لياقة بدنية

The Best Elliptical Machines for a Low-Impact Cardio Workout at Home

Men’s Journal aims to feature only the best products and services. If you buy something via one of our links, we may earn a commission. The products featured here have been independently reviewed. This article has been edited and published by Men’s Journal. Learn more here.

Elliptical machines have come a long way, with major developments in specs and technology. Their ergonomic design maximizes the quality and intensity of your workout, incorporating both upper and lower body muscles. This provides you with a full-body workout to enhance your cardio fitness while maintaining the structural integrity of your joints. We consider that an all-around win.

If you are on the hunt for the best elliptical of 2024 but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you’ll find our top picks for the best elliptical machines and a comprehensive guide on what to consider before you make your purchase.

Our Picks for the Best Ellipticals of 2024:

Best Overall Elliptical: NordicTrack FS10i

This machine combines an elliptical, treadmill, and stair stepper.

Nordictrack

At a Glance

  • Weight Capacity: 375 pounds
  • Resistance Levels: 24 levels
  • Monitor: 10-inch Smart HD touchscreen
  • Machine Dimensions: 58.5 inches (L) x 29.5 inches (W) x 74 inches (H)
  • Warranty: Ten-year frame
  • Price: $1,999
Buy NordicTrack FS10i

The NordicTrack FS10i isn’t your average elliptical—it combines a treadmill, elliptical, and stair stepper all into one machine designed to give you the flexibility to switch up your cardio. The 32-inch adjustable stride adjusts based on your leg movements. In other words, if you use the FS10i as a stair stepper, your legs move up and down, but your stride goes back and forth in elliptical mode.

You can follow an iFIT class (with a $39/month subscription) on the 10-inch HD touchscreen, which tracks key stats such as time elapsed, speed, distance, and calories burned. Trainers can digitally adjust your incline up to 10 percent or tap into the 24 resistance levels based on the workout. If you’re working out manually, you can make these adjustments yourself via one-touch buttons next to the touchscreen.

Pros:

  • Stride can be changed to elliptical, treadmill, or stair stepper
  • Elliptical can support users up to 375 pounds
  • Luxe features include oversized, cushioned pedals, HD touchscreen, and Bluetooth connectivity

Cons:

  • Elliptical weighs 284 pounds
  • iFIT subscription costs extra after the 30-day trial has elapsed
  • Transitioning between “modes” requires some extra exertion and time
Buy NordicTrack FS10i

Best Elliptical for HIIT Workouts: ProForm HIIT H14

The Pro HIIT H14 simulates stair climbing and boxing for an effective upper and lower body workout.

Men's Journal

At a Glance

  • Weight Capacity: 325 pounds
  • Resistance: 26 levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance
  • Monitor: 14-inch swivel HD touchscreen
  • Machine Dimensions: 29 inches (L) x 66 inches (D) x 52 inches (H)
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, two-year parts, one-year labor
  • Price: $1,799
Buy ProForm HIIT H14

Unique, intense, and effective are three words to describe the ProForm Pro HIIT H14. This compact climber machine works off a 10-inch vertical and 5-inch horizontal elliptical path designed for maximum calorie burn and strength building. Focusing on High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), the Proform Pro HIIT H14 is a hybrid trainer. It combines strong upper-body punching movements with the elliptical stepping path, activating your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, biceps, and triceps. The result? A quick yet highly effective way to get a calorie burn while gaining strength. We also like the ProForm Pro HIIT H14’s footprint measures just 29 inches wide, 66 inches deep and 52 inches high, making it a great option for those in small spaces.

The Pro HIIT H14 provides an immersive training experience with iFIT programs the 14-inch swivel HD touchscreen. You’ll receive a 30-day free family membership with your purchase for access to a library of workouts, global scenery, and a community to keep you motivated. (After that, iFIT automatically renews for $39 per month for a family membership.) Many iFIT workouts are trainer-led, during which the trainer automatically adjusts your machine’s resistance so you can focus on your performance. It’s like having an online personal trainer from the comfort of your home.

Added conveniences make the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 attractive to anyone who appreciates extra features on their exercise machines. It has oversized cushioned pedals, multifunctional handlebars targeting different upper body muscles, a cooling fan, dual Bluetooth speakers, front transport wheels, and a water bottle holder. The 30-pound flywheel, combined with 26 levels of resistance, results in a variety of training options and intensities on a smooth feeling and quiet trainer.

