The 8 Best Ellipticals for Low-Impact Cardio Workouts at Home

best elliptical
Courtesy of NordicTrack
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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. They’re also a great machine to work with 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. NordicTrack FS7i Elliptical

BEST OVERALL

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 workout on. It comes with a 7″ 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 include 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.

NordicTrack elliptical, best elliptical Courtesy of NordicTrack

  

2. Bowflex Max Trainer M6

RUNNER UP

This elliptical machine from Bowflex is a close second, mostly due to the fact that it doesn’t sync up with a network of classes and workout programs from the machine. Other than that, the functionality is also top-notch. 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.

Bowflex elliptical, best elliptical Courtesy of Bowflex

  

3. Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine

QUALITY PICK

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.

schwinn elliptical machine, best elliptical Courtesy of Amazon

  

4. Sole E25 Elliptical

BEST FOR INJURIES

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.

Sole E25 Elliptical, best elliptical Courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods

  

5. Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical Machine

BEST BUDGET PICK

This is a solid bare bones elliptical machine for adding to your home gym purely for cardio workouts to compliment 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.

sunny health elliptical, best elliptical Courtesy of Amazon

  

6. Life Fitness Club Series Elliptical Trainer

BEST SPLURGE

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.

Life Fitness elliptical, best elliptical Courtesy of Life Fitness

  

7. Precor EFX 700 Elliptical

MOST DURABLE

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.

Precor Elliptical, best elliptical Courtesy of Precor

  

8. 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.

Doufit elliptical, best elliptical Courtesy of Amazon