The 5 Best Elliptical Machines for Home Use in 2019

Editor's Choice
Our Rating5/5 Rating

#1 Sole 35 Elliptical Machine

The Sole 35  is our favorite elliptical machine for your in-home gym. It offers a smooth, quiet ride, has easy to use controls, and features a handheld heart rate monitor or a chest strap if you’d prefer a hands-free option. It can incline up to 30 degrees and offers 16 different resistance levels.

  • Stride: Adjustable 20″ to 22″ stride
  • Resistance: 16 resistance levels
  • Adjustable include: Inclines up to 30 degrees
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Editor's Choice
Our Rating4.5/5 Rating

#2 Nautalis E616 Elliptical Machine

Love to run, but your joints need a break from pounding the pavement? Check out the Nautalis E616 elliptical. With 29 different programs, 27 real routes and an LCD screen, it’s our favorite elliptical machine to run on. And with Bluetooth connectivity, it can even connect to RUnSocial app so you can synch up with other runners.

  • Stride: 20″ stride
  • Programs: 29 different workout programs including 12 profile, 9 heart rate control, 4 custom, 2 fitness test, 1 recovery test, 1 quick start
  • Real routes: The LCD screen shows 27 real routes to run
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Editor's Choice
Our Rating4.5/5 Rating

#3 NordicTrack C 12.9 Elliptical

The NordicTrack C 12.9 Elliptical Machine has a 32-pound flywheel for stability, a 20-inch adjustable stride, and 26 different levels of resistance. It even has a 0 to 20 adjustable incline! Plus, it’s interface is super easy to use thanks to one-touch controls and a 7-inch touchscreen. 

  • Workout settings: 35 preset workouts
  • Stride: 18-20” adjustable stride
  • Resistance: 26 resistance levels
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Editor's Choice
Our Rating4.5/5 Rating

#4 Nautilus E614 Elliptical Machine

The Nautilus E614 is our favorite elliptical machine for the cost and has some of the best features we’ve seen. These include a DualTrack LCD Display monitor,  22 workout programs, 30 resistance levels, a 3-speed fan, adjustable incline, and so much more. It has a 300 lb weight capacity and a 10-year warranty.

  • Price: Price is much lower than competitors and lower than you’d expect for a high-quality elliptical machine
  • Stride: 20” stride (which will suit most users)
  • Incline: 6 position incline
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Editor's Choice
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#5 Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

Walking outside is great, but some days you’d prefer to do so inside. If you’re looking for the best elliptical machine for walking, check out the Schwinn 470 elliptical machine. It’s affordable, it has a motorized incline, 29 preset programs, and even syncs with the RUnSocial app to let you connect with other walkers or runners.

  • Resistance: 25 levels of resistance and a
  • Incline: 10-degree incline ramp
  • Programs: Comes with 29 workout presets and stores up to four user profiles.
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Some people love going to the gym and find inspiration sweating out the toxins with a group of like-minded people. Others prefer to workout at home, whether it’s due to time constraints, the high cost of gym memberships, or for other reasons. If you fall into the latter category, there are a few essentials you should have in your home gym: a good weight bench, a set of free weights or kettlebells, a sturdy exercise ball, and something you can use for cardio. Our favorite cardio “somethings” are treadmills, exercise bikes, and elliptical machines. If you have the space and resources, get all three.

However, most people with home gyms can’t necessarily fit three large contraptions in their home gym and need to choose just one. We’ve already told you about the best treadmill for home use and the best exercise bike for home use. Now we’ll cover the best elliptical machine for home use.

Editor’s Choice: Sole 35 Elliptical Machine

Sole 35 elliptical machine

Amazon

Sole Fitness makes great products and the Sole 35 elliptical machine is hands-down our favorite elliptical machine for your in-home gym. It offers a smooth, quiet ride, has easy to use controls, and features a handheld heart rate monitor or a chest strap if you’d prefer a hands-free option. It can incline up to 30 degrees and offers 16 different resistance levels.

