The 3 Pillars of Health: Fitness, Food, Sleep

5 Best Elliptical Machines for Your Home (A 2018 Review)

5 Best Elliptical Machines for Your Home (A 2018 Review)

You may want to lose weight, but does the thought of running on the street or on a treadmill make you cringe? If you’re not a runner, you may be looking for low-impact ways to burn calories at home. On the other hand, if you are a runner, you may need indoor cardio equipment for the wintertime or just to diversify your cardiovascular workout. An elliptical machine may be just what you need! In this article, we will discuss the best ellipticals for home use.

What are the benefits of an elliptical machine?

Woman Using Elliptical For FitnessEllipticals are great for a variety of reasons. These machines have been widely used for many years in the fitness world. They have the ability to create a calorie burn without harmful wear and tear on the joints. In fact, finding low-impact exercises is beneficial to your cardiovascular health.

In one study, researchers found a correlation between ankle stiffness and risk for a cardiovascular event. While it may be easier said than done, it’s important to choose exercises that allow you to lose weight, increase cardiovascular endurance, and do not harm your body!

Ellipticals are highly versatile and come with a variety of resistance levels, incline, and stride length. Most can operate in a backward or forward motion. This can help you exercise different muscle groups. Also, ellipticals are used as corrective treatments for those with incorrect or compromised gaits (i.e. from injury) (1).

As you can imagine, ellipticals are often the go-to for clinical research. They are also great ways for beginners to start exercising. Due to an elliptical’s low impact and adjustable settings, even people with chronic diseases like diabetes can safely exercise on these machines. In terms of fitness goals, we often think about ellipticals for their calorie burn during cardiovascular exercise. Research shows, however, that ellipticals can actually be viable tools for gaining muscle strength (2).

Which elliptical is best for me?

We took a look at the best elliptical machines on the market today. From our research, we created our Fitnessator’s “Top Picks” list. Along with looking into the research behind ellipticals, we also compiled some helpful elliptical machine reviews from customers. These reviews can help you determine which product is best suited for you.

If you don’t have time to read everything, skip to “The Rundown” section. There you’ll find some quick facts about the best ellipticals of 2018. Also, we have included some tips to enhance your workout on these machines. These tips will help you quickly and efficiently reach your fitness goals. 

Fitnessator’s Top Pick

470 Elliptical Machine by Schwinn

470 Elliptical Machine by SchwinnWhy We Love It:

The Schwinn elliptical earned the “Fitnessator’s Top Pick” for its moderate price and its 4 out of 5 star customer review rating. It is also an Amazon Choice product and the #1 best seller in ellipticals. 

The Research:

There has been long-standing research that indicates both aerobic and resistance training are essential for health and reaching our fitness goals. Aerobic, or cardiovascular exercise, helps to reduce visceral fat (3). Strength training, on the other hand, is mostly beneficial for preventing weight gain in the abdominal region, particularly in men. It is essential that we find exercises and equipment that help us get both aerobic and strength training workouts. Luckily, elliptical exercise machines like the Schwinn can help us do just that!

Details:
  • Compatible with the Schwinn Trainer app via Bluetooth
  • Contains 29 built-in programs
  • Contains 25 resistance levels for all fitness and strength needs
  • Total product weight is 186 lbs. Dimensions: 50in x 21.5in x 33.5in
  • Amazon.com Price: $799 + FREE Shipping (+ $0 for expert assembly)
Things to Consider:

Even though this elliptical is a best seller and moderately priced for this type of product, it is still quite the investment. This is one of the best ellipticals under $1000. However, this still may be out of many consumers’ price range. Despite the retail price, this elliptical currently does not have an installation fee, so all you are paying for is the product itself.

Customer Reviews:

As usual, we looked around for some Schwinn elliptical reviews. Per customers who love the Schwinn elliptical, setup is extremely simple. Also, this elliptical is a smooth ride with several features for convenience like a fan and specific holders for different electronic devices.

On the other hand, one customer complained that the Schwinn elliptical is “poorly constructed.” Specifically, the handlebars are narrow and may bump the exerciser’s chest. Additionally, customers complain about the short stride on this particular product and being unable to reach their full range of motion. According to one customer, even the electronics on this elliptical are too confusing to figure out, but this may not be the case for everyone.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

If you are someone who can afford this product, this may be the best for you. It is a high-quality, highly rated machine that is moderately priced compared to other models. It also offers a wide variety of programs and resistance settings. This Schwinn model can accommodate people of various fitness levels. With the ability to connect to the Schwinn Trainer app, users can find more support and workout ideas to continue their fitness progress. This is a well-rounded, reasonably priced elliptical machine for home.

Fitnessator’s Runner Up

430 Elliptical Machine by Schwinn

430 Elliptical Machine by SchwinnWhy We Love It:

This elliptical is also manufactured by Schwinn. It earned the “Fitnessator’s Runner Up” due to various programs and the ability to adjust to all fitness needs. Furthermore, it received 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. The 430 Schwinn has over 800 customer reviews, which can help you determine if this product is really the best option for you.

