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Best Elliptical Machines of 2022: A Low-Impact High-Quality Cardio Blast From the Comfort of Your Home

Looking for a low impact but high intensity workout? Snag one of these best elliptical machines for an effective workout.

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

Whether you’re looking for an alternative to running, a way to rehab an injury with the guidance of a physical therapist or an awesome joint-friendly cardio machine to add to your home gym, elliptical trainers are a great choice. They can be found at many different price points with a wide range of conveniences. The sheer volume of models available today can be overwhelming for even the most experienced cardio enthusiast, though.

If you are on the hunt for the best elliptical 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 of 2022 as well as a comprehensive guide on what to consider before you make your purchase.

Our Picks for the Best Elliptical Machine:

Best Overall Elliptical Machine: Nordictrack Commercial Elliptical 14.9

Topping our list as the best overall elliptical is the NordicTrack Commercial Elliptical 14.9. NordicTrack is a leader in the industry of fitness equipment, and the 14.9 lives up to the reputable brand name. It’s a high-quality, well constructed cardio machine with dynamic and interactive programming well-suited for beginners and experienced athletes alike.

This machine uses an impressive 32-pound flywheel, which is larger than most and provides plenty of stability and momentum for your workout. It features 26 levels of resistance, power incline ranges from 0%-20%, a 14-inch HD touchscreen, front-mounted transport wheels, two digitally amplified speakers, Bluetooth connectivity and an adjustable stride length for the oversized cushioned pedals.

The best part? This powerhouse comes with a 30-day iFit membership, an online training platform that will keep you motivated day after day. iFit membership provides exclusive access to thousands of on-demand workouts that vary in type, length and intensity. Led by world-class trainers, you’re able to choose from a variety of programming for your next sweat session. What’s more, the NordicTrack 14.9 is equipped with auto-adjusting trainer-led resistance and incline for a hands-free elliptical workout experience. iFit does require a membership after the 30-day free trial. Upon completion of the trial, the card on file is automatically charged $39 a month for a family membership.

The construction of this elliptical trainer is top-of-the-line. Made with an all-steel frame, the 14.9 is sturdy, durable and allows for multiple users. With an adjustable stride length and soft touch upper body grips, you can customize your elliptical workout to target specific muscle groups or to add variety to your training.

We gave the NordicTrack Commercial Elliptical 14.9 our “best overall” title because users rave that it’s comfortable, easy to use and compatible with iFit online training. It’s not the lowest cost elliptical on the market, but for those who want their money’s worth, it’s worth the price.

SPECS

  • Stride length: 17.5-inches-18.7-inches
  • Flywheel: 32 pounds
  • Resistance levels: 26 levels of SMR
  • Incline: 0%-20%
  • Monitor: 14-inch HD touchscreen
  • Machine dimensions: 67-inches (L) x 29-inches (W) x 69-inches (H)
  • Stats offered: Recorded via iFit and includes calories, incline, time, heart rate, distance, pace, and speed
  • Warranty: 10-years frame, 2-year parts, 1-year labor
  • Price: $1,799.00

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Best Compact Elliptical Machine: Bowflex Max Trainer M6

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. Bowflex reports that this compact option is one of the best selling models for Bowflex and for good reason. 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. It has a stride length of just 15-inches, so it may not be a great fit for taller individuals, but it still supports a user weight up to 300-pounds.

The M6 offers a great workout by featuring 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. In addition, it’s equipped with a unique burn rate display that shows 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. In purchasing the M6, you get a full year free membership to JRNY. Simply download the app, use the conveniently located magnetic media rack to secure your smart device and get pedaling.

Bowflex offers in-home assembly for an additional fee. If it’s within your budget, we recommend snagging that deal 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.

SPECS

  • Stride length: 16-inches
  • Machine dimensions: 46-inches (L) x 26 inches (W) x 64.2 inches (H)
  • Stats offered: Unique burn rate display showing calories burned, targeted training goals, time, and heart rate
  • Warranty: 2-years frame and parts, 90-days labor
  • Price: $1,399.00

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Best Budget Friendly Elliptical Machine: Sunny Health and Fitness Elliptical

Sunny-Health-Fitness-Pre-Programmed-Elliptical

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get an awesome cardio machine. If you’re on a budget and looking to get the biggest bang for your buck, take a look at the Sunny Health and Fitness Elliptical. Available on Amazon, it features 15-levels of electro-magnetic resistance, pulse sensors to measure your heart rate, non-slip foot pedals, upper body handlebars and a water bottle holder. Users report a smooth and quiet ride with easy-to-use programming.

