Elliptical Reviews - Top 10 Best Elliptical Machines for 2017

The Complete Guide to Buying the Best Home Elliptical- by Fitness Experts and Professionals

Top Rated Ellipticals for 2017 - Best Overall

Do you hate running? You’re not alone. If you’re just starting your fitness journey, a cross-trainer like the elliptical may be the perfect exercise machine for you. For many people coming from a sedentary background, it's a lot easier to start using an elliptical over just running. If you’re a fitness lover, perhaps you want to spice up your workout routine a bit. Get ready to dive in and see how you can get into the shape of your life by finding the best elliptical machine for you! Here's two of our best below:

Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

The Schwinn 470 checks off all the attributes you look for when purchasing a new elliptical. Whether it’s your very first exercise machine or a new addition to your home gym, you will be extremely satisfied with this choice. You can’t beat the customization and flexibility it offers you at this price point.

The Schwinn MY17 makes it easy for you to achieve the dream body you’ve always wanted! This is a superb choice for individuals who want the whole package deal: high-quality, intuitive, excellent performance, and bonus features for a convenient workout experience. Whether your goal is weight loss, to improve physical performance, or to build cardio endurance, you will love what this elliptical gives you.

Are all Elliptical's the same? Not really!

Read down below for comprehensive reviews of premium elliptical machines on the market for 2017. We’ll guide you through every step of the way so you can choose the model that fits your needs and budget.

Best High-End Elliptical Machines of 2017

Our top 2 home ellipticals for athletes and fitness lovers who want to tone their bodies, burn fat, and build cardio endurance

Sole Fitness E35

The Sole Fitness E35. For beginners to advanced fitness enthusiasts. The Sole Fitness E35 is for anyone looking to get their body into incredible shape. The price may repel shoppers on a budget, but you get what you pay for. But if you’re looking to invest in one of the top rated ellipticals around with superior quality, this model is for you!

ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer

The ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer. If you’re the type of person who gets easily bored while exercising, this elliptical is for you. With all the flexibility and customization options, your legs will get a great workout without having to climb up a mountain. And with the machine’s fun technology, you have the tools to work out anywhere in the world via Google Maps. With unlimited access to the workout library for fresh daily routines, the ProForm Cardio HIIT is a great choice for everyone.

Best Budget Ellipticals for 2017

For beginners and people who don’t have a ton of money to splurge on an exercise machine

Exerpeutic Aero Air Elliptical

The Exerpeutic Aero Air is for the extremely frugal. Recommended for beginners who aren’t overweight and for general use for smaller individuals. This is also one of the best compact elliptical machines which makes it a good choice when saving space is a priority! The Exerpeutic Aero Air offers many benefits that larger elliptical machines give, including a highly effective cardio workout that doesn’t stress your joints.

Gazelle Edge Elliptical

The Gazelle Edge is a good low-cost alternative to elliptical machines. Compared with very low budget models, the Gazelle Edge is a good buy — but compared to high-quality choices, you may want to look for other options if you want more features. The machine gives most users an excellent cardio workout.

The Winners: Best Eliptical Machines 2017

 

  
 
Design
Stride Length
Resistance
Max. Weight
Display
Performance
Price

1. Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

Design : Weighted Flywheel
Stride Length : 20 in.
Resistance : 25 lvls. Eddy Current Magnetic
Max. Weight : 300 lbs.
Display : Yes
Performance : Incline, 29 programs, 4 settings, goal tracking
Price: $$

2. Schwinn MY17 470 Elliptical

Design : Weighted Flywheel
Stride Length : 20 in.
Resistance : 25 lvls. Eddy Current Magnetic
Max. Weight : 300 lbs.
Display : Yes
Performance : Incline, 29 programs, 4 settings, goal tracking
Price: $$$

3. Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine

Design : Flywheel + High Gear Ration
Stride Length : 20-22 in.
Resistance : Eddy Current Brake Magnetic
Max. Weight : 375 lbs.
Display : Yes
Performance : Incline, 10 programs
Price: $$$$

4. ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer

Design : 28 lb. Flywheel
Stride Length : 12 in.
Resistance : 24 lvls. SMR Magnetic
Max. Weight : 350 lbs.
Display : Yes
Performance : 32 Workout Apps
Price: $$$

5. NordicTrack C 7.5 Elliptical

Design : 20 lb.Flywheel
Stride Length : 20 in.
Resistance : 22 lvls.
Max. Weight : 325 lbs.
Display : Yes
Performance : 26 Workout Apps
Price: $$

#1 Recommendation: Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

4.275 Overall
Design
Performance
Stride Length
Max User Weight
Price

Design

  •    Dimensions: 70.1″ L x 28.2″ W x 63.2″ H

The Schwinn 470 is a sleek beauty. A solid black body with hints of red and silver – you won’t be able to look away from this gorgeous machine.

There are two integrated levelers and a center frame support for even the most intense workout sessions. Wheels are located on the bottom front – you can easily pick the machine up from the rear and move it to where you want, from room to room.

