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The Best Elliptical Machines

Where Can You Buy the Best Elliptical Machines?

On the market for more than two decades, these versatile pieces of workout equipment are some of the most popular in fitness centers and home gyms alike. Why? First of all, many people prefer the motion of an elliptical trainer over treadmills because of the decreased impact on joints. Not everyone can hop on a treadmill and run a 5K with painful knees and ankles; using an elliptical machine gives you a high level of cardiovascular exercise without as much strain.

Another advantage of using an elliptical trainer is the ability to get a full-body workout. Although using the handles is optional, most exercisers like to use the push-pull motion to strengthen muscles in the arms, abs and back at the same time as the lower body. Who wouldn't benefit from the efficiency of working out multiple muscle groups at once?

Thursday, October 21st

2021 Elliptical Machine Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award SOLE Fitness Review 5 Star Rating

SOLE Fitness

5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $999.99 to $2,499.99
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

SOLE Fitness offers an excellent range of elliptical machines for home use - though you may have spotted their fitness equipment in hotel workout rooms! The company manufactures all of their machines to hold up under rigorous use and conditions and has been in operation throughout North America for decades.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: Flywheel
  • Price Range: $999.99 to $2,499.99
  • Different Models: 6
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 20
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: Lifetime on the frame, 3-5 years (varies by model) on parts and electronics, 1-2 years (varies by model) on labor
  • Shipping: Free

Basic Model: Plenty Of Features

There are six models to choose from with this retailer. The entry-level elliptical offered by SOLE is the E25. Rated for users up to 350 lbs., this trainer gives you 20 levels of resistance, a whisper-quiet drive system that eliminates noise, plus handy tech features like Bluetooth audio speakers and an integrated tablet holder. The digital display is relatively low-tech, however: you won't be streaming live exercise sessions, but you can see your workout settings and stats at a glance. Despite being the least advanced of SOLE's ellipticals, the E25 still comes with pulse monitors in the handles and a wireless chest strap, to incorporate your heart rate data into your workout.

Most Advanced Model: Good Value

At the other end of the SOLE spectrum is the E98, described as "commercial grade at a residential price". This elliptical is a terrific option for larger people, with an upper limit of 400 lbs. One of the biggest additions at this end of the price range is the ability to do 10 different preset workouts. You can target your heart rate, fat burn, or even conduct a fitness test from month to month to gauge your progress. The LCD display on the E98 is much more modern than the E25 - though you still won't be streaming workout videos. (You'll have to use the tablet holder for that!)

Best Elliptical Machines

Reasonable Pricing, Free Delivery

You'll find SOLE's pricing to be right in the middle of the pack: starting just under $1,000 for their most basic elliptical model and going up to $2,500 for their highest-end machine. Curbside delivery is free within the lower 48 United States, or you can pay $59 for garage delivery.

Extraordinary Return Policy

One of the most compelling reasons to get your elliptical machine from SOLE Fitness is their unparalleled return policy - which was already amazing, but has gotten even better since the time of our last review. Not only will you have 30 days to put your trainer to the test, but you'll pay zero restocking fees or shipping costs if you decide to return it. They'll even take care of packaging up the elliptical for the return delivery! If you're at all nervous about buying an expensive piece of exercise equipment, SOLE's customer-friendly guarantee should put your mind at ease.

Delivery Might Take A While

The only downside we found when shopping for an elliptical with SOLE is the long delivery timeframe. In an era when so many of us are working out at home, demand for fitness equipment across the spectrum is at an all-time high, and that's reflected in the availability of SOLE ellipticals: all 6 of their trainers had a 30-day timeframe from purchase to delivery during our most recent visit to the site. However, compared with some elliptical manufacturers, a one-month window isn't too terrible: a few of SOLE's rivals had estimated delivery dates that were three months after the time of purchase!

Best Option For Elliptical Machines

SOLE Fitness continues to be our favorite retailer of elliptical trainers. Customers love that they can get a high-quality machine for a reasonable price, even if it doesn't have all of the most cutting-edge bells and whistles on the market. Plus, with such a generous return policy, SOLE makes it risk-free to get an elliptical machine and really put it to the test before making a final decision. This store easily keeps its first-place ranking among makers of elliptical trainers.

Xterra Review 4.5 Star Rating

Xterra

4.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $299.99 to $699.99

When it comes to home gym equipment that somehow manages to be durable and affordable, no one can beat Xterra. Across a wide range of machines - ellipticals, treadmills, rowers and more - the company regularly gets high praise from customers for making it possible for people on a budget to get an excellent workout at home.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: Flywheel
  • Price Range: $299.99 to $699.99
  • Different Models: 6
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 8-24 (varies by model)
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: 1-5 years for frame (varies by model), 1 year for parts, none for labor
  • Shipping: Free

Helpful In-stock Availability Feature

In a time where purchases of home fitness equipment are at an all-time high, finding elliptical machines that are actually in stock can be challenging. We appreciate that Xterra makes it easy to see what's available for immediate purchase, without having to click through each item to figure it out: just look for a link at the top of the site that lets you search strictly for in-stock equipment. At the time of this evaluation, we were able to quickly determine that 4 out of Xterra's 6 elliptical models were ready to order.

Hybrid And Traditional Designs

You'll find two basic styles of elliptical machines with this retailer: the traditional single-function design, as well as a hybrid design that meshes an elliptical with an upright cycle. You might think you'd pay more for the latter, but the hybrid machines are actually Xterra's two least expensive units at $299.99 and $399.99.

Entry-level Option For Under $300

At that lower end of the price spectrum, don't be expecting any bells and whistles. You'll only get a few levels of resistance, and you'll have to change it manually with a tension knob: no push-button, on-the-go changes with these entry-level ellipticals. The stride length is also much shorter than average, at just 13", and the LCD console gives you the most bare-bones data with time, speed, distance, calories, pulse (if gripping the hand sensors) and odometer.

Best Elliptical Machines

Slightly More Tech For Under $700

Even on the opposite end of the price range, represented by Xterra's FS3.5 elliptical, you shouldn't expect bleeding-edge tech or fancy features. There's an audio jack and speakers but no Bluetooth connectivity, and you'll have to use the device holder and your own tablet or phone if you want to stream and follow a workout. On the other hand, this model gives you 24 levels of resistance that can be changed at the push of a button, 28 preset workout programs plus manual option, and heart rate monitoring either through the hand grips or heart rate monitor sensor (but the monitor isn't included). The stride length is longer too at 17" - but that could still be too short for taller users. But, at a list price of $699.99, this machine is hard to beat in terms of the overall workout provided for most people.

Not For Users Over 250-300 Pounds

Be aware that Xterra ellipticals tend to be less bulky than most competitor machines. That's a plus if you need to be able to move it around easily on your own, but you might feel a little wobbly compared with a sturdier piece of equipment. That can also factor in if user weight is an issue: most Xterra machines have a limit ranging from 250-300 pounds.

Reasonable Return Policy

If you get your elliptical machine and decide to return it, you'll have 30 days from the delivery date to request a Return Authorization number. You'll be responsible for return shipping costs, and Xterra will help you make those arrangements. Your equipment needs to be sent back in its original packaging and in good condition, and the company reserves the right to charge a 10% restocking fee if those terms aren't met.

Surprisingly Durable

Fortunately, most customers have no need to send back their elliptical machines (or any other Xterra equipment, for that matter). Across the board, we found plenty of compliments on how durable the equipment is, how well it delivers a workout, and how surprising it is given Xterra's low price points.

Great Options On A Budget

For all of these reasons, Xterra gets one of our highest recommendations among retailers of elliptical machines. Anyone who needs a decent elliptical trainer on a shoestring budget will find something to fit the bill here - as long as they keep the somewhat lower weight limits and shorter available stride paths in mind as they shop among the machines Xterra has to offer.

ProForm Review 4 Star Rating

ProForm

4 Star Rating
  • Cost: $599 to $1,799

ProForm is one of two brands in the Icon Health and Fitness company, along with well-known NordicTrack. In business for more than four decades, this retailer has a lot of expertise within the fitness equipment world. You'll also see some similarities between the features of ProForm machines and NordicTrack models, with ProForm tending to be on the less expensive side.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: Flywheel and magnetic resistance (varies by model)
  • Price Range: $599 to $1,799
  • Different Models: 9
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 16-26 (varies by model)
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: 10 years on frame, 1-2 years on parts/labor (varies by model)
  • Shipping: Free

Live Coached Workouts Through IFit

A major selling point that ProForm and NordicTrack share is the iFit platform. You've probably seen live streamed workouts for treadmills and indoor cycles, and iFit delivers the equivalent for elliptical machines. During live sessions, iFit trainers can even control your elliptical's resistance to give you the ultimate in customized workouts (we're not sure if that's cool or creepy, but hey!). That platform also gives you access to cross-training workouts for stretching and flexibility, strength training, and much more. Some ProForm ellipticals include a certain length of iFit membership, so be sure to look for that in the details of the machine(s) you're considering.

Free Ellipticals? Yes!

ProForm also uses the benefits of iFit to offer free elliptical machines. Yes, you read that correctly: the Carbon E7 and Carbon HIIT H7 won't cost you anything as long as you pay for a 3-year iFit family membership. Okay, true, you'll pay $1,403 over that three-year period (at $39/month) and you'll need to qualify (because it's technically considered financing) but that's less expensive than many gym memberships.

Hybrid Elliptical/recumbent Bike Options

You'll continue to find novel options at this retailer. Consider the Hybrid Trainer XT, which combines the best features of both an elliptical machine and a recumbent bike. If you like being able to add some variety to your cardio workouts - or if you anticipate needing to sit down from time to time, while still getting exercise - this is a great model to consider. We were surprised to see that the Hybrid Trainer XT was available for the comparatively low price of $599.

Best Elliptical Machines

Space-saving Models Available

If floor space is a concern, the two HIIT ellipticals are a good fit. These machines use a motion that is more similar to a step machine than a traditional elliptical, using a 10" vertical stride and just a 5" horizontal motion. Because there isn't as much front-to-back movement, you can fit these machines in a much smaller workout space.

Check Availability And Delivery Timeframes

Be sure to keep an eye on availability when browsing ProForm machines. Although an elliptical may be listed as in stock on the main product page, that doesn't mean it'll ship out right away. For example, the Carbon E7 had a 10-day shipping delay at the time of this review, the Pro 9.9 had a delay of nearly two months, and both the SMART Pro 12.9 and 16.9 were completely out of stock.

Good Customer Reviews

Overall, ProForm elliptical machines get good reviews from customers. The machines themselves aren't quite as bulky or sturdy as the highest-end models you'll find with other retailers, but they still perform well under normal home-user conditions.

Solid Rating From The BBB

Icon Health, ProForm's parent company, also has a strong reputation. The BBB gives the business a perfect "A+" rating, which means they've done a satisfactory job of responding to customers when issues arise. And, given that there were more than 2000 complaints registered with the Better Business Bureau, that's good to know. All issues we saw were answered quickly and professionally by Icon Health's representatives.

Affordable Price For Advanced Tech

ProForm is a good place to shop if you're looking for a variety of elliptical machine styles. And, with live workouts being the hottest trend in fitness, ProForm equipment definitely can hook you up through the iFit platform. You might have to exercise some patience while waiting for the one you want to be available for delivery, but most customers would tell you it's worth the wait.

NordicTrack Review 4 Star Rating

NordicTrack

4 Star Rating
  • Cost: $1,299 to $3,299

NordicTrack has a certain reputation within the fitness industry: if you've seen a commercial advertising equipment for home use, chances are good it was NordicTrack. The company is one of two in the Icon Health and Fitness brand family featured in our review; compared with its sister brand ProForm, NordicTrack elliptical machines tend to be slightly larger, with more robust features, and with the price tag to match.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: Flywheel and magnetic resistance (varies by model)
  • Price Range: $1,299 to $3,299
  • Different Models: 6
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 22-26 (varies by model)
  • Return Policy: 30 days, fees of $250 for return shipping + 10% restocking
  • Warranty: 10 years on the frame, 2 years on parts, 1 year on labor
  • Shipping: Up to $199, free on some models

Not The Most Or Least Expensive

Prices on NordicTrack elliptical machines are mid-range: $1,299 for their most basic model, up to $3,299 for the most fully-featured. On the lower end, the SpaceSaver SE7i has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars out of more than 200 user reviews. It comes with incline capabilities up to 10%, 22 digital resistance levels, auto-adjustable 18" stride, and a 325-lb. user weight capacity. Compared with many rival retailers' ellipticals at that $1,299 price point, the NordicTrack has much more to offer with respect to tech and functions.

3-in-1 Training Options

What about the other end of the spectrum? Is the FS14i worth the extra $2,000 compared to the SE7i we described? Maybe. This elliptical machine gives you 3-in-1 training with a changeable stride path that lets you choose a traditional elliptical path or motion that more closely resembles a stair stepper or a treadmill. You can access a stride length ranging from 0-32", making it extremely customizable for multiple users in a household of different heights and workout preferences. When you factor in the Bluetooth audio capabilities, the increased user weight capacity (375 lbs.), and the 14" Smart HD touchscreen, you may indeed decide that it's a good use of the extra money to get NordicTrack's most advanced elliptical machine.

Complimentary 1-year IFit Subscription

All NordicTrack elliptical trainers come with a complimentary one-year family subscription to iFit. If you love the idea of having access to thousands of studio workouts, including live options where trainers actively control your incline and resistance, you'll get all of that and more with the iFit subscription. You can even take classes off the elliptical, like yoga, boot camp, or weight lifting. Your membership lets you have up to 4 profiles, so you can keep your household members' workout preferences and history separate from one another.

Best Elliptical Machines

Might Have To Wait A Few Weeks

You might have a challenge finding a NordicTrack elliptical machine that's available for immediate delivery. At the time of this review, there were only two models (FS10i and FS14i - the two most expensive ones, of course) that were in stock. The other four had estimated ship dates ranging from three weeks to almost three months into the future!

Expensive Return Policy, Good Warranty

How about returns? NordicTrack ellipticals have a somewhat average return policy: you have up to 30 days to request a return, but you'll pay $250 to ship the machine back to the company plus a 10% restocking fee. On the other hand, the warranty is slightly better than many retailers of elliptical trainers, with 10 years of coverage on the frame, 2 years on parts, and 1 year on labor.

Strong Reputation Overall

NordicTrack and its parent company, Icon, have a solid reputation. The BBB gives the business an "A+" rating, and we were pleased to see that customer complaints were answered quickly and in a friendly way. The only negative feedback we spotted frequently was regarding the bundling of the iFit membership; some customers didn't realize that the subscription is optional, or felt that they wound up paying for a plan they didn't want (or even know they had!).

Terrific Value

The elliptical machines offered by NordicTrack offer a satisfying blend of pricing, features and technology that's hard to beat. If you're willing to wait a little while for the equipment you want, you'll get a fantastic elliptical trainer with enough features to keep you entertained, progressing, and healthy for many years to come.

Precor Review 3.5 Star Rating

Precor

3.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $2,699 to $11,295

Precor fitness equipment can be found in gyms and studios worldwide, and many customers wanting to replicate their workouts at home choose this brand for their personal use. This company introduced the world's first elliptical machine in 1995, making itself something of an expert when it comes to this particular equipment.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: CrossRamp technology, which allows users to change the height of the elliptical path their feet travel while working out; magnetic resistance
  • Price Range: $2,699 to $11,295
  • Different Models: 17
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 16-20 (varies by model)
  • Return Policy: Precor does not accept returns after products have been delivered
  • Warranty: Lifetime on the frame/welds, 5-10 years on parts/wear items (varies by model), 3 years on the console, 1 year on labor
  • Shipping: Up to $299, free with code at top of site

Only Some Models Available Online

When shopping online for a Precor elliptical, you'll find that not all models are available for purchase outside of a brick-and-mortar retail location. For example, the EFX 400 line and the EFX 200 line are both designated as in-store only - so we'll skip evaluating the ellipticals in those product lines, which eliminates 5 of the 17 different models sold by Precor.

Side-by-side Comparison

That means that you'll be starting with elliptical machines in the 600 and 700 series, which start at a retail price of $5,795. We strongly recommend that you click on the option to see a side-by-side comparison of all Precor ellipticals: the differences among models aren't necessarily intuitive (e.g. the EFX 731 is $200 less than the EFX 635, despite being a higher model number), and it'll give you at-a-glance details on console types, frame color options, power requirements, and so forth.

Lots Of Settings

Precor ellipticals all give you many more settings than most machines you'll find. You can set your stride length from 21-25", and you can change the elevation level anywhere from 10-35°. You'll get plenty of pre-programmed workouts and ample in-workout feedback metrics. Plus, the 800 line features Precor's patented converging CrossRamp technology, so that your strides move toward the midline of your body instead of following a path in line with your hips: mimicking your natural walking motion and allowing for better body mechanics while exercising.

Elliptical For Walking, Climbing, Running

And, if you're looking for a completely different type of elliptical motion, be sure to look at Precor's AMT product lines. Their Adaptive Motion Trainers let you change both the height and length of your stride, making it possible to replicate walking, climbing and running movements all with one machine. The AMT ellipticals are the best choice for athletes who need a wide variety of workouts to improve performance and consistently target different muscle groups.

Best Elliptical Machines

Upgrades Since Last Evaluation

We were excited to see some serious upgrades to Precor's options since our last review. Many models now have the option to include a 10" or 15" LCD touchscreen (bearing in mind that you'll add $3,000 or $4,000 to the cost of the base model to get them!). We would like to see more information on the Precor site about the capabilities of these newer screens: can you watch Netflix? Can you stream a live workout? Does Precor offer any kind of training, maps or other features? The product images make it look that way, but more specifics would be helpful.

No Returns After Delivery

Besides the higher-than-usual price tags, Precor's ellipticals have one other significant drawback: there are no returns accepted after delivery. That's a huge downside compared with other retailers of elliptical machines, who typically allow at least 30 days for customers to make a return.

Better-than-average Warranty Coverage

Of course, that doesn't apply if you've got an issue that's covered under warranty, and Precor's are better-than-average. All ellipticals have lifetime warranty on the frame and welds, 3 years on the console and a year on labor costs; parts and wear items are covered for either 5 or 10 years, depending on the model you purchase.

Mixed Bag For Customer Care

We found mixed reviews about Precor's attention to customer service. The company overall has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, but their Precor At Home division only got a "C-". Some buyers report getting prompt responses from Precor's customer service team, while others described having improperly installed equipment that took weeks or months to repair. When you're spending thousands - or tens of thousands! - of dollars on the highest-end fitness equipment, you'd expect the service to match.

Expensive But Gym-quality Equipment

Precor is the best place to shop if you want the very same elliptical machines you use at the local gym. Naturally, that comes at a price - and if there's any chance at all that you might want to return your equipment, you won't be able to do that when buying an elliptical trainer through Precor. Plus, the hefty price tag will put Precor machines out of reach for many customers who will need to shop elsewhere. All of these factors keep Precor in the middle of the pack among retailers of elliptical equipment.

Schwinn Review 3.5 Star Rating

Schwinn

3.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $499 to $899

Everyone knows that Schwinn is an expert in bicycles, and it surprises some customers to learn that they carry elliptical machines as well. Schwinn is part of the Nautilus family, a well-known brand for home exercise equipment, so it makes sense that you'd find a range of machines available for purchase through Schwinn's online store.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: Magnetic resistance
  • Price Range: $499 to $899
  • Different Models: 3
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 16-25 (varies by model)
  • Return Policy: 6 weeks
  • Warranty: 10 years for frame, 2 years for parts, 1 year for electronics, 90 days for labor
  • Shipping: $99, may find seasonal offers for free delivery

Only 3 Ellipticals To Choose From

But, don't expect a robust array of ellipticals to choose from here. At the time of our most recent evaluation, Schwinn only carried three models (one fewer than the last time we shopped the site): two were out of stock with no estimated timeframe for when they would be available for purchase, and the one in-stock machine had a two-week delay between the order date and shipping date.

Affordable And Sturdy

However, assuming that eventually all three elliptical trainers will be ready for purchase, you'll find them to be affordable and sturdy. The entry-level model is the 411, priced at $499: 16 levels of resistance, 13 preprogrammed workouts, an 18" stride length (but no options for incline), and one user profile. This elliptical trainer also includes Bluetooth connectivity for a heart rate monitor (not included).

Middle-tier Model With Incline

The mid-range machine is the 430, for $799: you'll get 20 levels of resistance plus a 6-position incline capability up to 10°, a 20" stride length, and up to two user profiles. Surprisingly, despite being more expensive, this elliptical doesn't have the heart rate monitor capability, relying solely on grip contacts for tracking your beats per minute.

Most Popular Model

Schwinn's 470 is the only model that was in stock during our most recent visit to the site, and it's their most popular: a five-star review average from happy customers. Priced at $899, the 470 includes 25 levels of resistance and 10° incline range, 29 workout programs, up to 4 user profiles, and a grip/telemetry-enabled console for heart rate monitoring. Shipping is ordinarily $99, but we spotted a seasonal promotion that offered free delivery.

Best Elliptical Machines

Not Much Tech For Your Money

As you might have noticed, elliptical trainers sold by Schwinn are decidedly low-tech. You won't find any options for Bluetooth speakers, LCD screens with built-in apps for watching your favorite TV show while working out, or fancy live streamed workout capabilities. On the other hand, they all have a media shelf/tablet holder for you to use your own device and workout provider, and two models also provide a built-in USB charging port. If you're willing to DIY your exercise a little, you'll find that Schwinn's ellipticals give you a good workout at a great price.

Longer Than Average Return Policy

Despite having a somewhat limited selection of elliptical machines, Schwinn offers some nice perks that make them worth considering. First, you'll have six weeks to decide if you like your elliptical; if not, you can return it for a refund, minus all shipping and handling fees (both on the delivery and on your return). That's a little longer than the standard 30-day return window provided by most retailers of elliptical trainers. The machine needs to be in original condition (so no signs of wear and tear), but while you'll need to return it with all accessories and materials, Schwinn doesn't require the original packaging: another difference compared with many elliptical sellers.

Better warranty coverage than most

Plus, Schwinn has a longer warranty period than quite a few of their rivals. You'll get a standard 10 years of coverage on the frame, 2 years on parts, 1 year on electronics, and 90 days on labor.

Good Ellipticals - When In Stock

Unfortunately, all of the customer-friendly features won't mean much if you can't actually find an elliptical available for purchase. That's the biggest drawback to shopping at Schwinn for your fitness equipment: you might not find anything in stock, and they don't give you any idea as to when they'll be ready to order again. We like Schwinn's solid reputation and their affordable equipment that won't break the bank, but lack of inventory keeps them from getting a higher ranking among retailers of elliptical trainers.

Life Fitness Review 3 Star Rating

Life Fitness

3 Star Rating
  • Cost: $2,349 to $11,749

LifeFitness makes a wide range of fitness equipment that can often be found in fitness centers and home gyms. Their ellipticals are on the higher end of the spectrum, both in terms of features and pricing.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: WhisperStride, uses maintenance-free ball bearings
  • Price Range: $2,349 to $11,749
  • Different Models: 7
  • Financing Available: No
  • Resistance Levels: up to 25 (varies by model)
  • Return Policy: 15 days; returns only accepted if the elliptical was defective, damaged in transit, or the wrong model was shipped
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame, 5 years on parts, 3 years on console, 1 year on labor
  • Shipping: $99, plus installation fees up to $200

Not All Changes Are Positive

Since our last review, LifeFitness has experienced some changes - most of which are not positive. Shipping used to be free on all elliptical machines, but now you can expect delivery fees of $99 and installation fees as high as $200. They've cut their return policy from 30 to 15 days, and will now only accept returns on defective or damaged-in-transit equipment: if you've got buyer's remorse, you'll have no way to make a return and get a refund. Finally, the number of elliptical trainers to choose from decreased from 11 to 7, and of those models only 4 were in stock for immediate purchase.

Plenty Of Features

Looking at the in-stock ellipticals at the time of this evaluation, the least-expensive option was the Club Series + Elliptical Cross-Trainer, priced at $5,249 with the most basic console and up to $7,549 for the most advanced, SE3HD console. When buying a LifeFitness elliptical machine with the SE3HD, you'll have the option to connect to your Apple or Samsung Galaxy Watch, take instructor-led classes offered through LifeFitness On Demand, and even browse the internet while exercising. This elliptical model has a 20" stride length, 25 resistance levels, Polar heart rate monitoring (strap included), and a maximum user weight of 400 lbs.

Best Elliptical Machines

Not Enough Information

The most expensive elliptical machine offered by LifeFitness is the Total Body Arc Trainer. Priced at $8,699 to $11,749 (depending on the monitor you select), this equipment gives you a workout that can use gliding, striding and even climbing motions for a more varied routine every time you exercise. There were no detailed specs on this machine, making it impossible to determine user weight capacity or stride length. It did reference 21 possible incline adjustments and being able to change the incline and the resistance on the fly. If it's similar to its less-expensive "sibling", the Cybex 525AT Arc Trainer, you can expect a stride length of 24" and a maximum user weight of 400 lbs. - but there's nothing on the LifeFitness site to indicate if that's the case. For such expensive equipment, we expected a greater wealth of information (no pun intended).

High In Customer Satisfaction

On the positive side, LifeFitness has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau and most of the elliptical trainers they sell have a customer rating of at least 4 out of 5 stars. Plus, if you want to "try before you buy", you probably have the opportunity to use LifeFitness equipment at a local gym and see if it's what you need for your home workouts.

A Decent Option For Big Budgets

While LifeFitness has left us a little disappointed with the changes we've discovered since our previous evaluation, their longevity in the industry and reputation for top-quality fitness equipment can't easily be ignored. If you already know and love their ellipticals and have the money to spend, you can be pretty sure you'll get an excellent machine for your home use. However, for many customers, LifeFitness will be out of reach - especially when most of their lower-priced elliptical machines are frequently out of stock.

Horizon Fitness Review 2 Star Rating

Horizon Fitness

2 Star Rating
  • Cost: $699 to $1,399

Horizon Fitness is a well-known name when it comes to exercise equipment. From rowers to indoor cycles and beyond, they make in-home fitness machines for every experience level. Unfortunately, this retailer has dropped significantly in our rankings since our last review. Why? Keep reading and see for yourself.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: Magnetic resistance
  • Price Range: $699 to $1,399
  • Different Models: 4
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 10-20 (varies by model)
  • Return Policy: 30 days, 20% restocking fee if not returned in like-new condition with all original packaging
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame, 1-3 years on parts, 1 year on labor
  • Shipping: Free

Some Models Available In-store Only

Horizon makes four models of elliptical machines: the EX-59, Evolve 3, Evolve 5, and the 7.0 AE. We were disappointed to see that only the EX-59 and 7.0 AE were available for purchase online: both Evolve models had to be purchased in-store from a brick-and-mortar retailer. That definitely dropped Horizon in our rankings, especially during a time when so many customers aren't willing (or able) to shop in person.

Immediate Shipment On Two Models

However, on a more positive note, both of the ellipticals available for online purchase appeared to be in stock for immediate shipment at the time of our review. Given that many of Horizon's rivals had estimated delivery times as far out as three months from the date of purchase, this store might be worth considering if you want an elliptical machine sooner rather than later.

Good Set Of Features, Tech

The 7.0 AE is the higher-end of the two available-online ellipticals offered through Horizon, and it retails for $999. You'll get 20 levels of resistance and also 20 settings for the incline, easily changed during your workout with one-touch keys and handlebar controls. It also includes a complimentary app for controlling your workout and sending data to your preferred fitness apps, for ease in tracking your workouts and keeping an eye on your fitness goals. Surprisingly, the AE has fewer pre-programmed workouts than the less-advanced model: you'll only get options for a 5K, Calorie Goal, Fat Burn, Distance Goal, Max Heart Rate, and Manual. Out of more than 150 customer reviews posted to the Horizon site, this elliptical machine had a great 4.7 out of 5-stars average.

Best Elliptical Machines

Lower-end Model: No Incline, More Programs

With the EX-59, priced at $699, you lose a few of the features offered in the higher-end elliptical: there are no incline settings, and you'll only have 10 levels of resistance to use in your workout. The LCD display is fairly low-tech too, with no options for the training app, but you get more onboard workout programs: Calorie Goal, Constant Watts, Intervals, Intervals Plus, Manual, Random, Reverse Train, Rolling Hills, Weight Loss, and Weight Loss Plus. The EX-59 does have Bluetooth-enabled speakers - just no USB port for keeping your tablet or phone charging while you work out. This elliptical also had an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, with more than 400 customers providing feedback.

Less-than-generous Return Policy

Horizon advertises a 100% guarantee on their elliptical machines, but the fine print gave us pause. Yes, you'll have 30 days to try yours out and decide if you want to return it, but you're on the hook for the shipping costs both ways. In other words, even though your elliptical came with free shipping, your refund will have a fee deducted for what they spent to deliver it to you - plus whatever it costs to send it back. You can imagine that would add up! Also, unless you return the elliptical machine in like-new condition with all original packaging, you may be hit with a 20% restocking fee. That doesn't really feel like a "100% guarantee" to us.

Hard To Reach Customer Service

We also discovered that Horizon Fitness' parent company, Johnson Health Tech North America, has a less-than-impressive "B+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. There are many complaints registered with the BBB that describe problems getting any help from Horizon's customer service team, even after several weeks of trying. If your elliptical is damaged in transit or inoperable right out of the box, you could be facing a lot of aggravation trying to get the problem fixed.

Limited Selection, Mediocre Reputation

At the end of the day, you want an elliptical trainer that works well and that has ample support from a company that cares about its customers. Horizon Fitness only gives you two ellipticals to choose from - and while those get compliments from users, that only holds true if you don't have any problems that need fixing. If that happens, customer feedback indicates you could wind up being extremely unhappy with Horizon's buying experience. We recommend that you choose an elliptical machine from a retailer with a stronger track record for shopper satisfaction.

