8 Best Elliptical Machines | Easy on Joints, Tough on Fat Cells

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Who wouldn’t love to use an elliptical machine whenever they want, in the comfort of their own home? Elliptical trainers provide an excellent form of exercise. They can burn calories and increase fitness or enhance mobility, all while remaining easy on the joints. If you’re dealing with a knee injury, arthritis, or other issues and are finding treadmills to be too rough for you, an elliptical machine may be just the solution. Not only that, but you’ll be able to boost your stamina, increase blood flow, and take advantage of a full-body workout all using a single machine.

Elliptical machines come in all different sizes and shapes, so even if you only have a small corner of your home to dedicate to working out, you’ll be fine.

As there are so many machines on the market today, it can be difficult to find the right model for you. Prices vary, along with build quality, resistance levels, mobility options, display monitors, and so much more. No matter what your needs are, this guide will help you narrow things down with the 8 best elliptical machines out there.

Top Ellipticals At a Glance

The EFX 222 from Precor is a great elliptical trainer

Best Elliptical Overall

Precor EFX 222 Energy Series Elliptical Crosstrainer

This offering from Precor proves that high-quality elliptical machines aren’t just for commercial use. The machine looks top-notch and its patented design offers smooth and natural motion for maximum benefits. Build your cardio endurance while strengthening and toning various muscle groups with reverse pedaling and moving arms.

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Best Value Elliptical Machine

Schwinn 470
Elliptical Machine

Schwinn is one of the most recognizable names in the sports equipment world, so it comes as no surprise that their 470 Elliptical Machine is such a high performer. With Bluetooth connectivity, 29 workout programs and 25 levels of resistance, the machine performs as well as more expensive models.

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The model from Sunny is the best budget elliptical trainer you can get

Best Budget Elliptical Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine

While it may be a budget-friendly pick, the SF-E905 from Sunny Health & Fitness doesn’t sacrifice quality. Versatile magnetic resistance offers a smooth, consistent motion. There are enough options to ensure you don’t plateau. Comfort is baked into the design, which is very compact and perfect for small spaces.

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The EFX 222 from Precor is a great elliptical trainer

Best Elliptical Overall

Precor EFX 222 Energy Series Elliptical Crosstrainer

This offering from Precor proves that high-quality elliptical machines aren’t just for commercial use. The machine looks top-notch and its patented design offers smooth and natural motion for maximum benefits. Build your cardio endurance while strengthening and toning various muscle groups with reverse pedaling and moving arms.

Read the review

Check the current price

Best Value Elliptical Machine

Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

Schwinn is one of the most recognizable names in the sports equipment world, so it comes as no surprise that their 470 Elliptical Machine is such a high performer. With Bluetooth connectivity, 29 workout programs and 25 levels of resistance, the machine performs as well as more expensive models.

Read the review

Check the current price

The model from Sunny is the best budget elliptical trainer you can get

Best Budget Elliptical Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine

While it may be a budget-friendly pick, the SF-E905 from Sunny Health & Fitness doesn’t sacrifice quality. Versatile magnetic resistance offers a smooth, consistent motion. There are enough options to ensure you don’t plateau. Comfort is baked into the design, which is very compact and perfect for small spaces.

Read the review

Check the current price

The 8 Best Elliptical Machines

Precor's top-rated elliptical machine is one of the best ellipticals on the market Precor EFX 222 Energy Series Elliptical Crosstrainer
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: No
  • Cost: $$$

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Schwinn Fitness' elliptical machine is arguably the best value elliptical on the market Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $$

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The SF -E905 is easily the best inexpensive elliptical machine available Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: No
  • Cost: $

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Sole's E95S Eelliptical is a good quality, albeit expensive, elliptical machine Sole Fitness E95S Elliptical
  • Adjustable inclination: No
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $$$

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The Cubii Jr. seated elliptical is a great mini elliptical Cubii Jr. Seated Under-Desk Elliptical
  • Adjustable inclination: No
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $

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The M6 elliptical from Bowflex is a great elliptical machine Bowflex M6 Max Trainer
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $$

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SoleFitness' E35 elliptical trainer is a very good quality machine Sole Fitness E36 Elliptical Machine
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $$$

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This NordicTrack ellitpical trainer is a very worthy option for anyone looking for a good value machine NordicTrack Commercial Elliptical
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $$

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Precor EFX 222 Energy Series Elliptical Crosstrainer
Precor's top-rated elliptical machine is one of the best ellipticals on the market
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: No
  • Cost: $$$

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Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine
Schwinn Fitness' elliptical machine is arguably the best value elliptical on the market
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $$

Check current price

Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine
The SF -E905 is easily the best inexpensive elliptical machine available
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: No
  • Cost: $

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Sole Fitness E95S Elliptical
Sole's E95S Eelliptical is a good quality, albeit expensive, elliptical machine
  • Adjustable inclination: No
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $$$

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Cubii Jr. Seated Under-Desk Elliptical
The Cubii Jr. seated elliptical is a great mini elliptical
  • Adjustable inclination: No
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $

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Bowflex M6 Max Trainer
The M6 elliptical from Bowflex is a great elliptical machine
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $$

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Sole Fitness E36 Elliptical Machine
SoleFitness' E35 elliptical trainer is a very good quality machine
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $$$

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NordicTrack Commercial Elliptical
This NordicTrack ellitpical trainer is a very worthy option for anyone looking for a good value machine
  • Adjustable inclination: Yes
  • Bluetooth Conectivity: Yes
  • Cost: $$

Check current price

1. Precor EFX 222 Energy Series Elliptical Crosstrainer

Precor's 222 elliptical is easily the best e;;iptical machine you can currently get

As the company who first introduced the elliptical machine, Precor are known for their top-quality products. If you want commercial gym quality and don’t mind paying for it, then the EFX 222 Energy Series Elliptical Crosstrainer may be the one for you.

The smooth, natural feel makes it a great option for anyone, whether you’re a beginner or seasoned athletes. With the moving handlebars, you can also place more of a focus on the core muscles and the upper body. To ensure the muscles of your legs are getting an even workout, you can also pedal backwards.

The rear-drive design offers a flatter “running” path and comes with a 3-position manual ramp. This allows you to adjust the height of the elliptical path. However, as it’s manual you’ll have to physically get off it to do so.

To track your progress, a backlit console is placed in the center. It’s clear and easy to read, offering 12 vital feedback metrics. With 2 different user IDs, you can quickly retrieve your most recent workout to help easier track and reach your goals.

The Good

  • Smooth, commercial-quality feel
  • 3-position manual ramp
  • Large variety of workouts, resistance options
  • Moving handles
  • Tablet/media holder

The Not So Good

  • Ramp height can only be manually adjusted
  • More expensive than many on this list

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2. Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

Schwinn's 470 elliptical is a great value elliptical machine

If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, then the Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine is a great option. The quiet, smooth machine comes with an array of modern features that will keep you entertained, motivated, and in great shape.

The 470 has an attractive, durable build made for you to use on a regular basis. The 20-inch stride with Precision Path foot motion technology works to mimic a natural running motion for best results. The 10-degree motorized adjustable ramp allows you to control you incline without getting off of the machine. This is perfect for intervals, which can help you reach your goals quicker.

On top of that, you have the option to choose between 29 workout programs and 25 levels of resistance. Dual track LCD displays, a media shelf, in-console speakers with MP3 input port, USB media charging, and an adjustable fan are extras to keep you comfortable and entertained.

Moreover, Bluetooth connectivity lets you sync with various fitness tracking apps. This includes the Run Social App which allows you to “run” through 19 different locations with 27 routes from all over the globe.

The Good

  • Backlit, modern computer
  • Automated incline and resistance
  • Bluetooth connectivity options
  • Attractive, sleek design
  • Tablet/media holder

The Not So Good

  • Degree of incline is a bit limited
  • Fixed stride length

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3. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine

This low-cost model from Sunny Health and Fitness is the best budget elliptical machine around

The best elliptical trainer for those on a budget is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905. The manufacturer is known for offering simple yet effective exercise machines at an affordable price.

