Best Elliptical Machines for Home | Top 7 Ellipticals Reviewed (2019)

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Best Elliptical Machines for Home Use

There are lots of reasons why you'd want to get an elliptical machine for home. For once, you save a ton of money on gym memberships, second, you work out whenever you want, at your own convenience without having to leave home.

Elliptical cross trainers used to be expensive machines reserved for gyms, but there are some pretty good inexpensive options available now.

It's relatively easy to find an affordable elliptical, but while price matters, you'd also want to get a machine that is small, comfortable to exercise on, and reliable enough to serve you for years.

The best elliptical machines for home use should tick all of these boxes, size, comfort, reliability, and extra features are always welcomed.

Where you plan to place the elliptical at your home is very important. For example, if the room has a low ceiling and you are tall, you'd want an ellptical that has a low step-up height.

We reviewed the top elliptical trainers (including ones you can use in rooms with a low ceiling and even in basements).

Read on to see which elliptical is ideal for you based on your weight, available space, and budget.

Elliptical

Max User Weight

Stride

Step-up

Height

Our Rating

Sole E35 Elliptical

375 lb

22"

-

Best Elliptical for Home

Schwinn 470

300 lb

20"

13"

Best Mid-Range Elliptical

Nautilus E614

300 lb

20"

13"

Also Great

Schwinn 430

300 lb

20"

13"

Most Popular

ProForm Hybrid Trainer

350 lb

15"

12"

Best Low Budget

Horizon Elliptical

275 lb

18"

10"

Lowest Step-Up Height

Nautilus E616

300 lb

20"

-

Benefits of Ellipticals Over Treadmills

There are numerous benefits to getting an elliptical machine for your home, same as they are for other home cardio equipment. So won't go over all the benefits as there are dozens. Instead let's focus advantages especially over treadmills.

elliptical machine vs treadmill

Dollar for dollar, the best elliptical machines for home will give a better value for money than a similarly priced home treadmill. Treadmills require bulky and expensive engines to run, elliptical machines are more simple to make and thus much more reliable.

Here we will focus only on what benefits ellipticals have over other types of cardio equipment like treadmills.

Here's what Mayo Clinic has to say:

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    LOW IMPACT - First and foremost this is probably The most important advantage that ellipticals have. They are very low impact.
    If you have bad knees or hips, you know how important low impact cardio can be!

    On a treadmill, the pounding you’d do with even a light jog may be enough to aggravate your sore spots, but the elliptical offers you a smooth ride that research suggests can even be used by patients with multiple sclerosis.t
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    WORKS ALSO YOUR UPPER BODY - Ellipticals have moveable hand rails that can exercise your upper body while you simultaneously pedal to work your lower body and cardiovascular system.xt
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    MORE VARIETY FOR LOWER BODY MUSCLES - By pedaling backwards you activate a different muscle series in your lower body and allows for a greater variety of work out. The extra mix up in your exercise program gives your muscles a break and enables you to avoid getting too tired.
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    WORK YOUR ASS OFF (LITERRALY!) - A study published in Clinical Biomechanics, a scientific journal, notes that elliptical machines are great for activating your glutes and strengthening the muscles in that region which is never a bad thing.

There are of course even more benefits, but the above are the major ones when comparing elliptical trainers vs. treadmills.

WHAT ABOUT HEAVIER PEOPLE?
Most ellipticals have a weight capacity of 300 lb, though we did review here the ProForm Hybrid trainer (350 lb max) and the excellent high-end Sole E35 elliptical that has 375 lb capacity.

But what if you weight over 375 pounds?

Equipment for Overweight

One advantage of treadmills have is the higher weight capacity. Some models can go up to 400 lb, which is a significant advantage for heavy people.

If you need a heavy duty treadmill, we reviewed 350 and 400 lb capacity treadmills, which were designed primarily for heavier people, you can find the recommended ones here.

Why Would You Want an Elliptical

Ellipticals are training machines that take elements of the stationary bike and stair stepper and combine it with the treadmill.

The result is machine that allows users to stand upright and perform a pedal-like motion while holding either stationary or moving handrails.

To activate the elliptical, you begin pedalling as you would on a bike but being upright not seated as you would on a bike. You should feel very natural and smooth during the stride.

Console-wise, the elliptical allows for continuous or interval training, variable resistance and different speed levels for a variety of workout choices. Even basic ellipticals will let you up the resistance or do pre-programmed workouts. Don't feel your best today? Take it easy with low resistance. Feel energetic, amp up the resistance level to get a more gruelling fat burning workout.

The best home elliptical machines are equipped with on-board fans to cool you off, and most come with a programmable display that shows you things like how fast you’re going, the distance you’ve traveled, and how many calories you’ve burned.

Features to Look for in Ellipticals

Stride Length.

The stride length is the distance between your feet. The stride length of an elliptical relates to your natural footpath.

Elliptical Stride Length

Tall people have long legs, so their steps (or strides) are longer than those of shorter people. The stride of a person 6'3" (190 cm) is naturally longer than someone who is only 5'5" (165 cm).

Why is that important?

Well, various elliptical trainers are capable of achieving different maximum stride lengths. Women and men with average height shouldn't care too much as most ellipticals have stride lengths that are comfortable for most people.

But if you are taller than say 6'2" (188 cm) it would be better for you to get elliptical that have longer stride lengths.

Machines with longer stride length also tend to feel more natural than ellipticals with a shorter strides.

Some machines have a fixed stride while others allow you to adjust the length of your stride, which may be useful if your home includes people of extremely different heights.

Here's a list of the top home ellipticals and their stride length:

As you can see most ellipticals have a 20" stride, which is pretty standard for mid-range to high end ellipticals.

Twenty inch stride is great for almost anyone, unless you are very tall, over 6'4" or 6'5" in which case a 22" stride would feel slightly more comfortable.

The Sole Fitness E35 has the longest stride length of 22" (adjustable from 20 to 22 inches).

The ProForm Hybrid Trainer has the shortest stride of 15".

Size and Footprint.

When you're shopping for an elliptical, you need to pay attention to measurements for length and width, so you can be sure your new machine will fit in its designated area. 

Ellipticals aren't too big, but like treadmills, they do take up considerable space. Just make sure you have enough space. Specs by companies also take into consideration the pedals that will go further than the length of the machine when in use.

Step-up Height (Watch Your Head)

The step-up height (also called step-on height) is the length between the floor and the pedal at its lowest position.

The step-up height is only important if you are tall and plan to place the elliptical in a basement or in a room with a low ceiling.

For rooms with standard ceiling heights you should have no problem/

The standard ceiling height is 8-9 foot (2.44-2.74m), some homes have ceilings with 10-11 ceiling (3.05-3.35m).

Most basement ceilings are 8 foot (2.44m)  but some basements are only 7 foot high.

How to make sure you have enough clearance (and prevent your head from hitting the ceiling)

Most manufacturers don't specify the step-on height (same as step-up) in specs, simply because the step-up height isn't a reliable measurement of whether an elliptical is ideal for you or not.

As I mentioned the step-up height is the space between the floor and the top of the pedal at its lowest position, however, that cannot reliably tell you how far from the ceiling your head would actually be.

Don't Judge a Machine Solely On Its Step-up Height

As you stride, your knees are bent throughout most of the motion. Your knees are straight only during the mid position of the pedals. That means judging a machine solely by it's lowest or maximum step-up height is pointless. It's the position of the pedals right in the middle that matters.

Simple Way Of Making Sure You Have Enough Clearance

Instead of focusing on the step up height, a super simple way is to just take your height and add 20". For example, if you are 6'1" (1.85m) add 20" (51cm) and you'll get 7'9" (2.36m). In that case, you'll be just fine if you have a standard 8-foot ceiling.

This is a conservative formula that should work for almost all ellipticals designed for home use. If the elliptical has an exceptionally low step-up height that's even better and taller people should experience no issues.

Formula For Known Step-up Heights

If the elliptical goes into a basement with a low ceiling and you are taller than 6 foot than using this formula can make sense, if that' s not the case don't bother just skip this part.

Simply take your own height and add the machine step-up height then add 6 inches more as a safety buffer. If that number is lower than your ceiling height, you're good.

