Are you overweight, out of shape, and feeling tired? Are you overworked, out of time, and can’t make it to the gym?
Do you have an injury? Are you getting older? Do you want something with low impact?
And finally, do you need help to figure out what the best machines are for losing weight and getting in shape?
Then it is time to look at ellipticals, and we can help.
Click the item in the table below to skip to your most pressing question, or continue to read the whole article.
- 1 Are Ellipticals Good?
- 2 Are Elliptical Machines Good for Losing Weight?
- 3 Who Makes the Best Elliptical Machine?
- 4 Our Recommendations for the Best Elliptical Trainers
- 4.1 1) Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine
- 4.2 2) ProForm Hybrid Elliptical Trainer
- 4.3 3) Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine
- 4.4 4) Nautilus E614 Elliptical Machine
- 4.5 5) Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine
- 4.6 6) Nautilus E616 Elliptical Machine
- 4.7 7) SOLE Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine
- 4.8 8) Lifespan E3i Elliptical Machine
- 5 Why Get an Elliptical for Home Use?
- 6 What is the Best Elliptical Machine?
Are Ellipticals Good?
Ellipticals can be used by anyone. Whether you are wanting a high-intensity workout, or have recently had an injury and can only do limited exercise, this machine is for you.
It may seem a little foreign if you have never used one, but it doesn’t take long to get the knack.
Combining an upper and lower body workout gives the elliptical machine an advantage over most other exercise equipment. Often called a cross-trainer for that very reason, it is the only exercise machine that works so many muscle groups at the same time.
You will work all those ceps – triceps, biceps, quadriceps, as well as your back, chest, and glutes.
When you use so many muscles, your body develops a great tone. And you burn fat, lots of it, in a short amount of time. An added benefit, because of the machine design, is that your body doesn’t feel as if you are working as hard as you are.
Most of the best elliptical machines can be pedaled in reverse, which makes you work your calf and hamstring muscles.
At home elliptical trainers are low impact, making them ideal for people who can’t jog. Elliptical machines are especially good for people with knee or hip problems who want and need to exercise, but walking or running just aren’t good options. Because the motion of an elliptical is fluid, there is no the spine either.
Another benefit is that ellipticals have fewer moving parts, and are less likely to breakdown than other exercise machines.
Are Elliptical Machines Good for Losing Weight?
One of the best ways to lose weight is to increase your aerobic fitness. Increasing your aerobic fitness not only helps with weight loss, it greatly benefits your overall health.
An at home elliptical trainer will help you aerobically by increasing your heart rate. Just 20-30 minutes 3-5 days a week will produce weight loss and increase your aerobic fitness. Harvard University states that if you weigh 200 pounds, you burn 432 calories in a half hour. That’s a lot!
When exercising, you want to be at 60%-70% of your maximum heart rate. 220 minus your age will give you your maximum heart rate, then do the multiplication to see what rate you should be aiming for when exercising. If you are 60, you would do the following: 220 – 60 = 160, 160 x .6 = 96 and 160 x .7 = 112. So you should be somewhere between 90-112 beats per minute.
Another way to burn calories is to do interval training. Alternate between moderate intensity exercise and higher intensity exercise, 4 minutes then 1 minute is a good goal. But you can tailor it to your abilities and needs.
Basically, the resistance on an elliptical lets you turn a cardiovascular workout into a full-body workout!
Who Makes the Best Elliptical Machine?
There are several manufacturers of elliptical machines that have been in the business for a very long time. Staying in business for awhile is an indicator that the quality of the machine is good, and that the manufacturer knows what users want in their product.
Having said that, you will recognize in our recommendations name brand manufacturers that build quality products.
However, the best is a matter of what’s important to you. You can’t compare any exercise equipment without some kind of qualifier. The biggest is usually price. You can get an elliptical for under $100. But remember, you get what you pay for.
You are exercising for weight loss and/or your health, so getting a bargain basement price might not be wise. At the opposite end of the spectrum, you could spend almost $8,000 for one. We don’t suggest that either.
There are many models in between that will suit most needs. Just decide what is important to you within your price range. We’ll start with the lower priced models and work our way up. Please note that there are sales and bargains galore, so this is a relative listing, and prices will vary.
