An elliptical machine also referred to as a cross-trainer is one of the best cardio and low-impact exercise machine. The best elliptical machine just like the exercise bike is a stationary exercise machine but gives a full-body workout.
Due to its effectiveness and versatility, it is always in more demand, especially in a commercial gym. This however makes it vital to own one at the comfort of your home to get full access every time you needed to.
Elliptical machines compared to other cardio exercise machines demonstrate a higher level of effectiveness with a lower risk of injury. It works better on the arms and legs to give a total body workout and offers both cardio and resistance training which can hardly be gotten from a stationary exercise bike and treadmill.
There are many benefits of getting this exercise machine and that makes buying the best to be vital. This is a complete buying guide as we discuss elliptical machines extensively and review some of the top elliptical machines for home use.
Top 12 Best Elliptical/Cross Trainers for Home
Weight Capacity (lbs.)
|Bowflex M8 Max Trainer|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Advanced Programmed Elliptical Machine Trainer|
|Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical|
|ProForm Hybrid Trainer|
|Stamina 55-1602 Inmotion Elliptical|
|250||Under Desk/Standing Elliptical|
|Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Underdesk Elliptical Machine|
|NA||Under Desk Elliptical|
|Body Power 2-in-1 Elliptical Stepper Trainer|
|Body Rider Elliptical Trainer and Exercise Bike|
|DeskCycle Ellipse: Under Desk Elliptical|
|–||Under Desk Elliptical|
|Afully Elliptical Machine Elliptical Trainer|
|Aceshin Elliptical Machine Trainer|
Benefits of Elliptical Machine
If you are wondering why elliptical machine or cross trainer gets as much attention as treadmill and exercise bike, it is due to many benefits it offers which include:
It Boosts Stamina or Cardio Capacity
Cardiovascular health is vital and aerobic or cardio exercise is the key factor that ensures this. When you get involved in a cardio exercise like an elliptical machine, the heart works harder, and the breathing rate increases. This, therefore, helps to supply more blood and oxygen to the body. Overall, an elliptical machine improves the circulatory system, strengthens the heart and the entire cardiovascular system.
It is Versatile
An elliptical machine is very versatile. This means you can do both HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) as well as steady-state cardio on it.
It Burns Calories and Fats
An elliptical machine can be your go-to guy when you are looking to burn more calories or fat. According to studies, aerobic exercise has the capacity to help burn between 270 to 400 calories within 30 minutes of exercise depending on the weight of the user.
Burning more calories than what you consume will definitely help reduce/burn fat in the body system. Increasing the intensity of your cross-training will definitely help burn more calories.
It Offers Full-Body Workout
Elliptical machines have handles to ensure lower and upper body workout, thereby allowing a full-body workout. Cross trainers when done correctly have the ability to target almost all the muscles and joints in the body including glutes, hamstrings, quads, chest, back, biceps, triceps, and core muscles.
An elliptical machine is a low impact exercise which means the user is less prone to sustaining an injury with it. It is very gentle on the knee joints and that makes it a suitable option for seniors/elderly, beginners, and people with bad knees for recovery purposes.
Exercises like running, jogging on a treadmill, though effective but can cause injuries and may worsen the already sustained injury. The elliptical machine offers you a better option, to achieve a good workout with little or no risk of injury.
Improves Balance and Mobility
All weight-bearing exercises will strengthen your bones and that includes the elliptical machine. However, cross-trainers even have more benefits as it will help improve your balance. This is done by letting go of the handles, standing straight, targeting the core muscles, and working on your balance.
Furthermore, the platform and simultaneous movement of both arms and legs will improve coordination between the brain and the limbs; thereby improve the entire mobility of the user.
An elliptical trainer is a weight-bearing exercise and that simply means the bones and muscles are involved in this exercise to push the pedal. This makes it more beneficial to build stronger bones and muscles. This makes it a good one for people with osteoporosis.
How to Correctly Use an Elliptical Trainer: Beginners Guide
Using an elliptical machine is very easy but might be a little complicated for a first time user. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you correctly and safely use an elliptical machine:
- All elliptical trainers have a stationary handlebar which is always between the two moving handles. Get in position and hold the stationary handlebar, then carefully place your foot on each pedal.
- Note that, the pedals might move right away when you place your foot and that makes it very important to hold the stationary handlebar for safety.
- Align your feet properly by ensuring it is in parallel to the edges of the pedal. Since the pedal has much space to promote comfort, tilting your feet the wrong way is very possible; therefore, ensure your feet are parallel to the edges of the pedal.
- When you attain stability, you need to straighten your back by standing upright. Keep your head straight by looking forward and ensure your back is not bent.
