10 Best Elliptical Machines Tested & Rated
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
22 resistance levels
325 pound capacity
- NordicTrack C 7.5
- Nautilus E616
- Precor EFX 222 Energy
- Octane Fitness ZR7 Zero Runner
- Stamina In-Motion
- Sole Fitness E35
- ElliptiGO 8C
- ProForm Hybrid
- Schwinn 470
- Schwinn 430
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Elliptical Machines
1. NordicTrack C 7.5
22 resistance levels
325 pound capacity
This is one of the best elliptical machines out there. This elliptical machine has lots of settings to choose from, is easy to use, and a great investment if you need something to last you the long haul.Read more
This elliptical machine has 26 built-in workouts to choose from. It counts your calories, lets you choose your intensity, and delivers a smooth and natural ride. It can hold up to 325 pounds and one-touch controls for a quick response.
It has 22 digital resistance that is controlled by one-touch controls--so you can get an easy or hard workout, whatever you choose.
Cost and Value
Pretty pricey, but worth it if it fits your budget
2. Nautilus E616
22 intensity program
The Nautilus E616 boasts several features that many users find incredibly useful. It's pretty pricey for an elliptical machine but well worth it if you are looking for a high-quality elliptical machine to have in your home.Read more
This elliptical machine has Bluetooth connectivity and an app to sync to this way it can track your progress and save your workouts. The fun part is it syncs to RUnSocial App--so you can work out with other people in other parts of the world and has 27 different real routes--similar to the Peloton bike. It has 29 different programs to choose from, and LCD display, and built-in speakers.
This Nautilus elliptical machine has 25 different levels of intensity and resistant along with 29 different workout programs to choose from.
Cost and Value
Expensive but worth it given all of the features it provides
3. Precor EFX 222 Energy
Easy to use display
Several speed and intensity options
Patented design that improves your posture
This elliptical machine is pretty pricey, but if you want a high-quality piece of equipment for your home then we recommend you take a look. If it's within your budget, you will find it offers lots of extra features that you will find useful.Read more
This is a high-quality elliptical machine that has a patented design to ensure your comfort and perfect your posture. It has easy to use a display that will track your progress and help you watch your heart rate during your workouts.
Cost and Value
Really expensive, but if you need a gym-quality elliptical machine, then this is an excellent one to consider.
4. Octane Fitness ZR7 Zero Runner
Very quiet machine
Great monitor and tracking
Strides up to 58 inches
Fair price range
Not for all types of runners
Not too much technology built into it
The Octane Fitness ZR7 Zero Runner is a very quiet elliptical machine with many different functions. You can use it as a stair climber, elliptical or treadmill. It’s cordless, so you won’t need to worry about finding a place near a chord to use. You can practically place it in the middle of your living room!Read more
The elliptical machine has ample space to hold a computer or tablets and a water bottle. The technology features Bluetooth capabilities with options to connect to apps and get customized training programs (for additional fees). You get 35 programs and the heart rate monitor has a wireless technology in it.
It has a motion of up to 58 inches with no incline available. Extra resistance is available with extra equipment that comes with the machine.
Cost and Value
The elliptical machine comes with a price range from middle to high cost with a 5-year warranty for parts and one year for labor.
5. Stamina In-Motion
Multi-functional fitness monitor
Various color options
Some users report a squeaking noise upon use
This compact elliptical machine is perfect for the home or office. It can be used sitting, standing, or peddling in reverse. The versatility of this model is incredible. You can workout while reading a book, watching television, or even working. For those looking for an elliptical machine that's easy on the joints, this is a great choice.Read more
This machine's display console shows workout time, total strides, strides per minute, and calories burned. Its petals are textured, so you can rest assured knowing that your feet aren't going to slip. This model is very compact and can be stored easily under a desk or in a closet.
The intensity of your workout can be adjusted by simply turning the "tension knob." It is convenient and easy to use making it one of the most preferred elliptical machines.
Cost and Value
This model is very affordable and comes with a one year warranty on the frame and a 90-day warranty on parts.
6. Sole Fitness E35
Pedals designed in collaboration with a physical therapist
Reduced impact on joints
Some find it difficult to assemble
Fans are not very powerful
This durable, heavy-duty elliptical machine does a great job of providing a quiet, smooth workout which can be performed either in a forward or reverse motion. The heavy flywheel ensures a very stable and secure feel. This model has moving handlebars that can be adjusted for comfort, as well as stationary handlebars that monitor your heart rate.Read more
This model features six pre-programmed standard workouts, two custom programs, and two programs designed for heart rate. A backlit 7.5 inch LCD display shows essential data such as your speed, calories burned, and time elapsed. A built-in fan keeps you cool, and a sound system and water bottle holder are built into the console. It also has a pulse grip and chest strap heart rate monitoring, ensuring you receive the most accurate reading possible. Other features include cooling fans and built-in speakers for any MP3 player or iPod. Its weight capacity is 375 pounds, which is relatively high compared to other models.
