Fitness

Best elliptical machines for home workouts 2023

If want to burn calories and boost your fitness, but don’t fancy subjecting your legs to the stresses of running, the best elliptical machines are a great way to go. These trainers offer a low-impact way to get your cardio fix, using rotating platforms to save your knees and hips from the repeated impact of pounding the pavement. 

But which elliptical machine should you buy? There are a huge range of products available, covering price points from a few hundred bucks to thousands of dollars. They also offer an array of different features, from metric tracking to interactive video workouts. 

To help you make up your mind, we’ve selected the best elliptical machines on the market, with options to suit most budgets. 

Best elliptical machines 2023

(Image credit: Sole)

1. Sole E95

The best elliptical machine for most people

Specifications

Dimensions: 66 x 23 x 34 inches/ 168 x 58 x 8 cms

Weight: 236lbs/ 107kg

Flywheel weight: 27lbs/ 3kg

Resistance levels: 20

Stride length: 8-20 inch/ 20-51cm (adjustable)

Incline: 20%

Max weight: 400lbs/ 181kg

Reasons to buy

+

Adjustable stride length 

+

20 resistance levels

+

Built-in speakers 

Reasons to avoid

Tricky to assemble 

Large footprint

The stylish, all-black Sole E95 Cross Trainer is the definition of versatility and guarantees a smooth, peaceful, reliable workout. It has even scooped up several “Best Buy” awards since launching.

This model is fitted with a 10.1 TFT LCD display, in-built cooling fans, Bluetooth speakers, water bottle holder, a USB charging port, and an integrated tablet holder. You can connect your smart device, pump out some motivational music, and even track and download your workout data via the Sole app (or others like Fitbit and Apple.)

Made from a heavy-duty steel frame to offer ultimate support and stability, this machine boasts a weighty 27 lbs magnetic resistance flywheel and whisper-quiet front-drive system, allowing you to glide along to your favorite tunes in peace. Sole has packed in plenty of resistance levels (20, to be exact), plus forward and reverse motion and power incline.

All decent cross trainers have oversized foot pedals, but Sole has made them customizable with an inward slope (designed in collab with a physical therapist) to minimize joint discomfort. They’ve also added quick controls and pulse sensors to the handlebars with multi-position grip to add further workout versatility for your upper body. The machine is chest strap compatible for those seeking more in-depth heart rate tracking. 

If you’re short on space, it’s worth checking the specs before you buy, as this machine doesn’t fold and could eat into your living space pretty easily. 


(Image credit: Sunny Health and Fitness)

2. Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3912 Elliptical Machine

Best cheap elliptical machine

Specifications

Dimensions: 55 x 23 x 64.5 inches/ 140 x 58 x 164 cm

Weight: 104.8 lbs/ 48kg

Resistance levels: 16

Stride length: 15.5inches/ 39cm

Incline: N/A

Max user weight: 330 lbs/ 150kg

Reasons to buy

+

Affordable

+

Can use manually

Reasons to avoid

Small stride length

Fiddly to set up

This machine is fairly simple, but if you’re looking for a basic cross trainer it could be a great fit. It comes with a straightforward performance monitor that tracks things like time, distance covered, speed and calories burned. You can also track your heart rate on here, thanks to the in-built pulse sensors.

While there’s no flashy screen for classes, there is a simple device holder for a tablet or phone. This means you can follow a workout class on your device, as long as you have a subscription for a relevant platform. Or you can just watch Netflix as you burn through some calories. 

One good thing to note about this machine is that you can use it without power; simply set the resistance to your desired level while it’s plugged in, then power down and save your electricity. You won’t get any live metrics if you work out this way, but you will be able to save on your running costs.

The machine fairly sturdy, with a steel frame and floor stabilizers built into the bottom. And you can move it around easily, thanks to its transportation wheels.

It’s not the flashiest machine, but this will satisfy beginners who want a simple, low-impact machine for their home.