There are 2 sets of handlebars for you to hold onto. The first is positioned at the center. They are static handlebars with heart rate sensor grips. The second set is moving handlebars – they are ergonomically positioned, with a comfortable grip. The angle of the moving handlebars allows you to find the most natural hand position.

The footplates are very large and cushioned. They allow you to easily to get on and off, as well as stay in place while using it.

The console includes a shelf that lets you place a tablet, phone, or another item for use during your workout. I like this convenient feature because it lets you watch your favorite TV series or a movie while you’re getting in your cardio.

Performance

  •    Resistance: 25 lvls.
  •    Stride Length: 20 in.
  •    Programs: 29
  •    Incline: 10 degrees
  •    Max. User Weight: 300 lbs.

The Schwinn 470 has a ten-degree motorized ramp with six different positions. We love the customization options because it gives you an ergonomic, fat-burning workout, with intuitive controls and programs to work with your specific fitness goals. The unit offers 29 programs that allow you to switch your routine up as often as you’d like. I think it makes it more fun to use since exercising can be boring and repetitive at times. You can make it as easy or as challenging as you wish. The machine can set 4 different profiles (name, weight, height, gender, etc.). This makes it easy for multiple members of your household to input and track his or her workout data.

The stride length is at an impressive 20 inches, which is quite longer than many of the cheaper models. With 25 levels of eddy current resistance, the high speed, high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel keeps your workouts smooth and quiet. Overall, the elliptical doesn’t sway and feels very sturdy.

The maximum user weight is 300 pounds – it caters towards individuals of all sapes and sizes. In comparison to cheap elliptical machines, which range between a 200 to 250-pound maximum user weight.

Display

The console comes with a SchwinnDualTrack, blue backlit, LCD window system. This allows you to monitor up to 13 different display feedbacks! An exciting feature is that you can use their fitness tracking website (SchwinnConnect) to review your goals and export data. This is excellent if you love keeping tabs on your own progress. Ultimately, it’s a heck of a lot easier for you to focus on your workouts without worrying about using an external source to track your sessions. For many people, this will be a wonderful motivational tool.

One complaint I have is that the console feels a little flimsy. You can tell just by picking it up – it’s made from plastic. So be careful when pressing the buttons. You want to avoid jamming your fingers into them.

Extra Features

  •    Charging USB port
  •    3-speed fan
  •    Acoustic chamber speakers

Don’t you hate it when your phone is on the verge of death with 5% battery life left? Or worse: you’re exercising hard, pumped up, your favorite workout jams are blasting through your earbuds from your device… but it’s about to die because you forgot to charge it! Fortunately, the Schwinn 470 eliminates this all-too-familiar problem. Charge your phone, tablet, or media device right in front of you.

The 3-speed fan is an awesome addition (which is also quiet). It does an excellent job of keeping you cool while you’re sweating through your exercise!

Price

You can get your hands on one of these for a reasonable cost. Although it’s not the cheapest choice, you save hundreds of dollars compared to very high-end models.

Bottom Line

The Schwinn 470 checks off all the attributes you look for when purchasing a new elliptical for home use. Whether it’s your very first exercise machine or a new addition to your home gym, you will be extremely satisfied with this choice. Using this machine is super easy and comfortable! You can’t beat the customization and flexibility it offers you at this price point. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is the best elliptical machine on the market

#2 Recommendation: Schwinn MY17 470 Elliptical

4 Overall
Design
Performance
Stride Length
Max User Weight
Price

Design

  •    Dimensions:

The Schwinn MY17 470 Elliptical is the newest version of the Schwinn 470. The updated design now comes in a handsome chrome gray and silver, with hints of red. This machine provides a whole-body workout, with less stress on your joints – all from the comforts of your own home! The frame can withstand heavy use. It is a solid build made of steel and plastic.

The stride is 20 inches in length and on the longer end of strides compared to many elliptical machines.

Like the older model, the footplates are large and comfortable. They contribute to the overall stability of the elliptical, prevent you from losing your balance, and gives you the most natural movement for each stride. The weight capacity is equivalent to its predecessor: 300 pounds.

Performance

  •    Resistance: 25 lvls.
  •    Stride Length: 20 in.
  •    Programs: 29
  •    Incline: 10 degrees
  •    Max. User Weight: 300 lbs.

The Schwinn MY17 470 runs on a motorized incline system. There are 10 incline levels, from 0 – 10 degrees. The elevation can be adjusted via console or manually by adjusting the lift attached to the small motor. With resistance, you increase or decrease the level from the console. There is a total of 25 resistance levels to choose from. If you’re using a pre-set program, the resistance will adjust accordingly. The higher the number, the more resistance you will feel. The first resistance levels are an excellent way to warm up and feel like climbing an easy stairwell. But if you want a sweat-breaking, heart pounding workout, aim for higher resistance levels to feel like you’re climbing a steep mountain.

