Best Elliptical Brands

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Ellipticals are popular in fitness facilities, home gyms and even some offices. Read our guide to learn about and choose the best elliptical machine for you. When buying an elliptical, consider your budget, the amount of space available to you and what you want out of your workout. Many ellipticals can be customized with entertainment consoles that can ease boredom during a workout. These machines quickly gained popularity as a means to a great cardio workout that is also easy on the joints.

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What to consider when choosing an elliptical

How much space you have

Space is an important consideration when you plan to buy an elliptical, especially if you are buying one for home or office use. Measure your space before you go elliptical shopping, and consider the different size types of ellipticals during your search.

  • Compact: Compact ellipticals are ideal for home and workspaces. Some elliptical trainers only include pedals, without any handlebars, which can easily be stored in a closet or even under a desk. These can be great space-saving and cost-effective options for anyone looking for an easy way to burn extra calories throughout the day.
  • Foldable: Those who want a full-size elliptical but still need to save space will want to look for a foldable elliptical. These machines have all the functionality of a full-size elliptical, but with the added benefit of easy storage.
  • Full-size: Homeowners with dedicated space and commercial facilities that are not concerned with saving space will want to buy a full-size, non-folding elliptical. These machines are durable and heavy, so they typically have a higher weight capacity than other types of elliptical trainers.

Workout type

The types of workouts you intend to do on your elliptical will factor into the type of elliptical you buy.

  • Rehabilitation workouts: People who use an elliptical as a rehabilitation/recovery tool, such as after surgery, will want an elliptical that has minimal impact. They may not be as concerned about the amount of resistance levels as people who are using ellipticals for more intense training. They will want a magnetic resistance elliptical, which is easy to adjust and requires less effort than an air resistance elliptical.
  • Intense training: Users who want intense training sessions on their ellipticals will want an elliptical with a high resistance level. They may want an air resistance elliptical, which can offer a more intense and challenging workout.
  • Low-intensity workout throughout the day: People who are looking for a way to burn calories all day long doing low-intensity workouts will benefit from compact strider machines that can be stored easily. These machines use the same feet movement as a full size elliptical, but they can be used while seated at a desk to burn additional calories throughout the day.

Drive type

The drive system of an elliptical impacts the overall feel and experience of your workout. It determines your elliptical’s stability, which can significantly impact how your workout feels.

  • Front-drive: Also called a center drive system, front-drive ellipticals have the most stable platforms. Most newer elliptical designs have front drives since it’s needed on machines that feature an adjustable stride length. The front-drive adjusts the lower and the upper body motions so they are in sync throughout your workout.
  • Rear-drive: More expensive ellipticals, typically those found in commercial facilities, are rear-drive ellipticals. On this type of elliptical, the drive system is located behind the user. They have fewer moving parts than front-drive ellipticals, and they also have a smoother pedal movement that is more similar to the natural motion of walking or running than front-drive ellipticals.

Console types

For many people, the amount of entertainment options available during a workout is more important than any other feature. Gym owners might want to consider upgrading their consoles to provide entertainment options to their users, and home users may find they use their elliptical more when it has features that keep them occupied. People concerned with cost, though, may want to skip an enhanced console and stick to a basic one.

  • Traditional: A traditional console keeps track of vital information, including speed, incline, calories burned, time spent exercising and distance, throughout your workout. This is the console included with most ellipticals.
  • Upgraded entertainment console: Users who want their console to do more than just track their workout will want to upgrade to an entertainment console. These consoles have a variety of features. Some are web-enabled, allowing users to surf the Internet and watch TV while also keeping track of their workout progress.
  • Tablet and book holders: Both traditional and upgraded entertainment consoles can come with tablet/book holders. These are handy for anyone who likes to read while they workout and can be a cost-effective way to add entertainment value.

Stride length

The stride length on an elliptical is an important factor to consider, since getting one that is too long or too short can severely impact the effectiveness of your workout and even cause injury.

  • 16-18 inches: Ellipticals with a range of 16-18 inches, and even those that extend to 20 inches, are good for people who are under five foot three. This length gives shorter people room for a comfortable stride without risking overreaching.
  • Over 20 inches: People taller than five foot four should choose an elliptical with at least a 20-inch stride, preferably one that can adjust to a longer stride if needed. This gives taller users space for a comfortable stride.
  • Up to 26 inches: Users who are very tall, over six foot seven, may want to consider ordering a special elliptical trainer with a stride length that ranges up to 26 inches.


