Elliptical machines have been growing in popularity for many reasons. First, they allow you to get a great leg (and full body) workout without putting extra pressure or strain on your knees and ankles. They’re easy and fun to use, and you can watch TV or listen to music while exercising, which makes the time go by quickly while still helping you reach your fitness goals!
Now that ellipticals are available for home use and not just in the gym, it’s become important to identify the high-quality elliptical machines on the market and separate them from others that just don’t stack up. Here we have several elliptical machine reviews to help you compare the top-rated products, along with information about the different types of elliptical machines, the top elliptical machine brands, detailed reviews of the top five products, and a buyer’s guide that will help you pick the best elliptical machine for you.
Top Elliptical Machines Comparison Table
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Different Types of Elliptical Machines
Although many people have a simple stereotypical view of elliptical machines, there are actually several different types of ellipticals. These include “under-desk” ellipticals, 2-in-1 bicycle and elliptical hybrids, and high-tech versus low-tech models.
This term refers to elliptical machines that do not have a handle component. Instead, they only engage your feet and are much smaller and more portable than the average elliptical. This type of equipment is very popular for people who work long hours at desk jobs--it’s a great way to help them keep moving throughout the day. They’re also great to use at home because they can easily be put away into storage and don’t take up much space.
In addition, these machines can be used standing up for an even better workout. Standing up while completing the striding motion the elliptical requires forces the user to engage their abdominal muscles, thereby strengthening their core as well as their legs. You might think a device like this might not be able to track your fitness stats, but many can--some even connect with the popular Fitbit app! One example of this type of elliptical is Cubii, which is marketed as a smart under-desk elliptical trainer and has a variety of advanced features.
2-in-1 Bicycle and Elliptical Hybrids
These machines are great because they have the capability to be used as two different types of exercise equipment. Not only do these ellipticals allow you to mix up your cardio, they’re also versatile in the different types of muscle groups they affect. Buying a 2-in-1 bicycle and elliptical hybrid, essentially two different pieces of equipment in one, is a great choice for those on a budget as well as for workout enthusiasts that like to save money.
Both the bicycle and elliptical functions have the same number of levels of resistance and preset programs, but they will affect your body differently due to the different muscles affected when sitting on the bicycle and standing on the elliptical. Examples of this type of elliptical include the ElliptiGO 11R, which is a truly unique twist on the 2-in-1 elliptical, and the Alpine Magnetic Upright Exercise Bicycle Trainer, which is more traditional.
High-Tech Models Versus Low-Tech Models
High-tech models often have 20 or more resistance levels, pre-set workouts put together by certified personal trainers, and other features such as fans, advanced controls, dual screens, speakers, USB outlets, and more. Low-tech models, on the other hand, normally have under 10 resistance levels and often lack pre-set workouts and any bonus features. However, both high-end and low-end models of elliptical machines have a lot in common.
They’re both effective in helping you to reach your fitness goals, and they have the same basic function. Both high- and low-tech elliptical machines are stationary exercise equipment that are used to simulate walking or running without causing excessive pressure on the joints. Although features like speakers and advanced screens are great, they aren’t necessary when working to reach your fitness goals. Even inexpensive ellipticals deliver great results. More important than the type of elliptical you're on is the way you use it. Using proper form on the elliptical machine can deliver a workout that tightens and tones your entire body.
Top Elliptical Brands
Although all of the products mentioned above come from reputable companies, there are some elliptical brands that are very well known in the industry and highly trusted by consumers.
From the ProForm website itself, “ProForm® is more than a brand. ProForm is a trainer, a competitor, an engineer, a fan, and a teammate. With a serious commitment to that top percentile, we work to produce equipment and technology that can take you across the finish line, place you on the podium, and push you beyond yesterday's ideal.” ProForm has been leading the fitness industry for over forty years, has been the number one brand for twenty years as far as units sold and dollars made, and owns hundreds of patents.
In addition, ProForm was polled by consumers as one of the most recognized fitness brands. A few quality products from ProForm include the Endurance 720 Elliptical Trainer and the Easy Strider Front-Drive Elliptical. However, ProForm not only offers elliptical machines, but also treadmills, exercise bikes, hybrid trainers, rowers, accessories, and iFit technology. See additional Proform reviews here.
Schwinn, a company founded in Chicago in 1895, has been innovating and bringing new fitness products to the world for over 100 years. The Schwinn website states, “Schwinn® is an American icon, and a leading brand of bicycles, recreation products, and home and commercial fitness equipment. The brand is on the forefront of advances in fitness technology, and has been an indispensable player in revolutionizing bicycling and fitness around the world.”
