TOP 15 Best Elliptical Trainers & Machines Reviewed 2019 + Buying Guide

In this post, I am going to show you what the top 15 elliptical trainers for home are and personally review each one.

Plus, I will include an elliptical trainer buying guide, and arrange an FAQ section so all your elliptical trainer questions are answered.

The elliptical trainers in this list have helped countless people lose weight, get in shape, feel better and have more energy.

Let’s kick things off with those reviews I talked about.

TOP 15 Elliptical Machines Reviewed 2019

Precor EFX 222 Energy Series Elliptical Trainer

Review: Work your legs, core and arms all at once with this Precor Elliptical. The stride is vertically adjustable, which allows you to target muscles differently, depending on stride angle, and you can adjust resistance by using the sleek onboard console.

This model has moving arms making this elliptical trainer a true full-body workout.

Pros

  • Adjustable incline, to increase challenge.
  • Stride is vertically adjustable, which allows you to target muscles differently.
  • Resistance can be adjusted using the on screen interface.
  • Moving handlebars allow you to work arms at the same time.

Cons

  • Need to get off the elliptical to adjust the incline.

Takeaway

A high-quality elliptical trainer with innovative vertical stride adjustment to target muscles from different angles. The best elliptical machine of 2019 by one of the top, and original makers of elliptical machines.

Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer

Review: This Teeter elliptical is the perfect solution for those with limited mobility or bad knees. It has 0 impact and allows the rider to sit while exercising both arms and legs. The arms and seat adjust to fit all size riders.

Pros

  • Works both legs and arms, and allows you to focus on one or the other, or both at the same time.
  • 0 impact, gentle on back, hips and knees.
  • Can ride in a recumbent seated position.

Cons

  • The computer console has a small display that is hard for sight impaired folks to read.

Takeaway

Best elliptical of 2019 for riders with hip, knee or joint issues. A comfortable, 0 impact elliptical trainer.

Bowflex Max Trainer M7

Review: The Max 7 by Bowflex offers an intense workout because it combines a stepping motion with the elliptical motion for a more challenging stride.

But don’t worry, you can start resistance low and it goes from 0 to 20 levels of resistance to accommodate users of all fitness levels.

The on board console is excellent, providing streamed training and other useful info, and one of my favorite features is that the trainer takes up very little space, much less than a traditional elliptical trainer.

Pros

  • Streams workouts from professional trainers on a large, clear display.
  • Small footprint, ideal for smaller spaces.
  • Challenging workout.

Cons

  • Some models have developed a squeak after time.

Takeaway

The small footprint and tough workout provided by this elliptical trainer make it the best elliptical for small spaces.

Body Champ 3-in-1 Trio Trainer

Review: The versatility of the Body Champ is what I like about it. You can use it as an elliptical trainer, recumbent bike or upright bike, which is like having 3 machines in one.

Plus it has moving arms so you train your arms at the same time for a full-body workout.

Pros

  • 3 machines in one – elliptical trainer, recumbent and upright bike.
  • Height and aft adjustable seat.
  • Great price and a great value for all that you get.

Cons

  • May wobble a little, but overall it is pretty stable.

Takeaway

This elliptical trainer is three machines in one, making it a great value at a fair price.

Exerpeutic 1318 5000 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer

Review: The Exerpeutic elliptical trainer offers really challenging resistance, making it less likely you will outgrow the machine.

Plus the stride is more angled than other elliptical trainers, which adds to the challenge. This machine will certainly give you a spirited workout.

I also like the small compact footprint, this is one of the most compact elliptical machines out there.

Pros

  • More compact than most elliptical trainers.
  • Resistance goes from 1 to 24 and can be quite challenging at higher levels.
  • Includes a built-in heart rate monitor.
  • Has moving arms for a complete workout.

Cons

  • Challenging to put together, read the assembly instructions before attempting to assemble.

Takeaway

Tough and compact elliptical trainer, one of the best elliptical for home use because it takes up so little space.

Fitness Reality E5500XL Elliptical Trainer

Review: The Fitness reality elliptical trainer has a lot of details I really like. The resistance is magnetic, so there are no brake pads to replace.

