Fitness

10 Best Elliptical Machines for Home Use 2021

It's the low-impact way to exercise!

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You can’t deny that upping your exercise is key to getting in shape, living healthier, and boosting your immune system. Cardio exercises like running, jogging, or biking are the best way to get your heart rate going. But they can be agonizing for those with joint pain, inflammation, and arthritis. Thankfully, the best elliptical machines offer low-impact workouts that are easy to do at home — and they cost far less than a gym membership.

Are ellipticals bad for knees?

Low impact workouts and low impact HIITs (high intensity interval training) are the best option for those who suffer from arthritis and inflammation. If you can exercise without putting pressure on your lower back and knees, you are less likely to suffer from joint pain.

According to Dr. Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. at the Mayo Clinic, exercising on an elliptical is a preferred, low-impact cardio alternative to running and jogging for someone who has joint pain. Unlike treadmills or exercise bikes, ellipticals use magnetic resistance to produce less strain on knees during each rotation. The lack of pressure makes you feel like you’re gliding on air rather pounding the pavement during resistance-free runs.

Ellipticals also have varying resistance levels, so you can start on a low setting and work your way up to higher resistance as your muscles get stronger. It’s an ideal machine for beginners and those who have injuries, as you can ease your way into each workout.

What should I look for when buying an elliptical?

While any elliptical machine will give you a metabolism-boosting , low-impact workout, certain machines have features that will make your exercise more effective and enjoyable (and fit into your home without a hassle). Here’s what to look for:

  • Upper body options: Some ellipticals work different muscles than just your legs and glutes. If your machine has full-motion upper body handles (like Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical, $699), you can exercise your arms and back at the same time, producing a low-impact, total body workout.
  • Reverse pedals: Elliptical machines with pedals that reverse their rotation (like Funmily Elliptical Machine Cross Trainer, $430) allow you to exercise calves and hamstrings even more than with just a forward rotation.
  • Compactness: If space is an issue, folding and compact ellipticals are the way to go. Not many ellipticals fold due to their design, but some take up less space than others. If you want something portable, there are under-desk ellipticals (like the Cubii Pro, $349) that take up almost no space and can be used while working from home or binging a Netflix series in the living room.
  • Digital displays: Backlit LCD displays are common on most ellipticals, and most can track your time, speed, distance, and steps, and even heart rate.
  • Seated ellipticals: If standing is difficult, sitting ellipticals (like the Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical, $848) allow you more stability while providing a low-impact workout.

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What is the best elliptical machine for home use?

There are a lot of great elliptical machines out there, but these have the best features, received great reviews, and will give you the most low-impact bang for your buck.

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Trainer Machine w/ Tablet Holder

best overall elliptical machine for home
best elliptical machines for home

Buy at Amazon, $699 (was $889.98)

Why we like it:

  • Smooth and quiet operation
  • Full-motion arm exercisers
  • Wheels for portability
  • Easy to assemble!

This sturdy elliptical has everything you could possibly want in an exercise machine — all for under $1,000. The LCD performance monitor comes pre-loaded with 12 workout programs and tracks your workout time, distance, RPM, speed, odometer, watt, and calories burned. This machine works for all ages and fitness levels — you can easily move between seven workout modes as you feel yourself getting stronger. The 44-pound flywheel keeps your momentum going for you and ensures a smooth, whisper-quiet ride. The handles allow for full motion, so you can exercise your arms, chest, back, and shoulders at the same time you’re workout out your legs and glutes. When you’re done, just wheel it out of the way!

Promising review: “This machine works beautifully! It is smooth and very quiet. The frame is very sturdy and the program is easy to follow. You might need to play a little with the program and level in order to understand how these work together. I am new at elliptical machine so this one is truly a perfect fit. This machine is not too big nor too small and it is easy to move around with the help of the wheels. I do not like going to the gym so I mostly workout outside. However, during the long winter months (we have a lot of snow), I find myself sitting more in the couch than exercising. With this elliptical my routine has totally changed and now I can enjoy a good workout while looking at the snow outside the window!! So happy with my purchase!

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine Cross Trainer

Best Elliptical Under $200
best elliptical machines for home

Buy at Amazon, $179

Why we like it:

  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Compact
  • Digital display measures time, speed, distance, calories, and pulse

With more than 3,000 5-star Amazon reviews, this affordable elliptical will surely give you the best bang for your buck. It’s considered compact for an elliptical, so it can fit in nooks and tight spaces without issue. Keep track of your progress with the digital display that measures time, speed, distance, calories, and even your pulse! The best part? It has wheels and can easily transport from room to room.

Promising review: “Very nice unit….the electronics work perfect, easy assembly, and it’s super quiet, which is most important to me since I live with others that sleep in late. There is basically no noise at all. The old elliptical I got rid of took up half a room and was incredibly loud with a fan type noise. This Sunny Elliptical is super quiet, and takes up a teeny floor space. Plus it Gives this ‘ol granny a great work out.”

Funmily Elliptical Machine Cross Trainer

Best Elliptical Under $500
best elliptical machines for home

Buy at Amazon, $429.99

Why we like it:

  • 10 resistance levels
  • Bi-directional pedals
  • iPad holder and app

This machine has all the bells and whistles you’d want in an elliptical, including a built-in LED screen with a digital counter that tracks time and calories, 10 levels of magnetic resistance, and a sturdy, whisper-quiet base. It also has an iPad holder and a digital app that allows you to play workout games and exercise in simulated locales around the world. The large, 15-inch pedals are non-slip and bi-directional, so you can exercise different leg muscles during your low-impact, total body cardio workout.

Promising review: “This is the best one I have bought, superb quality, stylish design and easy assemble. 5 stars no doubt.”

Bowflex Max Trainer M6

Best Elliptical worth splurging on
best elliptical machines for home

Buy at BowFlex, $1,699

Why we like it:

  • Includes free 2-month trial of the BowFlex JRNY™ App
  • Magnetic media rack for tablet or smartphone
  • Bluetooth heart rate compatible
  • 16 levels of resistance

Bowflex doesn’t call this machine an elliptical, but it’s their version of a low-impact, magnetic resistance machine that works a ton of muscles and is easy on your joints. So, it makes our list! It claims to burn even more calories than a standard elliptical in less workout time, which alone make the price worth it. With 16 levels of resistance, you can start low and work your way up to harder settings. And with two free months of access to Bowflex’s JRNY app is included in the purchase, you get trainer-guided workouts customized just for you.

Promising review: “I just LOVE this machine! It’s lower impact than jogging and I’m burning the same amount of calories! In addition it worked out my entire body! Will never go back to the gym. I splurged for the top model with the screen and just love it.”

ncient Elliptical Machine Eliptical Trainer

Best Elliptical from Amazon
best elliptical machines for home

Buy at Amazon, $329.99

Why we like it:

  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Compact, smaller size
  • Digital monitor tracks workout

This compact elliptical machine is ideal for all fitness levels and ages. It has eight magnetic resistance settings that can be changed to customize your workout. The digital monitor tracks your progress, measuring speed, distance, heart rate, and calories burned. Its precision balanced flywheel and V-belt drive make it as smooth and quiet as can be, which is important when you’re catching up on The Bachelor.

Promising review: “This machine fits our needs to the T! Easy to put together, all the parts fit nicely. Smooth operation, heavy duty. Compact for our small house. Can adjust the back feet for un-level floors like we have. I put extra grease on all the moving parts as suggested by another reviewer. This thing doesn’t make a sound while in operation! I am 5′ 9″ tall with long legs. Very smooth quiet movement ..Easy to move. Perfect height for TV viewing while you work out. For a home machine and for the price, it doesn’t get better than this.”

Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical Machine

Best Under Desk Elliptical
best elliptical machines for home

Buy at Amazon, $349

Why we like it:

  • Super quiet
  • Cubii app tracks your workouts
  • 8 resistance levels

This under-desk elliptical is not just compact and portable, it has the digital perks that larger models have without clunky displays. Cubii’s free app tracks your progress and helps you get motivated with suggested low impact workouts. It has eight resistance levels, so you can start easy and work your way to a more advanced workout — all while watching TV or working from home.