Keep in mind this machine is big and expensive… But if you have the space and are willing to invest a decent amount of money in your fitness goals, this machine can’t be beaten. It also offers one of the best warranties we’ve come across: a lifetime warranty on the frame, five-year warranty on electrical and parts, two-year labor warranty, and an optional 5-year fitness plan warranty from Warrantech with free in-home service.

Sole 35 Pros

  • Stride: Adjustable 20″ to 22″ stride
  • Resistance: 16 resistance levels
  • Grip: Handlebars feature multiple grip options
  • Noise: Machine is quiet
  • Adjustable include: Inclines up to 30 degrees
  • Heart Monitor: Handlebar grip heart monitor (as well as chest strap)
  • Cooling system: Built-in fan to keep you cool
  • Accessories: Water bottle holder
  • Weight limit: Maximum User Weight: 375 lbs.

Sole 35 Cons

  • Price: This elliptical machine is at the higher end of the price range
  • Big: Measures 83” long x 32” wide
  • Not ideal for shorter people: Long stride isn’t best for people under 5 foot 3 inches
  • Workout programs: Only 10 preset workout programs
  • Assembly: Hard to assemble
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Best Value: Nautilus E614 Elliptical Machine

Nautilus elliptical machine

Amazon

While elliptical machines, in general, aren’t cheap, there are some good lower-priced models out there. The Nautilus E614 is our favorite. In addition to its affordable price, it comes with some of the best features we’ve seen. These include a DualTrack LCD Display monitor which lets you put your book or kindle on the support in front of the large monitor while tracking your progress on a second display. It also offers 22 workout programs, 30 resistance levels, a 3-speed fan, adjustable incline, and so much more. It has a 300 lb weight capacity and a 10-year warranty.

Nautilus E614 Pros

  • Price: Price is much lower than competitors and lower than you’d expect for a high-quality elliptical machine
  • Stride: 20” stride (which will suit most users)
  • Foot pads: Large foot pads fit any user
  • Incline: 6 position incline
  • Resistance: 20 levels of magnetic resistance
  • Display: DualTrack™ LCD displays
  • Media shelf: Built-in shelf was built for kindles, iPads, books, and more
  • Fan: Adjustable 3-speed to keep you cool
  • 22 programs: 9 profile, 8 heart rate, 2 custom, 2 fitness and 1 quick start
  • Transport wheels: Wheels make moving your elliptical machine simple
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty on the frame, 2-year warranty on parts, one year warranty on electronics, and 90-day labor warranty.

Nautilus E614 Cons

  • Weight limit: Maximum weight is 300 lbs, which is lower than others we’ve come across
  • Incline: Incline levels need to be manually adjusted, meaning you need to stop mid-workout to adjust
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Best Features: NordicTrack C 12.9 Elliptical

NordicTrack Elliptical machine

Amazon

NordicTrack has been around for years and we love its C 12.9 Elliptical Machine. It topped our list because of its great features. It has a 32-pound flywheel for stability, a 20-inch adjustable stride, and 26 different levels of resistance. It even has a 0 to 20 adjustable incline! Plus, it’s interface is super easy to use thanks to one-touch controls and a 7-inch touchscreen. The pedals are adjustable, as are the upper body grips. It comes with a Bluetooth-enabled chest strap that monitors your heart rate.

Our favorite feature, however, is the iFit technology, which provides access to personal trainers worldwide. These trainers can not only provide fitness tips, but guidance on nutrition and sleep, as well. iFit can be accessed via the elliptical’s console or downloaded to your mobile device.

