Elliptical machines are popular types of exercise equipment for a number of reasons. They offer some great benefits and a variety of workouts right at home. Some of the benefits of an elliptical workout include:
- It works your core
- It works your chest
- It burns plenty of calories and fat while keeping you in that sweet zone at around 130 heartbeats per minute
Another great feature of elliptical machines is that they provide the best core workouts you can find, aside from an ab focused workout. They work your arms, while you exercise your lower body to get the best burn.
Choosing the Best Elliptical Machine
Finding the right elliptical machine for you comes down to key concerns such as budget, available space, and desired results. Usability is another top concern, and customization or resistance variety are other things to keep in mind.
The best machines out there let you increase and lower your incline – which is of fundamental importance to an increased load workout, which requires higher intensities. All in all, there are plenty of considerations when it comes to ellipticals, even when its simple foot petals or framework.
Some Important Features To Consider
- Adjustable Stride so that you can adjust the stride length
- Heart Rate Hand Grips so that you can constantly monitor the effectiveness of your workout and burn fat and calories based on beats per minute standards
- Incline so that you can increase the intensity of your workout
- Pivoting Pedals; two different kinds are typically available – foot plates or pivoting pedals
- Powered Incline to change the incline at the push of a tiny button
- Resistance adjustment so that you make the stride harder or easier
- Transport wheels for ease of transport
- Solid construction to ensure quality
- Brand you can trust with a long electronic, labor, lifetime frame and parts warranty
- Display that shows calories burned, distance, workout time, etc.
With all of this information, you’re sure to make a more informed decision when purchasing one of the top elliptical training machines of 2017 to find the elliptical trainer that’s perfect for you.
To get you started, we have reviewed some of the most popular models on the market. Here are our picks for elliptical machines at every price point.
Best Elliptical Under $100The Stamina 55-1610 InMotion E1000 is a small, portable machine that you can use anywhere. It’s great for the office or for small apartments where you want to get the type of lower body workout an elliptical provides without springing for a full machine.
It’s very affordable, and it even includes an electronic monitor to keep track of your workout. It can be used sitting or standing, and the adjustable tension gives you control over the intensity. For a budget machine that can be used anywhere, the InMotion is a fantastic option.
Best Elliptical Under $200
If you want a compact elliptical that gives you the upper-arm workout in addition to working your legs and core, the Exerpeutic Aero Air is a good option at a nice price. It has large pedals and an easy dial tension adjustment. The LCD display indicates exactly how far you’ve gone and how many calories you’ve burned.
This is a small elliptical and only has a weight capacity of 200 pounds, so keep that in mind if you are looking for a multi-purpose or multi-user elliptical. It’s also worth noting that lower priced machines are going to be louder – that is this case with the Exerpeutic Aero Air. However, it’s a good elliptical that will give you a great workout for an affordable price.
The Gazelle Edge is completely electric free, so it cuts down on your carbon footprint while keeping you in shape. It is high performance, to match speed with you, and it has the most unsurpassed motion capability of any of these elliptical trainers, because it can go as fast as you. The gliding and range of motion make it a seamless workout without any abrupt stops.No matter 1000+ customers love it! The easy to use 5-function workout computer keeps track of all your speed, distance, and time details while the extra-wide, non-skid platforms keep you safe. It’s affordably priced and is good for anyone at any fitness level.
The Body Rider is a two in one machine, so you get two exercise equipment pieces for one low price, and it produces a breeze while you exercise to keep you cool. It’s great for beginners or for anyone who needs the option to sit down during a workout.
It adjusts easily with just the simple turn of a knob, and offers some of the best minimization on the joints you can imagine. It helps by tracking your time, speed, distance, and calories in a vertically seated position that adjusts to any different body type. For the price, it is an incredibly sturdy and well-made machine.
Best Elliptical Under $400
Desk ellipticals are smart options for office workers who want to ensure they are getting some exercise in whenever possible. Known as “active sitting,” using a desk elliptical burns calories and increases energy. Cubbi’s versions are quiet, highly rated trainers that are affordable and low impact.
The Cubbi Jr is not Bluetooth enabled, so it’s less expensive than the regular Cubbi. However it still has a display monitor, so you are able to see your progress (you just cannot track it over time). It’s whisper quiet and highly portable, but also stable and well designed.
With a recumbent seat that moves where you need it to, this seated elliptical trainer brings you the maximum comfort. It works out your upper body and has specially placed foot-petals to go from being seated to a 15″ stride length position. It holds up to 350 pounds, so it’s durable and stable.
It comes with 16 workout apps and 14 different resistance levels, plus a target pacer with specialized RPM meter and LCD windows to show you exactly how the inertia- enhanced flywheel is operating. Your totals are targeted as accurately as possible, plus you can level how your feet sit. It has dual grip heart monitor technology and transport wheels to get it on the move quickly.
Best Elliptical Under $1000
Though the list price is just under $1000, the Nautilus E614 can be found for as much as $400 off. No matter what price you pay, this is an all-around great elliptical trainer with plenty of premium features.
