Those of us who work out regularly are now looking for the best rated elliptical machines for home use. Since the onset of the pandemic, people have been looking for various ways to do most of their day to day activities at home. And yes, that includes working out.
When we are asked to choose the best type of workout equipment for home use then, we will always choose the front-drive elliptical trainer. But, is it the best for everybody? what are the differences between front-drive, center-drive, or rear-drive?
Read on so that you can make the best decision.
Without Further Ado, lets start,
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Overall Our #1 Recommendation
- Resistance Type: Magnetic
- Resistance level: 25
- Workout Programs: 29
- Pulse Monitors: Yes
- Weight Capacity: 300 pounds
Are Elliptical Machines Worthy For a Home Workout?
Exercising at home, which has existed for a very long time, has been stigmatized. Many people believe a home workout does not yield results as good as its gym counterpart. But research has proven that home workout yields the same result as the gym.
It’s just as the legendary fitness instructor, Denise Wilcox, put it: “Your muscle doesn’t know if they are in a fancy gym or at home.” People have started considering getting various home workout equipment to keep up with their fitness goals and the elliptical machine trainer comes forefront.
The elliptical machine trainers, also known as cross trainers, can provide low-impact cardio workout while giving the user a full-body workout using arms and legs in ways other machines can’t.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Elliptical Machine
If you’ve made up your mind to buy an elliptical machine, consider the following carefully. What type do you want to buy? There are three main types of elliptical machines, categorized according to the position of the drive.
Type of elliptical Trainers
The classic elliptical design and first-generation is the rear-drive type, the second-generation front-drive, and the latest generation is the center drive. While there is no true right answer, in terms of which one is better, people have their preference.
*Rear-drive: These models tend to allow for a larger stride and often feature incline position not available in front-wheel-drive machines that allows for a more challenging workout. Rear-drive ellipticals tend to be more expensive.
*Front-drive: Over the years more people are moving from rear-drive to front-drive. They are less expensive and usually have a smaller footprint. But again, it’s a personal choice.
*Center-drive: This is the newest trend on elliptical and its benefit still unsure. They are usually more compact than either rear or front-drive but more expensive as well.
To pick the best, you should try each type to see if you notice a difference in comfort. If not, you can probably be better served to invest in a front-drive and to save some money there.
The right stride length is key on elliptical trainers because it determines how comfortable you will be in the machine during your workouts. If you are a beginner, the stride length is the distance the 2 pedals use to move from back to front during use.
Many Ellipticals come with different stride lengths but the best to choose is going to depend on your height.
A short person will feel more stable and comfortable with a stride length of fewer than 16 inches while taller users (5.7feet or more) will prefer an 18-20-inch stride length.
Avoid training on ellipticals with strides that are too long because it can put too much strain on your legs causing more harm than good.
Other things to consider are the design and the interface. Some machines allow the connection of other devices like mobile phones, heart rate monitor, and so on. Some have an LCD where you can stream videos and sync with your smartphone. Of course, this not only makes the exercise entertaining but something that can motivate you to look forward to exercising.
Smooth and comfort should also not be left out, a machine that suits best your weight and height is what you should get.
And lastly, does the machine have an adjustable incline and adjustable resistance? If yes, then you’re good to go.
It is obvious that a longer warranty is the best. With fitness equipment, one year of warranty is pretty standard. Some may offer a little longer and sometimes you can pay extra to get extended warranties.
Most Popular Ellipticals Brands
- Horizon Fitness
Top Best Rated Elliptical Machines For Home Use
1. Bowflex Max Trainer M3
|Type: Front Drive Standing||Pulse Monitors: chest strap|
|Resistance: Magnetic||Dimensions: 46″ L x 25″ W x 63″ H|
|Resistance level: 8||Weight Capacity:300 pounds|
The Bowflex is a Front Drive Elliptical Machine and is the entry-level of this brand. Although it includes fewer features than the latest model such as the M5, people love the compact design and the affordable price.
This elliptical machine provides eight resistance levels and two preset workout programs. Users also can take advantage of the two user tracking history profiles.
The elliptical doesn’t have the contact grips but you get a chest strap in the package for wireless heart rate monitoring.
For those with space limitations, you will appreciate the small footprint of this machine which measures just 46L inches by 25w inches, pretty good for ellipticals.
It comes with two built-in programs but no extra entertainment. Choosing this popular elliptical trainer will ensure an intense and satisfactory home workout.
Overall, the M3 is a compact elliptical under $1000 able to fit into a small space at home.
What I like….
- Low impact particularly on your joints
- Very well rated by users and professional trainers
- You can choose between 8 different resistance levels
- maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds
What I don’t like
- The LCD screen has no backlight
- Doesn’t come with an HD touchscreen display
- No built-in speakers
2. Nautilus Elliptical Trainer Series e616
|Type: Front Drive Standing||Pulse Monitors: Grip heart rate (telemetry enabled) for use with chest strap|
|Resistance: Magnetic||Incline: Motorized|
|Resistance level: 25||Weight Capacity: 300 pounds|
|Stride length: 20″ Precision Path||Dimensions: 70″ L x 28″ W x 71″ H|
The Nautilus Elliptical is simply a strong piece of exercise equipment that provides an outstanding result. It looks and feels very modern and many users compare it to commercial units found in gyms.
In my experience with ellipticals, there is not much of a difference between good quality mid-range or high-end models. Their differences basically reside on updated virtual software.
For a mid-range price, the Nautilus A616 is fully packed. It uses magnetic flywheels resistance, provides smooth and reliable performance, and has a 20-inch stride length.
This model can handle up to 300 pounds and features a motorized incline up to 10°. You also will be delighted with the ability to choose from 29 preset workout programs.
The Natallius A616 also offers a pretty impressive warranty for the price, 10 years on the frame, 3 years on mechanical parts, and 3 years on electronics.
If you are wondering about speakers or the ability to sync with your phone or tablet, you can also do so with this elliptical. On top of that, it has a USB charging port, Built-in Fan, Dual LCD Display, Water bottle holder, and Tablet/Book Reading Rack.
Many users online find it sturdy, stable, and very quiet. The only drawback I find is that it takes quite a bit of space at home.
What I like….
- Multiple customizable workout programs for a more diverse workout
- Bluetooth compatibility which allows sync with a myriad of smart devices
- More than enough resistance levels to grow and progress with you
- DualTrack LCD console
- Capability to keep you cool with the built-in fan
- Ability to charge your tablet or phone while working out
- Grip & Telemetry Heart monitor
- Good price
What I don’t like
- It takes a lot of space
3. Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical
|Type: Recumbent||Resistance level: Variable with one simple dial|
|Resistance: Magnetic||Weight Capacity: 300 pounds|
|Incline: N/A.||Dimensions: 54L x 38W x 52H inches|
|Pulse Monitors: N/A|
The Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer is a great option for beginners and people with a history of back or hip problems.
While this elliptical is not fully technologically loaded it provides what most users are looking for: effectiveness and comfort. It allows you to exercise your full body as you integrate both your arms and legs while sitting.
It has the best price from this list and it’s one of the most popular ones on Amazon. And if you are wondering if you can build muscle, the resistance can be adjusted to the point that it’s very difficult to move.
You can also customize the seat and pedal to fit either shorter or taller people. The company recommends it for people between 4’11”-6’6″ tall.
If you are looking for a quality and affordable elliptical but worrying about your knees, back, or hips, the teeter FreeStep will not disappoint you.
This recumbent elliptical is pretty compact and supports a maximum of 300 lbs. This machine is designed to provide a full-body workout with zero impact on the joints. They also feature a large LCD screen so you can monitor your progress.
Something that you need to be aware of is the fact that it does not come with a heart rate monitor so you are better served if you buy one separately.
What I like….
- A comfortable and effective workout for beginners and intermediate
- Great recovery solution
- Compact Design for a two in one machine
- Water Bottle Holder
- An elliptical machine that is built-to-last
- LCD monitor to track the essential workout data
- 1-Year Full Product Warranty
- Affordable price
What I don’t like…
- Does Not provide heart rate grip or strap to monitor your progress
- Not enough available resistance for advance users
4. Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine
|Resistance Type: Magnetic||Incline: motorized|
|Workout programs: 29||Transport Wheels: No|
|Pulse Monitors: Yes||Bluetooth connectivity: Yes|
|Resistance levels: 25 levels electronically adjustable||USB ports: Yes|
|Stride length: Broad 20”||LCD Display: Dual|
|Workout History Tracking: Up to 12 users||Dimensions: 70.1 x 28.2 x 63.2 in|
|Weight Capacity: 300 pounds||Pedals: Long Footplates|
With the Schwinn 470 Elliptical, you need to be ready to sweat. The 25 levels of resistance and 29 workout programs to choose from make this elliptical ideal for any beginner and more advanced users alike.
This machine is loaded with a lot of features to enhance convenience. It comes with a motorized incline for added intensity, a built-in three-speed fan to cool you down during vigorous workouts, a USB charging port, and a water bottle holder.
For under $1000, this machine includes the most cutting-edge design and technology usually present on more expensive ellipticals. Many users find it performs identically to the ellipticals at the gym.
Like the Nautilus elliptical you will enjoy the dual LCD monitor or you can place your phone or IPAD on top of the main screen and still be able to read one of the screens.
Some drawbacks you can find are the built-in heart rate which is not very accurate. You may be better served with a chest strap instead (buy separately).
What I like….