(Image credit: NordicTrack)

3. NordicTrack FS14i

Best high-tech elliptical machine

Specifications

Dimensions: 59 x 29.9 x 74 inches / 150 x 76 x 188 cm

Weight: 284lbs/ 129kg (in box)

Flywheel weight : 20lbs/ 9kg

Resistance levels: 26

Stride length: 32 inches/ 81cm

Incline: -10% to +10%

Max weight: 375lbs/ 170kg

Reasons to buy

+

Variable incline

+

3-in-1 user experience

Reasons to avoid

Light flyweight for this price

Large footprint 

Coming in slightly more expensive than the Sole E95 at the top of this guide is the NordicTrack FS14i model, designed by the hugely reputable NordicTrack brand. This exercise machine is a 3-in-1 elliptical, stepper and treadmill that intuitively and automatically adjusts to your stride. Featuring a 14” Smart HD screen, 35 onboard workouts, and a 30-day iFit subscription with live and on-demand classes and personal training, this model is ideal for anyone seeking an immersive, interactive workout experience. 

There isn’t much missing, to be honest. The machine houses inbuilt fans and dual amplified speakers and is also Bluetooth compatible. The dash features quick controls for resistance and incline, and trainers can auto-adjust both of these on the move, leaving you with nothing else to do other than puff and pant your way to the finish line. If you fancy mixing it up, you can even draw your own workout route using integrated Google Maps for a change of scenery. 

In terms of the machine design itself, you’ve got an insane amount of stride length, with a punishing -10% decline to +10% incline and 26 resistance levels that can challenge even the most seasoned elliptical lovers. The center-drive system means that the flywheel is located on either side of the machine, which (generally) creates a more compact, smooth, and quiet experience. 

The downside is that this machine isn’t subtle or lightweight, and your iFit subscription comes at a cost after your initial free trial. Also, 20lb is fairly light for a flyweight on a machine at this price – other machines may offer a smoother ride thanks to a heavier weight, although they’re unlikely to have the superb incline and decline options found on this model.


(Image credit: Horizon Fitness)

4. Horizon Fitness 7.0 AE Elliptical

Best for taller people

Specifications

Dimensions: 76in x 24in x 65.5in / 193cm x 60.9cm x 166.3cm

Weight: 236lb/ 107kg

Flywheel weight: 23lb/10.4kg

Resistance levels: 20

Stride length: 18in-20in

Incline: 0-100%

Max weight: 325lb / 147.4kg

Reasons to buy

+

Adjustable stride length 

+

20 resistance levels

+

Built-in speakers 

An important element in the search for an elliptical machine is does it work for you? This includes whether or not it will suit your height. The taller you are the larger your stride length will be, so not all elliptical machines will be suitable.

With an adjustable stride length of 18in-20in, the Horizon Fitness 7.0 AE Elliptical is likely to have you covered, and it has a maximum weight capacity of 325lb/147.4 kg. The machine has plenty of compelling features, too. There’s a variety of workout programs and resistance levels, as well as Bluetooth connectivity. If tracking your progress is important to you, you’ll be able to connect fitness devices and see your activity and progress.

There are also contact heart rate sensors in the handlebars, a built-in fan to keep you cool during your workout and a sound system with speakers and an audio input jack. 


(Image credit: Proform)

5. ProForm Carbon EL

The best mid-range elliptical machine

Specifications

Dimensions: 67.5 x 25 x 68.5 inches/ 171 x 63.5 x 174 cm

Weight: 196 lbs/ 89kg

Flywheel weight: 15 lbs/ 7kg

Resistance levels: 18

Stride length: 19 inch/ 48cm (adjustable)

Max weight: 275 lbs/ 125kg

Reasons to buy

+

Affordable

+

30-day iFit subscription 

Reasons to avoid

Basic display

Not foldable

If you want to balance features with a price, this elliptical machine is your perfect pick; you’ll benefit from 30 days of iFit membership when you purchase this bit of kit, giving you unlimited access to tons of on-demand and live workouts to get you started. 

This machine is fairly entry-level – ideal if you’re not fussed about flashy features. It comes fitted with a 5” multi-color basic console display, an integrated shelf for your tablet or smartphone, dual speakers (and audio port), a water bottle holder, and front-mounted transport wheels for easy storage regardless of the cumbersome front-drive. 

You can connect to your tablet via Bluetooth and stream your classes via iFit to your device, and trainers can adjust your 18 resistance levels mid-workout. However, you will have to cough up for your subscription after 30 days which slightly ramps the price up. 

