Elliptical trainers offer a cardio workout like a treadmill, but without the impact and stress on your lower body joints. When you combine the elliptical leg motion with the movable handles you can also get a full body workout.
When shopping for these machines, you want a model that is well built, sturdy, quiet, and has a smooth operation. All these qualities cost increasingly more money for increasing quality. You should also look for resistance and incline adustability to keep you working hard as your fitness level improves. Some other features to watch for include easy-to-use controls, heart rate monitors, preset programs that you will actually use, and the warranty for each model. One important thing to keep in mind is how large elliptical machines are. They can take up a space that is up to 7 feet long by 3 feet wide by over 6 feet tall. There are some models that are designed to have a smaller footprint, but make sure you have the space for the one you plan on buying.
After reviewing dozens of models we could have made our list entirely of ellipticals that cost more than $3000, but we tried to pick models suited for home use from a variety of price points. We also rated the top elliptical machines under $1000 here. Below we review our list of the best elliptical machines.
#1) Simply put Precor makes outstanding gym-quality machines which is why we chose the Precor EFX 425 as the best elliptical. Costing $4600 this thing is expensive, but it is constructed of the highest quality components and built to last. It features 10 preset workouts including heart rate monitoring, 20 resistance levels, and CrossRamp technology which lets you adjust the elevation range from 15 – 40 degrees. The console is a 5-inch LCD that can display 13 different workout metrics and has 2 user ID’s. It also has some nice convenience features like a console headphone jack and volume controls, large storage compartments, SmartGrip phone/tablet holder, reading rack, and easy-to-use controls.
If you want the best then no need to look any further, but for home users that can’t afford this cost there are other cheaper models that provide a better value.
#2) The $3300 Precor 225 is one of the new elliptical crosstrainers in Precor’s Energy Series. While still costing a lot, this version will save some money over the EFX 425, while not sacrificing too much. It features 10 preset workouts including heart rate monitoring, 16 resistance settings, and CrossRamp elevation range of 15 to 25 degrees. The warranty is a bit less for parts at 5 years instead of 10 for the EFX 425. It also has many of the same convenient features like the console headphone jack, volume controls, reading rack, SmartGrip phone and tablet holder, and large center storage compartment.
Overall the Precor 225 is a great choice for a top-end home elliptical machine, however it is still expensive and there are cheaper options available.
#3) We rated the $2800 Yowza Miami as the best elliptical trainer under $3000. While its construction quality is maybe just a bit below Precor, it still provides outstanding quality and better features than many other models in this price range. It is very sturdy and provides lots of adjustability with the stride length ranging from 19 to 32 inches and electric powered incline up to 60%. It has 21 preset and 9 custom programs and it also has 3 custom apps for Android or iOS devices that integrate via Bluetooth with the console and the included wireless Bluetooth scale. The warranty is excellent as well with lifetime frame coverage, 7 years on parts and electronics, and 2 years in home labor.
There really are no negatives when it comes to the Yowza Miami. Although, like Precor models, it is still on the high end of the price range, so be aware there are cheaper options available that may provide a good value.
#4) The Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine is one of those models that provides an excellent value with a price of $1700 which is why we rated it as the best elliptical under $2000. We completely agree with one reviewer on Amazon who stated this machine is steady, smooth, and quiet. It has 6 preset programs, 2 customizable ones, and 2 heart rate programs which can be used with the included heart rate chest strap or the pulse grip monitors. The stride length ranges from 20 to 22 inches and the incline is adjustable from 0-30 degrees. It also comes with custom articulating pedals to reduce sore toes, ankles, and feet. The blue LCD console displays essential workout data and includes a built-in fan, speakers and water bottle holder. Although the speakers are very weak.
We highly recommend this model for home users who don’t want to spend the money on a gym-quality unit, however, the build quality is not quite as good as a gym-quality unit either so it might not stand up to constant abuse from several users. The footprint is also quite large on this unit – 27 x 62 x 83 inches – so you will need plenty of space to set it up and use.
#5) The $2200 True Fitness M30 Elliptical provides a space-efficient home exercise machine with a minimal footprint of approximately four feet by three feet. It is really well constructed with quality components. It features 6 preset workout programs plus a heart rate control workout, 25 resistance levels, and a fixed 21-inch stride length. You can work out your whole body or only your upper body with the use of the side steps. The control panel is pretty simple to use with readouts for time, distance, RPM, HR, work level, Watts, METs, and calories.
Its biggest flaw is that it is not very adjustable. However, we still highly recommend the M30 for those of you who do not have a lot of space, but want a quality elliptical machine.
It is also available at TrueFitness.com.
#6) The Octane Fitness Q35x will set you back about $2100. Its predecessor, the Q35c, scored one of the highest ratings from the leading consumer magazine. It has very good construction and fluid motion. Some of the features of this unit include digital contact heart rate monitoring, 3 workout boosters for greater results, and 8 workout programs including 4 goal programs that let you take on a 10k, half marathon, or burn 350 or 750 calories. It has a fixed 20.5-inch stride length, so it’s not as adjustable as some other models. #7) The Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef is a slightly older, but reliable elliptical trainer that we feel is slightly overpriced at around $2120. It did score the highest rating from the leading consumer magazine. It provides plenty of workout flexibility with 20 resistance levels and 13 preset programs. It has a fixed 19 inch stride length and heart rate monitor. The console is a little old, but still easy to read with large labeled buttons for specific workouts. #8) Our pick for the best elliptical under $1500 is the NordicTrack A.C.T. Commericial 10 which sells for $1499. It is built well and packs a lot of features into a smaller 54 x 31.5 x 64.25 inch footprint. Some features include a touchscreen console, 35 workout apps, 24 resistance levels, heart rate monitor in handlebars, adjustable stride from 18 to 22 inches, and adjustable cushioned pedals.
NordicTrack models have really improved in quality over the years and while still not quite up to par with top end fitness equipment manufacturers like Precor they provide a solid value for home users.
#9) The Precor 222 Energy Series model sells for $2600. While cheaper than other Precor options, it is still more expensive than many other competitors with comparable features. The 222 still has Precor’s outstanding construction quality, however this model only has a manual, 3 position CrossRamp design with elevation ranges of 15, 20, or 25 degrees. It does have 10 preset workouts, 16 resistance levels, and touch sensor and wireless strap heart rate monitoring. #10) For around $1300 the Sole Fitness E35 might provide the best value elliptical you can find. Despite its price, this machine is sturdy and smooth and while it might not withstand constant abuse, for the home user it will hold up quite well. It includes adjustable pedals, power adjustable stride and incline, and a variable 20-22 inch stride length. It has 6 standard workouts, two custom programs, and two heart rate programs which can be used with the included chest strap or the pulse grip monitor.
Like most ellipticals, it has a large footprint (27 x 58 x 83 inches), but for home users who want a more affordable model while not sacrificing too much quality we highly recommend the E35.
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