In addition to high-quality elliptical machines, Schwinn also manufactures bikes, bike locks, upright and recumbent exercise bicycles, treadmills, and various workout accessories. A couple of great ellipticals from this brand include the 430 Elliptical Machine and 520 Reclined Elliptical.
Sunny Health & Fitness
A newcomer onto the fitness scene, Sunny Health & Fitness has quickly become one of the most popular workout equipment brands due to the high quality of its products. Sunny’s website says that “Sunny Health & Fitness stands behind the quality of every product that we carry, and our commitment to excellence in customer service has made us one of the fastest growing companies in the health and fitness equipment market.” This brand actually imports and distributes equipment from multiple overseas suppliers.
Sourcing directly through a wide network of manufacturers allows Sunny Health & Fitness to sell their products at a competitive rate. This lets customers afford high-quality products that they may not otherwise be able to. Sunny Health & Fitness not only sells ellipticals like the SF-E3416 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer and the Twister Stepper; the brand also sells treadmills, exercise bikes, step machines, rowers, benches and more.
The Top Five Ellipticals
Being one of the top five ellipticals takes a lot: quality, functionality, and durability all play a part, not to mention the dozens of elliptical reviews we take into account when choosing the best products to share with you. Here are some detailed reviews of the top elliptical machines on the market.
This impressive elliptical machine comes with a wide variety of features. First, it has a dual track two LCD window system, which allows you to monitor up to thirteen different display feedbacks. It also comes with the Schwinn Connect program, which is meant to motivate you and keep track of your progress. Goal tracking and data export help you stay on top of your fitness journey.
On top of all that, this machine comes with 22 programs, 2 user settings, and goal tracking. These features allow you to stay motivated and challenge yourself as you gain strength and stamina. The 20 levels of resistance, aligned with a high speed, high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel, make every workout smooth and quiet--perfect if you want to watch TV while burning calories!
A few other notable features include a charging USB port and data exchange. Reviewers called this an awesome, fun workout and said it was an excellent purchase that really paid off.
The Bottom Line:
The Schwinn 430 hits the sweet spot of pricing and features. At the end of the day I say it's the best bang for the buck.
Although this elliptical comes at a higher price point, it’s worth it when you see all the components and features you receive with this product! The ProForm Endurance 720 is an elliptical machine with a front drive system, adjustable stride, an inertia-enhanced flywheel, and silent magnetic resistance.
It also features a backlit display and is iFit compatible (you do have to buy the iFit wireless module separately). The integrated tablet holder makes it easier than ever to watch Netflix or play Solitaire while getting a workout in. With 24 workout apps and 20 digital resistance levels, you’ll always be able to have a unique workout adjusted to match your specific fitness level.
This model also features an adjustable power ramp, a workout fan to keep you cool, and an EKG grip pulse to measure your heart rate. As if all these amazing features aren’t enough, this elliptical machine also has iPod compatible audio, a USB charging station, a water bottle holder, transport wheels, and oversized leveling feet.
The Bottom Line:
Proform's 720 is absolutely feature packed. The 24 levels of resistance provide a fine tuned way to change-up your workout and challenge your body.
With a 15-inch elliptical stride, target pacer, oversized adjustable pedals, an inertia-enhanced flywheel, and a water bottle holder, how could you go wrong? This high-quality elliptical also features a large LCD window, silent magnetic resistance, 16 digital resistance levels, and soft grips on the upper body workout arms.
This elliptical really allows you to customize your workout experience by adjusting the resistance to your unique fitness level. Attached transport wheels making moving the machine a breeze, and the EKG grip pulse lets you know your heart rate as you build up a sweat.
You can also plug in your iPod or other MP3 player to make your workout even more fun! Customers called this product a great value and great workout. Many said it was an excellent buy and that they were very satisfied with their purchase.
The Bottom Line:
The Hybrid Trainer is a great choice if you're looking to get ProForm quality without breaking the bank.
Don’t let the higher price point scare you away--this elliptical machine is well worth the cost! With a charging USB port and data exchange, you’ll be able to charge your phone or other device while also sharing your fitness data. The 25 levels of resistance, aligned with a high speed, high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel, make every workout smooth and quiet--and they also allow you to customize your workouts.
This machine has 29 programs and four user settings, so it’s a great choice for the family or for roommates! Goal tracking is another included feature that will keep you motivated every step of the way. Aside from the workout itself, the dual track two LCD window system allows you to monitor up to 13 different display feedbacks, so you can always stay in tune with your progress and workout.
You’ll love the 10 degree motorized ramp that consistently gives you an ergonomic, fat-burning workout. The intuitive controls, customizable programs, integrated heart monitor, and a unique console are still more features that make this elliptical one of the best! In the best elliptical machine reviews, users expressed that this machine met all of their expectations!
The Bottom Line:
There's a higher price tag on the Schwinn 470 than many other ellipticals in our top ten, but if you've got a little higher budget you won't be disappointed with the long list of features.
Get everything you’re looking for in an elliptical machine with the Sunny Asuna 4300! It gives you low-impact aerobic exercise that’s easy on your joints, has electronic tension control, and several other features that make it worth much more than its moderate price point. You’ll enjoy the five programmable modes, which include Beginner, Advanced, Sporty, Cardio, and Watt.
While exercising, the monitor display will keep you updated on your time, speed, distance, calories burned, watts, and pulse. There are also pulse recovery and BMI options. The large anti-slip foot plates will keep you comfortable as you workout, and the built-in transportation wheels are great for transport.
The sturdy steel frame structure of this machine is sure to last for years to come. This elliptical is known to sell out from time to time on Amazon so if it's the model your interested in don't hesitate or you may be in for a wait.
The Bottom Line:
This Sunny model may not be the flashiest, but it has the key features that many folks are looking for at a reasonable price.
Five Other Great Elliptical Options:
- The Sunny Magnetic Elliptical Trainer provides a micro-tension controller, large anti-slip foot platforms, and moving arms, all for a price that won’t break your budget.
- The Precor Commercial Series Adaptive Motion Trainer is an impressive blend of treadmill, bike, and elliptical machine that will challenge you with its versatility.
- With its two-in-one capabilities, the Merax Elliptical Bike Cross Trainer is sure to impress you--and its built-in fan and digital display make it even better.
- The Horizon Fitness EX-59-02 Elliptical Trainer provides 10 resistance levels, a pedaling motion that imitates your natural stride, and 10 built-in programs.
- The Body Rider Fan Elliptical Trainer has a patented motion design, dual-action handlebars, and an included workout video.
Elliptical Machine Buyer’s Guide
With all the great options out there, it can be hard to figure out which elliptical machine is the best fit for you! If you’re feeling stuck, take a look at this list of features that you should consider before making a purchase.
- Type: You can choose a classic elliptical, go high-tech or low-tech, pick an “under-desk” version, or opt for a 2-in-1 bicycle and elliptical machine.
- Durability: Look for an elliptical machine that is made to last and has a warranty. It’s a good idea to try out different ellipticals in-store to see just how sturdy they feel. Sometimes online pictures of products look different from the products themselves, so watch out for that as well.
- Size: If you only have a certain amount of space in your house for an elliptical machine, take measurements of the space and compare them to the size of the ellipticals you’re considering. If you don’t have enough space for an elliptical to be a permanent fixture in your house, look into ellipticals that fold and can easily be stored away. Another option if you’re limited on space is an “under-desk” elliptical, which can also be used while standing.
- Portability: If you’re going to need to move this machine around a lot, make sure it’s not too heavy or difficult to move. If it’s lightweight, that’s great. Otherwise, look for a model with wheels to simplify the moving process.
- Price: Of course, price is a huge factor whenever a big purchase is being made. If you’re on a budget, don’t worry! There are plenty of affordable ellipticals out there--some are even under $100! However, if you’re able to spend more money, make sure you look into the product as much as possible to ensure that you’re not paying more than the elliptical is worth. Check out these additional guides about ellipticals priced below $1000 and some even under $500.
- Bonus features: Is it important for you to have an iPod compatible USB port so you can blast music while you workout? Do you need a high-tech display to keep track of various stats? If you really want these “bonus features,” then go for it! However, don’t choose an elliptical based on the fact that it has a fan and speakers. Make sure that the elliptical trainer fulfills its real purpose as workout equipment before adding on anything else.
- Resistance levels: Depending on your current fitness level, you might require more or less resistance levels. Generally, if you already exercise frequently, you should opt for an elliptical that has more resistance levels so that you’ll still be able to challenge yourself. Adjustable resistance levels let you choose just how hard you want to push yourself during a given workout.
For more information on choosing the right elliptical machine for you, check out this video:
As a shopper today you have lots of options to choose from when buying an elliptical machine. Exercise companies are building models with an increasing array of features and options tailored to a variety of tastes and needs. With such variety comes a wide range of prices to work with as well, ensuring your ability to find a solid elliptical that matches your budget.
Whether you choose to go high-tech or low-tech, “under-desk” or 2-in-1, there’s no doubt that whatever elliptical machine you choose will aid you in your fitness goals and fit perfectly into your lifestyle.
Product Images Via Amazon.com