When you think of an “at home” exercise gym you most likely have a picture of a treadmill, exercise bike, or a set of dumbbells. Sure – these things are easy to buy but the hardest part is actually using them more than 3 times a week for a workout. The likelihood of you working out at home might also decrease if you already experience body aches like back and knee pain.
What exercise equipment will keep you motivated to workout regularly and be easy on the body? The answer is an elliptical. It is a low-impact piece of equipment that can be used in the comfort of your own home. This is one of the main reasons why ellipticals have become so popular. These exercise machines provide the user with a great cardio workout that tones and builds muscle, and helps them lose weight. The perk of all this is that your joints are not going to be compromised as you get a good session in. You will exercise for longer and your mood will improve since you will not feel any pain from the usual trouble areas.
If you have been to your local gym you might have a pretty good idea of the feel of using an elliptical. For complete beginners you might be tempted to buy a lower end model to save money. The better approach may be to buy a high-end model that is comparable to the commercial quality models that would be sold to a big gym. This way you will have a better guarantee that the elliptical is a quality product. Now – you will need some guidance to pick the right elliptical for you. Below are the best models you’ll find for your fitness and health needs.
From Nautilus is the E614 elliptical that is made with quality materials and is quite affordable. As a mid-level machine, it has many defining features that will make it a good purchase for your home gym. Users of all types of fitness levels can get something out of this machine. It is a low-impact machine, thus trainees can workout longer without worrying they are doing more harm to their joints.
The Nautilus E614 is a very sturdy machine and is able to hold up a max user weight of 300 lbs. Trainees of all sizes and heights will be able to get results from this machine. You will get a pretty effective cardiovascular workout through the movement of the upper and lower body. The smooth motion provided makes working out easy and fun, but still intense.
Using an elliptical like the E614 will drastically improve your health by increasing your heart rate gradually and works on your lung capacity. You will have 20 levels of resistance levels powered by a magnetic brake system to choose from. The eddy current brake system it utilizes is one of the best forms of resistance for an elliptical as it does not take power, and can still provide resistance. You also get the option of a 6 position manual incline. The higher the incline, the greater the intensity. You will need to pump harder to get keep up the same pace.
The Nautilus E614 is packed with tech to make your workout more interesting. You are given a 20” stride length to work on. There are 2-speed fans that will keep you cool as you sweat away the calories. The built-in speakers can be connected to a media device through the audio port. You can monitor your heart rate through the handlebar grips. Monitoring is a great way to keep you at a certain caloric burn level. You can keep track of your progress from the LCD display console, and can be used as a book or tablet holder.
This is a high-quality and popular machine that has a more expensive price tag when bought new. It is an amazing machine for home use, and has similar features as machines that can be found at top tier commercial gym and fitness clubs. Like other Sole ellipticals, the E95 has a smooth and quiet drive system. This model is similar to the E93, just made to last longer and with more tech features.
The flywheel on this model is a little heavier making it more stable and decreases wobbling by a large margin so you can workout with ease. It has a larger display screen for you to pick your workouts from and keep track of your progress. Since the E95 is made with sturdy and durable materials, it is able to have a higher max user weight of 400 lbs opening up this machine to a variety of trainees of various body types.
This model features a cooling fan, keeping the user somewhat comfortable as they intensely workout along with the program already installed on the machine. There are speakers built into this machine for you to listen to your favorite music and a water bottle holder. The pedals can be adjusted to fit your personal stride. The hand grips are also molded to fit in the user’s hand comfortably. While you move your arms with the handlebars, you will be getting a great full body workout.
The power incline this elliptical comes with provides a more realistic run of trails. There are 20 levels of inclination you can put this machine to. To increase the intensity of your workout, all you have to do is go to the settings and adjust to any of the 20 different resistance levels. The levels for incline and resistance can be adjusted from the console or the handlebars themselves.
This is a light-duty elliptical trainer that will last for a long time and provides a low-impact environment for your workouts. The Exerpeutic 2000XLST is able to handle a user weight up to 275 lbs. This is a bit lower than other high-grade models but can still accomodate a variety of trainees. If you stand between the heights of 5’1” and 6’4”, then the stride length provided by this machine will be very comfortable for you.
It is a small model for an elliptical, so it is not as heavy and will take up less space in your home or apartment. It features 16 resistance levels that are powered by a magnetic system, and you are able to see your workout stats easy from the lit LCD display. Workout out and the machine will track your speed, distance, calories burned, time, heart rate, and other information.