The pedals, at their lowest, are 6 inches from the ground, so the machine is easy to get on and off of, and the stationary handlebars have built-in heart rate monitoring.

The arm handles mean you can get an arm workout at the same time, and when you are done using it, the transport wheels help you move it out of the way.

Pros

  • 24 levels of magnetic resistance means no brake pads to replace.
  • Transport wheels make it easy to move out of the way.
  • 18 inch stride length to accommodate riders of all heights.

Cons

  • The on board computer is outdated, technologically speaking.

Takeaway

Sturdy elliptical trainer with a reasonably long stride that is easy to use and get on and off of.

ProForm 520 E Elliptical

Review: What really stands out to me about this ProForm 520 E elliptical trainer is the ability to adjust both your stride and the machine incline, so you get the perfect fit with just the right level of challenge.

Dare I call this the Goldilocks of elliptical trainers?

It also includes a built-in heart rate monitor and moving arms to make sure you are in the zone and working your arms too. All this for under 1000 dollars. Not too shabby!

Pros

  • 5 incline levels, manual adjustment only.
  • Integrated heart rate monitor and moving arms.
  • Adjustable stride, with 19 inch max stride.

Cons

  • Tries to get you to register and pay for the subscription service, but just hold down the iFit button for 30 seconds to disable and get full functionality of your machine.

Takeaway

Easily one of the best ellipticals under 1000$, a quality machine from a trusted manufacturer with lots of great features.

Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

Review: This machine by Schwinn has been improved based on clients feedback about previous models.

It has been updated with several original new features and has an accessible price tag making it a top-rated home elliptical machine.

Pros

  • Tablet stand and charger.
  • Dual monitors allow you to both use the tablet stand and see your lower fitness monitor.
  • 29 preprogrammed routines, settings that can be saved for 4 family members, and a goal tracking feature with USB transfer of data to MyFitnessPal.
  • SchwinnConnet allows you to sync data to the Schwinn website.
  • 25 levels of resistance easily adjusted with one button on the side of the console.
  • 20 Inch stride.
  • 6 levels of motorized ramp height adjustment with easy-adjust buttons on the side of the console.
  • Built-in fan and speakers.
  • Touch heart rate monitor.
  • Moving and static handlebars.
  • Footprint: 70” by 28”.
  • Max weight 300 lbs.

Cons

  • Assembly is required and the console may take a read-through of the user manual to completely figure out.

Takeaway

One of the highest quality elliptical trainers at an accessible price.

Sole E55 Elliptical

Review: This E55 compact space saving elliptical trainer by Sole is one of the best home elliptical machines available with all the features of the larger E95, and a smaller footprint.

Pros

  • Large Blue 9” LCD console.
  • Built-in fan and a water bottle holder.
  • Smooth spinning due to high quality fully enclosed 20 lb front drove flywheel.
  • Adjustable stride, up to 20”.
  • Forward and reverse motion.
  • In-handle controls for ease and safety.
  • Apple and Mp3 compatibility.
  • Built-in speaker, reading rack and accessory tray.
  • Heart monitors the handlebar.

Cons

  • Assembly can be time-consuming, manual needs to be updated.

Takeaway

Easily one of the best elliptical machines for home use incorporating the latest features and technology.

AFG Sport 5.9AE Elliptical

Review: The AFG Sport 5.9AE is easily one of the best elliptical trainers for the money. It is packed with features, solidly built and priced right.

Pros

  • Use your tablet, paired with the machine’s app to control the monitor and track progress.
  • Bluetooth speakers built-in, plus USB and headphone jacks.
  • 23 lb front drive flywheel.
  • Includes chest strap for heart rate monitoring.
  • 325 lb weight limit.
  • Multi-grip handles, PLUS stationary set of handles.
  • Variable Incline.
  • 43 workout routines available, plus 20 resistance settings.
  • 20” glide path.
  • Quiet and solidly built.
  • 74” by 29” footprint.