Our Recommendations for the Best Elliptical Trainers
Easy to assemble, and easy to use, this elliptical has everything you need to lose weight and get in shape.
Note that it is very important when putting this machine together to not fully tighten the bolts until everything is in place. This has reportedly caused misalignment of holes and bolts which could cause stripped threads.
With a front flywheel, this elliptical has 8 levels of magnetic resistance, so you can tailor your workout to meet your fitness needs. It comes with 6 workout programs that make it easy to get a good workout. And a grip heart rate monitor lets you meet the right target for your age and fitness level.
It has a large console, with a 5” x 3” LCD display, that shows results, speed, resistance, time, distance, calories, and heart rate. Speakers and a media tray make this a convenient workout. There is a water bottle holder for your convenience.
No matter where you locate this unit, the 6 levelers will keep it stable. And moving/storage is easy because it has transport wheels.
The computer is battery powered, and it also has an AC adapter option. The AC adapter is not included. Most people want to run off of AC, so be sure to purchase an adapter.
This elliptical is designed for a user weight of 275 pounds. With a good 17 ½” stride, even larger people will be comfortable.
The warranty includes 3 years on the frame, 1 year on mechanical, and 1 year on electrical with 60 days on labor.
Conclusion: With 4 stars on Amazon, this is a very popular, low-cost elliptical. This is a great unit for the price. Almost unbeatable if you want or need low impact, but also want or need a complete cardio workout for weight loss or fitness. There aren’t a lot of bells and whistles, but it does a great job for an elliptical trainer. Buy it now on Amazon.
We selected this model because you get more than just an elliptical, you also get a recumbent bike for a great price. This is a nice way to change up your exercise routine and a cure for boredom that sometimes comes with exercising at home. Easy to switch, by just adjusting the pedals and console, you can quickly change from one to the other.
Standard on most high-end models, the rear flywheel on this elliptical is a big plus. Better balance and fewer moving parts make this type of drive a feature that you will want.
A 15” stride length may be a bit short for taller users, but it is roughly equivalent to a 17” stride length of a front flywheel set up. But with a hybrid, it has to be compact. So don’t expect an oversized stride.
The ProForm Hybrid is iFit® and iPod compatible, and Bluetooth® Smart Enabled, giving you access to unlimited workouts. With a built-in tablet holder, you’re set to sweat!
The console adjusts so that whether you are sitting on the seat cycling, or standing for a full workout, you can easily see the LCD display. You can easily see speed, time, distance, calories, and pulse. A water bottle holder is a convenient way to stay hydrated.
This elliptical will accommodate a 350-pound user. There are two stationary hand grips, which provide heart rate monitoring to let you achieve your weight loss goals. Adjustable leveling feet let you keep the machine stable even if your surface is uneven. And with wheels, it is easy to move and store.
A target pacer indicates when you should slow down or speed up based on your fitness goals. The SMR™ (Silent Magnetic Resistance) is a smooth, frictionless resistance system that lets you adjust your workout intensity with 16 digital resistance levels. You can automatically adjust the resistance of the both the elliptical and the recumbent bike.
Included are 16 workout routines that focus on calorie burning or performance. Each program was designed by a certified personal trainer.
Several people have reported problems with assembly and/or missing parts, but overall, most buyers love this equipment. The box is large and heavy (125 pounds), so you might want to get help to move and assemble this machine.
There is a 5-year warranty on the frame, and 90 days on parts and labor
Conclusion: With 4 stars on Amazon, this is a one of a kind machine that gives you two pieces of workout equipment in one. Making it popular are the hi-tech options that give you a great workout. All this comes with a very, reasonable price tag, making it one of the best at home elliptical machines. CLICK HERE for a great price on Amazon.
When looking for the best elliptical machine, you should consider stepping up a little in price. Enter the Schwinn 430 Elliptical. While still in the low to mid-price range, this model provides all the standard features, and lots of extras too.
A front flywheel, generous 20” stride, and a 10-degree incline (manual ramp range) with 6 positions, gives you lots of flexibility to maximize any workout.
