Best Elliptical Machines of 2017

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We spent over 120 hours researching all there is to know about elliptical machines, and while it’s impossible to physically test every machine, we did get a few workouts in at our local gyms and on personal ellipticals to get a feel for how they work, features to look for and basic quirks of various brands. After considering a few dozen machines, the NordicTrack C 9.5 is our top pick because it includes 32 workout presets, lets you adjust the incline with the push of a button and connects to the popular iFit app to help you track your workouts.  

Best Overall

NordicTrack C9.5

NordicTrack C9.5 has an adjustable stride length, 32 preset workout programs and 22 resistance levels. The flywheel weighs 25 pounds, enough to create smooth motions. Accessories include a personal cooling fan, a tablet holder and a touchscreen console.
Best Value

Schwinn 470

Schwinn 470 is a versatile elliptical with customizable workouts that directly connect to fitness websites to track your progress. While it doesn’t cost as much as most other quality ellipticals, it still includes 29 preset workouts, 25 resistance levels and four user profiles.
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Best for Weight-Loss

Spirit XE295

Spirit XE295 holds up to 400 pounds, has 20 resistance levels and 10 workout presets, including fat burning and target heart rate workouts. It comes with a hands-free heart monitor and both stationary and motion handlebars.
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Our Test Results

Product
Price
Overall Rating
9.1
9
8.8
8.6
8.2
8.1
7.9
7.3
Equipment Design
9.3
7.8
7
7.5
10
7.5
9
6.8
High-Tech & Monitoring Features
9.8
10
10
9.3
4
6.8
6.3
9.3
Workout Programs
8.8
9.8
10
9.3
9.3
10
8.3
5.5
Built-in Accessories
8.3
9.3
10
8.3
9.3
9.3
7.5
10
Warranty & Support
8.3
8.3
7.8
10
8.5
7.8
8
5.3
Cloud-Based Workout Tracking
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Number of User Profiles
4
5
4
2
2
4
1
4
Console Style
LCD
LED
LCD
LCD
LCD
LCD
LED
LCD/LED
Fitness App Compatibility
iFit
MyFitnessPal, AFG app, UA Record, MapMyFitness
MyFitnessPal, Nautilus Trainer
Sole
N/A
MyFitnessPal, Schwinn Connect
iFit
MyFitnessPal, Apple Healthkit, Google Fit, Max Trainer
Chest Strap Heart Monitor
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Wireless Internet Connection
N/A
N/A
N/A
Hill Climb
Interval
N/A
N/A
Number of Workout Presets
32
43
29
10
10
29
18
11
Fat Burning
Target Heart Rate
N/A
N/A
N/A
Custom Program
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Cross-Trainer
N/A
Manual Program
N/A
N/A
N/A
Powered Incline Adjustment
N/A
Number of Resistance Levels
22
12
25
16
16
25
18
20
Speakers
Remote Control Holder
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Water Bottle Holder
Cooling Fan
N/A
N/A
N/A
Book Holder
N/A
N/A
N/A
Tablet Holder
N/A
Frame Warranty
Lifetime
Lifetime
10 Years
Lifetime
Lifetime
10 Years
Lifetime
N/A
Parts Warranty
3 Years
3 Years
2 Years
5 Years
5 Years
1 - 2 Years
1 Year
3 Years
Phone & Email Support
Labor Warranty
1 Year
1 Year
90 Days
2 Years
1 Year
90 Days
1 Year
90 Days
FAQs
N/A
Online User Guides
N/A
Machine Length (inches)
70
76
71.5
71
76
70.1
68.25
49
Machine Width (inches)
34.5
34
26.7
27
29
28.2
25.7
30.5
Maximum Stride Length (inches)
20
20
20
20
28.25
21
20
N/A
Machine Weight (pounds)
214
201
173.3
200
214
164
2.07
148
Step-Up Height (inches)
11
10
10
14
8
11
N/A
15
Maximum User Weight (pounds)
350
325
300
300
500
300
300
300
Adjustable Stride Length
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Locking Safety Mechanism
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Flywheel Weight (pounds)
25
23
16
25
N/A
20
16
N/A
Machine Height (inches)
70.5
57
63.2
68
65
63.2
68.5
65.5

Why Trust Us

After reading recommendations and opinions of dozens of personal trainers, health experts and exercise enthusiasts, we got a good feel of the features and functions you’d need to look for in a quality elliptical.

We researched hundreds of user feedback and consumer reviews to figure out the price point most people are looking at when they buy an elliptical machine for their home and the brands, features and tools they feel are most helpful for them. Using this information, we narrowed down our long list of exercise machines to the most popular and affordable models from ten manufacturers.

Using gym models and personal ellipticals already in our homes, we got a feel for how different brands work and why certain features are suggested by experts. Our testers can tell you first-hand about the importance of a low step up for low-ceiling rooms or the need for a heavy flywheel.

We tested preset workouts, so we know the difference between a hill climb and a fat burn with a level three resistance. We checked out how both handlebar and chest strap monitors work and the situations where both have an advantage over the other. All this experience provided good context we delved into the specs of each of the individual elliptical machines we reviewed, allowing us to paint an accurate picture of the benefits each has and any potential hiccups you may encounter.

Buying Guide

If you are looking to purchase an elliptical to lose weight, consider how much weight the machine can accommodate. Most elliptical machines hold about 300 pounds, but there are a few models that hold 400 or even 500 pounds.

For fitness training, a heavy flywheel helps keep the machine stationary and the motion smooth during high-impact workouts. Experts suggest a flywheel of at least 20 pounds, though a few ellipticals we reviewed have 25- or even 30-pound flywheels.

Workout presets help you get started if you’re not sure where to start with your fitness goals. These programs, such as fat burning, cross-training and target heart rate know how much resistance you need and where your target heart-rate should be, and the machine can adjust the workout program as you move through it. As you become more familiar with each program, you can create custom programs. Multiple resistance levels create more challenging workouts and help you avoid plateaus as your body strengthens.

When you’re working towards a fitness goal, additional support and tools are helpful to keep you focused. Many ellipticals integrate with popular fitness apps, such as MyFitnessPal, iFit, Google Fit and Apple Healthkit, letting you track your progress. Also, online diet sites have additional tools, such as modified exercises for specific health issues, recipes and food intake trackers. We’ve tested and reviewed both fitness apps and online diet sites.

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