Over time elliptical machines have become popular owing to their low impact yet high efficiency in exercising. They provide a form of cardiovascular exercise with additional benefits of firming the muscles, building muscle and losing weight in the process.
The elliptical machine is easy on your body because the feet remain on the pedals which take away unnecessary strain from the joints. This, in turn, helps you work out longer and additional benefits from consistent exercise.
If you are thinking of setting up a home gym, then you should consider including an elliptical machine. But, how do you select the best elliptical machine with the variety there is in the market? As always the material quality is the leading factor followed by the ease of operation. Your comfort is crucial to ensure you get the best out of your exercise sessions.
Elliptical machines are a great all-rounder in terms of fitness equipment. A safe and very effective way to lose weight, get in a solid cardio workout, and tone up your entire upper and lower body.
The thing that really sets ellipticals apart is that they are low impact as your feet never come off the pedals. This is ideal for those who suffer from joint injuries or pain from activities such as running. Although it is low impact, don’t be fooled – an elliptical provides a very solid workout!
If you have already purchased an elliptical machine and are looking for some beginner workouts click here!
With so many on the market, we share our top selections for the best ellipticals on the market. Covering the key features, pros and cons, read on for more information before making your purchase!
Best Elliptical Machines
Bowflex Max Trainer M7
- 11 programs and 20 levels of computer controlled resistance
- M7 performance targeted programming learns and adapts to each user's fitness level over time to set new targets
- Perfect for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- Oversized, high contrast, dual backlit LCD/LED display
- 4 user profiles
The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 Cardio Machine is another HIIT elliptical machine. It stores and records information of your workouts which is great for keeping track as well as pushing yourself.
- 11 programs offered
- 20 levels of controlled resistance
- Perfect for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- Oversized, dual backlit LCD/LED display
- 4 user profiles
This elliptical is quite compact and has a small footprint of 49″ L x 30.5″ W x 65.5″ H which makes it ideal for those who are restricted on space. Great for apartments this model can also be stored fairly easily.
Included with the computer are 11 programs as well as a huge range of 20 levels of computer-controlled resistance. There is also the ability to store up to 4 user profiles making it easy to use for the whole family.
The LCD display is oversized meaning you’ll very easily and clearly be able to see the information displayed while you workout. It is also backlit so if you are training in the early morning or after dark or even just a dimly room seeing the screen won’t be a problem.
Another great feature is that it is Bluetooth compatible so you can pair the elliptical with your mobile device.
With many training programs offered, and many that are HIIT focused, the Bowflex Max Trainer M7 Cardio Machine offers a solid workout every time.
- 11 programs offered
- HIIT training
- 4 user profiles
While the Bowflex Max Trainer M7 Cardio Machine is one of the more expensive ellipticals on the list it has many great features. The HIIT training option will give you a thorough and high intensity, low impact workout.
- Awarded "Best Elliptical" even when classified in the above $2000 price category. "At $1999, the E95 is a tremendous value."
- The ramp angle is fully adjustable from 0 to 20 levels of incline, allowing you to individually target and work all major lower body muscle groups, as well as handlebars for upper body exercise for a total body workout. Stationary handlebars with built-in pulse sensors for monitoring your heart rate. A heart rate chest strap is also included for hands-free pulse monitoring and heart rate interactive programs.
- It also includes oversized foot pedals with durable foam cushioning, allowing for additional comfort during workouts. The unique foot pedals were designed with a 2-degree inward slope to each pedal. This slight adjustment helps to reduce ankle and knee stress common in other elliptical machines. This collaboration also produced a revolutionary foot pedal angle adjustment not found on any other elliptical at any price.
- Not everyone walks the same way, so we made the E95 pedals adjustable to fit the way you walk. This adjustment is made using a dial called a "worm drive," which allows you to dial in exactly where you want the pedal to be angled. This feature also reduces numb toe effects and sore Achilles tendons, common occurrences on other elliptical machines.
- The E95 now includes an integrated tablet holder so you can use your smart devices to watch shows or follow workout routines. Also included is a USB port for charging and Bluetooth Audio Speakers so you can listen to music.
The Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine is one of the most popular ellipticals on the market. Packed with many great features this machine rightly sits in top position.
- Forwards and reverse motion
- Very quiet
- Smooth and fluid to use
- Stationary or moving handles
- Heavy 34lb flywheel
- 20 levels of resistance
- Heart rate detection in stationary handles
- Blue backlit LCD display
- Adjustable stride with 20-22 inch maximum stride length
- 6 standard programs
- 2 custom programs
- 2 heart rate programs
- Pulse grip and chest strap for heart monitoring
- Measurements- 27 x 62 x 83 inches (W x H x D)
The Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine performs in a natural, fluid motion which makes your workout much easier without compromising on the intensity. The entire system is extremely quiet.
The machine boasts a heavy 34lb flywheel and this along with the high gear ration provides you with a very natural and smooth workout.
Featuring 20 levels of resistance, the intensity can be adjusted as you need it.
Moving handlebars give the option of an upper-body workout as well as the lower body. In addition, there are stationary handles if you prefer this.
The stationary handles also have heart pulse sensors which can detect your heartbeat and display it on the LCD display.
Elliptical machines are designed for minimal impact on the body joints. The E95 has gone above this and adjusted the oversized foot pedals with a 2 degree inward tilt which further reduces ankle and knee stress.
Read our detailed review of the Sole E95 here!
- 20 levels of resistance
- Stationary and moving handles
- LCD display with key information
- Preset courses and custom ones
- Smooth and natural to use
- Really quiet system
- Assembly can be difficult
The 6.5″ LCD display has many features including cooling fans, bottle holder and built-in speakers for a MP3 player, iPod or music device. The E95 has a weight of 215-pounds and 400-pound weight limit.
The Fitness E95 Elliptical also comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. The warranty against defects in materials and workmanship: lifetime on frame; five years on electronics and parts; and two years on labor.
It’s not hard to see why the Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine is a favorite amongst many people.
Body Solid E300
- DESIGN: Natural 21 in. stride rate as well as a low center of gravity and a balanced frame to prevent rocking and swaying
- FEATURES: Premium handgrips and LED display with heart rate monitor to help users stay in their target ranges
- PROGRAMMABLE: Six preset programs, manual mode, and two user profiles
- TRANSPORTABLE: Move easily around any facility with transport handles
- WEIGHT CAPACITY: Accomodates users up to 300 pounds
The Body Solid E300 Endurance Elliptical Trainer incorporates patented technology to improve stability and space efficiency. The elliptical is quite compact, making it a good choice for those who are restricted by space.
Incredibly smooth the machine provides a very natural rhythm without compromising on intensity.
- Centre drive design
- Low center of gravity which prevents rocking
- Dual-action upper and lower body with premium handgrips
- Stationary handles as well
- Easy step-up height
- Very compact
- Heart rate monitoring
- Basic LCD display
- Quickstart mode
- 6 program modes and 2 user modes
LCD display is basic but displays 4 numeric fields. Time, distance, speed strides/min and calories/hour. Below that this is a vertical bar which shows the current level you are out. The LCD is very basic but functional.
The Body Solid E300 Endurance Elliptical Trainer has moving and stationary handles and the stationary handles also include the heart rate sensors. It must be noted that the sensors need at least 30seconds to provide an accurate heart rate reading.
- Solid, sturdy construction
- Comes packaged well for easy assembly
- Very compact
- Smooth and quiet
- Good customer service
- Not many programs to choose from
- No incline options
The Body Solid E300 Endurance Elliptical Trainer is very easy to assemble thanks to the parts being bagged separately as per step.
The product dimensions are 37 x 49 x 28 inches which are a small footprint in terms of ellipticals. The foot pedals extend forward and backward roughly 6 inches.
Also, the front wheels and handles in the rear make it easy to move the unit around. The compactness of the machine makes it very appealing to many customers.
- With enhanced Bluetooth connectivity, users can set, track and monitor progress with popular app-based tracking tools
- Explore the world and discover 50 plus global routes that auto-adjust in real time to your speed (Explore the World subscription required)
- 10° motorized adjustable ramp enables incline control for fun and challenging workouts
- 25 levels of resistance for a wide range of workout intensity options
- 20" Precision Path Stride
The Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine presents great value for money. The machine is packed full of great features to help you get the most out of your workout.
