Read on for our recommendations (and great offers) on elliptical machines that cater to every space, style and budget. You can also check out our list of the best early Black Friday dealsfor more opportunities to save.
Hitting the market in the late 90s, the elliptical machine quickly became a go-to, low-impact workout machine built for fitness centers and home gyms alike. By decreasing your rate of perceived exertion, the best elliptical machines took unwanted stress off your joints, allowing you to workout in comfort. Over the years, ellipticals have embraced more comfortable and durable materials, improved tracking systems and bigger screens, turning what was once a newfangled machine into a state-of-the-art cardio powerhouse. As a solid means of building up your aerobic system, ellipticals have earned their place in every workout space.
When buying any piece of home gym equipment, there are basic factors to consider first such as size, portability and price range. On top of that, you’ll need to decide which features are most important to you such as elliptical style (front drive or rear drive), incline and resistance adjustability, connectivity, customizable training modes and even noise level.
Regardless of your preferences, you have a ton of options when it comes to choosing your elliptical machine. There are Peloton-style ellipticals that provide live workouts on a big, colorful screen. Others feature Bluetooth technology that allows you to easily use fitness apps on your phone or tablet, while more modest machines come without all the bells and whistles (because not everyone needs those). There are also ellipticals that easily fold up to save space, and ones that meet pretty much every price point. Basically, the best elliptical machine for you is out there—you just need to know where to find it.
With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best ellipticals for your home. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s an option on this list for everyone.
A Crowd-Pleasing Option That Has All The Features You Need
Dimensions: 73 L x 27 W x 66.9 H inches | Maximum user capacity: 350 pounds | Stride length: 22 inches
If you want an elliptical machine that’s rugged, versatile and features great ergonomics, the Nautilus E618 Elliptical Trainer is a solid choice. It features 25 levels of resistance, a 10-degree motorized incline and a generous 22-inch stride. The padded foot pedals are adjustable so you can set it up to perfectly fit your natural movement, and the system tracks metrics like time, distance and calories on the LCD display. Granted, the LCD display is nothing to write home about, but if you’re mainly looking to keep track of your workouts, it’ll get the job done.
The E618 works best in conjunction with Nautilus’s Explore the World app, which lets you cycle through beautiful courses around the world (you’ll need to pay a subscription for certain features). If you want to follow along as you work out, you can connect your own tablet via Bluetooth.
Lots of resistance
Large stride length
LCD display is simplistic
Best Elliptical For Beginners
An Easy-To-Assemble Machine With Just Enough Features
Dimensions: 46.1 L x 23 W x 60.6 H inches | Maximum user capacity: 220 pounds | Stride length: 12.2 inches
The no-frills EL100 Essential Elliptical from Decathlon is perfect for beginners as all you have to think about during your workout is striding, plus the machine comes at a great price so you don’t make a huge investment before you decide if you actually enjoy it. A large, four-function LCD display shows your calories burned, time, distance and speed. The manual turn dial on the front of the elliptical offers seven levels of resistance to vary your workout. And that’s really all there is to this simplistic machine.
Decathlon is the IKEA of the fitness machine world so while the elliptical requires some assembly, it comes with a detailed guide and video so you can do it yourself in less than 30 minutes. The 6.6-pound flywheel, while on the lighter side, still delivers a smooth pedal stroke.
Basic functionality is great for beginners
Shorter stride length than some
Requires some assembly
Best Full Body Workout Elliptical
A Sweat-Inducing Machine That Enables Intense Calorie Burn
Dimensions: 49.2 L x 30.5 W x 65.1 H inches | Maximum user capacity: 300 pounds | Stride length: N/A
Bowflex’s Max Trainer series is what you get when you cross an elliptical with a stair stepper. The result is a machine with 20 levels of resistance that delivers full-body, low-impact exercise with an intense calorie-burning workout. Bowflex says that lets you burn more calories in less time for more efficient workouts, and the company cites a study that asserts the M9’s unique motion provides greater upper body muscle activation than traditional ellipticals. Because the M9 is vertical rather than horizontal, it also takes up less space.
The 10-inch color HD touchscreen keeps you informed about your exercise progress and is compatible with the JRNY app—that’s Bowflex’s own subscription service for personalized exercises. You get a free two-month trial with your purchase—and up to four users can work out with their own profile and progress metrics. And don’t forget the matching workout mat, a must for protecting your floors and adding stability to your workouts.
Free workout mat
Can be loud at higher speeds
Best Compact Elliptical
A Space-Saving Elliptical That Rolls Away When You Need It To
Dimensions: 80 L x 32 W x 67 H inches | Maximum user capacity: 325 pounds | Stride length: 18 inches
It’s right there in the name. The NordicTrack SE9i is called the SpaceSaver, and it gets that title by folding up like a transformer, storing away vertically when it’s not in use. In other words, it can easily stand unobtrusively in a corner instead of taking up half the room.
But there’s a lot more to this elliptical than just easy storage. Thoughtful ergonomic touches include padded foot pedals that lower the impact of your workout as well as an integrated fan. You get 24 resistance levels and 10 degrees of adjustable incline as well. The seven-inch HD touchscreen is compatible with iFit software, so with a subscription, you can take advantage of live coaches and trainers, and jog your way through courses that take you to gorgeous real-world locations. Meanwhile, the SE9i can automatically change incline and resistance levels based on your route and workout.
Folds up easily
Stride too short for some users
Best Budget Elliptical
A Budget-Friendly Option That Delivers A Great Workout
Dimensions: 28 L x 17 W x 57 H inches | Maximum user capacity: 220 pounds | Stride length: 11 inches
Currently priced at less than $200, the portable SF-E905 from Sunny Health & Fitness shows that good quality doesn’t always come with an expensive price tag. This magnetic elliptical enables you to adjust the resistance up to eight levels by simply twisting the controller to customize your workout. The easy-to-read digital monitor lets you keep on top of your effort by displaying the duration, speed, distance, calories and your pulse via the hand sensors on the machine’s arms.
Large, anti-slip pedals, paired with stabilizers on the base, add a level of safety, while wheels enable you to effortlessly move the elliptical around with a simple tilt and roll. No need for any heavy lifting whether you’re storing it away or breaking it out for another sweat session.
Eight resistance levels
Compact stride length
Very light on features
Best Elliptical For Sensitive Joints
A Smooth Machine Designed By Physical Therapists
Dimensions: 83 L x 27 W x 58 H inches | Maximum user capacity: 375 pounds | Stride length: 20 inches
The Sole Fitness E35 has a feature not a lot of other ellipticals can claim: Foot pedals designed in collaboration with physical therapists. The oversized pedals have adjustable foot beds and a two-degree inward slope that reduces ankle and knee stress—a fairly common complaint among other ellipticals. The overall design of the E35 eliminates strain on your knee, hip and ankle joints, turning an ordinarily low-impact workout into essentially a no-impact workout, regardless of which of the 20 resistance levels you choose.
The 7.5-inch display has built-in Bluetooth speakers for connecting your phone or tablet (which has its own handy mount), along with a USB port for powering or charging your device while you workout.
Reduces ankle and knee stress
Extra low-impact workout
Best Under-Desk Elliptical
When WFH Stands For Workout From Home
Dimensions: 24.5 L x 17 W x 11.38 H inches | Maximum user capacity: 250 pounds | Stride length: N/A
The Stamina Inmotion Elliptical provides any easy way to sneak in a low impact workout anytime, anywhere. This lightweight and ultra portable elliptical works while you’re standing or sitting, meaning you can burn calories, tone lower body muscles and improve cardiovascular health while sitting at your desk or on the couch.
A dial on the front of the elliptical enables you to increase or decrease the resistance level. A small LCD display shows your total strides, number of striders per minute, calories burned and exercise time so you can pat yourself on the back at the end of your workday (and workout). The non-slip pedals operate in both a forward and reverse direction to target different muscle groups in your lower body. Available in five different colors, the under-desk elliptical includes free access to müüv, the smart audio coaching app, and you can usually find it on sale.
Can be used while sitting or standing
Takes awhile to catch your balance when standing
Best Self-Powered Elliptical
An Option That Doesn’t Require An Outlet
Dimensions: 57.5 L x 24.8 W x 62.6 H inches | Maximum user capacity: 285 pounds | Stride length: 15.35 inches
No more tripping over cords or facing your elliptical towards a wall in order to reach the power outlet. The EL520 from Decathlon is self-powered, meaning you can place it wherever you want in the house. Time to enjoy that beautiful view out the window or work up a sweat in the garage away from all the family raucous.
The elliptical tracks six key health metrics—time, distance, speed, calories, cadence and heart rate—via the hand pulse sensors. With nine training programs to add variety to your workouts and a whopping 15 levels of resistance, you won’t miss the main power supply one bit.
The smart console connects to a variety of fitness apps, and includes a secure pocket for phones and tablets as well as a water bottle holder to keep you hydrated.
Smart connection with phone or tablet
No outlet or power source required
You create your own resistance
Black Friday Fitness Equipment Deals To Shop Now
There are tons of other elliptical machine and fitness equipment deals to be had this week. Below, check out some additional discounts on top-rated options.
A Whisper-Quiet Elliptical That’s Nearly $280 Off
Featuring a heavy-duty steel base, 16 resistance levels and a quiet magnetic drive system, Niceday’s elliptical machine is a rather impressive addition to any home gym, especially when you consider the fact that it’s $279 off. Just be sure to save an extra $80 by clicking the on-page coupon before you checkout.
An On-Sale Exercise Bike For Winter Workouts
Before you spend the next few months on the couch, consider picking up Sunny Health & Fitness’ indoor exercise bike. It features an adjustable frame, a 40-pound flywheel and turn-dial resistance to crank up the intensity.
A Top-Of-The-Line Treadmill For $799
Schwinn’s 810 treadmill is currently 11% off, which means you can pick up a treadmill that features 16 workout programs, 10% incline and a top speed of 10 miles per hour, all while saving a little over $100.