Pros:

  • Hybrid trainer designed for HIIT workouts
  • More than 40 preset workout programs
  • Extra features such as cushioned pedals and dual Bluetooth speakers

Cons:

  • Difficult to assemble
Buy ProForm HIIT H14

Best Elliptical for Weight Loss: Sole Fitness E95

The E95 comes with a free fitness app and is compatible with streaming serviced like Hulu and Netflix.

Sole Fitness

At a Glance

  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
  • Resistance Levels: 20 levels
  • Monitor: 13.3-inch touchscreen
  • Machine Dimensions: 83 inches (L) x 34 inches (W) x 70 inches (H)
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame and flywheel, three years parts and electronics, and one year labor
  • Price: $2,099
Buy Sole Fitness E95

If you’re on a fitness journey, a weight-loss diet and exercise are essential to achieving your goals. If you already have a favorite weight-loss program or weight-loss app, an elliptical can help you knock out your daily sweat session. While any elliptical will help you work toward your goal, the E95 stands out thanks to its free fitness app and integrated streaming services, perfect for when you need more motivation to get moving. Unlike some of the other ellipticals on our list, the E95’s companion app, Sole+, is free with your new machine. Sole+ includes more than 3,000 trainer-led workouts and classes for on and off your elliptical. For even more entertainment while you work out, the E95 is integrated with several streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and more.

The Sole E95’s cushioned foot pedals are designed to keep your knees and ankles from feeling the brunt of an extended workout. The pedals adjust to fit your gait, but default to a two-degree inward angle. The Sole E95’s 20 resistance levels let you challenge yourself and can be easily switched via buttons on the handles. Sole’s drive system is engineered to stay quiet, but if you want to listen to your class or music on its built-in speakers, simply plug in your smart device and prop it up in the inserted tablet holder.

Pros:

  • Free fitness app, plus integrated streaming services like Netflix
  • Ergonomic, adjustable foot pedals
  • Supports up to 400 pounds
  • Engineered for quiet performance, even during tough workouts

Cons:

  • May take up too much space if limited on square footage
  • Expensive
Buy Sole Fitness E95

Best Budget-Friendly Elliptical Machine: ProForm Carbon EL

Despite its budget-friendly price tag, the ProForm Carbon EL does not skimp on features.

Men's Journal

At a Glance

  • Weight Capacity: 275 pounds
  • Resistance Levels: 18 levels
  • Monitor: Five-inch high-contrast display
  • Machine Dimensions: 68.5 inches (L) x 25 inches (W) x 76.75 inches (H)
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, one-year parts, and one-year labor
  • Price: $800
Buy ProForm Carbon EL

No need to pay a pretty penny to add a commercial elliptical to your home gym. The ProForm Carbon EL gives you the features of a more luxe machine without the hefty price tag. ProForm’s inertia-enhanced flywheel, coupled with silent magnetic resistance, is designed with noise control and smooth strides in mind. This trainer stays steady even during your most demanding workouts.

Other features include oversized pedals, a tablet holder for your smart device, two sets of handles, a water bottle holder, dual two-inch speakers, and wheels for when you need to move the trainer out of the way. This budget-friendly elliptical (also one of our picks for the best elliptical under $1,000) comes with a 30-day iFIT trial to enjoy energetic, trainer-led classes and workouts from your smart device.

Pros:

  • Wallet-friendly price tag at $800
  • Constructed for quiet performance
  • 18 levels of resistance
  • 19-inch adjustable stride

Cons:

  • 275-pound weight limit
  • Does not measure heart rate
  • Have to use iFIT to access workouts
Buy ProForm Carbon EL

Best for Experienced Users: NordicTrack FS14i

The FS14i lets users step, glide, or run during their workout.

Nordictrack

At a Glance

  • Weight Capacity: 375 pounds
  • Resistance Levels: 26 levels
  • Incline: 10 percent
  • Monitor: 14-inch Smart HD Touchscreen
  • Machine Dimensions: 58.5 inches (L) x 29.5 inches (W) x 74 inches (H)
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, two-year parts, and one-year labor
  • Price: $2,300
Buy NordicTrack FS14i

As an experienced elliptical user, you’ve probably seen every kind of trainer there is. Meet the new kid on the block—NordicTrack’s FS14i from its FreeStride trainer series. This machine lets you adjust mid stride to select between a stepper, elliptical, or treadmill. This three-machines-in-one approach opens up the opportunity to try all sorts of workouts you may not have done otherwise on an elliptical alone. You’ll need a bit of muscle power to change your movement, but the FS14i is programmed with auto-adjust technology. The 32-inch stride length also lets you go between 10 decline or incline levels for an added layer of exertion as you work out.

