The best elliptical machines are high-quality, high-intensity yet low-impact pieces of fitness equipment. Rotating foot pedals allow users to achieve a running motion without their feet leaving a solid surface, resulting in a cardiovascular workout that puts less stress on the feet, ankles, knees, and hips than traditional running. Moving hand grips provide resistance and guided movement for the arms, too, resulting in a full-body workout.
We recently took a good, hard look at some of the most prominent brands and models out there. Our goal is to present an easy-to-use guide to help you choose the very best elliptical machine for your specific fitness needs, available space, and budget.
The Best Elliptical Machines: FAQ
1. What Are the Benefits of Elliptical Machines?
The low-impact nature of an elliptical workout gives users with knee or other joint problems a way to exercise efficiently. They are great for cardio and muscular endurance, and they may also help with overall body composition. Most machines allow you to dial hand grips and turn adjustable resistance upward for a more strenuous workout or down to ease up a bit.
2. What Are the Drawbacks of Elliptical Machines?
These machines are built for cardio work, which means they aren't as well-suited for directly building flexibility or muscle strength. While they can provide an excellent workout, even the best elliptical machine workout may not be quite as intense as pure running or extreme weightlifting.
3. Where Can I Buy One?
You can purchase these machines at fitness retailers or online. In this article, we will provide links to the Amazon and other online retailers where readers can purchase each model on our list of the best elliptical machines we could find.
How We Reviewed
The following products were reviewed based on these parameters: features, pros and cons, pricing, and warranty coverage. We researched the best-rated and reviewed elliptical machines on the market to compile this list, which includes machines for beginners and experienced workout warriors alike.
Overall Price Range
Costs run from $$$ for barebones machines to well above $$$$ for the best elliptical machines at the ultra-premium level. The cheapest machines lack basic features like programmable workouts and heart-rate tracking. In contrast, the most expensive ones allow fully customized and computer-tracked workouts. The best elliptical machines also include safety features like a software lockout that keeps children from accessing the machine.
What We Reviewed
- Ground should be soft and it may be necessary to pre-soften area with water before installing
- Compatible with round or rectangle trampolines
- Constructed with galvanized steel
- Recommended for any area that may experience occasional high-speed wind
- Kit includes 4 anchors and tie downs for easy installation
If you play a sport that requires jumping, such as basketball or tennis, you may already routinely perform box jumps to improve your conditioning. Even if you don't play sports, however, these full body exercises will help you improve lower-body strength and burn calories quickly. Box jumps are performed by standing in front of a solid box or any other suitable, raised surface. Jump up onto the box, making sure both feet land flat on top, and then straighten your legs before leaping back down. Quickly jump up and back down to get your heart rate going.
- Dual track two LCD window system allows you to monitor up to 13 different display feedbacks
- Schwinn Connect goal tracking and data export keep you up to date on reaching your fitness goals, Product Dimensions - 70.1" L x 28.2" W x 63.2" H
- 29 programs, 4 user settings and goal tracking are all there to keep you motivated and challenged
- 25 levels of resistance aligned with a high speed high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel make every workout smooth and quiet
- Charging USB port and data exchange
Schwinn has long been known as a high-quality bicycle brand, and the Schwinn 470 lives up to their legacy. This elliptical trainer is a smooth-running machine that runs quietly and features great performance-tracking tools. With 29 programs, 4 custom user-defined profiles, and quick keys that make resistance and incline easy to adjust on the fly, there's a great deal of versatility.
This model has a heart-rate chest-strap option if you'd like to monitor your heart rate, but a strap is not included with the machine. Also, the 470 features Schwinn's DualTrack system, with two back-lit LCD screens to track your workout. Available at a reasonable price, this is among the best elliptical machines for either a beginner or an experienced user.
Schwinn provides a 10-year warranty on the frame, a 2-year mechanical warranty and a 1-year electrical warranty. There is also a 90-day labor warranty included with your purchase.
- DESIGN: Natural Elliptical motion eliminates any bouncy movement that other competitive elliptical experience.
- TENSION RESISTANCE: 8 Level magnetic tension resistance adjustments can provide the user with a more challenging workout
- COMPUTER: An easy to read large window LCD display that indicates distance, calories burned, time, speed, scan and target zone heart rate monitoring.
- TARGET ZONE MONITOR: Pulse pads on the additional stationary handle bars provide heart rate monitoring
- QUIETNESS: The precision balanced flywheel and V- belt drive provide a smooth and quiet operation. It will not interfere with watching TV or listening to music.