- For a full-body workout, carefully remove your hand from the stationary handlebar and hold the two armbars. Hold the moving arm bars lightly and balance just like the way you walk.
- Keep your knee slightly bent and must be kept this way throughout.
- You should note that the more you bend your knees, the faster you will go.
- Set all necessary challenges including the resistance level and other features that may be peculiar to your elliptical machine.
- Once you find your rhythm, keep going for as long as you want. The basic session should last between 20-30 minutes. Longer sessions can last more than this but 20 minutes is the minimum you should aim at.
Below is a video that delineates the effective and safe use of an elliptical machine as explained by Naomi Kong:
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Top 12 Review: Best Elliptical Cross Trainers for Home in 2021
#1. Bowflex M8 Max Trainer (Top Choice)
- Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
- Resistance Level: 20
- Inbuilt Workout Programs: 7
- Tracks up to 4 user profile
- Dimension: 49″ L x 30.5″ W x 65.5″
This is our top choice for the best elliptical machine for home use due to its effectiveness, durability, sturdiness, and compact size making it suitable even for people who stay in small apartments and need to manage space.
The elliptical trainer is smartly built and has incorporated with its many features. Bowflex M8 Max Trainer is compatible with the new JRNY technology which examines your workout and uses your fitness progress to create a custom workout that will benefit you most.
Furthermore, it has a full LCD screen that is in-built with 7 workout programs to help challenge you. Also, it allows a maximum of 4 users’ profile that makes it usable by everyone in the family, making it great for home and family use.
Bowflex M8 Max Trainer can help achieve your fitness goals within a short time by smartly adjusting your workout program. Furthermore, the cross trainer is very easy to use as it is built to be users friendly. From its multiple grips and dynamic handle and stationary handle to comfortable pedal making your training easier.
Its other accessories make your workout fun like Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to sync with apps and connect with a fitness trainer, the ability to connect with Bowflex radio while you workout, and the media rack that holds your tablet and smartphone in place.
Though, it is a very expensive elliptical machine but sure worth every penny spent on it. It is our top choice for the best elliptical machine and a good one for home use.
- Max Weight Capacity: 330 pounds
- Stride Length: 18 inches (46cm)
- Dimension: 67L x 25W x 64.5H Inches
- Users Program: 24
- Resistance Level: 16
- Weight of Product: 125 pounds
- Flywheel Weight: 18 pounds
The elliptical/cross trainer is another beautiful, compact, and quality product and one of the best elliptical machines you should consider in your search. It is strong, sturdy, quality, and effective for a full-body workout.
It is essential that your elliptical machine has a stride length of 40cm and this cross trainer even has a stride length of 45cm which is more than enough for comfortable, low impact, and effective elliptical training. Sunny Health & Fitness Advanced Programmed Elliptical Machine Trainer is stable and that is due to its robust construction as evident in its heavy flywheel and the total weight of the product.
The cross trainer is compact in size and will take little space in your home. Though it cannot be folded into a more compact size, it has transport wheels that make it easy to move the machine from one place to the other for better and more effective storage when it’s not in use.
To make your workout more challenging, Sunny Health & Fitness Advanced Programmed Elliptical Machine Trainer is made with 16 levels of resistance and 24 in-built programs. It also has an LCD monitor that tracks fitness data like speed, RPM, time, distance, odometer, calories, watt, and heart rate.
It is one of the best elliptical machines for home use and we recommend it. Also, it is affordable as it comes at a less expensive price that is not up to $1000.
- Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
- Recumbent Elliptical Machine
- Product Dimension: 52.5″L x 54″H x 38″W
- Product’s Weight: 111 pounds
- Variable resistance level
This is one of the best elliptical trainers and our top choice for the best recumbent elliptical machine. Just like recumbent bikes, recumbent elliptical machines are also the best for seniors and people with back problems due to the recline position it puts the user and the luxury of a comfortable seat and backrest.
Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer has a weight capacity of 300 pounds with the cross trainer weighing 111 pounds itself. This gives the assurance of stability and sturdiness. It does not wobble and remain stable throughout your workout session.
Just like other elliptical trainers, this product also gives a full-body workout. However, the user can decide to use it for arms exercise alone, legs only, or both simultaneously to burn more calories.
For comfort and effectiveness, Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer is adjustable to fit different user’s height. Its resistance can also be adjusted to the fitness of the user and can be increased to challenge your body further for better fitness.
The machine works quietly and has a compact LCD monitor that helps you track your fitness. It cannot be folded but it has wheels that make it easier to move from one place to the other within the home for easier storage.
