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When the weather isn't ideal for jogging, and you're not in the mood for a HIIT session, an elliptical is a great way to get moving. In addition to getting your heart rate up, certified personal trainer Morgan Coleman says, "The elliptical can give you a full-body workout since you get resistance from the pedals at your feet and the handles you push with your arms," adding that this type of low-impact cardio machine is a good option for those with joint issues.
We’re giving top honors to the Schwinn Fitness 470, which is compact in design but doesn’t skimp on features, such as 25 resistance levels, 29 workout programs, and Bluetooth connectivity. If you’re seeking a budget-friendly option, you can count on the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 for a solid workout and sufficient calorie burn.
If you're tired of trekking to the gym and waiting around for an open elliptical, investing in an at-home model makes it easy to get in your daily cardio. When shopping around, consider what stats you want it to track (such as calories, distance, and strides), along with the weight capacity and overall dimensions to ensure it'll fit in your space.
Finding the right machine to suit your needs can be tough, so we scoured the internet, read through countless reviews, and tapped Coleman for her expert recommendations in order to compile a list of the top options out there. Our picks will allow you to get a low-impact yet solid cardio workout from the comfort of your own home.
Keep reading to check out the best home ellipticals for every budget.
Best Overall: Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine
Syncs with multiple apps
USB charging port
You really can't go wrong with the Schwinn 470. Measuring just 28 x 63 x 70 inches, Coleman says it's one of the best options for those short on space, and we'd have to agree. While this elliptical machine is conveniently compact, it doesn't skimp on features. It boasts 25 resistance levels, 29 workout programs, two fitness tests, and a backlit LCD screen that monitors 13 fitness stats for up to 12 users (just in case you have a Cheaper By the Dozen situation).
The Schwinn 470 also features Bluetooth connectivity and pairs with several apps, including Explore the World, MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, GoogleFit, and Apple Health. There's also a USB charging port, built-in acoustic chamber speakers, a place for your phone, and a water bottle holder. What's more, the foot motion technology and ergonomic handlebars keep you comfy and aligned while you get your sweat on.
Weight Capacity: 300 pounds | Dimensions: 28 x 63 x 70 inches | Stats Offered: Calories, number of workouts, progress, heart rate, time, speed, distance | Warranty: 10 years for frame, two years for parts
Best Budget: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical
Low weight capacity
If you're not ready to invest in a high-end model, the SF-E905 Cross Trainer is a solid choice. At 28 x 17 x 57 inches, this wallet-friendly elliptical machine is notably compact. It features a digital monitor, eight resistance levels, pulse sensors, non-slip foot pedals, and wheels for easy transport and storage.
While this elliptical doesn't have all the bells and whistles of its more expensive counterparts, you can count on a heart-pumping workout and sufficient calorie burn.
Weight Capacity: 220 pounds | Dimensions: 28 x 17 x 57 inches | Stats Offered: Time, speed, distance, calories, heart rate | Warranty: Three years for frame, 180 days for parts
Best Splurge: NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Trainer
Smart HD touchscreen
Requires monthly membership
"NordicTrack makes a very high-tech and comfortable elliptical that works well in a home gym," says Coleman. The FS14i FreeStride Trainer has a 14-inch smart touchscreen and a continuously expanding library of on-demand workouts. Plus, you get access to elite personal trainers, so you never get bored.
Though this top-tier machine requires a monthly membership, we like that you can add up to four user profiles. It also flaunts Bluetooth connectivity, two digitally amplified speakers, and magnetic resistance for near-silent operation (a pro if you like your neighbors).
Weight Capacity: 375 pounds | Dimensions: 59 x 30 x 74 inches | Stats Offered: Calories, activity, heart rate, distance, speed, strides, goals | Warranty: 10 years for frame, two years for parts
Best Mid-Range: Body-Solid Best Fitness BFCT1 Elliptical Cross Trainer
Low weight capacity
For a mid-range option, we're loving the Best Fitness BFCT1. This elliptical cross-trainer has a small LED screen, large foot pedals, transport wheels, and synchronized arms to engage your abs and upper body.
