Best Elliptical Machines for Low-Impact Workouts

Last updated: April 16, 2020
BEST OVERALL
Bluetooth-enabled and App-Compatible
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BEST BUDGET
Adjustable, Space-Saving and Low-Cost
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BEST FOR HOME
Lightweight, Compact, Affordable and Convenient
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BEST PORTABLE
Sturdy, Lightweight, Affordable and Convenient
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BEST 2 IN 1
Versatile, Adjustable, Movable and Low-Cost
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Your guide

When evaluating the best elliptical machine that’s right for your needs, remember to take into account key considerations such as durability, functionality, maneuverability, exercise intensity, stride length and orientation.

Also, if space and/or budget is a concern for you, you may want to ensure that your chosen elliptical is portable and/or easy on your wallet. Finally, if you are looking to get more bang for your buck, consider purchasing a versatile model that can double as an elliptical machine and an exercise bike.

Top 5 Elliptical Machines to Boost Your Fitness with Low-Impact Workouts

If you are after an all-round trainer that enables you to simulate the motions of a variety of health-promoting activities and that doesn’t require you to put considerable strain on your joints at that, you are on the right track with your decision to buy an elliptical machine.

Also known as an elliptical trainer, an elliptical machine is designed for low-impact workouts to minimize the risk of impact injuries – perfect when you are looking to reclaim your fitness after an injury.

And while it remains gentle on your body, it can offer you a choice of incline and intensity settings to help you customize the difficulty level of your workout to your needs. So, you can choose to build your fitness with moderate exercises or push yourself to realize your maximum exercise potential with more intense workouts. But if you’re looking for even more intense workouts, you might want to consider getting a spin bike, or stationary bike.

Gym-Goers Using the Elliptical Trainer

These machines are immensely popular as training equipment because they can effortlessly make the switch from being a piece of gym equipment to an at-home elliptical trainer, with some models being compact enough to be carried along to the office.

When it comes to choosing the best elliptical machine, you will find a plethora of options with regards to technology, features, size, and price point. Whether a particular model is the most suitable option for you or not will depend on your specific needs and budget.

This buying guide has been compiled to make the selection process easier for you with honest, unbiased opinions based on extensive research and authentic user reviews.

Here’s our pick of 5 elliptical machines that we consider to be the best across their respective categories of overall value, affordability, indoor use, portability, and versatility.

1. Best Overall - Schwinn 470

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 52 x 22 x 34.5 inches
  • Weight: 189.2lbs
  • Length of Stride: 20 inches
  • Max. Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Key Features:

  • DualTrack LCD system to monitor up to 13 different display feedbacks
  • 20-inch stride with Precision Path foot motion technology to replicate a natural running motion
  • Motorized incline for easy adjustment of the intensity of your workouts
  • High-speed, high inertia drive system for easy start-up and smooth, quiet and consistent workouts

Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine Review

Topping the list in our category of “Best Overall Elliptical Machine” is the new Schwinn 470 Elliptical that ticks many of the right boxes with its premium-quality build, ergonomic design, innovative and easy-to-use features and smooth, quiet operation.

Available under $900, Schwinn’s mid-range, top-of-the-line offering boasts a host of features that you probably wouldn’t expect at this price point. The machine’s digital connectivity further adds to its appeal and makes it a desirable pick for fitness enthusiasts looking to exercise and track progress in the comfort of their homes.

Embrace a more active and healthier lifestyle and take your exercise regime to a whole new level with the Schwinn 470 that has been designed with a motorized incline and customizable programs for challenging yet fun workouts.

Get into shape with cardio workouts that feel smarter, smoother, and more enjoyable, thanks to the combination of intuitive design and user-friendly technology.

The latest Schwinn 470 elliptical includes a sleek, new console that is loaded with features such as two backlit displays, an adjustable 3-speed fan, goal tracking, Bluetooth, in-console speakers with an MP3 input port and a USB media charging port.

The contact & telemetry-enabled machine also has ergonomically placed static handlebars that are equipped with integrated monitors to measure heart rate.

A choice of 25 resistance levels, 29 pre-set workout programs, four custom user settings, and 12 saved profiles offer you ample flexibility to work your body the way it suits you the best.

An advanced goal tracking functionality lets you set and track time, distance, and calories and gives you all the challenge and motivation you need to push harder to achieve your fitness goals.

Plus, you can download your workout data on a smartphone app or upload your workout metrics to the SchwinnConnect website for effortless tracking of your performance and progress.

