Best Elliptical Machines for Your At-Home Cardio Workouts

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Don't let the thought of low-impact exercise fool you. The elliptical workouts you receive from today's machines do not spare the intensity. Whether you're getting back to exercise or fired up to get your heart pounding, an elliptical machine will get the job done, plus there's that low-impact thing. Ellipticals and treadmills offer many of the same benefits such as weight loss, fat reduction, and improved cardiovascular fitness, but ellipticals are kinder to your joints. That's a plus for everyone, especially those who suffer from hip or knee pain.

An elliptical machine is a wise choice for your first piece of home cardio equipment or if you're growing your home gym. It's cost-effective—you can obtain these all-purpose machines for well under $2,000 or even under $1,000—and you can enjoy the classes and many of the advanced features you'll find on the latest treadmills and bikes. Read on for our picks of the best elliptical machines.

The 9 Best Elliptical Machines – Our Top Picks

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Best Overall Elliptical Machine – NordicTrack FS14i Freestride Trainer

NordicTrack FS14i Freestride Trainer


  • Dimensions: 58.5"L x 29.5"W x 74"H
  • Stride length: 0-32"
  • Weight capacity: 375 lbs.
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, 1-year labor


There are elliptical machines, and then there is the NordicTrack FS14i Elliptical Trainer. This state-of-the-art machine is our pick for the best overall elliptical trainer because it boasts three-in-one training, meaning it can adjust from an elliptical to a stair stepper and then a treadmill to cover all your cardio needs. The FS14i features smart auto-adjust technology which can intuitively modify your stride length, resistance, and incline as you train. Speaking of training, this machine uses iFIT—30-day free trial with purchase—which grants you access to a full library of on-demand workouts, personal trainers, and exotic locales you can explore from the cushioned comfort of your elliptical.

The FS14i has a 20-pound inertia-enhanced flywheel, 26 digital resistance levels, and an incline range of -10% to 10%. As with the majority of NordicTrack's ellipticals, the FS14i has a 14-inch HD touchscreen with one-touch controls embedded into the top of the moveable arms. It's a bit more expensive, but if your budget allows, this is one of the most dynamic machines for your money.

What We Like

  • Auto-adjust technology
  • 3-in-1 cardio training (elliptical, stepper, and treadmill)
  • 26 digital resistance levels
  • 14" smart touchscreen
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 30-day iFit trial included with purchase
  • Cushioned pedals

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Heavy to move and store
  • 32" stride means this machine may need more clearance

BUY: NordicTrack FS14i Freestride Trainer

Best Budget Elliptical Machine - Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical

Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical


  • Dimensions: 74"H x 64.5"L x 25"W
  • Stride length: 18"
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame warranty, 1-year parts, labor, and brakes


You don't have to spend a ton to get a decent piece of equipment. So, if you're looking for a budget elliptical for your home gym, the Horizon Fitness EX-59 is our pick because it's a solid elliptical machine for a low price point. What this elliptical lacks in high-end features, it makes up for with its sturdy-ergonomic frame, smooth ride, and 10 levels of resistance.

The EX-59 has six pre-set workouts, a built-in device holder for music or streaming, and heart rate grip sensors to track your exertion levels while you train. Additionally, the machine's display tracks time, speed, distance, and calories. The stride is on the shorter end, but if that isn't a deal-breaker, or you're a beginner looking for a quality machine at a reasonable price, Horizon Fitness has you covered.

What We Like

  • Great quality for the price
  • Quick set-up
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Lifetime frame warranty
  • Quiet
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

What We Don't Like

  • Additional fee to boost your warranty on parts and labor
  • Lacks higher-end features
  • Stride may not be enough for taller users

BUY: Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical

Best Elliptical Machine Under $500 – Sunny Health & Fitness Pre-Programed Magnetic Trainer

Sunny Health & Fitness Pre-Programed Magnetic Trainer


  • Dimensions: 55"L x 23"W x 65.5"H
  • Stride length: 15.5"
  • Weight capacity: 330 lbs.
  • Warranty: 3-year frame, 180-day other parts and components


If your budget is even smaller or you have limited available space, the Sunny Health & Fitness Pre-Programmed Magnetic Trainer ticks those boxes. This elliptical is compact, affordable, and full of popular features, earning our vote for the best under $500. The 13-pound rear flywheel has 16 levels of magnetic resistance. Add the 24 preset programs—including manual—and this elliptical is an outstanding choice for beginners, older trainees, and those returning to aerobic training. There is no screen in the console, but the phone/tablet holder lets you follow along with your favorite workout videos or fitness apps.

Two sets of handlebars give you more options. You can use the moving handles for a total-body workout or hold on to the stationary pair when just stepping—another reason the SF-E3912 is great for beginners. The handgrips contain pulse sensors to monitor and track your heart rate, and the console displays speed, time, distance, calories burned, RPM, watt generations, and resistance level.

What We Like

  • Super affordable
  • Solid steel construction
  • Non-slip cushioned pedals for smooth and steady stride
  • 24 easy-to-follow programs
  • 16 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Smaller footprint

What We Don't Like

  • Short 15.5" may not work for taller users
  • Warranty is below the industry standard

BUY: Sunny Health & Fitness Pre-Programmed Magnetic Trainer

Best Compact Elliptical Machine – NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical

NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical


  • Dimensions: 80"L x 32"W x 67"H
  • Stride length: 18"
  • Weight capacity: 325 lbs.
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, 1-year labor


You might be hesitant to refer to this equipment as "compact" due to its length and sturdiness, but the NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical is our pick for the best compact elliptical because the console and handles can be folded. This reduces its size for relatively easy upright storage.

The SE9i Elliptical has 24 resistance levels, uses Silent Magnetic Resistance technology to prevent noise pollution, and you can adjust the incline up to 10% depending on the intensity of your workout or the muscle groups you're targeting. These adjustments can be made manually while in use or automatically as you follow one of the many in-demand classes available on iFIT. Additionally, the SE9i includes a 14" HD touchscreen, AutoBreeze workout fan, adjustable oversized cushioned pedals, integrated handle controls, rear-mounted transport wheels, and a water bottle holder.

What We Like

  • Folds for compact storage
  • 24 resistance levels
  • SMR technology
  • 14" smart HD touchscreen
  • Auto-adjustable stride
  • Comes with 30-day iFit trial
  • Adjustable, cushioned pedals

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • 218 lbs. may be difficult to move
  • Smaller stride

BUY: NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical

Best Adjustable Elliptical Machine – ProForm Carbon EL

ProForm Carbon EL


  • Dimensions: 68.5"L x 25"W x 67.75"H
  • Stride length: 19"
  • Weight capacity: 275 lbs.
  • Warranty: 10-year frame, 1-year parts and labor


The Carbon EL from ProForm is an adjustable elliptical that's great for all fitness levels. There are many things to love about ProForm's Carbon EL elliptical trainer, but the way it can be modified to fit almost any user. The best features of the Carbon EL are its large-sized pedals and 19-inch adjustable stride, which is longer than on most home ellipticals. Trainees of most heights can enjoy a smooth, steady glide. The 18 levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance are quickly adjusted via buttons on the console when you're ready to up your effort, and a 20% max incline lets you ramp up the intensity even more while shifting effort to target your glutes, hamstrings, and calves.

Mid-sized for a home elliptical, the ProForm Carbon EL has a sturdy steel frame and two sets of handlebars for whole-body training or legs only, your choice. It comes with an integrated shelf and a pair of two-inch speakers, allowing you to utilize your favorite media or workout videos or connect to the built-in iFIT app and enjoy interactive training sessions, with iFIT trainers controlling the Carbon EL's resistance. You'll also love the streaming classes and global workouts that let you see the world while you're pushing to the limit.

What We Like

  • Front flywheel design takes up less space
  • 19" adjustable stride
  • 18 levels of resistance
  • 5 levels of incline to 20%
  • iFIT enabled with 1-month free family subscription
  • Easy to lift
  • 10-year warranty on the frame

What We Don't Like

  • Maximum user weight is only 275 lbs.
  • 15 lb. flywheel is also light for heavier users
  • No preset programs

BUY: ProForm Carbon EL

Best Luxury Elliptical Machine – Sole Fitness E98

Sole Fitness E98


  • Dimensions: 71"H x 82"L x 31"D
  • Stride length: 20"
  • Weight capacity: 400 lbs.
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame warranty, 5-year electronics and parts warranty, 2-year labor warranty


If you're looking for commercial-grade luxury at a residential price, the Sole Fitness E98 fits the bill for the best luxury elliptical. It's the most heavy-duty of the Sole Fitness line of ellipticals due to its steel construction, 400-pound user weight limit, and 32-pound flywheel. This is a beast of an elliptical machine and can take a lot of punishment if you're an advanced user needing equipment that can go all-in with you on your cardio workout.

The E98 Elliptical features 10 programs (6 standard, 2 custom, and 2 heart), a "fitness test" for tracking your progress, and compatibility with the Studio App which grants you even more interactive training options. Additionally, this home-luxury machine has an integrated smart tablet holder, USB charger, cooling fan, and water bottle holder.

What We Like

  • 20" stride
  • 32-lb. flywheel
  • 10.1" TFT LED monitor
  • Higher weight capacity
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Excellent warranty
  • 90-day Studio App trial

What We Don't Like

  • Expensive
  • Larger and heavier than other models
  • You will have to pay for the Studio app after free trial

BUY: Sole Fitness E98

Best Home Elliptical Machine – Diamondback Fitness 1060ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer

Diamondback Fitness 1060ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer


  • Dimensions: 49.2"L x 29.5"W x 65"H
  • Stride length: 18"-23"
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Warranty: 5-year frame and brakes, 3-year parts and electronic components, 1-year labor, 90-day wear


If you're seeking an elliptical for your home workouts, every model on this page would be an excellent choice, depending on your space, budget, and favorite features. That said, we've got to go with the Diamondback Fitness 1060ef as the pick for the best elliptical machine for home as it's a lightweight, space-saving machine with an adjustable stride that is easy to use and comes with all you'll need to get a great elliptical workout at home. The 1060ef has a smaller footprint but will still have you taking large steps thanks to the adjustable stride, which you can set at 18, 20, or 23 inches—greater than you'll find on most ellipticals this small.

There's no bulky flywheel, but the Diamondback 1060ef has a Whisper Quiet Magnetic Resistance system with 32 settings that adjust your intensity smoothly, without interrupting your workout. Instead of rails and ball bearings, a unique dual-spindle technology mimics your natural motion. Oversized "floating" foot pedals ensure a comfortable stride for users of all sizes and gaits, and you can glide forward and reverse.

Hand-pulse sensors bring you continual heart rate readings throughout the session, and there's a built-in Polar® wireless heart rate receiver so you can connect to heart-rate monitoring devices. A dual-color LCD console with a back-lit display allows you to measure watts, distance, heart rate, speed, calories, RPM, and basal metabolic rate.

What We Like

  • Compact footprint fits in smaller spaces
  • Adjustable stride has 3 settings
  • Adjustable floor levelers on front and rear stabilize the frame
  • Rollers on the front for easy storage
  • 12 built-in workouts
  • Adjustable magnetic resistance with 32 levels

What We Don't Like

  • Stride could be too long for users under 5'2"
  • No touchscreen or Bluetooth

BUY: Diamondback 1060ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical

Best Under-Desk Elliptical Machine - Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Under-Desk Elliptical

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Under-Desk Elliptical


  • Dimensions: 24"L x 19"W x 11"H
  • Stride length: 7"
  • Weight capacity: 220 lbs.
  • Warranty: 1-year structural frame, 180 days other parts and components


If you spend the majority of your day sitting at your desk, or are rehabbing an injury, a smaller model elliptical like the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Under-Desk Elliptical could be just what you're looking for. While it doesn't have many of the features that come with higher-end cardio machines, it does offer you eight levels of adjustable magnetic resistance, non-slip pedals, and a digital monitor to track your stats.