There are 20 levels of resistance, with 10 resistance quick keys, and 22 programs. Programs include 9 profile, 8 heart rate (with 4 beginner and 4 advanced), 2 custom, 2 fitness (with 1 beginner and 1 advanced), and 1 quick start.
Large footplates let you find a position that’s comfortable. They are also cushioned.
This unit has 2 user settings, a big plus, giving you the capability to set up 2 user profiles.
The Schwinn DualTrack™, two LCD window system has a main screen that is 3” x 5” and a secondary screen that is 1” x 5”. This displays up to 13 measurements, including time, distance, pulse, speed, calories, resistance level, percent complete, and goal achievement. An AC power adapter is included. With a media tray, sound system, 3-speed fan, and water bottle holder, you have everything you need.
A grip heart rate monitor makes monitoring you heart rate a breeze. There is a USB charging port and data exchange for MyFitnessPal and Schwinn Connect™. This allows data export to upload, analyze, and track your fitness data and progress in achieving your goals.
The user manual doesn’t have everything that the on-line version has, so you may want to download that as it gives a better understanding of the control module.
Maximum user weight is 300 pounds. Though some users report squeaking, the manual suggests silicone spray, which works quite well.
Easy to assemble, though the instructions suggest two people are required. And be careful as some components are greased, which could be a problem if you are putting it together on carpet. And it is heavy, so you may want help moving it to the assembly place. Once assembled, the transport wheels and 2 integrated levelers make storage and set up painless.
When deciding where to put this elliptical, note that at the shortest incline, you are 1’ 4” off the ground, so consider your ceiling height.
Warranty is 10 years on the frame, 2 years on mechanical, 1 year on electrical, and 90 days on labor.
Conclusion: More features than most people will need, to get them on another unit will usually cost a lot more, up to twice the price. So this really is a great value. With 4 stars on Amazon, you can’t go wrong with the Schwinn 430. CLICK HERE for the best price on Amazon.
A 20” stride, 22 workout programs, 20 levels of resistance, 6 levels of incline, and great bells and whistles. This unit will maximize your workout and make it easy to track and attain your fitness goals.
There are 12 profile, 9 heart rate, 4 custom, 2 fitness test, 1 recovery, and 1 quick start. Combine with Nautilus Connect™ and MyFitnessPal compatibility, which enables you to upload and track your fitness data, and you have a great machine to achieve your weight loss and/or fitness goals.
The DualTrack™ display with two high-resolution LCD monitors provides easy viewing of 13 different workout details. But note that this unit does not have a backlit display, so if that’s important, this might not be the unit for you.
The media shelf is great for a tablet. Add the in-console speakers with an MP3 input port, USB media charging, water bottle holder, and a 3-speed fan to keep you cool – or evaporate the sweat. Most users report that this elliptical will get your heart rate up quickly.
With a front flywheel, this unit is rated for a 300-pound user.
The assembly is simple, though you might want to have two people to do it. There are transport wheels. But it is larger and harder to move than you might expect. So give some thought as to where you will put it.
The grip heart rate monitor registers quickly, but note that you do have to move your hands to the stationary handles to do that.
The warranty is for 10 years on the frame, 2 years on parts, 1 year on electronics, and 90 days on labor.
Conclusion: Don’t be expecting to max-out this machine. Between the resistance and incline levels, there is plenty of room to get in better and better shape. And it easily accommodates people of all shapes and sizes. With 4 stars on Amazon, this elliptical has proven itself as one of the best. Check out the best price on Amazon.
The Schwinn 470 Elliptical is their top of the line elliptical, and in a higher price category. A step up from the E430, it has a motorized incline and a console that is backlit. If those features aren’t important to you, stick with the E430.
This great product is well made, stable, and has ample features.
A whopping 29 programs will suit most anyone’s needs. These include 12 profile, 9 heart rate with 4 beginner, 4 advanced, and 1 custom, 4 custom user, 2 fitness tests, 1 recovery, and 1 quick start.
With a 20” stride and 25 resistance levels, this front flywheel machine has 5 incline and 5 resistance quick keys, giving a great capability for interval training.