For example, if you are 5'9" (1.75m) and the elliptical step-up height is 12" (30cm) then the calculation is 5'9" + 12" + 6" which equals to 7'3". This means you'll be fine as long as your ceiling is 7'3" (2.21 meters) or more.

Using the calculation above with a person who is 6'1", he would need a room with a ceiling of 7'3" (2.31 meters) or above.

Some other factors you should keep in mind are:

Incline Position - If you increase the incline level of the machine you will need more even more space above your head.

Ceiling Fan and Light Fixtures - Take these into account, you generally wouldn't want to place an elliptical under a ceiling fan if your ceiling height is sub-standard.

Don't worry about step-up height and measurements too much

If you are up to 6 feet tall and have an 8 foot ceiling you shouldn't worry, most home ellipticals will fit just fine (even for slightly taller people)

Further, while the step-up height may be important for you it's not the only feature you should care about.

Other Features

Drive placement, brakes and resistance system are features you should be less concerned about (they make more sense in very low-budget ellipticals).

We'll mention them briefly here, but you can feel free to skip this short section.

DRIVE PLACEMENT

Ellipticals can be configured in three different ways by placing the drive or flywheel at the front of the machine, at its center or at its back.

Rear Drive - The first ellipticals to hit the market featured a rear drive design due in part to the more natural stride the design allowed for. 

Front Drive - The benefits of the front drive include easier access to the pedals and less of a footprint. 

Center Drive - The center drive housing allows for a more compact machine although the pedals then stick out beyond the machine when it’s in use. 

In the past flywheel placement in ellipticals used to matter more, but today it doesn't really matter, smooth motion can be achieved regardless of the flywheel placement.

BRAKE AND RESISTANCE SYSTEM

Ellipticals have programmable resistance levels to increase the intensity of your workout.

The way that resistance is applied to the flywheel is one of the most important characteristics in an elliptical because it is a good clue as to the durability of the machine.

Manual Brakes - Low-budget ellipticals use manual brakes to create resistance. You can turn a knob that will make it easier or harder to stride. Sometimes, the resistance applied unevenly or may feel choppy, it can also be louder.

Motorized Brakes - With motorized brakes, you can essentially press a button for the same effect as the manual system gives you.

Eddy Current Magnetic Resistance - That's a fancy name, but all you need to know is that is the best system and makes smoother and more even. This method is sometimes called quiet drive or silent magnetic resistance.
All of the 6 ellipticals featured in this guide use this resistance system, so that's one less thing to worry about.

All of the 7 ellipticals featured in this guide use the magentic resistance system, so that's one less thing to worry about.

WHEELS

Unlike treadmills, most ellipticals do not fold up for easy storage. However, the ones in this buying guide all have transport wheels and integrated leveling to allow you to move them easier from room to room.


These are the Top 7 Elliptical Machines for Home

As with other cardio equipment, there are way too many options out there that can make you overwhelmed as to which one you should buy.

That's why we nailed it down to just a few we believe are the best ellipticals, whether for home use or as part of a home gym.

The ellipticals we review here represent our top recommendation for home use ellipticals. However, if you are on a very tight budget check our reviews of very low-budget ellipticals.

Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical

Best Elliptical for Home

Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine

There are many brands making home gym equipment out there, yet only a handful of companies have a track record of both consistently getting top reviews and customer satisfaction as Sole Fitness does.

Sole Fitness specializes in making high-end home cardio equipment with commercial grade construction and reliability, and their E35 Elliptical Machine is no exception.

But with quality and features comes a price, and the E35 Elliptical is by no means a cheap machine. It might be an overkill for an occasional use here and there, but if you want to take your training seriously, working out a couple of times a week, you'll rip the full benefit of this machine.

Promotional video from Sole about the E35 features

UPDATED 2019 MODEL
Sole keeps refreshing their models without always changing the model number. Even though the Sole E35 has been out there for a while, it keeps getting tweaked and improved, with recent improvement done in 2019.

GYM QUALITY
The Sole E35 doesn't feel like the typical home grade elliptical machine. It doesn't just looks solid and has a good finish, but as we mentioned previously, the motion and the operation all feel like a professional gym quality machine.

