Best Home Ellipticals in 2024: Tested and Reviewed – CNET

Tech News

Products You May Like

Updated Jan. 20, 2024 12:00 p.m. PT

giselle-c.png
lindsay-boyers
Written by 
Giselle Castro-Sloboda



Lindsay Boyers

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Reviews ethics statement
giselle-c.png

Giselle Castro-Sloboda Fitness and Nutrition Writer

I’m a Fitness & Nutrition writer for CNET who enjoys reviewing the latest fitness gadgets, testing out activewear and sneakers, as well as debunking wellness myths. On my spare time I enjoy cooking new recipes, going for a scenic run, hitting the weight room, or binge-watching many TV shows at once. I am a former personal trainer and still enjoy learning and brushing up on my training knowledge from time to time. I’ve had my wellness and lifestyle content published in various online publications such as: Women’s Health, Shape, Healthline, Popsugar and more.

Expertise Fitness and Wellness

lindsay-boyers

Lindsay Boyers CNET Contributor

Lindsay Boyers is a certified nutritionist and published book author who writes articles and product reviews for CNET’s health and wellness section. Her work also appears on mindbodygreen, Healthline, Verywell Health and The Spruce. When she’s not actively searching for the best products at the best prices, she’s most likely creating new recipes, reading in her hammock or trying to force her cats to love her.

CNET logo
Why You Can Trust CNET

16171819202122232425+

Years of Experience

14151617181920212223

Hands-on Product Reviewers

6,0007,0008,0009,00010,00011,00012,00013,00014,00015,000

Sq. Feet of Lab Space

Table of Contents

Top

$2,755 at Amazon

nordictrack commercial 14.9 elliptical

Best elliptical overall

NordicTrack Commercial 14.9


View details


View details

$1,112 at Amazon

schwinn 470 elliptical

Most comfortable elliptical

Schwinn 470


View details


View details

$929 at Amazon

teeter freestep lt3 recumbent cross-trainer and elliptical

Best elliptical for knee pain

Teeter FreeStep LT3 Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical


View details


View details

$2,000 at Walmart

proform carbon hiit h7

Best elliptical for smaller spaces

ProForm Carbon HIIT H7


View details


View details

$1,999 at Bowflex

bowflex max total 16 elliptical

Best elliptical to stream your favorite shows

Bowflex Max Total 16


View details


View details

$1,600 at Walmart

Nautilus E618

Most classic elliptical (currently out of stock)

Nautilus E618


View details


View details

Table of Contents

Top

Getting a proper cardio workout at home can be tricky, but a good elliptical will help you get there. If you want a full-body, low-impact workout at home, you should consider getting an elliptical. It’s also a great option for folks returning to exercise after an injury or those who want a workout that doesn’t involve a treadmill, stationary bike or rowing machine.

There are a ton of elliptical options out there that can help you achieve your health goals, including those from popular brands like Bowflex and Nautilus. We tested various elliptical machines to help you pick the right one for your space and lifestyle, factoring in comfort, functionality and price. Check out our list below. (If you’re new to ellipticals, we’ve provided some helpful tips to get you started. If you’re looking for more budget-friendly ellipticals, these are some of our favorites.)

Bowflex max total 16, Schwinn 470, Nautilus E618 elliptical exercise machines

These are our top picks of the best ellipticals on the market.

James Martin/CNET

Read more: 6 Best Peloton Alternatives: Great Indoor Exercise Bikes

What is the best elliptical overall?

Our top pick for best elliptical goes to the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9. Not only does it provide a smooth ride, it’s also one of the most technologically advanced models. Its standout features include a hands-free auto-adjust function that changes the incline and resistance during an iFit class, something other ellipticals lack. The commercial size can pose a challenge if you don’t have a lot of room, but it’s the best option if you’re looking for an elliptical of the same caliber as the ones you’ll find at your local gym — if not better.

Best ellipticals of 2024

Show less

If you can find it, the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 really has it all — adjustable stride length, a 14-inch color touchscreen, oversized cushioned pedals, auto-adjustment capabilities and Bluetooth connectivity. At 32 pounds, this elliptical machine also has one of the heaviest flywheels on the market. When you combine that with magnetic resistance, the end result is an impressively quiet machine with smooth movement.

One thing that makes this machine stand out is that it’s fully integrated with iFit, an immersive training experience that gives you access to elite personal trainers and structured, guided workouts to help you achieve your fitness goal. When you choose a workout through iFit, you’re taken through a simulated workout that automatically adjusts both incline and resistance on your machine as you go. You get one month of the iFit family membership for free with the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9, and then it’s $39 a month. You also have the option to skip iFit and run the machine manually, but the iFit experience takes this elliptical trainer machine from good to great.

The only real negative of this fitness equipment is that it’s big. Because this machine was technically designed for commercial use, it takes up a lot of space in a home gym, both horizontally and vertically. If you like all of the features of the 14.9 but want something that’s just a little bit smaller (and a little bit less expensive), the NordicTrack Commercial 12.9 is almost the same thing — it does have a smaller screen and a lighter flywheel — in a more compact size.

Show expert take Show less

The Schwinn 470 is a comfortable yet intuitive elliptical. This was one of the easier machines to assemble on our own because the manual provided clear instructions with illustrations. The design on this machine is also less bulky than expected, although it’s larger than the Schwinn 411 (the Schwinn elliptical we previously recommended). 

When in use, the machine is sturdy and doesn’t wobble, which indicates that it can support people of different weights and heights. The pedals have large footplates and are smooth and comfortable with each stride. This machine’s stride length is 20 inches, so it should be suitable for people over 6 feet tall. The pedaling was quiet, which isn’t always the case when it comes to exercise equipment. The digital monitor is outdated and has a simple display like most elliptical machines. It only uses letters and numbers and can be difficult to read due to the blue light background.

Despite not having a more modern design, the Schwinn 470 makes up for it by offering 25 levels of resistance, 29 workout programs and the option to set up a profile for up to four family members. Even though this machine doesn’t have Wi-Fi, it does have Bluetooth and lets you connect to your favorite apps such as MyFitnessPal, Apple Health and MapMyRun/Ride.

Show expert take Show less

While ellipticals are one of the lowest-impact cardio machines, they can still be too much for anyone with joint pain, healing injuries or mobility issues. That’s where the Teeter FreeStep LT3 Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical comes in. Similar to a recumbent bike, because of its reclined and seated position, the Teeter FreeStep eliminates stress on your joints and takes the load off your back, so you can get a great workout without too much stress on the body.

In addition to being easy on the joints, this elliptical cross machine is also simple to use. The console is the most straightforward of the bunch, so you don’t need to be tech-savvy to get it going. It has one button you can press to toggle between time, distance, speed and calories. An adjustable knob right under the seat can be used to change your sitting position, and you can move the angle of the seat for a more customized position.

One warning: Because you’re sitting back instead of standing up, it’s tempting to lean back and give the minimal effort required to check “work out” off your to-do list, but if you stay mindful of that and keep the adjustable resistance as high as you can, you’ll get a great workout with almost zero impact.

Show expert take Show less

Unlike other ellipticals that can take up a lot of space in your home gym, the ProForm Carbon HIIT H7 has a vertical design that makes this elliptical better suited for smaller spaces. It is more reminiscent of a stair climber than a traditional elliptical.

The 10-inch vertical and 5-inch horizontal elliptical path was intentionally combined to give you a better workout intensity and calorie burn. The strides help you feel the movement more in your glutes and hamstrings, similar to the way a stair climber functions. Another thing that makes this ProForm elliptical machine stand out: It’s quiet. That’s because it uses silent magnetic resistance (SMR), a trademarked form of resistance that is smoother and quieter compared with air resistance used in other machines. It was also stable, without any rocking or shaking, even at high speeds.

This machine comes equipped with iFit, offering the option to be guided through your workout by a professional. The 7-inch HD touchscreen on the console made the iFit experience hyper-realistic and easy to navigate. One downside of the ProForm Carbon HIIT H7 was that there was no place to put a tablet. This isn’t a big deal, especially if you’re using iFit, but it would be a nice touch for those who have other fitness memberships. We also didn’t like the fact that there’s no power button. The manual says the machine has auto shut-off, but it never kicked in. We had to unplug it to turn it off — inconvenient for a high-end machine.

Show expert take Show less

The Bowflex Max Total 16 is the only elliptical on the list with all the bells and whistles. We previously recommended its predecessor, the Bowflex Max M9, and this is a slightly improved version. The machine is sturdy and still has the same stepper motion as the Bowflex Max M9, though it requires a little breaking in at first. The handlebars on the Bowflex Max Total 16 have six grips instead of the original four, making it easier to change hand positioning. The resistance dial is still conveniently placed in the center and has over 20 resistance levels.

Compared with the Bowflex Max M9, the touchscreen is bigger, measuring 16 inches instead of 10 inches. It’s still Bluetooth compatible, so you can connect your heart rate band or other compatible device, and it requires a Wi-Fi connection as well as a membership with the Bowflex program, JRNY. The good thing is you’ll get a free year of JRNY, so you can take full advantage of the elliptical. After your trial is over, it’s $149 for the year or $20 a month. 

Another great feature is that you can personalize your fitness experience through real-time coaching that automatically adjusts the intensity of your workouts as you get stronger. You can also connect to your favorite streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Max, Disney Plus and more. This is a nice option for when you just want to binge your favorite show and get a quick workout in.

If the Bowflex Max Total 16’s price is a bit steep for your taste, the Bowflex Max M9 is still a good pick since you get most of the same features for at least $500 less.

Show expert take Show less

If you want an elliptical that reminds you of the classic ones you find in the gym, then you’ll like the Nautilus E618. This machine offers a smooth ride, and the footplate uses a suspension-adjust performance-cushioning system, which lets you adjust the angle from 0 to 10 degrees for customized heel support. The stride rails are also designed to create a balanced, stable experience. Assembling this machine took longer than expected, so we recommend purchasing the in-home assembly option or having someone assist you if you plan on putting this machine together yourself. During testing, the stride felt natural and effortless. It was mostly quiet with the exception of a couple of squeaks here and there. 