Like most NordicTrack ellipticals, the FS14i comes with a 30-day iFIT workout, with access to top trainers and various classes you can stream via its 14-inch HD touchscreen. Trainers can remotely switch your resistance, incline, and decline levels according to the workout. After your trial, iFIT costs $39/month.

Pros:

  • Aims to provide the experience of three machines for the price of one
  • Top-notch programming via iFIT and Google Maps Tech
  • Uses Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR) and inertia-enhanced flywheel
  • Built-in transport wheels for easy moving

Cons:

  • Auto-adjusting isn’t instantaneous
  • iFIT membership costs extra after the trial has elapsed
Buy NordicTrack FS14i

Best Elliptical for Joint Pain: Sole Fitness E35

Sole teamed up with physical therapists to develop the latest model of the E35.

Sole Fitness

At a Glance

  • Weight Capacity: 350 pounds
  • Resistance Levels: 20 levels
  • Monitor: 10.1-inch touchscreen
  • Machine Dimensions: 70 inches (L) x 31 inches (W) x 70 inches (H)
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame, five years on parts, two years on labor
  • Price: $1,599
Buy Sole Fitness E35

The Sole E35 Elliptical is a great choice for anyone looking for a reliable, simple elliptical with a smooth ride for joint comfort. It’s easy to set up and use and has everything you need to start working out in the comfort of your own home—no gym membership required.

The Sole E35’s ramp-like design allows users to simply step on and start moving. With this elliptical, you can get a full-body workout without having to worry about straining your back or joints. It is equipped with 20 different levels of resistance so users can adjust their workouts according to their fitness levels and goals. With 10 preloaded workout programs plus free access to the Sole+ fitness app, even beginners can start their training immediately. Even though it’s not as heavy duty as other ellipticals, the  Sole E35 works for users up to 300 pounds.

And while it comes with all the features you’d expect from an elliptical, it also has some great extras that we love: built-in fans keep you cool during workouts, and a user-friendly, fully adjustable console ensures a comfortable workout.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use console
  • Adjustable handlebars and footbeds
  • Lifetime frame warranty

Cons:

  • Limited high-tech features
  • Large footprint
  • Sole+ is not integrated into the machine
Buy Sole Fitness E35

Best Elliptical Machine for Small Spaces: Bowflex Max Trainer M6

Just over 3.5 feet long, the M6 is perfect for a smaller home gym, office, or apartment.

Men's Journal

At a Glance

  • Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
  • Resistance Levels: 16
  • Machine Dimensions: 46 inches (L) x 26 inches (W) x 64.2 inches (H)
  • Warranty: Two years frame and parts, 90 days labor
  • Price: $1,299
Buy Bowflex Max Trainer M6

If you’re short on space but looking to up your cardio workout with an elliptical, take a look at the Bowflex Max Trainer M6. Bringing together form and function, the M6 stamps out a footprint measuring just 46 inches long, 26 inches wide, and 64.2 inches high—quite a bit smaller than your average treadmill or other cardio machine. Its 15-inch stride length may not be a great fit for taller individuals, but it still supports a user weight of up to 300 pounds.

The M6 offers a great workout with 16 levels of resistance, a USB charging port, a water bottle holder, Bluetooth heart rate compatibility, and multi-grip moving handles with pulse contact grips to measure heart rate. It’s also equipped with a unique burn rate display to track how many calories you burn per minute and allows you to set activity level targets throughout the workout.

If interactive programming is your jam, you’re in luck. The JRNY digital fitness platform for Bowflex products houses tailored workouts, on-demand classes, real-time coaching, and personalized programming. Purchasing the M6 gives you a free membership to JRNY. Download the workout app, place your device in the magnetic media, and get pedaling.

Bowflex offers in-home assembly for an additional fee, which we recommend because assembly takes a few hours (according to reviewers). The warranty is a bit disappointing, offering only two years on the frame and parts. Most competitors cover the frame with a 10-year warranty, so you’ll want to make sure your Bowflex is assembled correctly.

Pros:

  • Full body style cardio workouts
  • 16 resistance levels and on-demand workouts through the JRNY app
  • In-home assembly for an additional fee

Cons:

  • Assembly can be time-consuming if done yourself
  • Shorter warranty compared to other brands
  • No speakers
Buy Bowflex Max Trainer M6

Best Under Desk Elliptical: Cubii Go Portable

At only 10 inches tall, the Cubii Go fits perfectly under your desk or table.