SOLID WARRANTY & SERVICE
You know that Sole Fitness is confident in their machine by looking at their warranties.

You get lifetime on frame, 5 years on parts and 2 years on labor. 
That's a better warranty compared to other elliptical machines and cardio equipment in general.While it's great to have a solid warranty, you'll also want to get a good service once something happens. Sole Fitness is known for their sound customer service, quickly answering customer questions and shipping replacement parts whenever needed, without delays.

SUPER QUIET
Some ellipticals can get a bit noisy, but not the Sole E35. This is one of the quietest ellipticals out there, almost silent. The only noise you'll hear is the momentary sound from the motor when you change the incline level, such as if you want to make the exercise more difficult. 

SO SMOOTH
Any cross trainer can look gorgeous on the outside, but the real test of the quality of an elliptical is when you step on it. When you'll start using the Sole E35 the first thing you'll notice is how super smooth each stride feels. The motion is as fluid as it gets, you'll find it hard to go back to other elliptical machines after using the E35. 

MAX USER WEIGHT OF 375 LBS
This makes the machine great for heavy people. The Sole E35 has the highest maximum weight capacity of all elliptical machines in this review. 

Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine

MOST ACCURATE HEART RATE MONITORING
As with most ellipticals, the E35 measures your pulse from the palms of your hand when you grip the handles. However, the E35 also includes a chest strap HRM which connects wirelessly and provides a very accurate heart rate reading during workout.

Some other ellipticals can also read heart rate from a chest strap, but they don't include the chest strap, that's an add-on which you have to purchase separately. We were surprised Sole included a chest strap in the box as standard.

CONNECTS TO FITNESS APPS VIA BLUETOOTH
You can transfer workout data to your favorite fitness apps (iOS and Android), so you can track your progress over time. You can check how the amounts of calories you burn during the workout correlate with weight loss or check how your cardio fitness level improves over time.

MULTI-POINT HANDLES FOR ADDED COMFORT
When you look at the Sole E35 Elliptical one of the very first things you'll notice are the curved handles. The E35 handles look different than the handles on other ellipticals.

They are many possible points of grip and different angles, this variety means anyone can find the preferred way of grip that is comfortable for him or her. 

Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine

Changing the grip isn't just more comfortable, but you it can also vary the upper body muscles that you target. It can shift the emphasis to work more on your back muscles, biceps, triceps or delts. This can give you a more complete upper body workout.

EASY ON THE KNEES, FOOT AND ANKLE
Seems like Sole Fitness went above and beyond to design an elliptical that minimize any unnecessary stress on your body. You can adjust the angle of the foot pedals via a red knob that is found under the platform.

Sole says that because every foot biomechanics is slightly different, by being able to change the angle of the foot pedal, you can avoid foot discomfort like numb toes or pain in the Achilles tendons.

Now if you plan to do short twenty minutes workouts here and there, maybe that not so crucial. However, for fitness enthusiasts or anyone who is going to rely on the E35 for many of his or her workouts, these kinds of adjustments can make all the difference between a nagging workout or a painless one.

POTENTIAL DOWNSIDES

The Sole Fitness E35 is a fantastic elliptical, but there are pros and cons to every machine. We think the positives far outweigh the negatives, but you should be aware of them anyway:

ASSEMBLY - Because this elliptical is heavy (it weighs about 230 lbs), it's not the easiest to assemble for just one person. You can still get it done, but we suggest two people for easier assembly. If you want to avoid setting up the elliptical yourself, you can simply add a professional assembly along with your order and get the peace of mind.

RESISTANCE - Some people think working out on the E35 isn't hard enough even if you set the E35 for maximum tension. We have heard strong guys have that had no issues and resistance was just fine even for hard workouts, but others claim it's a bit too easy even at max level. Our take, we think the new updated E35 model that is currently being sold has been further tweaked to allow both easy and hard workouts.  