The Exerpeutic 1000XL is priced to sell but sturdily constructed. It boasts eight levels of resistance, which should be enough for most fitness levels, and it produces a smooth elliptical motion that feels natural. Its large LCD screen is easy to read and displays data such as calories burned, distance traveled, and your heart rate, provided you keep your hands on the pulse pads built into the handles. It's not as full-featured as some other machines on this list, but this is certainly one of the best elliptical trainers available in its price range.
Exerpeutic provides a 3-year limited warranty for this product.
- Pedals ergonomically spaced closer together helping to preventing stress on the ankles, knees and hip joints, this low impact elliptical was designed to be an asset to your joint health
- Welded heavy duty gauge steel frame and enclosed bearings for lifetime use, the 1260Ef is the premier in heavy duty ellipticals. Soft polymer rollers smoothly glide on steel rails
- Small Footprint measures at 69.5 x 65 x 27.5 inches (W x H x D), and weight capacity is up to 325 pounds
- Incline settings and 20 levels of gradual resistance, the 1260Ef allows you to build your fitness goals at your pace
- Heart rate chest strap included to monitor your cardiovascular goals and brightly lit panel with large buttons allows you to adjust your workout with ease during use
The Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef is well built and loaded with features. You can create a custom-tailored workout and change the incline by a whopping 20 degrees, which is well above average. When you turn the incline all the way up, this machine almost feels like a stair-stepper. It also comes packaged with a chest-strap heart rate monitor that can be used with the machine's five heart rate control programs. While pricey, this Diamondback Fitness machine is one of the best elliptical machines out there for serious fitness enthusiasts.
Diamondback offers a limited lifetime warranty on the frame, a 5-year warranty on parts and electronics, and a 1-year labor warranty. It all adds up to one of the best elliptical warranties we found during our study.
- 26 work Apps. Get the training you want with built-in workouts designed by a Certified personal trainer to help you reach your fitness goals. Choose from calorie, intensity and performance workout Apps
- 20 lb. Flywheel. Engineered for incredibly smooth performance, this 20 lb. Effective Inertia-Enhanced flywheel delivers a more even, natural ride and User Weight Capacity up to 325 pounds
- 22 digital resistance levels. Quick, responsive, one touch controls adjust your incline and resistance to vary workout intensity. With smr silent magnetic resistance, every adjustment is quiet, smooth and natural
- Front drive elliptical. Placing the drive mechanism at the front of the machine provides a design that accommodates Adjustable stride and incline while maintaining a small home footprint
- One touch controls. Quick, responsive controls adjust your resistance and incline in seconds at the touch of a button. Your focus stays on your workout, instead of scrolling through options
The NordicTrack C 7.5 is a machine that stands out from its competition across a broad price range. Its 20-pound flywheel produces consistently smooth, quiet motion that leaves almost no impact on your knees. Its 20-inch stride is perfect for many users, and its 22 levels of resistance and 20 degrees of incline provide plenty of versatility in workout intensity.
NordicTrack's warranty blows away the competition at this price: The buyer benefits from a lifetime frame warranty, a 2-year parts warranty and one year of labor coverage.
- AIR WALK TRAINER: The non-slip pedals will help simulate a slow walk or work up to a full run while maintaining a continuous motion capability without interruption. Maximum weight capacity is 220 Ibs. 30 inch stride length
- TOTAL BODY WORKOUT: The air walker exercise machine targets muscles in your arms as well as your legs. When you maintain an upright posture on the machine, your abdominal muscles will work as stabilizing muscles increasing your stability and endurance
- SPACE SAVING: When not in use, easily fold the product and pedals up to 1/2 the length (15L x 19w x 61.5H)
- LCD MONITOR: Informative LCD monitor displays time, count, total distance and calories. Step up your comfort with the adjustable abdominal pad. Move it up and down to ensure proper support and placement
- AEROBIC TRAINING: increases cardio respiratory fitness, which is one of the 5 essential components of physical fitness. With just 20 minutes sustained in the air walker it can help you lose, control or maintain your weight
Anyone looking for a low-impact workout at home on a limited budget will want to look into the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905. This machine is lightweight and compact, making it easy to move around and fit into tight spaces. Its eight levels of resistance are enough for most casual workouts, and its large anti-slip pedals are perfect for beginners. Like most of the best elliptical machines, it features a built-in computer that tracks key statistics like your speed, distance, and heart rate.
As far as we could discover through our research, the manufacturer does not offer a warranty on this product.
