the very most from all your workouts even if you only have a few minutes to spare.
Considering the size of most ellipticals, Bowflex ensures that the Max is small enough to fit in reasonably confined home gyms. It weighs in at less than 150 pounds so you shouldn’t have too much trouble shifting it into position either.
20 resistance levels allow you to dial up the intensity to match your fitness levels and cardio goals.
You get 76 workout programs punched in so you can get going immediately even if you’re never used one of these machines before.
Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitoring lets you stay firmly in your fat-burning zone with an armband and contact grips ensuring you get an accurate reading.
Pros: Get the most out of your workouts even in a few minutes. Bowflex JRNY offers you interactive training programs. Elliptical and stepper combined for a varied burst of cardio. Color display is backlit for ease of viewing. Bluetooth connectivity. Heart rate monitor.
Cons: A few issues with quality control so check your package closely upon arrival.
Bottom Line: Bowflex is a legend in this vertical and this combined elliptical/stepper is a space-saving machine with powerful functionality.
ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer
- Trainer-led workouts
- 24 levels of resistance
- Maximum capacity 325 pounds
- 7-inch backlit screen
- Hybrid stepper and elliptical movement
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The hybrid movement is a nice differentiating point. You benefit from both elliptical motion and a stepper movement. This allows you to work out a range of muscles and to keep things fresh so you don’t lose interest.
ProForm has a deep bench of fitness gear catering for everyone from the casual home user to committed gym freaks and everything in between. What do you get with this HIIT elliptical, then?
Trainer-led iFit workouts keep you connected and make a refreshing change from pounding the sidewalk solo. The trainer can manipulate resistance levels remotely so you’ll be put through your paces by a seasoned pro. And, since you won’t be jarring your joints on concrete, you’ll get a low-impact workout without dipping out on intensity.
You get a 1-month trial thrown in then you can determine whether you feel you’d get value from a paid subscription. Only you can decide whether it makes sense for you and your budget.
Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR) gives you a smooth session every time without creating so much noise you disturb others.
The maximum load-bearing capacity is a generous 325 pounds making the ProForm elliptical suitable for just about anyone.
The frame comes backed for a decade while the parts are guaranteed for 2 years and labor for a full year after purchase. Customer service is responsive and typically pretty helpful.
Pros: Enjoy trainer-led interactive workouts. Large, backlit LCD. 24 levels of resistance. Stepper and elliptical hybrid movement. Robust build in solid steel. Frame guaranteed for 10 years.
Cons: iFit is a paid subscription after the free monthly trial expires.
Bottom Line: If you fancy a hybrid stepper/elliptical and you enjoy interactive cardio sessions led by a professional trainer, ProForm serves up a gem in the form of this HIIT elliptical.
Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Elliptical and Cross Trainer
- Runs super-quietly
- Train upper and lower body
- Zero-impact cardio
- Precision engineering
- Dial-controlled magnetic resistance
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Teeter might not be the first name that trips off the tongue when you’re considering fitness gear but the FreeStep is a superb hybrid machine with a recumbent design.
Designed for all fitness levels, you’re in safe hands whether you want a gentle walk or a much more vigorous blast to torch those excess calories.
The centerpiece is a digital console where you can see everything from speed and distance to calories burned without breaking your stride.
And thinking of stride, the motion of this machine is super-smooth. You’ll find it runs quietly and you’ll be free to hit this elliptical hard on a regular basis.
You can work both your upper and lower body with this machine so you’ll enjoy a full-body workout without needing to commit to a monthly gym membership. Whether you want to isolate muscle groups or work everything hard simultaneously, you’ll get a great deal of scope here.
At just 54 x 38 inches, you won’t need quite as much space as some of these hulking machines demand.
Variable magnetic resistance is easy to adjust and overall ergonomics give you a machine that’s comfy to use while helping you torch those surplus calories and potentially burn off some unwanted fat. As with all training programs, if you’re aiming to lose weight, a healthy diet is indispensable. Throw in some meaningful cardio sessions and you should be well on your way to the beach body of your dreams.
