Cardio exercise at home doesn’t have to be hard on your knees or torturous. In fact, there are quite a few low-impact cardio machines to choose from to suit your needs. One of those machines is an elliptical machine or trainer. Ellipticals are an excellent choice for people who desire a low-impact full-body cardio workout at home. Welcome to our master guide to choosing the best home elliptical machine.
In this comprehensive guide, we share:
- Top 10 Elliptical Machines for Home Use
- Elliptical Machine Reviews
- How to Choose the Best Elliptical Machine
|#1) Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine
|#2) Precor EFX 222 Energy Series Elliptical
|#3) Octane Fitness Q47xi Elliptical Machine
|#4) Matrix Fitness A50 Ascent Trainer With XR Console
|#5) NordicTrack Commercial 12.9 Front Drive Smart Elliptical
|#6) Schwinn Fitness 470 Elliptical
|#7) Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical
|#8) ProForm 150i Elliptical
|#9) Exerpeutic 1000XL Heavy Duty Magnetic Elliptical
|#10) NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i Rear Drive Smart Folding Elliptical
Best Home Elliptical Machine Reviews
Did you find what you were looking for? We’re confident that we provided the widest range of top ellipticals on the market to match everyone’s needs. It’s important to keep in mind that the price range of ellipticals is rather wide, and for this particular cardio machine, 9 times out of 10 you get what you pay for. Allow our elliptical reviews below help guide you to your match and check out the pros and cons of owning each machine.
Matrix Fitness A50 Ascent Trainer With XR Console
Of all the trainers in our Top 10, the Matrix A50 is the best quality elliptical machine, which means it does cost a pretty penny. However, as we just mentioned, you get what you pay for when you invest in a top-notch elliptical. Often times when people try to save a few bucks on an elliptical, they end up losing money in the long run or regret having not opted for their top selection.
The Matrix A50 comes fully loaded, and the feature we like the most is the Suspension Elliptical Technology that makes you feel like you’re running on air. This machine is an excellent selection for arthritis sufferers or people who have previously suffered injuries and want to avoid stress on their joints while burning calories.
Despite its smoothness, this machine also challenges the most avid fitness buffs with its adjustable incline range up to 54% (the steepest incline in our Top 10). The massive 30-level resistance range literally matches anyone’s desired intensity. Additional premium features you won’t find in inferior-quality ellipticals are the Matrix Exact Force Induction Brake System, PerfectStride Motion (20-24″ length), cushioned pedal inserts, power incline, and other features usually only found in health-club ellipticals.
Lastly, we want to point out that there’s no one forcing you to sign up for iFit with this machine, which is a common complaint with NordicTrack and ProForm (though we’ll show you how to get around it). Instead, the beautiful Matrix XIR Console comes equipped with Matrix Sprint 8 for HIIT (high-intensity interval training), Entertainment w/ Bluetooth connectivity to connect your devices, Virtual Active Immersive Workouts, and ViaFit Integrated Fitness Tracking.
Overall, Matrix is undoubtedly one of the best elliptical machine brands, right alongside Octane Fitness, Precor, and Sole Fitness.
NordicTrack Commercial 12.9 Front Drive Smart Elliptical
While the Matrix A50 is one tough act to follow, if there’s a trainer that’s up to the task, it’s the NordicTrack Commercial 12.9 Elliptical. As the name suggests – and like the A50 – the 12.9 is a commercial-quality elliptical trainer that’s more than suitable for home use. It’s not quite as decked out with premium features as the A50, but it does cost significantly less than a top-tier piece of home cardio equipment.
What sets the 12.9 apart from its competitors? Well, if you’re a fan of iFit (we are), you’ll love that the 12.9 comes with a built-in 7″ HD touchscreen and 1 year of iFit included. One of the best workout apps currently available is iFit, as it allows you to work seamlessly between the phone app and the built-in app in your elliptical. The app tracks your fitness stats/progress and opens up a world of on-demand fitness programs with real trainers, plus personalized fitness coaching.
