Elliptical trainers are among the most popular pieces of cardio equipment. Depending on the settings you use and the effort you put in, the cardio workout you can get on an elliptical machine can match — or even exceed — that of a tough treadmill workout or outdoor run (especially if you download a workout app] that lets you build a targeted routine specifically utilizing this piece of equipment). And, if you’re looking to skip the hassle of going to the gym and prefer the convenience and privacy of at-home workouts, there are plenty of high-quality elliptical trainers for home use that can replicate your cardio session from the gym in the comfort of your own home.
If you’re in the market for an elliptical trainer for your home gym, keep reading to help you find the best model for your needs. There are plenty of home elliptical trainers that are rickety, unnecessarily bulky, or simply far inferior to gym models, so we’ve curated a list of the best elliptical machines for home use so that you can be confident in your purchase and get the workout you desire (and may we suggest a podcast to make your workouts go by even faster?).
NordicTrack Commercial 14.9
If you’re looking for a gym-quality experience with your home elliptical trainer, you can’t go wrong with the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9. It offers one of the smoothest strides due to the heavy, 32-pound inertia-enhanced flywheel, electromagnetic resistance, and power-adjustable stride length to help you get the most natural feel. The elliptical has a 14-inch Smart HD touchscreen for an immersive training experience where you can stream iFit workouts, on-demand classes, your favorite shows, and exercise apps.
In addition to a nearly unbeatable 26 levels of resistance, the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 has live decline and incline control. This means that if you’re following an on-demand workout, the virtual trainer can automatically adjust the incline of your machine to match the streaming workout. You can also adjust it manually, selecting from 0–20 degrees of incline. The elliptical machine comes equipped with all sorts of additional bells and whistles like integrated speakers, EKG-enabled handlebars, a fan, and transport wheels.
Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
Best for Small Spaces
The Schwinn 411 earns our award for the best compact elliptical machine. It’s a high-quality machine that has a surprisingly significant number of bells and whistles with an affordable price point and an even more impressively manageable footprint. If you don’t want your elliptical machine to swallow up the entire room, this is the machine to consider.
While being incredibly compact, the Schwinn 411 still offers a full 18-inch stride, which should feel relatively natural for almost all guys. There are 13 programs to explore, and the elliptical is compatible with the Explore The World app, so you can be transported virtually to courses all over the world while you work out. There are 16 levels of quiet, electromagnetic resistance; comfortable, moveable handlebars to give your upper body and core a workout; and an integrated screen to display your in-session stats. The maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds, so it may not be suitable for bigger guys.
Nautilus E618 Elliptical Machine
Best for Tall Guys
The Nautilus E618 is especially great for guys with long legs because its impressively long 22-inch stride will feel gloriously natural compared to the short, choppy feel of smaller machines. Even if you’re not especially tall, this machine has plenty of strong selling points. The integrated Bluetooth technology allows you to connect to all sorts of fitness tracking apps and streaming platforms like Explore The World. The dual stride rails and high-speed, high-inertia drive system with the perimeter-weighted flywheel allows for a really smooth and stable stride.
The Nautilus E618 has 25 levels of quiet, electromagnetic resistance and 10 levels of motorized incline adjustments, making it a versatile machine with enough adjustability for even the fittest athletes to get a challenging workout. There are also 29 programs to choose from, and you can create user profiles to keep track of your personal progress.
Best for Guys with Knee Pain
Sole is well-known for producing top-quality home exercise equipment, and its line of elliptical machines is no exception. The Sole E55 is one of its midrange models, with plenty of impressive features and a very reasonable price tag, making it a smart, economic purchase. It’s smaller and more compact than the E95 but still boasts sturdy construction and technology features. The drive mechanism is very quiet and smooth, and you can pedal forward and backward, which allows you to challenge different muscles. The motorized power incline allows the ramp angle to be adjusted through 20 levels of incline at the touch of a button, allowing for nearly unbeatable variety and the ability to target all major lower body muscles. Like most other elliptical machines in the same price range, the Sole E55 has integrated Bluetooth technology, heart rate monitoring, numerous preset programs, moveable handlebars as well as stationary ones, and an integrated sound system.
One thing that sets this elliptical apart is the well-designed ergonomic foot pedals. Designed as a collaborative effort between engineers and physical therapists, the foot pedals have a 2-degree inward slope, which reduces the ankle and knee stress often caused by other elliptical machines, making this a great option for those with chronic knee pain or joint injuries.
Bowflex Max Trainer M9
Best for Athletes
For those who like the maximum cardio workout, the Bowflex Max Trainer M9 is the machine to consider. Its unique motion is sort of a hybrid of standard elliptical machine strides and stair climber machines. This also makes the machine much more compact than most ellipticals because the motion is more vertical. It’s a fantastic form of exercise for low-impact HIIT workouts, and even the fittest athletes are likely to be challenged by at least some of the 20 resistance levels. The other major perk to the Bowflex Max Trainer M9 is on-board technology and app-integration capabilities. It has a 10-inch HD touchscreen where you can stream your favorite shows, personalized workouts, or on-demand classes. The weight capacity is a moderate 300 pounds.
Precor EFX 225
Best for Heavy Users
Precor is one of the industry leaders in commercial elliptical machines, and if you’ve used an elliptical trainer at the gym before, there’s a good chance it was a Precor. The Precor EFX 225 is part of the new Precor Energy Series, which aims to bring the impressive technology of its commercial models to home exercise equipment. The EFX 225 has a motorized CrossRamp with eight different heights, ranging from inclines of 15-25 degrees, enabling you to target specific muscles and vary your workouts.
The elliptical is constructed from welded steel and has both moving and stationary handlebars, pulse sensors with target heart zone monitoring, 16 levels of electromagnetic resistance, and 10 preset programs. The display offers up to 13 metrics at once, so you can keep track of all your stats, and you can create up to two user profiles to save your workout data. The Precor EFX is great for tall guys or bigger men because it has a variable stride length of 18-21 inches and can accommodate up to 500 pounds.
ProForm Hybrid Trainer
Best 2-In-1 Elliptical Machine
If you like more variety in your cardio routine and have limited space, the ProForm Hybrid Trainer may be the best option. This 2-in-1 machine combines an elliptical trainer and a recumbent bike in one efficient footprint. The elliptical portion has 16 digital levels of resistance, moveable handlebars, an inertia-enhanced flywheel, and integrated iFit technology, so you can stream tons of interactive workouts with the purchase of a subscription. The magnetic resistance is virtually silent, allowing you to work out without disrupting anyone’s sleep. The recumbent bike seat is surprisingly comfortable and riders also can select from 16 resistance levels when biking. The machine has a 350-pound weight capacity.
Sunny Fitness SF-3912
Best Low-Budget Option
Sunny Health and Fitness is well known for affordable home
For tall guys with long legs, this short stride may feel a bit more like pedaling a bike standing up, but it may feel perfectly adequate for those on the shorter side. One upside to a smaller stride is a much smaller footprint; this elliptical trainer is great for small spaces. The elliptical offers full-motion handlebars with pulse sensors, a device holder, 16 levels of electromagnetic resistance, and 24 pre-programmed workout modes.
Best for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Not everyone can get on board with exercising indoors, even if it is in your own home. If you prefer the space and pace of the great outdoors for your workouts, the ElliptiGo is the way to go. There are several models, but the 8C tends to offer enough of an adjustable gear range for most users while saving quite a bit of money off the higher-end 11C model. You can also attach it to an indoor trainer for the winter months or days when you only have a few minutes to bang out a quick workout. It is a rather large “bike,” so transporting it on a car can be difficult, but certainly doable. It comes nearly fully assembled, so you can start enjoying it right away. One downside is that the weight capacity is only 250 pounds, which makes it unsuitable for larger guys.
What Are The Pros and Cons of an Elliptical?
Pros: Unlike regular running, striding on an elliptical, whether a slower pedaling pace or more vigorous run-like cadence, is low impact, which is easier on your bones and joints. This makes elliptical trainers an attractive exercise modality for anyone looking to reduce loads and forces on their body, such as those with musculoskeletal injuries or who are carrying extra weight and achy joints. Not to mention, aside from just the most basic, bare-bones models, elliptical trainers offer resistance levels and sometimes incline capabilities, allowing you to potentially build and strengthen your muscles while getting your heart rate up. Combined with the fact that running on an elliptical is a full-body workout, this makes a hard sweat session on the elliptical efficient work and a great way to torch a significant number of calories without having to spend so long on it that Netflix autoplay checks in to see if you are still watching.
Cons: Low impact is a pro but also a con because of its limitations. While you are able to burn calories with a low-impact workout, it is less effective in building bone density and it’s recommended to use weights.
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