Categorized | Athletic Training

Ten Best Elliptical Machines

Elliptical machines in a gym room

The best elliptical machines are high-quality, high-intensity yet low-impact pieces of fitness equipment. Rotating foot pedals allow users to achieve a running motion without their feet leaving a solid surface, resulting in a cardiovascular workout that puts less stress on the feet, ankles, knees, and hips than traditional running. Moving hand grips provide resistance and guided movement for the arms, too, resulting in a full-body workout.

​We recently took a good, hard look at some of the most prominent brands and models out there. Our goal is to present an easy-to-use guide to help you choose the very best elliptical machine for your specific fitness needs, available space, and budget.

The Best Elliptical Machines: FAQ

What Are the Benefits of Elliptical Machines?

​The low-impact nature of an elliptical workout gives users with knee or other joint problems a way to exercise efficiently. They are great for cardio and muscular endurance, and they may also help with overall body composition. Most machines allow you to dial hand grips and turn adjustable resistance upward for a more strenuous workout or down to ease up a bit.

What Are the Drawbacks of Elliptical Machines?

​These machines are built for cardio work, which means they aren’t as well-suited for directly building flexibility or muscle strength. While they can provide an excellent workout, even the best elliptical machine workout may not be quite as intense as pure running or extreme weightlifting.

Where Can I Buy One?

​You can purchase these machines at fitness retailers or online. In this article, we will provide links to the Amazon and other online retailers where readers can purchase each model on our list of the best elliptical machines we could find.

elliptical stride

​Image Source: pixabay.com

How We Reviewed

The following products were reviewed based on these parameters: features, pros and cons, pricing, and warranty coverage. We researched the best-rated and reviewed elliptical machines on the market to compile this list, which includes machines for beginners and experienced workout warriors alike.

Overall Price Range

​Costs run from $100 for barebones machines to well above $2,000 for the best elliptical machines at the ultra-premium level. The cheapest machines lack basic features like programmable workouts and heart-rate tracking. In contrast, the most expensive ones allow fully customized and computer-tracked workouts. The best elliptical machines also include safety features like a software lockout that keeps children from accessing the machine.

What We Reviewed

  • ​Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine
  • ​Exerpeutic 1000XL Heavy Duty Magnetic Elliptical
  • Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef Elliptical Trainer
  • ​NordicTrack C 7.5 iFit Elliptical
  • ​Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Trainer
  • ​ProForm Pro 12.9 Elliptical
  • ​ANCHEER Elliptical Machine Trainer
  • ​SOLE Fitness E95S Elliptical
  • ​NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i Elliptical Trainer
  • ​Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer
gym room

​Image Source: pixabay.com

Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

Features

Schwinn has long been known as a high-quality bicycle brand, and the Schwinn 470 lives up to their legacy. This elliptical trainer is a smooth-running machine that runs quietly and features great performance-tracking tools. With 29 programs, 4 custom user-defined profiles, and quick keys that make resistance and incline easy to adjust on the fly, there’s a great deal of versatility.

This model has a heart-rate chest-strap option if you’d like to monitor your heart rate, but a strap is not included with the machine. Also, the 470 features Schwinn’s DualTrack system, with two back-lit LCD screens to track your workout. Available at a reasonable price, this is among the best elliptical machines for either a beginner or an experienced user.

Pros  

  • ​Automated incline and resistance controls make it easy to make adjustments on the fly    
  • ​User profiles let you track progress across multiple exercisers 
  • ​Durable, high-quality construction

Cons  

  • ​Limited incline of just 10 degrees
  • ​No heart strap monitor included

Warranty

​Schwinn provides a 10-year warranty on the frame, a 2-year mechanical warranty and a 1-year electrical warranty. There is also a 90-day labor warranty included with your purchase.