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Specs

Price: Click to check price
Stride: 20"-22"
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes, By grip + Chest strap HRM
Size:  67 x 31 x 82 inches
Warranty: Frame Lifetime, Parts 5 Years, Labor 2 Years
Weight Capacity: 375 pound person (170 kg)

Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

Best Mid-Range Elliptical

Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

The Schwinn 470 Elliptical is the only machine in this product guide that is recommended by Consumer Reports as a “Best Value” elliptical. In CR’s buying guide, the 470 is listed as having “no discernible flaws in its performance.” You can’t get much better than that.

This video shows the 470 features, however this is for the 2013 edition, so the current 470 is even better. Schwinn keeps updating their models without changing the model number. When you purchase a new Schwinn 470 from Amazon you will get the updated models.

Two major differences that set the Schwinn 470 and its Nautilus E616 counterpart apart from the other ellipticals we review here, are the more accurate heart rate monitoring and incline adjustments.

In addition to the hand grips HR monitor, the Schwinn 470 and Nautilus E616 can also read data from a chest belt HR transmitter. This provides much more reliable heart rate reading. 

The chest reader is not included, you have to buy it separately.
The Polar T31 heart rate reader can connect wirelessly to the Schwinn and is the recommended heart rate transmitter (Polar HR readers are considered the gold standard).

The Schwinn 470, like the Nautilus E616, improves upon its earlier 430 model. The 470 features more programming, more resistance and the added benefit of an electronically-controlled incline. This means that you don’t have to adjust the incline by hand before you begin your workout.

WHY WE LIKT IT
The only thing we don't like about it is its price, the Schwinn 470 isn't for people looking for an elliptical on a low-budget. However, as a high-end elliptical that the Schwinn is, it's still cheaper than you would pay for a high-end treadmill.

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Saves data for up to four users
  • Chest strap option for more accurate heart rate tracking
  • Electronically-adjustable incline
  • Lots of programming and workout options with 29 programs and 25 resistance levels
  • 5 Quick keys dedicated to incline adjustment
  • Magazine/Tablet rack does not block the controls

CONS

  • Some customers reported issues with the flywheel breaking that took Schwinn customer service some time to resolve


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Specs

Price: Click to check price
Stride: 15"
Step-up Height: 12"
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes, in the hand grips
Size:  63 x 26 x 76 inches  (160 x 66 x 193 cm)
Warranty: Five-year frame and 90-day parts and labor
Stride Length: Set at 15 inches
Weight Capacity: 350 pounds (158 kg)
Drive Position: Rear

Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer

Also Great

Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer

The Nautilus E614 Elliptical is comparable to the Schwinn 430 in price, and features. Both of these companies have been around for ages, both machines are reliable.

The Nautilus is slightly longer than the Schwinn 430 but less wide. It boasts many of the same features, including 22 programming options, quick keys, and a dual LCD display.

Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer

The 3-speed fan is adjustable, so if someone in your home is shorter than you, it isn’t a problem. The front drive does seem to exaggerate some user’s complaints of leaning too far forward in the Nautilus E614, but that’s something you can test out when you shop to ensure it’s a good fit for you.

The dual screen readout allows you to place your phone or tablet on the media tray and still see some of your feedback options. The Nautilus does allow for performance tracking through their own workout tracking program, Nautilus Connect.

Console-wise, the Nautilus E614 has all the trappings of the Schwinn 430, including the ability to save data for two users, acoustic chambers for the sound system and a USB port. The two are in the same price range (depending on sale)  and even use the same resistance and braking system for as smooth a ride as possible.

WHY WE LIKE IT
The Nautilus E614 offers a smooth motion and a comfortable 20-inch stride. It's true we like the higher-end Nautilus E616 better because it has an electronic incline adjustment and more features, yet still, the E614 is a very good elliptical that's a close rival to the Schwinn 430.

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Great programming options
  • Adjustable fan
  • The 20-inch stride seems comfortable for most users
  • Manual incline with 6 levels

CONS

  • Some issues with pedal parts reported
  • A few users mention feeling like they lean too far forward on the pedals

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Specs

Price: Click to check price
Stride: 20"
Step-up Height: 13"

Heart Rate Monitor: Yes, in the grip of the stationary handle bars
Size:  72 x 27 x 63 inches  (182 x 68 x 160.5 cm)
Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year mechanical, 1-year electrical and 90-day labor
Stride Length: Fixed at 20 inches
Weight Capacity: 300 pounds (136 kg)
Drive Position: Front

Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine

Most Popular

Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine

The Schwinn 430 Elliptical has a track record of reliability. It has been on the market for several years now and that's a strength, not a weakness.