It is very comfortable exercising on the 2000XLST. Since it was made to accommodate a variety of heights, users will not have to bend or slouch to use the handles. Using the machine will not feel awkward, and you will come to a natural gait as you would walking on normal level ground. One of the claims from this company is that users will have little to no impact happening to their joints. This is great for people who already have joint problems but still want to workout without strain. Training on the 2000XLST is very easy and can be done at any pace and intensity you choose.
There are many cool tech features with this model. It has Bluetooth capability, allowing users to connect their phones or tablets to the elliptical. With the built-in speaker, users will be able to listen to their favorite music as they workout. You can exercise to 21 different workout programs that are already installed on the machine. Additionally, there is a water bottle holder for your hydration needs.
The Schwinn company is known for their quality bikes. Now, they have used their engineering skills to make a mark in the home gym market. Here we have the Schwinn 470 elliptical which gives you plenty of flexibility with the many adjustments that can be made on this impressive machine. To create a sense of intensity this elliptical is able to get an incline of 10 degrees. This is usually a standard for most ellipticals. You will not be able to change the stride length on this model, but what is so great about this model is that it has a lot of tech features that allows it to stand up to other higher-end models.
Schwinn elliptical trainers are built to last but they are still lightweight for easier assembly and transport. It’s oversized crossbar and frame placed in the center gives this machine stability. You have the pick of 25 resistance levels to keep yourself engaged. Like other elliptical trainers this machine’s resistance system is powered by eddy current brakes. Change your resistance levels as you work through the 29 different programs. If you are part of a family or live with friends, they too can work out on this machine as it can save up to 4 user profiles.
Probably the best features on the Schwinn 470 can be found on the display console. You are given two LCD screens that will display your workout data, which can be transferred to a mobile device with a workout app through Bluetooth. This is a simple elliptical that provides a variety of content for the user to engage with.
This is one of Proform’s newer budget ellipticals. It will be great to use on its own or as a circuit with other pieces of equipment you have collected. It has moving handlebars and resistance levels that are adjustable. Trainees will be able to receive a great cardiovascular and full-body workout. It is a cordless and lightweight machine and is easy to assemble it anywhere in your home or move it later.
The Proform 150i has many performance features that make this a very great piece for any home gym. It comes packed with 12 pre-programmed workouts, alongside a manual mode for a quick session. You are given 12 adjustable resistance levels as a challenge. The console on this machine is a great size to make it easy to read all of your workout data. The LCD screen will show you stats on your distance, calories burned, speed, time, and current resistance level.
This machine has Bluetooth capability as well. It is possible to monitor your heart rate through the Bluetooth chest strap. Also, the elliptical is compatible with iFit products, and the elliptical pedals can be pushed either forward or backward. Overall, this is a really nice elliptical trainer that both beginner and advanced users can use.The ProForm 150i is built very stylish and sturdy. It stays still through all of the resistance levels, as the flywheel provides a supportive base. If you fit the general height and weight requirements the machine will be able to accommodate all of your workout needs. The machine has a max user weight of 250 lbs, and people that are between 5’ and 6’ 2” will be able to use this machine comfortably.
This NordicTrack Elite 10.9 is a very popular front-drive elliptical that has a lot of features at a very affordable price. This is an older model from the company, however, it still is a good piece of equipment for any home gym. It has plenty of pre-installed workouts to keep the user engaged and motivated. You are given 30 workout programs to exercise to. Your workouts can consist of intervals, hills, calorie goals, hitting a heart rate target, and so much more. There a lot of different options for a variety of other users to get used to.
The machine even comes with an iFit Coach program giving the user even more workouts to access. All of them are taught by certified personal trainers. You will not exhaust the workouts on this machine anytime soon.
One of the best features of the NordicTrack ellipticals is the LCD touch screen displays. The Elite has a large 7” display. On this console, you will have complete access to videos, the web, and tap into the iFit coaching program. Everything is available to you at the tips of your fingers, making it a more enjoyable exercise experience.
This machine has adjustable features to accommodate a variety of user fitness levels. The stride on the Elite 10.9 can be lengthened or shortened to fit your height. You can even change the incline to an impressive 20 degrees. This will increase the intensity of your workouts immensely and give you more of a cardio workout. You will be able to target a variety of muscle groups. Even the pedals are adjustable to give you a more comfortable ride. On top of all of these features, you get a 20 lb flywheel that provides a stable base, a media holder, water bottle holder, a music port, speakers, and grip heart rate monitoring.