The carbon model is made from heavy-duty steel, ensuring you’re not left wobbling around as you crank up the intensity, and the oversized pedals provide a 19-inch power adjustable stride length to fit your natural motion. If you’re looking for simplicity with the option to get immersive, ProForm could be your go-to. 


(Image credit: ProForm)

6. ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT

Best for older people

Specifications

Dimensions: 24.5in x 70.5in x 60.5in / 62.2cm x 179.1cm x 153.7cm

Weight: 236lb/107kg

Flywheel weight: 23lb/10.4kg

Resistance levels: 16

Stride length: 15in

Max weight: 250lb / 113.3kg

Reasons to buy

+

Affordable 

+

Front-mounted wheels for easy manoeuvre

+

16 resistance levels

Elliptical trainers are ideal for older people who want to keep fit as these low-impact machines help to keep overt pressure off the joints, while still providing an effective workout. 

An elliptical and recumbent bike in a single machine, the ProForm Hybrid trainer has a variety of options for older people of different fitness levels and capabilities. The recumbent bike has a seated position that can be less stressful on the back, hips, and legs for those who cannot stand for long periods of time. The recumbent bike is especially useful for those who suffer with knee problems as less pressure is placed on the joint.

The ProForm Hybrid trainer also has two sets of handlebars, one for elliptical mode and one for recumbent mode. Both are designed with a secure grip, and the recumbent bike handlebars can be adjusted to different heights and angles.

The machine has an easy-to-see display, which shows key metrics (speed, distance, time etc) and it can be controlled from a straightforward to use console that enables you to select the difficulty level and choose workout programs.


(Image credit: Bowflex)

7. Bowflex Max Trainer M9

Best elliptical trainer for compact storage

Specifications

Dimensions: 49.2 x 30.5 x 65.1 inches/ 125 x 77 x 165 cm

Weight: 148.8 lbs/ 67kg

Resistance levels: 20

Stride length: N/A

Incline: None

Max weight: 300 lbs /136kg

Reasons to buy

+

Space savvy

+

1-year JRNY membership 

+

Lots of features  

Reasons to avoid

Wi-Fi is required for the touchscreen  

Expensive  

If you’re tight on space but keen to step up your home workout game – Bowflex has you covered. The M9 is the most advanced model in the Bowflex elliptical range and boasts a much more modest footprint than models like the NordicTrack FS14i or Life Fitness Platinum Club Series; it also comes with integrated transport wheels for super quick and easy storage.

This model has a Wi-Fi-enabled 10.1” HD touchscreen, Bluetooth speakers, a heart rate armband, and a built-in tablet shelf. Bowflex even throws in a 1-year JRNY membership upon purchase which allows you to track metrics and jump into an array of immersive workout programs like fat burn, calorie burn, and stairs. If you’re keen to catch up on your shows as you sweat, your JNRY membership allows you to log in to Netflix, Prime, Disney+ (and others) from your touchscreen console.

You’ve got 20 levels of resistance to move through using an adjustable dial, and if that gets your pulse racing, you can monitor your heart rate using the integrated heart rate monitor hand grips or armband. We reckon the 4-grip handlebars are a lovely extra touch, allowing you to adjust your upper body positioning to target muscles differently as you work.

It’s ideal for small spaces but comes with a pretty hefty price tag for the privilege. 


(Image credit: Life Fitness)

8. Horizon EX-59 Elliptical

Best elliptical machine for an easy set-up

Specifications

Dimensions: 74 x 25 x 64.5 inches/ 188 x 63.5 x 164cm

Weight: 145 lbs/ 65kg

Resistance levels: 10 levels

Stride length: 18in/ 45.7cm

Incline: N/A

Max weight: 300lb/ 136kg

Reasons to buy

+

Flywheel and pulley system promises smooth performance  

+

Good value for money  

+

Lifetime warranty on frame 

Reasons to avoid

Only 10 levels of resistance  

The EX-59 is Horizon Fitness’s best-selling and most-decorated elliptical machine for good reason. It’s a quality product that can be picked up for well under $1,000, making it a strong contender if you’re after value for money. The brand also promises it’s simple to set up in less than 30 minutes, and features intuitive controls so you don’t have to fight your way through fiddly menus to get to the meat and drink of your workout. 