When an elliptical has been on the market for a while, it's only then that you know how reliable or unreliable it is, and the Schwinn 430 is a reliable machine!

Schwinn in general, and the Schwinn 430 model, in particular, have a good reputation and offers an excellent warranty, including 10-year coverage on the frame. Its sturdy construction makes for a heavy-duty machine that's almost 170 pounds.

The Schwinn 430 is quite easy to assemble and can be down even within just one hour (two hours if you take your time), so non-handy men and women will surely appreciate that. Its wheels allow you some flexibility so you can move it around once you’re ready to begin your workout.

The elliptical has 20" stride that Schwinn prides itself for resembling a natural running motion.

Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine

If you like a machine with just enough programming to change up your workouts without getting too confusing, this one will be a good fit.

It provides you with the ability to save data for two users and to access 22 different workout programs, 20 levels of resistance. It also includes 10 resistance quick keys, so you can make mid-workout adjustments quickly or toggle back and forth between levels.

The Schwinn 430 even offers a manual incline option although you have to set the incline before you begin your workout as it is not something you can adjust digitally.

The LCD displays dual monitors, allowing you to keep up with 13 different tracking options. There is also a ledge for users to place their tablet or phone near the display.

The heart rate monitor is located on the static handlebars though multiple users report getting hit by the moving handles while trying to register their heart rate on the static ones.

With the flywheel located in front, the Schwinn 430 has an onboard fan to help cool you off when you get hot.

WHY WE LIKE IT
We feel safe buying a machine that is so popular as the Schwinn 430 and has such great feedback from users. It's features and comfort of using further makes it a solid all-arounder elliptical.

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Highly reliable elliptical with a solid warranty
  • Can be programmed for two different users
  • Good program selection
  • Smooth ride due to its 20 levels of eddy current resistance and weighted flywheel
  • Has an incline option

CONS

  • Non-adjustable stride feels short for some people
  • The on-board fan does not adjust well to users of different heights
  • Some users report getting hit by the moveable handrails when holding the static ones

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Specs

Price: Click to check price
Stride: 20"
Step-up Height: ~13"
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes, in the handle bars
Size:  70.1 x 28.2 x 63.2 inches  (178 x 71.5 x 160.5 cm)
Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year mechanical, 1-year electrical and 90-day labor
Stride Length: Set at 20 inches
Weight Capacity: 300 pounds (136 kg)
Drive Position: Front

ProForm Hybrid Trainer

Budget Pick
Elliptical Exercise Bike Hybrid

ProForm Hybrid Trainer

This machine is the only one featured in this product guide that you can use either upright as standard elliptical or seated as a recumbent bike. It's like having two machines in one, and I think that's a huge plus.

With the drive housed in the rear to accommodate the bike seat, the ProForm Hybrid Trainer is a sturdy option for the price although it does not come with a lot of frills. It's a great choice if you might tire standing up and want to switch to cycling. It’s also excellent for multi-user households with varying exercise preferences.

The ProForm Hybrid Trainer offers basic programming with 14 resistance levels and moving handrails that can be used with the elliptical option to work out your arms.

It has a 350-pound weight limit and will bear your weight well, in part due to its silent magnetic resistance system.

Note that the stride length is only 15 inches, which is considerably short if you are average height. Another issue is that the heart rate monitor is located in the handgrip, making it difficult for those using the machine as a recumbent bike to check their heart rate.

The console adjusts to whether you’re using the elliptical or cycling option, and you can plug in your MP3 player or iPhone for music.

The warranty for this machine offers five-year coverage on the frame and 90-days for parts and labor. Some users have reported that ProForm’s customer service is not easy to work with if the machine arrives with missing or broken parts although they will cover those items.