The entry-level trainer offers a low-impact, full-body workout that’s perfect if you want to save money or are really limited on space. The compact model is made to fit into smaller rooms, such as studio apartments.

The SF-E905 Elliptical comes with large anti-slip footplates, aerodynamic moving arms, and smaller stationary arms. The one-piece frame is made of tough steel which is durable enough to last you for years to come.

With 8 different magnetic resistance levels, you don’t get as much versatility as some others out there, but still offers reasonable variability in workouts. The machine is quiet to use, especially on lower resistance levels. On top of that, it allows for micro-adjustments for extra precision and control.

To track how your workout is going, you’ll find a digital monitor which displays essential stats, along with your heart rate readout when used with the hand pulse monitors.

The Good

  • Very affordable
  • Advanced LCD display
  • 2 sets of handlebars
  • Compact/great for tight spaces
  • Micro tension adjustment

The Not So Good

  • Short stride path
  • Relatively basic

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4. Sole Fitness E95S Elliptical

While expensive, this elliptical from Sole Fitness is a great quality elliptical trainer

If you’re on the hunt for the best elliptical machine and don’t care about how much it will cost you, then check out the Sole Fitness E95S. In terms of quality, it’s in a league of its own.

With a weight limit of 400 pounds, it can accommodate a wide range of users. The adjustable stride length (18-24 inches) allows you to target specific muscles more precisely. The machine’s resistance is some of the smoothest you’ll experience, due to a solid 30-pound flywheel. Various incline levels and 10 different programs ensure you’ll be able to change up your routine regularly.

For the most accurate readings, you have an included chest strap heart rate monitor and pulse grips. Cooling fans keep you comfortable while a built-in sound system allows you to play your music while exercising. You can keep your smartphone charged with a USB input and set it securely on the tablet holder so you can keep your hands free for the moving hand bars.

To track your workout progress, a large color LCD display will show all necessary exercise metrics. It is no wonder the Sole Fitness E95S is considered the best elliptical trainer!

The Good

  • Advanced LCD display
  • 2 sets of handlebars
  • Compact/great for tight spaces
  • Micro tension adjustment

The Not So Good

  • Incline not adjustable
  • Expensive

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5. Cubii Jr. Seated Under-Desk Elliptical

The Cubii Jr. is easily the best mini elliptical on the market

If you don’t have the time or the space for a full-sized elliptical machine, then the Cubii Jr. Seated Under-Desk Elliptical is the perfect alternative. This compact, quiet trainer is made to fit nicely under a desk, on the floor while you’re reading a book, and much more.

With the little display monitor in the center of the machine, you can track your calories burned, distance traveled, duration, and steps/strides in real time. With 8 different resistance levels, you have control over the intensity over your workout. All you have to do is turn the knob every time you want to change it.

Patented ergonomic angles offer a fluid elliptical motion while remaining easy on the joints. If you’re recovering from an injury and aren’t yet ready for the gym, the Cubii Jr. will keep you mobile and help increase strength. It’s designed to keep your knees from hitting the desk, and whisper-quiet operation is great for discreet exercise without bothering coworkers or housemates.

The all-black design comes with either Purple or Turquoise accents, looking sleek and modern. It also feels very sturdy and assembly is famously easy – finish the entire process in just 3 to 4 minutes!

The Good

  • Whisper-quiet operation
  • Extremely convenient and portable
  • Fluid, smooth motion
  • Easy assembly
  • Real-time tracking

The Not So Good

  • Doesn’t offer full-body workout like other “traditional” ellipticals
  • Small LCD display

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6. Bowflex M6 Max Trainer

Bowflex's M6 trainer is a well-regarded ellitpical machine

Leave it to Bowflex to really change the game. Lying somewhere between a stair stepper and an elliptical, it’s perfect if you live in a small space!

You’ll be able to take advantage of low-impact motion to burn a large number of calories like you can on a stepper. With just 14 minutes on the elliptical, you’ll receive significant cardiovascular benefits.

Just to make sure, you’ll be able to track your progress with the clear display monitor. The model’s unique burn rate display shows how many calories were burned per minute and lets you set activity level targets. The interactive backlit display also features 8 different workout programs and 16 resistance levels to vary your workout further.