The EX-59 benefits from a 14.3lb flywheel and pulley system, designed to avoid any unnecessary jerking and deliver smooth, quiet performance. The foot plates are placed closer together than many competitors to provide a more comfortable running position, there are 10 levels of resistance and the sturdy frame comes with a lifetime warranty. 

The console comes loaded with a choice of preset programs including interval sessions and weight loss focused workouts. You can also run freely or set a calorie goal to hit. And, if you’re going for a slower-paced session, you’re able to plug a phone or tablet into the machine’s rapid-charge USB port, place it in the device holder above the console and watch your favorite streaming services as you rack up the miles. 


(Image credit: Schwinn Fitness)

9. Schwinn Fitness 470 Elliptical

The best premium elliptical machine

Specifications

Dimensions: 70.1 x 28.2 x 63.2in/ 178.1 x 71.5 x 160.5cm

Weight: 164lb/ 74.5kg

Resistance levels: 25

Stride length: 20in

Incline: 10%

Max weight: 300lb/ 136kg

Reasons to buy

+

Large frame provides a smooth, comfortable running experience

+

Plenty of preset programs to keep workouts interesting

+

Virtually run real-world routes with Explore the World app connectivity 

Reasons to avoid

Larger dimensions can be hard to fit into a home workout space 

Price-wise, the Schwinn Fitness 470 Elliptical is nearer the top end of our list. However, we think it’s a premium machine that could be worth the extra investment for the right buyer. 

It’s Schwinn’s top elliptical trainer, with the brand stating it has everything you need to “get the training experience you need for strength, endurance and weight loss you want”. 

It has an impressive 25 levels of resistance, five incline settings, detailed metric-tracking and 29 in-built programs to help you get a sweat on. You can also link to the Explore the World app via your phone or tablet to tackle real-world routes, covering everything from the Scottish Highlands to the Japanese countryside. 

The all-black frame looks sleek, though it is on the larger side, which is worth bearing in mind if you have limited space for a workout machine in your home. This becomes a benefit when it comes to comfort, however, with the large, cushioned foot plates allowing you to place your feet in the best position for you. 

FAQs

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What are elliptical machines?

Similarly to treadmills, elliptical machines allow you to mimic a running motion on the spot for a space-efficient workout. But, rather than the rotating belt of the best treadmills, they have two platforms for your feet which move in a cyclical motion when you push downwards (reminiscent of an exercise bike).

This makes using an elliptical machine a low impact alternative to running as it removes the need for striking the ground with each step, eliminating the additional force put through your lower body as a result. 

Many will feature a similar console to other exercise machines, with different resistance levels and preset programs to choose from to determine the difficulty of your workout. 

How much do elliptical machines cost?

Elliptical machines vary in cost and you can expect to pay as much as $2,000/ £1,500 for a premium machine. Some of the better-known brands will have higher price points but even if you’re opting for a budget cross trainer, consider the flywheel weight as lighter options will not be as sturdy. Smart-enabled elliptical machines will also cost more and these often come with added benefits like a compatible app and memberships that allow you to stream workouts to the machine’s screens. 

If you’re after a cheap elliptical machine, you can get one for as little as $500/ £400 and it’s still possible to have a sturdy and long-lasting machine for that price too – you may just have to sacrifice fancy features like WiFi compatibility. 

Whichever machine you choose, take note of the warranty that comes with it as this will give you peace of mind and protect your purchase. 

Are elliptical machines effective?

A study published in the Gait & Posture journal found that “elliptical exercise significantly reduces weight-bearing as compared to other common functional sporting activities” including walking, jogging and running on a treadmill. 

While treadmill running at 8.5km/h saw subjects experience forces equal to 175% of their body weight, those who used the elliptical machine experienced just 73%. 

As a result, the study suggested elliptical machines could be used by individuals returning to exercise after an injury or surgery on their lower limbs. It also said the results could be useful in helping prevent overuse injuries. 

And if you’re looking for a low-impact exercise method to help you lose weight, underestimate the elliptical machine at your peril. A calorie burn rate calculator produced by the University of Rochester Medical Center estimates that a 125lb person can burn up to 540 calories in an hour-long session on one of these bits of kit. That’s just 60 calories less than the predicted value for a six-mile run completed at 6mph. 

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