The 10 degree motorized/adjustable ramp lets you control incline changes while working out. This is a great feature for flexibility of workout routines.
The Schwinn DualTrack™, two LCD window system allows you to monitor up to 13 different display feedbacks, and it is backlit as well. A power adapter is included. One negative thing consistently reported about this machine is that the calorie counter is inaccurate. If that is super important, this might not be the best elliptical trainer for you.
This elliptical is telemetry heart rate enabled, though the chest strap is not included.
This elliptical has the capability for 4 different user profiles, so it is great for families!
With USB data transfer to Schwinn Connect™ and MyFitnessPal, your goals, and how well you are doing achieving them, are close at hand. There is also a USB port and the capability to plug in an iPod.
Large cushioned footplates are more comfortable than on most units. With moving and static handle bars, you have the flexibility to vary your routine or take a bit of a rest if needed.
As with most units in this price range, you get a variable speed fan and water bottle holder.
This machine is heavy, and most likely will have to be delivered by a freight company.
Most users say that the box is huge, so have the delivery people put it where you want to set it up. Otherwise, you will have to make many trips with parts from wherever it was left to the assembly location.
It is pretty tall, so make sure you have ample headroom. Also, the power cord is located in front, and is not very long, so make sure you have it where it will reach or you might need an extension cord/power strip.
However, numerous buyers report that it is easy to assemble. And moving it does not appear to be a problem with the transport wheels being located in the front.
Maximum user weight is 300 pounds.
Warranty is 10 years on the frame, 2 years on mechanical, 1 year on electrical, and 90 days on labor.
Conclusion: What is not to like about this machine? Most people find that it gives you a hard workout that you may just have to build up to. As with our other top picks, this elliptical gets 4 stars on Amazon. You can buy it now on Amazon.
With 29 customizable workout programs, 25 levels of resistance, a motorized incline, you will never max out the capabilities of this elliptical.
Workout programs include 12 profile, 9 heart rate, 4 custom, 2 fitness test, 1 recovery, and 1 quick start. And you can store up to 4 user profiles.
This unit has a front flywheel, with a 20” stride. You can also pedal backward and forward, to exercise a different set of muscles. As with many ellipticals, this one has fixed and moving handles.
It has grip heart rate feature, and it is telemetry enabled for a chest strap.
The in-console speakers are very good. The console includes an MP3 input port, USB media charging, and built-in Bluetooth connectivity. This lets you sync to Nautilus Connect™, the Nautilus Trainer™ App and MyFitnessPal.
The stereo speakers can plug into your iPad, so you will be able to see a movie with no headset on. This may seem minor, but in the long haul, this is the kind of benefit that will eliminate the boredom that often comes with exercise at home.
It also has the DualTrack™ display, but this unit features blue backlit LCD monitors, which are very well liked by most users. The display shows 13 workout statistics, including time, distance and calories. Heart rate is not recorded in your workout data.
The footplates are long and wide, easily fitting people of all sizes. The built-in cushioning makes these footplates so comfortable, you don’t even have to wear shoes.
As with other ellipticals, there are several reports that the calorie measurement is understated. So if this is important to you, you will want to verify or track it using a different tool. Also included is a media shelf, slanted just right for viewing, a water bottle holder, and an adjustable fan.
Although many reported being able to assemble this elliptical on their own, two people make the job a lot easier. Since it is a heavy machine, plan to assemble it near where you want it to stay. It does have transport wheels. Consider in your placement that you need 2-3’ of height, plus the height of the tallest person using it. Beware of ceiling fans when considering where to put it.
This Nautilus is designed for a 300-pound user.
Warranty is 10 years on the frame, 2 years on mechanical, 1 year on electrical, and 90 days on labor.
Conclusion: Your body will love you, and hate you at the same time, because this elliptical will give you a serious workout. Sturdy, great bells and whistles, this is one of our top picks. It also has 4 stars on Amazon. CLICK HERE to buy it now on Amazon.
A significant jump in price, the SOLE Fitness E95 is what we consider the best elliptical for home use. If your budget allows, the SOLE E95 has many extra features seen only on high-end ellipticals. This model will give you years of comfortable, yet challenging workouts.