- Heavy-duty steel frame
- Comfortable for most users either short or taller
- Multiple workout programs for more versatile routines
- Three-speed fan help you cool off
- The USB ports and speakers
- Mid-ranged price for a gym-like machine
- 10 years limited warranty
What I don’t like…
- Difficult to assemble
|Resistance||Resistance level:||Workout Programs||Stride Length||Pulse Monitors||Cooling Fan|
|Nautilus Elliptical E616||Magnetic||25||29||20″||Yes||YES|
|Teeter FreeStep Recumbent||Magnetic||one simple dial||No||Not Available||No||No|
|Bowflex Max M3||Magnetic||8||N/A||Not Available||Chest strap||No|
How to Get the Most from Your Elliptical
Train with your elliptical with the TABATA interval. Tabata is a form of exercise that consists of 2 minutes at your highest effort movement followed by 10 seconds of rest. During your routines, you can play changing the resistance as well as the incline position. To give you an example:
- Warm-up at your own pace for 3-5 minutes
- If the elliptical allows, select the resistance and incline to your level and move your legs to the best of your ability for 2 minutes.
- Rest for 10 seconds and repeat.
- Cooldown from 3-5 minutes without resistance and at your own pace
- Do it 3 times a week switching between TABATA and regular sessions
Who Can Benefit the Most From Elliptical Training?
Anybody can take advantage of elliptical machines. Unlike some other gym equipment, the elliptical machine can be used by everyone in the family. Yes, you read that right, the whole family can use it to get fitter or lose weight, and this makes each member of the family committed to their goals.
All you need to do is stand with your feet on the foot pedals, hand on the handlebars and start moving back and forth. The machine trainer comes with a lot of benefits.
4 Advantages of Elliptical Machines
1. Ellipticals are Easy on Your Joints
Elliptical trainers’ machines provide a low impact workout that simulates walking, jogging, and running, but without the impact on the muscle and joint that the exercises would normally involve.
This reason makes the machine a favorite for seniors and people with bad knees, hip, ankle, or lower body issues, as they can get a similar workout without going through the pain involved.
2. It Provides a Full Body Workout
Because the arms and legs are moving in opposite directions, elliptical trainers not only work your lower and upper body but also work our midsection. The elliptical machine does this by providing resistance to the muscles of the legs, chest, shoulders, and arms.
Working out on the elliptical machine provides an overall body workout while providing aerobics at the same time. As a result, the elliptical machine is very important for weight loss and building endurance.
3. Improve Balance & Mobility
As your body is forced to maintain a standing position at the same time it moves, balance and coordination get improved over time.
Elliptical trainers have helped a lot of people in achieving their weight loss and fitness goals. The ability of the machine to work the whole body has been shown by research to aid in weight loss because it burns a lot of calories in a shorter period when compared to other machines. The machine also aids in improving the overall health of the lungs and cardiovascular tissues, as exercising on the machine is a key aerobic exercise.
4. Fun Exercise that Can Last for a Long Term
Like any other home fitness equipment, having an elliptical machine at home can save you a lot of time and energy used in getting to the gym. Besides that, spending on the elliptical machine is also financially wise as that will save a lot of money spent on gym subscriptions.
With the points above, it is clear that having an elliptical machine is one of the best moves when going into the home workout life. But like every other thing, having the elliptical machine at home also has its disadvantages.
Disadvantages of Elliptical Machines at Home
If you are considering buying an elliptical machine for your home workout, I would advise you to weigh the advantages and the disadvantages then decide if it is the right machine for you.
Ellipticals Trainers tend to Take a Lot of Space
These machines are usually big and take ample space that must be given to it to allow the free movement of the foot pedals and the handlebars. It consumes a lot of space depending on the model you get and can also be pricey if you are getting one with all the bells and whistles.
They Are Not the Best machines For Building Muscle
when building muscles, the elliptical machine is not a good idea as it only focuses on weight loss and toning the muscle rather than building it. Besides, its low impact nature has also been said to make it feel boring as it’s less strenuous to do the exercise.
Are Ellipticals a Good Substitute for Jogging?
Yes, in many cases ellipticals can be better than jogging especially if you are trying to avoid the jarring effect of jogging on the pavement. I also find it helpful to jog in place on a quality rebounder. It doubles the effect of traditional jogging and is gentler on the joints.
Mixing your workout routines can take a lot of the strain away from your knees. Ellipticals can provide both a strength and aerobic workout and many seniors prefer it over jogging on the pavement.
As I said before, elliptical training is a low impact workout, which makes it very attractive for people who suffer joint problems such as bad knee or back pain. Resistance bands are also a great alternative to exercise when the priority is lowering the amount of impact onto your joints.
Elliptical trainers are one of the most popular pieces of fitness equipment purchased by people who are interested in losing weight and improving their fitness levels. Buying an elliptical machine is not an easy decision. But if after reading this article you think it’s the best option for you, it can be a great asset to help you achieve your fitness goal.