With 29 preset programs and 25 levels of resistance, you can change your workout as you please.
- Stationary and moving handlebars
- 29 preset programs
- 25 resistance levels
- Quick keys for incline and resistance
- Backlit LCD screen with many great features
- Assembled dimensions 70L x 28W x 71H inches
The elliptical also includes a backlight LCD screen. Through Bluetooth, you can connect your preferred fitness app on your smartphone. This can track your progress, distance, and calories.
The footplates are cushioned and very stable with a total weight capacity of 300lbs.
The handles are ergonomically positioned to match your stride on the machine. The Schwinn 470 elliptical can have up to 4 user profiles.
The LCD screen also has 6 LED tracking lights, a 3-speed fan, as well as speakers.
- Cheaper than many other models with the same features
- Multitude of preset programs
- 25 resistance levels to choose from
- Quickstart options
- Up to 4 users can register
- LCD screen
- Cushioned footplates
- Stationary and moving handles
- Not as quiet as some other machines
The Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine is relatively inexpensive when compared with other ellipticals yet it still has all of the great features. In addition, it also comes with a 10-year frame warranty, 2-year mechanical warranty, 1-year electrical warranty and 90-day labor warranties.
Body Rider Fan
- DUAL-ACTION HANDLEBARS: The alternating handlebars keep your arms engaged while your legs propel you. This means our machine can provide a killer upper- and lower-body workout. You can expect incredible results all over
- VIDEO WORKOUT INCLUDED: Nervous about getting started or worried about working out without a personal trainer? Have no fear. We have provided an instructional workout video with your purchase. This will help you begin and stick with your fitness journey
- FITS IN ANY SPACE: If you thought you had to have a mansion to create your own home gym, you were wrong. Our elliptical trainer can fit almost anywhere, thanks to its compact design. It's also totally portable with the help of an included transport wheel
- SMART WORKOUT TRACKER: Our computer tracks everything you need and leaves out the expensive add-ons that you don't. Our simple, smart digital computer measures and displays workout metrics, including calories burned, speed, time, and distance
- ANYONE CAN USE IT: This is an excellent workout for any skill level, whether you're just beginning your fitness journey or you're a seasoned athlete. Because elliptical workouts are so low-impact on joints, this is a great exercise for seniors
The BodyRider Elliptical is a budget-friendly air resistance trainer that offers the user a smooth workout. This is a very basic elliptical that lacks a lot of features but for the price point, it is worth mentioning.
- Smooth and quiet operation
- Dual-action handlebars
- Work out upper, lower and core body areas together
- User guide and video included with the product
- Small, smart LCD display that tracks your time and movement
- Easily fold up and move with the wheels
- Adjust the resistance using the included knob
A relatively small footprint this elliptical measures 63” x 20.1” x 57.7” and can easily fold up and be moved via the transportation wheels.
Included with the purchase is a video guide which includes fitness recommendations along with program ideas so you can get the most out of the elliptical and your workouts.
Due to the lower price point this elliptical is very simple – this suits some people greatly as it is a straight forward, no fuss machine.
Included is an LCD computer display which highlights key information during use. The computer is simple, quite small and doesn’t have Bluetooth but it does display key metrics.
- Easy, no fuss assembly
- Sleek, smooth design
- Simple setup
- Folds up for easy storage
- Comes with transport wheels
- Adjust resistance with the knob
- Comfortable foot pedals
- Handles for upper body workouts
- Simpler than some would like
- Small LCD screen
- No Bluetooth
A simple, straight forward and budget-friendly option. The BodyRider Elliptical offers good value for the price point and is worth considering.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical SF-E905
- RESISTANCE: Easily adjust the intensity of your workout with the twist of the precise micro-controller equipped with 8 levels of magnetic resistance.
- DIGITAL MONITOR WITH PULSE: Follow along with your workout progress on the digital monitor that displays your time, speed, distance, calories, and pulse.
- EASY SETUP: Avoid the hassle of overly complicated setups. This convenient elliptical cross trainer has been partially preassembled.