With 20 different levels of resistance and power-adjustable incline, you will definitely receive a challenging workout from this model. It has a 20-22 inch stride length, and the ramp angle can be adjusted up to 30 degrees.
Cost and Value
This model is priced in the mid-to-high range. It comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame, a five-year warranty on parts, and a two-year warranty on labor.
7. ElliptiGO 8C
Removable steering extender
Eight levels of resistance
Front wheel can be removed for storage
No water bottle holder
This unique elliptical machine is the "world's first outdoor elliptical bike and your best indoor elliptical trainer" all in one. It sits higher up than a traditional bicycle and has comfortable multi-position grips to hold on to. The front and rear wheels are each 20 inches total and the frame weighs 44 pounds.Read more
With eight levels of resistance or speeds, this is a great choice for those who like to switch up their workouts. Its height can be adjusted from 16 to 25 inches, so you can choose the perfect measurement for you. This machine is ideal for those who want to work out outdoors on various types of terrains.
This model can go up to 25mph and can incline to 30%. It has a total resistance range of 306%.
Cost and Value
While this machine is relatively costly compared to others on the market, it is well worth the price.
8. ProForm Hybrid
Easily personalized with adjustable features
Durable steel frame
Small display screen
No cooling fan
This model gives you the option to choose between a cardio recumbent bike and a total toning elliptical. The versatility of this trainer makes it perfect for those looking to work out a variety of muscles. With over-sized, adjustable pedals, it's comfortable to use and your feet won't slip.Read more
This trainer comes with 16 pre-programmed workout apps to make your job simpler. All you have to do is press start. It has soft grips to hold on to, so you don't have to worry about your hands becoming uncomfortable. other features include a water bottle holder, MP3 port, and an EKG grip pulse. Its weight capacity is 350 pounds.
This model features 16 digital resistance levels designed to take you from beginner to pro and its stride length is 15 inches.
Cost and Value
This elliptical trainer machine is moderately priced. It falls among the mid-range priced models. It also comes with a 5-year frame warranty and a 90-day parts warranty.
9. Schwinn 470
Offers many accessories
More affordable than other machines
Comes with 29 programs installed
Takes time to assemble
Makes some sounds
This machine has so much to offer when it comes to adding bells and whistles. An excellent option for runners who have issues with their joints. You will definitely not have any issues with impacting your knees or ankles using this machine. One of the best options if you’re on a budget, considering the machine is less than $1000. This one also has a ton of technology positives, including Bluetooth connectivity, connection to fitness apps, LCD screens and different displays.Read more
In addition to all the tech features, the machine also has 29 programs included, 4 user profiles so you can customize programs for different people in the family. It also has a fan which comes in handy when you’re on your workout.
The Schwinn 470 boasts of 25 resistance levels included, 5 incline and resistance keys.
Cost and Value
The machine has a low to medium cost that includes a 10-year warranty on the frame, 2 years warranty on the mechanical, 1-year warranty on the electrical and 90-day warranty on the labor.
10. Schwinn 430
A wide variety of pre-programmed workouts
USB charging console
Water bottle holder
Some users find it to be too loud
Can be tough on the joints
This high-quality machine is very popular due to its variety of workout programs and its extensive display console. Two distinct user settings enable you to keep your exercise preferences programmed even after someone else uses the machine.Read more
This machine comes with 22 built-in workouts and has a dual LCD window system which enables you to track up to 13 different display feedbacks. It comes with a charging USB port and goal-tracking system as well. Simply use SchwinnConnect to export your progress and data to your phone or computer in order to stay on top of your fitness goals. It has a weight capacity of 350 pounds and a stride length of 20 inches.
The Schwinn 430 Elliptical comes with 20 different levels of resistance and has a 10-degree manual ramp with 6 positions to choose from.
Cost and Value
This mid-range model is moderately priced and you are guaranteed some of the best features of an elliptical machine.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Machines that give you a good workout as quickly as possible get the highest scores.
