Elliptical machines give you a good cardio workout, strengthen your muscles, and can improve your balance. Unlike running on treadmills, which puts stress on knees and joints, elliptical machines provide low-impact workouts that don't cause knee pain during and after use. They're great machines for a total body workout since you'll be moving both your upper and lower body.
That's why we took it upon ourselves to check tons of reviews to pick out the 10 best elliptical machines that can be purchased online. On top of that, our buying guide provides you with some tips to ease the selection process.
Gentry Washburn is the manager and head personal trainer for her local fitness facility. She graduated from college with her bachelor's in Exercise Science and has been in the industry for the past 5 years since. She's super passionate about fitness and how our bodies work!
With all of that experience under her belt, we wanted to ask Gentry to review our buying guide below and provide any extra tips she could from the eyes of a personal trainer. Read on to see her insight, and follow her on Instagram for a peek into her work and life.
These top 10 machines are great in different ways. Some machines come with innovative technology while others suit an intense workout. There's also an option for compact machines if you have limited space, too!
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Gentry Washburn unless explicitly said so.
|Dimensions||71.1 x 28.2 x 63.2 inches|
|Stride length||20 inches|
|Resistance levels||25 levels|
|Features||Dual blue backlit LCD display, Bluetooth, Explore the World app, telemetry heart rate|
|Dimensions||54 x 38 x 52.5 inches|
|Features||Workout data, tablet holder, water bottle holder, transport wheels|
|Dimensions||34 x 18 x 50 inches|
|Stride length||10 inches vertical, 5 inches horizontal|
|Resistance levels||24 levels|
|Features||HD touch screen, AUX port, iFit membership, heart rate sensor and chest strap|
|Dimensions||25 x 19 x 57 inches|
|Stride length||30 inches|
|Features||Workout data, foldable design|
|Dimensions||41 x 21 x 64 inches|
|Resistance levels||16 levels|
|Features||LCD display, hand pulse sensors, workout DVD, transport wheels|
|Dimensions||47.9 x 30.8 x 65.2 inches|
|Resistance levels||20 levels|
|Features||Dual-mode LCD/LED display, JRNY and Explore the World app, multi-grip handles|
|Dimensions||70 x 39.25 x 78.5 inches|
|Stride length||17 to 19 inches|
|Resistance levels||20 levels|
|Features||HD backlit touch screen, iFit technology, transport wheel, hand pulse sensors|
|Dimensions||23 x 17.5 x 10 inches|
|Resistance levels||8 levels|
|Features||LCD display, built-in handles|
|Dimensions||83 x 27 x 58 inches|
|Stride length||20 to 22 inches|
|Resistance levels||20 levels|
|Features||Bluetooth audio speaker, water bottle holder, wireless heart rate monitor|
|Dimensions||35.63 x 20.1 x 57.7 inches|
|Stride length||12 inches|
Sunny Health and Fitness
Compact Elliptical Machine
Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer
3-in-1 Trio Trainer Plus Two
M8 Max Trainer
E 7.5 Z Elliptical
Cubii Jr. Under-Desk Elliptical
E35 Elliptical Machine
Fan Elliptical Trainer
A Sturdy Machine with Lots of Features
A Zero-Impact, Full-Body Workout with Customized Functions
A High-Tech Stepper Style for Intense Workouts
A Foldable Machine with Extra-Long Stride Length
Use as an Elliptical or Bike for Multi-Cardio Exercises
A Machine That Will Make You Sweat in Just Minutes!
