The 10 Best Elliptical Machines for 2020 : Home Use & Budget Friendly

When you are looking to buy yourself the best elliptical machine on the market there are so many factors to consider. It is important to make sure that you set yourself a budget and do your best to stick within it; ellipticals can get quite expensive and if you don’t have the money to buy an expensive one this is something that you should use first and foremost to narrow down your options. In order to help you narrow down your options and help you decide on the kind of price tag that you should pay for an elliptical, we have come up with a buying guide as well as a list of our picks for the top ten ellipticals on the market.

Top Elliptical Machine Comparison Chart

Elliptical Machine Buying Guide

Price (Under $200, $300, & $1000+)

This is something that you are probably going to have to put some thought into as there is a very broad range of prices available for ellipticals. If you aren’t someone who regularly exercises and you are hoping to change this by buying yourself an expensive unit then you should probably rethink things over. An expensive unit isn’t going to help you be more active, you can be more active without buying the fanciest equipment that is available and this is something that you should keep in mind. It is important to make a budget for yourself that reflects your financial situation as well as your wants and needs. Rather than creating a budget for yourself blindly, it is a good idea to look up a few different ellipticals to see what kinds of costs they have first and whether you get the features that you need included in the price range that you are comfortable purchasing in.

Warranty

The warranty of a product is a very important aspect of it especially because an elliptical isn’t a very cheap product to start out with, even in the low end versions on the market. It is important to look deep into the warranty to make sure that you are covered for a length that you feel is appropriate as well as to make sure that the warranty covers you for the things that you think you may need it for. It is also a good idea to check out the return policy before you purchase so that you can have some peace of mind knowing that if you uncover and product defects you will be able to return the unit without hassle.

Features

Depending on the type of elliptical that you buy you are going to notice a very broad range of features incorporated into the design. On the most expensive units you should expect to find the most features and you will see things like really large displays, extra tracking modes, built in exercise programs, heart monitoring devices and longer warranties than you will see on the cheaper units. It can be difficult to compromise on features when you are buying a product but some products features really don’t help to explain the high price tag of the unit which is important to be aware of.

Transformation/ Multi-Use

Many ellipticals on the market are capable of being used for several different types of exercises. You will find that some ellipticals are capable of being transformed into a bike position; this is great if you get bored of exercising quite easily as it really allows you to change up your workout routine. Not only will this work out different muscle groups more effectively but it will also give you better value for your money; buying yourself a bike is quite expensive and getting these two machines incorporated into one design is quite a space saver and a real nice bonus.

Stride Length

This is something that you should definitely have a look at if you are a really tall person. Something with a small stride length is going to be difficult for you to use and you aren’t going to be getting as much exercise from something that has a low stride length. Many ellipticals allow you to move with your own stride length but each of them will have their own maximums and it is important to be aware of these so that you can choose an option that works for your body type.

Display

Normally any kind of an elliptical will have some kind of a display incorporated into the design in order to track some of your exercising statistics so that you can improve your exercise regimen or keep track of your progress. An elliptical device is going to likely have some kind of an LCD display; generally, the more expensive the unit the more statistics the screen will track and the better your visual exercising program will be. As the cost rises for a unit it is also much more likely that you will find more exercise programs incorporated into the design that are great to encourage you to keep working hard and attempt to keep you from becoming bored with your workout routine.

Weight Limits

It is important to be aware that many ellipticals do have a weight limit in place and it is important to make sure that you check into it before your purchase your unit. Generally speaking you will find that the more expensive the unit is the higher the weight limit on the unit will be. It is commonplace that exceeding the weight limit will void your warranty and for this reason alone the weight limit of a unit is very important to check because if you are over the weight limit and it causes damage to the unit you likely won’t be covered by the company.

Accessories

Many of the middle-of-the-line ellipticals will come with some nice accessories in an attempt to sweeten up the deal. Some awesome features that you may find included with your elliptical include: a fan to help cool you down during your workout, a water bottle holder so that you can drink and exercise at the same time, as well as some kind of a sound system so that you can blast your music over a speaker to help motivate yourself to workout. Some ellipticals even take a step further and offer things like a USB port to charge your device or some kind of a wireless connection that you can use to help track your progress over time rather than having to do it manually on your own.

