Elliptical machines are one of the most popular pieces of equipment for gym and at-home workouts for a reason. They’re low-impact and yet great for improving cardiovascular health, core strength, upper and lower body strength and even balance. Due to the fact that you’re working your legs and arms/ shoulders at the same time you can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time without putting a ton of pressure on your joints. If treadmills have caused problems for hips and knees, and you’re intimidated by cycling due to the whole “clip in, clip out” thing, ellipticals are an accessible, fun and relatively safe way to exercise anywhere, including in your home. The best elliptical machines offer a variety of types of workouts including hill climbs, interval training and other dynamic exercise modes that can fit into a variety of workout routines.
Ellipticals are also a great way to cross-train with other modalities like running or weight lifting, as they keep up your cardio health without pushing your body to the limit and risking injury. You can target specific leg muscles if you wish to strengthen your quads, hamstrings, calves or even glutes by switching up the direction of the pedals or adjusting the foot pedals lower. Under-desk ellipticals are also great home exercise machines if you’re recovering from an injury, as they’re low-impact but can greatly improve your range of motion as you strengthen and heal an injured ankle, knee, tendon, etc. Here are the best elliptical machines to add to your home workout regimen for getting in shape without anything too fancy, complicated or a difficult learning curve.
1. Bowflex Max Trainer M6
The functionality and features of this elliptical are top-notch, so if you’re looking for a straightforward elliptical that you can tune out the world and glide on, this is a great pick. It does include a media rack for a smartphone or tablet for streaming classes in, if you’d prefer to do that, or you can just ride. It has 16 different levels of resistance and the multi-grip handles give you options for working your upper body. This elliptical is designed for maximum muscle engagement and takes up, on average, half the space of the typical treadmill. This elliptical also includes a “Max Motivation” feature that shows you your BURN RATE of how many calories you’re burning throughout the workout. This feature also sets automatic activity levels throughout your workout to motivate you to take it a step further.
2. NordicTrack FS14i Elliptical
BEST FOR STREAMING CLASSES
I’m a big fan of NordicTrack’s machines and this elliptical comes with all the boxes checked when it comes to a strong, well-made machine you’ll actually want to work out on. It comes with a 14″ HD touchscreen that connects you to their on-demand fitness program and LIVE Interactive Tech that automatically adjusts your resistance along with their classes. You can run with their elite iFit trainers all across the globe from your elliptical and have life interactions with other athletes in the NordicTrack network. This smart feature makes it very similar to a Peloton or other luxury at-home fitness experience. They add new workouts daily to their program that includes everything from running workouts to HIIT, yoga, interval training and more.
This elliptical can automatically adjust your stride based on your movements and with the LIVE resistance and incline control, you won’t have to lift a finger to keep up with the programmed workout ahead of you. The oversized pedals are cushioned for comfort and stability and the SoftTough upper body grips are easy to grab on to for an arm/shoulder component.
3. Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine
This Schwinn elliptical is a bit more affordable than the previous two options with a ton of useful features for fitness at home. It has Bluetooth connectivity and can sync up with the Schwinn trainer app as well as other fitness apps for access to workouts of all types, all around the world. It has 29 different workouts programmed in and 25 different levels of resistance to choose from, so you’ve got a wide range of activity and fitness levels that can work on here. It has an LCD display for metrics, a media shelf for conveniently holding gadgets, a USB charging port and an adjustable fan.
4. Bowflex M3 Max Trainer
There’s nothing particularly stand-out to note about this Bowflex elliptical machine other than the fact that it’s a solid yet affordable machine from a trusted brand. It’s actually a hybrid stair stepper and elliptical machine, combining the smoothness and strenuous nature of both into one workout. It promises to deliver the benefits of cardio intervals in as little as 14 minutes of work, and you can even set burn and activity-level targets to guide your workout. This is a simpler version of the Bowflex we included above, so if that price tag was intimidating this one might be more your speed.