When you choose a fitness product from an iconic brand such as Schwinn, you know that you have the brand’s assurance of quality and comfort, and the Schwinn 470 is no exception.

This front-drive trainer boasts an ergonomic design that incorporates a 20-inch stride with Precision Path foot motion technology to simulate a natural running motion.

The provision of foot pedals with extra cushioning, padded handlebars, and a motorized adjustable ramp to control the incline by up to ten degrees are all efforts made in the right direction to ensure smoother, comfortable workouts for the user.

As for assembly, the solidly constructed Schwinn 470 is easy to put together, and the sturdy piece of equipment does a good job of minimizing vibrations to support noise-free fat-burning workouts at home.

A DualTrack blue backlit LCD system allows you to monitor up to 13 different display feedbacks and with a built-in USB port to keep your smartphone, tablet, etc. fueled up while you shed the pounds, you are up for workouts that are anything but boring.

The new Schwinn 470 has enough going for it already, and its enhanced Bluetooth connectivity is yet another feather in its cap. With syncing a possibility with both proprietary and third-party fitness tracking apps, you can set, track, and monitor progress with the likes of Explore the World, MyFitnessPal, and RunSocial.

At $899.99, the Schwinn 470 is not a cheap elliptical. However, if you can loosen your purse strings a bit, you will find a value buy in this good-quality, all-round elliptical machine that puts your comfort and needs at the heart of it, and that has been designed with you in mind.

Pros
  • Durable construction
  • Intuitive design
  • User-friendly technology
  • Feature-rich console
  • Padded handlebars
  • Foot pedals with extra cushioning
  • Bluetooth connectivity for data export via apps
  • 10-year frame warranty and a 2-year warranty on mechanical parts
Cons
  • Relatively expensive

2. Best Budget - Sunny Health & Fitness

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 28 x 17 x 57 inches
  • Weight: 37lbs
  • Length of Stride: 30 inches
  • Max. Weight Capacity: 220lbs

Key Features:

  • Durable steel construction
  • Multifunctional, informative digital monitor
  • Adjustable abdominal pad
  • 30 inches of stride length and extended stride length of up to 45 inches

Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical Machine Review

Keen to build or maintain your fitness without spending hundreds of dollars on your exercise equipment? Get yourself the low-cost but functional Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walker Elliptical Machine – our choice for the “Best Budget Elliptical”.

At $86.99, this air walker trainer is a surprisingly affordable alternative to many of its fancier variants, and it does not cut corners when it comes to some of the most desirable aspects of an at-home exercise machine, i.e., performance, comfort, and safety.

The SF-E902 offers a full-body workout by targeting the muscles in your arms and legs, and it does so without stressing your knees and hips. And you can expect a boost in stability and endurance by maintaining an upright posture, which makes your abdominal muscles function as stabilizing muscles.

A stride length of 30 inches makes for longer leg movements, which benefits the muscles in your calves, thighs, and glutes. An extended stride length of up to 45 inches further promotes a more engaging workout for your lower body by targeting your hamstrings and deep muscles. Both the handlebars and foot pedals are anti-slip, meaning safe and stable workouts for you.

Besides offering you a total body workout, this elliptical machine also helps improve your cardiorespiratory fitness as it works well as a low-impact home exercise equipment for aerobic training. According to the manufacturer, just 20 minutes of sustained aerobic workout on this machine can facilitate weight loss or control.

Coming to the build, the SF-E902 air walker features durable steel construction, and the heavy-duty frame can accommodate a weight of up to 220lbs. So, it is robust enough to endure the workouts of the toughest and strongest fitness-conscious users out there.

The budget-friendly elliptical is equipped with an adjustable abdominal cushion to ensure adequate comfort and support while exercising, and, by lifting the pad up or down, you can achieve the perfect position while working towards your fitness goals.

An informative LCD monitor has been included to keep you abreast of vital stats pertaining to your performance, including crucial information such as time, count, total distance, and calories.

Built-in fitness programs, foot pads that can simulate a slow walk and even work up to a full run and a storage-friendly foldable design are other notable features of the SF-E902.

If you are considering this elliptical, do bear in mind that it is not meant for “gym-level” workouts. You are better off investing in an industrial elliptical in that case. It is also unlikely to blow your socks off with the advanced features that are common to an elliptical at the upper end of the price spectrum.