Details:
  • Contains 22 built-in programs
  • Contains 20 resistance levels for all fitness and strength needs
  • Allows for progress data to be stored on the machine and the ability to export your training data
  • Total product weight is 182 lbs. Dimensions: 70in x 28in x 71in
  • Amazon.com Price: $815.00 + FREE Shipping
Things to Consider:

The 430 Shwinn is even pricier than our Fitnessator’s Top Pick. Keep in mind however, some of these ellipticals can be well over $1000. So, even this product is not the most expensive model. While it is a durable product, it has less programs and resistance levels than the top pick Schwinn model.

Customer Reviews:

As you would with any product, you may wonder if the higher price is really worth it. Some customers believe in the value of this product. According to these customers, the 430 Schwinn has all the “bells and whistles” such as speakers, electronic device holders, and a heart rate monitor. Not surprisingly, one customer found this elliptical to be comparable to what they found at their local gym.

Contrary to the reviews mentioned above, some customers stated that they experienced mechanical issues. While mechanical issues can happen with any machine, one customer experienced a dangerous incident with this elliptical. Per that customer, one handlebar snapped off during use, causing him to fall off the machine. Besides mechanical issues, some customers believe that the elliptical’s calorie burn recordings are inaccurate.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

The 430 Schwinn is another one of the best elliptical machines for home use because of its versatility. It would be great in a home with several family members who all have differing strength and cardiovascular needs. All of its built-in levels and programs can suit teens to elders. Again, it is a higher-priced item, so some may not see the value to invest in such a product.

Fitnessator’s Honorable Mention

E35 Elliptical Machine by SOLE Fitness

E35 Elliptical Machine by SOLE FitnessWhy We Love It:

The E35 elliptical received 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. We included this product because it is a heavy-duty machine that can tolerate a lot of weight. It has several adjustable features where you can really personalize the machine to fit your specific shape and size. The pedals and rotational flywheel are oversized for safety, improved machine locomotion, and smoothness. This product has several ergonomic features. For example, the machine has multiple handle options and a 2-degree slope in the foot pedals for less stress on the ankles and knees.

Details:
  • Max user capacity is 375 lbs
  • Machine can incline up to 30 degrees for added gluteal strength training
  • Several wheels in addition to the large flywheel for added stability and smoothness
  • Total product weight is 215 lbs. Dimensions: 27in x 58in x 83in
  • Amazon.com Price: $1999 + FREE Shipping (+ $82.25 with expert assembly)
Things to Consider:

This is a larger and heavier piece of equipment compared to some of the other models. To some consumers, a heavier product is a good thing because it implies sturdiness and ability to hold someone of more weight. The E35 can hold a 375-lb user. For others, heavy products mean more stress and inability to maneuver the machine around when needed. It’s up to you to decide how large of an elliptical will fit your lifestyle and home.

Customer Reviews:

According to one customer, this elliptical is a game changer. Specifically, this elliptical is smooth, has diverse programs, personalized programs, and is just as good as any commercial elliptical at the gym. Also, this elliptical was deemed very sturdy, even for those near the max weight limit. In the long-run, this elliptical withstands the test of time. Per one customer, she has had the same E35 elliptical for 3 years without issue.

On the contrary, one customer did not find this product nearly as valuable. After 5 or 6 months, the customer stopped using the elliptical due to numbing in the feet during exercise on the machine. While you may think that this could be an isolated issue, this same customer stated that he never had experienced this numbing on other machines.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

The E35 has the highest max capacity weight compared to the other products on this list. It is also the most expensive in our top picks, so it may only be feasible for a few. Despite its drawbacks, this product has several features that make it adjustable for every user (i.e. various handlebars, adjustable handle bars, adjustable foot pedals). According to other elliptical reviews, this is also one of the smoothest and best elliptical machines for home use. If you are looking for a durable, smooth, and highly customizable machine, this product may be best for you.

Best Elliptical for Your Desk

Pro Under Desk Elliptical by Cubii

Pro Under Desk Elliptical by CubiiWhy We Love It:

The Cubii elliptical is the best home elliptical for those who like to sit when working out (or those who work from home and like to multitask). This elliptical received 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com. As you can see, the Cubii is unique in that it fits under a desk and can be used while sitting.

Details:
  • Small footprint allows the user to burn calories while working at a desk or sitting by the TV
  • Offers Bluetooth connectivity to an app to track your progress (you can burn calories without even knowing it)
  • Offers 8 resistance levels
  • Total product weight is 27 lbs. Dimensions: 23in x 11in x 9in
  • Amazon.com Price: $349 + FREE Shipping
Things to Consider:

The Cubii mini elliptical may not be suitable for everyone and may not allow some users to reach their full potential during a workout. Make sure you consider if you will actually use this product while you are working at your desk. Not everyone can effectively multitask!