There are two sets of handlebars for you to grip – the center set is fixed; the outer set alternates forwards and backward. The fixed handlebars utilize sensors to pick up the heart rate. And the outer, moving handlebars feature one of the most flexible and comfortable

Display

The Schwinn MY17 470 ‘s display is a significant improvement from the older Schwinn 470. The refreshing interface is user-friendly and much easier to navigate. In addition, this model comes with Bluetooth connectivity. This is an exciting new feature because it lets you synchronize your workout data to your smartphone, tablet, or any other mobile device with Bluetooth capability. Once you transfer your workout data, you can view your fitness progress by using the “Schwinn Trainer” app that’s readily downloadable. If you prefer a different fitness tracking program (such as MyFitnessPal, Schwinn Connect, etc.), you can, of course, choose to do so.

Price

The cost is on the higher end, but you get so much value for what you pay for.

Bottom Line

This is a top rated elliptical machine for individuals who want the whole package deal: high-quality, intuitive, excellent performance, and bonus features for a convenient workout experience. Whether your goal is weight loss, to improve physical performance, or to build cardio endurance, you will love what this elliptical gives you. Exercising can feel like a struggle sometimes. But the Schwinn MY17 makes it easier for you to achieve the dream body you’ve always wanted!

#3 Recommendation: Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine

3.85 Overall
Design
Performance
Stride Length
Max User Weight
Price

Design

  •    Dimensions: 82” L x 31” W x 67” H

The Sole Fitness E35 is a stunning piece, built with a black, thick steel frame to support intensive use and uphold the most extreme force exertions. It is a superior, high-end design, to last you a lifetime. The aluminum flywheel is a whopping 25 pounds, and it proudly displays the “Sole” logo. The four rear wheels ride on heavy duty rails – they provide a more smooth and stable feel while reducing any shaky foot pedal motions.

Performance

  •    Resistance: 16 lvls.
  •    Stride Length: 20-22 in.
  •    Programs: 10
  •    Incline: 30 degrees
  •    Max. User Weight: 375 lbs.

The Sole Fitness E35 is one of the best home elliptical trainers when it comes to performance. One of the standout features with this machine is the 30-degree incline. Control the power incline with just a press of a button. If you’re looking to challenge your body and test your fitness, set this up at the maximum incline level. Your legs will get one of the most rigorous workouts as you simultaneously burn through calories. The Sole Fitness E35 lets you pedal both forwards and in reverse motion. This is a huge advantage because it lets you work different muscles in your legs. You can adjust the stride length from 20” to 22,” which comes with comfortable footrests.

There are 16 resistance levels, which is a bit below average, but it allows you to determine and control the intensity level most appropriate for you. The whisper quiet drive system gives you a fluid and natural motion. The noise level is minimal so if you’re looking for a quiet elliptical for your apartment, this one’s perfect as it’s not loud enough to disturb neighbors or people in other parts of your home. Another pro that sets this model apart from others is its outstanding maximum user weight capacity of 375 lbs.

This model comes with 10 programs – 6 standard, 2 custom, and 2 heart programs. While the programs give you a decent selection to vary your workouts, it’s a little disappointing that more aren’t included. However, for the average fitness enthusiast, the 10 preset programs will be enough to tone essential muscle groups in your legs, as well as increase your overall cardio endurance. Furthermore, this machine gives you 2 user profiles. While we appreciate the extra user profile, we can’t help but wish that there were more. For example the Schwinn 470 models, our #1 and #2 recommended picks, offer you 4 user profiles.

The handlebars are designed for multi-grip positions. You can place your hands where you feel most comfortable. Monitor your heart rate by gripping the handlebars, or use the included chest strap for a hands-free workout session.

Display

The large 7.5” console comes equipped with a white backlit LCD display. Monitor your speed, incline, time, distance traveled, calories burned, pulse, and pace. You can transfer this data via Bluetooth to any of your smart devices.

Extra Features

  •    Charging USB port
  •    Speed fan
  •    Built-in speakers

Price

The Sole Fitness E35 is undoubtedly a high quality elliptical machine. It’s the type of model you’d see in gym franchises, so the price is hefty.

Bottom Line

For beginners to advanced fitness enthusiasts. The Sole Fitness E35 is for anyone looking to get their body into incredible shape. The price may repel shoppers on a budget, but you get what you pay for. Performance wise, it’s a bit basic for an elliptical machine. But if you’re looking to invest in a top elliptical machine with superior quality, this model is for you!

#4 Recommendation : ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer

3.825 Overall
Design
Performance
Stride Length
Max User Weight
Price

Design

  •    Dimensions: 39″ L x 29.25″ W x 66.7″ H

A lustrous, black & gray, high-tech design – the ProForm Cardio HIIT is a modern and innovative exercise machine. As the name implies, this elliptical is all about HIIT (high-intensity interval training). The frame is constructed from commercial-gauge steel. It’s built like a tank and comes with a heavy-duty, 28-pound flywheel. One of the biggest concerns people have about in-home fitness equipment is the amount of space it takes up. The ProForm Cardio HIIT resolves those concerns as it’s a compact elliptical machine that only takes up half the space of a normal trainer, leaving you with plenty of room to roam. The quality is comparable to those you typically find at gym clubs and fitness franchises. Are you ready to have fun while you get into the best shape of your life?!

