You’ve transformed that spare bedroom into a boutique fitness studio. You haven’t just come to terms with it, you’re all-in. You’re outfitting the space with all the makings of a great home gym: adjustable dumbbells, kettlebells, and maybe even smart fitness equipment to replace machines. What you’re missing? Cardio equipment. If you’re not one for running and treadmills are out of the question, consider ellipticals.
Ellipticals are powerful yet oft overlooked. The machine gives you the cardio challenge of a treadmill or stair climber with lower impact on joints and the option to engage your arms for a full-body workout. Read on for our favorite ellipticals, from compact machines you can use while sitting in your desk chair to pro gym status trainers that will set you back a couple thousand dollars.
The Best Ellipticals for Home Gyms, Small Spaces, and All Budgets
1. Life Fitness Club Series+ Elliptical Cross-Trainer
Why Netflix and chill when you can Netflix and elliptical? But really though—with the SE3 HD Console you can integrate apps like Netflix, Pandora, RunSocial, and others, all while fitting in a great cardio session. (You can also take instructor-led classes from the Life Fitness On Demand App if you decide to give Schitt’s Creek a break while you work out.) Enjoy a natural-feeling stride while you torch calories using moving handles with multi-grip design for a total-body, low-impact workout.
[From $5,249; lifefitness.com]
2. Bowflex Max Trainer M9
Hybrid beast alert: This machine melds the low-impact glide of an elliptical with the high-intensity grind of a stair climber for HIIT workouts that burn. With a 10-inch HD touchscreen that integrates Bowflex’s JRNY platform (membership is required; $149 per year or $20 per month) for voice-coached individualized workouts, trainer-led workouts, integration with other fitness apps, and access to your streamer subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+. There’s never a dull moment aboard the Bowflex Max Trainer M9.
3. Sole E35 Elliptical
This quiet, powerful machine (hello, sleek steel frame) has 20 levels of resistance and incline levels to meet a variety of fitness levels and specific goals. It also features adjustable 15-inch pedals with a two-degree inward slope to keep your feet comfortable while imitating your natural stride and lessening impact on feet and knees. Use the built-in tablet holder to stream a show or listen to an audiobook while you sweat.
4. NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Trainer
Head to the hills of Greece or shores of Thailand on this machine that rolls the functionality of an elliptical, stepper, and treadmill into one by letting the user change their motion to mimic any of those three activities. As for that globetrotting? You’ll have access to that through iFit’s fitness platform, which has a dizzying array of instructor-led workouts from around the world, as well as studio sessions. Even better, this elliptical makes use of iFit’s terrain-matching technology, which enables iFit to adjust the resistance, incline, and decline automatically, letting you focus on your burn for a hands-free experience. And, yes, the tech is top-of-the-line with a 14-inch smart HD touchscreen and Bluetooth audio connectivity. FYI: The NordicTrack FS14i includes a one-year iFit family membership with four profiles, a $396 value.
5. ProForm Carbon E7
This elliptical features adjustable pedals along with a cushioned surface to keep you striding comfortably. Plus, you can work with 24 different resistance levels and crank the incline ramp up to 20 degrees. Like the FreeStride Trainer, this elliptical hooks up to iFit, and your trainers can control resistance from afar. Don’t worry, you can override them if you need a break to guzzle water or catch your breath. Need to move the elliptical out of the way? Transport wheels make moving a breeze. P.S. A one-year iFit membership is included with your purchase. You can look forward to off-machine workouts like yoga on the beaches of Hawaii, HIIT sessions at the studio, and guided meditation sessions, in addition to all the classes you take on the Carbon E7.
6. Horizon Fitness EX59 Elliptical
A steal at $650, this well-designed elliptical offers 10 levels of magnetic resistance, overlapping pedal rotation to mimic natural movement, and a tablet rack. It also has lower pedals if you’re in a room with a short ceiling. The console is pretty basic, certainly a plus if you prefer easy programming to fancy bells and whistles. However, the built-in Bluetooth speakers are a nice perk.
7. Stamina InMotion Compact Elliptical
No room to spare in your home gym setup? Opt for the Stamina InMotion with resistance tubes to amp up the burn and target various muscle groups like your biceps or shoulders while you stride. Use the adjustable tension knob to raise or lower the level of difficulty. For fitness data junkies—fear not—the console display lets you keep tabs on your distance, strides, time, and calories burned as you go. You can also use this space-saving elliptical sitting or standing.