Best Buy Elliptical Machine
Whether having an elliptical machine at home is worth it or not depends on a few factors. If you're looking for a low-impact exercise machine that provides a full-body workout, an elliptical is a great option. Also weigh how often you expect to use it versus other types of exercise.
best buy elliptical machine
Exercising on an elliptical machine can work a number of muscle areas, including the chest, back, biceps, triceps, core muscles, glutes and hamstrings, according to CNET's sister site Healthline. Ellipticals offer a low-impact alternative to running, while still providing a full-body workout.
How many calories you burn on an elliptical will vary depending on your weight and the intensity and duration of the workout. According to Harvard, 30 minutes of exercise on an elliptical can burn an average of 270 calories for a 125-pound person, 324 calories for a 155-pound person and 378 calories for a 185-pound person.
The elliptical is a good cardio workout because it works your heart and lungs. It can be performed as a steady-state workout or as a high intensity interval training workout. As a result, it helps you build up your endurance.
We tested various elliptical models to help you decide which is the best fit for your lifestyle and space. This was a collaborative effort from the team at CNET to determine our top picks for the best elliptical machines. If you're looking for more budget-friendly ellipticals, these are some of our favorites. Keep reading to learn more about our favorites and why you'll also approve of them in your home.
The NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 really has it all -- an adjustable stride length, a 14-inch color touchscreen, oversize cushioned pedals, auto-adjustment capabilities and Bluetooth connectivity. At 32 pounds, this elliptical machine also has one of the heaviest flywheels on the market. When you combine that with magnetic resistance, the end result is an impressively quiet machine with smooth movement.
One thing that makes this machine stand out is that it's fully integrated with iFit, an immersive training experience that gives you access to elite personal trainers and structured, guided workouts to help you achieve your fitness goal.
When you choose a workout through iFit, you're taken through terrain in places like Chile and the Canary Islands as an elliptical trainer guides you through a simulated workout that automatically adjusts both incline and resistance on your machine as you go. And the 14-inch touchscreen made it that much better and more realistic.
You get one month of iFit family membership for free with the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9, and then it's $39 a month. You also have the option to skip iFit altogether and run the machine manually, but the iFit experience takes this elliptical trainer machine from good to great.
The only real negative of this fitness equipment is that it's big. Because this elliptical exercise machine was technically designed for commercial gym equipment use, it takes up a lot of space in a home gym, both horizontally and vertically.
It's not only the largest horizontally, it's also the tallest machine of the bunch, so when I was standing on it, I felt like my head was pretty close to the ceiling, even at average height. If you like all of the features of the 14.9, but want something that's just a little bit smaller (and a little bit less expensive) the NordicTrack Commercial 12.9 is almost the same thing -- it does have a smaller screen and a lighter flywheel -- in a more compact size.
One of the biggest hesitations in purchasing a traditional elliptical machine is the size. There are a lot of compact ellipticals out there, but as a general rule, you have to sacrifice performance for space. That's not true of the ProForm Carbon HIIT H7, though. Unlike other ellipticals that take up a lot of horizontal space in your home gym, the Carbon HIIT H7 has a vertical design that makes this home elliptical more reminiscent of a stair stepper machine, rather than an elliptical.
Because of the way it's designed, it takes up about half the space of a regular elliptical. It's not just about gym equipment space, though. The 10-inch vertical and 5-inch horizontal elliptical path were intentionally combined to give you a better workout intensity and a higher calorie burn.
The stride definitely felt different than a traditional elliptical machine, but when using the machine, my legs were on fire, in all the best ways. I especially felt it on my glutes and the backs of my thighs, similar to the places a stair climber targets. However, since your foot never leaves the foot pedal, it's still a zero-impact workout that puts less stress on your body than stair climbing or other cardio workout options.
Another thing that made this ProForm elliptical machine stand out is that it's quiet. When compared to some of the other higher-end ellipticals, this one was considerably less noisy. That's because instead of air resistance, it uses Silent Magnetic Resistance, or SMR, a trademarked form of resistance that's smoother and quieter. It was also stable, without any rocking or shaking at all, even at high speeds on the cardio machine.