A Smooth and Quiet Machine with Quality Features
An Under-Desk Elliptical for Casual Exercise
Cushioned Pedals Designed by a Physical Therapist
A Compact Elliptical Trainer That Doesn't Need Electricity
|Dimensions||71.1 x 28.2 x 63.2 inches||54 x 38 x 52.5 inches||34 x 18 x 50 inches||25 x 19 x 57 inches||41 x 21 x 64 inches||47.9 x 30.8 x 65.2 inches||70 x 39.25 x 78.5 inches||23 x 17.5 x 10 inches||83 x 27 x 58 inches||35.63 x 20.1 x 57.7 inches|
|Stride length||20 inches||N/A||10 inches vertical, 5 inches horizontal||30 inches||N/A||N/A||17 to 19 inches||N/A||20 to 22 inches||12 inches|
|Resistance levels||25 levels||N/A||24 levels||-||16 levels||20 levels||20 levels||8 levels||20 levels||N/A|
|Features||Dual blue backlit LCD display, Bluetooth, Explore the World app, telemetry heart rate||Workout data, tablet holder, water bottle holder, transport wheels||HD touch screen, AUX port, iFit membership, heart rate sensor and chest strap||Workout data, foldable design||LCD display, hand pulse sensors, workout DVD, transport wheels||Dual-mode LCD/LED display, JRNY and Explore the World app, multi-grip handles||HD backlit touch screen, iFit technology, transport wheel, hand pulse sensors||LCD display, built-in handles||Bluetooth audio speaker, water bottle holder, wireless heart rate monitor||Workout DVD|
Choosing an elliptical machine when you have so many things to consider like stride length, types of resistance and levels, incline options, and other features. That's why we're here to help!
Stride length is one of the most important features that you must check because it has an effect on your workout form as well as quality. Stride length basically refers to how far the machine allows you to walk with each step.
If you’re shorter than 5 foot 2 inches, we suggest you choose a machine that offers 16 to 18 inches stride. If you’re between 5 foot 2 inches to 5 foot 6 inches, 18 to 20 inches is perfect for you. However, if you’re above 5 foot 6 inches, you might want to consider a machine that offers 20 inches or more of stride length.
What will happen if you choose a stride length that doesn’t match your height? Let’s say you’re short and choose a long stride length. It’ll slow down your steps, which will ruin your workout performance.
On the other hand, if you’re tall but choose a short stride, you’ll feel uncomfortable, and there is also a risk that you could fall off the machine. Choosing the wrong stride length doesn't only increase the risk of injury, but also limits your workout progress.
These three types of resistance provide different benefits. Some models have a limit on body weight and height, so not everyone can use all models. Don't forget to take budget and fitness level into your consideration, too!
This type of resistance is used for older models and usually has only basic functions. The flywheel weight is limited to only 11 pounds. The maximum weight of the user is around 130 pounds with a maximum height of 5 foot 6 inches.
However, these are the cheapest and can be a good alternative for beginners and anyone that doesn't want to spend a lot.
This is a common type found in many models. You can adjust the level of resistance by turning a mechanical lever that is attached close to the flywheel. Closer magnets mean higher resistance and vice versa.
Magnetic resistance is available for both normal and advanced models. The flyweights are between 26 to 55 pounds. They can be used for people up to 175 pounds for average models and 270 pounds for advanced models. The maximum user height is around 6 feet tall.
This is the latest technology that you normally see in gyms. Compared with the other two types, it’s the most convenient because you can adjust the level of resistance from the console.
For professional models, the maximum weight of the flyweight is over 55 pounds. The maximum weight of users is 330 pounds on average and the maximum height is unlimited.
Since it’s a newer innovation, it’s the most expensive. One common problem that is found is if the power goes out, you’re unable to use the machine since it’s operated by electricity.
Most elliptical machines allow you to adjust the resistance level based on the intensity you desire. Home elliptical machines usually offer between 16 and 20 resistance levels; however, there are some compact machines that offer only eight levels, too.
Some expensive machines even come with 26 levels of resistance! But this doesn't mean these machines offer better resistance than other machines. Instead, it means they offer more small increments of resistance between each level which allows more customization.
Adding resistance to your workout is a good thing, but make sure to not overdo it. It’s difficult to say the best level of resistance because everyone is different in terms of age and fitness level. However, the resistance levels that most people use are between seven to 10.
Unlike treadmills where an incline option is important, it’s nice to have as a bonus option for ellipticals, but it’s not a must-have for everyone. Not all elliptical machines offer this option. Some machines come with inclines that need to be adjusted manually while others can be adjusted automatically.
When choosing an elliptical, you should find one that's easy and comfortable to use for all of your senses.
In order to get the best workout result, you need to make sure that the machine runs smoothly. Moreover, the machine should be quiet and shouldn’t have any clanking sounds otherwise it won’t only bother you, but also your neighbors, too!
This might be difficult to check if you don’t get to try the real machine; however, checking and comparing a lot of reviews will help make your decision easier.
Don't forget the pedals! We recommend you check design, size, and cushioning. An inward-tilting design will help to support your knee while one with a pivot increases the flexibility of your ankles during workouts.
In addition, your foot size should match the length of the pedal. You would feel uncomfortable if you have a smaller foot and choose a big pedal or vice versa. For cushioning, choose one that is non-slip, soft, and gives comfort to your foot.
The computer display is another thing that you shouldn't overlook. Not all models come with a computer display, and most of those that do are more pricey than others.
But if you’re looking for one with this option, make sure to check the display carefully. A good display should be easy to use and read. Having a backlight is a plus because it makes the display brighter.
The latest elliptical models now offer touch screen technology, Bluetooth connectivity, fitness tracker apps, interactive training, and more. Some machines offer pre-programmed workouts, which suits someone who doesn’t want to regulate their own.
A heart rate control program is good for someone who wants to make sure that their heart rate is in the range they want. For example, if you want to lose fat, you’ll want to maintain a zone 2 (60-70% of your maximum heart rate) heart rate in a light and steady workout.
Virtual reality programs are good for those who likes running outdoors. You’ll never get bored because you get to see nature and hear the sounds of birds, waterfalls, and so on. This kind of pre-set program also includes flat areas as well as a variety of slopes like hills.
An interval program is good for someone who wants to increase endurance and strength. This pre-set program will switch between high and low intensity. During high intensity, you’ll get to move quickly and push yourself to the limit and then slow down and rest during low intensity.
The warranty is another thing that we suggest you check carefully. Since an elliptical is a long-term investment, it’s better to choose a machine with a 10-year frame, 3-year parts, and 1-year labor warranty.
A lot of people overlook the warm-up and cool down functions. Warming up increases body temperature as well as raises blood flow to muscles, which helps your body to be ready for a workout. On the other hand, cooling down helps to reduce your heart rate, blood pressure, and soreness after working out.
Another small yet important feature is a pedal pin lock, which acts like a lock to prevent pedals moving. If you have kids or curious pets at home, we recommend you look for this feature as well.
Ellipticals take up an average space of eight feet for the length and four feet for the width. Moreover, you’ll need to spare some extra space on each side of the machine as well. We suggest approximately 20 inches extra on each side, including front and back, too!
The height is another thing to consider. It’s better to make sure that you have an extra eight inches or more between the top of your head and your ceiling. But if you have a low ceiling, at minimum there shouldn’t be less than four inches between the top of your head and ceiling. Otherwise there’s a high risk of injury!
Ellipticals are huge pieces of machinery. So, you will naturally have to have enough space to fit the machine wherever you put it. While using it though, it does not go beyond its measures, so that is not something you have to worry about. But again, plan to clear a large enough space to fit it so that it does not hit against a wall.
If you still have some questions about elliptical machines, Gentry is here to answer some of the most commonly asked ones!
Gentry says, "As a trainer, I would definitely evaluate the person's condition before recommending them to use a piece of equipment. In my professional opinion, I do think that it is safe to use an elliptical machine if someone suffers from sciatica. If it is not comfortable or makes the pain worse, I would stop immediately though."
Gentry says, "Yes! If you are using the elliptical correctly, your knees should have no problem with it. Ellipticals are a great alternative to running on a treadmill, where the impact is a lot harsher. An elliptical still gives you that great workout that you are looking for to burn fat and calories."
Gentry says, "I did! The elliptical is great because you get to pick the pace that you want to go. If you need a less-intense workout, then you can easily do that on it. It is also a great machine that is easy on your joints, so no matter how far you are in your pregnancy, it is a great piece of equipment to use."
There is a lot of workout equipment that you can add to your home gym. Check out our suggestions for other equipment that you can use alone or enjoy with your family.
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