Best Home Elliptical Trainers of 2016
During peak hours at the gym there’s always a wait for elliptical trainers. These popular machines help train your whole body without straining your muscles. Want one of your very own? Read on for reviews of the best home elliptical trainers for 2016.
Featured below are six top elliptical machines in different price categories and with diverse features. We also share an exciting elliptical alternative that doubles as a zero-impact treadmill and supports cross training. For more favorites sorted by drive type and other factors, see our page “Best Ellipticals by Type.”
NordicTrack FS7i (Hybrid Trainer)
Get more for your money with a three-in-one FreeStride Trainer by NordicTrack. These unique center drive cardio trainers offer some of the longest elliptical strides on the market and are auto-adjustable. Choosing from stride lengths up to 38″, you can enjoy the benefits of three types of exercise machines: an elliptical, a stairclimber and a treadmill. Simply put, a NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer is wonderfully efficient at working multiple muscle groups.
The iFit®-enabled FS7i is the most popular FreeStride Trainer for 2016. (Others are the FS5i and FS9i.) In our elliptical reviews we’ve named it a best elliptical for home use, one of the best center drive ellipticals and one of the best elliptical trainers under $2000. It’s a winner right from the start — assembly is remarkably quick — and it’s especially engaging when used with interactive iFit workouts.
Favorite features on this elliptical are its adjustable 38″ stride with 10% incline, a comfortable center drive design, and a 7″ web-enabled touchscreen that’s enabled for iFit® programming. An iFit membership can enhance your workouts with its online workout library, daily downloads of personalized training routines, and custom workouts that you can design with Google Maps™. Draw your path and then stride along with a street view on the FS7i’s color screen!
Overall the NordicTrack is one of the best home elliptical trainers for people interested in cross training without the risks of high-impact exercise. The varied workout options also make this a top choice for exercisers who easily get bored. A possible drawback for elite athletes though is the FS7i’s 20-pound flywheel; some would prefer the more expensive NordicTrack FS9i for its greater force.
Full price for the NordicTrack FS7i is $2999. Online sales at NordicTrack drop the price to $1999.
Sole E95 Elliptical Machine
Powerful and highly adjustable, the Sole E95 is one of the best home ellipticals for intermediate to advanced trainees. Key specs include a 34-pound flywheel, a 22″ adjustable stride, and an incline with maximum 40% tilt. The combination of a steep incline and variable stride helps you target multiple muscle groups during a single workout. Comfort is promoted too with an ergonomic pedal design; tipped slightly inward, the well-cushioned pedals help reduce pressure on your joints.
On its console the Sole E95 has a 9″ LCD screen with blue backlighting. The programming includes 10 workout programs: six standard, two that you can customize, and two for heart rate. (Heart rate can be monitored wirelessly or via handlebar sensors.) Also built into the console are speakers for your MP3s, a workout fan and a bottle holder.
All in all the E95 Elliptical is a great choice for people who are serious about exercise. A competitive warranty backs the components for five years. Full price is $2799 but online sale prices of $1599 and $1699 are common.
Bowflex Max Trainer M5 (Hybrid Trainer)
Mixing the motions of traditional elliptical machines and stair steppers, the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 yields quick results. Calorie burn is one big benefit: The M5 torches twice the calories of an elliptical trainer! Thanks to the moving handlebars, whole-body toning is an advantage too.
Workout progress is displayed on an LCD with blue backlighting. Most prominent is the feedback about your calorie burn rate and targeted muscle zone. You can store all of the data by syncing the Max Trainer M5 with a free Bowflex app, which can also update your progress in MyFitnessPal.
Eight workout modes are provided: Max Interval, Smart Max Interval, Calorie Burn, Fat Burn, Calorie Goal, Stairs, Steady State and Fitness Test. You can also use the Max Trainer in manual mode; choose from 16 resistance levels.
Overall the M5 Max Trainer is favored by trainees who are pressed for time, seeking low-impact exercise, and motivated by this machine’s ability to quickly sculpt the body. Full price is $1799 and a typical online sale price is $1599.
NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i (Folding Elliptical)
The compact NordicTrack SE9i is among the best home ellipticals for beginners and smaller trainees. It provides all the exercise guidance you’ll need, plus it’s loaded with features that help workout time fly. Highlights include a 7″ touchscreen with Android browser, a monitor for iFit, 30 preset workouts and wireless heart rate monitoring. Assembly only takes about 15 minutes.
This trainer has an 18-pound flywheel and an 18″ stride. Although the stride length isn’t variable, you can choose from three pedal orientations for better comfort. For faster calorie burn you can power-adjust the incline of the pedals too. The maximum incline is 10%.
The SE9i is a rear drive elliptical. Compared with front drive and center drive models, rear drive ellipticals tend to be easier on your back.
As noted above, the SE9i is sized for not-so-long strides and has a relatively light flywheel weight. If these specs suit your needs, hooray! You can spend less than other shoppers and still be satisfied with your purchase. With dozens of preset workouts and an ideal setup for using iFit, it makes lots of customers happy.
Full price for this NordicTrack elliptical is $1499 but you can often bring it home for $999. Check out the sales at NordicTrack’s website.
Octane Zero Runner ZR7
Go ahead and run! Your knees won’t mind. The multitalented Zero Runner ZR7 from Octane Fitness is named for its most impressive skill: ensuring zero impact on sensitive joints as you run at top speed. Ready for any stride length up to 58”, this innovative elliptical trainer supports smooth and natural motion that puts treadmills to shame.
Not into running? Reap the other benefits of this exciting elliptical alternative:
- Enjoy zero impact power walks to tone your lower body.
- Get comfortable elliptical workouts with any stride length. Take short steps to target your quads, glutes and hamstrings. Take longer steps to recruit your calves. Whatever your gait, the ZR7’s elliptical path will naturally adjust.
- Cross train! The Octane Zero Runner ZR7 is a miniature gym. It’s packaged with two resistance bands that you can attach to the machine in multiple ways, plus additional cross training accessories are sold separately. A customizable workout app combines cardio, strength training and stretching.
Besides having the knockout feature of a 58” adjustable stride, the ZR7 beckons with 35 diverse workouts, wireless heart rate monitoring, and two placement options for its reading rack and your tablet computer.
Any disadvantages? To access Octane’s dozens of workouts, you’ll need to integrate your own tablet computer or smartphone. The Zero Runner ZR7 is compatible with newer models of iPhones and iPads.
Designed for adults of all heights and fitness levels, and offering the near miracle of zero impact running, the Octane Zero Runner ZR7 easily earns our recommendation as an effective and motivating alternative to traditional ellipticals and treadmills.
Full price for this trainer is $3299. Read more about the Octane Fitness brand here.
It’s exciting to get your own elliptical trainer. Hopefully we’ve brought you closer to the best elliptical for your needs and preferences. For additional suggestions and reviews you can follow these links: