The Best Elliptical Machines for Home Use

Woman uses Nordic Elliptical trainer


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Elliptical machines give you the same cardiovascular exercise as conventional running, but without the high-impact strain on your joints. These machines are an excellent way to get in your daily workout while still being gentle on your body.

What Makes a Good Elliptical Machine?

  • Size: Elliptical machines tend to be pretty big. Many models can’t be tucked away easily, although some can even fit under your desk. If space is a concern, you’ll want to consider a model that fits in your available space. Remember the stride length of the legs can extend past the edges of the machine, so be sure to consider that when determining how much space is needed.
  • Orientation: Elliptical machines come in rear-drive, front-drive, and center-drive models. Rear-drive tends to be smaller but can vibrate and be louder than a longer model. Front-drive models are much quieter and sturdier, but they tend to be very long and take up the most space. Center-drive models are more compact, but the overall radius of the pedals is longer due to its more natural stride than the other types.
  • Technology: Modern elliptical machines are equipped with screens that display workout progress, intensity, and most have sensors in the handles or chest straps to measure your heart rate while you’re using the machine. Higher-end machines come with preset exercises and apps that track your progress, some of which allow you to make custom workouts.
  • Exercise intensity: Not all machines are made equal. Some of the cheaper and smaller models simply can’t provide enough resistance for an intense workout. A more sturdy and solid machine is required to perform more intense workouts without damaging the machine (or yourself).

The Best Overall: Schwinn 470

Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

Whether you’re training for a marathon or running your first mile, there’s one brand proven to help you Sch-WIN-n. The Schwinn 470 is the best elliptical trainer for most people. An incredibly sturdy machine, it’s a quiet, front-drive trainer that does a great job minimizing vibrations. You can adjust the incline and resistance with its easy-to-use buttons.

The Schwinn 470 has 25 magnetic resistance settings for intense workouts fine-tuned to your body. The computer on this model is also very advanced for its price with two backlit displays, multiple saved profiles, customizable workouts, and the ability to download your workout data to various phone apps. The handles have heart rate monitors built-in that show on the display and even a 3-speed fan to keep you cool while you work out. If you’re in the market for an elliptical machine, you can’t go wrong with the Schwinn 470.

The Best Choice

Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

Whether you’re training for a marathon or a mile, there’s one brand proven to help you Sch-WIN-n. The Schwinn 470 is the best elliptical trainer for most people.

The Best Premium Pick: NordicTrack C12.9

NordicTrack Commercial 12.9

If you’re looking for something more advanced—with all the bells and whistles of modern technology—check out the NordicTrack Commercial 12.9. This commercial-grade elliptical trainer is a top-of-the-line product that offers the most customizable workout experience. You can adjust the stride length and incline, and 26 levels of magnetic resistance allow you to mimic any street condition.

Run around real places all over the world with its 7-inch web-enabled touch screen display. The trainer has a pulse monitor in the grips, a Bluetooth-enabled wireless heart strap, and an iPod-compatible sound system. Just plug in and hit play while you watch an iFit trainer walk you through your workout. From feeling like you’re running on air to climbing up a steep hill, this elliptical trainer can do it all, making the NordicTrack C12.9 our premium pick.


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The Premium Pick


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NordicTrack NTEL71218 Commercial 12.9

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