WHY WE LIKE IT
To make a machine that's actually two machines in one (an elliptical trainer and recumbent bike) is a great bonus, and to have that machine able to support a person who weighs up to 350 pounds is a great achievement. But, to also have it priced so low, like the Proform Hybrid Trainer is, now that's a true feat!

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Two different exercise options in one machine
  • Only elliptical here with a 350 pound user weight capacity.
  • Very affordable and excellent value
  • Does not require electrical power

CONS

  • Stride is only 15 inches, which is shorter than average. May not be as comfortable as an elliptical for a tall person.
  • This machine has fewer programming options than other ellipticals in this buying guide


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Specs

Price: Click to check price
Stride: 15"
Step-up Height: 12"
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes, in the hand grips
Size:  63 x 26 x 76 inches  (160 x 66 x 193 cm)
Warranty: Five-year frame and 90-day parts and labor
Stride Length: Set at 15 inches
Weight Capacity: 350 pounds (158 kg)
Drive Position: Rear

Horizon Fitness EX-59-02 Elliptical Trainer

Best for Tall users with Low Ceilings 

Horizon Fitness EX-59-02 Elliptical Trainer

The Horizon Fitness EX-59-02 Elliptical is one of the smaller machines featured in this product guide.

It has a front drive system, which allows it to be compact and it also boasts of a low step-on height of just 10 inches. Horizon is known for making low step-on ellipticals and is one of the very few companies that provide the step-on (step-up) height (10") in their specs.

The low step-up height of the Horizon means that that you are less elevated from the floor during the workout. With the Horizon even tall people should have enough clearance between their head and the ceiling.
(You can read more about the important of step-up height in the beginning of the article)

If you have trouble with the accessibility of bigger machines, then this could be the elliptical for you.

One of the EX 59-02’s best characteristics is its ergonomics design. It's designed for optimal spaces between handles, straight body posture so no leaning too far forward or backward and ideal pedal placement with a pedal motion that most resembles a natural footstep.

The stride movement is smooth and the elliptical doesn't produce much noise. In tact, the Horizon EX-59-02 is one of the most quiet elliptical trainers.

This elliptical machine does not feature as many programming options as the Schwinn 430 or the Nautilus E614, but its 10 workout options and heart rate programming still let you get the workout variety you’re after, albeit with less bells and whistles.

You have to consider what you need. When you’re just starting out or looking for a machine that is going to be as low-impact and easily accessible as this one is, then you probably don’t need as many programming buttons to confuse you.

Consistent with its no-frills approach, the EX 59-02 does not have an on-board fan. It also features a media tray and water bottle holder.

WHY WE LIKE IT
If you are tall and have to put the elliptical in a low ceiling room or a basement, you'll definitely appreciate the low step-up height of the pedals. The motion is flawless, and it's one of most quiet ellipticals (you won't disturb others watching TV).

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Low step-on height of 10" makes it ideal for tall people, basements or rooms with low ceilings.
  • Smaller-than-average size
  • Very quiet
  • Most users report feeling comfortable with the 18-inch stride
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame
  • Ergonomic design for better posture and less stress on back and hips

CONS

  • No fan
  • No incline option
  • Water bottle holder is too low for some users
  • Weight limit is lower than average at 275 pounds

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Specs

Price: Click to check price
Stride: 18"
Step-up Height: 10"

Heart Rate Monitor: Yes, in the hand grips
Size:  68 x 25 x 64 inches  (173 x 63.5 x 162.5 cm)
Warranty: Lifetime coverage on the frame, two-year coverage on parts and one-year coverage on labor
Stride Length: Fixed at 18 inches
Weight Capacity: 275 pounds (125 kg)
Drive Position: Front

The Horizon Evolve 3 Elliptical is the company's newer, higher-end model.

We didn't write a separate review for the Evolve 3 because its got the same benefits as the EX-59-02 but with many more features and better specs. For example you can connect the Evolve 3 to the ViaFit app on your phone and sync the workouts to your phone.

Here's a comparison between the EX-59-02 and the Evolve 3 showing the main differences.

