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- Best high end: NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Trainer
- Best affordable: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical
- Most comfortable: Sole E35 Elliptical
- Best for small spaces: Bowflex Max Trainer M6
- Best hybrid: ProForm Hybrid Trainer
- Best for outdoors: ElliptiGO Outdoor Stand-Up Bike
When it comes to exercising at home, there’s no shortage of cardio workout equipment to choose from.
Elliptical machines are a popular choice because they’re easier on your joints than treadmills but still offer a challenging workout.
However, because ellipticals vary greatly in size, features, and price, choosing the right one can be challenging.
To find the best ellipticals currently on the market, we considered the following criteria:
- Workout modes and resistance levels. For the best workout possible, we looked for ellipticals with customized workout options.
- Special features. We know it’s the little things that really set an elliptical apart, so we factored in features like cupholders, fans, touch screens, and instructor-led classes.
- Price. Because budgets can vary, we included machines at a variety of price points.
- Warranties. Ellipticals aren’t cheap, which is why we researched the warranty policy for each product.
- Customer reviews. Some things you just can’t know until you try a product. That’s why we spent extra time combing through customer reviews.
Here are the 6 best elliptical machines of 2021.
Best high end
If you’re willing to splurge, the NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer is one of the best options, as it’s packed with special features.
This machine boasts a whopping 26 levels of resistance, features a 10% incline control, and even auto-adjusts to your stride length for a truly customized experience.
What’s more, its treadmill and stair-climbing settings mean you’re essentially getting three machines in one.
Other notable features include a cooling fan, soft-grip handles, oversized cushion pedals, a 14-inch (35.5-cm) touch screen, and Bluetooth speakers.
As a bonus, your purchase comes with a 1-year membership to iFit, a subscription service with thousands of on-demand workout options.
The membership also includes an option to have your incline and resistance levels adjusted by a personal trainer during your workout.
After your free trial, you can renew your subscription for $180 or $396 per year, depending on whether you choose an individual or family plan.
While this treadmill is one of the most expensive options, it comes with extensive warranties, including 10 years on the frame and 2 years on parts.
While it lacks features like a touch screen and on-demand classes, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical is a solid option for those on tighter budgets.
The machine features eight levels of resistance, a pulse monitor for tracking your heart rate, and antislip handlebars and footpads to keep you secure while you sweat.
This elliptical is also a good option if you have limited space, as it’s more compact than many other models.
Just keep in mind that it has a very short stride length of just 11 inches (17.9 cm). As a result, the machine may not be comfortable for long workouts if you’re on the taller side.
The Sole E35 machine features a lifetime warranty on the frame and is designed with comfort in mind.
Based on suggestions from physical therapists, the pedals slope slightly inward, reducing the strain on your hips, knees, and ankles.
To keep you entertained during your workout, this elliptical comes equipped with Bluetooth speakers, a USB port, and an integrated tablet holder.
The machine has mostly positive reviews, but some customers question whether it’s worth the high cost since it doesn’t come with live or on-demand classes.
Best for small spaces
This trainer stands out from other ellipticals on the market because it offers 26 resistance levels and a blend of sliding and stepping motions for a more intense workout.
The Bowflex M6 also comes equipped with a large console, media rack, and USB port for charging your phone.
Each purchase includes a 2-month subscription to the Bowflex JRNY app, which gives you access to instructor-led classes and virtual coaching. After that, the app costs $19.99 per month or $149 per year.
The Bowflex M6 comes with a 2-year protection on parts and 90 days on labor, which is less extensive than comparable brands. However, you can buy additional protection through the Bowflex Protection Plan.
The ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT is an elliptical that doubles as a recumbent bike.
Unlike many other two-in-one ellipticals, this machine allows you to adjust the seat, pedals, and handlebar.
It doesn’t skimp on features, offering 16 resistance levels, heart rate grip sensors, speakers, and an LCD for tracking your distance, speed, and estimated calories burned.
However, because this machine’s stride length is relatively short compared with those of other models, it may not be ideal for taller people.
Each purchase comes with a 30-day iFit membership, a 5-year warranty on the frame, and a 90-day warranty on parts and labor.
Best for outdoors
Looking to take your elliptical workout outside? The ElliptiGO Outdoor Stand-Up Bike is a fun and unique way to work up a sweat.
Unlike a regular bike, the ElliptiGO doesn’t have a seat. Instead, you propel the bike forward by standing and moving the pedals in a gliding motion.
Just keep in mind that the bike can’t be used inside and can be bulky to store.
Here’s a quick look at how our top picks compare:
|NordicTrack FS14i Freestride Trainer||Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical||Sole E35 Elliptical||Bowflex Max Trainer M6||ProForm Hybrid Trainer||EllptiGO Outdoor Stand-Up Bike|
|Dimensions||58.5 × 29.5 × 74 inches (149 × 75 × 188 cm)||28 × 17 × 57 inches (71 × 43 × 145 cm)||82 × 31 × 71 inches (208 × 79 × 180 cm)||46 × 26 × 64.2 inches (117 × 66 × 163 cm)||24.5 × 70.5 × 60.5 inches (62 × 179 × 154 cm)||75 × 50–58 inches (190.5 × 127–147 cm)|
|Stride length||0–32 inches (0–81.3 cm)||11 inches (17.9 cm)||20 inches (50.8 cm)||22 inches (55.9 cm)||15 inches (38 cm)||16–25 inches (40.6–63.5 cm)|
|Max weight capacity||375 pounds (170.5 kg)||220 pounds (100 kg)||375 pounds (170.5 kg)||300 pounds (136.4 kg)||350 pounds (159 kg)||250 pounds (113.6 cm)|
|Resistance levels||26||8||8||16||16||3 gears|
|Display||14-inch (35.6-cm) touch screen||digital monitor||LCD||LCD||LCD||none|
|Streaming capabilities||yes, iFit||no||yes, integrated tablet holder||yes, Bowflex JRNY app||yes, iFit||none|
Note that the prices above reflect the current market list price and may vary by retailer.
Ready to buy an elliptical? Here are some factors to consider:
- Space. How much room do you have for an elliptical? Do you have space for additional equipment, or do you need a multipurpose machine?
- Your exercise needs and desired features. How many resistance and incline levels do you want? Are you fine working out on your own, or do you prefer instructor-led classes?
- Warranties. An elliptical is a pricey investment, so you’ll want to check what’s covered under the warranty and for how long.
- Customer reviews. Especially if you’re ordering online and can’t try it out for yourself, look for a product that’s rated highly by consumers.