To get the most out of your elliptical, make sure you find one that has adjustability features. Static ellipticals are rare, and they can quickly lead to burnout, boredom and exercise plateau when used regularly as part of your workout regimen. Nonadjustable ellipticals are more suitable for people who use them infrequently.

  • Adjustable incline: An adjustable incline allows users to focus their workouts on different muscle groups, so it’s an important feature for those who are using their elliptical for serious training. Some ellipticals also feature an adjustable decline, which simulates running downhill.
  • Adjustable resistance: Adjusting resistance allows users to push themselves during workouts. Most ellipticals use variable magnetic resistance, which makes it simple for users to change their resistance level.
  • Adjustable pedals: Ellipticals with adjustable pedals allow users to add variety to workouts. It also allows users of different heights to use the same machine, since they can easily make the pedals comfortable for their needs every time they use it.

Types of ellipticals


Hybrid elliptical machines combine an elliptical trainer with another type of cardio machine, such as a stationary bike or stair stepper. These machines can be a cost-effective way to add multiple types of exercise machines to a home gym.

Cross trainer

Cross trainer ellipticals feature movements for both the upper and lower body. They have handlebars that move in tandem with the leg pedals, giving users a total body workout.

Magnetic resistance

Magnetic resistance ellipticals allow users to change settings digitally and are quieter than air resistance ellipticals. These are the type most commonly found in gyms and other commercial facilities.

Air resistance

Air resistance ellipticals are driven by air, so the faster a user works, the harder the resistance becomes. These can be noisy, due to the amount of air that is blown through the fan to move the elliptical. These are more challenging than magnetic resistance machines.

Who purchases ellipticals?

People with knee pain

Ellipticals are a popular option for people who have knee pain. The smooth movement of the elliptical is easy on the joints, since users’ feet don’t endure the same type of pounding that happens when running on a treadmill or other surface. Ellipticals can be used as a form of physical therapy or as a main source of exercise for anyone who has knee pain and approval from their doctor.


Runners frequently use ellipticals to cross train, since these machines mimic the motions of running. They can be a good way to get a total body workout, especially cross training ellipticals, without putting added pressure on joints.

Gym owners

Gym owners will want to buy commercial-grade ellipticals, since these are constructed to be more durable than ellipticals designed for home use. Gym and other commercial facility owners may want to buy different types of ellipticals and consoles to appeal to their members and stay competitive.

Not sure how to choose?

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    Elliptical author reviews

    ProForm Ellipticals

    Proform has been providing innovative training tools and fitness equipment for over 30 years. They have a variety of ellipticals, including hybrid options that allow for multiple types of workouts using one machine.

    Read more about ProForm Ellipticals
    Sole Fitness Elliptical Trainers

    SOLE fitness equipment is engineered for commercial use, specifically hotel use, although they also manufacture equipment for home use. They have an elliptical hybrid that is a combined elliptical and stair machine along with high end ellipticals that are ideal for training and recreational use.

    • Sole SC200 Stepper: Sole’s hybrid model is the SC200 Stepper. This machine is part elliptical, part step machine. It gives users a lower body workout that is easy on the joints and hips and features 20 levels of resistance. It is compact for easy storage when it is not in use.
    • Sole E98 Elliptical: Sole’s most durable elliptical is the front drive E98. Designed for commercial use, this elliptical is most often found in smaller commercial facilities. It features an extra smooth ride, Bluetooth capability and a stride length up to 20 inches.
    • SOLE guarantee: SOLE offers customers a full 30 days to try their new equipment to see if it’s right for them. Customers who are not happy with their purchase can receive a full refund of the purchase price and freight charges within 30 days of receiving their elliptical.
    • Price match guarantee: SOLE will match any advertised price of the same model elliptical if it is lower than their advertised price. Find out more by calling a SOLE representative.
    • Bluetooth compatibility: Most SOLE ellipticals now feature Bluetooth capability, making it simple to transfer workout data directly from your elliptical to your smart device. You can also track your fitness progress on the SOLE mobile app.
    Schwinn Ellipticals

    Schwinn was founded in Chicago in 1895 as a manufacturer of bicycles. Today, they continue to make and sell outdoor bicycles and have added indoor exercise equipment, including bikes and ellipticals, into their lineup. They currently have three ellipticals for consumers to choose from.