This is another front-drive elliptical that makes for an ideal piece of home gym equipment. What makes it stand out from the rest is its ability to calculate how many calories you burned per minute, not just the overall estimate. This provides extra motivation for the user so they will get to their expected results faster.
Even better the Bowflex BXE216 comes packed with 15 levels of power incline. Exercising on an inline helps enhance the challenge of your cardio workouts, boosts your metabolism, and helps you attack certain major muscle groups. You will definitely get an amazing hamstring and glute workout. This elliptical can be used by other members of your household as well as it can support up to 4 user profiles. The machine offers the ability for you to monitor your heart rate through the use of the chest strap providing accurate results of your performance.
The BXE216 comes with Bluetooth capabilities allowing the user to share their workout data with fitness apps located on their tablet or smartphone. Apps that can function with this elliptical are Bowflex Results, MyFitnessPal, and Google Fit. The BXE216 is under the $2,000 price range and is a great value for trainees looking for a machine that will allow them to track their health data. The console lacks what other ellipticals pack but this overall keeps the price down. It does have a media shelf where you can place your own device to keep yourself entertained as you exercise.
The Horizon EX59 is part of a line of front-drive ellipticals from Horizon. It is another affordable option for users on a budget. It is built with a certified sturdy frame that provides a fairly reliable and quiet motor. This machine is specifically designed for home use. This piece of equipment will provide the user with a great low-impact workout and it is really easy to use.
This elliptical comes equipped with your basic workout features such as 10 workout programs and MP3 compatibility. There is really not much else from this machine that make it stand out in a very profound way. It is designed to give you a cardio and full-body workout. You pick your workout from the small 4.5” LCD screen, and you have contact grips that will monitor your heart rate as you exercise.
The machine is built with speakers, a tablet, and a water bottle holder. The machine runs smoothly to decrease the amount of impact on your joints. This elliptical trainer is much smaller than other commercial ellipticals so heavier individuals might not be as comfortable exercising on this machine. The machine only has a max user weight of 275 lbs. Overall it is still a sturdy and safe machine because of the tubular steel frame it is made out of.
Like other pieces of equipment, the Horizon Fitness EX59 can be financed at 0% with terms lasting from 6 months to 2 years depending on where it is ordered. This makes it more affordable for people who really want a piece of equipment to workout at home with so they can get back to or maintain a healthy shape. The EX59 is already priced under $1,000. So you will not have to worry about breaking the bank when creating your home gym.
Just like the name implies this entire machine is able to be folded down which is great if you live in a small space or need to store it away for the meantime. This elliptical is a perfect tool for trainees that want a full body workout but can only get one piece of equipment in their home. Not everyone has a lot of space in their home for a massive home gym collection but they still want to receive an effective workout in the comfort of their own home.
Right out of the box this machine is very easy to assemble. Less time spent putting the pieces together and more time getting your workout in. There are 22 levels of resistance on the NordicTrack SE7i that are very easily adjusted making for a great calorie burning elliptical. There are built-in sensors that monitor your heart rate during your workout and you can use a wireless chest strap for more accuracy. Pair these functions with a fitness app on your phone to keep track of your progress. From the LCD display console the user is able to pick from 30 workout apps already installed on the elliptical.
There is an 18” stride on the NordicTrack SE7i, which is a bit below the average stride for ellipticals. However, it is still ideal for users who are of average height or shorter. Users that are a bit taller should consider the other ellipticals provided in this guide. The SE7i is still a great choice for a variety of trainees looking for a great workout experience.From the backlit display, you will be able to see the following workout stats: calories burned, distance, time, BPM, speed, and so much more.
This is an mid to high level model from the Life Fitness company. It is made to be efficient and an easy machine to use for all fitness levels. You can hop on this machine and get started with your workout right away. The flywheel is in the rear giving this machine a compact, sleek look and feel.
The E1 does have a $2,000 price tag, but it does come with a great lifetime warranty on the entire frame. Unlike other models in their line of elliptical trainers the E1 has a manually adjustable stride. It has a maximum stride length of 20” which is quite standard for most ellipticals in this range.