Stay motivated with the 24 unique pre-programmed workouts—a feature not often seen on elliptical trainers at this price point. The LCD monitor displays speed, time, distance, calories burned, RPM, watt generations and resistance level, all of which help to keep you on track towards your health goals. If you prefer to work out while listening to your favorite tunes or watching a show, simply place your tablet or phone on the tablet holder.

The Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical is also quite sturdy. With floor stabilizers and maximum user weight of 330 pounds, this trainer was built to last. It should be noted that the freestride length falls shy of 16-inches, which may feel small for taller users. Additional front mounted transport wheels make it easy to move your machine out of the way when not in use.

SPECS

  • Stride length: 15.5-inches
  • Programming: 24 preprogrammed workouts
  • Resistance levels: 16-levels electro-magnetic
  • Machine dimensions: 55-inches (L) x 23-inches (W) x 64.5-inches (H)
  • Stats offered: Speed, RPM, distance, odometer, calories, WATT, heart rate, target heart rate, program, level
  • Warranty: 3-year structural frame, 180-days parts and components
  • Price: $387.76

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Best Elliptical Machine Under $1,000: Schwinn 430 Elliptical

Schwinn-430-Elliptical

The Schwinn 430 Elliptical is a high-quality, lower-cost option for those seeking a budget-friendly cardio addition to their home gym. It’s a basic elliptical, with no immersive training or connectivity, but otherwise, it doesn’t skimp on features: The Schwinn is equipped with a 20-inch elliptical stride, 22 preset workouts, two DualTrack LCD displays, an MP3-cable sound system, 20 levels of computer controlled resistance, six manual incline settings and pulse sensors built into the ergonomic handlebars.

The streamlined console has some nice added conveniences, including in-console speakers, MP3 input, USB port, media shelf, water bottle holder and a three speed console fan to keep you cool. Users appreciate the simplicity of the console, which is easy to use and read. To that end, the Schwinn 430 Elliptical holds two user profiles for multiple user set-up.

SPECS

  • Stride length: 20-inches
  • Machine dimensions: 70.1-inches(L) x 28.2-inches (W) x 63.2-inches (H)
  • Resistance levels: 20 levels of computer controlled resistance
  • Stats offered: Time, RPM, distance, pulse, speed, calories, resistance level, course profile, heart rate zone indicator, % complete indicator, intensity meter, user indicator, goal achievement
  • Monitor: DualTrack 2 LCD screens
  • Incline: 6-levels adjustable resistance
  • Warranty: 10-years frame, 2-years parts, 1-year electronics, 90-days labor
  • Price: $799

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Best Under Desk Elliptical: Stamina Inmotion Elliptical

Stamina-Inmotion-Elliptical

In today’s technological world, many of us spend hours a day seated behind a screen at a desk. An innovative way to break up your otherwise sedentary day is the Stamina Inmotion Elliptical, an under-desk option that aims to make it easy to keep your legs in motion when seated. This compact, lightweight and affordable mini strider helps you burn calories, tone your lower-body and improve your heart health—all while seated.

The Stamina Inmotion Elliptical functions with both forward and reverse motions, which target different muscle groups. A conveniently placed adjustable tension knob allows you to change the intensity of the movement with just the turn of a dial. Included with your purchase is the MUUV fitness app that offers both video guided workouts and personalized training. Monitor your progress on the easy to read monitor which displays number of strides per minute, total strides, exercise time and calories burned.

While the Stamina Inmotion Elliptical may not offer the same intensity as a full-sized elliptical, its compact design and portability offers a convenience that should not be underrated. Also, it’s quiet, so it won’t disturb your co-workers, and the stride is smooth with regular lubrication.

Specs

  • Stride length: N/A
  • Machine dimensions: ‎24.5-inches (L) x 17-inches (W) x 12-inches (H)
  • Stats offered: Strides per minute, total strides, exercise time, calories burned
  • Warranty: 1-year frame, 90-days parts
  • Price: Varies by color choice - $119.81, $129.00, $120.99

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Best Elliptical for Beginners: Nautilus E618

Nautilus-E618-Elliptical

When you’re looking to get started with an elliptical routine, but not sure where to start, the Nautilus E618 is a good option. Those new to elliptical workouts will appreciate the 29 preset training programs like heart rate and interval and customizable training options. It’s well-suited for beginners or seasoned athletes, as well. The E618 comes with a heart rate monitor chest strap which provides the most accurate heart rate reading to keep you in the zone so you can track your fitness metrics.

