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10 top-rated elliptical machines for home workouts in 2022

Ellipticals offer a low-impact home workout. Here’s how to find the best one for you.
Illustration of man on Bowflex LateralX
Here are top-rated ellipticals from Bowflex, NordicTrack and more.Bowflex

Working out at home has its perks: no hectic parking lots, no membership fees and no crowds. But with so many options available for at-home gym equipment, how do you know what’s right for you? We’ve consulted experts on the best treadmills, stationary bikes and indoor rowers, to name a few, but if you’re looking for at-home cardio equipment and aren’t sure which machine to buy, an elliptical is also a great option to consider.

SKIP AHEAD Top-rated ellipticals to consider | How to shop for an elliptical

“Ellipticals are great workout machines particularly due to how safe they can be,” noted Chicago-based certified personal trainer Eric Ridings. “They are known for being low-impact, which is often a great feature for anyone beginning a program or with pre-existing injuries, as they will experience less of the typical aches and pains from a workout program.”

We spoke to experts about the pros and cons of ellipticals and rounded up some top-rated options to consider based on their guidance.

Is an elliptical right for you?

According to Brian Beneduce, co-owner of BodyStrong Fitness, an elliptical machine gives you the same benefits aerobically as a treadmill without the stress on your joints. Clair Mason, owner of elliptical, a boutique gym offering group elliptical classes, explained that because ellipticals allow you to go forward and backward, each motion targets a different muscle group. “Ellipticals give you all the lower-body benefits of running, while the handles allow you to work your upper body at the same time,” she said.

Despite being low-impact, an elliptical workout is not a low-intensity exercise, Ridings said. Depending on how much you exert yourself, you can easily burn a few hundred calories in 30 minutes. “It's often overlooked how intense you can make an elliptical workout. Crank up the resistance and do some HIIT [high-intensity interval training] and most people will be shocked how challenging it can be,” he said.

“It's absolutely worth buying an elliptical if efficiency and convenience is the goal,” Ridings added. The newer machines are much more holistic than in the past, he said, so you can use them for more than just traditional elliptical workouts.

“Some include yoga, lightweight workouts and other forms of cardio,” Ridings noted. “They're also including more data with on-screen information as well as entertainment.”

These days, you can find ellipticals with just about any feature, from live classes to fitness tracking. And you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot for an at-home unit (though you can, with models climbing in price as you look for extra bells and whistles).

Top-rated ellipticals to consider

If you’re looking to invest in your own at-home elliptical, we rounded up some highly regarded machines — from the budget-friendly to the smart and feature heavy — guided by input from the experts we consulted. For each elliptical, we highlighted the weight capacity, flywheel weight, resistance levels and warranty (if there is one). Every flywheel elliptical we recommend has a flywheel weight around 20 pounds, as per expert guidance. An added bonus: Almost all offer financing options.

Sole E25 Elliptical

Weight capacity: 350 pounds

Flywheel weight: 20 pounds

Resistance levels: 20

Built-in Monitor: No

Membership: Downloadable Studio app free for 30 days

Warranty: Lifetime (frame); 3 years (parts and electronics); 1 year (labor)

This affordable front-drive model is one of the best ellipticals under $1,200. It has Bluetooth audio speakers, a USB port and 20 resistance and incline levels to help you build up endurance over time. Users can attach their own tablet or smartwatch to watch shows, follow their own routine as they work out or follow along on the display with one of the six preset programs. The E25 sports a screen that tracks basic metrics, including distance, heart rate and time. It also has heart rate monitors in both handles, a cooling fan and water bottle holder. Sole offers free shipping and a 30-day trial on the elliptical with free returns.

NordicTrack FS10i Elliptical

Weight capacity: 375 pounds

Flywheel weight: 20 pounds

Resistance levels: 24

Built-in Monitor: Yes

Membership: 30-Day iFIT Family Membership included

Warranty: 10 years (frame); 2 years (parts); 1 year (labor)

If you’re looking for workout classes, this elliptical from NordicTrack might be the right model for you. Though pricier than other models, this front-drive elliptical comes stacked with tons of features. You can toggle the machine to act as both a stepper and elliptical, allowing you to diversify your training and maintain low impact. The FS10i comes with a 32-inch stride, 24 resistance levels, up to a 10% incline, Bluetooth-enabled audio speakers and a water bottle holder. Users will also receive a free 30-day membership to NordicTrack’s iFit membership, a platform providing live classes, varied workouts and personalized coaching — afterward, membership will run you $180 annually. You’ll also get free shipping on your order.