It includes a 20 inch stride, 22 program, 20 level of resistance, 2 person amazing trainer that provides literally everything you need in a great, space saving package. Plus it’s got an amazing acoustic chambered sound system – which is pretty cool. And grip heart rate or telemetry enabled heart rate monitors- if you want to strap it on.
This older version of the Schwinn 470 can be snatched at an amazing price, making it a smart pick for a high quality elliptical. It features a dual track LCD windows and Schwinn Connect, you can keep track of all your data and reach your fitness goals easier with 13 different feedback programs.
It comes included with 29 programs, 4 user settings and goal tracking, plus 25 levels of resistance and high speed inertia to make your workout smoother and quieter. Another cool feature is that you can charge through a USB port and even exchange data! If you are interested in the latest model instead, it’s available for just a bit more, and it has some snazzy new features.
Best Premium Elliptical
This powerful elliptical training machine provides some of the absolute most challenging cardiovascular workouts. It has style and class, and great reviews. It includes adjustable pedals and adjustable power stride with incline, so it’s perfect for any sized person — an important detail to consider. The E35 comes with 20 levels of resistance and 30 degrees of incline.
It’s got pulse grip and chest strap heart rate monitoring, a 7.5-inch display with front drive system, and built in fan to keep you cool. It also pays attention to details, adding features such as a built in sound system and water bottle holders. It’s got all the features you’d ever need (and then some), a 375 pound max capacity weight limit, and extremely durable construction.
Though the E1 is at the tippy top of the price points we have here, it’s really the king of ellipticals, and the one to get when you want gym quality at home. It includes 13 workouts preloaded, outstanding durability, and an easy to use interface for seamless workouts.
One of the most impressive things about the E1 is how quiet it is. Life Fitness has used the best in technology to ensure you have a super quiet workout on the elliptical. It includes a chest heart rate monitor and numerous options to track and customize your workout. When you want the best – and a machine that will last a long, long time – the Life Fitness E1 is worth every penny.
Treadmill vs Elliptical Workouts
If you’re looking for exercise equipment, you might still be deciding between a treadmill or an elliptical. Elliptical training machines actually burn more calories than treadmills or staircase machines. Though they all provide solid cardiovascular workouts that are unparalleled, you’re also getting a more complete workout with an elliptical trainer.
When you use a treadmill, you’re only really working the lower body – which is great when you want to just focus on the abdomen, butt, or legs. But if you really want a complete workout, with an upper body workout from movable handlebars that work your arm muscles in tandem with the foot petals, you’ll want to look at an elliptical. Those workouts mean you’re not only working your legs and buttocks, you’re also toning your arms, shoulders, back muscles, and getting more cardiovascular benefits the more you use the elliptical.
You can also work in reverse motion on elliptical machines, and you can’t really safely do the same on a treadmill. This provides users the ability to work completely different areas of leg muscles consistently and easily.
Elliptical machines are also more comfortable and easier on the joints than treadmills, and they match your speed so that you provide the power, and when you stop, they stop. You don’t have to worry about getting caught on food petals, stumbling or hurting yourself at any time, and the amount of speed is completely dependent on you.
Plus, elliptical machines provide more balanced workouts that are literally three times easier on your joints, so you’re nearly eliminating all of the discomforts that other machines bring. What’s great about elliptical machines is that they’re part stair-climber, and part cross-country-ski machine.
You get to move your feet in flattened circles, rather than move in a linear pattern, and the real value of working out on these machines comes from the overall resistance that builds up when you spin or slow the elliptical’s flywheel as you turn it with your body.
These types of machines are the best if you have a space to devote to an indoor exercise machine, but not too much space- the amount required typically is no more than a large entertainment center or dresser, and the movement that happens within the confines of the machine.
Ellipticals Provide More Options for Users
If you’re looking for a full body workout with cardiovascular training at your own pace, then ellipticals are worth every penny. Plus, elliptical training machines come with many more options than most treadmills, including adjustable inches, pre-set workout programs, and other features that customize your Elliptical Machine to the max.
Ellipticals Often Need Fewer Repairs Than Treadmills or Trainers
There are no belts in elliptical machines to replace, and they typically have a smaller footprint, since your speed powers their speed. You can also use them pretty much anywhere in your home with relative ease and comfort- and so can your family – and you can put lots of time into it without worrying about them breaking down.
What to Look for When Buying an Elliptical
Price: Generally speaking, elliptical price ranges vary greatly, from under $500 to over $3,000. Obviously, spending more gets you more in terms of features and stability, but it’s a good idea to research the model you’re interested to get a sense of user experience. Another thing to consider related to price – cheaper models are generally going to be louder. The more expensive models have advanced technology to help reduce the noise associated with elliptical use.
Workout Programs: Each individual elliptical you’ll see on the market should describe whether it has an upper body workout with it or not, and which types of programs it includes, as well as the type of display that it uses.
- Workout programs are typically included in the price, but some might be at an individual cost
- Make sure to consider Heart Rate Monitoring Systems, as not all heart rate monitors are created equal
- HR usually comes via strap monitors or chest monitors
- Check both weight capacity and stride length