NordicTrack C 12.9 Pros

  • Workout settings: 35 preset workouts
  • Stride: 18-20” adjustable stride
  • Pedals: Pedals are oversized, cushioned, and adjustable
  • Touchscreen: 7-inch smart HD touchscreen
  • Resistance: 26 resistance levels
  • Hear rate monitor: Built in heart rate monitor
  • Wheels: Front mounted wheels make this machine easy to transport
  • Cooling system: Autobreeze fan keeps you cool
  • Adjustable incline: Adjusts 0-20 degrees
  • Warranty: Lifetime warranty on frame, 5-year parts warranty, 2-year labor warranty
  • Max Weight: 350 lbs

NordicTrack C 12.9 Cons

  • Price: This elliptical machine is on the high end
  • Size: This machine takes up a lot of space and measures 64.5″ high, 26″ wide, and 80.25″ long
  • iFit membership required: Membership must be renewed annually
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Best For Serious Runners: Nautalis E616

Best elliptical machine: nautilus e616

Amazon

Running on pavement may feel great for those seeking a runners high but in truth, it wreaks havoc on the knees and joints. We’re not going to tell you to stop running, but if you’re looking for a little something extra to add to your running routine that delivers similar benefits (or something instead of running) you should consider an elliptical. The best elliptical for runners is the Nautalis E616. With 29 different programs, 27 real routes (similar to a Peloton bike), and an LCD screen Bluetooth connectivity, it can even connect to RUnSocial app so you can synch up with other runners

Nautalis E616 Pros

  • Stride: 20″ stride
  • Programs: 29 different workout programs including 12 profile, 9 heart rate control, 4 custom, 2 fitness test, 1 recovery test, 1 quick start
  • Real routes: The LCD screen shows 27 real routes to run
  • Runners group: Bike sunchs with the RUnSocial app so you can connect with other runners
  • LCD Screen: Easy to see display
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Synch your phone to the machine

Nautalis E616 Cons

  • Price: This is a pricier elliptical machine
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Best For Walking: Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

Schwinn Elliptical Machine

Amazon

If your goal with an elliptical machine is to walk long (or short) distances, you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles. That’s why the Schwinn 470 elliptical machine is our favorite for walking. It’s simple, it’s affordable, it has a motorized incline, 29 preset programs, and even syncs with the RUnSocial app to let you connect with other walkers or runners.

Schwinn 470 Pros

  • Resistance: 25 levels of resistance and a
  • Incline: 10-degree incline ramp
  • Grip: A pulse grip monitors your heart rate
  • Programs: Comes with 29 workout presets and stores up to four user profiles.
  • Sync-ability: Can syncs with seven fitness apps such as Schwinn Trainer, My Fitness Pal, Apple Health and RunSocial.
  • Lightweight: Weighs just 164 pounds
  • Small in size: Measures 70.1″ long x 28.2″ wide x 63.2″ high

Schwinn 470 Cons

  • Warranty: 10-year warranty on frame is lower than most
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Types of Elliptical Machines

Elliptical machines are similar to treadmills: they’re cardio machines that help you build and tone muscle in order to lose weight. However, while treadmills are high-impact exercise equipment, elliptical machines are low-impact. As your feet stay on the pedals rather than pound the mat, elliptical machines are better for your knees, legs, and feet. If you have past injuries or just prefer low-impact cardio exercises to high-impact, an elliptical may be one of the best cardio exercise equipment for you.

There are three main types of elliptical machines: front drive, center drive, and rear drive. They differ based on the placement of the flywheel: rear drive elliptical machines feature the wheel at the back, front drive have the wheel in front, and center drive elliptical machines feature a flywheel that is centrally located on either side of the pedals.

Front Drive

Amazon

Best Elliptical Machine For Those With Limited Space and Limited Budgets

Front drive elliptical machines are the most basic type of elliptical machines and also the cheapest. As such, this is the type of elliptical machine many people tend to select for their home gyms. The flywheel is located in the front, which requires you to lean forward a bit, similar to a stair machine. For some, this can be a drawback, as the glide isn’t as smooth. Front drive elliptical machines also tend to have more moving parts than other types of elliptical machines and as such may require more maintenance. They also tend to be a bit noisier than other types of elliptical machines.