Bowflex Max Trainer M6

Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Flywheel weight: N/A

Resistance levels: 16

Built-in Monitor: No

Membership: 1-year JRNY Membership included

Warranty: 2 years (frame and parts); 90 days (labor)

This mid-priced machine is designed with a magnetic resistance system rather than a flywheel and is actually part elliptical, part stair-stepper. Great for limited spaces because of its small footprint, the Max Trainer series offers a wide range of lower- and upper-body training with 16 resistance levels and two workout programs. The screen shows your time, calories, heart rate, resistance and workout program — it comes with workout programs via Bowflex’s JRNY app, which costs $20 per month or $149 annually after a free one-year membership. The app also comes with cross-functional workouts that connect to Bowflex’s other products, and it tracks your progress over time via virtual coaching.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical

Weight capacity: 220 pounds

Flywheel weight: N/A

Resistance levels: 8

Built-in Monitor: No

Membership: N/A

Warranty: 3 years (structural frame); 180 days (other parts and components)

This highly rated elliptical is one of the most affordable at-home machines we found. The rear-drive model comes with eight levels of resistance and a pulse monitor to track things like heart rate, time and calories burned. The machine is compact enough for apartments or small spaces — the base is 28 inches long and 17 inches wide — and has wheels on the bottom for easier transportation. Its oversized textured foot pedals also allow for a stable workout, according to the brand.

Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Flywheel weight: 20 pounds

Resistance levels: 25

Built-in Monitor: No

Membership: N/A

Warranty: 10 years (frame); 2 years (mechanical parts); 1 year (electronics) 90 days (labor)

This smart elliptical has Bluetooth connectivity to sync with different apps on your smartphone or tablet, including Explore the World for travel-inspired workouts. It also has 29 built-in workout programs (including two fitness tests and nine heart rate-based workouts), a 20-inch stride and 25 levels of resistance for a wide range of intensities. The free Schwinn Trainer app tracks your workouts, measures performance and automatically loads your stats with each session. For a slightly more affordable option, consider the 430 Elliptical, a similar model with 22 workout programs and 20 resistance levels.

Nautilus E618 Elliptical

Weight capacity: 350 pounds

Flywheel weight: 30 pounds

Resistance levels: 25

Built-in smart monitor: No

Membership: N/A

Warranty: 15 years (frame); 5 years (parts and electronics); 2 years (labor)

Slightly larger than the E616 model, the E618 elliptical has 25 resistance levels, 29 workout levels and up to a 10-degree incline. The handles are equipped with heart rate monitors, and the console features a three-speed fan. This slightly more robust version can accommodate up to 350 pounds and has a 22-inch stride. This Bluetooth-enabled elliptical also comes with free app-based tracking, an adjustable console that tilts and handlebars with built-in controls.

Proform Carbon E10

Weight capacity: 275 pounds

Flywheel weight: 25 pounds

Resistance levels: 24

Built-in smart monitor: Yes

Membership: 3-year iFIT family membership included

Warranty: 10 years (frame); 2 years (parts); 1 year (labor)

This elliptical comes with a three-year iFit family membership with interactive training that allows the trainers to control your resistance if desired. The Carbon E10 has a 19-inch stride, adjustable oversized cushion pedals and up to a 20-degree incline. In addition to a fan and water bottle holder, there are heart rate monitors on the handles and a 10-inch touchscreen display. To help with storage, there are also built-in wheels so you can easily move it to different areas if needed.

Sole E35 Elliptical

Weight capacity: 375 pounds

Flywheel weight: 25 pounds

Resistance levels: 20

Built-in monitor: No

Membership: 90-day free trial to Studio membership

Warranty: Lifetime (frame); 3 years (parts); 1 year (labor)

With a 25-pound flywheel, 20-inch stride, adjustable foot pedals and 20 power incline levels, this Bluetooth-enabled elliptical is a step up from the E25. It also features a 7.5-inch backlit LCD display, tablet holder, USB port for charging devices and Bluetooth audio speakers. The foot pedals were designed with a 2-degree inward slope to reduce the risk of ankle and knee stress, the brand says.

Cubii JR1 Seated Under Desk Elliptical Machine

Weight capacity: 250 pounds

Flywheel weight: N/A

Resistance levels: 8

Built-in monitor: N/A

Membership: N/A

Warranty: 1 year, with a 1-year extension if product registered online

For those who are looking to upgrade their work-from-home setup or just sneak in more physical activity during the day, this quiet mini elliptical allows you to pedal while still sitting at your desk or couch. The compact design is portable and offers eight resistance levels as well as an LCD monitor that tracks calories burned, distance traveled and strides pedaled. For those looking for a more affordable option, the Sunny Health & Fitness version is also worth noting.

Bowflex Max Total 16

Weight capacity: 300 pounds

Flywheel weight: N/A

Resistance levels: 20

Built-in monitor: Yes

Membership: 1-year JRNY membership included

Warranty: 3 years (frame); 3 years (parts); 1 year (electronics); 90 days labor

At the top of the Max series is the Max Total model, which hits an even larger range of lower- and upper-body training with 20 resistance levels and six-grip handle bars. The built-in 16-inch HD touchscreen tracks your metrics and is Wi-Fi-enabled, giving users access to their streaming services while getting a HIIT workout in. It also comes with on-demand classes and workout programs for more than 200 scenic destinations via Bowflex’s JRNY app (this costs an additional $20 per month, or $149 annually, after the free one-year membership expires). It has heart rate monitors on both hand grips as well as an armband for more detailed tracking.

How to shop for an elliptical

As with any piece of exercise equipment, you should look for an elliptical you are likely to use consistently, said Ridings. “That includes the quality and durability of the equipment, the experience you have while using it — does it fit your body? — and any programs that are included, as well as the style of the equipment. If it is going to be in your home, you have to like seeing it,” he noted.

One of the biggest factors to consider is whether to purchase an elliptical with a flywheel or one that operates using magnetic resistance. Magnetic resistance ellipticals use an electromagnet near the flywheel to set the resistance; flywheels rely on friction. Both are easy to use when it comes to changing the level of resistance, but there are a few other differences to consider when choosing which type of elliptical design will best suit your needs:

  • Because machines with magnetic resistance are computerized, they tend to be a bit pricier.
  • Magnetic resistance ellipticals are quieter.
  • Magnetic resistance machines are less costly to maintain.
  • Flywheel ellipticals require faster pedaling to maintain the resistance level, thus providing a more challenging workout.
  • Magnetic resistance machines take up less space.
  • If choosing a flywheel machine, you must consider its weight, experts said. The heavier the flywheel, the more stable the machine. Our experts advised aiming for a flywheel weight close to 20 pounds. If the machine wobbles or rocks from side to side in any way, it’s likely that model will break down or have structural issues later on.

Here are some of the other factors our experts recommended considering when shopping for an elliptical, including which metrics are tracked and how big the pedals are.

Metric tracking

If you are someone who loves to track your numbers or progress, a smart elliptical is the best option. “They provide plenty of excellent data that can be quite motivating when one can see what they're capable of or how far they have come,” Ridings said.

Front-drive elliptical versus rear-drive elliptical

Flywheel ellipticals either house the flywheel in the front of the bike or the back of the bike.

Front-drive ellipticals — which have the flywheel in the front of the machine — are typically the most affordable and compact model, making them easy to store and keep in smaller spaces, said Ridings. The downside? Front-drive ellipticals tend to be noisy, and they can limit those who have a longer stride due to how compact they are. “This may force you into an unnatural stride motion,” said Ridings.

Rear-drive ellipticals have the flywheel in the back and are longer, heavier and much more expensive than front-drive ellipticals. They are typically harder to store but offer a much quieter and smoother workout.

Foot pedals

The foot pedals should be comfortable to use, Ridings said — otherwise, you could end up with lower back pain or shin splints. Pay attention to the foot pedals’ cushioning, design and size. Some models offer foot pedals that pivot to relieve pressure on the knees; others are oversized so feet have space to move around and avoid cramping.

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