- Weight Capacity: 350 pounds
- Upright and Recumbent Hybrid
- 16 levels of resistance
- Dimensions: 60.5”H x 24.5”W x 70.5”L
Getting an elliptical trainer with both standing and recumbent features in one machine can be what you need for your family and this particular product offers this effectively. It is strong, sturdy and one of the best elliptical machines you should consider for home use.
ProForm Hybrid Trainer is very strong and robust in structure with a heavy-duty weight capacity of 350 pounds. The cross trainer weighs about 65kg, heavy enough to eradicate wobbling while using it and ensure stable operation.
It’s a hybrid of recumbent and standing elliptical and that gives you more options, making it more suitable for everyone around you. The elliptical machine also comes with 30 days free iFit trial membership that gives you access to live interactive sessions, studio and global workouts, and connected fitness tracking in your home.
It is also easy to challenge your body to attain better fitness through ProForm Hybrid Trainer’s adjustable resistance level. The seat is also adjustable to suit your height perfectly.
Furthermore, with a 5-year warranty on the frame, it gives you good buying assurance. The handle is also incorporated with pulse sensors to monitor your heart rate while the LCD monitor reports your workout data accurately.
- Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
- Dimensions: 24.5″L x 17″W x 11.5″H
- Weight: 24 pounds
- Warranty: 1year on Frame/90 days on parts
- Bidirectional pedal
This product is quite different from other under-desk elliptical machines as it is strong enough to be used while standing. It is compact enough to fit under the desk while it is strong enough to be used as a standing elliptical machine.
Stamina 55-1602 Inmotion Elliptical is a small machine; therefore, it is not equipped with handles for upper body workout, hence it does not offer a full-body workout. It is not too heavy thereby making it a good option for traveling and it is strong enough to carry users weighing up to 250 pounds.
The compact elliptical also has a small LCD monitor that tracks and record workout data like exercise time, strides per minutes, the total number of stride, and calories burned to keep you motivated and challenge you to achieve more.
Stamina 55-1602 Inmotion Elliptical is versatile with features that make your workout interesting. The pedaling can be done bi-directionally. Its tension level can be adjusted as well to challenge you better to achieve more fitness.
Many buyers have purchased this elliptical machine all over the world, and you will be impressed with the number of positive reviews it has garnered from happy buyers. It is affordable, effective and one of the best compact and under-desk elliptical machines.
- Weight of Product: 164 pounds
- Dimensions: 70.1L x 28.2W x 63.2H in.
- Max Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
- Stride Length: 20 inches
- Resistance level: 25
- 29 Inbuilt Programs
- Bluetooth connectivity
If you need a smart and compact elliptical machine, you may want to consider this product as it is one of the best out there. It is strong and sturdy with a heavy appearance ensuring stability and eradicating wobbling while in use.
Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine has an in-built of 29 programs and 25 levels of resistance to make your workout more challenging and thereby help you attain better fitness. The LCD monitor records your workout data and with its Bluetooth connectivity, you can easily sync with the Schwinn fitness app and other third-party apps.
For comfortable movement and to replicate natural running motion, the cross trainer is made with a long stride length of 20 inches and extra-wide pedals for comfort.
It is also equipped with features like USB ports for charging and media. Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine has an in-built speaker with an MP3 input port to allow you to listen to your favorite music as you exercise.
The elliptical machine is a little expensive but sure gives the value for the money. It has been most buyers’ choice and we also recommend it as it’s one of the best elliptical machines for home use.
- Resistance level: 8
- Max Weight Capacity: NA
- Under Desk Elliptical Machine
- Easy to Read LCD Monitor
- Bi-directional stride
Under-desk elliptical trainers are the best for people living a sedentary lifestyle and the best for traveling due to their compact size. This product is one of the best under desk cross trainers and our top choice for this category.
In reality, the resistance is not as difficult in this DeskCycle Ellipse under Desk Elliptical as other elliptical styles. Though it has 8-levels resistance to challenge you, however, it is not as effective in burning calories as the upright/standing elliptical machines.
As expected, the size is small that it can fit under your working desk. This makes it a good choice not for only the home use alone but office use. It is more recommended for those who work more sitting or for elders who mostly stay at home or people who are a little constrained indoor due to one reason or the other.
DeskCycle Ellipse under Desk Elliptical has fairly large pedals to accommodate the feet comfortably. Its small LCD screen also tracks data like revolutions, RPM, time, and calories burned. it can count up to 100,000 revolutions per session.
This is our top choice for under desk elliptical trainer. It is not only compact making it usable everywhere but it operates quietly without disturbing people around. It is a good choice for home and office use.