Exerpeutic 1000XL Heavy Duty Magnetic Elliptical

Features

​The Exerpeutic 1000XL is priced to sell but sturdily constructed. It boasts eight levels of resistance, which should be enough for most fitness levels, and it produces a smooth elliptical motion that feels natural. Its large LCD screen is easy to read and displays data such as calories burned, distance traveled, and your heart rate, provided you keep your hands on the pulse pads built into the handles. It’s not as full-featured as some other machines on this list, but this is certainly one of the best elliptical trainers available in its price range.

Pros  

  • ​High-quality construction provides a great workout
  • ​Outstanding value for the price     
  • ​Very stable with no shuddering
  • ​Moving handles provide a workout for both arms and legs

Cons  

  • ​Assembly required, and some steps can be difficult
  • ​3-inch stride length will frustrate taller users

Warranty

​Exerpeutic provides a 3-year limited warranty for this product.

Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef Elliptical Trainer

Features

​The Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef is well built and loaded with features. You can create a custom-tailored workout and change the incline by a whopping 20 degrees, which is well above average. When you turn the incline all the way up, this machine almost feels like a stair-stepper. It also comes packaged with a chest-strap heart rate monitor that can be used with the machine’s five heart rate control programs. While pricey, this Diamondback Fitness machine is one of the best elliptical machines out there for serious fitness enthusiasts.

Pros  

  • ​Quality construction        
  • ​20-degree incline range
  • ​Included heart rate monitor

Cons  

  • ​Heavy and difficult to assemble
  • ​High price point

Warranty

​Diamondback offers a limited lifetime warranty on the frame, a 5-year warranty on parts and electronics, and a 1-year labor warranty. It all adds up to one of the best elliptical warranties we found during our study.

NordicTrack C 7.5 iFit Elliptical

Features

​The NordicTrack C 7.5 is a machine that stands out from its competition across a broad price range. Its 20-pound flywheel produces consistently smooth,  quiet motion that leaves almost no impact on your knees. Its 20-inch stride is perfect for many users, and its 22 levels of resistance and 20 degrees of incline provide plenty of versatility in workout intensity.

Pros  

  • ​20 degrees of incline is superior to the competition at this price point
  • ​26 programmed workouts provide plenty of options
  • ​Excellent warranty

Cons  

  • ​Heart rate monitoring available through hand grips only
  • ​No chest strap support

Warranty

​NordicTrack’s warranty blows away the competition at this price: The buyer benefits from a lifetime frame warranty, a 2-year parts warranty and one year of labor coverage.

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Trainer

Features

​Anyone looking for a low-impact workout at home on a limited budget will want to look into the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905. This machine is lightweight and compact, making it easy to move around and fit into tight spaces. Its eight levels of resistance are enough for most casual workouts, and its large anti-slip pedals are perfect for beginners. Like most of the best elliptical machines, it features a built-in computer that tracks key statistics like your speed, distance, and heart rate.

Pros  

  • ​Small size makes it perfect for apartments and small homes      
  • ​Lightweight design makes it easy to transport from room to room
  • ​Enough resistance levels to provide an intense workout

Cons  

  • ​No prominent warranty information
  • ​No included workout programs to help in training
  • ​13-inch stride length may be uncomfortable for taller users.

Warranty

​As far as we could discover through our research, the manufacturer does not offer a warranty on this product.

ProForm Pro 12.9 Elliptical

Features

​The ProForm Pro 12.9 is simply one of the best elliptical trainers out there. It retails for a reasonable price and features a whopping 43 preset programs. You can even download additional fitness programs if you choose. On top of those benefits, this machine is well constructed and equipped with above-average safety features.

Pros  

  • ​Huge number of preset programs means there’s a workout for just about everyone
  • ​Safety features make it a good pick for novices
  • ​Chest-strap heart-rate monitor included

Cons  

  • ​Chest-strap heart-rate monitor doesn’t provide feedback to the machine

Warranty

​The quality of the ProForm Pro 12.9 elliptical trainer extends to its warranty. The maker provides a lifetime frame warranty, a 5-year parts warranty, and a 2-year labor warranty.

