Best Ellipticals for Home, Streaming, Beginners, and More

Ellipticals may be low-impact on your joints, but they’ll have a big impact on your fitness.

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An elliptical is a great equipment option that offers both an upper body and lower body cardio workout with low impact on your joints. These machines range quite a bit in form, features, technology, and price. Whether your preferred form of exercise is using an elliptical, or you’re looking to add some cardio into your lifting routine for improved work capacity, the ellipticals on this list are sure to allow you to smash any workout.

If you take the time to ensure you’re purchasing the right elliptical machine for your needs and space, it may be one of the best additions you can make to your home gym for your fitness and health. Some factors to consider while you’re learning about each of these machines are how much space you have, your budget, and what sort of technology or streaming you’re looking for. We’ve compiled a list of the best ellipticals on the market, so you can find the right fit for your space, goals, and budget.

Best Ellipticals 

Best Elliptical Overall

The best elliptical should offer a durable build, great streaming technology, and a wide range of adjustments for varied workouts. Our top pick marries all of these features together and offers even more for a superb user experience.

NordicTrack Commercial 14.9

The NordicTrack 14.9 provides users with an immersive experience thanks to the large, 14-inch high-definition touchscreen. If you choose to subscribe to iFit (about $39 per month after a free 30-day trial), you can take part in a variety of elliptical and non-elliptical trainer-led workouts with automatically adjusting resistance levels and inclines up to 20 percent. Regardless of your height, this elliptical should be able to accommodate you with an auto-adjust stride length from 17.5 inches to 18.7 inches. With a footprint of 67 inches long, 29 inches wide, and 69 inches tall, this machine can fit in most spaces. 

NordicTrack Commercial 14.9
NordicTrack Commercial 14.9
NordicTrack Commercial 14.9

This sleek elliptical offers a host of premium features like automatic adjustments, trainer-led workouts, silent magnetic resistance, and cushioned pedals for an elevated user experience. A modest footprint, strong build, and 10-year warranty mean this machine will be used for many years to come.

The sleek design will look at home in any room, and the oversized, cushioned pedals allow you to maintain your stride comfortably even during longer workouts. This elliptical also utilizes NordicTrack’s silent magnetic resistance (SMR™) technology for quiet workouts, so you won’t wake up the family and neighbors. You do have to pay for all these features — the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 costs about $1,799 before taxes, delivery, and iFit membership; though financing is available depending on credit. And while there are some cheaper options out there, they don’t offer as many features or provide the same user experience as this machine does.

Who Should Buy the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9

  • Anyone who wants an elliptical with a large screen for streaming workouts will like the oversized 14-inch screen here. 
  • Athletes who want a high incline for intense workouts will appreciate that this elliptical goes up to a 20-percent incline.
  • If you’re looking for a quiet elliptical with silent magnetic resistance, this pick is for you. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9

  • If you want a simpler elliptical without a ton of bells and whistles, another option on this list may be best for your needs.
  • Anyone who doesn’t want to stream fitness classes can find cheaper options that don’t come with a free month of iFit or such a large screen.
  • Those on a budget will want to look at other, more cost-effective options. 

The NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 elliptical is tech-forward with a host of automatic features like auto-adjust stride length, resistance, and incline. The solid steel construction and cushioned pedals offer a satisfying duality of durability and comfort, making this a premium and top-tier elliptical.

Best Elliptical for Home

If you’re on the hunt for an elliptical machine for your home to ensure you stay on track with your latest cardio routine, we have the right one for you. This machine offers streaming workouts, isn’t as large as many other options, and is reasonably priced.

Sole Fitness E20 Elliptical

The E20 elliptical is a recent addition to Sole Fitness’s lineup of cardio machines. It was designed to meet the needs of those on a budget and with limited space who still want many of the features that more expensive machines offer. It features an adjustable stride length of up to 18 inches and a modest 5.5-inch LCD workout display. To stream classes, you’ll need to use your own device with the built-in tablet holder. A footprint of only 67 inches long, 29 inches wide, and 18 inches tall allows the E20 to fit in any room. 

Sole Fitness E20 Elliptical
Sole Fitness E20 Elliptical
Sole Fitness E20 Elliptical

This elliptical packs in the premium features without the premium price tag. Select from 10 levels of resistance and a manual incline up to 20 degrees for your workout. Pair the Sole Fitness E20 with a Studio membership, and you’re ready to start crushing it.

With 10 levels of resistance and manual incline adjustments, you still have all of the functionality of a larger elliptical machine while reaping the rewards of saving space and money on a more economical model. Pair this machine with a Studio membership, and you’re ready to start striding. Pick the Sole Fitness E20 up for around $799 for the machine and about $19.99 per month for the membership after a free 90-day trial.

Who Should Buy the Sole Fitness E20 Elliptical

  • The smaller footprint on this elliptical makes it a great option for home use — especially if you’re limited on space.
  • Those who don’t need a ton of fancy or high-tech features can focus more on completing their workout than interacting with technology. 
  • Anyone with a longer stride will appreciate the 18-inch max stride length. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Sole Fitness E20 Elliptical

  • Athletes who want a high-tech touchscreen display will want to look elsewhere. 
  • Those who prefer to have power incline adjustments instead of manual will want to look at other options on this list.
  • If you like a quieter machine, you may want to seek out other ellipticals on this list. The eddy current resistance on this machine makes more noise than some machines.

It can take a lot of motivation to work out at home, but the Studio streaming workouts on the Sole Fitness E20 may help give you the push you need. The smaller footprint allows you to keep this in a spare room or a corner of your home gym without taking up a ton of space as other, larger machines might. 

Best Elliptical for Streaming

It seems like every piece of cardio equipment — including ellipticals — has its own streamable workout classes now. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to determine which is the best. We’ve done our homework and landed on the ProForm Carbon E10 as the best in class when it comes to streaming virtual classes on an elliptical. 

ProForm Carbon E10

This elliptical has all the makings of a high-end studio machine without the hefty price tag. It features a large 10-inch smart HD touchscreen display for streaming workouts, a power-adjustable stride length of up to 19 inches, and oversized cushioned pedals for added comfort. When you want to bear down and put some hard work in, the ProForm Carbon E10 has 24 levels of digital silent magnetic resistance to choose from.

ProForm Carbon E10
ProForm Carbon E10
ProForm Carbon E10

The ProForm Carbon E10 is a great all-around cardio machine with a ton of high-tech features at a reasonable price. Power-adjusting stride length, resistance, and incline all make it seamless to transition between workout intensity. iFit compatibility opens up a world of trainer-led classes and live stat tracking to keep you on pace to reach your goals.

The streaming on the ProForm Carbon E10 is provided through iFit. A three-year family membership is included with your purchase, which is a huge savings — membership is about $39 per month. With iFit, your trainers can automatically adjust your resistance and incline to challenge you, and you can even take part in off-elliptical workouts for strength, yoga, and more. The iFit membership tracks your stats through the machine and offers interactive training sessions for a full workout experience from the comfort of your home. Snag yours today for around $1,403.

Who Should Buy the ProForm Carbon E10

  • Folks who like to stream fitness classes will appreciate the included three years of iFit membership and all the benefits that come with it.
  • Athletes and competitive people who like to challenge themselves will appreciate the stat tracking features. 
  • Anyone who needs a quiet machine will like the 24 levels of silent magnetic resistance available in the ProForm Carbon E10. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the ProForm Carbon E10

  • People who don’t like to stream fitness classes or take part in trainer-led workouts — there are cheaper options out there without these features. 
  • Anyone on a tight budget may want to look for more cost-effective options on this list. 
  • Those who are already hooked on a different workout streaming platform may not want to change and lose all the data they’ve accumulated with that streaming service.

The ProForm Carbon E10 is the real deal, with every aspect of it being built around convenience and streaming. From the power-adjusting stride length to the large touchscreen display, this machine has everything you could want from an elliptical that’s designed for those who like to stream their workouts. 

Best Elliptical for the Money

If you’re trying to ball on a budget like the rest of us but still want a high-quality elliptical that packs in the features, we’ve got a great choice for you. The ProForm Carbon EL keeps all the convenience but nixes some of the more costly tech options for a more streamlined and cost-effective machine.

ProForm Carbon EL

The ProForm Carbon EL brings all the features you could ask for in a high-quality elliptical, like power and automatically adjusting resistance and incline — all you have to bring is effort and a tablet or smartphone. With iFit streaming through a smart device that connects directly with your elliptical, you can experience all the great aspects of more expensive machines for nearly half the cost. The ProForm Carbon EL costs only about $799 with a free 30-day trial of iFit (around $39 per month after).

ProForm Carbon EL
ProForm Carbon EL
ProForm Carbon EL

Once you purchase this elliptical, you’ll have everything you need for an awesome workout. You just need to bring two things — yourself and your tablet or smartphone. The ProForm Carbon EL keeps the price down by not having a large screen but still includes premium features like power adjusting resistance, incline, and stride length.

Enjoy the large, 19-inch adjustable stride length, 18 levels of digital resistance, and countless on- and off-elliptical workouts with the integrated device shelf. You may forget you’re at home with the immersive experiences of interactive training and scenic locations displayed on your smart device. Many brands keep these convenience features available only for their higher-end models, but the ProForm Carbon EL provides them all at a great price. The only major downside is a lower weight capacity of 275 pounds. 

Who Should Buy the ProForm Carbon EL

  • If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck, this is the elliptical for you. It packs a ton of features at a modest price point. 
  • Customers who want to stream workout classes but not pony up for a large touchscreen device will enjoy this machine. All you need is a smart device like a tablet, and you can stream to your heart’s content. 
  • The adjustable stride length of up to 19 inches will accommodate most people, even taller individuals who have a long stride.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the ProForm Carbon EL

  • Users who need a weight capacity over 275 pounds may want to look elsewhere.
  • People who don’t want to use their tablet or smartphone as a streaming device and prefer a built-in screen to watch will want to look at other options on this list.
  • There are machines with wider ranges of resistance available if you’re looking for a more dialed-in approach.

While this elliptical may not have every feature that more expensive ones do, it still has a variety of convenience and comfort features that make striding more enjoyable and seamless. Despite having a lower weight tolerance than some other ellipticals, the ProForm Carbon EL is a great choice for those on a budget who still want a premium-feeling product. 

Best Elliptical for Beginners

When you’re just starting out, it can be intimidating to choose the right workout machine for yourself. It can be tempting to go with a basic model to test the waters, but they often feel foreign and can be off-putting. The NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 is a happy medium that feels comfortable and isn’t ludicrously expensive. 

NordicTrack Commercial 9.9

If you’re used to working out at a gym or fitness studio, this elliptical should feel quite familiar, which may help ease the transition from going to the gym daily to working out in your home gym. For true beginners, you can follow along to expert trainer-led iFit classes on the seven-inch touchscreen display and immerse yourself in your workouts. The trainers can automatically adjust your resistance and incline along 22 digital resistance levels and up to a 20 percent incline. 

NordicTrack Commercial 9.9
NordicTrack Commercial 9.9
NordicTrack Commercial 9.9

The NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 has all the great features of a full-sized studio elliptical but is scaled down for home use. The familiarity and ease of use make this a great option for beginners and advanced striders.

You can move this elliptical around easily until you find the right spot for it in your space, as it has front roller wheels and a product weight of 244 pounds. This may seem heavy, but the elliptical moves surprisingly easily thanks to the handle located at the rear of the machine. Beginners will find many features to enjoy with this machine, including the price of around $1,499, which is much less than many other comparable models.

Who Should Buy the NordicTrack Commercial 9.9

  • Those who are just starting out will appreciate the ease of use and intuitive controls of this machine. 
  • Athletes who like to stream workout classes directly from their machine will appreciate that this elliptical has an integrated seven-inch screen.
  • If you need to move your equipment out of the way after you finish exercising, this machine’s front wheels and rear handle will be ideal assets.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the NordicTrack Commercial 9.9

  • If you’re tight on money, there are other options on this list that are cheaper, though they may sacrifice some features. 
  • Folks who need a machine that folds may want to consider another option. While this elliptical is moderately compact and maneuverable, it does not fold up for storage. 
  • People who want a top-of-the-line machine may want to opt for the upgraded 14.9 model with a larger screen and extra features.

Starting any new fitness venture is challenging and often intimidating. Finding an elliptical machine that feels comfortable and intuitive to use may help ease some of that anxiety and bring you to use the machine more often and with more confidence, allowing you to achieve your goals more easily.

Best Space Saving Elliptical

Home gym equipment can be not only costly but large and cumbersome, leading to a lack of space. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a large workout area and a dedicated area for your home gym, you’ll still likely find yourself wanting more space. For an elliptical that’s effective and won’t take up the whole room, we like this one from Sunny Health & Fitness.

Sunny Health & Fitness Cardio Climber Stepping Elliptical Machine

You should see immediately why we like this elliptical for those who are limited in space — it’s quite compact and features wheels in the front for added maneuverability. The space-saving features come from the machine’s design of combining stepping and striding with a vertical climbing height of nine inches and a horizontal stride of five inches. Because of this unique combination, the machine is able to ditch traditional elliptical tracks and make use of a front-set belt-driven design.

Sunny Health & Fitness Premium Cardio Climber Stepping Elliptical Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness Premium Cardio Climber Stepping Elliptical Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness Premium Cardio Climber Stepping Elliptical Machine

This machine is both a strider and a climber. You can climb to a vertical height of nine inches and stride a horizontal distance of five inches. You can choose from eight levels of magnetic resistance, and track your heart rate on the grip monitors.

At only 44 inches long, 25 inches wide, and 64 inches tall, this machine boasts the smallest footprint on the list and still offers eight levels of magnetic resistance. Since it works as both an elliptical and stepper, you save space by only needing this one machine instead of two. The smaller design does limit the weight capacity to 260 pounds and a max stride length of nine inches, which can be a downside for larger athletes. Arguably the best feature of this machine is its price of just around $449.99.

Who Should Buy the Sunny Health & Fitness Cardio Climber Stepping Elliptical Machine

  • Folks who are looking for a space-saving elliptical will appreciate that the footprint of this one is one of the smallest on the market. 
  • For those who want a unique workout that combines stepping and striding, this machine combines both to provide a comprehensive lower-body workout. 
  • If you’re on a budget, the lower price here is very attractive. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Sunny Health & Fitness Cardio Climber Stepping Elliptical Machine

  • Anyone who wants high-tech options with their elliptical will want to look at higher-end options on this list.
  • If you’re a larger athlete, you may want to look into a machine with a higher weight capacity. This one tops out at 260 pounds.
  • Taller people may find the stride length of only nine inches to be too short for their needs.

This elliptical was built with a unique design in order to save space and has one of the smallest footprints on the market. If you’re not going to exceed the weight capacity or stride length, this is a great option for fitting an elliptical in a tight space. 

Best Recumbent Elliptical

For some people, even standing while working out on an elliptical can be too much. If you’re dealing with an injury or have health issues that make standing for long periods difficult, it can be nice to sit down and have an even lower-impact workout. The ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT allows you to exercise both while standing and seated.

ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT

Sometimes, you just need to have a seat, but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on your workouts. Back pain? Leg day too much? Tired from a difficult session and need to cool down? There are many reasons someone would choose to purchase a recumbent elliptical machine, and this one seamlessly transitions from standing to seated thanks to the innovative two-in-one design. The large device shelf and five-inch pivoting console display allow you to maximize the use of an iFit membership (about $39 per month) to perform a variety of different trainer-led workouts. 

ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT
ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT
ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT

Sometimes, you need to have a seat while you perform your cardio. Other times, you may prefer to stand. With this hybrid machine, you can do both. Seamlessly transition from standing elliptical to recumbent while you stride against 16 levels of digital resistance — all at a bargain price.

You don’t have to sacrifice features here, either. This machine offers 16 levels of digital resistance and 15 inches of stride length. It is slightly on the large side to accommodate the recumbent position, with a footprint of 24.5 inches wide, 70.5 inches long, and 60.5 inches tall. One major drawback is that the weight capacity is quite low at 250 pounds, so larger users may not be able to use this machine. To counter that, the price is rather attractive at just about $599, so this is one of the most cost-effective options on the list.

Who Should Buy the ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT

  • Those who often need to sit during their workouts because of injuries or mobility issues will appreciate that this machine easily transitions from a standing elliptical to a recumbent bike. 
  • If you’re looking for a high-quality elliptical on a budget, this might be the right one for you. 
  • Folks who like to follow along with trainer-led workouts will like the iFit compatibility. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT

  • Those who want a larger integrated screen may want to check out other options on this list. 
  • Anyone who doesn’t need the recumbent feature can find other similar machines without it. 
  • People who want more resistance levels or quiet resistance will want to check out other options.

A recumbent elliptical is a great option for those who want a good cardio burn with very low impact on their joints. This two-in-one design is also a solid option if multiple people of different fitness levels use the machine and want more flexibility in their workouts. 

Best Desk Elliptical

For those looking to get in a little exercise at their desk throughout the work day, you can place this pick below your workspace and pedal even as you take meetings — though being winded during a presentation probably isn’t a great idea. 

Cubii JR2+ Under Desk Elliptical

With so many of us stuck at our desks for long periods throughout the day, having a convenient way to add in some extra movement without jogging around the office is a welcome boon. The Cubii JR2+ offers eight levels of resistance and features a practically silent stride, so you won’t bother your coworkers if you use it in an office setting. 

Cubii JR2+
Cubii JR2+
Cubii JR2+

The Cubii JR2+ is a nearly silent way to sneak in some extra activity and keep yourself subtly moving throughout the day when you’re stuck behind a desk. Connect to the Cubii app to track your stats and stay on target. At just 22 pounds, the JR2+ is easy to transport from home to the office.

The JR2+ connects to the Cubii app, so you can track all of your stats and daily activity. At just about 22 pounds and with dimensions of 22.5 inches long, 13 inches wide, and 11 inches tall, it’s easy to move around, too. This machine won’t replace a full elliptical, but it can be a great supplement for daily activity when you’re bound to one location. Scoop yours up for just about $249.99 and get moving more. 

Who Should Buy the Cubii JR2+ Under Desk Elliptical

  • Office workers and those who are often sedentary throughout the day will appreciate this discreet and easy-to-use machine. 
  • If you want to track your stats, this awesome little machine syncs to an app to allow you to do so. 
  • People looking for a more high-tech and quieter version of a desk bike will appreciate the features and near-silent operation. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Cubii JR2+ Under Desk Elliptical

  • People who want a full-body cardio workout will want to opt for a full-sized elliptical to accommodate their needs. 
  • Anyone who wants a super basic desk elliptical or bike can find less high-tech versions out there. 
  • Those on a budget may want to opt for the cheaper version of this machine and save $50, but they’ll sacrifice some connectivity features.

Understandably, this under-desk elliptical won’t provide the same intensity as a full-standing elliptical will, but if you’re sitting at a desk all day, it can help you sneak in some extra cardio and stay moving. Making financial gains while making cardio gains all day.

Benefits of Ellipticals

Ellipticals can be a great way to perform cardio, especially if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey or trying to incorporate more cardio into your strength training routine. They offer a lower impact on your joints than other types of cardio, like running, as well as a full-body burn. (1) Ellipticals also provide potential health benefits such as improved cardiovascular output and endurance without having to go to a gym or outside when the weather isn’t ideal. (2)

Low-Impact on Joints

Ellipticals are generally recognized as low-impact cardio despite you bearing your bodyweight during exercise. They work by gliding smoothly against resistance instead using your bodyweight as the resistance, as you would in running or plyometrics. This can save your joints if they’re already taking a beating from a demanding resistance exercise routine or you’re just starting out and haven’t built up stronger connective tissue yet. (1)

Health Benefits

Aside from the benefits of having healthy joints that aren’t worn down daily from the impact forces of running, you can also reap the potential benefits of improved cardiovascular health and increased fat burn from vigorous exercise on an elliptical. (2)(3) Improved fitness and body composition are usually the reasons people buy an elliptical machine, and any option from this list can be a high quality solution for those concerns.

How We Chose the Best Ellipticals

We’re picky people when it comes to selecting the best fitness equipment and even more so when that piece of equipment is as expensive as an elliptical machine. In choosing the best ellipticals, we considered build, stride length, resistance, streaming, and price.


All of the products on this list are made from top-notch materials (like solid steel) and offer sturdy bases to workout on. While there are certainly more expensive models than the ones on this list, they don’t offer anything different in terms of build quality. There are also less expensive ellipticals that can offer great value, but some ultra-budget ones may sacrifice build quality to achieve a lower price point.


The ellipticals on this list are all high-quality machines built from sturdy materials. They all feature steel construction and have long warranties to add peace of mind to your purchase. The shortest warranty is three years, but the majority have a 10-year warranty on their frame, which means the brands believe their product will last at least 10 years. Most can last longer than that with proper care. Some products even offer extended warranties for an additional price, so be sure to check for that before finalizing your order.

A person focuses while working out on an elliptical.
Image via Shutterstock / GaudiLab

While most companies offer a long warranty on the frame of their products, shorter warranties of one to five years depending on the brand will cover the parts and electronic components. It can be helpful to keep the specifications of different warranty parts in mind.

Stride Length

Ellipticals have stride lengths that usually range from around 15 to 20 inches, though some space-saving options may have shorter stride lengths of around nine to 10 inches. Shorter striders may only need a length of 10 to 13 inches, while taller folks might need up to 20 inches. People of average height will be fine with most ellipticals, though. 

We put a premium on a wide stride length range to accommodate users of all heights. However, certain models, like a recumbent or desk elliptical, won’t have as wide of a stride length because of their purpose.


Having a breadth of resistance ranges to choose from offers more versatility to your workouts and, at the top end, allows you to continue to push yourself on a machine for longer. If you pick up an elliptical and are already at resistance level six out of eight when you’re just starting out, it might not be useful for too long. That’s why we tried to choose ellipticals with a bigger resistance range available. 

person exercising on an elliptical with headphones and a towel in red shirt and black shorts
Image via Shutterstock / New Africa

Some super high-end ellipticals can offer 30 or more levels of resistance, but for most people, the 16 to 24 range is more than sufficient. You’ll see that we placed a higher value on higher and wider resistance ranges.


Let’s be honest — droning away on an elliptical without any form of entertainment can be quite monotonous. That’s why so many of these options offer streaming. We ranked the options with more premium streaming features higher on the list because they’re more likely to keep you immersed, entertained, and coming back daily to use the machine. You may find yourself looking forward to the next workout as a treat instead of a chore because of the entertaining trainers and vivid scenery some streaming platforms offer. 

A person drinks water while using an elliptical.
Image via Shutterstock / Starstuff

Some ellipticals offer large, integrated high-definition touchscreens, while others may be more cost-effective and provide a secure mount for a BYOT (bring your own tablet) streaming party. Regardless, the options with better streaming platforms with more workout options and a convenient way to view the workouts ranked better than those that treated streaming like an afterthought.

How Much Do Ellipticals Cost?

Ellipticals, like most large cardio and gym equipment, can range in price from around $500 for a cost-effective model to thousands of dollars for high-end, studio-level machines. Large displays, power and automatic adjustments, and a wider selection of resistance levels are the major driving factors in price differences between machines.

Best Elliptical Overall NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 $1,799 before streaming membership or accessories
Best Elliptical for Home Sole Fitness E20 Elliptical $799 before streaming membership or accessories
Best Elliptical for Streaming ProForm Carbon E10 $1,403 before streaming membership or accessories
Best Elliptical for the Money ProForm Carbon EL $799 before streaming membership or accessories
Best Elliptical for Beginners NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 $1,499 before streaming membership or accessories
Best Space Saving Elliptical Sunny Health & Fitness Cardio Climber Stepping Elliptical Machine $449.99
Best Recumbent Elliptical ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT $599 before streaming membership or accessories
Best Desk Elliptical Cubii JR2+ Under Desk Elliptical $249.99

The ellipticals on this list range anywhere from around $450 to $1,800, with the exception of the desk elliptical, which is understandably cheaper at about $250. We included a variety of price points and features so that just about anyone can find what they’re looking for here.

What to Consider Before Buying an Elliptical

Ellipticals can be great for those with joint instability or anyone who wants a low-impact form of cardio. The impact on your joints isn’t the only thing to consider when purchasing an elliptical, however — here’s what we like to factor in before finalizing our purchase.

Type of Elliptical

You can select from a few main types of ellipticals during your buying process. It’s important to hone in on the type that will work best for your needs and goals. The classic standing elliptical is what most people are familiar with and will offer the most intensity and greatest opportunity for features and types of resistance. A recumbent elliptical is a great choice for those who may not always be able to stand for their cardio due to vertigo from the movement, back pain, or being crushed from leg day. This type of elliptical offers a seat to support you while your lower body does all the work.

Person exercising intently on an elliptical with headphones black tank top and black shorts
Image via Shutterstock / Prostock-studio

Desk ellipticals are great for adding some extra movement into your daily routine, and can be useful for expelling some anxious energy or keeping active when you’re stuck in one place all day. There are also hybrid options, like ellipticals that offer a standing and recumbent position, or those that marry together an elliptical and a stepper. Figuring out which type you want will help inform the rest of your decision-making process.

Stride Length

We’ve touched on stride length before, but it’s worth mentioning again. The last thing you want is to receive your new shiny elliptical, hop on, and realize that the stride length is too short for you to use. A general rule of thumb is that anyone over 6’2” should opt for a stride length of 20 inches or more. That said, people have different anthropometric distributions, and some people have longer torsos and shorter legs, or vice versa. We’d suggest trying a few out before making your final decision to make sure you’re not overspending or purchasing one that’s too short for you.


Addressing the elephant, or more accurately, the elliptical in the room, we should mention that space is almost always a consideration when selecting a cardio machine. Ellipticals can be quite large and cumbersome, though there are space-saving options.

Person exercising on an elliptical machine with a peach shirt
Image via Shutterstock / Kmpzzz

All of the machines on this list have their dimensions listed on their product pages, so you can measure your area to ensure that the machine you’ve got your eye on will fit.

Weight Capacity

Most ellipticals can accommodate around 250 pounds. The lowest weight capacity on this list is 250 pounds. Some machines can accommodate larger users up to 300 or even 350 pounds, so it’s important to look at that metric to ensure you can safely use the machine you’re interested in.

Final Word

Ellipticals are designed to offer a unique form of cardio that can work the entire body or focus more on the upper or lower extremities. With a combination of striding and arm movement comprised of simultaneous pushing and pulling, ellipticals can provide a full-body workout that’s low-impact and easier on your joints. (1) Some specialty machines offer even more flexibility with models that go under your desk or allow you to sit down recumbent-style.

When deciding which is the right elliptical for you, it’s important to consider the style that will help you best reach your goals and fit neatly into your space. We’ve selected high quality elliptical machines from a wide variety of price points, styles, sizes, and features so that essentially anyone can find one that suits their needs.


What is the best elliptical on the market?

That depends on a variety of factors, like your budget, space available, and the features you desire. We’re partial to the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 since it offers a variety of high-end features at a decent price. It includes a large 14-inch touchscreen display for streaming workouts through iFit, 24 levels of resistance, and automatic adjustments to make your workouts seamless.

How much do ellipticals cost?

Ellipticals range in price from around $250 for cost-effective or desk models to thousands of dollars for higher-end and specialty ones. The ones on this list start at about $250 and top out at $1,800, though there are options to accommodate nearly anyone’s budget in between.

Why choose an elliptical over an exercise bike for low-impact workouts?

Exercise bikes can be great for folks who are limited in their upper-body work capacity and prefer to sit while exercising. Ellipticals offer the unique opportunity to work both the upper and lower body, depending on how you perform the exercise, while still being low impact when compared to a treadmill or stair-climber.  


  1. “Joint loading in the lower extremities during elliptical exercise.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 39, no. 9 (2007): 1651-1658.
  2. Egaña, M., & Donne, B. (2004). Physiological changes following a 12 week gym based stair-climbing, elliptical trainer and treadmill running program in females. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 44(2), 141–146.
  3. Bosch, A. N., Flanagan, K. C., Eken, M. M., Withers, A., Burger, J., & Lamberts, R. P. (2021). Physiological and Metabolic Responses to Exercise on Treadmill, Elliptical Trainer, and Stepper: Practical Implications for Training. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 31(2), 135–142.