Pros: Zero-impact cardio. Very fluid stride movement. Exceptional build and engineering. Capable of withstanding heavy and sustained use. Crisp digital console displays all key metrics. Give your upper body and lower body a blast.
Cons: Quality control is lacking. Reasonably lightweight unit.
Bottom Line: If you’re a casual home user looking for an affordable yet flexible elliptical machine for some great zero-impact cardio, road test the Teeter FreeStep.
SOLE E95 Elliptical
- Upper weight limit of 400 pounds
- Heart rate monitor
- Chest strap
- Adjustable stride length to 22 inches
- Powered adjustable inclined
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The Sole E95 is a powerful and flexible elliptical machine that comes with a generous spread of features making it worth your attention.
The 400-pound maximum weight capacity makes the Sole elliptical suitable for even larger users. You get a machine that’s solid and built to last the distance.
Adjustable strength length from 20 inches to 22 inches gives you a little extra play if you’re slightly taller.
10 programs built-in gives you something to get started with even if you’re not too confident when it comes to cardio. As you train, your comfort is uppermost. Integrated fans ensure you won’t overheat even if you’re hitting it hard in a stuffy gym. A bottle holder means there’s no excuse not to stay hydrated while the tablet holder gives you somewhere secure for any onboard entertainment. Speakers come baked in so you can push yourself to your favorite playlist.
You can alter the incline depending on whether you want to stretch your legs or really burn some calories.
Bluetooth connectivity makes for the easy transferal of your workout data whatever your preferred fitness tracker.
The drive system is designed to run extremely quietly while guaranteeing a silky-smooth power delivery. Enjoy no-impact cardio without needing to head to the gym.
Pulse sensors are a great way of helping you train within your target fat-burning zone. All the data you need is displayed on an oversized screen.
Pros: A great deal of versatility. Fans baked in. Onboard sound system. Generous maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds. Bottle and tablet holders along with USB ports for device charging. Smooth resistance. Variable positioning.
Cons: Warranty and repairs can be tiresome and involved.
Bottom Line: If you want a tech-laden elliptical giving you remarkable value for money and a challenging but smooth cardio session, roll with the SOLE E95.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine
- Great price/performance ratio
- 8 levels of resistance
- Very compact footprint
- Digital monitor and pulse
- Anti-slip foot pads and handlebars
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Sunny Health & Fitness cater for the budget-friendly home workout crew. Their line of gear manages to come in keenly priced without compromising quality. What does this elliptical machine do so well, then?
The compact and space-saving design makes this a real hit for anyone operating with limited space. AT 28 x 17 x 57 inches and tipping the scales at a scant 60 pounds, you’ve got no excuse to go without cardio at home even if you’re on a tight budget.
The handlebars and pedals are designed so you can push yourself hard without worrying about slipping or losing your grasp.
Pulse sensors help you keep tabs on that heart rate. If you want to lose some fat, stay in your optimum fat-burning zone and monitor this on the small but functional display. This shows you everything you need and nothing you don’t.
The only minor niggle is that setting this machine up is time-consuming. It’s also pretty awkward so we’d advise calling for some assistance if you’re not too practically-inclined.
8 levels of resistance could also be improved but you should still get a challenging enough session unless you’re a really adept athlete. If you are, there are plenty of beefier ellipticals to choose from.
Pros: Unbeatable value. Small, compact unit considering performance. Digital monitor. 8 levels of magnetic resistance. Anti-slip handlebars and pedals. Pulse sensors and heart rate. Wheels and stabilizers thrown in.
Cons: Assembly is quite involved. Build quality could certainly be improved but you need to be reasonable about your expectations at this price point.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a lightweight elliptical for casual home use, Sunny Health & Fitness serves up a complete winner here.
Nautilus Elliptical Trainer Series
- Real-time workouts with RunSocialApp
- 29 varied cardio programs
- Smooth and consistent power delivery
- 25 resistance levels
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Nautilus enters the fray again with this superb example from the Elliptical Trainer Series. The E616 comes with the usual robust Bluetooth connectivity. This streamline sharing data across your favorite fitness platforms.