Aside from iFit, the physical features of the 12.9 are on par with all the best ellipticals on the market. One standout feature we love is the SMART Incline Matching technology that syncs with your on-demand fitness programs for hands-free in-workout adjustments. The 12.9 offers up to a 20º incline, 24 digital resistance levels, SMR operation, oversized cushioned pedals, and a 19″ adjustable stride. All in all, the 12.9 is worth a long look, and we feel that it’s more than fairly priced with its set of deluxe features.
Schwinn Fitness 470 Elliptical
The Schwinn 470 is the best affordable elliptical machine that’s built with premium materials and will stand the test of time. It doesn’t include all the bells and whistles you’ll find on the Matrix or NordicTrack ellipticals, however, the reduction in cost reflects that.
Similar to NordicTrack, Schwinn offers a built-in fitness app called Run Social that allows you to virtually explore the world alongside real users in real-time. The drawback is you’ll need to use your own tablet or phone since the 470 doesn’t have a built-in LCD touchscreen.
The Schwinn console offers Bluetooth connectivity, 29 workout programs (including 4 custom workouts for different users), built-in speakers & a fan, USB charging, and a media shelf to place your phone or tablet. The machine itself offers 25 levels of resistance to suit both beginners and advanced users looking for a serious calorie-burning total-body cardio workout.
Two features we like for comfort and convenience are the motorized incline (up to 10º) and Precision Path Stride motion that make the 470 an excellent choice for low-impact cardio workouts, especially for people with knee problems.
Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical
The Horizon EX-59 is currently a top 5 best-rated elliptical machine for an affordable price. If you’re shopping for mid-range ellipticals, the EX-59 should be on your radar. The modern console features Bluetooth connectivity, a built-in device holder, a rapid-charge USB port, and integrated speakers to push your favorite tunes through.
The feature that stands out the most to us as far as comfort goes is the tighter Q factor, which equals less space between the pedals for reduced stress on your major joints including hips and knees.
Also, there’s the convenience of one-touch control keys for speed & incline that make in-workout adjustments easy peasy. You may also enjoy the lifetime warranty on the frame, especially at this price point.
EX-59 Specs to Consider
- 14.3-lb Flywheel
- 145 lbs (lightweight compared to most ellipticals)
- 10 Magnetic Resistance Levels
- 300 lb User Weight Capacity
- 4.5″ Yellow-Green LCD Display
- Tracks calories, distance, heart rate, speed, time, watts
ProForm 150i Elliptical
The 150i is perhaps the best cheap elliptical trainer currently available, depending on what you consider cheap. Compared to the top ellipticals on the market, it costs a lot less. Despite the much lower cost, this elliptical is no slouch, and we think it’s the best in its class.
Oftentimes, ellipticals in this price range aren’t sturdy and prone to wobbling. Owners who were let down by the 150i are people who expected a top-of-the-line elliptical in this price range. For the price, the 150i’s heavy-duty frame delivers and is more than an adequate match for the price on the tag.
The greatest disadvantage of the 150i is the 17″ stride length. Tall users may want to look elsewhere to get a better total-body workout. Users on the shorter side will find that 17″ is okay, but experienced elliptical users may feel shortchanged.
Outside of the stride length drawback, the 150i is a fully-capable elliptical with 12 resistance levels, an LCD display, oversized comfort pedals, an inertia-enhanced flywheel for smooth movements, and soft comfort grips.
How to Bypass iFit on ProForm Ellipticals
A lot of new ProForm and NordicTrack elliptical owners become perturbed when they run into the iFit problem, and rightfully so. Both companies provide no documentation on how to bypass iFit after starting the machine for the first time. While a lot of machines offer 1 free year of iFit, there’s still the requirement to enter credit card information.
The gentleman in the video below demonstrates how to bypass iFit on a ProForm elliptical quickly and painlessly. Once you bypass it, you’re good to go:
The key is to hold the iFit Bluetooth button for 10-15 seconds to bypass iFit.
Exerpeutic 1000XL Heavy Duty Magnetic Elliptical
The Exerpeutic 1000XL is the best compact elliptical machine currently available. Its compact size and solid build, strong enough to accommodate users up to 300 lbs, make it an ideal option for an office or small home gym.