The E1 provides users with 20 resistance levels with controls located on the handlebars for easy access and changes. The E1 is designed with a WhisperStride technology that uses specially designed ball bearings to eliminate any noise and friction as you workout. This will create a silent environment for you so you can listen to your music or workout videos without any annoying distractions.
The Go cross-trainer is the less expensive model from the E1 model line. It has all of your basic features, intuitive functions, and a slim design. It comes built with 12 pre-programmed workouts, 2 user profiles, and 2 customizable programs. The elliptical is compatible with all of your media devices and has a media holder to keep your valuables in place as you exercise. The console also comes with a CoachZone feature that helps the user to attack certain muscle groups.
To monitor your heart rate there are contact sensors on the stationary handlebars. Unfortunately, this model does not have the ability to offer a wireless heart rate monitoring.
The Horizon 7.0AE is a great value elliptical to purchase for any home or apartment. Horizon has a good reputation of providing durable and affordable pieces of equipment. The 7.0AE has a heavy frame and flywheel that makes it a smooth, sturdy, and quiet ride for most trainees. This is useful when you are going to engage in the 20 resistance levels and 20 levels of incline this machine offers. This makes it a great fit for both beginners and advanced users.
It has a stride length of 20” and the user will have plenty of foot space because of the oversized pedals. This machine is suited for users with a height between 5’3” and 6’5”. It is also able to hold up a max user weight of 325 lbs. With the high weight capacity, resistance, and incline, this is a very sturdy machine. The user will be putting additional force to the machine as they increase the intensity so they will want a machine that will be able to hold up to this.
Horizon makes this elliptical pretty affordable for users, offering them financing for the following months: 6, 12, 18, or 24. This makes it a little easier for you to get started on your fitness journey.
Bluetooth connectivity is incorporated into the 7.0AE and allows for the use of Apple and Android apps. You can change your workouts with the free AFG Pro app that can be accessed from a smartphone or a tablet. Additionally you can sync to a FitBit or Record by Under Armor. Or, if you are looking for some fun entertainment, you can watch Netflix or other videos off of your media devices. Overall, this is a good elliptical for almost anyone of any fitness levels.
Sole Fitness is a well-known brand that makes home gym equipment. They are top-notch pieces and have a versatile line of ellipticals. One of their top models is the Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine. The E35 has a lot of features but still manages to keep an affordable price tag. The machine is also very similar to the options that you’d find at your local gym, so you will get the same level of quality other trainees are experiencing as well.
The E35 is made very sturdy and durable which results in the machine being able to hold a large max user weight up to 375 pounds. The quality of this machine is something that clearly stands out for many users. The Sole E35 has a variety of options that can be adjusted very easily. There is a power incline feature which can help users get more of an intense workout in their daily routine. The incline can work different muscle groups, toning and shaping your body to the size that you desire.
With the touch of a button, you will be able to cycle through the settings. The incline can be changed up to 30 degrees unlike its competitors that get to a third of this incline power. The E35 features 16 resistance settings that can be chosen with the buttons on the handlebars. The resistances are powered by the Eddy Current Brake system. As you increase the resistance, the intensity of your workout will increase as well.
The stride length of the E35 can be adjusted to fit the user height comfortably and to promote flexibility. The elliptical stride can be adjusted between 20” and 22”. Changing the footrests allows the machine to be personalized to fit your body type.
This machine was built to run quietly, which is thanks to the frictionless resistance system that warrants a low-impact exercise. On this premium machine you can find built-in speakers that can be connected to any media device, an easy-to-read backlit display, 10 workout programs, a heart rate monitor, and a cooling fan. As you can see there are many things offered by this machine to help you get and stay in shape.
This is a pretty impressive elliptical that is under the $300 mark. It is able to hold up on its own against the top models in the home gym market. The E5500XL is highly customizable and sturdy and comes filled with a variety of workout programs and features. The magnetic resistance levels give you plenty of intensity to work with to find your favorite pace. You work along to pre-programmed workout programs that are led by certified coaches and trainers. They will motivate you to push past your limits so you can achieve the body and health you want.
With this cheaper model, you will not get the option to incline. To make up for this loss, what you will be given is a product that is great in both quality and stability. There are many features that are put into this machine, such as the 24 levels of resistance. There is very little to complain about the performance of this little machine. It delivers everything an elliptical should, a quality workout that is low-impact on the body.