RunSocialApp allows you to pound the rubber while traveling across 27 routes across the world. Real-time cardio sessions inject an element of competition into an otherwise solo pursuit.
A 20-inch stride path means you won’t feel constricted when you’re running.
A wide array of 29 programs punched in gives you ample choice whether you’re a complete beginner or a seasoned pro.
DualTrack screens give you an immersive environment when you’re training. You can glance quickly at key data without needing to interrupt your workout.
Build quality is truly impressive. Nautilus kit is certainly not cheap but, if you have deep pockets, you’re unlikely to feel you haven’t got outstanding value for money.
Resistance can be switched up through a generous 25 levels. Whatever your fitness goals, you can hit them head-on with the Nautilus E616. All you need to do is put the work in and the machine will do the rest.
Pros: Use RunSocialApp for 27 global routes and real-time cardio sessions. 20-inch running stride. 29 programs baked in. 25 resistance levels for a truly challenging workout. DualTrack LCDs. Moving and static handlebars. ExploreTheWorld app.
Cons: Assembly package can be less than organized. Quality control is not what it could be.
Bottom Line: Nautilus has a stranglehold on gym equipment with just cause. This is one of their finest ellipticals giving you enormous choice, solid build and smooth power delivery. What’s not to love?
NordicTrack Commercial Elliptical Machine
- Annual iFit membership bundled
- 24 levels of digital resistance
- Angle the power ramp through 20 degrees
- 7-inch touchscreen
- Silent Magnetic Resistance
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Another NordicTrack elliptical, this time a pro-grade elliptical catering for all ability levels and fitness levels.
Unlike some of the compact units we’ve just explored, the NordicTrack weighs a monstrous 400 pounds. Make sure you have the space in your gym and make certain you have some help with offloading.
The annual membership to iFit included allows you to make the most of interactive, trainer-led workouts without paying a monthly fee. This is valued at just under four hundred bucks so it’s a worthwhile extra.
Build quality and engineering are first-class. This commercial unit will stand up to some serious mauling without ever letting you down.
24 resistance levels give you ample choice of intensity. The SMART incline on the power ramp to 20 degrees adds another layer of challenge while mimicking real-word terrain.
This is delivered thanks to Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR). You’ll get consistent power delivery with no jerkiness.
Track all your data on the 7.5-inch touchscreen and stay on top of your fitness goals with ease.
Comfort is not forgotten, either. A water bottle holder leaves you no excuse not to stay hydrated while the handlebars and pedals are nicely cushioned. Throw in an onboard fan to cool you down and the NordicTrack Commercial offers the complete package even if it’s not the cheapest elliptical machine for home use.
Pros: Unimpeachable build quality. Exceptional brand heritage. Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR). 7-inch HD touchscreen. Free annual iFit membership chucked in. Trainer-led programs. 24 levels of resistance for a truly challenging workout. Adjust incline to replicate real-world terrain.
Cons: Weighs 400 pounds so you’ll need some assistance unloading. Customer support could be improved.
Bottom Line: NordicTrack has a deep bench of home workout gear and this commercial-grade elliptical machine is robust enough even for committed athletes looking to push their fitness goals at home.
Octane Fitness Zero Runner ZR7
- Replicates real-world terrain
- Zero-impact cardio
- Runs almost whisper-quiet
- Console displaying all key metrics
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Octane Fitness serves up the Zero Runner ZR7 which will help liven up lockdown and ensure you don’t fall behind with your fitness goals just because you can’t get out to the gym. Indeed, the current situation the world over means there’s literally never been a better time to invest in home gym equipment. Get things started with the ZX7, then…
The beauty of this elliptical is the way it comes fairly close to giving you a real-world experience when you’re training. You can make easy adjustments to intensity and cross-train with all the advantages of running outdoors but without the drawbacks of bad weather or punishing impact on your joints.