ANCHEER Elliptical Machine Trainer

Features

​The ANCHEER Elliptical Machine Trainer has a lot in common with the other low-priced ellipticals on this list. It features a 13-inch stride and eight levels of magnetic resistance. Its compact size and the smooth, quiet, belt-driven motion make it a solid choice for new exercisers living in apartment buildings.

Pros  

  • ​Low price
  • ​Small and quiet
  • ​Smooth motion

Cons  

  • ​13-inch stride is awkward for taller users
  • ​Very limited warranty

Warranty

​ANCHEER provides a 1-year warranty on materials with a 30-day, risk-free return policy.

Sole Fitness E95S

Features

​The Sole Fitness E95S is a high-end machine with some seriously impressive features that make it one of the best elliptical trainers on the market. Built for experienced users, it has an adjustable stride length that can help vary your workout routine and let you work different muscle groups. It’s also Bluetooth-enabled, with the ability to connect to the Sole app to set fitness goals and track your workout history. This elliptical trainer even includes a chest-strap heart-rate monitor that pairs with two programs that will adjust settings based on feedback from the strap.

Pros  

  • ​Adjustable stride length means almost everyone finds a comfortable fit
  • ​Bluetooth connectivity enables easy fitness tracking
  • ​Wireless heart monitor included

Cons  

  • ​Some users report clicking noises from the machine
  • ​Expensive

Warranty

​Sole’s impressive warranty includes lifetime frame coverage, 5 years for parts and electronics, and 2 years for labor.

NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i Elliptical Trainer

Features

​The NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i is a compact elliptical machine that’s easy to put together and won’t take up a ton of space in your home. It even folds up and rolls away, making it ideal for those without a dedicated workout space. Despite its small size, this NordicTrack machine offers a great workout experience. We credit its 18-inch stride, power adjustable incline, and 22 levels of resistance. Its 5″ back-lit display is also better than average; it looks great from several viewing angles.

Pros  

  • ​Folds up and rolls away for easy storage
  • ​22 workout programs built in,  with nearly limitless other options available through iFit
  • ​Can be assembled easily within 15 minutes

Cons  

  • ​18-inch stride length is good for most, but those 6 feet and taller may be uncomfortable

Warranty

​The warranty on this product is even better than the one offered with NordicTrack’s C 7.5: a lifetime frame warranty, with 3 years for parts and 1 for labor, in addition to a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer

Features

​The Nautilus E614 trainer is, like most Nautilus products, both innovative and high in quality. Its dual LCD display is a standout, allowing you to prop up a book or tablet while still keeping track of your workout on the smaller lower screen. It even features a computer that allows you to download exercise data so you can easily track your improvements. All of this comes standard on this feature-rich machine available at a mid-to-low price point.

Pros  

  • ​Tons of features at a great price
  • ​Computer allows you to download workout data
  • ​Sturdy construction and great design will likely outlast the warranty

Cons  

  • ​Only six levels of incline
  • ​Workout must be paused briefly to adjust the incline

Warranty

​Nautilus provides a 10-year warranty for the frame, plus a 2-year warranty for parts and one year of coverage on electronics.

The Verdict: Contenders, Finalists, and Our Champ

people exercising

​Image Source: pixabay.com

​The best elliptical machine for you will depend on how much you want to spend. On the low end of the price range, the Exerpeutic 1000XL performs well, as does the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905. The biggest knock against the latter is its lack of a manufacturer’s warranty, so we give the nod to Exerpeutic’s machine when it comes to the best elliptical at an entry-level price. In the middle, it’s hard to beat the Nautilus E614, although NordicTrack’s machines come very close. Finally, for the best elliptical at a premium price, the Sole Fitness E95S takes the cake. It’s tough to go wrong with any of these machines, though. The best elliptical is really the machine that has the features you need at a price that works for you.

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