 

Performance

  •    Resistance: 24 lvls.
  •    Stride Length: 10 in. vertical, 5 in. horizontal
  •    Programs: 32
  •    Incline: N/A
  •    Max. User Weight: 350 lbs.

With this total body trainer, you can reduce the risk of physical strain, burn calories rapidly, and sculpt your body. Your feet are constantly in touch with the cushioned pedals. Each stride is joint-friendly for incredible efficiency and endurance. In addition, the ProForm Cardio HIIT is not only a great for small space, but is also quiet and lightweight, making it the best residential elliptical around. The HIIT trainer runs on SMR Silent Magnetic resistance: it’s remarkably quiet, smooth, and durable so you can focus on your workout without disturbing your home.

Choose from 24 resistance levels to adjust how intense you want your workout session to be. The ProForm Cardio HIIT has a total of 32 preset workout programs! It combines a smooth 10-inch vertical elliptical path with powerful upper-body movements (utilizing the handlebars) to simulate stepping while boxing, getting your body sweating and burning calories throughout your workout. Unlike some of its competitors, the HIIT Trainer is uniquely designed for your feet to travel on a 10-inch vertical and 5-inch horizontal elliptical path. This motion puts you on track to burn more calories by activating your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, biceps, and triceps – all in a single motion. The handlebars have an EKG grip pulse heart rate monitor and are comfortable to hold onto.

For additional programming and automated stats tracking, you can use the ProForm Cardio HIIT with an iFit membership. We highly recommend that you subscribe to iFit Coach due to its extensive library and usefulness. But if you’re unsure whether you want to make that commitment, a free 30-day trial is included. The machine’s 7″ screen doesn’t show iFit workouts. However, you can attach your own tablet to use iFit video workouts from professional personal trainers, Google Maps workouts with interactive street views, and much more.

Display

This unit comes with the 7” LED-backlit display. It shows you your speed, time, distance, and calories burned.

Extra Features

  •    CoolAire workout fan
  •    Built-in tablet holder
  •    Audio auxiliary port
  •    Water bottle holder

Price

Not the cheapest. But you get so much value for the price you pay, especially for the build quality and all the workout programs you get.

 

Bottom Line

With the machine’s fun technology, you have the tools to diversify your exercise routine and workout anywhere in the world via Google Maps. With unlimited access to the workout library for fresh daily routines, the ProForm Cardio HIIT is a great choice for everyone. On top of that, it’s especially convenient for those who don’t have a lot of space for an exercise machine in their home due to its compact size.

#5 Recommendation: NordicTrack C 7.5 Elliptical

3.7 Overall
Design
Performance
Stride Length
Max User Weight
Price

Design

  •    Dimensions: 67.1″ L x 25″ W x 69.1″ H

Known for superior quality designs, the NordicTrack C 7.5 is a comfortable and dependable machine at a mid-entry level price. The elliptical is designed in a sophisticated gray with streaks of black on the edges, handlebars, and foot-pedals.

Performance

  •    Resistance: 22 lvls.
  •    Stride Length: 20 in.
  •    Programs: 26
  •    Incline: 20 degrees
  •    Max. User Weight: 325 lbs.

The C 7.5 comes with a 20-pound flywheel and the stride is fixed at 20”, which are both above average compared to cheaper models. The pedals are oversized and cushioned for maximum foot comfort. The handlebars feature a soft touch grip that accommodates any height. The integrated EKG pulse grip on the handlebars send your reading to the console. There are fewer adjustable features on this machine compared to higher-end models, but you can still adjust your incline levels from 0 to 20 degrees. You can intensify your workout by cruising through 22 resistance levels. By tweaking the incline and resistance, you can customize your workout results, toning and burning calories for a whole-body workout that is very easy on the joints.

The NordicTrack C 7.5 also gives you 26 workout apps to choose from! You can get professional training using these preloaded workout programs, all of which were designed by certified personal trainers. If you’re not the most tech-savvy, there’s no need to stress over adjusting the controls – you can focus on pushing yourself through tough elliptical workouts because the preset programs automatically adjust your machine’s incline and resistance to reach certain fitness goals. On the other hand, if you prefer to regulate the equipment’s settings, the OneTouch controls allow you to swiftly change settings without scrolling through tons of options. Adjust your speed and incline with the touch of a single button.

Like the ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer, the NordicTrack C 7.5 is iFit Bluetooth smart enabled. Simply connect your tablet or smart device to the machine. From there, you can maximize your exercise experience with customized training programs, automatic stats tracking, Google Maps routes, a brand-new workout every day, and much more! Please note that iFit requires membership, which must be purchased separately.

Display

Track your total calories burned and your workout progress on the 5” backlit display. The console makes it easy for you to view your speed, time, distance, pulse, and calories burned. The C 7.5 has an integrated sound system that can connect to any standard headphone jack – it projects high-quality sound through dual 2-inch speakers.