Cons

  • The 5.9A model does not have the touch screen or 30 lb flywheel that the 7.3AE model has. However, your tablet can be paired with the 5.9A to control the console. Otherwise, the console has buttons, just like other elliptical trainer consoles.

Takeaway

An excellent budget-priced elliptical trainer, the best affordable elliptical available.

ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer

Review: This Pro-Form Cardio HIIT Trainer moves like an elliptical trainer combined with a stair master. This unique movement means the machine has a relatively small footprint, making it one of the best home elliptical machines.

Pros

  • Stepper combined with elliptical motion.
  • Tablet connects to iFit that allows you to use Google maps and explore areas on your tablet while riding, plus the iFit app tracks fitness stats and goals.
  • Tablet holder fits above the console so the screen is not blocked.
  • Built-in speakers and fan.
  • EKG heart monitor on the handles.
  • 32 fixed workout routines and 24 resistance levels.
  • Multi-grip handles with in-handle controls.
  • Compact footprint: 52” by 29.25”.
  • 325 lb weight limit.

Cons

  • iFit App requires a subscription and there are no customizable routines, only fixed ones.

Takeaway

This fun and unique elliptical trainer is the best home elliptical machine for small spaces.

NordicTrack Spacesaver SE9i Elliptical Trainer

Review: This Nordic Track Elliptical trainer is a folding trainer that saves you space as it folds and then stores upright. Making it the best elliptical machine for home use.

Pros

  • Integrates with the innovative and motivating iFit app.
  • Folds from the handlebars down then stands vertically to store easily.
  • 18” stride.
  • Adjustable incline, up to 10 degrees.
  • 24 resistance levels and 30 workout apps.
  • 18 lb flywheel.
  • Grip sensor heart rate monitor plus wireless chest strap.
  • 325lb weight limit.
  • 80” by 32” footprint.
  • Tablet holder and touch screen.
  • Integrated workout fan and water bottle holder.

Cons

  • iFit app requires a subscription.
  • 18” stride may not work for folks over 6 feet tall.

Takeaway

Highly recommended space saving elliptical trainer from a trusted brand.

Body Solid E300 Endurance Elliptical Trainer

Review: This compact Endurance elliptical is made by a well-known manufacturer with a “solid” reputation and the unit has a compact footprint.

Pros

  • Super compact 31” by 50” footprint.
  • Water bottle holder.
  • 300 lb capacity.
  • Contact heart rate monitor built into the handles.
  • Quick Start mode, 6 preset routines and holds two user profiles so two people can regularly use the machine.

Cons

  • The plastic covers on the side are not meant to be stepped on, even though they are flat, and could pose a hazard.

Takeaway

Simple, solid, well built and compact. What more do you need for a great cardio workout in your home gym?

Nautilus E614 Elliptical Machine

Review: The Nautilus E614 is a more classic approach to elliptical machines. It’s relatively larger and heavier than other elliptical trainers.

But it delivers great results providing you with what you need instead of different unnecessary functions. At the same time, it has been fitted with some innovations which all together make it an absolute beast.

Pros

  • 22 preset routines.
  • Nautilus connect connects to MyFitnessPal to track goal metrics.
  • Two screens so you can still see results while docking your tablet in the tablet holder.
  • 20 levels of resistance.
  • Built-in speakers, MP# input, USB port/charger, and built-in fan.
  • 20” stride path, great for folks of all heights.
  • 6 incline positions.
  • Max weight 300 lbs.
  • 71.5 by 26.7” footprint.

Cons

  • A larger machine, heavy and challenging to assemble.

Takeaway

An innovative elliptical machine by a well known and trusted equipment manufacturer, you will not be disappointed.

Xterra Fitness FS5.9e Elliptical Trainer

Review: It’s the machine for the casual workout enthusiast just trying to get in shape. Great for beginners and loved by relatively fit guys. What does that mean? It is a good machine that is equipped with the basics you need to get fit.

Pros

  • 20” stride.
  • Q Factor: 2” space between legs-good ergonomics.
  • Pedals have angle adjustment.
  • Multi-grip handlebars for variation hand positions.
  • 20 incline levels and 20 levels of resistance.
  • 7.5” LCD display.
  • Built-in remote controls on the handles.
  • MP3 compatible with built-in speakers.