- 7 inch Full-color capacitive touchscreen, I fit enabled, 0 - 20 degree incline ramp, out-of-box easy assembly, oversized levelers, 375 lb. Weight capacity
- 35 workout apps, integrated tablet holder, EKG grip pulse with wireless chest strap, multi-position upper-body grips
- Ipod compatible audio, coolaire workout fan, 32 lb. Effective inertia enhanced flywheel, Transport wheels
- Stride length: 20 inches. 26 Digital resistance levels, adjustable oversized cushioned pedals, commercial-grade steel construction, water bottle holder
- The ProForm Pro 12.9 elliptical is protected with a Lifetime frame Warranty, 5-year parts Warranty, and a 2-year labor Warranty
The ProForm Pro 12.9 is simply one of the best elliptical trainers out there. It retails for a reasonable price and features a whopping 43 preset programs. You can even download additional fitness programs if you choose. On top of those benefits, this machine is well constructed and equipped with above-average safety features.
The quality of the ProForm Pro 12.9 elliptical trainer extends to its warranty. The maker provides a lifetime frame warranty, a 5-year parts warranty, and a 2-year labor warranty.
- 【Smooth & Quiet Driven】The precision balanced flywheel and V- belt drive provide a smooth and quiet operation. You can enjoy the convenience of working out without leaving the comfort of home.
- 【Magnetic Resistance & Total Body Workout】8 levels of magnetic resistance that you can alter your workout aimed to help you meet your fitness goals. The 13in Stride Length provides a no impact, smooth flowing workout for your total body workout.
- 【Digital Monitor & Pulse Rate Grips】Start planning and recording your fitness statistics by using the advanced LCD digital monitor which indicates distance, calories burned, time, speed, scan and target zone heart rate monitoring.
- 【Heavy-Duty & Big Non-slip Pedal】Increase the strength of the frame which can support a maximum of 330lbs. And pedals is designed to Non-slip and big to increase stability and comfort.
- 【Hassle-free Warranty】 We have THREE year quality warranty to the products. Within the warranty period, we provide the FREE replacement parts.
The ANCHEER Elliptical Machine Trainer has a lot in common with the other low-priced ellipticals on this list. It features a 13-inch stride and eight levels of magnetic resistance. Its compact size and the smooth, quiet, belt-driven motion make it a solid choice for new exercisers living in apartment buildings.
ANCHEER provides a 1-year warranty on materials with a 30-day, risk-free return policy.
- Easy storage after your intense workout, 18 lb. Effective flywheel, 18 inch stride length, Transport wheels
- Vertical SpaceSaver design, 0 - 10 degree power adjustable incline, smr silent magnetic resistance. 24 preset workouts for pro training
- Adjustable oversized pedals, EKG grip Pulse, water bottle holder, out of the box Assembly, soft touch upper body grips
- IFit Coach Ready, 5" Backlit Display, One Touch Resistance Controls, AutoBreeze Workout Fan, 22 Digital Resistance Levels
- The SpaceSaver SE7i comes with a lifetime frame warranty, 2-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty. 325lb user weight capacity
The NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i is a compact elliptical machine that's easy to put together and won't take up a ton of space in your home. It even folds up and rolls away, making it ideal for those without a dedicated workout space. Despite its small size, this NordicTrack machine offers a great workout experience. We credit its 18-inch stride, power adjustable incline, and 22 levels of resistance. Its 5" back-lit display is also better than average; it looks great from several viewing angles.
The warranty on this product is even better than the one offered with NordicTrack's C 7.5: a lifetime frame warranty, with 3 years for parts and 1 for labor, in addition to a 30-day, money-back guarantee.
- Goal Track capability enables users to set individual exercise goals
- 22 programs: 9 profile, 8 heart rate control, 2 custom, 2 fitness test & 1 quick start
- 20 levels of resistance for a wide range of workout intensity options
- High speed, high inertia drive system with a perimeter weighted flywheel for easy start up and smooth, consistent workouts
- Dual Track LCD displays
The Nautilus E614 trainer is, like most Nautilus products, both innovative and high in quality. Its dual LCD display is a standout, allowing you to prop up a book or tablet while still keeping track of your workout on the smaller lower screen. It even features a computer that allows you to download exercise data so you can easily track your improvements. All of this comes standard on this feature-rich machine available at a mid-to-low price point.
Nautilus provides a 10-year warranty for the frame, plus a 2-year warranty for parts and one year of coverage on electronics.
The Verdict: Contenders, Finalists, And Our Champ
The best elliptical machine for you will depend on how much you want to spend. On the low end of the price range, the Exerpeutic 1000XL performs well, as does the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905. The biggest knock against the latter is its lack of a manufacturer's warranty, so we give the nod to Exerpeutic's machine when it comes to the best elliptical at an entry-level price.
In the middle, it's hard to beat the Nautilus E614, although NordicTrack's machines come very close. Finally, for the best elliptical at a premium price, the Sole Fitness E95S takes the cake. It's tough to go wrong with any of these machines, though. The best elliptical is really the machine that has the features you need at a price that works for you.