Best Elliptical Machines

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, quiet, and has a smooth operation which normally means a heavier flywheel. 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 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 other than our choice for number one, we tried to focus on units that cost less than $2500. We also rated the top elliptical machines under $1000, which we only recommend for casual users. Below is our list of the best elliptical reviews.


Precor EFX 5.33 Premium Series Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer

Perhaps the best brand name for exercise equipment, Precor tops our list with the EFX 5.33 Premium Series Fitness Crosstrainer. Superior construction, excellent reliability, and smooth movement are all reasons why this machine is our number one choice for best elliptical. It has variable incline of 15-30 degrees, adjustable stride length from 21-23 inches, 10 preset workout programs, and 20 resistance levels. It also comes with handheld heart rate monitor to track your target heart rate. The control panel is intuitive and simple to use, while also holding a water bottle, mp3 player, and magazines.

There are two main drawbacks of this Precor model. First is the price-tag of around $4500. That is significantly more than any other model on our list, but it is the price you have to pay if you want a top of the line gym-quality machine. Secondly the footprint of this unit is quite large at 84″ x 31″ x 63″. You will need a large space in your home to accommodate this 240 pound machine.


Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine

The Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine provides a much better value with a price of $1700 which is why we rated it as our number two elliptical trainer and best 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 all users, however, the footprint is also quite large on this unit so you will need plenty of space to set it up and use.


True Fitness M30 Elliptical

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 also 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″ 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.

We highly recommend the M30 for those of you who do not have a lot of space, but want a quality elliptical machine.


AFG 18.0 AXT Ascent Trainer

The AFG 18.0 AXT provides a solid, but unspectacular elliptical for a price of around $2200. While this model may not be the best in any one area, it will not let you down either. It is pretty well built, but lacks a little bit in adjustability. One area that it is better than average is the noise level – it is quieter than many other models in this price range. It features 10 preprogrammed workouts, 16 resistance settings, variable stride length from 19-21 inches, and wireless heart rate monitoring through the included chest strap.


Precor EFX 5.23 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer

The Precor EFX 5.23 provides users with a quality Precor machine, but a much cheaper price than the 5.33 at $2300. You can get smooth, low-impact full body workouts from 8 preset programs each including warm-ups and cool-downs, 16 resistance levels, 3-position ramp angle, and Smart Rate heart monitoring.

This 183 pound unit has a large footprint of 76″ x 29″ x 62″ (LxWxH) and not as many settings/adjustments as the 5.33 version.


Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef Elliptical Trainer

The Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef is a slightly older, but reliable elliptical trainer that we feel is slightly overpriced at around $2200. 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.


Lifecore Fitness VSTV6 Elliptical Trainer

The Lifecore VSTV6 is billed not as a treadmill, nor a stepper, nor an elliptical, but instead the first variable stride trainer. You can step, walk, jog, or run at the push of a button with a manually adjustable stride length of 18-26 inches.


Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine

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.


Octane Fitness Q35c Elliptical Cross Trainer

The Octane Fitness Q35c will set you back about $2000. It scored one of the highest ratings from the leading consumer magazine. It has very good construction and fluid motion. 10 preset programs, 20 resistance levels, and a fixed 20.5 inch stride length are features of this unit. One handy feature is the built-in transport wheels that make moving the machine much easier.


Precor EFX 5.21 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer

At $1799, the EFX 5.21 is the cheapest Precor elliptical trainer available. With this model you get Precor solid construction, but it is a bit lacking in features. It has 8 programs and 16 resistance levels, but has fixed handle bars so you cannot get an upper body workout at the same time.

Best Ellipticals Under $1000


AFG 3.1 AE Elliptical

The AFG 3.1 AE was named a Best Buy by the leading consumer magazine and sells for $999. For this price range, the parts are the amongst the best quality you can get and the machine is pretty quiet although some users have complained of a squeaking sound that develops over time. It features 20 resistance settings, 20 positions of incline, 10 programs, and a fixed 20 inch stride length.


Horizon Fitness EX-59 Elliptical Trainer

The Horizon Fitness EX-59 is an excellent economy elliptical trainer that sells for $629. Its not a gym quality machine, but we highly recommend this model if you are on a strict budget. It is suprisingly steady and smooth for this price point with 10 resistance levels and an 18-inch stride length. There is no incline on this model, however.


BH Fitness XS1 Elliptical

While you can find the BH Fitness XS1 Elliptical for $999 that does not include the shipping, so this one will actually end up costing more than $1000. It received a good score from the leading consumer magazine, while other reviewers were not as kind to this model. Overall it does not have the reliability of more expensive machines or even some in the same price category and also makes a bit more noise than average. It has a fixed 20-inch stride length, 16 resistance settings, and 12 quick start programs. It does have a heart rate monitor with the built in hand grips, but does not have many other bells and whistles including incline.


Sole Fitness E25 Elliptical Machine

The Sole Fitness E25 provides one of the heavier flywheels, 25 pounds, in a unit costing $999. That means a smoother, consistent motion for you. It also is pretty well built and reliable for that price. It features a 20-22 inch adjustable stride length, pulse grip and chest strap heart rate monitors, 20 resistance levels, and 20 incline positions from 0-30 degrees. We would recommend this unit for anyone who needs an elliptical with some adjustability for under $1000.


ProForm 510 E Elliptical

The ProForm 510 E sells for about $530. It has an adjustable incline up to 20 degrees and an adjustable stride length of 18-20 inches. Also features a dual grip heart rate monitor, sound system, and 18 preset workouts. The warranty is not quite as good for this model with only 1 year coverage on parts, but for someone on a budget this is a decent elliptical machine.


Reebok Stride Select RL 6.0 Elliptical

The Reebok Stride Select RL 6.0 does not have a ton of features, but does provide a very nice feel with a price of around $700.


Schwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer

While we really do not recommend any elliptical trainer less than $500, if you absolutely do not want to spend that amount of money then the Schwinn A40 is the model for you with a cost of just $315. The reliability of this machine is substandard and does not have a real natural feel. It only has a 17 inch stride, but does have 8 resistance levels, integrated grip heart rate monitor, and six workout programs.

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