Extra Features

  •    Integrated tablet shelf
  •    Autobreeze workout fan
  •    Water bottle holder
  •    iPod compatible sound system

Price

Mid-high price point. More expensive than cheaper models, but not as costly as high-end options.

Bottom Line

The NordicTrack C 7.5 is one of the best home use ellipticals you can find on the market because it’s almost as well-built and fully-featured as high-end machines, but costs hundreds less.

#6 Recommendation: Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer

3.675 Overall
Design
Performance
Stride Length
Max User Weight
Price

Design

  •    Dimensions: 57.5″ L x 24″ W x 66″ H

The Fitness Reality E5500XL is a slim unit that’s sturdy enough to endure some extensive use. It’s not heavy duty, but it does hold up better than low-quality exercise machines. A unique aspect of the design is that it operates with a consistent 2 flywheel and 2 belt design system. A Double transmission system results in increased momentum and a smoother striding motion. The double transmission utilizes a compact design that reduces the overall size of the elliptical trainer.

Performance

  •    Resistance: 24 lvls.
  •    Stride Length: 18 in.
  •    Programs: 21
  •    Incline: N/A
  •    Max. User Weight: 270 lbs.

The stride length is only 18 inches, which is a little bit shorter than average. This shouldn’t be an issue for most users, but if you have extremely long legs, this could potentially be a problem. The weight capacity is 270 pounds – once again, not the greatest. But it will be ok for most individuals. The product runs very smooth, but it tends to squeak when you push down with firm force.

We’re bummed out that the Fitness Reality E5500XL doesn’t have incline controls. But you get what you pay for – as the price drops, there are fewer features and customization options on exercise machines. So if you’re looking for a trainer that gives you a climbing workout, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

The lowest position of the pedals is only 6 inches off the ground providing safe on and off capability. The distance between the two pedals is only 6 inch so there is no strain on the inner thighs. The foot pedals, however, aren’t any special. And they’re not cushioned like many of the higher-end elliptical trainers. The dual handlebars

Display

The backlit LCD console is basic, but it shows you the essential data you need. It displays distance, time, RPM, calories burned, speed, pulse, odometer, and watts. The “recovery” feature provides heart rate evaluation after your workout.

Extra Features

  •    Tablet holder
  •    Water bottle holder

Price

The price point is where the Fitness Reality E5500XL shines. It’s affordable without sacrificing a significant amount of quality or stability.

Bottom Line

The Fitness Reality E5500XL is a wonderful choice for beginners who want to get back into shape, but don’t want to spend tons of money on fitness equipment. It’s what makes it the best inexpensive elliptical machine out there. Moreover,i it’s also a great choice for fitness fans who want something compact and convenient in their home.

#7 Recommendation: Nautilus E614 Elliptical

3.475 Overall
Design
Performance
Stride Length
Max User Weight
Price

Design

  •    Dimensions: 70L x 28W x 71H

The Nautilus E614 is a traditional black & gray elliptical trainer with two integrated levelers and two center frames for support.

Performance

  •    Resistance: 20 lvls.
  •    Stride Length: 20 in.
  •    Programs: 22
  •    Incline: 6 position manual ramp adjustment
  •    Max. User Weight: 300 lbs.

This machine is very sturdy but it does have more movement than a commercial elliptical. The movement shouldn’t bother most people during the workout. However, you may find it annoying when your tablet on the tablet holder moves while trying to read or watch a show. A fixed mount TV in the room would solve this problem. The 20” stride is smooth with large, cushioned footplates. I’m very sensitive to stride and this one doesn’t have the annoying kick/bump feeling at the back of the stride that some less expensive brands do.

The Nautilus E614 has 20 levels of resistance for you to adjust your workout intensity. The unit does not have a power control to adjust the incline angle. But you can manually set the ramp to 6 different positions which will help you stay challenged and get fit without being bored. The 22 preset programs include 9 profile, 8 heart rate controlled, 2 user profiles, 2 fitness tests, and a Quickstart option.

We love that you can track your goals and progress by transferring your workout data via the USB port to the Nautilus Connect website. Stay motivated by seeing your progress! And if you prefer, you can sync your info to the MyFitnessPal application.

Display

The two LCD window system displays time, distance, and calories in different areas so you can simultaneously watch your favorite show or read on your tablet.

Extra Features

  •    Tablet holder
  •    USB charging port
  •    Acoustic chambered speakers
  •    3-speed fan

Price

Intermediate price range.

Bottom Line

For the price, the Nautilus E614 is a great alternative to the high end elliptical machines, especially if you’re a beginner or average user. Overall, this has a nice appearance and feel. It’s also an excellent step up if you’re looking to upgrade to a model with extra features.

#8 Recommendation: Universal E40 Elliptical

3.225 Overall
Design
Performance
Stride Length
Max User Weight
Price

Design

  •    Dimensions: 56” L x 23.7” W x 64.5” H

The Universal E40 is another lightweight elliptical machine amongst our top picks! It’s super easy to use, easy to move, and has a smooth, quiet action. It’s robust and surprisingly durable. Although not as heavy as commercial exercise machines at the gym, you can get incredible workouts in with this affordable home trainer.