A Highly-Rated Rowing Machines That’s 27% Off
Beyond the 4.5/5-star rating and 800-plus reviews, Yosuda’s Magnetic Rowing Machine assembles in minutes and supports up to 350 pounds. The magnetic resistance system eliminates unwanted noise while eight levels of resistance offer plenty of opportunity to boost your cardio.
An All-In-One Stair Stepper
If you can’t commit to just one workout machine, consider this cardio-boosting combo that pairs the elevated resistance of a stair stepper with the low-impact movements of an elliptical. It’s heavy-duty frame stays planted while pulse-sensing grips monitor key performance metrics.
What To Consider When Buying An Elliptical Machine
All ellipticals provide a low-impact cardio workout, but the right one for you depends on your size, fitness level and home gym space. You’ll want to consider additional features, too. Some ellipticals come with large, Wi-Fi connected touchscreens that let you follow along with a personal trainer, while others skip those bells and whistles. Here’s what to consider when the time comes to invest in one of the best ellipticals.
Be sure to consider your fitness and experience level—not to mention how you plan to use it—before purchasing an elliptical machine. For instance, if you want to be challenged for a long time to come, consider an elliptical that offers a lot of resistance levels (20 or more), and daily users should forego the budget picks. There’s nothing wrong with many budget-priced ellipticals, but they simply can’t stand up to daily use in the same way a sturdy, premium model can.
If you’re a beginner looking to try one out without making a huge financial commitment, there are several user-friendly machines under $1,000 that offer just enough features to get you started. For occasional or casual users, a lower-cost elliptical—or an under-desk unit that lets you move while you work—will get the blood flowing.
A “home gym” means something different to anyone you ask—everything from a corner of the living room to an entire finished basement qualifies as a home gym. If you’ve got a dedicated space for exercise equipment, then a high-tech, heavy-duty machine may be the way to go. But if you lack square footage, check out compact or foldable ellipticals that can collapse and roll out of sight when they’re not in use.
The stride length of an elliptical machine is an under-appreciated spec that has a substantial impact on your comfort level while using it. Specifically, stride length is relative to height: Shorter users are generally more comfortable with a shorter stride length, but it can make tall users feel restricted. According to Sunny Health & Fitness, as a general rule, users between five foot and five-foot-three should aim for a 14- to 16-inch stride length, while those closer to six feet tall should seek machines with a 20-inch stride length. Even so, it all comes down to personal preference. If you want some flexibility, look for an elliptical machine that features an adjustable stride length.
Maximum Weight Capacity
Ellipticals are excellent cardio machines for people of all fitness levels. Heavier users looking to begin or continue their workout journey should be aware of weight maximums so they can safely work out and preserve the longevity of their machine.
Just like any modern exercise machine, you can find “dumb” elliptical models that don’t have much tech built in as well as smart machines that have big color screens, internet connections, Bluetooth, sensors and more.
If an immersive experience will drive your motivation, look for an elliptical machine with a big, built-in screen that’ll let you stream workouts or your favorite shows while you work up a sweat. And keep in mind that some built-in screens are only compatible with subscription-based services, while others support a whole range of apps, including Hulu and Netflix.
Maybe you’d rather save some cash and get a model with a deck and charging port where you can secure your own iPad for entertainment while you exercise. Other features worth considering include models that are foldable and those designed for whisper-quiet operation, perfect for early-morning or late-night workouts.
Should I Get An Elliptical Or A Treadmill?
It’s important to consider your personal needs—and limitations—when making this decision. If high-impact exercise is tough on your joints, an elliptical may be more your speed. Ditto if you want to mix up your indoor workouts from what you’d typically do outdoors. However, if you like to pound the pavement and want the option to flip between indoor runs and walks, a treadmill could be a good option (in which case, be sure to check out our guide on the best treadmills)
Can An Elliptical Help Me Lose Weight?
Typically, you get out what you put into any exercise program and exercise machine purchase. An elliptical can help you lose weight if you use it regularly and choose workouts that get your heart rate up, like intervals or using the machine for longer periods of time—but you’ll generally need to pair that with changes to your diet as well. As with any exercise or diet plan, you should talk to your doctor so you can approach it in a safe and healthy way.
Is An Elliptical A Low-Impact Workout?
Ellipticals have a solid reputation for providing a great low-impact workout. Running or other high-impact workouts like HIIT can be tough on your lower joints and hips. However, your feet stay on the pedals when you use an elliptical, so there’s no pounding to bother your knees, ankles, and hips.
What Ellipticals Are Used In Gyms?
The large, industrious ellipticals you find in commercial gyms are designed for consistent use, day in and day out. They feature durable materials and sturdy designs that can withstand sweat, impact, abuse and more. Brands such as NordicTrack, Bowflex, Reebok and ProForm make up a majority of commercial ellipticals. There’s a good chance you won’t need a commercial-grade elliptical at home, but you might consider one if you have a large family that’s using it often.
For even more Cyber Week savings opportunities, head over to our Cyber Week coupon page to check out the deals from some of our favorite brands.”
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