With the ever popular blue backlit display, you can track all your training data with ease.
The LCD console has a 9” display, a built-in fan, sound system which connects with your MP3 or iPod, and water bottle holder.
The stride is power-adjustable, letting you have from 20”-22” of length. Since many at home ellipticals are used by people of varying sizes, this is a great feature! This elliptical has both forward and reverse, a great feature for a comprehensive workout.
Not overdone, but well done, this model has 10 programs, 6 standard, 2 custom, and two heart rate programs. With 20 resistance levels, your workout can be a real challenge. Add the power adjustable incline, which is adjustable from 0 to 30 degrees, and you won’t be looking for a better model anytime soon.
There is a pulse grip, and the chest strap for heart rate monitoring is included. The moving handlebars are adjustable, which is a great feature for comfort.
A heavy 34-pound front flywheel, and designed for a 400-pound user, it has a very smooth motion that lets you hit your stride and keep on going.
The 15” pedals have foam cushioning, and a 2 degree inward tilt that helps reduce stress on your ankles and knees. The articulating pedals move to fit your stride, eliminating numb toes and reducing stress on the Achilles tendons, giving you a more comfortable workout.
The heavy duty rails and four rear wheels stabilize the machine and reduces side-to-side sway, which is common in many cheaper units.
One of the best, there is a lifetime warranty on the frame, 5 years on electronics and parts, and two years on labor.
Conclusion: The best elliptical machine for home, the SOLE E95 has been awarded “Best Elliptical”. Though one of the most expensive models we are recommending, it is often on sale, so if you wait for a bargain, you can’t go wrong with this unit. It also gets 4 stars on Amazon. CLICK HERE to buy it now on Amazon.
The exclusive CoreBalance™ technology reduces the risk of injuries. By identifying where imbalances are, integrated pedal sensors detect the force being applied by each leg, and display the data on the elliptical’s console. This allows an adjustment, which will eliminate any asymmetry in your stride, balancing your movement. This can minimize or eliminate a lot of potential back and joint pain.
20 intensity grades and 20 ramp levels allow you to target the muscles you need. Calves, glutes, quads can be targeted with the force you decide to maximize your fitness routine.
A great convenience is the toggles built into the stationary handlebars, which control ramp and resistance.
Whichever program you desire to track your fitness data, the E3i has it all. LifeSpan Fitness Club, MyFitnessPal, Strava, and others, the Active Trac app syncs your data wherever you choose. Google Fit and Apple Health make it simple for either iPhone or Androids. Only the LifeSpan Bluetooth adapter is compatible with this unit, and it is sold separately.
A rugged steel frame and a heavy-weight flywheel will provide quiet and smooth operation for years to come.
With a 20” stride length, and dual rollers on each pedal, this unit will comfortably hold a 375-pound user.
The large 7.5” LCD has the popular blue backlit display, including time, speed, calories, stride count, ramp, and resistance level. You have the choice of speakers or a headphone plug-in. And there is a convenient holder for your tablet. This unit is programmable for two users.
There are contact heart rate sensors and a chest strap receiver, but the chest strap is not included.
This elliptical has 21 programs, including 17 preset, 2 heart rate, 2 customized, and 17 preset.
And 4 quickset buttons for ramp and resistance.
The warranty is lifetime on the frame, 5 years or parts, and 2 years on labor.
Conclusion: This model has all the basics covered. Lifespan has been making exercise equipment for more than two decades, so they know what is important. The heavy duty construction of this elliptical makes it ideal for home use. CLICK HERE to buy on Amazon.
Why Get an Elliptical for Home Use?
Since an elliptical simulates running motion without the impact to your joints, it is preferred in many situations where low impact is needed. Though recent studies have pretty much shown that running, in and of itself, does not cause joint damage, some people prefer low impact, while others need low impact.
If you are one of the 27 million Americans who have arthritis, you could benefit from elliptical exercise.
Doing light exercise three days a week has been proven effective in building healthier knee cartilage over people who don’t exercise at all. Cardio exercise (low-impact) can benefit arthritic knees in the several ways.