The machine hums quietly as you move the handlebars and the stride is very smooth. The resistance system will definitely give you a great workout, and your motion can be maintained for a long time. The console keeps track of your progress and any changes that are made. The E5500XL takes the best features of more expensive models and compacts it into this machine. One of the things you will have to pay attention to is to make sure the nuts and bolts are properly lubricated and in place.
Even for a budget piece of equipment, you will still receive a sturdy base to work on. There are stabilizers on the legs of the Fitness Reality E5500XL, so the user will not have to worry about the machine wobbling and moving as they workout. And from an initial look this machine does not look cheap at all. The design is made to naturally follow a person’s stride and gait. High-quality does not mean it has to come with an extremely high price.
Console displays time, distance, heart rate, calories burned, watts, and speed
Double transmission system
Affordable high-quality equipment
Fluid and quiet stride
No incline available
1-year limited warranty
Elliptical Features to Keep in Mind
This feature can really make or break whether a machine is truly a cross-trainer. Incline adjustments helps the user target various muscle groups providing a way to add a little variety to your daily workout routine, such as intensity. It’s a feature worth looking into since you do not want to get bored with your new piece of equipment too soon before you get your money’s worth.
Smooth elliptical motion
Some machines have upper body handles that add an upper body element to your workout. This helps you to get a full-body workout from just one machine. You will still want to make sure that putting your hands on the levers still has a natural feel and movement to it. You do not want to have to lean to user the handlebars correctly.
Good ellipticals will have a range of resistance levels to provide a challenge to a variety of fitness levels. The resistance should change easily and intuitively so that transitions in interval training is possible.
An elliptical that has a quiet motor and flywheel system will give you a distraction free environment for your workout. A quality elliptical will be quiet at all resistance levels.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can an elliptical replace running?
A: You can definitely use the elliptical for all of your cardio conditioning and weight loss goals. However, it will not completely replace running. Running is great for preparing your body to run for long distances, like a marathon.
Q: Does an elliptical cause knee pain?
A: An elliptical is designed to have a low-impact effect on your joints, so you should not be feeling any pain in your knees.
Q: Can I lose weight with an elliptical?
A: Losing weight can be made easier when you have a consistent workout regimen. It is important to combine exercise with a healthy diet to get consistent results. An elliptical is a great asset for your weight loss goals. You have many features to help you keep track, such as the amount of calories you burned and your heart rate. Challenge yourself to hit high number, or stay on the elliptical longer.
Q: Can an elliptical tone my legs?
A: Yes, especially when you utilize the incline settings. The greater the incline, the greater the intensity on your leg muscles. Over time your legs will take on a nice shape. Adding resistance will also help tone your legs as it will cause you to pump your lower body more.
Q: Can an elliptical burn body fat?
A: Since an elliptical provides a great cardio workout, it can reduce the amount of fat on your body, especially around stubborn areas like the belly. The more calories you burn on an elliptical machine, the more fat you are more likely to lose.
Q: Does using an elliptical cause shin splints?
A: Depending on your fitness level you may experience shin splints from time to time. This is dependent on the length of time you stay on the elliptical and what resistance level you exercise at. If you get shin splints, consider lowering the resistance level.
Q: Will using an elliptical improve my running?
A: Using an elliptical will not help much in regards to your endurance while running, but it is helpful in other ways. Elliptical training can help a runner reduce the likely of injury and build up supportive muscles.
Q: Is it OK to use an elliptical while pregnant?
A: Yes, and for good measure. Pregnant users should try the lower resistance and incline levels first, until they are more comfortable. There are even workout videos online for pregnant users to follow so they can still get a good workout in.
Q: Which elliptical should I buy?
A: You will want an elliptical with a balance of features and cost that fits in your budget. We recommend the Nautilus E614 as an overall solid option to get started. If you’re ready to invest in a top of the line model, go with the Sole E95.
Q: Is an elliptical better than a treadmill?
A: Using an elliptical can be less stressful on your joints than running on your treadmill. It also still provides a range of intensity for the trainee. Another advantage of an elliptical over a treadmill is that ellipticals have poles to incorporate the upper body into the exercise. As an added benefit most models can be pedaled in reverse.
Q: Where can I buy an elliptical?
A: Virtually all models can be bought online from a big eCommerce store like Amazon or Wayfair or direct from the manufacturer. If you want to see the machine in person, stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart sell them as well, in addition to some local brick and mortar specialty stores. Online purchases are convenient because shipping is usually free and a freight company will deliver this heavy piece of equipment right to your front door.