Performance

  •    Resistance: 8 lvls.
  •    Stride Length: 17 in.
  •    Programs: 7
  •    Incline: N/A
  •    Max. User Weight: 275 lbs.

The 7 pre-programmed modes are a little limited, but still offer a good variety such as fun rides, mountains, and challenges. Toggling between the settings is easy even while you are using the machine. Combined with the 8 resistance levels, you can get a challenging workout.

The handlebars are covered in comfortable padded hand grips. In addition, the hand grips have in-built pulse sensors that track your heart rate. The footboards are wide and have a soft footrest.

As is the case with many fixed stride length machines, the Universal E40 elliptical may not be suitable for tall individuals with long legs because it only has a stride length of 17 inches.

Display

The control panel is basic and is highlighted by the LCD console which displays time, pulse, RPM, pulse, speed, distance, heart rate, resistance level, and course profile. The screen is organized, and the icons and numbers are easily visible. One drawback is that there is no backlight. In a bright room, you may find that some of the data is difficult to read.

Extra Features

  •    Built-in speakers
  •    Reading tray

Price

A great budget-friendly and inexpensive elliptical machine!

Bottom Line

The Universal E40 is an outstanding entry-level trainer that gives you great value for the price and is the ideal apartment sized elliptical due to its compact size. This model delivers all the results you desire in an affordable and easy-to-use machine. It’s the perfect budget-friendly choice for a quality model!

#9 Recommendation: Exerpeutic Aero Air Elliptical

2.95 Overall
Design
Performance
Stride Length
Max User Weight
Price

Design

  •    Dimensions: 33” L x 19” W x 46” H

The Exerpeutic boasts a minimalist and compact design with a simple frame.

Performance

  •    Resistance: 8 lvls.
  •    Stride Length: 12 in.
  •    Programs: None
  •    Incline: N/A
  •    Max. User Weight: 220 lbs.

The Exerpeutic has a maximum weight capacity of 220 pounds. However, due to the weaker construction of the elliptical, we recommend this product to be used by people who are lighter in weight. The model works fine when it’s functioning properly. But the last thing you want is to exercise on a fitness machine, and then injure yourself because of the unit’s poor build quality.

There are only 8 resistance levels on this small elliptical and you adjust the tension manually by twisting the dial. Unfortunately, there is no uphill or downhill incline action. And no preset workout programs. While the low price may be appealing, owners of this unit warn about performance issues and pain. Spending a little bit more can bring significantly better workout experiences.

Something to consider before you purchase: due to the quality, you will occasionally have to maintain this machine by checking if there are any screws loose. If there are, you’ll need to tighten them up. If you don’t, parts will become loose. And eventually, you’ll start to hear some obnoxious noises. Inevitably, it is highly probable that the elliptical will become broken.

Another negative aspect is that there is no media tray. So if you need a space to hold your tablet or smartphone, you’re out of luck here.

Display

The LCD computer display is easy to read and indicates distance, calories burned, elapsed time, and speed. It’s not the most extensive, but it shows you the most important data you’ll want to know during your workout.

Price

Super low price! This is probably one of the world’s cheapest and best elliptical machines under 300 dollars.

Bottom Line

The Exerpeutic Aero Air is for the extremely frugal. Recommended for beginners who aren’t overweight and for general use for smaller individuals. This is also a good choice when saving space is a priority! The Exerpeutic Aero Air offers many benefits that larger elliptical machines give, including a highly effective cardio workout that doesn’t stress your joints. Simultaneously, it allows you to work your upper and lower body – all at a fraction of the cost!

#10 Recommendation: Gazelle Edge

2.425 Overall
Design
Performance
Stride Length
Max User Weight
Price
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Design

  •    Dimensions: 43” L x 28” W x 53.75” H

The Gazelle Edge is designed as a low-cost alternative to clunky elliptical machines. The Gazelle Edge is specifically designed for low-impact exercise that’s gentle on the ankles, knees, joints, and ligaments. The frame is 1.5 inches and made of steel.

Performance

  •    Resistance: N/A
  •    Stride Length: N/A
  •    Programs: None
  •    Incline: N/A
  •    Max. User Weight: 250 lbs.

The range of motion is surprisingly quite impressive. It goes from a slow walk to full run with no sudden stops. The Gazelle Edge may disappoint athletes or advanced individuals because the resistance is very low. Ultimately, you burn calories at a much lower rate compared with elliptical training. On top of that, you don’t get the same strength-training benefits since there aren’t any resistance or incline intensity options. Each movement is smooth and quiet – which makes it great a great elliptical for home use.

Display

The Edge features a battery-operated (two AAA batteries included) 5-function workout computer, which provides immediate feedback on speed, distance, time, and calories burned.

Price

Super budget-friendly!

Bottom Line

The Gazelle Edge is a good low-cost alternative to elliptical machines. Compared with very low budget models, the Gazelle Edge is a good buy — but compared to high-quality choices, you may want to look for other options if you want more features. The machine gives most users a good cardio workout, but it’s not as great for toning muscles.

The Ultimate Buying Guide for Elliptical Machines

Elliptical machines are capable of providing you with a full body workout, without the risk of injuries. They are relatively easy to use, and are capable of providing you with a low-impact cardio workout. Thanks to the various settings and features these machines can come with, an elliptical can be a good match for people at all fitness levels.

Before you rush out and purchase an elliptical, there are a few factors to consider. Keep reading to see if one of these exercise machines can help you reach your fitness goals.

Ellipticals vs Treadmills

It is important to understand that ellipticals are different than treadmills, even though both machines are capable of providing you with a full cardio workout. While treadmills are some of the most well researched exercise machines, dating back to the late 1800’s, they still come with some problems.

Exercising on a treadmill can be hard on your joints and the unnatural position of the handles, along with an incorrect belt size, often causes problems with posture over time. Treadmills can also be more difficult to use, especially when you are “running up hill”, and this can make some people simply give up on achieving their fitness goals.

When it comes to elliptical exercise machines the benefits typically outnumber the disadvantages, and this often makes them the a great choice for anyone that is looking for a safe and effective way to burn fat and calories.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Elliptical Trainers

There are several health benefits associated with regular workouts on an elliptical. Some you may already know, while others may surprise you.

Elliptical Benefits

  • An elliptical is less strenuous on your joints, while still allowing you to emulate running since your feet never leave the pedals.
  • Thanks to the “moveable” handles you can work on your upper and lower body at the same time. This makes it a little easier for you to successfully achieve a full body workout.
  • Some models can be programmed for a “reverse stride” which makes it easy for you to target different muscle groups. This includes your quads, along with a variety of mid body workouts.
  • Since an elliptical is easier to use than a treadmill it is not uncommon for people to put a little more exertion into their workout. This allows them to burn the same number of calories as they would on a treadmill, without having to spend extra time.
  • Exercising for one hour on an elliptical can burn up to 773 calories, according to a study conducted by the Medical College of Wisconsin.

The main advantage to choosing a top rated elliptical over a treadmill is the simple fact that these machines are typically safer to use, and this means fewer injuries that could sideline your exercise plan. There are a few disadvantages to these exercise machines that are also important to know before you make your final decision.

Disadvantages of an Elliptical Machine

Even though there are only a few disadvantages it is important that you are well informed since your choice of exercise machine will have an impact on how safe and effective your workout is.

  • Ellipticals can be less dynamic than a treadmill unless you choose one that allows you to adjust the incline and speed. These models often come at a higher price, but for some people the added cost is well worth it.
  • The same feature that helps to reduce stress on your joints, pedals suspended off the ground, can also be a downside. Since the weight bearing effect is minimized ellipticals don’t strengthen bones and muscles. This can be important for adults over 50 who are concerned about preventing osteoporosis.
  • It is easy to use the machine’s momentum instead of your own when it is set on a lower level, and this will minimize the effectiveness of the workout.

Even though there are some disadvantages associated with using an elliptical trainer, in most cases they are outweighed by the benefits.

What to Look For in an Elliptical

Before you start shopping, there are a few questions you should ask yourself to ensure you get an elliptical trainer for your specific fitness goals.

When are you planning on using the elliptical?

One of the most popular and common times for people to squeeze in a good cardio workout is in the morning, often when others are sleeping. This means that you will want to choose one that is designed to be quiet, and there are several ellipticals for home use that are basically noiseless.

Where are you going to put the elliptical?

This is an important question to consider. The last thing you want to do is purchase an elliptical trainer that is too large for the space. Not only is this frustrating, in some cases returning the machine can be a hassle. Carefully measuring the amount of space you have, along with taking note of any low hanging light fixtures will save you a lot of time, money and frustration.

Are you always going to use it in the same place?

Thanks to advances in technology not all ellipticals are large stationary models, some are small enough to fit easily under a desk. If you want to get in a little cardio exercise at the office or take the elliptical when you travel, you will probably want to consider one of the top rated portable elliptical machines.

Once you have answered these simple questions you will have a better idea of what you are looking for in an elliptical trainer.

Types of Ellipticals

Elliptical machines are typically grouped into 3 categories, and understanding the differences will make it easier for you to purchase the best type of elliptical for you. It should be noted that the names for the different types are often used interchangeably, and this can be confusing if you are new to these exercise machines.

Elliptical Trainer

This is the most basic and often the best priced type. By standing on the pedals and moving them in a circular motion, you can effectively work your glutes, quads and hamstrings. Unfortunately, it does come with stationary handles so you only get a lower body workout.

Elliptical Cross-trainer

When you think of these machines, this is probably what you envision. They are also the most common. Not only does the cross-trainer come with pedals, but also moveable handles. This allows you to work your legs, along with your arms, shoulders, chest and upper back. While these ellipticals are often priced a little higher, it can provide you with a full body workout.

Elliptical Glider

Like the basic trainer, an elliptical glider does not come with moveable handles. The difference between the two types is the pedal motion. Instead of circling, the pedals move up and down at a slight angle. While you won’t be able to get a full-body workout, these machines will still exercise your legs.

