Bringing the gym experience into your home makes it easier to exercise. Many people opt for treadmills, but the pounding can be hard on your joints. Ellipticals mimic the motion of running but without the impact. That’s especially beneficial if you have bad knees or are rehabbing from a lower-body injury. The moving handgrips and adjustable resistance allow you to create a more intense, full-body workout.
High-end ellipticals cost upwards of $2,000 but you can get a good machine for less than half that price. More expensive machines are often heavier and have a larger footprint, due to their beefier frames. The number of features also tends to increase with the price of the machine. Use this guide to learn about the different types and many features out there–and to simplify your choice.
Top 10 Elliptical Under 1000
- PORTABLE, QUIET AND EFFICIENT CARDIO: This mini strider is compact and lightweight, making it easy to use and...
- ADJUSTABLE TENSION WITH MONITOR: Vary the intensity of your workout by turning the adjustable dial while you...
- 【Adjustable Resistance】- 8 levels of magnetic resistance, you can use convenient tension knob to adjust...
- 【Heavy-Duty & Big Non-slip Pedal】- Increase the strength of the frame which can support a maximum of...
- Bluetooth connectivity, syncs with the Schwinn Trainer App and other apps for fitness tracking
- Sync with free downloadable RunSocial App and run through 19 locations with 27 routes alongside people from...
- Cubii is the leading compact ergonomic elliptical to work out while you sit at home and office
- Low impact on joints with 8 levels of resistance to increase your activity over time.
- 【Smooth & Quiet Driven】The precision balanced flywheel and V- belt drive provide a smooth and quiet...
- 【Magnetic Resistance & Total Body Workout】8 levels of magnetic resistance that you can alter your workout...
- Dual-action Handlebars for total-body workout and synchronized upper/lower body motion
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance to increase and decrease workout intensity
- Sync with the mixed-reality app RunSocial and race through 19 locations with 27 routes Alongside friends while...
- Compact design but still offers the 18" Stride of large elliptical
- DIGITAL MONITOR: Track time, speed, calories, and distance using the centrally located digital monitor. Or...
- BELT DRIVE MAGNETIC RESISTANCE: This elliptical pairs a belt drive mechanism with magnetic resistance to give...
- Goal Track capability enables users to set individual exercise goals
- 22 programs: 9 profile, 8 heart rate control, 2 custom, 2 fitness test & 1 quick start
- 8 Levels of adjustable resistance
- Hand pulse monitoring system allows you to control your heartbeat
Choose the Model That’s Right for You
Good exercise equipment can be expensive but the cost isn’t the only thing to consider before buying. Here’s a checklist:
Try Before You Buy
Whether you want to shop online for the best price or purchase a machine from the store, we recommend you try it out in person. You might notice a problem with the ergonomics that you can’t detect by sight or user reviews alone—maybe your knees keep bumping against the elliptical’s framework or the machine just doesn’t move to your liking.
On average, ellipticals are about 6 feet long by 2.5 feet wide but can range in length from 50 to 84 inches. Keep in mind that during operation, the pedals may extend out beyond the length of the machine. You’ll also be more elevated than you would on a treadmill, so make sure you have a space with a sufficiently high ceiling. We’ve measured step-up heights between 5 to 15 inches with pedals reaching up to 25 inches above the floor at the apex of the elliptical cycle. You’ll also need a minimum of 20 inches of free space on at least one side and either the front or back for safety.
Unlike a treadmill, which allows you to move free-form, an elliptical constrains you to its movement. Pay special attention to how comfortable you feel when using an elliptical. You should be able to maintain an upright posture when holding on to the moving handles. Moving handgrips should be easy to reach and not force your wrists into an awkward position. The elliptical path should feel comfortable. For most people, pedals should be as close together as possible. And the moving handgrips and fixed frame components should not interfere with your arms, shoulders or knees.
All ellipticals have variable resistance. Make sure the lowest resistance setting is easy to pedal and it becomes challenging to pedal at about 75 percent of the highest setting. This will provide some room to grow. You should feel a significant but incremental change whenever you increase or decrease the resistance. Some ellipticals come with an adjustable incline. Check to see whether it’s automated or requires you to manually adjust it.
Exercise equipment, in general, is becoming more and more connected to the cloud to provide workout tracking, a competitive environment, social networks and access to a library of exercise programs. Ellipticals can have built-in wireless connectivity and browsers, or Bluetooth that connects to an app on a mobile device. Some use USB drives to move workout data to a web-based tracking feature accessed via a laptop. Keep in mind that it’s not all that easy to use a browser or an app while exercising.
Exercise programs can make a workout more varied and less boring, which might get you on the machine more often. But don’t pay for frills that you don’t care about. You can get by with a few basic programs that address specific types of workouts. Programs may be called different things by different manufacturers but an essential offering might be: Manual, Random, Hill Climb, Interval, Long Slow Distance, and Target Heart Rate. Custom programs would allow you to create your own resistance profile.
Ellipticals are inherently dangerous for children, who could get pinched or trapped in the moving parts. People with children at home or as visitors should make sure that the little ones can’t access the machines (by locking the room) and employ safety features.