Elliptical machines are a great way to get in a workout without putting much strain on your joints and tendons. The word elliptical itself comes from elliptic, which means to be oval or egg-shaped. They're called elliptical machines because they are designed so that the pedals or foot platforms move in an oval shape instead of just up and down. This gives you a great no-impact workout that can elevate your heart rate to burn fat and increase cardiovascular capability while also strengthening and toning your muscles. Most of the machines on our list also give you the capability to use your arms as part of the exercise so you can use your entire body. Even while running having a strong upper body is important as it will help you to maintain proper form while having less back pain so long as you've got a strong core. A good elliptical machine will give you all of these benefits. In order to choose the products on our list, we considered over 1100 reviews from a wide variety of people. This allows us to go beyond our own narrow opinions and see what the experience of many different users were, thereby giving you the best possible overall score.
Modern ellipticals have a wide variety of options.
Today, elliptical machines can come with a wide variety of high-tech options. Bluetooth connectivity, fitness apps, pre-programmed fitness programs, and even latte makers. OK, we're just kidding about the latte makers, but it's amazing the technology that's now being put into these machines. Before buying we recommend thinking about whether or not you want a machine that offers you the ability to use fitness apps and have pre-programmed settings. They can be helpful but certainly aren't necessary and can add to the overall cost.
Elliptical trainers come in three basic configurations. This is determined by the location of the machine’s drive system or flywheel. The majority of models integrate this into the back, the side, or the front of the machine. This can have an impact on functionality, and on the amount of space that the elliptical requires. The three main configurations include:
1. Front-Drive Elliptical Machine
The flywheel is placed on the front part of the machine, perfect for big housing. Most of the time this design will have its pedals securely supported on its wheels. Prone to noise and increased vibration.
2. Center-Drive Elliptical Machine
The flywheel is centrally placed and the pedals have been placed in a way that they can ride on the rollers (that are cylindrical in nature) and a crankshaft. Its the most compact trainer of all the three designs. The center drive trainer is a new model in the market and has the flywheel located on its side, with similar compatibility as the rear drive trainer with very few models of this kind having the foldable feature.
3. Rear-Drive Elliptical Machine
This design has its flywheel on the sides and might be made with a track & roller setting. Its pedals are normally placed on the pedal arms that are long, just between the hand grips that are moving and the drive. The pedals are in the center which means that the ride is smooth and quieter. They are normally very long in size and design.
Ease of Use
Having a machine that's simple to use will help you enjoy the experience and you'll be more likely to use it and stick with your fitness routine.
Let's be honest here, a lot of people will invest in an elliptical or other type of workout machine for their home, use it a few times and then stop for whatever reason. At this point, it just becomes a really expensive coat rack and something that can even make you feel bad for not sticking with your fitness program every time you see it. We don't want that to be your experience so we did our best to only choose products for this list that are simple to use and hopefully fun as well so that you can have the best possible experience and stick with your fitness routine so you can hit your goals. The computer or whatever other system is used to control the resistance of the machine is usually the biggest factor when it comes to how simple an elliptical machine is to use so we looked at the control monitors as well as user feedback to determine their ease of operation. An often overlooked part of buying home fitness equipment is how easy it is to do simple maintenance and repair so we looked at this factor as well before assigning each product a final score.
Before shopping be sure to measure the space you want to put the machine to make sure the one you want can fit.
These machines can be over 6 feet tall, and around 5 feet in length. The size of the elliptical is going to vary based on the model and on its functionality. No one wants to purchase a machine that won’t fit in their home. Always make sure that you’re measuring the area you intend to use as your gym prior to spending thousands of dollars on something that hits the ceiling or doesn’t allow any walking room. Size is also something that can impact the person using the machine. If you have a really small frame, then a larger machine may make your workout uncomfortable. Again, this is where these reviews can really make a difference. The height of every step will be somewhere between five and 15 inches, and the pedals can rise as far as 25 inches from the floor. Don’t just consider the size of the machine itself, consider the size it will be when a person is on it and going through the motions. Before committing to one model, take a tape measure to the area and check the dimensions and the workout requirements. We also recommend allowing for at least 18 inches of clearance on all sides of the machine. This will make it easier and more comfortable to use and also to perform any needed routine maintenance.
These machines can be expensive, so make sure you choose wisely and choose what features you want while avoiding the ones you don't.
