Best Home Elliptical Machine Reviews and Guide
More and more people are looking to the elliptical for a safe, fun, highly effective at home workout. While it can be a great tool for improving cardiovascular health and burning fat, it is hard to know what to look for when you decide to buy one for your home.
After all, commercial equipment you use in gyms is often very expensive, and getting something comparable without breaking the bank can be tricky!
But, if you know the basics of what to look for, you’ll be the owner of a new home elliptical in no time. We are here to help and put together this guide to give you the most important information to help you get your new gear.
Elliptical Benefits That Make It Ideal for a Home Gym
Before you start shopping, it’s great to know the benefits of elliptical machines to ensure that this is the best equipment for your personal use. Most people flock to the elliptical because it is a low-impact workout that is similar to a treadmill workout. They are surprised that they can get such a great aerobic workout on it without much impact on the joints. Find out how the elliptical vs treadmill stack up!
The resistance levels available on the machine help in creating a tough cardio workout, but they also are great for toning the muscles of the glutes and legs. And, you can even get an upper body workout with the elliptical, thanks to it being equipped with handles that mimic a push/pull motion.
It is also a great choice for a home gym; aside from not having to wait in line at your local gym, you get to enjoy a quiet workout from a machine that takes up minimal space and makes little noise!
This makes it easy to get in some exercise while you’re doing other activities, like watching television or even waiting for your dinner to finish cooking. The elliptical truly serves people of all fitness levels who have goals from fat loss to heart conditioning.
How to Choose the Best Elliptical Machine for Home Use
Okay, now we get to move into the more technical part of shopping for an elliptical, in going over the specifications for how to choose and what to look for in the best elliptical for you.
- Types of resistance
Okay, this is a little bit technical, but it’s also really important to point out. Pretty much all ellipticals use magnetic resistance, but the most common types come down to being standard or electromagnetic.
If a machine uses standard magnetic resistance, it usually is caused by a high-power magnet that creates resistance when moving toward or away from the flywheel. But for elliptical machines that use electromagnetic resistance, the resistance is generated from a current that runs through an electromagnet.
For what it’s worth, these (electromagnetic resistance) machines are much easier to operate as well as have more versatility for adjustment options. This, in turn, makes them more expensive.
- Stride length
Stride length is a crucial consideration because it measures how far your feet move from front to back of the elliptical; it can vary in the range of 16-21 inches. If the stride length is less than 16”, then your movement will no longer feel like one of an elliptical but instead, more like a stair stepper.
If it’s in your budget, look for a machine that has a self-adjusting stride length; it customizes to the individual’s stride. For a general guideline, follow these directives:
- 5’3” or shorter: 16” to 18” stride length
- 5’7” to 6’7”: 20” or 21” stride length
- Adjustable incline
This feature is most important for those who want to challenge various muscle groups and have the ability to change up your routine. The more adjustability options, the better cross training capability you have.
This is especially important for those with weight loss goals who do not want to plateau.
- Adjustable resistance
The best trainers should have easy, intuitive resistance adjustability; additional resistance challenges the muscles and makes workouts more difficult while burning more calories. Again, this is important for those with weight loss goals.
- Allows both forward and backward motions
Repetitive use injury is a huge problem that occurs when moving in the same pattern over and over again, as the name suggests; the elliptical alleviates this concern by allowing for both forward and backward motions.
This feature also helps keep the workout fun and interesting; most ellipticals in the mid-price range and higher do have this option, but double check in the product review!
- Cross training
This simply means that you can use both your arms and your legs; you can get a great upper body workout using the handles on an elliptical, especially if they have resistance levels. But if you’re just looking just for lower body exercise, then this feature is not so important for you.
- Noise level
Noise level gets really, really important if you are sharing living quarters with others; it gets even MORE important if those other people in your home are asleep while you’re working out! Because of the design of the elliptical (no thudding feet like a treadmill), well-designed machines should have smooth and quiet operations.
- Weight Capacity
Economy models typically have lower weight capacity, thanks to their cheaper construction. If you’re a heavier person, be sure to look at the weight capacity to confirm that it can accommodate your current size.
Ellipticals, like any other piece of fitness equipment, can range from below $100 all the way up to several thousand dollars. And although the old adage “you get what you pay for” is pretty much true, you can still get a really nice elliptical without shelling out a ton of money.
The cheaper models have less advanced technological features and programming options, but do a good job of delivering the basics so you can have a reliable machine for a solid workout. The most expensive models (aside from commercial machines) are outfitted with the most state-of-the-art technology and advanced user versatility, enhancing the overall workout experience.
- Space required
While the more expensive models do take up a larger amount of space thanks to their bulkier frame, midline and budget models are typically smaller. Some even have the option to fold! Be sure to measure your space and know your limits to find the best fit!