  • Pros
    • Typically the cheapest type of elliptical machine
  • Cons
    • Noisier than center drive and rear drive elliptical machines
    • Have more parts, which may require more maintenance

Rear Drive

Rear wheel drive

Pixabay

Best Elliptical Machine For Those With Ample In-Home Gym Space Seeking A Smooth Ride

Rear drive elliptical machines feature a flywheel that is located in the back of the elliptical and are most often found in gyms and fitness centers. Rear drive elliptical machines provide a smoother ride than front drive machines: you’re able to stand up straighter than you can on front drive machines, which enables a more natural feeling stride comparable to running or jogging. Unfortunately, these machines take up the most space of any elliptical machine, so unless you have a very large home gym, you may not be able to accommodate it. On the bright side, if you do have the space, rear drive elliptical machines have fewer moving parts than front drive so require less maintenance. They also offer a quieter ride.

  • Pros
    • Provide a smoother exercise than front drive machines
    • Typically quieter than front drive elliptical machines
    • Have fewer parts than front drive elliptical machines so in general require less maintenance
  • Cons
    • More expensive than front drive machines
    • Larger than front drive machines; may not fit inside most in-home gyms

Center Drive

Center drive elliptical machine

Nordictrack

Best Overall Elliptical Machine For Those With Sizeable Budgets

Center drive elliptical machines are the newest model in the world of elliptical machines and the most expensive. The flywheel is centrally located on either side of the pedals and allows you to stand up straighter than front drive machines do. These models usually come with onboard entertainment such as televisions, fitness programs, and more. Unfortunately, they do not have an incline option, so if you want an elliptical machine that can mimic hills (and target different muscle groups), this will not be the best elliptical machine for you.

  • Pros
    • Latest technology
    • Offer a more balanced ride than front drive machines
    • Typically come with onboard entertainment options
    • Small enough for most in-home gyms
  • Cons
    • More expensive than other models
    • Inability to incline

Elliptical Machine Buyer’s Guide

Now that you know the three main types of elliptical machines, we hope you have an idea of which will be the best elliptical machine for your in-home gym and fitness needs.

Once you’ve decided on the type of machine, there are a few other things you should look at. These include the size of the elliptical machine, resistance levels, stride range, durability, adjustable incline, display, customizable training programs, safety features, warranty period, and required care and maintenance. Let’s dive into each one:

Size

In home gym

Shutterstock

If you have a large in-home gym, you can pretty much get any size elliptical machine you want. And we’re jealous! For most people, however, that’s not the case, and space constraints can dictate what size elliptical machine is the best elliptical machine for your in-home gym.

Elliptical machines typically range in length from 50 inches to 84 inches; average ones are about six feet long and two and a half feet wide. Keep in mind they also elevate you more than treadmills or bikes do, do you want to make sure your ceilings are high enough. At their apex, pedals can reach up to 25 inches off the floor. You’ll also need empty space in front of or back of the machine, as well as about 20 inches on either side.

Resistance Levels

It doesn’t matter if you get the best budget elliptical machine or the most expensive: all elliptical machines have varying degrees of resistance. You’ll want to test the resistance settings before you buy to make sure that the lowest setting is easy enough for you and the highest is challenging enough (if it’s too challenging, that’s okay – you can make it a goal to work up to it).

Stride Range

Stride range is one of the most important aspects to consider when looking at the best elliptical machine for you. If the stride is too short, your legs can move in too short, which is uncomfortable and will not provide the fitness you seek. Conversely, if the stride is too long, you can wind up overextending your legs and pulling a muscle.

In general, one of the best ways to determine the best elliptical machine stride length is by height. Most people are comfortable with a 20-inch stride length. This is the stride found on most ellipticals in private gyms. If you are shorter than five feet three inches, however, you’ll likely feel best on an elliptical machine with a stride length of 16-18 inches that can extend up to 20 inches. If you are taller than 5 feet seven, you’ll want to start with an elliptical with a 20-inch stride and increase from there until you find your ideal stride length.

Durability

No matter what kind of elliptical you buy, it’s going to be a decent sized investment. Even the cheapest ones still run in the hundreds of dollars. Thus, you want it to be durable and last.