When exercising, blood flow to the knee increases, helping keep knee cartilage healthy. Exercise also strengthens the knee muscles, giving support to the knee and reducing pressure on the joint. And the biggest benefit is weight loss.
Other factors staying the same, if you exercise regularly, you will lose weight. For every pound you lose in weight, your knee sees a 5-pound decrease in pressure. A 10-pound weight loss takes 50-pounds of pressure off of your knee.
If you have arthritic knees, and haven’t felt able to exercise, an elliptical machine at home can be a safe and painless way to exercise.
An elliptical can provide you a great cardio workout, which will not only make you feel great, but has weight loss benefits as well. But there are things you should be aware of when training on an elliptical. Click HERE for some good advice.
Most ellipticals are now equipped with moveable handles. This is a great benefit for overall conditioning. However in order to get the most out of an elliptical trainer, you need to exercise both your upper and lower body. Don’t just go through the motions with the handlebars. Use them!
With the moveable arms on an elliptical, you can engage your chest and upper back muscles. This gets your heart rate up quickly, and provides a great aerobic workout.
Aerobic exercise is a very important part of your fitness routine. You breathe deeper and faster, getting more oxygen in your system, which is a benefit in many ways. According to the Mayo Clinic, you should strive for 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, about 30 minutes a day.
Everyone wants to get rid of that fat around their middle. A key to burning abdominal fat is aerobic exercise. Years ago, it was thought that the most effective way to burn fat was resistance training. But a recent university study has found that aerobic exercise burns more abdominal fat.
Regular aerobic exercise also has mental benefits. It reduces stress and contributes to your overall mental well-being. Studies have shown that regular exercise has a positive impact on depression and anxiety. It also helps to improve memory and causes you to sleep better.
Then there is hi-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a sort of supercharger for speeding up your metabolism and burning calories. HIIT workouts burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than regular aerobic workouts. HIIT also improves endurance. Click HERE for some good ideas HIIT workout routines.
Many ellipticals have a reverse feature which lets you exercise a totally different set of muscles. This provides greater body tone and a more versatile workout.
Then there are the benefits of a low impact workout. If you are a senior, an elliptical machine for home gives you a convenient way to stay healthy. Osteoporosis, arthritis, or knee surgery? Even if you are recovering from an injury or illness, the elliptical is a safe and efficient machine to get and keep you in shape.
If you are overweight, the elliptical is easier on your joints than walking, jogging, or running on a treadmill.
What is the Best Elliptical Machine?
The one that suits your needs and fits within your budget. Take some time to decide what features you must have, and what features will make your exercise routine enjoyable.
You want something that will last, so pay attention to the construction. The best machines will be heavy. Smaller machines may be easy to move, but they won’t be as stable. And a heavy duty model will last longer.
Some of these machines are large and heavy, and some have more difficult assembly. Determine where you will put the machine, and if you will need help moving and putting it together.
Comfort is very important. If you haven’t used an elliptical, you won’t be aware of just how important the pedals are. Fixed position pedals can cause more strain on your ankles and Achilles tendons. Whereas articulating pedals ease that strain and make the motion smoother. For people with foot problems, this is an important consideration. And if you have big feet, be sure the pedal size is adequate for you.
Most machines today have several fun features, like Bluetooth connectivity. These can become the reason you will use the machine for a workout rather than a clothes hanger. There are quite a few apps out there for tracking your weight and fitness goals. Look into them and see which ones appeal to you.
For those who are real exercise junkies, inclines, variable strides, and resistance levels can give a lot of variability and help build your performance level and work lots of different muscles. These types of features will be important. Automatic vs. manual may be important as well.
Most machines have more workout programs than you will ever use. So don’t get hung up on more is better. Decide what you will realistically use, and what will help you achieve your fitness goals. Also decide what types of programs best fit your needs.
Pay attention to the display. Backlit is a popular feature that most people want.
Warranties are pretty standard, but some are well above that. So make sure you have what you think will make you comfortable with your purchase.
The Bottom Line: There is no one size fits all elliptical. The best elliptical machine for your home will be the best fit for your needs. Think about it, but don’t think too long. Your body and mind need exercise. An elliptical machine at home is a great way to get and stay in shape.