- Foot pedals
Slippery or too-small foot pedals make for a really annoying (and potentially dangerous) workout, so be sure to check that the foot pedals 1. have good grip and 2. are big enough for your feet.
- Extra bells and whistles
The extra’s are the really fun but not always necessary consideration that usually happens at the end of the buying process. What's most important for your goals/needs? If you’re monitoring your cardiovascular health, then you’ll likely want an option with a heart rate monitor, for example. You may also want a “smart” model that has individual, custom workouts, or at least pre-programmed options.
Any time you spend money is an investment, and especially when it comes to fitness equipment. You probably don’t want something that’s going to fall apart straight away, right? Standard warranties are from 5-10 years, with lower-priced models coming down to 1-3 years and more expensive machines extending all the way up to a lifetime warranty.
Best Home Elliptical Machine Reviews
Now that you know what to look for, let’s take a look at what the best options are! Keep the above criteria in mind as you shop around!
This elliptical is an incredible bargain for the versatility you get with the machine; it comes with 22 programs and 20 levels of resistance so you can ramp up as soon as you find the workout becoming easy.
It is a heavy-duty frame that weighs over 200 pounds, so it’s definitely durable - but you will want to be mindful of that for space and storage considerations.
Some users have mentioned that assembly can be pretty time-consuming, but the up-front effort is well worth the long-lasting, well-functioning machine you get.
It’s also whisper-quiet and comes with neat features, like the ability connect your USB for charing your data export from its tracking program, Schwinn Connect. Overall, this is a great home elliptical that gives you everything you want and more, with a reasonable price tag ($580) to boot. Plus, close to 600 people can't be wrong - read all user reviews!
For a little bit more money ($680) than the above reviewed Schwinn, you get a major features upgrade, such as Bluetooth connectivity, 29 programs, and 25 resistance levels.
This elliptical also features a 20” stride to accommodate a wide range of users, but the magic is in that the length of the machine altogether is a bit shorter than others at this price point - meaning its smaller footprint takes up less space in your home.
Similar to the Schwinn, one small critique is the amount of assembly time required - upwards of two hours, for most users. But all in all, this elliptical combines features and technology for an amazing at-home workout. Read all user reviews!
A beautifully designed elliptical, this machine looks like it came straight out of the most modern, high-tech gym you can imagine - major points for aesthetic appeal! And, its specs aren’t too bad either.
Most notable is its “variable motion elliptical technology” that allows for changes in the reversible path and length of stride from 18" to 24" - which means you can really challenge the intensity of your workout.
The handlebars also include various grip options/positions, so you can challenge different muscles of the upper body and boost the quality of your workout.
To top it all off, its ramp-less incline can adjust up to 35%, and it comes with Apple/Android docking station as well as a Polar heart rate strap. Do note that this model weighs about 244 pounds, so once it’s assembled, it’s probably going to stay where you put it so make sure you have the space for this fitness beast before you take it on! Read all user reviews!
This elliptical screams “comfort”; it was definitely designed with the optimal user comfort experience in mind. This is shown in its adjustable oversized foot pedals, whisper quiet operation, and fluid motion, forward or backward.
As for stride, you can adjust it up to 22 inches; couple this with the 20 levels of resistance, and you’re sure to get an awesome workout!
The major critiques come from the amount of time this machine takes to assemble - many buyers claim up to a full day for assembly. And, despite having 20 levels of resistance, some users have mentioned that the resistance does not feel as difficult as other brands.
With the price point on this machine being just below what you could get for a commercial model, it’s worth digging into and researching more on your end to be sure you love everything about it.
All that being said, it's still one of the most popular home ellipticals on the market - check out all user reviews!
This model, made by the same manufacturer as the Sole E35 reviewed above, includes all of the same features as the E35 but comes in at a higher price point for its upgrade in the console. This includes a built-in cooling fan, water bottle holder, and speakers that allow you to plug in an MP3 player and listen to your favorite playlist while you work out.
Set up time takes approximately 3 hours and it is hands down the best home elliptical in this price range (~$2,000). Read all user reviews!
Here you have the exact same - if not better!- elliptical you’d find in the top fitness centers in the world. It really does it all; the makers took no shortcuts in designing an incredible, fully fitted, fluid movement elliptical.
The major factors to consider for your workout are the versatile options it provides in the stride length’s ability to adjust from 0 to a whopping 36 inches, AND the stride height can adjust from from 6.8 inches to 10 inches. As you make these adjustments, the built-in technology shows you how the subtle changes target different muscle groups.
It also comes with 20 resistance levels to really maximize the intensity of your workout. As for things to be careful about - this elliptical, despite its price point, only comes with a 10-year service warranty (I’d prefer a lifetime at this price of $9,000!).
But despite that, if you're looking for the best home elliptical - this one is it! Read all user reviews!
We hope these reviews put you in the right direction of finding the perfect elliptical for your home! Let us know which one you choose and how it works out for you!