Customer Reviews:

We anticipated a good customer response with this under-the-desk mini elliptical. According to happy customers, the Cubii is a great tool to increase physical activity during the day. Per one customer, they stated that the Cubii was the key to amplifying their efforts towards weight loss.

Some customers had high hopes for this product, but they ended up disappointed. First off, customers complained that the Cubii elliptical was made of cheap material despite paying $350 for the machine. Additionally, some customers experienced malfunctions in the mechanics of the machine. Even after a replacement, some customers experienced issues with the machine not turning on.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

There are several instances where this mini elliptical would be beneficial. If you are elderly, injured, or cannot stand for a long period of time, this product can help you exercise while sitting. Other ellipticals on this list cannot do so. Also, if you are capable of consistently using the machine while working at a desk or watching TV, this is a great way to burn more calories while getting things done. Burning additional calories each day from this machine may be what is necessary to reach your goals. If you are not great at multitasking, however, do not purchase this product and consider the stand-up ellipticals so that you can focus on your workout.

Best Elliptical for Under $100

SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer Elliptical Machine by Sunny Health & Fitness

SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer Elliptical Machine by Sunny Health & FitnessWhy We Love It:

If you’re looking for a cheap elliptical for sale, this is your best option! This budget-friendly elliptical received 4 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com. Also, it is an Amazon Choice product. With over 700 customer reviews, you can get a good picture of the consumer experience with this product. As you can probably tell, this is a no-frills elliptical that can still help you lose weight.

Details:
  • Foldable to half its length when not in use
  • Simple, easy-to-use design
  • Stride length on this machine is 30in
  • Total product weight is 28 lbs. Dimensions: 28in x 17in x 57in
  • Amazon.com Price: $83.41 + FREE Shipping (+ $82.25 with expert assembly)
Things to Consider:

The Air Walk Trainer has a maximum weight capacity of 220 lbs. Many people may be over this weight limit. This product does not have any way to adjust the resistance, which is needed for strength training.

Customer Reviews:

Does the cheap price make this a bad product? According to customer reviews, there are many positive qualities of the Air Walk Trainer. Just as other customers, you may be concerned that this product will not push you to the fullest. Per those who have purchased the product, however, the Air Walk Trainer provides a challenging workout. If you have bad knees or a bad back, it’s important to note that customers with joint conditions found this product comfortable to use.

On the other hand, there were some customers who were unhappy with this cheap elliptical. According to their reports, the elliptical did not offer a great workout. If you are stronger than average, perhaps consider a different elliptical that can challenge you.

Who Should Purchase This Product:

The Air Walk Trainer is lightweight, smaller, and cheaper than our Fitnessator Top Pick. If you need a compact machine for a small home, you should consider purchasing this product over some of the others on this list. Likewise, if you are on a budget, this cheap elliptical machine for under $100 may be a great way to start getting cardio at home.

One thing to keep in mind: This product does not have resistance settings, so you will primarily be getting a cardiovascular workout instead of a strength workout. If building strength is also one of your fitness goals, consider an elliptical that has various resistance levels. Remember: The Air Walk Trainer can only hold 220 lbs. Don’t make the mistake of purchasing this product if you weigh more than that.

The Rundown on Ellipticals for Your Home

Here is a quick way to compare all the products we reviewed in this article. Hopefully by using this list, you can find the best elliptical for your needs.

Product Less than $100 Less than $1000 Strength + Cardio Training Can hold users over 250 lbs
470 Elliptical (Top Pick) X X X
430 Elliptical (Runner Up) X X X
E35 Elliptical (Honorable Mention) X X
Under Desk Elliptical X X N/A
SF-E902 Air Walk X X

 

Sample Workout: Elliptical

Now that you can better determine which elliptical is the best fit for you and your lifestyle, here’s a sample workout to try. This 30-minute workout aims to enhance your regular elliptical routine:

Active body part used to move the machine Direction Timer on Machine Resistance levels (increase from any starting resistance)
Warm up Forward 00:00 to 03:00 Starting resistance
Legs only Forward 03:00 to 05:00 +2 levels from start
Pull with hands only Forward 05:00 to 09:00 +4 levels from start
Legs only Backward 09:00 to 14:00 +6 levels from start
Push with hands only Forward 14:00 to 18:00 +6 levels from start
Legs only Backward 18:00 to 23:00 +8 levels from start
Pull with hands only Forward 23:00 to 27:00 +4 levels from start
Cool down Forward 27:00 to 30:00 0 to +2 levels from start

Before you Purchase

Ellipticals are generally great for both beginners and elite athletes since they offer low impact cardio and strength training workouts. Regardless, you should always first consult your doctor before using exercise equipment. Use the rundown above and the list of products we reviewed in this article to determine which elliptical is best suited for you.

What type of cardio equipment do you prefer? Elliptical? Treadmill? Stationary bike? If you’ve got some advice, let us know in the comments.

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