Best Elliptical Machine Reviews


 

1.  Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical

If you have a significant budget and want one of the most high-end ellipticals on the market then this may be a good option for you. This unit has the option of coming assembled if you don’t want to piece everything together. The unit features a massive stride length of 20-22 inches so that it is capable of working for almost anyone. There are numerous premium features built into this design including adjustable pedals, chest strap heart rate monitor, 7.5-inch display, built-in fan to keep you cool, water bottle holder and even a sound system to name a few of the awesome features. You will find six standard workout programs as well as two custom programs for your own convenience. 15-inch pedals allow almost all users to stand comfortably on the device thanks to a very large 375 lb weight limit. You get a very large warranty with your purchase as well including a lifetime warranty on the frame, a five-year warranty on any electronics or parts and a two-year warranty on labor.

Pros:

  • Capable of holding someone who weighs 375 lbs
  • Built-in fan to keep you cool
  • Two heart rate monitors for extremely accurate results
  • Water bottle holder to keep you hydrated
  • Large 7.5 inch LCD display
  • Built-in sound system to listen to your favorite music
  • Large warranty covers: lifetime on the frame, two years for labor, five years on any electronics and parts

Cons:

  • High price tag is likely out of reach for most people

 


 

2.  Schwinn 430 Elliptical

If you have a bit of a higher budget then this may be a good option for you. This elliptical has the option of coming pre-assembled if you don’t like dealing with instructions and you are willing to pay an extra price for convenience. Dual LCD displays on this device allow you to monitor as many as 13 stats at any one time so that you can really have a grasp on your exercise routine. A program called Schwinn connect is built into the design and it allows you to track your goals and export your exercise data so that you can look at it on other devices. This elliptical features 22 different exercise programs in the design in order to keep you from becoming bored. Other things you will notice are goal setting options and twenty different resistance options which allow you to exercise as hard or as easy as you like. Also built into the design of this elliptical is a USB charging port so that you can have your personal devices handy and listen to music during your workout.

Pros:

  • Big name brand
  • USB charge port located directly on the unit
  • A pre-assembled option is available
  • Two LCD displays allow you to track your stats with as much as 13 stats being displayed at any one time
  • 22 workout programs are incorporated into the design
  • Goal tracking and 20 levels of resistance to allow you to exercise how you want

Cons:

  • Disappointing customer service when repairs needed

 


 

3.  Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer

While not exactly a pro-level trainer, the “not-exactly-pro-level-trainer” price tag suits us just fine!  For around $300 this little machine packs quite a number of features.  

There are 24 levels of smooth magnetic resistance along with 21 pre-set computerized workouts.  It features 2 sets of handlebars for a varied workout, and it comes with larger than standard pedals to prevent foot slippage.  The pedals are only 6″ apart so you don’t strain your inner thigh (which may happen if you work on an elliptical machine whose pedals are farther apart from each other).

The included hand pulse sensors allow monitoring of your heart rate which allows you to really drill down to tweak your workout precisely if you care to.

We especially like some of the tech and ingenuity that’s gone into the Double Transmission System which operates with 2 flywheels and 2 belts at all times.  Not only does Double Transmission allow for a smaller machine with “bigger machine” capabilities, but it offers more momentum in your stride and makes your stride noticeably smoother.

Lots of other small nice inclusions would be the wheels (which just look like end caps) for easier moving, extended leg stabilizers, water bottle holder and really slim design.

Pros:
  • Magnetic resistance has 24 different tension options you can use to increase and decrease difficulty
  • 20-inch stride length is great for tall people (most have 18 inches or less)
  • Can set distance, time and calorie goals to help motivate you
  • Nice LCD screen capable of monitoring distance, time, speed, odometer, watts, pulse, and calories burned
  • 21 built-in workout programs to keep you entertained and keep you on track with your fitness goals

Cons:

  • Only available in grey
  • Washers and bushings in the arm handles may not function as well as expected in some individual models

 


 

4.  Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3609

If you are looking to purchase a device on the “less expensive” side of things then this may be a good option for you. This unit has the option of coming pre-assembled for your own convenience and it comes with a nice steel frame that offers a secure, stable elliptical even during intense exercise. This elliptical is capable of holding someone who weighs 265 lbs and it has a nice LCD display incorporated into its design for entertainment while you run. The LCD display is capable of tracking your stats and will show you things like what speed you are traveling, how far you have gone, what your pulse rate is, what time you have been running for as well as how many calories you have burned during the duration of your workout. This elliptical incorporates transportation wheels into its design which will allow you to easily move the unit around the room. If you like to have some adjustment options; this elliptical is capable of eight different tension options in order for you to be able to make your workout easier or more difficult as you wish.

Pros:

  • Capable of holding up a user that weighs 265 lbs
  • Sturdy steel frame even during intense exercise
  • LCD display tracks your speed, pulse, distance, time and calories burned
  • Eight different tension options to increase or decrease the difficulty of your workouts
  • Can come pre-assembled for an extra price
  • 3-year warranty on the frame/structure

Cons:

  • No built-in workout programs
  • 265 lb weight limit may not be high enough for some people

 


 

5.  Stamina – InMotion E1000 Compact Strider

This tiny, compact little machine packs a good punch for the money.  It’s the size of something that might be cheaper (like around $30 – $50) but in fact, the Stamina InMotion is upwards of $80.  There’s a reason for that!

It’s super portable (24×15. inches), quiet and really efficient.  You can change the intensity of your workout by adjusting the dial while you’re in stride, and you can see your stats while working out by using the display monitor between your feet.  It’s engineered in such a way that it can be used sitting or standing and you can pedal forward or backward at will.

Another cool feature of the InMotion E1000 is that it was made to offer the option of low-attention, semi-passive workouts (that’s a new one on me!!).  Because it’s unobtrusive, it can be used while sitting and working on a computer.

Not that it matters hugely, but it does come in your choice of 3 colors – silver, orange or green.

Pros:

  • Very unobtrusive
  • Extremely portable

Cons:

  • Like any lower-end machine it is prone to potential problems like loose parts and squeaking/noisiness

 


6.  Fast88 Portable Elliptical Machine

The Fast88 is not a high-end serious machine, but then, most of our list does not include that type of machine because that’s probably not YOU!  Most folks are looking for an affordable, decent machine that can get their butts moving so they don’t just plant their keester on the couch in front of the TV!  You probably already know that the hot girls and good-looking guys with great bodies didn’t get their results from an elliptical.  It’s just a tiny part of the bigger picture.

That said, the Fas88 is one of the highest-ranking machines on all of Amazon for customer satisfaction.  That says a lot since there are always some bad reviews on every other elliptical we researched.  For a price point in the mid-$200’s, this is one incredibly capable machine.

It features 8 levels of magnetic resistance, easily adjustable difficulty levels, digital monitor and pulse rate hand grips just to name a few of the great features.

Is it perfect?  I doubt it.  In fact, if I was REALLY serious about cardio, I’d spend at least a few thousand bucks or more on a pro machine but then I’d expect it to last my lifetime too!  Otherwise, this one seems to fit the bill for lots of people!

Pros:

  • Probably the best “value” on our whole list
  • Amazingly good Amazon buyer review profile

Cons:

  • Not a serious fitness machine if you’re looking for a lifestyle change and serious body shaping
  • Challenging assembly for some

 


 

7.  Exerpeutic 1000XL Heavy Duty Magnetic Elliptical

This elliptical is available for an average-to-low price tag and has some nice features which help it to stand out in the market. You will find that this elliptical is quite sturdy and prevents the unit from moving around on you during the hardest portions of your workout routine. This design offers eight different tension adjustment options which allow the user to choose how difficult they want to exercise at any given time. This unit comes with a large LCD display that is capable of tracking many of your stats. Some of the stats that you will find include calories burned, time, heart rate and speed as well as the distance that you have gone over the duration of your workout.

An excellent flywheel (for the price) offers a low-noise environment and the sturdiness of the unit offers a generous 300-pound weight limit.

Pros:

  • Option of coming pre-assembled
  • Large LCD screen
  • Capable of tracking stats such as time, distance, calories burned, speed and heart rate
  • Pulse pads on the handles provide accurate heart rate readings
  • Sturdy design to give you some peace of mind when you are working out at an intense pace
  • Good stride length for a tall person

Cons:

  • No built-in workout programs in the LCD screen
  • Could take a while to assemble

 


 

8.  Octane Fitness Pro 3700 Classic Elliptical Machine (refurbished)

Even though it’s refurbished, this commercial-quality precision machine will still set you back close to $3K.  Why?  Where do I begin?

Firstly, the machine looks and works like new and it’s even re-packaged like new and comes with a 90-day warranty.  Now, on to the good stuff.