    Read more about Schwinn Ellipticals
    Nautilus Ellipticals

    Nautilus has been delivering quality fitness products to consumers for over 40 years. Their brands include Nautilus®, Bowflex®, Schwinn® and Universal®. They currently have four elliptical models for consumers to choose from.

    • Nautilus E618 elliptical: This elliptical model has 29 performance training programs along with a free app-based tool to track your workouts and monitor your progress. It also has a 350-pound weight limit and a 22-inch stride length.
    • Nautilus E616 elliptical: This model is similar to the E618, but it has additional technological features to enhance your workout experience. One notable addition is DualTrack™ display, which allows users to cover the main display with their tablet, book or magazine and still track their workout using a second LCD monitor. It has a 20-inch stride length.
    • Nautilus E614 elliptical: In addition to DualTrack™ display and 20 resistance levels, this model is compatible with MyFitnessPal, allowing users to track their progress easily. It has a 20-inch stride length.
    • Nautilus E514c elliptical: This model features bi-directional pedaling, giving users more options for targeted workouts. It has 16 magnetic resistance levels, 20 programs and an 18-inch stride length.
    Life Fitness Elliptical Machines

    Life Fitness has been innovating fitness solutions for individuals and commercial fitness facilities for over 45 years. Many of their ellipticals feature Whisper Stride technology, which ensures a smooth, quiet workout experience.

    Read more about Life Fitness Elliptical Machines
    Precor Ellipticals

    Precor has been delivering quality exercise equipment for commercial use for over three decades. Their ellipticals fall into two series: the Experience™ Series and the Assurance™Series.

    Read more about Precor Ellipticals
    Diamondback Fitness Ellipticals

    Diamondback Fitness is one of LifeCore Fitness Inc.’s brands. Their exercise machines are designed in the United States and include recumbent bikes, upright bikes, spin trainers and ellipticals.

    • Five year warranty: Diamondback Fitness ellipticals come with a limited lifetime warranty on frame and brake, a three year warranty on parts and electronics, a one year warranty on labor and a 90 day warranty on wear items. Note that these warranties only apply to first time owners and cannot be transferred to new owners.
    • Fast and free shipping: All Diamondback Fitness equipment bought through their site is shipped for free within the 48 contiguous United States, and most items can be received within 5-7 days. Items can be shipped internationally and to Hawaii or Alaska for an additional shipping charge.
    • 1260 EF elliptical trainer: Diamondback only sells one elliptical, the 1260 EF elliptical trainer. This elliptical is designed for home gyms and features 20 resistance levels, built-in reading rack, custom programs, a personal trainer function, a 19-inch stride length and more.
    • Accessories: Buy accessories for your elliptical from Diamondback Fitness to enhance your workout. Accessories include a rectangular non-stick mat to go under your elliptical and a heart rate monitor that is compatible with the 1260 EF elliptical.
    • Reconditioned equipment: DiamondBack sells reconditioned equipment at a fraction of the original price on their website. Check back frequently as supplies are limited and change regularly.
    Stamina Ellipticals

    Stamina Products, Inc. was founded in 1987. They sell fitness equipment at major retailers and online, and they sell several compact elliptical trainers that are ideal for home or work use.

    • InMotion® compact striders: Stamina’s InMotion® compact striders are ideal for people who want to stay active at home or in the office without buying bulky exercise equipment. These machines feature only the bottom half of the elliptical, making them easy to store in a closet or under a desk. They can be used while seated or standing and have adjustable tension to increase or decrease your resistance and are available with or without handles.
    • Avari® ellipticals: Stamina’s Avari® ellipticals are available in two models. The magnetic elliptical is a full size elliptical that features quiet magnetic resistance, adjustable pedals, multi-function display and more.
    • 30-day return policy: Try your Stamina elliptical for 30 days to make sure you are completely satisfied with the product. If you are not, return it within 30 days of delivery for a refund. Note, this only applies to Stamina products purchased directly from their website.
    • Workout guides: Search for a workout guide to accompany any Stamina products, including ellipticals, on Stamina’s website. Simply input the product number to download a PDF with suggested workouts.

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