Cons

  • Challenging to assemble, instructions are too small and poorly laid out.

Takeaway

Great gym quality elliptical trainer at a reasonable price. Why pay for a gym membership when you can have this?

Elliptical Trainer Buyers Guide

First, can I ask you a question?

Where are you going fitness-wise and what are your health goals?

Most of us have some idea of what our fitness and health ideal is, but for many, it is a struggle to achieve our ideal.

Are you moving forward towards your fitness goal today?

An elliptical trainer can be a great addition to your home gym routine because it has the potential to offer an excellent cardio workout, that is very low impact, from the ease and comfort of your own home.

woman exercising on elliptical cross trainer

Having an elliptical trainer in your home means no excuses!

In addition to that, a well-built machine is easy on the joints and very low impact, making it the perfect cardio for those with joint or health issues.

However, I must warn you:

Not all elliptical machines offer these benefits.

A poorly designed elliptical with shoddy quality can add up to an unpleasant experience.

With a poorly designed elliptical trainer you may feel kickback, shifting or “walking” of the machine or simply feel unstable and insecure using the machine if it is to light and flimsy.

The worst-case?

An elliptical trainer with bad design can cause joint problems or injury if it does not have an ergonomic design!

Avoid These in Your Quest for the Perfect Elliptical Trainer

  • Handrails that have you hunched over and kill your back.
  • Pedals that are too far apart wreak havoc on the knees and hips.
  • An elliptical trainer without the proper safety features can injure you, your pets, or your children too.
  • An elliptical trainer with a short stride
  • An elliptical trainer that does not have enough resistance, or no incline adjustment to really get a decent workout

What is the Best Elliptical Machine?

Choosing the right elliptical machine from among all the types of elliptical machines available is challenging.

I will walk you thru the process of choosing the right machine and show you what features the top-rated elliptical machines have.

man working out on elliptical machine

Benefits of Elliptical Machines

The benefits of an elliptical trainer are:

  • Cardio workout that is low impact, easy on the joints.
  • Easy to incorporate into a home gym, quiet and space-efficient.
  • Full body workout with both arms and legs involved in the motion.

Why elliptical machines so great for a home gym?

Low Impact Easy on the Joints

Elliptical trainers can be used by everyone in the family, even those in their golden years can enjoy the Zero impact workout the elliptical machine offers.

Small Footprint

Many models fold up and store away for those in tight quarters.

Entertainment

These days, elliptical trainers are loaded with onboard entertainment features so your workout will fly by as you read, surf the net, listen to music, or even ride through the streets of Paris. (If your machine is equipped with the iFit app).

Help You to Lose Weight

An elliptical trainer burns between 270 and 400 calories per half hour, depending on your settings and weight.

That can really go far in meeting your weight loss goals and riding consistently 5 days a week could mean burning roughly 1/3 an lb of fat. Combine that with the right diet and you have a winning formula for weight loss.

What to Look for in a Good Elliptical Machine

woman working out on an elliptical trainer in gym

Stride Length and Height of Users

Look for a unit that has a stride length of at least 18”, which will accommodate taller folks. Shorter strides may cause kickback and poor ergonomics, particularly for those who are taller.

Frame and Pedal Height

Consider the ability of the user. How high can they step up?

Some machines have pedals that are lower to the ground than others so look for step height, and step-ups of the machine. Also, front wheel drive machines are often easier to get on and off.

Flywheel

This is where cheap machines and well-made machines vary significantly.

The flywheel is what helps the machine run smooth and quiet. Look for one that weighs at least 20 lbs. Any less than that and the machine will feel unstable and you may feel unsafe riding it.

How to Choose the Best Elliptical Machine for You

Biomechanics

  • Is it a smooth ride?
  • Do your heels stay down?
  • Does it have a kick or bounce? (hint: it should not)
  • Is it comfortable to use?