This machine truly offers an exceptionally comfortable experience with ergonomically natural movements both forward and backward.  Octane is known in the fitness machine industry for its reliability so we’re pretty confident in this model.  In fact, health clubs, training centers and military bases worldwide use and covet the Octane brand.

You can actually target different muscles in your chest, back and arms by your changing your grip on the machine.  You can try advanced workouts like Cross Circuit, MMA and other fitness regimens included.  Let’s just say this is a premium performing machine with a compact footprint and a company history of nearly 100 industry awards.

 

Pros:

  • Very high-end premium machine
  • Lots of fitness routine options
  • Relatively compact footprint for such a quality machine
  • Health Club quality

Cons:

  • Refurbished unit – not brand new!

 


 

9.  ProGear 300LS Air Elliptical with Heart Pulse Sensor

The ProGear 300LS is our best cross between VERY budget-friendly and “substance”.  It’s priced nearly as low as they come (just over $100 or so) but at first glance, it looks like a machine costing 4 times or more the price.  It’s not a trainer for serious workouts and its stride length is only 14 inches.  It can handle bigger loads (sorry, that’s not meant as an insult!) of up to 275 lbs.  If you’re bigger than that, there are other exercises we’d suggest you start with like lots of fast walking, and really healthy eating – another topic for another day!

We’re also given a water bottle holder and transportation wheels which, while not exactly a luxury, are items not always found in a budget-oriented unit such as this.

Pros:

  • Weight capacity of 275 lbs – not bad for an inexpensive budget machine
  • LCD display tracks heart rate, distance and calories burned
  • Great for smaller spaces

Cons:

  • No built-in workout programs 
  • 14-inch stride is a little bit stingy

 


 

10.  Plasma Fit Elliptical Machine Cross Trainer 2 in 1 

Here’s another budget-friendly version of an elliptical which may be a great option for some (smaller people, light workout, and not much room).  For a serious workout with the intention of building cardio fitness, I’d suggest something more like the Sole Fitness E35.  Yes, it’s absolutely expensive, but it’s one of the few options capable of handling nearly anything you throw at it (weight, abuse, high usage, etc.) and will increase your cardiovascular fitness even if you already have a solid basic fitness level.  I didn’t have the money for one, so I put off buying a good elliptical for over a year.  I saved up and now I have one of the best on the market.  The whole family uses it and it never sits gathering dust!  However, as I mention in other elliptical reviews, there is a place for machines like the Plasma Fit 2 in 1.  If you use it properly it is very capable of getting you moving and circulating your blood while toning muscles.  Movement is life, so get your butt in gear!  It’s a space-saving design, but unfortunately has only an 11″ foot stride (that’s not great – you’ll want double that if you can get it).  It also offers both elliptical use and exercise bike use (with seat).

With tubular steel construction and a pretty wide base, you have some stability and durability.  13.5″ long handrail grips and 6″ textured foot pedals add to the overall value.  Like other machines, it has of course, adjustable resistance for multiple users or progressing fitness levels.  Its LCD panel tracks heart rate (via handrails), speed, time and distance along with calories burned.

Pros:

  • Wide base makes this unit quite stable so that you feel secure during an intense workout
  • Adjustable resistance dial allows you to increase the difficulty of your workout quickly
  • LCD screen displays calories burned, speed, distance run, time and you can even check your pulse to make sure you are training in a healthy area
  • Adjustable handrails and padded adjustable seat make for a comfortable experience whether you are using the elliptical or the bike
  • Low price tag especially considering the bike/ elliptical combination
  • Can be used as both bike and elliptical

Cons:

  • 11-inch stride may be a little bit on the small side of things for a tall person
  • No built-in exercise programs in the LCD
  • You will occasionally have to change the batteries on the LCD display

 


Conclusion & Final Recommendations

There are so many factors to consider when it comes to buying an expensive piece of exercise equipment such as an elliptical. It is important to make sure that you try and stick within your budget and it is always a good idea to make a list of the most important accessories/ features that you want to be included on your unit and use that list to help you narrow down the vast amount of options in the marketplace.

Hopefully after reading the buying guide and the top ten list of the best ellipticals, you have learned about some of the features you want and have an idea as to what kind of price you will have to spend to get the features you want or maybe you have even found an elliptical that works for your situation the list and you are considering purchasing the unit. Best of luck in your hunt for the best elliptical and good luck on your fitness journey.

 


 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.