Exercise equipment doesn’t come cheap. A good elliptical machine can cost thousands of dollars. Ultimately, it’s dependent on your budget and your personal preferences. The more customizable and elite an elliptical is, the more it’s going to cost. This is where research and reviews come in handy. You’ll need to decide whether you’d like a basic, standard (home-use), or elite model. If you’re a professional athlete or someone who invests a lot in your health, then an elite model may not be out of the question. This would be a piece of equipment that you’d use for years, and you’d definitely get your money’s worth. If you’re just starting out, then you may want something that’s a little more basic. Always shop around to make sure that you’re getting the best value for your money, and that you aren’t settling for less than what you actually need. When we created our review list, we took budget into consideration and tried to provide ellipticals for every price point Often the biggest difference in models with a higher price point vs. those that are more affordable is the computer monitor. If you can do without a lot of pre-programmed modes, Bluetooth connectivity, the ability to use fitness apps and the like, you can save yourself some money while still usually getting the same quality of inner workings such as the flywheel etc.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
For individuals who are looking for the most effective cardio workout, ellipticals should be near the bottom of their list. When it comes to efficiency and rate at which calories are burned, running on a treadmill or swimming laps in the pool are far more effective exercises for cardio. Elliptical machines are most useful for individuals who are recovering from injuries or are just starting to do cardio for the first time because of their zero impact design.
When using the handles on an elliptical machine, it's important that you engage your upper body as well as your legs. The most effective way to ensure full-body engagement is to stand up as straight as you can while exercising. Slouching while holding the elliptical's handles will reduce its effectiveness and can even lead to injuries!
We mentioned this elsewhere in this buying guide but it bears repeating. Be sure to measure the space you want to put the elliptical before you buy it. We also recommend leaving at least 18 inches of space on all sides of the machine. This will help prevent you from feeling claustrophobic when you're using it as well as give you plenty of room to clean the machine and perform any necessary routine maintenence.
Other Factors to Consider
Choose an elliptical machine with features that complement the type of workout that you’re looking for. These are just a few additional things to think about.
High-Technology Features: Working out has been made much easier with the many technology discoveries, especially those involved in sports. You have access to many programs on the elliptical machine that help in your workout. These trainers have very impressive technology, some have a wireless connection to the internet, Bluetooth connectivity to different user devices. Some elliptical machine types have USB slots for ease in transferring workout information. Syncing ability with smartphones and laptops. Though it is very important that you must be very smart so that you can effectively incorporate all these high technology features into your elliptical machine and finally into your workout routine.
Safety Machine Features: these trainers are very dangerous to children, with a high possibility of them being trapped or pinched by the machines. If you have children, please always have the child lock feature on and that your workout room is always closed at all times. Safety measures must be employed at all times. Below are some of the additional features to look out for when looking out for a good elliptical machine.
Does the trainer have Electronic Programming ability? (very useful in making automatic adjustments during workouts)
What is the trainer's stride length and can the stride length be adjusted?
Does the pedal arm have a safety pin? ( its main function is to make sure the trainer isn’t pedaled and the resistance of the pedaling cannot be increased)
A Software for Lockout ( perfect if you have children in the house)
Console Features: The features are determined by the personal preference and the more a machine has advanced features the more its most preferred by many trainers. Some have compatibility with smart devices and other audio connections, built-in speakers, other trainers have taken it a notch higher by having WI-fi connectivity. Advance console features are like LCD screens with amazing displays, workout programs that suit the different types of trainers and lastly heart rate monitoring abilities. Most elliptical machines have different types of work out programs that come pre-installed in the machines, the workout programs totally vary on the price and the budget of each trainer. These programs can be found in some basic types of an elliptical machine and more advanced machines, but then some have wireless heart rate monitoring features installed either on the handlebars or they are just operating via wireless.
Elliptical machines are often recommended as a lower impact workout option. They get the heart rate up, improve circulation, increase stamina, and protect your joints at the same time. A lot of runners will turn to use an elliptical machine when they’ve strained their knees or other joints while training. This allows them to continue with their workout without overstressing areas that may need to heal. Different machines will adjust to different comfort levels. Measuring the size of a machine against your body type can help to decide whether or not the machine will be ergonomically compatible with you. When in doubt, go into a retail store and step up on the elliptical models. You can check the sizing and the brand to see exactly how they feel. This can help you to make an informed decision later on. We tried to take ergonomics into consideration when creating our review list, but it’s still a highly personal decision.
Style isn’t always at the top of our list when choosing the elliptical machine. The elliptical machine comes in a huge range of shapes and sizes, and the design definitely matters. If you’re looking for an elliptical machine to use at home, portability may be a factor. There are some models that fold up, and others that are compact enough to sit neatly in a corner. If you’re worried about space or about your exercise equipment becoming an eyesore, then these models are definitely for you. For those populating a home gym or who require a more elite elliptical machine, the features of the machine may be more important than the design. The location of the flywheel can determine the machine's portability and awkwardness. When the flywheel is located in the back, you’re better off leaving the machine in one spot until you absolutely have to move it. Side and front flywheels are a little bit more compact and give you more options in the elliptical machine.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What is an elliptical machine?
