If you are looking for one of the best elliptical machines for home use, you’ve come to the right place.
Perhaps you are looking for the first piece of equipment to start your home gym? Maybe you’d like to add to your machines with something low-impact but high-intensity?
Ellipticals deliver a wonderful boost of cardio. They can help you to trim excess weight and tone up the whole body at the same time.
Waiting time at the gym is wasted time. Unsurprisingly, ellipticals are among the most popular machines so many people are now buying one for the house. Get your workout done in less time than it would take to drive to the gym never mind wait for a spare piece of equipment!
**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
What Is An Elliptical Machine?
In a nutshell, elliptical trainers are like a treadmill but with a twist. Cushioned pedals and a drive system promote a smooth motion when working out which is similar to the natural motion of walking or jogging.
Unlike these conventional ways to get a shot of cardio, though, your feet never lose contact with the pedals. Your joints will be fully supported at all stages and you can hit it hard without punishing your body.
Although we tend to associate elliptical machines with a professional gym, more and more people are seeing the benefits of buying one for their home gym.
With many advantages, we will look next at why you should harness the power of an elliptical machine to your
Why Use One?
A key feature of ellipticals is the ability to work out your upper and lower at the same time. If you are busy and want to maximize the payload of each workout, ellipticals are a smart way to tone up while hitting a great calorie burn.
From the back and legs to the arms and glutes – not forgetting the abs – you can truly put all major muscle groups through their paces on an elliptical.
By tweaking the resistance and incline, you can make each routine more challenging as you improve and reach then surpass your goals.
On-board computers will guide you and display all relevant data. Whether you are toning up or slimming down, seeing your good work writ large on an LCD display is a powerful motivator.
Your maintenance will be very minimal with an elliptical. There are a number of moving parts so all that’s really required is regular lubrication to keep everything running smoothly.
If you want a comfortable and stable, low-impact workout that is also very challenging, investing in an elliptical machine is money well-spent.
You can enjoy the convenience of a complete body workout without needing to leave the comfort of your house. If you find that keeping to a schedule at the gym is tough, bring the gym home.
How To Use An Elliptical Machine
If you imagine the action of a cross-country skier striding out with a pole in each hand… that’s pretty much the concept behind using an elliptical machine.
As you pump away furiously with your legs, grasping the long handles gives your upper body a great overall workout.
The incline of the machine will affect which muscle groups are most engaged. If you opt for a higher incline and stride length, you’ll focus on your glutes and hamstrings. Lower the incline and your quads and calves will reap the rewards.
Elliptical machines can be very demanding so expect to feel weak-legged after as little as 20 minutes hard exercise.
Just slip on some regular running shoes, pop your feet into the pedals and stride away while holding the upright handles.
Getting started could be not be easier!
What To Look For…
Whatever product we are looking for, budget is always a central factor.
Remember, though, not to be distracted only by the bottom line. You also need to consider value for money and build quality so that you buy the best model for your specific requirements.
Target which features are important to you and focus in on machines that you can afford which offer you what you need.
In general, the more you pay for gym equipment, the better the build quality and the longer it will last given proper maintenance.
Being stable as you work out is key.
You want the machine relegated to the background of your mind as you concentrate on working out hard.
Heavier ellipticals tend to be more stable. With the higher-end models, cutting edge design can compensate for raw weight and deliver an extremely stable machine.
Tension Resistance and Types of Tension
The more resistance levels at your disposal, the more you will be able to finely tweak your workout.
With lower increments, you might find yourself forced into making an uncomfortable jump in effort.
There are two main types of resistance with elliptical machines:
- Magnetic Resistance: For a quiet, consistent and natural workout
- Fan Wheel Resistance: Smooth ride, usually used on cheaper models
Think about your own specific requirements concerning resistance and buy accordingly.
Not all ellipticals come equipped with computers.
Those which do should have a clear display which is easy to read. Look out for a backlight feature.
In terms of data, the usual metrics of distance, speed, stride speed and time of session will make your training analysis a breeze.
With some machines, you’ll be able to hook this data up to external devices and websites to further make use of your statistics.
This will vary between machines.
Stride length is more important for some users than others. If you are particularly tall, though, laser in on machines with longer stride length. Don’t compromise yourself.
A 20” stride is roughly comparable to a normal walking motion so should suffice for most needs.
Incline and Adjustment
Changing the incline is fundamental to training on an elliptical.
It’s a smart move to look for machines with user-friendly power controls over those demanding manual adjustment.
With the best machines you can enjoy a very wide range of positions to keep your workouts challenging.
Adjustable Foot Pedals
The ability to adjust the foot pedals makes it easier to replicate walking while also acting as a safety feature.
Look for adequate space in the pedals if you have especially large feet.
The flywheel performs the same function as on exercise bikes and spinning bikes. It creates a natural and fluid momentum while preventing jerkiness and jarring.
Dual direction flywheels allow you to work out the opposite muscles by simply switching the way you rotate.
Now you know what to look out for when buying this handy piece of kit, we will look at some honest reviews of 5 of the best elliptical machines.
Top 5 Best Elliptical Machines For Home Use Reviews
Schwinn are a very well-established and respected manufacturer so you can buy with confidence when you choose any model they offer.
The name Schwinn is most associated with bicycles but the same precision and quality is also present in their wide range of ellipticals.
The A40 is a perfect, affordable tool for beginners so forms a great starting point here.
There are 22 pre-set programs which should offer most starters a very sound foundation to work from.
With 20 separate resistance levels, you can make your workout increasingly challenging.
The A40 is a stable, front-drive elliptical. The stride is a standard fixed 20-inch.
The LCD displays the usual data. The A40 is not compatible with heart rate monitors so decide whether this is important to you.
If you don’t mind the manual incline setting and you are looking for a no-nonsense, entry-level elliptical machine, the Schwinn A40 is a smart option.
- Can connect to Schwinn Connect or MyFitnessPal
- Smooth and stable
- Great connectivity
- Water bottle holder
- 3-speed cooling fan
- Manual adjustment for incline
- Cannot adjust incline while working out
Another solid machine for beginners is the E614, an elliptical from the powerhouse brand Nautilus.
Cutting edge technology brings you a dual-screen LCD. The DualTrack monitor has a large primary display and a smaller secondary unit to maximize your data.
This elliptical is suitable for most users with a weight capacity of 300 pounds. It’s a highly durable unit with a respectable 10-year warranty.
20-inch path stride is ideal to emulate natural movement.
There are the standard 20 levels of resistance. You can enjoy 6 inclined positions to get the most from your workout.
22 programs is also the staple requirement met with the E614.
If you want a strong and long-lasting elliptical machine from a trustworthy brand, the Nautilus E614 is well worth consideration.
- Advanced computer
- Dual-screen LCD
- Water bottle holder
- 3-speed cooling fan
- Great connectivity
- Export data
- Need to manually adjust incline
- Quite expensive compared to some competitors
The 430 is another great elliptical from Schwinn with is slightly more expensive but with increased functionality.
For an entry-level machine, the computer and dual-screen display is a real boost.
You can enjoy 22 levels of resistance to really pump up your workout. This is more than some direct competitors who offer 20 levels. Think about how much this counts for you.
You get quality and durability with a Schwinn. The frame is lightweight yet perfectly designed and will accommodate users of up to 300 pounds.
Downloading and tracking data is a cinch so if you are tech-savvy and prize this ability, look long and hard at the Schwinn.
Monitor your heart with the sensors in the hand grips so you can really hone in on your target heart rate and amplify your workouts.
- Durable and well-built
- Superb connectivity
- Easy data tracking and transfer
- Heart-rate monitoring from handrails
- Lightweight but fit for most users
- Great resistance options
- Incline levels limited to 10 degrees
- No automated incline
- Cannot use heart rate chest strap
This incredible inexpensive and compact elliptical trainer is stripped right down to basics.
You can fit this model under your desk or in any small space. Work out sitting down or standing up, the choice is yours.
The abbreviated motion is not to everyone’s tastes but if you analyze the way you work out and find that this fits your needs, there’s no problem.
If you want a secondary machine to take to the office or you are perhaps a casual user who just wants the occasional dose of cardio, the Stamina does what it needs to.
- Easy to transport
- Can work out sitting or standing
- Great for small spaces
- Very cheap
- Squeaking and drop in fluidity after extended use
- Reported issues with pedals
The last elliptical on our list of 5 is a reasonably-priced and versatile model from Plasma Fit.
This hybrid trainer offers two pieces of equipment for the price of one. Use it either sitting or standing – or both – according to your preference.
If you sit, the Plasma Fit functions like a standard exercise bike. The seated position is particularly beneficial for lower body weight loss.
Move to the standing posture and you will spread the effects of your workout throughout your body evening things out.
The pedals are comfy and easy to adjust. Opposite direction movement means you can also target the back of your legs. This feature is not widely available.
The Plasma Fit has a more than adequate LCD screen which will kick up all the data you need to keep track of your progress.
If you want a compact and minimalist elliptical machine which will last well and offer varied workouts, consider this hybrid model from Plasma Fit.
- LCD screen
- Recumbent bike seat
- Opposite direction movement
- Adjustable pedals
- Easy to assemble
- Adjustable resistance
- Bars are a little awkward
Each of the elliptical machines we have reviewed caters for pretty different needs.
Because we widened our search to accommodate a wide range of requirements and budgets, there is no outright winner.
Do your homework. Be honest about your needs and budget. Read impartial reviews and buy with confidence.
Any of these models would be a worthy addition to a list of the best elliptical machines.