Diamondback Fitness Review 2 Star Rating

Diamondback Fitness

2 Star Rating
  • Cost: $1,199.99 to $1,899.99

Diamondback Fitness got its start in the cycling world in 2007 and has expanded its repertoire to include indoor cycles and ellipticals. Their fitness equipment is designed in the USA and tested under commercial conditions before being offered to home consumers.

More Inventory, Lower Prices

Since our last review, Diamondback doubled its inventory and dropped prices. You now have not one but two elliptical models to choose from, both of which cost much less than the former price of $2,699. This retailer prides itself on offering machines that are compact and lightweight, taking up 35% less space than many ellipticals on the market.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: Dual spindle floating pedals, magnetic resistance
  • Price Range: $1,199.99 to $1,899.99
  • Different Models: 2
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 16
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: 5 years on the frame and brakes, 3 years on parts and electronics, 1 year on labor, 90 days on wear-and-tear items like handlebars and hand grips
  • Shipping: Free in the lower 48 states

Adjustable Stride Length

Diamondback's entry-level elliptical is the 1060EF, with a retail price of $1,199. We were pleasantly surprised to see that, despite being a more basic model of elliptical, it comes with an adjustable stride length ranging from 18 to 23 inches. That's a big plus for those whose height (tall or short) can make ellipticals more challenging to use. This model is fairly low-tech, with 8 preset workouts, 4 heart rate-controlled programs, and 4 custom programs. The display provides the typical workout data, like watts, distance, speed, calories, and so forth, and it's compatible with Polar heart rate monitors (not included).

Get On The Waitlist

Note: at the time of our most recent visit, this machine was out of stock for at least two weeks. Diamondback recommended that interested shoppers enter their email address to be put on the waitlist, as the trainers would be made available on a first-come, first-served basis once they were back in stock. We were confused because the main ellipticals page on the Diamondback site said that this model was in stock and the other was not, but the actual product pages said the opposite. Keep that in mind as you shop!

Best Elliptical Machines

Upgrade To Get 10" Touchscreen

Speaking of the other model, Diamondback's higher-end elliptical is the 1280EF. What will you get for the extra $700 you'd spend to get this machine? The biggest upgrade is the 10" touchscreen display that connects via WiFi and lets you watch Netflix, browse the internet, or connect to your other favorite apps while working out. This machine also has adjustable stride lengths of 17" or 22", offers 16 levels of magnetic resistance, and has 12 pre-programmed workouts. The handlebar is adjustable too.

Frame Warranty: Lifetime Or 5 Years?

We were a little mystified by Diamondback's warranty. The 1-year coverage on labor, 3 years on parts and electronics were pretty standard, but the frame and brakes were described as having a "5-year product lifetime limited warranty". Why do you only get five years of coverage if it's a "lifetime" warranty? Most ellipticals have at least 10 years of protection on the frame, if not an actual "lifetime", which puts Diamondback machines at something of a disadvantage compared with their rivals.

Disappointing Reputation

Those details matter, because Diamondback Fitness doesn't have an inspiring track record when it comes to customer service. On the company's listing with the Better Business Bureau, it displays an "F" grade for failure to respond to all of the customer complaints filed there. Granted, four isn't an overwhelming number of reports, but they universally describe having problems getting repairs or replacements for exercise equipment that had issues from the get-go. Even shoppers who went the extra mile and bought extended warranty coverage had trouble getting their exercise equipment fixed.

Good Machines, Bad Service

With only a couple dozen customer reviews in total, most of which are 4- and 5-star ratings, the elliptical machines offered by Diamondback Fitness seem like they could be an affordable addition to your home gym setup. Unfortunately, their not-so-stellar history with customer complaints, as demonstrated by the BBB listing (and even a few quick mentions in the reviews on the Diamondback site), combined with their very small inventory are the reasons why this retailer winds up at the bottom of our rankings for elliptical machines.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Plus, many elliptical machines can be used in different ways: some combine a traditional elliptical system with a recumbent or upright bike, while others let you change the stride motion to more closely resemble a stair stepping machine or even a treadmill. This flexibility makes it likely that you'll use your elliptical trainer for a long time, because you can change the workout to match your mood, your physical capabilities at the moment, your fitness goals, or the other users in your household.

And, if you think that elliptical machines have been left out of the live streaming workout craze, think again! Some of the most advanced models offer large touch screens that can deliver real-time coached workout sessions - and may even allow a trainer access to change your resistance levels or incline during the workout! Even if your elliptical doesn't come with that built-in feature, almost all brands and models have a tablet holder, allowing you to choose your own workout platform and go for it (or just binge a few episodes of your favorite TV show: your choice!).