There are a few key things that affect the durability of an elliptical machine:

  • User weight: The more strain put on an elliptical machine, the harder it has to work. Machines with higher maximum weights are typically more durable than those will lower limits. As reference, most home elliptical machines have a weight limit starting at 300 lbs. If you see a machine with a lower weight limit, we wouldn’t recommend it.
  • Material: If you’re looking at an elliptical machine with plastic parts, we suggest you walk away. It’s not going to last very long. Instead, look for an elliptical machine with metal and resin parts, as these materials reduce the risk of breakdowns and make the machines more stable.
  • Drive type: We’ve already taught you about rear drive, front drive, and center drive. In general, rear drive elliptical machines are the most durable and have fewer maintenance needs.

Care and Maintenance

Some elliptical machines require a bit more care and maintenance than others but in general, they are very low maintenance machines.

The most important thing you can do to care for your elliptical machine is to keep it clean. Wipe it down after each use, ensuring that any sweat you may have dripped is cleaned from the console and grips. We recommend wiping with a damp cloth or Lysol wipe and then drying it. Never use spray cleaners, as these can damage the console. You’ll also want to put a rubber mat beneath the machine to protect your floors as well as prevent dust and debris from getting inside the flywheel.

From time to time, make sure to check that the nuts and bolts are still tight, as they may have loosened with each workout (especially if you are working out intensely).

Adjustable Incline

Some elliptical machines offer an adjustable incline while others don’t. Adjustable inclines allow you to tone different muscles and burn more calories. Typically, more expensive elliptical machines have adjustable inclines with the cheaper models do not, but incline is by no means a factor in a “good” or “bad” elliptical machine. It’s just a personal preference.

If you think you’d like to simulate climbing hills on your machine, then consider looking at ellipticals with an adjustable incline. If not, don’t. It all comes down to personal preference.

Display

Elliptical control panel

Shutterstock

If you want to track your workout (and who doesn’t?) you’ll need an elliptical machine with an easy to read display. Pretty much all elliptical machines can show you your time, speed, distance, calories burned, and even pulse. Some can even show you how many times you’ve run a ¼-mile track and how many watts you’ve generated.

When looking at ellipticals, make sure you can easily see the display and easily change settings. Our favorite displays are one-touch touchscreen displays: with just one tap, you can rotate between different screens.

If you’re looking for a bit more, consider an elliptical machine with built-in wireless connectivity or Bluetooth settings. This way you can synch your workout to your smartphone or smartwatch, stream your favorite videos (whether workout videos or just your favorite TV show), and more.

Customizable Training Programs

Some people like to workout at their own pace while others prefer a bit of guidance. Which type are you? If you fall into the latter category, you’ll likely prefer an elliptical with as many pre-programmed workouts as possible. These can include cardiovascular routines, interval training, or weight loss routines.

You can also find ellipticals with user profiles: if more than one person in your household will be using the elliptical machine, you can set up multiple profiles and then create customized workouts for each user.

Safety Features

Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when working out. Not only do you need to use caution so you don’t injure your muscles while working out, but you also need to use caution when using machines. You could fall and injure yourself, catch your finger in an unpleasant area, or worse. Elliptical machines come with a variety of safety features to help you stay safe when working out. These features can include:

  • Electronic monitors: The handles of most elliptical machines have sensors that can measure your heart rate,the intensity of workout, calories, and miles covered.
  • One or two-way motion: Pretty much all ellipticals let you pedal forward, and some allow you to pedal backward as well in order to work different muscles. This is also a safety feature should anything get caught in the flywheel or pedals.
  • Handles: All elliptical machines come with handles, whether movable or stationary. These handles provide additional stability (and some can also give you an arm workout).
  • Adjustable stride length: Most elliptical machines have an adjustable stride length which is important in order to avoid overextending your muscles (or not extending them enough).

Warranty Period

Elliptical machines are expensive (yes, even the cheapest are several hundred dollars) so you want to make sure it will last. Most in-home elliptical machines come with a limited warranty that includes standard parts and electronics. Some have lifetime warranties on the frame, while others have 10-year warranties.  Warranties on the electrical parts tend to be less. We even came across some elliptical machines that had only 90-day warranties which made us uncomfortable… If you’re purchasing from a reputable company, shouldn’t they guarantee their elliptical to last for more than three months?

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