Promising review: “I had been mulling for months about whether to buy this Cubii. The high price tag put me off. I just didn’t want it to be another machine that was just left gathering dust in the corner. I don’t think this will happen somehow because it’s so easy and fun to use. I like that it connects to the internet on your phone and you can check your progress and set targets. That in itself is motivation along with the fact that it’s very easy to use and I can feel my muscles working almost straight away.”

Zimtown Under Desk Elliptical Bike

best compact elliptical machine
best elliptical machines for home

Buy at Walmart, $99.96 (was $189.99)

Why we like it:

  • Stand or sit elliptical
  • Compact and easily portable
  • Affordable!

Unlike some under-desk ellipticals, this little guy can be used while sitting or standing, so you can get a variety of workouts at several difficulty levels. It’s super quiet, so you can do it while watching TV and not disturb others. It also has an LCD dDisplay monitor that keeps track of your workout time, distance, speed, count steps, calories burned. It has textured pedals for extra grip, and it’s ideal for rehabbing after surgery or just burning some extra calories throughout your day.

Promising review: “I had hip replacement surgery and I need to exercise regularly. It works very well. Like it.”

Xterra EU150 2-in-1 Hybrid Elliptical Upright Bike

Best 2-in-1 Elliptical Bike
best elliptical machines for home

Buy at Xterra, $339.99 (was $499.99)

Why we like it:

  • Elliptical + bike in one
  • 3.7” bright blue LCD console
  • Built-in audio jack with speaker for MP3 player

If you can’t choose between an elliptical and exercise bike, just get both! The dual-action design of this hybrid elliptical syncs your upper and lower movements for a low-impact, total-body workout when standing. The seat allows you to sit when you’re tired (but still keep your heart pumping) and get a standard cycling workout. It comes with all the features you’d want in any exercise machine — it’s quiet, has an easy-to-read digital display that monitors your workout, pulse-measuring grips, and 12 pre-programmed workouts to guide your workout.

Promising review: “I ordered this machine eight months ago. I have not had any issues with it. Works great, little to no noise, and not one problem yet. When I began using it I weighed 253 pounds and it held me just fine. With the aid of this machine I have been able to obtain my goal weight of 175 pounds. Very happy with machine and results!”

Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical

Best sitting elliptical machine for home
best elliptical machines for home

Buy at Amazon, $849

Why we like it:

  • Total-body, low-impact workout machine
  • Sturdy, commercial-grade design
  • Quiet and for all fitness levels

Ideal for all ages and fitness levels, this total-body elliptical machine lets you exercise your arms, legs, and core form a sitting position — without putting any stress on your back and joints. The unique FreeStep motion sets it apart from other ellipticals, allowing you to more evenly distribute your muscle assertion so you can exercise for longer before getting tired. The seat and resistance levels can be set to your preference, and the digital display keeps track of your workout time, distance, speed and calorie-burn.

Promising review: “It was easy to set up, great instructions and we’re just a couple of amateurs. This works great for a couple of short old timers (77 and 83) who need exercise but have lots of arthritis in our backs and really can’t walk very far without a lot of pain. It’s very solid, and it works as well as a several thousand dollar NuStep. Very pleased with the purchase.”

NordicTrack E 7.5 Z Elliptical

Best Nordictrack Elliptical
best elliptical machines for home

Buy at Amazon, $1,358.15

Why we like it:

  • SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance
  • 20 Digital Resistance Levels
  • Comes with a 30-day iFit membership

NordicTrack ellipticals are top-of-the-line. This model may be pricey, but it comes with a 30-Day personal training membership to iFit that includes interactive training sessions, on-demand studio workouts, and connected fitness tracking that all stream right to its 5-inch smart display. Add variety to your and tone different muscle groups by simply adjusting the incline and ramp settings. NordicTrack protects your elliptical with a 10-year frame warranty, so you know it’s built to handle your fitness journey.

Promising review: “So the main thing to remember is that ellipticals can range so much in price. After having this and shopping a good deal in at this price point, I really believe this is the best elliptical available. It does have a very basic display, but it is still nicer than most I looked at under 1000 and is fully functional. It is pretty quiet and very sturdy. Assembly was not an issue as Amazon had a promotion for free assembly. If that is not available I would highly recommend the service that assembled it. There are a ton of parts and it looked difficult. Overall I am very happy with this so far.”

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