5. Sole E25 Elliptical
BEST FOR REHAB
If you’ve got an injury you’re recovering from and need a form of exercise so you don’t lose your mind on the couch, this elliptical is great for physical therapy. This elliptical was designed by Sole engineers in collaboration with physical therapists so the pedals are 15 inches long with a 20-inch stride length and a 2-degree inward slope to protect knees and ankles from increased stress. It has ten workouts programmed into the machine, so fewer than other options but still a solid number. This system is also very quiet, with a fluid-smooth drive system designed for minimal noise. There are 20 different resistance levels and it comes with built-in grip heart rate monitors as well as a chest strap for tracking your exertion during your workout. This machine also has a heavy-duty steel frame and looks very stable for a balanced workout overall.
6. Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical Machine
BEST UNDER $200
This is a solid bare-bones elliptical machine for adding to your home gym purely for cardio workouts to complement other routines. It’s affordable, solid and comes with everything you need for a solid sweat sesh without spending exorbitant amounts of cash. It has eight different levels of resistance that you can switch between easily with a micro-controller. There’s a digital monitor that tracks metrics like speed, distance and pulse, and both the handlebars and foot pedals are anti-slip so you stay as secure as possible. There are onboard stabilizers that make getting on and off as smooth as possible, and this machine is very compact — so it’s also a great option if you’re short on space.
7. Life Fitness Club Series + Elliptical Course Trainer
This is a top of the line elliptical used in fitness clubs all over the country due to its quality and stability. If you’ve got the space and the budget, it has some notable functionality to it. The stride length is 20″ so it’s full-body without being too overwhelming, and the multi-grip handles incorporate your upper body as well. You can adjust the resistance on the handles so you can stay steady and adjust your workout to be more challenging or more mellow. The pedals are oversized and made of a Flexform™ curved design for comfort and safety, and it includes a touchscreen panel with an intuitive design for easy control. You can track your workout data in full-time and connect to your favorite apps via Bluetooth.
This is a major price jump above the other machines, and I almost didn’t include it in this list. However, it’s also the brand and quality-level I’m used to seeing at public gyms and therefore I know it’s built to LAST. If it’s being manufactured to be used by countless people every day for years and not break down — it’ll be awhile before you wear it down in your home as a sole user.
8. Precor EFX 700 Elliptical
This is another elliptical that’s frequently used in gyms and fitness clubs and holds up after years of use so you know it’s durable. The basic one, if you can even call it that, comes with an LED display that tracks your metrics in real-time and has 22 different pre-programmed workouts. The ramp is set at 22 degrees for an optical lower body workout and the handlebars make it easy to incorporate your upper body into the workout smoothly. This one is a high ticket item that’s mostly marketed towards gyms, so if you want an elliptical that’s built to withstand years of heavy-duty use day after day, this one is a great option.
9. Doufit Elliptical Machine
EASY TO ASSEMBLE
This is another very affordable elliptical option you can order easily on Amazon and, according to reviewers, it’s pretty simple to put together. It’s made with a high-quality flywheel and a digital monitor that’ll track your time, speed, virtual distance and heart rate. It has eight different levels of magnetic resistance so each member of the family can tailor it to their desired training intensity, and the steel frame will keep you safe and stable even during a strenuous workout.
10. ncient Elliptical Machine
EASY TO ASSEMBLE
91% of reviewers gave this elliptical machine 5-stars, which is very high praise on the picky Amazon ratings boards. The biggest perk users described? How easy this machine is to put together and use. Many of them had it arrive and got to use it before bed on the same day, which is everything given the promised convenience of at-home fitness. It’s a simple elliptical machine that checks all the necessary boxes and has a sub-$400 price tag. These include an LCD monitor to track stats, large non-slip supportive pedals that enable the smooth workout, and a quiet V-belt drive and portability, a must-have in your at-home gym where furniture arrangements change all the time. It’s a super solid option and it comes in a bunch of different color accents — a fun touch.
11. Body Rider Elliptical Trainer and Exercise Bike
BEST ELLIPTICAL/BIKE HYBRID
Why settle for just one of your favorite gym machines, or take up space with both, when you could combine them? This elliptical/exercise bike from Body Rider is a 2-in-1 patented design that’s put a bike seat on an elliptical and gotten a pretty good response for it. It has 4 stars on Amazon and for the price it’s offered getting two machines is a major bargain. You can use it as either an elliptical or an exercise bike in the same workout, and adjust the seat vertically or horizontally to find a comfortable position. The machine has high-momentum fan blades for a super fluid workout, and you can adjust the tension for either workout with the turn of the center knob.