Feature

Stride Length

18"

20"

Folds down

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Folded Dimensions
41" x 28" x 69"
(L x W x H)

WIFI

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Connects to ViaFit App

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Max User Weight

275 lbs

300 lbs

Resistance Levels

10

20

LCD Display

4.5"

5.5"

Workout Programs

10

32

Assembled Dimensions (L x W x H)

68" x 25" x 64"

69" x 28" x 69"

Nautilus E616

Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer

The Nautilus E616 Elliptical is a higher end machine with more features than most of the other ellipticals in this buying guide. If you’re looking for all the bells and whistles, the E616 is a great option, albeit the E616 isn't the cheapest elliptical.

The Nautilus E616 and the Schwinn 470 both have electronically controlled incline level, allowing you to change the incline level mid-workout which many users consider a huge plus.

The Nautilus (like the Schwinn 470) can track the heart rate by holding the hand grips or by connecting wirelessly to a chest strap such as the Polar T31 heart rate reader, which you should purchase separately.

The Nautilus E616 and the Schwinn 470 both have electronically controlled incline level, allowing you to change the incline level mid-workout which many users consider a huge plus.

Improving on the E614 model (which is the E616 little brother), this elliptical offers even more programming options with 29 different workouts.

It also features a bright backlit LCD display (The lower-end model E614 has a non-backlit display). 

Another improvement upon the earlier model, the E616 allows you to choose up to 25 different resistance levels just in case you feel maxed out with the 20 levels that the E614 gives you.

The E616 is also Bluetooth enabled for you to upload data to the Nautilus Connect performance app or the MyFitnessPal app although many users reported connection issues with this feature.

WHY WE LIKE IT
We love the features and especially the Bluetooth connectivity and sync to MyFitnessPal. The movement is smooth as you can expect from a high-end machine. The Nautilus E616 along with the Schwinn 470 are our two favorite ellipticals in this guide.

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Low step-on height of 10" makes it ideal for tall people, basements or rooms with low ceilings.
  • Smaller-than-average size
  • Very quiet
  • Most users report feeling comfortable with the 18-inch stride
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame
  • Ergonomic design for better posture and less stress on back and hips

CONS

  • No fan
  • No incline option
  • Water bottle holder is too low for some users
  • Weight limit is lower than average at 275 pounds

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Specs

Price: Click to check price
Stride: 20"
Step-up Height: 13"

Heart Rate Monitor: Yes, in the handgrips and also for use with a chest strap
Size:  70 x 28 x 71 inches  (178 x 71 x 180.5 cm)
Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year mechanical, 1-year electrical and 90-day labor
Stride Length: Fixed at 20 inches
Weight Capacity: 300 pounds (136 kg)
Drive Position: Front

Elliptical Trainer Hybrids

Elliptical Trainers have evolved in recent years from simple elliptical machines to ones that are hybrid of several machines in one.

For example, the ProForm Cardio HIIT can be thought of as an elliptical on steroids. Its movement is a combination of an elliptical and a stepper. Different grip positions allow for more upper body work. You can read more about the ProForm Cardio HIIT here.

ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer

Other hybrids between an elliptical and a stepper are the Bowflex Max Trainer and TreadClimber

Recap

Best Elliptical for Home

Max User Weight: 375 lbs (170 kg)
Stride: 22"
Step-up Height: -
Size: 82" x 35" x 61"


Best Mid-Range Elliptical

Max User Weight: 300 lbs (136 kg)
Stride: 20"
Step-up Height: 13"
Size: 70" x 28" x 63"


Also Great

Max User Weight: 300 lbs (136 kg)
Stride: 20"
Step-up Height: 13"
Size: 72" x 27" x 63"

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Most Popular

Max User Weight: 300 lbs (136 kg)
Stride: 20"
Step-up Height: 13"
Size: 70" x 28" x 63"


Best Low Budget Elliptical

Max User Weight: 350 lbs (158 kg)
Stride: 15"
Step-up Height: 12"
Size: 63" x 26" x 76"


Best for Low Ceiling

Max User Weight: 275 lbs (125 kg)
Stride: 18"
Step-up Height: 10"
Size: 68" x 25" x 64"


Max User Weight: 300 lbs (136 kg)
Stride: 20"
Step-up Height: 13"
Size: 70" x 28" x 71"