There are quite a few factors to consider when buying an elliptical trainer. We’ll take you through a number of them, but we like to highlight the idea of keeping within an established budget, unless money is not as much of an issue as performance.
We’ll help you navigate!
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.
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 to be included in the price range that you are comfortable purchasing in.
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.
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 product features really don’t help to explain the high price tag of the unit which is important to be aware of.
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.
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.
Normally any kind of 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.
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.
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
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.
- 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
- High price tag is likely out of reach for most people
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.
- 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
- Disappointing customer service when repairs needed
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 8 levels of smooth magnetic resistance along with a maximum load of 330 lbs, you have a very capable performer on your hands with this machine.
It features a set of pulse rate handle grips and it offers a decent control for adjusting tension. There’s a 12 lb built-in flywheel and the handles are stable and comfortable. The non-slip pedals are big and comfortable as well.
The digital monitor features a large window LCD display. We like the 13-inch stride length as it offers the best range and therefore, efficiency, in its class. It’s pretty smooth and quiet, and here’s the kicker (we saved this for last).
While 13 ratings (from verified purchasers) is not a lot, the fact that all 13 give it 5.0 stars out of 5.0 is nothing short of miraculous.
For most products, even with 2 or 3 reviews, you’ll get a grouch that gives it 1 star just because people love to complain. I know, I get it – I’m human too!
- Magnetic resistance has 8 different tension options you can use to increase and decrease difficulty
- 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
- Great budget price for those with limited resources
- 13-inch stride glide is not huge
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 220 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.
- Capable of holding up a user that weighs 220 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
- No built-in workout programs
- 220 lb weight limit may not be high enough for some people
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.
- Very unobtrusive
- Extremely portable
- Like any lower-end machine, it is prone to potential problems like loose parts and squeaking/noisiness
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 a machine that fits 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 around $190 , this is one incredibly capable machine.
It features 5 levels of magnetic resistance, easily adjustable difficulty levels, digital monitor and pulse rate hand grips just to name a few of the great features.
It offers a manual or automatic mode and pedals can move backward or forward to target different muscles (or the same muscles differently).
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!
- Probably the best “value” on our whole list
- Amazingly good Amazon buyer review profile
- Not a serious fitness machine if you’re looking for a lifestyle change and serious body shaping
- Challenging assembly for some
With this tech-savvy Bowflex, comes a higher price tag, but it all makes sense! This series from Bowflex includes Bluetooth connectivity so you can explore the World app as you virtually enter a world of digital courses and routes.
You’ll find yourself in exotic locations and on stunning trails around the world.
And that’s just the FREE version! While only 3 free courses are available, a low monthly fee will get you new destinations each month and you’ll be able to track distance, pace, speed, heart rate, time and calories burned.
You can use great apps like Strava, UA Record, and MapMyRun, in addition to lots of others,
The included Burn meter lets you adjust workouts to your level of choice, and the machines offer you a 22″ stride which is ample compared to some which are barely half that!
The 7.5-inch full-color LCD screen is a welcome inclusion, and the 375 lb maximum user weight is more than adequate for most.
- Lots of helpful technology
- Large LCD screen
- Capable of tracking stats such as time, distance, calories burned, speed and heart rate
- Connects to lots of apps
- 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
- 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 $4K. 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.
- Very high-end premium machine
- Lots of fitness routine options
- Relatively compact footprint for such a quality machine
- Health Club quality
- $1,500 off it’s retail price!!!!
- Refurbished unit – not brand new!
- $4,000 PRICE TAG !!!!!!
This Nautilus is a substantial machine, and for me (who owns 2 ellipticals and is serious about cardio health) this would be my idea of a minimum, entry-level workout tool. The photo shows an E616 which is the middle-of-the-road model.
You can see the E614 and the E618 features in the chart right HERE. The E616 offers the ability to track your goals and includes 29 programs!
There are 9 profile programs, 8 heart rate controls, 2 custom controls, 2 fitness test controls and 1 quick-start control.
The 29 levels of resistance are more than adequate for most and the high speed, high inertia drive system with a perimeter weighted flywheel for easy start-up and smooth, consistent workouts is a welcome addition.
Dual track LCD displays are also standard on this model. The stride length comes in at 20″ which is decent and generous, but not as long as some other quality machines (usually more expensive ones have a bigger stride distance).
There’s also a 6-position manual ramp adjustment with big articulating footplates that are also cushioned! It connects with bluetooth and a chest strap heartrate monitor is included!
- Decent price for what is offered
- LCD display tracks heart rate, distance and calories burned
- Great for smaller spaces
- Lots of different program options
- The incline is manual and not motorized
- Not overly-generous stride length
- The E614 (entry-level in this series) does not have Bluetooth compatibility or chest heart rate monitor
Easily the most unique trainer on our list, we are cautiously optimistic about this Teeter recumbent/elliptical.
The principle idea behind this “elliptical” is that because of the ergonomics of the design (naturally reclined position), it reduces body fatigue and eliminates stress on your joints and back, while continuing to deliver a cardio workout.
This machine offers users the option of targeting specific muscles and muscle groups using the rotating handle option settings.
That isolating ability is not present in all ellipticals that’s for sure! In addition, the Teeter features a variable magnetic resistance control knob.
It features a whisper-quiet stride and offers a fairly effective full-body workout. You can track your progress with the easy-to-read, battery-powered digital console.
You’ll also find a device stand and water bottle holder in front of you, and even small wheels for a more convenient transport process if you happen to be moving it from one place to another on the same level and the floor is hard (not carpet).
It has a footprint of 54″ x 38″ and Teeter insists that this is a commercial-grade engineered machine. It features “friction-free” linkage which means it should last an exceptionally long time!
How long? Well, it’s been tested to over 2.3 million cycles!!! Honestly, this is really an “in-home physical therapy machine!”
- Zero impact exercise machine for minimal stress on body/joints
- 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
- Rotating handle settings allow for targeted/isolated muscles to be worked out
- Great 4.6 out of 5.0 rating with over 300 verified purchaser reviews on Amazon
- May not be as smooth as advertised
- Significant feedback saying it’s not a bad machine, but may be over-priced
- Some complaints about design regarding the handles/bars which hit you if you do anything other than grab them (ie. like getting a drink, making an adjustment, grabbing your device, etc.)
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.