You can choose from eight resistance levels and track your time, speed, calories, and distance. The handles also have built-in pulse sensors to monitor your heart rate.
Weight Capacity: 225 pounds | Dimensions: 45 x 26 x 66 inches | Stats Offered: Time, distance, speed, calories, heart rate | Warranty: Five years for frame, one year for parts and electronics
Best Workouts: ProForm Carbon EL Elliptical with Adjustable Stride & Incline
Simulated outdoor workouts
With the ProForm Carbon EL, you can stream simulated outdoor workouts located all around the world and access thousands of on-demand sessions in the continuously growing library. Not only that, but the real-time trainer feature adjusts the resistance to match your intensity level.
To pump things up, you can elevate the incline or manually select a harder resistance level. We also like that this elliptical has Bluetooth connectivity, a tablet holder, an auxiliary port, and dual speakers.
Weight Capacity: 300 pounds | Dimensions: 69 x 25 x 68 inches | Stats Offered: Power output, distance, time, calories | Warranty: 10 years for frame, one year for parts
Best for Small Spaces: Bowflex M3 Max Trainer
Chest strap included
If you're working with limited square footage, your best bet is the Bowflex M3 Max Trainer. Measuring just 47 x 23 x 27 inches, it's small but mighty with lots of cool features.
This elliptical machine has a digital display and a user-friendly control panel, where you can select from eight resistance levels and various workout programs, plus a water bottle holder and a place for your tablet. It also comes with a chest strap for monitoring your heart rate.
Weight Capacity: 300 pounds | Dimensions: 47 x 23 x 27 inches | Stats Offered: Calories, speed, distance, heart rate | Warranty: One year
Best for Comfort: Sole E35 Elliptical
Foot pedals encourage natural running motion
Engineered with your comfort in mind, the Sole E35 has foot pedals designed by physical therapists to encourage a natural running motion. The design, according to the brand, helps eliminate any strain on your knees, hips, and ankles.
In addition to offering a comfy workout, this elliptical calls on a 25-pound flywheel to ensure a smooth, quiet ride. There are several pre-loaded programs to accommodate people of every fitness level, and thanks to the power incline, you can target lower-body muscles other machines miss.
Weight Capacity: 375 pounds | Dimensions: 27 x 58 x 83 inches | Stats Offered: Calories | Warranty: Two years for frame, five years for electronics, lifetime for frame
Best App-Based: Nautilus E618 Elliptical
Syncs to apps with Bluetooth connectivity
Padded handlebars have integrated resistance controls
We're also big fans of the Nautilus E618. It has Bluetooth connectivity and syncs with the free Explore the World mobile app—allowing you to stride through 27 routes in 19 locations around the globe.
This elliptical trainer also has a tilting console with two backlit screens, plus a high-inertia drive system that accelerates smoothly with a weighted flywheel. The adjustable padded handlebars have integrated resistance controls, so you can adjust your upper-body workout—a perk that sets it apart.
Weight Capacity: 350 pounds | Dimensions: 73 x 27 x 67 inches | Stats Offered: Calories, speed, time, heart rate | Warranty: Five years
Best Quiet: Niceday Elliptical Trainer
High weight capacity
If you want to work out super early in the morning or late at night without waking anyone up, go with the Niceday Elliptical. Thanks to the hyper-quiet magnetic drive system, virtually all noise has been eliminated from the mechanics—no easy feat.
This reasonably priced cross-trainer has a 16-pound flywheel with 16 resistance levels. We also appreciate the 400-pound weight capacity and almost unheard-of lifetime warranty.
Weight Capacity: 400 pounds | Dimensions: 62 x 48 x 25 inches | Stats Offered: Time, speed, distance, calories, heart rate | Warranty: Lifetime
Best for Low Ceilings: Horizon Fitness EX59 Elliptical
Rapid-charge USB port
Short on vertical space? Go with the EX59 Elliptical from Horizon Fitness, which has lower-than-average pedals to provide extra headroom for taller athletes and those with low ceilings.