Cubii

At a Glance

  • Weight Capacity: 500 pounds while seated, 350 pounds of direct weight on the pedals
  • Resistance Levels: 10
  • Monitor: Backlit LCD
  • Machine Dimensions: ‎23.5 inches (L) x 17.5 inches (W) x 10 inches (H)
  • Warranty: Two years
  • Price: $299
Buy Cubii Go Portable

The little elliptical that could, the Cubii Go provides an elliptical experience for a fraction of the space and price. This portable elliptical fits seamlessly underneath your desk and can be taken on the go with its built-in wheels and retractable handle. Unlike under-desk treadmills, you don’t have to stand to work out on with the Cubii Go. Instead, you can stay seated and pedal during a meeting or while watching TV. Its large flywheel lets you go up to ten resistance levels while an illuminated display projects your stats back to you. Use the Cubii app to keep track of the details of your workout plus.

Pros:

  • Designed to help users work out when they are sedentary
  • Easily portable with included wheels, handle, and lightweight construction
  • Flywheel designed to help keep tension off of your joints

Cons:

  • Will not offer the same experience as a full-size elliptical; meant to increase activity levels rather than provide an intense workout 
Buy Cubii Go Portable

Best Rated Elliptical on Amazon: Niceday Elliptical Machine

The NiceDay can support users up to 400 pounds.

Niceday

At a Glance

  • Weight Capacity: 400 pounds
  • Resistance: 16 levels
  • Monitor: Digital display
  • Machine Dimensions: 62 inches (H) x 48 inches (L) x 25 inches (W)
  • Warranty: One-year
  • Price: $800
Buy Niceday Elliptical Machine

If you’re an Amazon devotee searching for the best-rated elliptical, let us save you the time of searching. Earning 4.4 out of 5 stars from over 2,800 reviews, it’s the Niceday Elliptical.

This elliptical comes 90 percent pre-assembled, a feature we appreciate. Equipped with large pedals and constructed with steel, the Niceday Elliptical trainer supports an impressive user weight of up to 400 pounds and will suit users between 4′ 9″ and 6′ 2″. Unfortunately, the 15.5-inch stride length may feel constricting to those over 6 feet tall.

Featuring a 16-pound flywheel and 16 levels of magnetic resistance, the Niceday Elliptical is quiet, emitting only 20 dB of noise. There are some mixed reviews on the noise of this treadmill. Some say it’s noisy, while others say it’s whisper quiet. If assembled correctly and maintained regularly, the noise should be minimal.

A battery-powered digital monitor displays time, speed, distance, and calories to keep you on track towards your health goals. Because of the more compact stride length, this elliptical will feel different from the ones you may have used in a commercial gym.

Pros:

  • Easy assembly, comes 90 percent pre-assembled
  • 400-pound weight limit
  • 16 magnetic resistance levels

Cons:

  • Stride length might be short for tall users
  • No workout programs
Buy Niceday Elliptical Machine

Who Should Buy an Elliptical?

Elliptical machines are an excellent choice for people looking for a low-impact, total-body cardio workout of any intensity. “You’re using both your arms and your legs to propel yourself, and you can adjust the resistance based on what works for you,” says Samantha April, P.T., D.P.T., U.S.A.-W. They’re also great for people with balance issues. “Someone may use an elliptical over a treadmill if they’re looking for something that’s a little more controlled and they want to move with the machine and keep their feet stationary versus a treadmill where they’re required to move,” says April.

However, elliptical machines are not ideal for people with small home gym spaces. “If space is a concern inside of your home gym, ellipticals take up a pretty fair amount of space, so it’s important that you’ll actually have the space to accommodate that,” April says.

How to Use an Elliptical

To get started, place your feet on the pedals and grab onto the handles. Then, begin moving your feet forward in a general walking motion. You can increase your speed as you get more comfortable.

Users can do a variety of workouts on an elliptical, from slow, easy walks to fast and intense interval sessions. We asked Matt Petrillo, C.S.C.S., director of adult fitness at The Annex Sports Performance in Passaic, N.J., how to get a great workout on the elliptical. “My clients utilize ellipticals through low-intensity interval training. To do this, choose a work interval ranging from 30-90 seconds and a rest interval between 30-60 seconds, making sure your work period is longer than your rest,” Petrillo says. He says when you are in your work period, you want to begin each round with your heart rate as close to 120 beats per minute as possible. By the end of your work period, you want your heart rate to be between 150-160 beats per minute. “During your rest period, the goal is to drop your heart rate to as close to 120 beats per minute as possible,” says Petrillo.

Don’t have a heart rate monitor? That’s ok, too. “Simply go at the fastest sustainable pace you can while only breathing through your nose during your work periods,” Petrillo says. Depending on fitness level and time constraints, do this for 15-30 rounds. “This type of workout helps build our aerobic system, which can greatly improve our cardiovascular and overall health,” Petrillo says.

How We Chose the Best Ellipticals

To help you choose the best elliptical for your needs and goals, we evaluated dozens of machines, looking at several factors, including size, functionality, available workouts, ease of use, setup, and more. We looked for models to suit a variety of buyers and budgets, with unique features. We considered product specs, user reviews, and online ratings to come to our final list. 

Learn more about our product review process.

What to Look For When Choosing an Elliptical Machine

Flywheel

The flywheel is the heavy, rotating wheel inside your machine. It provides stability and momentum while you pedal. A heavier flywheel offers a better, smoother ride and is generally more expensive.

Resistance

A range of resistance levels is important for workout intensity variability and training progression. Ellipticals function on a fixed track, so increasing speed is limited.

You’ll want an elliptical with enough resistance options for challenging workouts as your physical fitness improves.

Incline

Incline ranges on an elliptical are more of an added bonus than a must-have. They can add a level of variability to training. By increasing or decreasing the slope, you activate different muscle groups and change the intensity of the workout without necessarily changing speed or resistance. As the slope increases, more output is required from the user to generate speed, which will increase heart rate. It’s similar to walking up a hill versus walking on flat ground.

Stride Length

Stride length refers to how far apart the pedals move from one another when in use. The stride length most affects how comfortable and natural the stride feels for you. A short stride length will feel cramped to anyone with longer legs or particularly long strides. Conversely, a large stride length may feel awkward and clunky to someone with short legs. There is no universal best stride length since it’s highly dependent on your leg length and overall height. Most ellipticals feature a 20-inch stride length, which works for the vast majority of users.

Size

If you live in a small apartment or are equipping a tiny home gym space, you’ll want a compact elliptical that occupies minimal real estate. Measure out the space where you plan to use your elliptical before you start your search.

Tech and Features

If you’re a sucker for technology and place a premium on programming with top-of-the-line features and conveniences, make sure you find an elliptical that checks off all your boxes. Write out a list of your must-have technology specifications and features before you begin your search. This will help you narrow down your focus and streamline the process.

Cost

This may seem like a no-brainer, but knowing your budget is imperative when buying any type of home exercise equipment. Ellipticals come at a variety of price points, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

FAQs

How Many Calories Does an Elliptical Burn?

How many calories you burn depends on your body size, fitness level, and the intensity and duration of your workout. However, according to Harvard Health Publishing, users can expect to burn between 270–370 calories for 30 minutes of exercise on an elliptical machine.

Can You Lose Belly Fat With an Elliptical?

Yes, but not specifically. While it’s impossible to target fat burning in specific areas of your body, exercising on an elliptical machine, when paired with a weight-loss diet, can help users maintain a calorie deficit, contributing to all-over fat loss.

Which Elliptical Is Best for Weight Loss?

Consistency and accountability are crucial when it comes to weight loss. The best elliptical for weight loss is the machine you use regularly. Look for an elliptical with features to keep you motivated and focused. However, proper nutrition is just as important as having a consistent workout schedule.

Is the Elliptical a Full-Body Workout?

Yes. The elliptical works both the upper body and lower body, targeting your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, arms, and core.

Is Using An Elliptical Better Than Walking?

Walking and the elliptical are cardio workouts. Typically, ellipticals enable you to burn more calories with varied intensities, resistance, and preset workout options. Ellipticals are easier on your joints than walking, offering a solid alternative to the impact of walking on pavement or a treadmill.

How Long Does it Take to See Results While Using an Elliptical?

Seeing results from any form of exercise depends on your goals and the effort you put into your workouts.

Final Thoughts

Elliptical cross trainers are a great way to improve your cardio fitness and strength. The combination of the resistance from the pedals and handlebars provides you with a full-body workout. 

اترك تعليقاً

لن يتم نشر عنوان بريدك الإلكتروني. الحقول الإلزامية مشار إليها بـ *

زر الذهاب إلى الأعلى
انضم الى قناه التلجرام
انضم الى الواتساب