When choosing the right elliptical machine for your home gym, how can you tell which retailer should get your business? Here are several factors to keep in mind as you shop:

  • Selection. How many elliptical trainers does the store carry? The broader the selection, the more likely you'll be able to get exactly what you want without paying for features you don't need.
  • Price. Speaking of features, how much will you spend for an elliptical machine at the retailer you're browsing? Is shipping included? Will you have to pay extra to get a more up-to-date console or a different frame color?
  • Availability. Home fitness equipment is more popular than ever, and many businesses are feeling the strain of keeping up with demand. Are the ellipticals the retailer advertises actually in stock? Be sure to check delivery timeframes: some stores show that certain models are available for purchase, but when you add one to your cart you might spot some fine print that says that delivery may take up to three months!
  • Return Policy. What happens if your elliptical machine is delivered and it doesn't fit where you planned to put it? Or your significant other is too tall (or too short) for the stride length? Not every retailer will allow you to send it back for a refund.
  • Reputation. What do other people say about their experience, both with the elliptical machines themselves and with the company overall? Customer reviews and a rating from the Better Business Bureau are two reliable ways of determining how well a retailer is living up to shoppers' expectations.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best retailers of elliptical machines available today. We hope this information helps you pick the right equipment for your home gym!

The Best Elliptical Machines Compare Elliptical Machines Compare Elliptical Machine Reviews What are the best Elliptical Machines Best Elliptical Machine Reviews

Elliptical Machine FAQ

An elliptical machine is a low-impact stationary cardio trainer that combines an upper and lower body workout. The user stands on the pedals, holding onto the handles with both arms outstretched, and moves his or her feet along the track in an oval-like (or "elliptical" ) path.
Some ellipticals are more expensive than others depending on their features - such as whether or not they include a touch screen, workout programs or tracking capabilities - and how long they are built to last. The most inexpensive ellipticals out there are priced around $350, but for a quality trainer that will last you for years, expect to pay at least $500-$1,000.
Ellipticals are predominantly cardio machines. Increasing the resistance and using the handlebars of your elliptical will engage, strengthen and tone nearly every muscle group, but if you're looking to build real bulk, you should probably look elsewhere.
Scientists have debunked spot-reduction weight loss. Only by creating a caloric deficit can you lose weight, and that weight loss will be distributed across your entire body. That being said, elliptical workouts are a fantastic way to create a caloric deficit and tone up at the same time.
In flywheel ellipticals, resistance is created by friction. The heavier the flywheel, the stronger the resistance and the smoother the movement. Magnetic resistance ellipticals are able to increase resistance levels with more accuracy and require less maintenance than their friction-dependent flywheel counterparts. Magnetic resistance ellipticals are quieter than flywheel ellipticals, but they are also typically more expensive.
Elliptical training cannot improve your running form or posture, but it can help you prepare to transition to running outdoors or on a treadmill. When done regularly and with enough intensity, elliptical training can increase your strength and stamina.
When compared to a high impact exercise like running, yes, elliptical training is much gentler on knees and joints. However, many elliptical users still report feeling pain or discomfort in their knees and feet as a result of pushing themselves too hard or having poor form.
As with any piece of fitness machinery, regular maintenance is necessary to prevent injury and to keep your machine functioning properly. Depending on how frequently your elliptical is used, you should have your elliptical serviced every 3-6 months. Check your user manual for more information.

Benefits of Using an Elliptical Machine

Elliptical Machines have many wonderful benefits. Whether you are looking for a low impact exercise or a productive all-around body workout, elliptical machines are a great choice.

Elliptical machines are found in almost every gym across the country and many people have chosen one as their go-to machine in their homes as well. Some elliptical machine models even fold up, making convenient storage in the home easier, no matter the size of your apartment or house.

Another great benefit of using an elliptical machine is you can get a lower body and upper body work out all at the same time. No other machine rivals the full body workout that the elliptical machine offers. You can work out your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, back, triceps and biceps all together. It is very important to distribute the resistance between both the upper handlebars and lower pedals to receive all these benefits. Many people just go through the motions with the arms and don't utilize the machine for its full upper body workout. If the machine is used properly, you can increase aerobic capacity, tone muscles and lose weight. You can get a full-body workout in as little as 20 minutes.

With an elliptical machine, your feet never leave the machine thus the work-out considered is low impact. This reduces the stress on knees, hips, and backs. Less stress on the joints is helpful for older individuals with joint ailments. Also heavier individuals that have extra weight on their joints and anyone who is cautious with new or old joint, knee or hip injuries will benefit from a low impact workout. The movements on the elliptical machine mimic the natural path your ankle, knee and hip follow during high impact exercises such as walking, jogging or running. The movements are natural to your body without the negative affects the high impact jolts can have on your body.

An elliptical machine work-out is considered a weight-bearing exercise which helps maintain healthy bone density that can prevent the onset of osteoporosis. This is important to remember no matter how young or old you are today.

Elliptical machines are also very safe for your body in regards to injury. Since the movement is fluid and smooth, the risk of injury is very low. There is very little room for harm to your muscles, joints or body.

The price of elliptical machines have become more affordable in the last few years. Owning your own is easier to fit into the budget and saves you the cost and trip of going to the gym.

There are numerous benefits to incorporating an elliptical machine into your workout. Choose to use it for your cardiovascular and toning needs. Enjoy the an elliptical machine as your full workout, or incorporating it into your workout regimen. No matter the extent of use, the low impact nature of an elliptical machine means happier and healthier joints.

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The Best Reviews of Elliptical Machines