The overlapping stride rotation makes for comfortable movements, and you can pump up or scale back your workouts with one of the 10 magnetic resistance levels. This elliptical machine also has Bluetooth speakers, a tablet rack, a rapid-charge USB port, and a water bottle holder.
Weight Capacity: 300 pounds | Dimensions: 74 x 25 x 65 inches | Stats Offered: Time, calories, distance, weight loss | Warranty: Lifetime for frame, one year for parts
Best Under-Desk: Cubii JR1 Under-Desk Elliptical
Non-slip mat included
Low weight capacity
With the Cubii JR1, you can get your strides in while typing emails and attending Zoom meetings. This under-desk elliptical machine is just 23 x 18 x 10 inches and comes with wheel stoppers, a non-slip mat, and batteries for the LCD.
The screen monitors your calorie burn, time, and distance, while the patented design ensures whisper-quiet operation. Though membership isn't required, you can get more from your workout with a subscription to the Cubii Studio+ app.
Weight Capacity: 250 pounds | Dimensions: 23 x 18 x 10 inches | Stats Offered: Calories, strides, distance | Warranty: One year
We recommend the Schwinn Fitness 470, a trainer-approved elliptical with lots of features and a small footprint. However, if you're on a budget, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 is an excellent choice. And for those open to splurging on a high-end machine, we suggest the NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride.
What to Look For in a Home Elliptical
Keep in mind that your elliptical will take up a fair amount of space and need room for the pedals to make full rotations, so keep the size of your machine (and the size of the area where you plan to place it) in mind as you shop.
Ellipticals can vary by intensity, so make sure that the lowest setting is easy for you to navigate but that the higher settings are enough of a challenge to provide room for you to grow.
Above all, your elliptical should be comfortable for you to use. Ensure you can stay in an upright position as you use your elliptical and that you can easily hold the moving hand grips. Your feet should feel secure, and the components of the machine shouldn’t interfere with your arms or legs as you’re on the elliptical path.
What are the benefits of using a home elliptical?
"An elliptical is a stationary cardio machine," explains Coleman. This means it gets your heart pumping by engaging your respiratory system, making you break a sweat, and burning calories in the easiest possible way.
Additionally, Coleman tells Byrdie, "Ellipticals can be highly beneficial to anyone with joint issues or who prefers a low-impact cardio experience, as they're non-weight-bearing."
How do you use a home elliptical?
First, step onto the pedals so that you're facing the screen and control panel. When you begin pedaling your legs forward in circular motions (similar to a bike, but in a standing position), the monitor should turn on. Then select the quick-start option and choose a pre-programmed workout or adjust the incline and resistance to customize the intensity.
In terms of proper form, Coleman says, "Staying upright while you use the machine makes you keep your core engaged." When you're finished, make sure it's completely stopped before getting off.
Are home ellipticals safe?
Modern home elliptical trainers are designed to minimize the risk of injury. And as mentioned above, they may be a better option than treadmills for those with joint issues.
With that said, it's important to use proper form, ensure the machine has fully stopped before getting off, and ask your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regimen. As with all mechanical workout equipment, you should also make sure no children are in the room while it's in use to prevent them from getting pinched or trapped within the moving parts.
Meet the Expert
Morgan Coleman, a certified personal trainer with an expertise in HIIT workouts.
Why Trust Byrdie
Theresa Holland is a former fitness trainer and freelance writer specializing in exercise, self-care, and lifestyle. For this story, she interviewed a licensed personal trainer for their product recommendations and expertise on buying and using a home elliptical machine. Before making her final selections, she researched the features and mechanics of ellipticals, referenced peer-reviewed articles, combed through product specs, and pored over reviews. Theresa covers fitness equipment, skincare, and makeup at Byrdie.
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Filipovic M, Munten S, Herzig KH, Gagnon DD. Maximal Fat Oxidation: Comparison between Treadmill, Elliptical and Rowing Exercises. J Sports Sci Med. 2021;20(1):170-178. Published 2021 Mar 1. doi:10.52082/jssm.2021.170
Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials. Treadmill or elliptical? how to decide what’s your best workout.