Quality Build

  • Does it feel solid with no vibration?
  • Is it quiet?
  • Do you feel any friction while riding?
  • Does it have steel bearings – not plastic bearings?
  • What about the wheels? Size matters – if the machine has wheels, larger dual wheels that rest securely in a rail are preferable.

Features

Display and monitor features you may want:

  • Does it have a quick start button so you can hop on and get to it?
  • What is the display: LCD? some have dual, some are covered by a tablet, others not.
  • Pre-programmed workouts – how many are there. Can you program a custom routine?
  • Does it track calorie, stride, time, and distance?
  • Resistance levels, how many are there. It should be at least 20.
  • Does it incorporate software to track your metrics and reach goals? There are models that integrate with MyfitnessPal and iFit
  • Automatic shutoff feature, like sleep mode, this feature saves energy and shuts the console off after a period of inactivity

Personal Comfort and Convenience Features

Do you need?

  • Cup holders.
  • Built-in fan.
  • Speakers.
  • USB charging port.
  • Tablet shelf.
  • MP3 jack.
  • Headphone jack.

Exercise Specific Features

Be on the lookout for:

  • Incline ramp.
  • Touch and telemetry heart rate monitor.
  • Preset routines.
  • At least 20 resistance levels.

Pedal Features

Pedals are one of the most important components of an elliptical machine. Check for these features before you buy.

  • No slip surface.
  • Locking pedals.
  • Incline adjustment for foot pedal.

Q Factor: the Q factor is also known as the distance between the pedals. How far apart are the pedals? Pedals that are far apart are awkward to use and place stress on the hip and knee joints. They are often not ergonomically correct.

Articulating pedals: pedals that articulate, or move with your foot, offer better ergonomics and a more natural stride that works with your body mechanics.

Avoid models with fixed pedals. Your knees and ankles will thank you!

empty commercial gym with gym equipment

Handles: you should be able to stand in a vertical position while using the handles.

The handles should not pull you down or cause you to bend over while using them.

Multiple grip positions on the arms: allows you to change where you grip, and work the arm muscles in different areas.

Safety Features

Elliptical trainers have a lot of moving parts that pets or children can be hurt by.

Covered Flywheel – this rapidly moving wheel weighs over 20 lbs and can really injure a child or pet. The best-rated elliptical machines for home use have a hefty wheel fully encased and out of harm’s way.

Weight Limit – many models max out at three hundred pounds. If you need a higher weight limit, there are a few models available with a limit of 325 or 400, so be sure to look for those.

Front or Rear Drive + Other Space Considerations

Front wheel drive elliptical trainers are sometimes more compact, plus they are easier to get on and off of.

Folding: there are a few machines in our elliptical machine reviews fold up, and save space, like the Nordictrack spacesaver model.

There is also one elliptical/stepper model with a very small footprint you might consider if you are looking for a space-saving elliptical. It’s the Exerpeutic 1318 5000 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer.

Your Height and Machine Stride Length

Longer stride machines are better for tall folks. Look for a machine with at least an 18” stride. Any shorter is asking for trouble.

Short strides make a machine feel jerky and rough, and will not allow the body to move through a full range of motion.

How Many People Will be Using the Machine?

Consider the weight and height of all the people who will be using the machine. Machines have weight limits and specific strides, and the machine needs to work for all riders. Consider step height for older riders.

Some machines save user settings, usually between 2 to 4 can be saved on one elliptical machine console. If this is important to you and your family, be on the lookout for one with enough user setting profiles.

Elliptical Trainer FAQs

elliptical trainer

What is the Best Elliptical Machine for Home Use?

It depends on your budget and how much space you have.

Compact Space, Budget Price

If you are looking for a good deal and do not have a lot of space to store the elliptical trainer I recommend this Exerpeutic Elliptical Trainer which has a smaller footprint than most other elliptical trainers and can be had for under 500 dollars.

Best Quality Elliptical Trainer

If you are willing to invest more in your fitness goals and have space for a larger elliptical trainer, the Precor EFX 245 Energy Series Elliptical Crosstrainer which has vertically adjustable stride to allow you to target muscles differently. It also has incline adjustments and a beautiful top of the like on board console.