That said, if your idea of a fruitful workout is to burn calories without the wear and tear that is typical of high-impact, strenuous exercises and you don’t wish to break the bank while keeping yourself fit and active, you will find the easy-to-assemble, highly rated Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 air walker a reliable choice for a good full-body workout at a pocket-friendly price.

Pros
  • Space-saving foldable design
  • Anti-slip handlebars and non-slip pedals
  • Built-in fitness programs
  • Capable of providing a total body workout
  • Backed with a 3-year structural frame warranty
Cons
  • Relatively basic counter
  • Does not provide much resistance
  • May not be the best choice for users with a tall/large build

3. Best for Home - EXERPEUTIC

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 54 x 23 x 63 inches
  • Weight: 88.2lbs
  • Stride: Fixed
  • Max. Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Key Features:

  • Promotes natural elliptical motion to eliminate any bouncy movement
  • 8-level magnetic tension resistance adjustments for challenging workouts
  • Precision-balanced flywheel and V- belt drive for smooth, quiet operation
  • Dual directional flywheel for frontward and backward workout capability

EXERPEUTIC Heavy Duty Magnetic Elliptical Review

Featuring next on our list is one of Amazon’s best-selling products – the EXERPEUTIC Heavy Duty Magnetic Elliptical. As a brand, EXERPEUTIC is known to provide affordably priced, latest tech-enabled home-use exercise equipment, and this heavy-duty magnetic elliptical is yet another worthy addition to its line-up.

No matter what the motivation behind you looking for the best home elliptical – the need to exercise indoors because the weather does not permit you to walk or bike, lack of time to visit the gym, an aversion to so-called “workout dress codes” or the need to avoid high-impact physical activities to prevent repeated trauma to an injured area of your body.

You can ensure your fitness with this high-performance elliptical that will provide you with a challenging but “zero impact” workout to prevent any stress on your hips, ankles, or joints. The EXERPEUTIC has the advantage of sturdy construction that makes it robust enough to support up to 300lbs of user weight.

And it scores over many other ellipticals with its well-thought-out design that emphasizes ergonomics and makes use of a natural elliptical motion to eliminate any bouncy movement.

8-level magnetic tension resistance adjustments allow you to modify the intensity of your workouts according to your needs, and the pulse pads on the stationary handlebars enable you to monitor your heart rate and determine when your heart rate is in the fat-burning zone.

Dual-action workout arms engage your arms to keep your upper body fit and, if you are a user with big feet, you will appreciate the large pedals that are also anti-slip to ensure a safe workout for your lower body.

A dual directional flywheel equips this machine with the capability to support both frontward and backward workouts and a precision balanced flywheel and V- belt drive make sure that noisy workouts are the last thing you need to worry about when getting yourself in shape.

Moving the EXERPEUTIC elliptical from one room to the other is hassle-free with the provision of wheels for easy transportation.

A handy LCD keeps you on track with your fitness goals by displaying essential stats such as distance, calories burned, time, speed, pulse and scan on a large, easy-to-read window and the option of Bluetooth app tracking makes for seamless monitoring of your fitness progress.

With regards to the EXERPEUTIC’s assembly, setting it up may entail a more detailed assembly than witnessed in the case of some of the other ellipticals out there. Then again, you can choose to opt for chargeable expert assembly service and take the hassle out of the machine’s set-up.

All in all, at $179.99 (without Bluetooth), the EXERPEUTIC Heavy Duty Magnetic Elliptical is a sound investment for anyone looking to increase their cardio and muscle strength with a workout routine that will not annoy their neighbors with excessive noise or leave their muscles and joints sore with impact, stress, and strain.

As you would expect from a machine at this price point, not many of the bells and whistles of higher-priced ellipticals are visible on this equipment. However, it comes with all the essentials it needs to do a decent job of keeping you fit and active in the comfort of your home. The product is ready to ship in 1-2 days.

Pros
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Large-sized pedals with anti-slip ribbed design
  • Large and easy-to-read LCD
  • Pulse pads for monitoring heart rate
  • Dual-action workout arms for upper body workout
  • Easy maneuverability with transportation wheels
Cons
  • Detailed assembly process
  • Assembly instructions can be clearer

4. Best Portable - Stamina InMotion

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 24.5 x 17 x 11.4 inches
  • Weight: 24lbs
  • Max. Weight Capacity: 250lbs
  • Frame Material: Steel

Key Features:

  • Electronic monitor to track stride count, exercise time, distance and calories burnt
  • Adjustable tension dial for variable workout intensity
  • Bidirectional foot pedals to target the lower body in different ways
  • Textured non-slip pedals to secure the feet while exercising

Stamina InMotion Compact Strider Review

Fancy a low-impact cardiovascular exercise machine that delivers a good workout at a fraction of the size? Say “hello” to the Stamina InMotion E1000 Compact Strider – our top pick in the category of “Best Portable Elliptical Machine”.