Equipped with lots of features, this elliptical trainer will challenge you while you make fitness gains. Multi-position handlebars with integrated incline and resistance controls allow for easy changes in intensity during the workout. Love fitness metrics? Bluetooth connectivity enables the transition of your workout data to the free Explore the World app. Explore the World features 19 locations from around the globe with 27 routes to vary your workout.

The specs on this cardio powerhouse include adjustable, tilting, backlit DualTrack monitors; 22-inch dual freestride rails; 10-degrees of motorized incline and angled cushioned foot plates that can be adjusted from zero to 10-degrees. This enables a comfortable and customized fit for different users. With a user weight maximum of 350-pounds, the Nautilus E618 will accommodate a wide range of new users.

Specs

  • Stride length: 22-inches
  • Flywheel: 17.3-pounds
  • Resistance levels: 25 levels
  • Inline: 0-10%
  • Machine dimensions: 73-inches (L) x 27-inches (W) x 67-inches (H)
  • Stats offered: Calories burned, Distance, Heart rate, RPM, Resistance, Speed, Time
  • Warranty: 15-years frame, 5-years parts and electronics, 2-years labor
  • Price: $1,399.00

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Best Elliptical for Weight Loss: Proform Pro HIIT H14

Proform-Pro-HIIT-H14-Elliptical

Unique, intense and effective are three words that describe the ProForm Pro HIIT H14. This compact climber machine works off a 10-inch vertical and 5-inch horizontal elliptical path designed for the 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, resulting in a workout that activates your calves, hamstrings, quads, glutes, biceps and triceps. The result? A quick yet highly effective way to get a calorie burn while gaining strength. 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.

It provides an immersive training experience via iFit which can be enjoyed on the 14-inch swivel HD touchscreen. You’ll receive a 30-day free family membership with your purchase which enables 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.) And, many workouts are trainer-led which means you can focus on your performance and get the most from a workout while they guide you through. It’s like having a personal trainer from the comfort of your home.

Users appreciate the variability in training offered, as well as the motivation provided by the trainers. If you aren’t interested in a subscription, simply take advantage of the 20-30 programmed workouts that vary in length and intensity. You should note the H14 does still require WiFi to access these.

Added conveniences make the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 attractive to anyone who appreciates extra features on their exercise machines. It comes equipped with oversized cushioned pedals, multifunctional handlebars that target 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.

SPECS

  • Machine dimensions: 29-inches (L) x 66-inches (D) x 52-inches (H)
  • Weight capacity: 325-pounds
  • Resistance: 26 levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance
  • Programs: 20-30 programmed workout options that require WiFi, manual mode, and iFit enabled for access to thousands of workouts
  • Monitor: 14-inch swivel HD touchscreen
  • Stride length: 10-inch vertical and 5-inch horizontal
  • Flywheel: 30-pounds inertia-enhanced flywheel
  • Stats offered: Time, calories, distance
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, 1-year labor
  • Price: $1,699.00

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Best Rated Elliptical on Amazon: Niceday Elliptical

Niceday-Elliptical

If you’re an Amazon devotee searching for the best rated elliptical, let us save you the time of searching. With over 1,000 good reviews, it’s the $600 Niceday Elliptical.

This elliptical comes 90% pre-assembled, making it easy to get started. Equipped with large pedals and constructed with steel, the Niceday Elliptical trainer supports an impressive user weight up to 400 pounds and will suit users between 4-foot 9-inches and 6-foot 2-inches. Unfortunately, the 15.5 inch stride length may feel constricting to those over 6 feet tall.

Featuring a 16-pound flywheel and eight levels of magnetic resistance, the Niceday Elliptical is quiet with only a 20dB noise emission. There are some mixed reviews on the noise of this treadmill. Some reported it to be noisy while others describe it as 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, the feel of this elliptical will be different that one you may have used in a commercial gym. Specifically, the stride has a more circular and less oval movement which may be a deterrent for some.

Specs

  • Stride length: 15.5-inches
  • Resistance: 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Flywheel: 16-pounds
  • Machine dimensions: 62-inches (H) x 48-inches (L) x 25-inches (W)
  • Stats offered: Time, speed, distance, calories, pulse
  • Warranty: Lifelong service promise
  • Price: $599.99

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Why Buy an Elliptical Machine?

Ellipticals provide low impact workouts that recruit muscles from your entire body so you can achieve your fitness goals. Studies show that elliptical trainer workouts offer similar results to running, as they can increase endurance while integrating both upper and lower body muscle groups. However, unlike running, ellipticals allow you to reach your health and cardio goals without stressing your joints.

Elliptical cross trainers offer a great range of features at various price points. Immersive training, incline options, preset workouts, resistance levels, multi-grip or stationary handlebars and Bluetooth connectivity are just a few. Whether you’re new to cardio or an experienced fitness enthusiast, you can find a home elliptical trainer that meets both your needs and budget.

Elliptical Machine Benefits

Ellipticals are low impact yet highly effective at improving cardio capacity and strength in both the upper and lower body. Program options on ellipticals can range from super high intensity, short duration sessions to longer, sustained endurance workouts—both of which serve to boost your fitness.

Because of the dynamic motion using both the upper and lower body, elliptical machines enable a full body workout. The ergonomic upright positioning of your body helps improve balance while strengthening specific leg muscles. In fact, ellipticals are often used as part of post-injury rehabilitation.

Who Are Elliptical Machines Good For?

Ellipticals are a great cardio option for anyone avoiding high impact activities such as running and jumping. Whether you’re on a permanent or temporary break from a running routine, ellipticals offer a great alternative to treadmills. Additionally, elliptical trainers serve as a strengthening and stability tool as part of postoperative or post-injury rehabilitation.

What to Look for in an Elliptical Machine

Flywheel

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

Resistance

A range of resistance levels is important to providing workout variability in intensity as well as for training progression. In other words, as your physical fitness improves, you want an elliptical with enough resistance options to grow with your evolving abilities. Ellipticals function on a fixed track, so increasing speed is limited. Having an elliptical trainer with a large range of resistance ensures that you’ll remain challenged as you progress in your fitness journey.

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, it requires more output from the user to generate speed, which will increase heart rate. It’s similar to walking up a hill versus on walking on flat ground.

Stride Length

Stride length refers to how far apart the pedals move from one another when in use. It’s the stride length that 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. That said, you’ll find that most ellipticals feature a 20-inch stride length, which appears to be a size that works for the vast majority of users.

Size

Depending on where you plan to house your machine, size can be an incredibly important factor in choosing an elliptical. 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. For those of us fortunate enough to have ample space in our home gyms, an elliptical with a larger footprint should work just fine. Measure out the space where you plan to use your elliptical before you start your search. Spending time drooling over an elliptical that simply won’t fit in your space is a waste of time and energy.

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 exercise equipment. Ellipticals can be found at a wide variety of price points, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.

Elliptical FAQs

Which is better: a treadmill or elliptical machine?

Both treadmills and elliptical machines are great tools to enhance your fitness. Whether a treadmill or elliptical is better than the other is highly dependent on your fitness goals and your physical capabilities. If you’re training for a running event, then a treadmill will be better for you. But even if running is your main focus, ellipticals are a great way to keep you active without over stressing your joints. For some, the impact from running or even walking causes real pain or injuries. In this case, elliptical machines are the better choice.

Which is better for your knees: an elliptical or an exercise bike?

Both ellipticals and recumbent or upright bikes keep your knees mobile while strengthening the muscles supporting the knee. Both are low impact, yet can provide intense workouts without adding unnecessary stress to your knee joints. The major difference between ellipticals and stationary bikes as they relate to the knee is in the joint force, body position and muscle activation.

Overall, cycling does not have as much load to the knee as an elliptical. However, which machine is better for your knee depends on whether you’re nursing an injury or simply looking to strengthen a specific supporting muscle. Both forms of exercise will keep your knee strong while reducing the change of future damage.

Which elliptical is best for weight loss?

Consistency and accountability are huge when it comes to weight loss. We choose the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 to be the best elliptical for weight loss because of its numerous programming options and access to the iFit community for camaraderie, motivation and the expert guidance of world-class trainers. However, proper nutrition is just as important as is having a consistent workout schedule. It’s imperative to dial in your nutrition for the best weight loss.

Is the elliptical a full body workout?

Yes. The elliptical targets the entire body working both the upper body (arms and core) as well as lower body. It targets a variety of muscle groups including glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, arms and core.

Is using an elliptical better than walking?

Walking and the elliptical are cardio workouts that involve the entire body. 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 workout depends on what goals you’re looking to achieve and how much you’re putting into your workouts. Are you dedicated? Consistent? Do you have a healthy diet? If you’re dedicated to your workout schedule and maintain a healthy diet, you may see results anywhere from two to eight weeks. Results are contingent on your ability to stay on track towards your fitness goals. Transforming your body takes time. Be patient and consistent, and you will see results.

Do elliptical machines work your stomach?

While elliptical machines don’t specifically target your stomach, they do engage the core. Maintain proper form and keep those abs consciously engaged to work your stomach.

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.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.

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