The console displays all the metrics you’re after so you can stay on track.
Stride length goes out to 58 inches so you can do much more than just gently stroll.
A self-powered machine, you can get away with using this elliptical even if you don’t have a power outlet close at hand. This also helps the machine to run with almost no noise.
The cross-training means you can combine cardio workouts with more conventional strength training widening your options further.
Pros: Striking console with all data clearly visible at a glance. Train in conditions like real-world terrain. Start out walking then ratchet up the intensity so you can run with strides up to 58 inches. Self-powered unit so you won’t need a power outlet. Cross-circuit training.
Cons: Reasonably involved to use so perhaps not best for complete beginners. Hard to get your heart rate up over 150 so perhaps rethink if you’re a hardcore athlete.
Bottom Line: This compact and self-powered elliptical might not be the easiest machine to use but the variety at your disposal allows you to really mix up your cardio sessions in a feature-rich environment.
EFITMENT Magnetic Elliptical Machine
- Space-saving set-up ideal for small gyms
- Complete body cardio with no impact
- Belt-driven flywheel
- Pulse rate monitoring baked in
- Super-quiet in operation
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Are you searching for a compact elliptical machine for your smaller home gym? Do you live in an apartment but you’re not prepared to dip out on cardio sessions? The EFITMENT elliptical steps in to solve that problem for you.
Measuring up at 50 x 23.5 x 62 inches and weighing 220 pounds, you can slot this machine into pretty tight spaces. The 13-inch stride length is also well-suited to smaller spaces. Transportation wheels below make shifting the small machine around even easier.
Despite this compact footprint, you won’t get stiffed on the performance front.
Use a simple dial to manipulate resistance levels. While some of the opposition offer a great deal more choice on this front, you should find the highest setting reasonably challenging. After all, if you’re after a more rugged commercial machine, you won’t find one that’s this lightweight or with this small a footprint.
There’s a belt-driven flywheel on this model which helps with smooth power delivery and also does well at keeping noise levels down. This is ideal if your home gym is close to the living room and likely to disturb others.
The only minor drawback concerns lifespan that could be improved. You should give due consideration to how often you’ll use this machine and how hard you’ll push it.
Pros: Runs with very little noise thanks to belt-driven flywheel. Pulse rate monitoring built in. Remarkably small footprint for an elliptical machine so works well in cramped home gyms. Magnetic resistance for smooth, no-impact workout. Transportation wheels.
Cons: Lifespan could be improved so think about how you’ll use this machine. Some squeaking can develop over time.
Bottom Line: EFITMENT’s magnetic elliptical is small but perfectly formed. You can enjoy a wide variety of low-impact cardio without leaving home and without eating up too much space either.
NordicTrack Commercial Elliptical 14.9
- 26 levels of digital resistance
- 10-inch touchscreen in full HD
- Adjust power ramp to 20 degrees
- Annual iFit membership included
- Power delivered smoothly and quietly
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We mentioned that the above machine is not ideal if you’re a hardcore user looking to really hit it hard. The NordicTrack Commercial, on the other hand, is designed with keen athletes looking for challenging workouts in mind.
Digital resistance comes with 26 different levels to choose from. From slow walking to improving your circulation right up to a sweat-soaked run, you can really mix it up with this machine.
The oversized 10-inch screen gives you a high-def look at all the data that counts. This is responsive and easy to use, too.
You can incline the ramp to a steep 20 degrees giving you the chance to train just like you would in the great outdoors but with none of the damaging impact.
Silent Magnetic Resistance guarantees you won’t end up with a volley of annoying noise even if you’re hitting the pedals hard.
With a year’s subscription to the interactive iFit program included, you might need to pay dearly for the privilege but you’re getting arguably the finest elliptical machine for home use in a crowded market.
Pros: Pro-grade machine capable of withstanding some serious sessions. 10-inch HD touchscreen a cinch to use. 26 levels of digital resistance. Incline power ramp to 20 degrees. Silent Magnetic Resistance. Annual iFit membership included.