It is often said that “good things come in small packages” and the Stamina InMotion E1000 is a good case in point.

With a footprint of 20” x 12” and weighing just 24lbs, the lightweight Stamina InMotion E1000 has a chassis that is small enough to be stored in a closet and compact enough for an under-desk usage in the office.

And it can fit into spaces as tiny as 24.5 x 17 inches. So, you have no excuses whatsoever to miss your exercises anymore, regardless of whether you are at home or at the workplace.

Available in three stylish colors, this mini strider boasts a robust steel construction and can accommodate a maximum user weight of 250lbs. And despite its small size, it packs in enough punch to deliver an intense workout that is comparable to that of a full-size model.

Noisy operation is a common gripe with many at-home fitness gadgets. That’s one less thing to deal with when you bring home the Stamina InMotion E1000. The small elliptical machine is extremely quiet and unobtrusive.

So, whether you are exercising at home or in the office, you know you will be at peace with your neighbors and colleagues.

And if you are an enthusiastic gamer who loves to play a game or two while working out, this silent and non-distracting equipment will let you exercise without interfering with your gaming sessions.

Keep the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle at bay with the InMotion E1000 that ensures your legs are moving, even when you are sitting all day at work.

Expect improved circulation and burn a lot of calories in a short period, thanks to the great cardiovascular workout delivered by this floor unit.

The InMotion E1000’s low-impact exercise routine tones your legs, thighs, and buns and helps you lose those extra pounds around your waistline, all without hurting your back, hips, knees, or ankles and in a joint-friendly manner.

Track your workout stats in real time with a multifunctional monitor that displays vital stats about your workout performance, including no. of strides per minute, total strides, exercise time, and calories burned.

The monitor also has a scan function to enable you to view workout data periodically. As for the pedals, they come with a textured surface and allow you to pedal as hard and fast as you want without the fear of slipping.

What truly makes the Stamina InMotion E1000 a class apart from other portable elliptical trainers is its sheer versatility.

It comes with an adjustable tension knob that you can control to vary the intensity of your workout, meaning the machine can deliver a moderate to a tough degree of exercise, depending on your needs and abilities. The E1000 also supports multiple movement options. So, you can use it while sitting or standing. And that’s not all.

You even have the choice of pedaling in two directions with the bidirectional foot pedals enabling forward and reverse motions to target different muscles. A handle on the top would have been ideal for moving the equipment in and out of position with ease, but that’s no deal-breaker.

To sum up, despite not having the large stride of a full-size workout machine, the Stamina compact strider packs a workout wallop without the risk of impact injuries.

At less than $120, this low-priced compact elliptical machine eliminates every possible reason (read a busy schedule, lack of space, or an unaffordable price tag) that you can think of to procrastinate your daily exercise.

It is also right for you if you are affected by limited mobility or cannot engage in regular physical activities or high-impact workouts because of joint injuries, bad knees, bad hips, etc. – we definitely give a thumbs up to this one.

Pros
  • Sturdy construction and easy assembly
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Quiet operation
  • Suitable for use at home and in an office environment
  • Can be used while sitting or standing
Cons
  • Does not have a large stride
  • Maybe a bit too tall for some desks

5. Best 2 in 1 - Body Rider

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 48 x 28.5 x 59.5 inches
  • Weight: 66lbs
  • Max. Weight Capacity: 250lbs
  • Frame Material: Metal/Plastic

Key Features:

  • Electronic console to track distance, time, calories burned and speed
  • Fully adjustable seat for optimum exercise and riding form
  • Adjustable tension knob for customizable resistance level
  • High-momentum fan blades for smooth, fluid movement

Body Rider Elliptical Trainer and Exercise Bike Review

We round off our list of best elliptical machines with the Body Rider BRD2000 – our top pick in the category of “Best 2 in 1 Elliptical and Bike”.

The patented BRD2000 is a cross between an elliptical machine and an exercise bike. So, while it features an attached seat and stationary handlebars to enable workouts in a biking mode, it also comes equipped with moving arms and foot pedals for elliptical-style workouts in an upright position.