In recent years, elliptical manufactures have also started grouping these machines into additional categories. Those that come with heart rate monitors and ones that come without.

Deciding which type of elliptical is ideal for you will depend on your budget, and most importantly your ultimate fitness goals.

Elliptical Features

Now that you have a better understanding of these safe and effective exercise machines, it is time to consider the included features. Every elliptical trainer comes with certain features, some are standard and others come at price. Spending a few minutes to consider which ones are necessary for you to get the ultimate results out of your workouts will help you choose the right elliptical to help you meet, and even exceed your fitness goals.

Stability

One of the first aspects to consider is the stability of the machine, and this is also the most important when it comes to your safety. Previously heavy stationary ellipticals were always considered the most stable, but advances in technology have also made the majority of compact models just as safe for most people to use.

When you are using the elliptical you should feel like you are well balanced, regardless of its size. This will allow you to concentrate on your workout, instead of worrying about falling off of the machine. We do recommend a heavier stationary elliptical for larger adults since these machines are designed to provide plenty of balance.

Size

Ellipticals come in a range of sizes, and you want to ensure that the one you choose fits in your space. Most are around 6 feet in length and 2.5 feet in width, but this can vary depending on the type and manufacturer. You can find some measuring 4 feet, while others can be up to 7 feet long. There are also portable elliptical machines that are compact enough to fit underneath a desk.

You also want to pay attention to the height, especially if you have low ceilings. The last thing you want is to hit your head while you are pedaling.

Design

The design or configuration refers to where the flywheel is located, and this is important for several reasons. Not only does it influence the size and cost of the exercise machine, but also your workout.

  1.   Front Drive: The flywheel is at the front, usually in a protective casing. The pedals are on small wheels that glide smoothly on the track. While often affordably priced, these elliptical machines can be noisy. Vibrations are also a common compliant.
  2.   Center Drive: As the name implies, the fly or drive wheel is placed in the center of the machine. The pedals are on a crank shaft and cylindrical rollers. This configuration often allows for smooth and gentle transitions when adjusting stride length or resistance.
  3.   Rear Drive: This design has the drive wheel located at the back, in a small casing. The pedals can either be suspended on long arms, between the flywheel and moveable handgrips, or it can come with a track and roller setup. Suspended pedals will give you a smooth and quiet performance, while the track or ramp tilts to provide the incline if it comes with a track and roller setup.

Maximum User Weight

Even though all top-rated elliptical trainers are designed to be study, it is still important to check the maximum weight limit. Not all manufacturers clearly list this, so you might have to ask before making a final decision.

Stride Length

The stride length can vary, and it is an important consideration. It will affect everything from comfort and safety to the effectiveness of your workout. Stride lengths range from 12 inches up to 24 inches, and some models will even allow you to adjust it as you go.

If you are over 5’ in height, a stride length between 18 to 22 inches will feel smooth and natural. Taller users, over 6’, should look for an elliptical with a 20 to 24-inch stride. The price of the elliptical will also determine its stride length, with less expensive models typically coming with one between 12 to 16 inches.

Resistance

Another aspect to consider is the machine’s resistance and there should be several levels for you to choose from, ranging from low to high. The amount of resistance will determine how effective your workout is, and being able to adjust it can also minimize your risk of injury. The resistance is generally provided by one of two technologies, fan wheel or magnetic and each comes with its own advantages.

  • Fan wheel resistance is commonly found on inexpensive elliptical machines, and it will provide you with a smooth and gradual increase in resistance. The main downside is that it can be noisy.
  • Magnetic resistance is quiet and will provide you with a consistent and natural increase in resistance. However this technology does come at a slightly higher price.

Display/Computer Technology

Elliptical machines for home use are now designed to provide you with plenty of data during your workouts. This will make it easier for you to track your progress and reach your fitness goals. Often these machines come with preset functions, and it should be noted that the number of functions will affect the price.

Some functions that you will want to consider include being able to track heart rate, time on the machine and number of calories burned. Machines that come with different courses will make it easier for you to stay interested, and can help prevent boredom. Some elliptical trainers are even designed to “remember” your favorite courses so you can easily find it again with just the press of a button.

Adjustability

Being able to easily make adjusts to the machine, even during your workouts is important. Not only will this eliminate the need for you to stop in the middle of your workout, it also makes the cardio more effective. The top rated elliptical trainers will allow you to easily adjust the foot pedals, incline and the length of your stride. Your budget will help you decide if the adjustments can be made manually or with just the press of a button. Obviously being able to simply program any necessary adjustments is often preferable, but you can still get an effective cardio workout with a manual elliptical.

Extra Features

A few other features that you might want to consider, if your budget allows include:

  •         Levers/handles that will work your upper body
  •         Forward and reverse motions
  •         Locking pedals for safety when the machine is not in use.
  •         Low maintenance
  •         Included product/service warranty

Now that you know what to look for in an elliptical trainer, you’re ready to choose the right model for your budget, space and fitness goals.

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