If you commute to an office building, this elliptical is also incredibly easy to bring along with you as it only weighs about 25 pounds and has a carrying handle attached. So, if you simply need to get your legs moving while you work, the Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Under-Desk Elliptical is an excellent choice.

What We Like

  • Fits easily under most desks
  • Easy to transport
  • Non-slip pedals
  • Floor stabilizers
  • 8 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Affordable

What We Don't Like

  • Short stride length
  • Lower weight capacity
  • Light flywheel

BUY: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Under-Desk Elliptical

How to Choose the Best Elliptical Machine for You


The design of an elliptical can impact how much it will wobble during your workout. Some more budget-friendly models may not have a large enough footprint or feel sturdy enough to remain stable as your weight shifts, especially during rapid strides. A weak frame may not tolerate a lot of motion very well. Look for models with a frame constructed from quality materials, like steel. Rear-drive machines (ellipticals with resistance mechanics located behind the foot pedals) tend to be the most stable options.


Elliptical machines made for home workouts often use a weighted flywheel system. The rule of thumb is that a heavier flywheel means better performance from your elliptical. That's because they create more momentum as they spin, which makes for a much smoother workout. Heavier flywheels provide greater resistance levels, and how much resistance you get depends on your budget. High-end elliptical machines have flywheels somewhere between 20 to 30 pounds. The more affordable models have flywheels as light as 13 pounds. In every elliptical, the flywheel is paired with some form of magnetic resistance, meaning it turns within a magnetic field.

The strength of this magnetic field is controlled in one of three ways:

  • Pre-installed workout programs
  • Manually
  • Heart rate control

Heart rate control, in which the elliptical electronically monitors your heart rate to adjust the resistance, is less common than pre-installed programming or manual resistance. The stronger the magnetic field, the greater the resistance you experience in the pedals and handlebars. And of course, the more resistance, the more calories you burn in a shorter time span. Depending on your fitness goals, you'll want to keep an eye out for an elliptical with a decent range of resistance settings. You're more likely to outgrow a machine with fewer settings than one with more.


There are two main types of elliptical inclines: powered and manual. With a powered incline, you can adjust with a button, while a manual incline is what it sounds like—you change the angle of the incline yourself, usually by pulling out and repositioning a pin or using tools to change it. The benefit of an adjustable incline is that it gives you more flexibility in your training. For every degree of incline, you target the back of your legs more and make your workout more difficult overall. Not every elliptical model has an incline option, so it's something you need to keep in mind when researching elliptical trainers.

Stride Length

One of the most important factors to consider when shopping for an elliptical is stride length, the length between the foot pedals when they're the farthest apart. You need a stride length proportionate to your height if you want a comfortable and effective workout. Compact and budget-friendly elliptical machines can have a stride as short as 11 inches. A general rule of thumb is that a 20-inch stride fits most users between 5' 3" and 6' comfortably, so you should aim for an elliptical with a 20-inch stride. If you're 5'2", look for a shorter stride length, and if you're over 6" consider a model with a stride above 20 inches. If the machine will be used by multiple exercisers of various heights, your best bet will be one with an adjustable stride.

Best Elliptical Machines FAQs

Will an elliptical help my performance?

Aerobic exercise should be an essential part of your workout regimen, and an elliptical workout machine can fill that need perfectly by helping you improve endurance and cardio fitness. Another benefit is that this exercise machine gives you a high-intensity but low-impact workout.

What ellipticals are used in gyms?

Elliptical trainers are popular among trainees who want a high-intensity aerobic workout without potential wear and tear on their joints. Commercial-grade elliptical trainers are found at most sizable gyms.

Are home ellipticals worth it?

As with all home exercise equipment, you get what you put into it from an elliptical. If you're motivated to improve your fitness, having an elliptical at home lets you cut to the chase and start working out rather than travel back and forth to the gym.

What muscles do ellipticals work?

Ellipticals work the entire body when used in tandem with the moving handlebars, targeting the quads, hamstrings, glutes, chest, back, biceps, triceps, and core muscles.