Skip to main content

Best Elliptical

(Image credit: Getty)

The best elliptical machines, also known as cross trainers, help improve your lower-body strength while offering an upper body workout. Cross trainers are also low impact, with the motion of the elliptical protecting your joints. This means they’re a good choice if you’ve had a knee or hip injury in the past (you will need to get sign-off from your doctor first), or simply want to reduce your risk of injury in the future. 

Best overall

(Image credit: Bowflex)

Bowflex E216 Results Elliptical Series

Track workout data for four people

Bowflex’s E216 Offering a low impact workout for any skill level, this trainer can accommodate up to 400 pounds in weight and comes with a heavy 35-pound flywheel, a 22-inch stride path, 11 built-in workout apps, and a 0 to 15 percent motorized incline adjustment. The magnetic resistance means there’s no friction and makes for a smooth and quiet operation. With a front-drive design that helps maximize living space, an adjustable stride path, and support for up to four user profiles, this is a great trainer for both individuals and families.

Best value elliptical

(Image credit: Sunny Health and Fitness)

Sunny Health SF-E3912 Cross Trainer

A mid-level home elliptical machine

The solid construction and magnetic resistance of this elliptical make for a sturdy and quiet machine and the SF-E3912 comes with one of the most advanced monitors, with the large LCD screen offering excellent readability. There’s no online connectivity or Bluetooth with this model but you can track your workout data and heart rate and with 24 in-built workout programs, focusing on everything from body fat to watt generations, you’re bound to find plenty to keep you challenged. We love the double set of handlebars, with the moving set being perfect for full-body workouts and the fixed set being great if you’re a beginner and feel safer with the extra stability. 

Best elliptical for small spaces

(Image credit: ProForm)

ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer

Space-saving hybrid cross trainer

High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is a popular training technique that involves working out at 100% of your maximum capacity, followed by short bursts of recovery. This hybrid fitness machine combines the smooth, low-impact motion of a cross-trainer with the intensity of a stair climber. If you like to challenge yourself then the Carbon HIIT H7 is the perfect choice for you. It keeps your heart pumping, burns more calories than a regular elliptical machine, and activates a wider range of muscle groups by simulating stair climbing and boxing. Its compact footprint takes up half the space of a normal elliptical. 

Best elliptical machines: What to look for 

Before you buy any type of exercise equipment, such as elliptical machines, a treadmill, an exercise bike, or a home gym, fitness experts recommend first thinking about what you hope to accomplish.

“Is your goal to build muscle? Lose weight? Prepare for a specific sport? Rehabilitate an injury? The machine you choose” said exercise physiologist Tom Holland, “should reflect your goals.” Holland, the author of Beat the Gym, is a nationally-acclaimed lifestyle and fitness expert, chief fitness advisor for Nautilus.

Elliptical machines provide a great aerobic workout without stressing your joints. All the ellipticals we reviewed have the most important features we identified – heavy flywheels for smooth momentum, cushioned pedals, moving handlebars, interactive consoles, and built-in speakers. 

The best elliptical machines have adjustable stride lengths, adjustable pedals, and heart rate monitoring straps. They also have connected consoles that sync with popular fitness apps like iFit, Viafit, and MapMyRun. You’ll also want to think about incline and resistance. 

Multiple levels of resistance add variety and intensity to your workouts and can help you stay focused and motivated. Varied incline levels target the muscles in your calves, quads, and glutes and provide a more realistic trail training experience.