- Elliptical and Stepper combo
- Weight Capacity: 250 pounds
- Dimensions: 42L x 24W x 62H inches
- Resistance level: 8
- Easy-to-read LCD Monitor
Buying this cardio exercise machine will give you a combination of steeper and elliptical equipment in just one machine. It is one of the best elliptical trainers you should consider for low-impact exercise.
Body Power 2-in-1 Elliptical Stepper Trainer is compact in size, making it a good choice for people with small apartments. It is also a good fit for petite people weighing 250 pounds or less.
Many previous users find it hard to put it together; therefore, it tends to take more hours to assemble the machine especially when you are not a handyman.
The Body Power 2-in-1 Elliptical Stepper Trainer weighs only 92 pounds and may wobble when you move too fast on it. We actually do not recommend it for heavy users.
Overall, it’s a good buy for the money as it comes at a very affordable price. The stride length is short and may not be suitable for tall individuals with 6ft and above height.
- Max Weight Limit: 330 pounds
- Variable Resistance: 8 levels
- Upright Elliptical Trainer
- Flywheel Weight: 12 pounds
- Stride Length: 13 inches
- Easy-to-read LCD Monitor
It is one of the few compact heavy-duty elliptical machines you will probably find in your search. This is a strong, durable, and sturdy and yet compact cross trainer we recommend.
Aceshin Elliptical Machine Trainer comes at a very affordable price that the quality it possesses is totally unbelievable for the price. It is strong, sturdy, and more suitable for home use.
It has a weight limit of 330 pounds that makes it a suitable cardio machine for big folks. The silent operation is also a plus; you can exercise even right next to a sleeping person without disturbing them.
The Aceshin Elliptical Machine Trainer gives a full-body workout, its arms also house pulse sensors to easily monitor your heart rate. Its LCD monitor records data like distance, calories burned, time, speed, scan, and target zone heart rate monitoring.
Overall, it is a good product especially if you do not need something too heavy or big. It will be more suitable for a light workout.
- Max Weight Capacity: NA
- Resistance Level: 8
- Weight of Product: 24.2 pounds
- Dimensions: 24L x 19W x 11H inches
- 7-inch stride length
This is another under desk cross trainer and one of the best under desk elliptical machines. It is also a smooth elliptical with a sturdy appearance and very effective to keep the user active all day.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Underdesk Elliptical Machine is a low profile that will fit under the desk at work or home. It has a 7-inch stride length that moves smoothly with its integrated wheels.
Its non-slip pedals are also wide to accommodate the feet comfortably without creating any discomfort. The small digital screen also records workout data like speed, time, calories, and distance.
Also, Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Underdesk Elliptical Machine comes fully assembled removing the stress of putting the machine together. It is one of the best under desk cross trainers and we recommend it.
- Max Weight Limit: 250 pounds
- Adjustable seat
- 8 levels of resistance
- Built-in transport wheels
This exercise machine is not too robust or sturdy to be considered by heavy users, therefore, it should not be treated like the expensive elliptical. However, it is a good product that combines both elliptical and stationary bike in one product and one of the best for cardio.
While checking out the exercise machine, we discover that Body Rider Elliptical Trainer and Exercise Bike might be very unstable for users with a heavyweight. Though it has a weight capacity of 250 pounds, we, however, recommend it for folks with lesser weight.
The elliptical bike is recommended for petite people who need to buy a backup cardio machine. It is compact in size and will not take much space around the home and it also has wheels that make it easier to move around for easy storage.
Body Rider Elliptical Trainer and Exercise Bike also come with a digital LCD monitor that displays fairly accurate workout data like speed, workout duration, and calories burned. Also, the seat is adjustable to perfectly fit your height and resistance to your fitness level.
Overall, it is a good product for the price. We recommend a more expensive cross-training machine over this, especially for heavyweight users. However, it can be a good selection for backup purposes or those who do not exercise daily.
- Max Weight Capacity: 280 pounds
- Variable Resistance: 8 levels
- Bi-directional pedal movement
This is also one of the most compact standing elliptical you should consider adding to your gym to keep you active and help your cardiovascular health. It is one of the best elliptical trainers we found during our search and we recommend it.
Afully E209 Elliptical Machine is very easy to use and set up. It does not require any special tools and all the instructions to setup are provided in the package to make your work easier.
It is not a great product for heavyweight folks due to its weight capacity of 280 pounds. However, it is a stable piece of gym equipment if the weight capacity is right for you.
Furthermore, the quiet operation of the Afully E209 Elliptical Machine makes it even more suitable for home use. The pedals are non-slip 13 inches and that ensures comfort and ease of usage.
It has an LCD monitor that displays your workout data. Your tab/phone can also be held in place on its holder for a better workout session. Its resistance can also be adjusted to your fitness level making it easier to challenge your body more.
How to Choose the Right Elliptical Machine
Here are some factors to consider when selecting the best elliptical machines either for home use or commercial gym:
When selecting a cross trainer, it is essential to check the flywheel weight because the stability of the machine depends on this.
If the flywheel is too light, the elliptical machine becomes really unstable when you pedal. Also, the higher the flywheel, the higher the resistance you will most likely encounter in the cross-trainer.
Furthermore, a heavier flywheel will offer a better and more comfortable pedal fluidity. With a lightweight flywheel, you will reach your desired speed with very little resistance which might not be a good one for effectiveness.
A flywheel with 7-10 kg weight is considered to be lightweight.
Resistance Type and Level
Selecting an elliptical machine with a wide resistance level range is most perfect because you can easily adjust the difficulty to your fitness level. Beginners can start from the least level and work their fitness upward.
There are two resistance types: Magnetic and Fan wheel. Magnetic resistance type is more common, very quiet for home use. Fan wheels are employed in less expensive cross trainers and it also provides a smooth ride.
This will determine the pedaling comfort because it determines the amplitude of the movement of the legs. It is vital that the legs are not too limited when pedaling. A stride length of about 40 cm is considered to be normal. Getting a longer stride is actually cool as it gives you the allowance to stretch your legs more. A lesser stride length is not recommended, it can be limiting.
The body Weight (Weight Capacity) and Height of the User
How big the user is can be a factor to consider before selecting a cross-trainer. Also, your height will determine which elliptical machine you go for. If your body is big, selecting a small or compact elliptical may not be suitable. Most equipment has its recommended weight and height of the user, it is vital you note this before selecting the machine.
Weight of Elliptical Machine
The weight of the elliptical machine will most likely be determined by the flywheel weight. Generally, heavyweight elliptical machines are most likely more stable, so, we always advise you to go for a heavy cross trainer while selecting the best elliptical machines for home use.
It is essential you are able to track your workout data to monitor your progress. Some consoles have Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to sync them with fitness apps while some do not have it. Your preference matters in selecting. However, a good elliptical machine should have a basic LCD monitor to track your fitness.
Type of Elliptical Machines
Just like exercise bikes, cross trainers are made differently but generally categorized into three:
- Upright Cross Trainers: You stand uprightly pedaling this elliptical. They are the most common and very effective for beginners and experts.
- Recumbent Elliptical Machines: They have large seats, padded to give the best comfort to the user. It is most recommended for the elderly, seniors, or people dealing with excruciating back pain.
- Under Desk Elliptical Machines: They are compact in size and can be placed under the desk to exercise the legs as you work. These cross trainers are more recommended for people living a sedentary lifestyle to keep them active always.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are home ellipticals worth it? Why you need an Elliptical Machine at Home
There are many benefits of using an elliptical machine as stated above. From boosting cardio, easier on joints to preventing injuries, and helping the overall fitness of the body. Furthermore, having this machine at home can be rewarding as you can easily make use of it anytime of the day. Many works from home from morning till evening without having the time to visit a commercial gym, having the piece of equipment right in your home gives you access to exercise your body and stay fit.
Do ellipticals help lose belly fat?
There is no exercise that actually targets the belly fat. If you want to lose belly fat, you need to focus on losing fat in your body as a whole and that will include belly fat. Therefore, elliptical machines will sure help you lose fat and as a result lose belly fat.
Can I do elliptical every day?
30 minutes elliptical everyday should be enough. You however need to study your body and not push it too far especially when you are not ready for a particular workout intensity as too much everything will always have negative effects.
We however recommend you take at least a day rest of the 7 days in a week for elliptical training.
Is elliptical better than running?
Running especially outdoor can put your ankle, knee and other parts at a risk of injury. Outdoor surfaces provide different terrains to the individual which make you more prone to injury unlike elliptical.
The best elliptical machine for home use is vital for fitness of most people. Times are changing and we stay at home more. We are busy and cannot visit our favorite commercial gym again and we need to stay perfectly fit.
Cross trainers are great for cardiovascular health, when done correctly will increase the heartbeat rate and thereby strengthen the heart for better cardio health.
My team and I checked many elliptical machines available and we select the top products you should consider. This article should educate you about what to look out for when selecting the best elliptical machines.
We are optimistic that this article will be the answer to your questions and help you in your selection process to get the best value for your money.