Are Elliptical Trainers Good for Losing Belly Fat?

Elliptical trainers are capable of helping you burn 270 to 400 calories in a half-hour session. Of course, how much you burn depends on how much you weigh, what you set the resistance level to, the incline of the elliptical machine and how fast your stride.

But even at the low end, 270 calories per workout adds up, especially when paired with a good diet, and can indeed help you burn belly fat.

Cortisol is one hormone responsible for belly fat storage. Exercise has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, so all exercise has the potential to burn belly fat.

If you need more exercise check out this list of the best cardio machines for your home gym and start losing that belly now.

Can You do Elliptical Every Day?

Yes.

According to the CDC Physical activity guidelines, adults can do up to 300 minutes of exercise a week and the CDC states:

The benefits continue to increase when a person does more than the equivalent of 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Research has not identified an upper limit of total activity, above which additional health benefits cease to occur.CDC Physical activity guidelines

woman doing exercises on the treadmill

Which is Better Elliptical or Treadmill?

Both the treadmill and the elliptical trainer have their benefits and drawbacks.

If you love to run, the treadmill may be for you. There is the potential to burn more calories on the treadmill and that is another plus.

If you are interested in treadmills, I have a list of the best treadmill reviews 2019 here.

The drawback of the treadmill is they can be hard on the joints. If you suffer from a bad back, have knee problems, or limited mobility, the elliptical trainer is your best bet.

Want to learn more about how treadmills stack up against elliptical trainers? I have that info right here.

What’s Better Elliptical or Stair Stepper?

The elliptical is THE go-to cardio exercise machine for those who need a super low impact workout. If you have back, knee, hip or foot pain, I recommend the elliptical trainer over the stair stepper.

That’s not to say the stair stepper is without its advantages too. The stair stepper forces you to use your glutes and quads to climb, and has the potential to burn more calories and shape the legs and behind more than the elliptical trainer.

Just be aware, the stair stepper is a strenuous exercise and may exacerbate knee and hip problems.

How Long Should You Work Out on an Elliptical to Lose Weight?

That depends on how fast you want to lose weight and what you are doing with your diet to lose weight.

Keep in mind you can burn 270 to 400 calories in just a half-hour of using the elliptical trainer.

Do that every day and you will burn anywhere from a third of a pound to two-thirds of a pound of fat in a week just from exercise.

If you want to lose more fat than that, try to create a calorie deficit with your diet to lose even more.

Realistically, 1 to 1.5 lbs is all you can lose a week without getting too restrictive and spending hours a day exercising. Besides, slow weight loss is more sustainable and the less you suffer, the more likely you are to stick with your chosen routine.

Having said that, if you really want a calorie-torching workout, try a spin bike. I have a list of the best spin bikes 2019 reviewed here.

How Often Should I Work Out on My Elliptical?

Anywhere from 4 to 7 days a week is good. The CDC recommends 150 to 300 minutes of exercise a week. If your goal is a minimum of 150, you only need to use the elliptical for 30 minutes a day, for 5 days of the week.

If you want to shoot for the upper end of the CDC recommendation of 300 minutes per week, ride your elliptical trainer for 50 minutes a day, for 6 days a week. Take one day off, you deserve it after all that hard work!

What’s Better an Under Desk Bike or an Under Desk Elliptical Trainer?

If you are looking for an easy, convenient way to sneak in a workout, you may be looking at under desk workout equipment. Two popular options are the under desk bike vs the under-desk elliptical trainer.

So which is the better option?

Let me be honest, the two are pretty similar, in fact some under desk bikes “pedal” in an elliptical motion, making the exercise equal to an under-desk elliptical.

But, an under-desk cycle that does not use an elliptical motion probably gives a more intense workout, but also requires a taller desk so your knees don’t hit it.

If you are interested in under-desk elliptical trainers and under-desk cycles, check out my list of the best under-desk bikes reviewed here.

Summary

Now that you have seen the best elliptical trainers, it’s time to make a choice and get back on track with your fitness goals and reclaim your health.

Purchase an elliptical trainer for your home workout today and ‘stride’ toward your goal with ease.

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