- STABILIZER: Achieve smooth and even movement by leveling your elliptical bike with the onboard stabilizers.
- COMPACT: This compact machine is ideal for people looking to achieve an incredible workout, but don’t have much space to work with.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical is another budget-friendly option. This elliptical uses magnetic resistance which offers a smooth and mostly quiet workout experience.
- 8 levels of resistance
- Multi-Function Workout Computer
- Large anti-slip pedal platforms
- Magnetic Resistance
- Micro-Tension Controller
- Hand Pulse Monitoring System
- Compact size
- Easily transportable
With a footprint of 28″L x 17″W x 57″H this elliptical is quite compact and the transport wheels make it easy to move and store when not in use. The machine weighs 60 pounds and has a maximum user weight of 220 pounds. The oversized anti-slip foot platforms provide peace of mind for an intense or vigorous workout.
There are hand pulse monitors on the handles which provide heart rate readings on the digital monitor. Also displayed on the monitor is time, speed, distance and calories.
Adjusting the magnetic resistance is via a small knob just below the workout computer. There are also adjustable stabilizers on the legs which prevent tipping, rocking and swaying on uneven surfaces such as carpets and wooden floors.
- Compact size
- Easy to store and transport
- Oversized foot pedals
- Only 8 levels of resistance offered
- No pre-programmed workouts
Possibly the most attractive feature of the SF-E905 Elliptical is the 3-year warranty – something that many budget models don’t come with. Sunny Health & Fitness also have a reputable brand name so you rest assured with this purchase.
- TOTAL BODY WORKOUT: An exceptional 24 inches range of motion allows you stretch your leg muscles, work your hamstrings and thus increasing flexibility.
- SPACE SAVING: The Air Walker Glider folds and gildes with its built in transportation wheels for storage, so it is excellent for small or limited spaces, and easily stored in a closet.
- VERSATILITY: You can simulate a slow walk and work up to a full run with complete freedom. Ergonomic moving handlebars let you tone and condition your entire body or if you are looking for a lower body workout only simply use the center handlebars for stability.
- 180 FREE-MOTION: Get 180 degrees of free range of motion. Activate, tone and strengthen the glutes and legs with moving the legs not only moving back and forth but side to side!
- RESULTS: LCD monitors count, time, calories and total count. Using the EFitment Air Walker Glider will provide an effective workout with real results, and you might just feel like you are walking on air.
This budget elliptical machine from EFITMENT allows total body workout getting you closer to your fitness goals.
- 180 degrees free motion
- Ergonomic handlebars
- LCD monitor
- 24 inches motion range
This elliptical machine is a suitable choice for total body workout to strengthen your hamstrings and increasing flexibility. Since it is designed for both gym and home workouts, the machine’s style saves space. It folds well to save on storage space and suit tight spaces. Additionally, it has transportation wheels that allow you to tow it away from one room to another.
This machine is highly versatile, so you get the best out of your workout sessions. You can stimulate a slow exercise and advance up to a fast run for a more challenging workout. With the ergonomic handles, you have an easy time pushing through regardless of the speed. The center handlebars come in handy if you are looking to work your lower body. You get the stability to work out comfortably without worrying about repeated impact on your back and knees.
The machine provides a 180 free motion range. You can activate, tone, and strengthen your muscles in any position you choose. That is back and forth and side to side. The LCD monitor counts time, calories burned and distance covered. It has non-slip pads for the feet to ensure you are comfortable all through. It is a compact machine and suits everyone.
- Easy on the joints
- Comfortable for the hands and feet
- Great for light to high-intensity workouts
- Works well for tight spaces
- Not suitable for super tall people
The EFITMENT elliptical machine is ideal for tight spaces and works well for multiple total-body workouts. It is recommended for its robust design and comfort.
Key Features to Look For when Buying an Elliptical
Adjustable Incline and Resistance
Adjusting the incline of an elliptical machine will add extra intensity to a workout if you desire. It can also be a great idea to mix up your routine and to keep you motivated once your fitness improves.
Being able to change the resistance is also important for changing your routine and intensity.
Natural and Smooth Movement of the Machine
Ensuring your elliptical runs smoothly and evenly is important in mimicking the motion of running or walking. For minimal impact, the idea is that your feet remain on the pedals the entire time. If your heels are lifting when the elliptical becomes stuck then it’s defeating the purpose.
It is a great idea to test a few ellipticals out before making your purchase. We all know that online is going to be cheaper but there are places you can try. It’s also important that your elliptical isn’t overly noisy. Even at high intensity it shouldn’t be overly loud.
Many ellipticals feature moving handles which are great if you want to incorporate an upper body workout as well. This will only be a light workout though so if you prefer your upper body to remain still then handles that don’t move will be a good idea.
Forwards and Reverse
In general, most ellipticals have this option, if they don’t then I wouldn’t recommend buying one. The movement should be fluid both forwards and backward.
Digital Console Features
There can be many additional but not regarded as necessities. There can be displays that show calories burned, time elapsed, stride, incline level, heart rate interactivity.
In addition, there are also courses you can set yourself on which can make the workout fun. I personally like the quick start option as well.
One last consideration – Be sure there are basic safety features.
What Exactly is an Elliptical Machine?
An elliptical machine or more technically correct elliptical trainer or cross-trainer is a stationary machine that is much more gentle on the body.
When I say gentle I do not mean you will not get a hard workout. On the contrary, what I mean is that there is minimal pressure on the joints which reduces the risk of injuries.
The name Elliptical comes from the path of the machine when in operation. Designed in 1988 it allows the foot to roll from heel to toe similar to running and does so in a smooth, elliptical path.
What Makes Ellipticals So Good?
Ellipticals provide a total body workout minus the impact so you can get a high-intensity cardiovascular workout without damaging your joints.
The heels of your feet remain in contact with the pedals the entire time. This reduces joint, muscle and tendon stress.
If you have had or currently have injuries from impact, such as sore knees, ankles or hips then an elliptical is the perfect machine.
Ellipticals can simulate climbing stairs, running, walking and even work the upper body too. It can be a very light workout or very intense depending on what the user wants.
Elliptical workout tips and tricks:
Price of Elliptical Trainers
Throughout this review you may have noticed a huge variance in the models and prices of trainers reviewed. The price of an elliptical reflects the build, materials used, resistance, computer and a myriad of other features. As a rule of thumb the more you pay the more you get – this isn’t always the case but with ellipticals it most definitely is. In the following is a break down of what you can expect from each price range.
$500 and less – Entry level machines, they generally have a short stride length and basic console. The frames are light-duty and the user capacity can be quite low. There are still many options that present great value for money in this price range so if that’s your budget you don’t need to stress!
$500-$1200 – A fixed stride length is still evident in these machines but it will be a little more than the cheaper models. The frame and computer are a lot better made, more sturdy and offer more features in the console.
$1200- $2000 – This price range reflects the type of ellipticals you will find in a gym. High performers that are completely adjustable, excellent resistance and functionality and the computer displays everything you need to know.
Over $2000 – These are the best of the best, the premium quality ellipticals that have all the features you didn’t know you needed. Built to last with heavy-duty materials these ellipticals are in a league of their own.
Ellipticals are a great machine to provide the body with a full-body workout without the impact. If you are considering making the purchase then be sure to do your research thoroughly. There are many different models offering a huge range of features so set your budget and try to find the best within that price range.
As a final convincing factor a 2011 study compared the benefits of ellipticals, walking on treadmills and walking over ground to determine which was best. The results gave solid proof that ellipticals demonstrated greater quadriceps activity and greater quadriceps/hamstrings coactivation than all other conditions (1)!
In this post we have collected and reviewed what we consider the best elliptical trainers available so be sure to take a moment to read through them! Our favorite is the Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine and for those on a budget, the Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine truly is excellent value. If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a rowing machine and elliptical, refer to our informative guide! For individual elliptical reviews refer to the following pages:
- Gait Posture. 2011. Comparison of elliptical training, stationary cycling, treadmill walking and overground walking. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299003/
Ellipticals have been proven to be the best cardio machines giving you a solid yet low impact workout! Check out our ratings of the best options.