The included heart rate monitor chest strap provides accurate feedback, and you can change your settings accordingly to speed up or slow down, depending on how you’re doing. If you’re more comfortable with your smartphone, you can set, monitor, and track your fitness goals and even stream videos from Bowflex’s pro trainers with the free Max Trainer App.

The Good

  • Small footprint
  • Powerful and versatile
  • Fluid, smooth motion
  • Various workout and resistance options
  • Real-time tracking

The Not So Good

  • Not ideal for those recovering from injuries or who are just starting out
  • Noisy

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7. Sole Fitness E36 Elliptical Machine

This is another great elliptical machine from Sole Fitness

We know by now that Sole Fitness is serious about quality, and that’s obvious in their E36 Elliptical Machine. With a 25-pound flywheel, a 20” stride, and 20 different incline settings, performance is top-notch. It’s definitely not made for small spaces. However, if you can accommodate the size in your home, it’s more than worth it.

The all-black design is sophisticated and modern, but the real appeal is its functionality. Adjustable pedals/stride/incline, 6 standard programs, 2 custom programs, and 2 heart rate programs will make sure you’re always progressing. The adjustability also serves to accommodate a variety of different body types and heights.

Pulse grip and chest strap heart rate monitoring help keep you aware of the intensity you’re working out at. The bright LCD console with a 7.5” display is front and center to keep you in-touch with workout stats.

Comfort is important, and Pulse knows it. This elliptical trainer includes a built-in fan to keep you cool, a water bottle holder so you’re well-hydrated, and a sound system to keep your favorite tunes close by.

The Good

  • Smooth and quiet 25-pound flywheel
  • Powerful and versatile
  • Cushioned, large pedals
  • Power incline with 20 settings
  • Large, clear LCD display

The Not So Good

  • Can’t download new workouts
  • Very large, not ideal for small spaces

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8. NordicTrack Commercial Elliptical

This elliptical from NordicTrack is a top quality elliptical trainer in its own right

NordicTrack is another commercial-quality brand, so it makes sense that they’d name this next model the Commercial Elliptical. Quite possibly the most technologically advanced machine featured on this guide, it combines serious workout equipment with an entertainment center.

It’s hard to find a more flexible elliptical machine than this model, with a 32-pound, smooth flywheel, 26 resistance settings, and a power incline that reaches up to a 20-degree angle. You can also choose 3 different foot angle positions and change the stride length from 18 to 20 inches. This makes it easier to target certain muscles. It also ensures people of varying sizes can use it with comfort.

Both moving and stationary arm bars with padded grips let you work out your whole body or just your lower body. Contact sensors and an included chest strap ensure accurate heart rate monitoring. You can easily track this and other workout metrics with the high-definition, 7” display screen. Not only that, but you can even browse the web and play music on it.

Finally, you get a free 1-year membership to iFit, with over 12,000 on-demand video workouts right at your fingertips!

The Good

  • Very versatile/adjustable
  • Moving and stationary handlebars
  • Power adjustable incline
  • Large, clear screen with web browsing capabilities
  • Two heart rate monitoring options

The Not So Good

  • More expensive than most
  • iFit membership is required for a year

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Should You Get an Elliptical Trainer?

Yes, you absolutely should! No matter what your available space is or what your current physical activity level is, there is at least one out there that will suit you.

It’s important to stay active in order to keep your body operating at its best. If you live a sedentary lifestyle currently, it may be tough to find the time or energy to work out. If you don’t have space in your home for a full-sized elliptical machine, the Cubii Jr. is made to be used just about anywhere as you’re sitting down.

If you’re recovering from an injury or surgery, then it’s crucial you remain mobile. You don’t have to get in a strenuous workout, but getting some exercise in any way you can is invaluable. Exercising on an elliptical machine also increases blood flow, transporting essential nutrients/oxygen to help you recover quicker.

Perhaps you’re simply trying to get in better shape or are a competitive athlete trying to remain at the top of your game in the offseason. Elliptical machines are low-impact methods to help burn body fat, target specific leg and upper body muscles, improve your balance, and boost stamina.