This elliptical can hold up to 350 pounds, which makes it versatile for people of different weights and heights. Although the interface looks like a standard elliptical, it offers 29 different training programs that you can follow. If you want a change of scenery, you can download the Nautilus Explore the World app, which lets you exercise virtually in 19 different locations. You have the option to sign up for $10 a month or $60 for the year, and you can cancel your subscription at any time. The machine can be paired with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, so you can save and share your fitness journey. 

The multi-position handlebars are also a nice touch because you can control the incline and resistance with the click of a button, and you have the option of different hand grips. Similar to the Schwinn 470, the Nautilus E618 has a blue display screen that appears outdated. This isn’t a big deal if all you’re looking for is a dependable, durable elliptical that lets you use it as a standalone device.

Show expert take Show less

Cubii Total Body: Smart Seated Elliptical: I had a pleasant experience using this mini elliptical and could see it being handy for those recovering from an injury, the elderly or users with certain physical limitations. It’s not heavy, and it’s easy to move around on its wheels. I broke a sweat, which I didn’t expect from a low-impact workout you can do while sitting down. It also included resistance handles so you can work the upper body. The reason it didn’t make our list is that it’s a newer version that was sold out on Indiegogo, but there are older versions on the Cubii website if you want to get a similar experience. This mini elliptical is one of many on the market and would make a good candidate for a future mini elliptical best list. 

We understand that buying an elliptical is an investment, and we narrowed it down to these important factors to make our picks. 

Price: We tried to include ellipticals of various prices to fit your budget.

Functionality: An elliptical has one fluid motion, but there are different designs, including standing or sitting options. We also observed how easy the machine was to use once it was set up.

Comfort: Besides ease of use and functionality, we looked at how comfortable it was to use the machine according to stride and user experience.

Features: Some ellipticals have improved the technology on their consoles, so we looked at how that adds to the user experience.

Ellipticals are quite an investment, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting the right machine for you.

First, measure your space and pay attention to dimensions while shopping. Some ellipticals are much bulkier than others or may take up more visual space since they’re relatively tall. They tend not to fold away easily like some other types of workout equipment.

Next, consider what type of features you want in an elliptical. Do you want a sitting or standing model? Do you want to track your workout data, watch TV or stream immersive fitness classes through your machine, or would you be happy with a simpler set-up? Higher-end machines tend to be more customizable and come with touchscreens and wireless connections.

Lastly, think about the delivery process and whether you’re comfortable setting up your new elliptical on your own. Some brands offer white-glove service included in the price. You’ll also want to double-check the refund and warranty policy.

Ellipticals and treadmills are two of the most popular machines for cardio. They can both be used for high- or low-intensity workouts. They have some key differences that may make them better suited for different things.

Treadmills are used for walking, jogging or running only. These are relatively high-impact workouts, so they can take a toll on sensitive joints over time, but they have the benefit of building bone density. Treadmills are simple and intuitive to use, and there are folding models that are easy to tuck out of sight. They’re ideal if you’re training for a race, want an alternative to outdoor walks or runs, prefer a hands-free workout, or want a machine you can fold away or tuck under furniture.

Ellipticals use both your arms and legs, meaning they work more muscle groups than treadmills. They can require a bit of a learning curve to get comfortable using. They’re low-impact machines that are easy on the joints. They tend not to fold away as easily. They’re ideal if you want a gentle but still robust cardio workout, or want to work out your whole body at once.

Are home ellipticals worth it?

Whether having an elliptical machine at home is worth it depends on a few factors. If you’re looking for a low-impact exercise machine that provides a full-body workout, an elliptical is a great option. Weigh how often you expect to use it versus engaging in other types of exercise. 

Price is also a significant element. Elliptical machines can run in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, so make sure you consider the overall value of the purchase before you buy.

What muscles do ellipticals work?

Exercising on an elliptical machine can work a number of muscle areas, including the chest, back, biceps, triceps, core muscles, glutes and hamstrings, according to CNET’s sister site Healthline. Ellipticals offer a low-impact alternative to running while still providing a full-body workout. 

How many calories do you burn on an elliptical?

How many calories you burn on an elliptical will vary depending on your weight and the intensity and duration of the workout. According to Harvard, 30 minutes of exercise on an elliptical can burn an average of 270 calories for a 125-pound person, 324 calories for a 155-pound person and 378 calories for a 185-pound person.

Is the elliptical good cardio?

The elliptical is a good cardio workout because it works your heart and lungs. It can be used for a steady-state workout or a high intensity interval training workout. As a result, it helps you build your endurance.

CNET writers Lindsay Boyers and Megan Wollerton also contributed to this story.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

iPhone 16 Leaks and Rumors July 2024: What We’ve Heard So Far
Tracking the EV battery factory construction boom across North America
Starlink vs. T-Mobile Home Internet: Speeds, Pricing and Availability
Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in Florida
Olympic Soccer 2024: How to Watch Football From Anywhere

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *