Getting in shape has never been easier. Gym memberships are (mostly) affordable, restaurants are focusing more on healthy meals, and companies are rewarding their employees for getting fit. They’ve incentivized healthy living. You don’t always have time to eat right or hit the gym, though, so you need to find something that will help you out when you don’t have the time or self-control. Just for you, we’ve found the best elliptical machines to help you get fit, healthy, and happy.
These have come at the right time, too. We all know how hard it is to resist temptation and maintain a healthy diet over the holidays. You’re only one man and you can’t expect to stride into 2019 without a slight slip of your willpower. What you can do, though, is get a head start on smashing your new year goals by investing in an elliptical machine to ease the shame of eating that fifth Christmas pretzel.
The Best Elliptical Machines
Our best choice for elliptical machines is the Body Rider Exercise Upright Fan Bike. It comes with dual-action extended handlebars, a feature which separates it from a standard exercise bike, and offers a whole body workout, the likes of which you won’t get with a treadmill. You can easily adjust the resistance levels by turning a knob, and while there’s no numerical indicator, it’s still effective in adding intensity to your workout.
The digital display tracks time, distance, speed, and burned calories, but it doesn’t have the in-depth fitness programs of more expensive bikes. That’s cool, though, and what it might lack in sometimes forgotten features it makes up for with a smooth, fluid movement and a cool ocean-like breeze with the innovative fan wheel. When riding it, you feel secure, which is a product of the solid design and construction.
Dual-action extended handlebars
Easily adjustable resistance levels
Innovative fan wheel keeps you cool
Digital display tracks time, speed, distance, and calories
- BrandBody Rider
- Weight47.3 pounds
Solid, durable construction
Excellent value for money
Suitable body workout for beginners
Seat could be more comfortable
If you’re getting a little more serious about your fitness goals, then the Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer is a top-quality upgrade for the average dude looking to improve his cardio and burn some excess flab. The Goal Track feature ensures you keep up to date with your progress, giving you the chance to reward yourself with a cheeseburger every now and again, and offering motivation for those times you’re convinced it’s not worth it.
It’s always worth it, though, and if you’re willing to drop nearly $600 for a fitness machine, you better use it. It won’t just keep you on your toes regarding your condition, you’ll also have exceptional control over how you shed those pounds. With 22 total programs including 8 heart rate control, 9 profiles, and 2 custom workouts, you can take back the power and get fit on your terms. Once you get into the groove of this whole fitness thing, the 20 levels of resistance will be waiting for you to ramp up the intensity, and you’ll be happy to do it.
Goal Track capability for individualized fitness targets
22 programs including profiles, heart rates, and quick start
20 levels of resistance
In-console speakers with MP3 input port
- Weight193 pounds
Dual Track digital display
Easy assembly with straightforward instructions
Wide range of routines and manual workout possibilities
Heavy, so assemble it in the room
At over $600, the Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine is the most expensive product we bring to you today. It’s a machine for those who are up to date with the evolutions of exercise machines and want to get the most from every feature, no matter how large or small. Investing in this elliptical – and that’s what it is: an investment – will carve a golden path along your fitness quest that’ll make it feel like the end isn’t as far away as you once believed.
There’s never truly an end to good fitness, but there are ways to take the monotony from your routine. The Schwinn 470 provides Bluetooth connectivity to sync with the downloadable Schwinn Trainer App to keep track of your progress, and the RunSocial app projects routes on your device screen for you to feel a little less lonesome on your journey.
Bluetooth connectivity to sync with Schwinn Trainer App
29 workout programs included
25 levels of resistance to achieve the most realistic workout
Dual Track LCD display
- Weight207 pounds
Media shelf for a smartphone, tablet or MP3
Loud built-in speakers
Motorized incline operation
Fly wheel isn’t free-spinning so your regular gym workout may seem more challenging
The EFITMENT Compact Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer is an awesomely effective mid-range option for those who don’t have rooms upon rooms of a home to choose from. The slim and modest design allows it to slot comfortably against walls or into alcoves between workouts, but it’s still light enough to drag out into the middle of the room so you can watch TV while you stomp along.
Don’t let its size fool you though. It still provides a total body workout that’s sure to show results with consistency and dedication. As time goes on, you can increase the resistance along one of the 8 levels, all while checking your progress with the LCD digital display. For comfort, it comes with non-slip foot pads and although the stride length is only 11 inches, you can still get a good, efficient workout from it as it places greater focus on other areas of the body.
Compact design to reduce home clutter and increase portability
Offers total body workout
LCD digital display monitor shows time, speed, distance, calories and pulse rate
- Weight63 pounds
Great for small spaces
Leg stabilizers for uneven floors
Phone and tablet holder
Screws and bolts could come loose if not properly tightened
Another mid-range but highly effective option, the ANCHEER Elliptical Machine Trainer is not as compact as the EFITMENT, and therefore offers greater mobility in stride while not sacrificing portability. The 13-inch stride gives you ample room to get a flowing full-body workout that’s low impact, making it ideal for rehabbing-injury or getting back into the groove of fitness after too long sat on the sofa.
The magnetic resistance functions offer a full-body workout, while the precision-balanced flywheel and V-belt offer the smooth operation you’ll find at the gym, but all in the comfort of your own home. For those of you obsessed with heart rates – and we know there are quite a few of you – there are monitors built into the handles and you can view the results on the clear digital display.
Precision-balanced flywheel and V-belt for smooth operation
Magnetic resistance helps provide total body workout
Digital monitor and pulse-rate grips
13-inch stride range
- Weight78.9 pounds
Heavy-duty non slip pedals
Transport wheels for easy movability
Fast assembly in just 30 minutes
Some users may want something a little larger
Not everybody has the space, time or cash to justify purchasing a standing machine though, and in those cases a desk machine is the perfect solution. The Stamina InMotion Elliptical Trainer is a compact machine that doesn’t take up any space at all while still giving you a suitable leg workout during days where you don’t have half a second to yourself.
While it doesn’t come with all the awesome and useful features as larger machines do, it’s still an effective option and on the most basic level comes with everything you need for a convenient cardio workout. The adjustable tension increases intensity, which you can keep track of via the built-in digital monitor. It also offers a variety of movement options to provide versatility and give you the chance to workout different leg muscles for the best results.
Portable and efficient cardio workout
Adjustable tension displayed via monitor
Variety of movement options, use sitting or standing
Forward or reverse motion
- Weight24 pounds
Great for casual workout when you don’t have time for the gym
Runs smoothly and quietly
Built-in computer can track time and distance
Doesn’t offer a full-body workout
Something a little more premium than the InMotion, this Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical is the most advanced desk machine you’ll ever come across. Bringing everything you love about the standing machines – aside from the full-body workout – it gives you a host of great features to make your days most active then they’ve been in years, all from the comfort of your desk.
You can connect the Cubii app, which allows you to track progress and sync with your Fitbit or Apple HealthKit for a complete record of your goals. As for operation, it’s whisper quiet and so won’t distract from tasks while at the office. You can use it at home, too, and you can either sit or stand to maximize workout variety and focus on different muscles.
Ergonomic elliptical workout for home or office
Bluetooth enabled with Cubii app to track progress and sync with smartwatches
Low impact on joints with 8 resistance levels for easy customization
Smooth gliding motion doesn’t distract from other tasks
- Weight33.8 pounds
Fast and simple assembly
Pedals fit any shoe size
Effective gym cardio alternative
Slightly heavy to move if you need to
The only very-slightly less ‘complete’ version of the Cubii is this Cubii Jr. Desk Elliptical, which comes with almost all the features as the flagship product but misses out on app connectivity and syncing. This is fine, though, and if you don’t have the tools to track anyway, this is an excellent and less-costly option to keep fit at home or at the office.
The patented and ergonomically angled pedals ensure low pressure and impact on your joints and won’t leave you feeling like you’ve run a whole marathon uphill by the end of the day. Instead, they provide a smooth and comfortable operation that’ll soon become second nature, and it’ll feel strange whenever you’re sitting down without it. You can also track your workouts with a built-in display monitor and adjust the resistance levels to determine how hard you want to work on any day.
Built-in display with real-time tracking
Whisper quiet to prevent distractions
Patented ergonomic pedals for smooth and comfortable operation
Any-time workout possibilities
- Weight35.7 pounds
Durable and sturdy construction
Simple assembly for immediate workout
Easily portable with middle handle
Doesn’t sync with fitness apps or smartwatches
The final step in our search for the best elliptical machines is this Stamina Peddler InMotion E1000 Elliptical Trainer. It’s compact design means it slides perfectly under the desk and you can also move it with ease should you get a promotion or want to take it home.
The pedal arrangement allows you to move forwards and backwards, giving you versatility in your workouts, and you can use it either sitting or standing for even more options. You’ll get smooth operation, which is excellent for anyone with arthritis or trying to rehab a sports injury, and will have you feeling looser and more nimble in no time.
Pedal forwards and backwards to workout different muscles
Small and compact design for simple storage and portability
Versatile applications to workout sitting or standing
Post-workout reports with readout area
- Weight30 pounds
Ideal for arthritis sufferers and those rehabbing injury
Smooth and comfortable gliding movement
Elliptical Machine Buying Guide & FAQs
How We Chose Our Selection of Elliptical Machines
Brand - Instead of focusing on one brand because it’s ‘the best’, we looked at a wide range of companies we believe offer excellent, high-quality products covering a range of purposes. Not everyone wants the same result from an elliptical machine, and so we felt it was important to identify variety to ensure we covered as many bases as possible.
Reviews - Reading reviews for elliptical machines has been useful in narrowing down our search for the best. We know that sometimes reviews can’t be trusted, or that people may complain for the sake of complaining, however, there are enough reliable reviews to forget about these. Reviews that are reliable are informative and introduce us to the most important factors to consider when purchasing an elliptical machine.
Price - We know that you would love to have the best elliptical machine, who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible, whether that’s because of budget, space, or if your partner lets you. We don’t think it’s fair to exclude anyone because they can’t afford their favorite machine, and so we looked for machines ranging from the very affordable to the just about affordable so there’s something for whoever wants one.
Features To Look For In Elliptical Machines
Size - Consider the size of the area you will place the elliptical. For standing machines, you’ll need enough space to maneuver as well t when not in use, unless you have a dedicated gym room. For desk machines, the size won’t be too much of an issue.
Assembly - Difficult-to-assemble machines can often cause mistakes somewhere throughout the process. The easier a machine is to assemble, the better, and the sooner you can start your workout. However, if it’ seems too easy, you could have gone wrong somewhere, so ensure you double check before climbing on that thing!
Workout programs - You might already have your own workout program in mind, but it never hurts to test out some different workouts which can exercise different muscles. A standing machine with a range of great workouts will definitely be better value for money, but if you know what you’re doing, it’s not essential.
LCD screen - Tracking your speed, distance, pulse, and calories burned are great ways of motivating you, even if you don’t need the motivation, they’re always useful to see. an elliptical machine with an LCD display will give you all the information you need to make changes or improvements to your workout.
Incline settings - We know it sucks having to run up that hill, but if you’re serious about getting into better shape, the incline setting is useful. Some machines have motorized inclines while others operate manually. It’s more convenient for the incline to operate automatically, but if this is out of your price range, a manual incline setting will still be useful.
Resistance levels - Adjustable resistance sets ellipticals apart from low-budget and low-quality machines. The larger the range, the better the benefits, and should be more challenging the more you increase this resistance. Don’t worry if you can’t manage the highest setting just yet, it will come.
Stride length - The ideal stride length is between 16-inches and 21-inches as anything smaller may not be effective while 21 is ideal for the average-sized dude. If you can find a machine with adjustable stride length so the whole family can use it, that’s even better.
App connectivity - For complete control over your progress and a better chance of hitting your targets, the ability to connect your elliptical with a fitness app is massively useful. This is only present in the most expensive machines though, and we don’t recommend spending extra money solely for this. While it is useful, you can always input the information manually if you really want to.
Types of Elliptical Machines
The large standing machines are ideal for home workouts are the same as those at the gym. They have digital displays, heart rate monitors, and come with a wide range of settings and programs to maximize your exercise, providing a full-body workout. They are also heavy and often not portable. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue but could be one should you move.
Desk ellipticals are smaller, more compact, and more basic machines. This doesn’t mean they’re any less effective though, and their size can be more beneficial than the standing machines. When you invest in an under-desk machine, you can use it all day, every day and do so almost passively. You’ll only pause to take lunch or go to meetings. This provides more consistent workout you wouldn’t achieve with a standing machine.
Elliptical Machine FAQs
Q: What is an Elliptical Machine?
A: An elliptical machine, also known as a cross trainer, is an (often) motorized exercise machine designed to stimulate the feeling of walking up or taking steps. They work similarly to treadmills, but are much low impact, which makes them popular among those who are rehabbing an injury or cannot do other workouts. The larger machines provide full body workouts while the smaller machines can fit under your desk where you can use them all day long.
Q: Can you lose belly fat by using an elliptical?
A: You can, but not because of the elliptical. If you want to lose fat anywhere on the body, you need to target that area, which for your stomach would not be possible on an elliptical. However, raising the intensity of your workout and combining it with a better diet will help to shed those pounds and start you on your way to six-pack abs. You can also look at the best core workouts to help you achieve this.
Q: Is elliptical better than treadmill?
A: We can’t say for sure whether it’s better than the treadmill, as different people have different goals. What we can say, though, is that because of the handles, a full-sized elliptical provides a full-body workout, which you don’t get with a treadmill and these same ellipticals allow for backwards pedaling, which if you’ve ever tried to do the same on a treadmill, well you know how that ends up.
Q: How long is a good workout on an elliptical?
A: This depends on your fitness level and your aims, but shooting for 30 minutes a day over 5 days (because you’ll need a rest day or two) is the optimum time. As you get into better shape, you can increase your time, which isn’t a bad thing, just don’t overdo it as you could suffer an injury.
- Where to Start When Creating A Company Wellness Program - YEC for Forbes
- What You Need to Know About Ellipticals - Very Well Fit
- Elliptical trainer - Wikipedia