The obvious disadvantage of a compact elliptical is the short stride length. If you’re over 6′, you’ll most likely find that the 13″ stride length is too short for your liking. Even experienced elliptical users under 6′ might be turned off by the stride length.
On the flip side of the coin, the obvious advantages are the low price, portability, and quality materials in this price range. If you’re looking for a machine that gets the job done at home or in your office as a supplement to your gym membership, the 1000XL fits the bill. The key point is that the 1000XL is not made to be a gym centerpiece.
Key Features to Consider
- Quiet Operation
- 8 Magnetic Resistance Levels
- V-Belt Drive
- Large Pedals
- Built-in Transportation Wheels
- Dual-Direction Flywheel
- Integrated Console w/ LCD to track distance, calories burned, time, speed, and pulse
- Pulse Pads on the Handlebars for heart rate monitoring
NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i Rear Drive Smart Folding Elliptical
After evaluating several of the top folding ellipticals, we chose the NordicTrack SE7i as the best folding elliptical machine. What we noticed is that all folding ellipticals come with their quirks, and overall, we like what the SE7i has going on the most. One of the drawbacks worth noting with the SE7i is no 1-year subscription to iFit included, as what’s offered with the C 12.9.
One of the common problems we noticed across all folding elliptical machines is they’re more prone to wobbling, creaking, and just not as sturdy as standard ellipticals. Unless you have a strong need or desire to buy a folding elliptical for space-saving reasons, it’s a 100% better idea to stick with any of the other ellipticals in our Top 10.
Several of the features we like in the SE7i are the built-in fan, powered adjustable incline, SMR, 22 resistance levels, iFit-ready built-in display, comfortable pedals & handles, and of course, the space-saving design.
How to Choose the Best Elliptical Machine
In the final section of our guide, we share tips and points to consider before you choose an elliptical machine for home use.
Stride length determines exactly what the words say: the length of your strides. Typically, cheaper and compact ellipticals have shorter maximum stride lengths. A short stride length is troublesome for taller and experienced elliptical users who desire a more intense total-body workout.
Short stride length limits your ability to stretch out your movements and get more of your muscles involved, particularly your glutes. Be sure to determine your fitness goals, the size of the room you plan to house your elliptical, and your height when choosing the correct stride length to suit your needs.
For maximum stride length, opt for premium elliptical brands such as Precor, Sole Fitness, Octane Fitness, and Matrix. These manufacturers produce machines with the widest stride ranges to accommodate people of all sizes and skill levels.
Always check the weight capacity of a machine to be sure it’s safe for everyone in your family who plans to use the machine. We notice that people tend to roll the dice by stretching the weight capacity of the machine. Most of the time they get away with it, but this dice roll could lead to unnecessary/preventable injuries or a broken elliptical.
The top ellipticals on the market are built with comfort in mind. Ellipticals are made for low-impact total-body cardio workouts. Discomfort should be the last thing on your mind when using an elliptical. Oversized pedals, comfort grips, silent magnetic resistance, and a wide range of resistance levels are all features to look for when shopping for an elliptical.
For example, one problem we noticed with the Bowflex elliptical is the resistance is too high on the lowest setting. This is the main reason we didn’t include it in our Top 10. A quality elliptical should offer very low resistance to ensure seniors and people suffering from knee problems or other joint-related issues get a smooth, easy ride.
The greatest advantage of an elliptical is its ability to help you burn calories and tone your body without putting stress on your joints.
Most ellipticals on the market don’t offer steep inclines for more challenging workouts. One of the features of the Matrix A50 that’s hard to find in ellipticals is the steep incline it offers up to 54%. We think this feature alone sets the A50 apart from most of its competitors, especially for someone seeking a challenging HIIT workout on an elliptical.
Now you’re up to date on the best elliptical machines for home use. No matter your budget or desires, there’s a machine in our Top 10 to suit your needs. Ellipticals are an excellent treadmill alternative to burn calories at home because they’re a lot easier on the knees, hips, and back.
However, don’t let the smoothness of the motion fool you. The latest ellipticals are packed with features that can challenge people who are already in great shape. Top elliptical brands have taken notice of how popular HIIT has become, and they’ve already begun integrating HIIT programs into their latest models. Which elliptical will you choose for your home?