An elliptical machine that acts as a trainer, that enables one to enjoy the running experience but still have a chance to work out on other muscles of the body like arm and back. The elliptical machine has the features of stairs and a machine for skiing. This means during the workout you will have to use both your feet and your arms. Elliptical trainers are just as good as running if not better, but then you get to enjoy the running experience in the comfort of your home. Perfect when you want to go for a run but the weather isn’t very friendly for a run. With the elliptical machine, you get a full body workout, which makes it a better option than running. The upper body receives an intense workout from the handles while the pedals give the lower body section an equally intense workout experience. Your core muscles are also not left behind if you are able to stand in the correct position.
q: Is an elliptical machine better than running?
The elliptical machine trainers are just as good as running if not better, but then you get to enjoy the running experience at the comfort of your home. Perfect when you want to go for a run but the weather isn’t very friendly for a run. With the elliptical machine, you get a full body workout, which makes it a better option than running. The upper body receives an intense workout from the handles while the pedals give your lower body equally intense workout experience. Your core muscles are also not left behind if you are able to stand in the correct position.
q: What muscles does an elliptical machine work?
The elliptical machine works on the below muscles in the body:
The Hamstrings. The hamstrings, located on the back of the legs, are involved in leg flexion movements. … The Quadriceps. The quadriceps are the muscles that are at the front part of the thigh.
Triceps and Chest
Biceps and Back
The Deep Core body muscles
q: What is the importance of having a heart rate program in an elliptical machine?
Heart rate program(s) offer automatic adjustments on the resistance of the elliptical machine with reference to the heart rate that is targeted. If the heart rate falls below the set target then the trainer will increase the workout’s intensity. This will change when you reach the heart rate that had been set as the target, then the workout’s intensity will be reduced.
q: Do elliptical machines burn fat?
Just as a treadmill helps in burning fat so does an elliptical machine, they both use the form of workout that is cardio focused. With the correct diet and good exercises, the elliptical machine will be able to give you that lean healthy body you want.
q: What are the types of elliptical configurations and what are the differences?
We have 3 basic types of configurations of these trainers. The main contributing factor to this being the location of the machine’s drive system ( also known as the flywheel). This can be on the back, the sides or the front of the elliptical machine. The configurations are:
Front-Drive Elliptical Machine
The flywheel is placed on the front part of the machine, perfect for big housing. Most of the time this design will have its pedals securely supported on its wheels. Characterized by noise and increased vibration.
Center-Drive Elliptical Machine
The flywheel is centrally placed and the pedals have been placed in a way that they can ride on the rollers (that are cylindrical in nature) and a crankshaft. It's a very compact trainer of all the three designs. The center has driven trainer is a new model in the market and has the flywheel located on its side, with similar compatibility as the rear drove trainer with very few models of this kind having the foldable feature.
Rear-Drive Elliptical Machine
This design of the elliptical machine has its flywheel on the sides and might be made with a track & roller setting. Its petals are normally placed on the pedal arms that are long, just between the hand grips that are moving and the drive. The pedals are suspended which means that the ride is smooth and much quieter. They are normally very long in nature.
q: What do I need to look for when checking the warranty of an elliptical machine?
When looking at the warranty of the elliptical machine, you will notice that the warranty is totally dependent on several factors, and also the type of trainer, be it a basic trainer, standard or one of the more advanced elite trainers. A basic elliptical machine will only attract a warranty of around 90 days and include labor and parts of the elliptical machines. If you plan on getting an elite machine or a standard one, make sure that the warranty of the machine goes for a minimum of 12 months, but then most warranties for these products vary from 3 to 5 years. When looking at the warranty with regards to the parts of the elliptical machine, its good you play close attention to the brakes system. The warranty of the frame sometimes can include the brakes system, but then some trainers have a separate warranty with regards to the brakes system. The brake system of the machine normally should be a lifetime. Labor warranty is also another section a buyer should look at, the minimum labor warranty should be 1 year. In general, most warranty of parts of an elliptical machine should a minimum of 3 years and a maximum of 7 years. The more expensive the elliptical machine is the more a warranty will last long.
- 8 Amazing Benefits of Elliptical Machines, Consumer Website ,
- Is an Elliptical Trainer Good for Fat Loss?, Consumer Website ,
- The Abdominal Benefits of the Elliptical, Consumer Website ,
- How to Actually Get a Good Workout on the Elliptical Machine, Sporting Website ,
- Elliptical Reviews for 2019, Website ,