The fact that you can choose to sit down and work up a sweat or stand and use the pedals to exercise your body makes this dual trainer perfect for you if you are new to the workout regime.

And even if you are an old hand at using at-home fitness equipment, you can still benefit from the hybrid’s dual functionality that greatly expands your workout potential.

The BRD2000’s attached seat is fully flexible and can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically to fit different body types and heights. Besides adding to its versatility, this aspect of the Body Rider elliptical trainer-cum-exercise bike makes it a value buy for a family of fitness enthusiasts.

The two-in-one fitness machine is also suitable for those suffering from problems of the leg, back, or hip as its low impact nature ensures that it offers an effective cardio workout for the upper and lower body without any major impact on joints.

An easily adjustable tension knob lets you set the resistance level to your preferred degree of difficulty, and the inclusion of a high-momentum fan blade flywheel system delivers smooth, fluid movement while generating a gentle breeze to provide a cooling relief to you when exercising.

Similar to the other ellipticals featured on this list, the Body Rider elliptical/bike trainer includes an easy-to-read electronic console to keep you motivated and focused on your fitness goals with its display of stats such as distance covered, the time elapsed, calories burned and speed.

Other notable features include built-in transport wheels for easy movement of the unit around the room, a small footprint for convenient storage, simple operation, and a surprisingly affordable price tag that puts a handy family-friendly product well within reach of the masses.

For all its user-friendly functionalities, the Body Rider BRD2000 does come with a few limitations, none of which are outstanding weaknesses. You may find the bike seat of this equipment to be relatively hard and not as comfortable as you would have liked.

Also, the short stride length of this dual trainer may make it slightly challenging for people with longer strides to use the equipment in the elliptical mode.

All told, regardless of the few aspects that did not make us go “wow”, the two-in-one functionality, budget-friendly price tag and versatility of the Body Rider BRD2000 elliptical/exercise bike makes it a great addition to any household looking for a moderately priced, functional fitness equipment to build or maintain fitness levels with low-impact total body cardio workouts.

Pros
  • Patented design technology
  • Can be used as an elliptical train and an exercise bike
  • Supports workouts in both sitting and standing positions
  • Built-in transport wheel for ease of movement
  • Small footprint for easy storage
Cons
  • Can be noisy
  • The stride length may limit its usability for tall people
  • The bike seat is not very comfortable

Elliptical Machines: Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Elliptical Machines Good For?

Elliptical machines are good for low- or non-impact cardiovascular workouts that do not cause excessive pressure to the joints, keens, hips, back, etc. These machines can help strengthen your muscles and get your heart and lungs pumping, which, in turn, can improve circulation, tone your legs, thighs, and buns, aid you in burning calories, trim your waist and boost your stamina and endurance.

Elliptical machines can simulate a wide range of motions that are typical of activities such as walking, jogging, cycling, and skiing. Because they offer flexibility in incline and intensity settings, they can cater to users of diverse age groups and fitness levels.

What Are the Different Types of Elliptical Machines?

There are three types of elliptical machines - rear-drive, front-drive and center-drive. The classification of each type depends on the positioning of the motor or “drive”.

What Should I Look for When Buying an Elliptical?

When buying an elliptical, choose one that complements your physical attributes, e.g., weight and height. Also, watch out for the stride length as a very short stride can practically render the machine useless for you.

Furthermore, prioritize aspects that can ensure a hassle-free experience after purchase. This means emphasizing models that are backed up with a reasonable period of manufacturer warranty and those with reviews of excellent after-sales customer support.

Which Is Better - Front or Rear-Drive Elliptical?

Whether a front or a rear-drive elliptical is better for you depends on your personal preference and “feel” factor.

The key difference between the two elliptical types lies in the placement of the flywheel – the mechanism that powers the machine and is instrumental in creating the elliptical motion that you experience while exercising.

For a front-drive elliptical, the flywheel mechanism is positioned in front of the pedals and gives you a slightly forward-leaning position and more of an elliptical slope. This creates a motion that is akin to that of climbing or stair-stepping.

A rear-drive trainer gives you less of a slope and more of a flat running plane because the flywheel is placed behind the pedals. Your posture is straighter, and the motion generated feels more like walking or running.

It may be worth noting though that between the two, a rear-drive model tends to provide a more natural movement by allowing a larger stride. So, users with a longer stride tend to find it more comfortable to use.

Best Elliptical Machines for Low-Impact Workouts — Bike Hacks