Cons: Certainly not cheap. Not the most compact elliptical so make sure you have sufficient space.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for power and performance from an industry legend and you’re prepared to dig deep for the privilege the NordicTrack Commercial Elliptical won’t disappoint.
Exerpeutic 6000QF Elliptical Machine
- 18-inch stride length
- 3-piece cranking system
- 12 workout programs baked in
- 7 different training modes
- Maximum weight capacity 270 pounds
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Exerpeutic makes some solid fitness equipment that’s competitively priced and the 6000QF is an elliptical that continues that winning tradition.
The choice of workouts is impressive. You can flick between 7 dedicated training modes depending on your fitness goals. A dozen pre-programmed routines help you get going even if you’ve never used an elliptical before.
You’ll be free to adjust the resistance so you’ll get enough of a challenge for your specific needs. 24 levels of resistance should separate the men from the boys.
Now, maximum weight capacity could be improved but at 270 pounds, you should be fine unless you’re particularly heavy. If you weigh in at more than this, plenty of the ellipticals we outline above will support more weight.
You can stride out to 18 inches giving you a great deal of freedom of movement and the chance to really work your legs. Grab the cushioned handle grips and you’ll also be putting your arms through their paces.
As with any fitness gear, this elliptical is not flawless. While it runs quietly, you might find a squeaking noise starts to develop over time.
The other notable drawback is the fact the internal belt is slightly flimsy and tends to break.
Pros: Full stride of 18 inches. 12 workout programs and 7 different modes covering all bases. 24 levels of resistance to mix up the intensity level. Rugged 3-piece crank system. 270-pound maximum capacity.
Cons: Internal belt prone to snapping. Squeaking can start over time which is pretty standard with ellipticals and no deal-breaker.
Bottom Line: For a robust and cost-effective way to get some low-impact cardio in the home gym, this elliptical from Exerpeutic is hard to beat.
Body Rider Elliptical Trainer with Air Resistance
- Dual-action handlebars
- Quiet chain-driven fan wheel
- Easily adjustable resistance
- Smart LCD
- Workout video included
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As we edge to the end of our quest for the best elliptical machine for home use, we’ve got a back-to-basics model from Body Rider that gives you fan resistance. Is it any good, though?
Well, if you’re after a commercial-grade machine capable of really stretching you, this is likely not the best fit. If, however, you need something small and compact that doesn’t let you down when it comes to performance, read on…
Measuring 35.6 x 20 x 57.7 inches and weighing a scant 58 pounds, this space-saving machine should fit even in more limited home gyms. Lightweight and easy to maneuver, you won’t be let down when it comes to durability or overall performance.
The multi-level console lets you see an array of data so you can track what benefits you’re reaping from your cardio sessions.
The 90-day guarantee is less than ideal and we typically avoid machines where manufacturers won’t put their money where their mouths are. That said, in the case of the Body Rider, we’re prepared to overlook this considering the overall value you get.
Pros: Chain-driven fan resistance. Easy to tweak intensity with the knob. Steel build for excellent lifespan. Precision-engineering. Multi-level console. Dual-action handlebars for a full-body workout.
Cons: Tension rope starts fraying prematurely. Short 90-day warranty is a red flag.
Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a cheaper elliptical machine that doesn’t totally let you down in terms of quality, the Body Rider is worth popping on your shortlist.
Marcy Self-Generating Magnetic Elliptical
- 24 magnetic resistance levels
- 24 workout programs
- Self-regenerating power
- Work all muscle groups
- Heart rate programs
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Last but certainly not least, the Marcy Magnetic Elliptical delivers a powerful shot of cardio without eating up too much real estate in the gym. What else works well aside from that compact footprint?
The 24 resistance levels should offer enough to test even more committed athletes. You’ll get a full 24 workouts already programmed in so you can get going right out the box.
This elliptical gives you the chance to work out multiple muscle groups simultaneously or to isolate muscles for even more concentrated training.
You can mix things up and walk, run, or climb stairs so you can inject some welcome variety into your cardio routine and minimize the chance of boredom or plateauing.
As you’d expect from a smaller machine, the Marcy is not cut out for really demanding and sustained use. If you’re planning to hit the cardio with a vengeance, you should look for a larger, more rugged machine. If, on the other hand, you’re just looking to stay active at home, the Marcy makes a smart investment.
Since this is a self-regenerating machine, you won’t be tied to a power outlet. This widens your options for placement and cuts down on the noise and running costs.
Pros: Self-regenerating. 24 levels of magnetic resistance. 24 pre-programmed workouts. Full-body workout. Highly ergonomic design. Reasonably compact and easy to move thanks to transportation wheels.
Cons: Not designed for ongoing and heavy use so best for beginners or those looking for a lighter workout.
Bottom Line: Do you want a compact elliptical for a small home gym that still allows for the occasional more intense workout? If so, you should consider the self-generating Marcy.
Which is the best option, an elliptical machine or a treadmill?
A basic treadmill replicates the movement of running outside on regular terrain. This makes it a smart choice if you’re looking to train for running races and sports in general. An elliptical machine offers many of the same benefits but it involves even less impact for your joints. If you have an injury or you’re just concerned about jarring your bones, roll with an elliptical machine.
Are front-drive or rear-drive ellipticals better?
A rear-drive machine has the drive axle located in the back. This typically makes for a smoother experience overall. The downside is that these machines are usually more expensive. Front-drive machines are more affordable but you’ll pay the price with a rougher overall ride.
What’s the big deal with stride length?
Stride length plays a significant part in how your workout feels. With longer strides, you’ll feel almost as though you are leaping. This is a nice set-up if you’re taller. Shorter strides feel more like you’re climbing stairs.
What difference does the weight of the flywheel make?
The heavier the flywheel, the smoother the inertia. This, in turn, gives you a smoother workout.
Is an elliptical cross-trainer the same as an elliptical machine?
Not exactly, no. The elliptical cross-trainer comes with movable handlebars. This allows you to work out your upper body at the same time as punishing your legs. Grasping the handlebars brings your back, chest, shoulders, and arms into play for a complete body workout.
What’s the primary cause of elliptical machines squeaking?
The usual root cause of squeaking is an assembly issue. The first thing you should do is check that all screws are properly tightened. Failing this, check that everything is properly lubricated. If you still cannot isolate the cause of the squeaking, consider calling in a professional.
Which is the best resistance system for elliptical machines?
Magnetic resistance is undoubtedly the smoothest and most efficient form of resistance. This silent drive is powered by magnets that sit near the flywheel. You change the resistance level by moving the magnet toward the spinning flywheel. These ellipticals are the most expensive but by some distance the best.
Can you lose weight using an elliptical machine?
First thing’s first, if you’re hoping to lose weight, you need a calorie deficit. In plain English, you need to take fewer calories onboard than you require. The alternative is to burn some of these excess calories by exercising within your optimum fat-burning zone. An elliptical machine helps you achieve this. As long as you eat healthily, the added cardio sessions should help you toward your weight loss goals.
Is it possible to build muscle with an elliptical machine?
In a word, no. A rowing machine is much more effective in this respect.
Do elliptical machines fold down when not in use?
Absolutely. If you’re looking for a space-saving model, several break down to roughly half their size when not in use.
Well, we hope by now you’ve got a solid overview of the many different types of elliptical machines you could invest in for your home gym.
Whether you have joint pain, you’re recovering from an injury or you just want some low-impact cardio to burn some of those excess calories, elliptical machines are a great alternative to an incline treadmill.
The most crucial advice we could give you is to take plenty of time before whipping out your credit card so you make sure you’re getting the most suitable elliptical for your needs. Skip this stage and you could end up with a hunk of expensive, unused metal. Get it right and you’ll have a cardio companion that should give you years of faithful service.
That aside, take note of our handy buying guide and stick with one of the machines we review today. You’ll be in safe hands with anything on our list.
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