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Choosing the Right Elliptical

Elliptical trainers are extremely popular owing to their effectiveness in burning calories and the fact that they provide low-impact cardio. For this reason, they come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Choosing the best elliptical for you requires a deeper understanding of the various subcategories that occupy the market.

Ellipticals Most Suitable for A Home Gym

Models found in this category will generally not be commercial level quality but will still perform well. They will often include built-in sound systems so you can listen to music without headphones. They will also be smooth and quiet enough that you can work out without disturbing others in your household.

Many models here will include extra connectivity options so you can use apps on your phone or on the machine itself to “run” in virtual environments against people around the world. Built-in rolling wheels are common, making it easy to roll the machine out of the way once you’re done using it.

Ellipticals Under $1000

At this price point, you can still find many ellipticals that aren’t “commercial-grade” but have smooth magnetic resistance with flywheels weighing from 20-25 pounds. You can expect to get at least 2 years of regular use from these before requiring maintenance and are overall very durable with builds made from metal instead of plastic.

In addition, electronic components are higher quality and often include Bluetooth connectivity, built-in sound systems. They will generally have a user weight limit of around 250-300 pounds. You’ll also notice that you have more options when it comes to adjustability. They offer various workout programs, resistance levels, stride length, incline of the elliptical and foot pads, and more.

Ellipticals Under $500

This is the category where you should be looking for a good balance of cost, quality, and performance. Although they’ll lack the prime features found on more expensive models, they’re still stronger and more durable than the budget machines.

The max user weight supported will be similar to those in the “under $1000” category, and operation will still typically be smooth and quiet, so you won’t disrupt others. As the motion is so fluid with these, you can expect the experience to be very gentle on your joints. 2 sets of handlebars are common so full-body workouts are still very feasible. However, the amount of workout programs included in models in this category vary widely – anywhere from 5 to 24.

Budget Ellipticals (Under $300)

While you should always aim for quality, ellipticals in this category are going to be very straightforward and simple. You won’t see the “frills” like you would with their more expensive counterparts. You’ll still have movable handlebars and large footpads, but you’re generally not going to be able to adjust the stride. On top of that, movement may not be quite as smooth and consistent.

There will typically be about 5-8 resistance options available to you. For the average user who would like to achieve modest speeds, or for those on a really tight budget, these will work fine.

Folding Ellipticals

Folding elliptical machines are ideal if you’re really tight on space. When they’re ready to be used, they’re still generally pretty lightweight and compact, making them easy to move around. Resistance options and included workouts vary widely, so it depends on the model and manufacturer.

Due to their unique design, don’t expect to find many folding ellipticals that include incline or other adjustability options.

Compact Ellipticals

Obviously a folding elliptical is a compact one, and those great folding models will also be very appropriate if you’re tight on space. However, folding cross-trainers are typically very expensive. There are non-folding ellipticals that have both small footprints and lower price tags available for those who need a compact option and don’t want to shell out thousands.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Elliptical Machines

Are ellipticals good for burning fat?

Yes, they are. You’ll really be able to maximize your fat-burning efforts with those models which come with heart rate monitoring. Even more so with those which include HRM chest straps. You’ll be able to adjust your workout in real time to ensure you’re in your proper “fat burning zone”.

How long should I spend on an elliptical trainer?

That depends on your goals, the time you have available, and your preferences. However, 20-30 minutes will generally yield results. In this time, you can burn quite a few calories.

Which is better: A treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical?

The elliptical is the best on the joints – particularly on the knees. It’s very important to position yourself correctly on an exercise bike as they can be rough on your knees otherwise. Treadmills are notorious for being rough on the joints, with little to no cushion on the running surface. If you’re recovering from an injury or are just getting back into exercising, then that’s really not ideal.

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Well, there you have it: The 8 Best Elliptical Machines currently available.

We’ve researched extensively to provide you with the machines that offer the best bang for your buck. We’re confident that no matter what your budget or preferences are, that we have at least one excellent option for you. These are all the highest quality out there and are sure to provide you with many years of satisfying workouts. No matter which one you choose, you can count on having a solid elliptical machine!

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