Because ProForm is owned by Icon Health & Fitness, like the NordicTrack, this machine comes equipped with iFit, which is another huge check in the pro column, offering the option to be guided through your workout by a professional elliptical trainer. And the 7-inch HD touchscreen on the console made the iFit experience hyper-realistic and easy to navigate.
One thing that bothered me about the ProForm Carbon HIIT H7 was that there's no place to put a tablet. This isn't a major deal, especially if you're using iFit, since you likely wouldn't be paying attention to your tablet anyway, but I thought it would be a nice additional touch for those who have other fitness memberships. I also didn't like the fact that there's no power button. The manual says the machine has auto shut-off, but it never kicked in for me. I had to unplug it to turn it off when I wasn't using it -- something that was inconvenient for a high-end machine.
While ellipticals are categorized as one of the lowest-impact cardio machines, they can still be too much for anyone with joint pain, healing injuries or mobility issues. That's where the Teeter FreeStep LT3 Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical comes in. Similar to a recumbent bike, because of its recumbent -- or reclined and seated -- position, the Teeter FreeStep eliminates stress on your joints and takes the load off your back, so you can get a great workout in without premature body fatigue.
In addition to being easy on the joints, this elliptical cross machine is also simple to use. The console is the most straightforward of the bunch, so you don't need to be tech-savvy to get it going. It has one button you can press to toggle between time, distance, speed and calories. There's also an adjustable knob right under the seat that you can use to change your sitting position and you can move the angle of the seat for a more customized position.
One warning: It's easier to phone it in when using this machine compared to others. Because you're sitting back, instead of standing up, it's tempting to lean back and give the minimal effort required to check "work out" off your to-do list, but if you stay mindful of that and keep the adjustable resistance as high as you can, you'll get a great workout with almost zero impact.
The Schwinn 470 is the elliptical for you if you're looking for a comfortable yet intuitive machine. Upon first look you can tell it's a step up from the Schwinn 411, which we previously recommended. The Schwinn 470 has a more modern aesthetic. This was one of the easier machines to assemble on our own because the manual provided clear instructions with illustrations. The design on this machine is also less bulky than expected, even though it's larger than the Schwinn 411.
When in use, the machine is sturdy and doesn't wobble, which indicates that it can support people of different weights and heights. The pedals have large footplates and are smooth and comfortable with each stride. This machine's stride length is 20 inches, therefore it should be suitable for people over 6 feet tall. I'm short, so it didn't affect me, but if you're on the taller side make sure to have enough room between the machine and the ceiling otherwise it may feel a little cramped.
Given its simplicity, I was not expecting the machine to be as smooth and comfortable as it was. The pedaling was quiet, which isn't always to be expected when it comes to exercise equipment. The digital monitor is nothing novel and has a simple display like most elliptical machines.
Even though this machine doesn't have Wi-Fi, it does have Bluetooth and lets you connect to your favorite apps such as MyFitnessPal, Apple Health and MapMyRun/Ride. If you simply want a machine that feels comfortable and gets the job done, then you'll like the Schwinn 470.
If you want an elliptical that reminds you of the classic ones you find in the gym, then you'll like the Nautilus E618. This machine offers a smooth ride and the footplate uses a suspension-adjust performance-cushioning system, which lets you adjust the angle from zero to 10 degrees for customized heel support. The stride rails are also designed to create a balanced and stable experience. Assembling this machine took longer than expected because the instructions on the manual were not clear. I'd recommend purchasing the in-home assembly option or having someone assist you if you plan on putting this machine together yourself. During testing, the stride felt natural and effortless. It was even mostly quiet with the exception of a couple of squeaks here and there.
This elliptical can hold up to 350 pounds, which makes it versatile for people of different weights and heights. Although the interface looks like a standard elliptical, it offers 29 different training programs that you can follow. If you want a change of scenery you can download the Nautilus Explore the World app which lets you exercise virtually in 19 different locations. You have the option to sign up for $10 a month or $60 for the year, and you can cancel your subscription at any time. The machine can be paired with your phone or tablet via Bluetooth, so you can see, save and share your fitness journey. Unfortunately, the Bluetooth technology is not multifunctional so you wouldn't be able to connect a heart rate monitor or another device to the machine. 041b061a72