Best Home Elliptical Machines of 2018
Home elliptical trainers make it convenient to cross-train, or get cardio plus strength exercise, in a comfortable way at any workout intensity. Elliptical exercise is gentle to your joints partly because the machine’s pedals continuously support your feet; your motion is very fluid. The smooth low-impact striding is a dramatic contrast to the thud-thud-thud of outdoor hiking and running! Most elliptical trainers have moving handlebars too, so you can tone your whole body at once.
Quality for home ellipticals varies widely. At minimum a good home elliptical can support an 18” to 20” stride (your natural step length) and has a smooth resistance system. Special ellipticals not only support your usual stride, but also shorter and longer steps. Some of the best ellipticals have power inclines too… so you get multiple elliptical paths for training. Here are reviews of five overall best home elliptical trainers of 2018.
Sole E95 Elliptical Machine (Elliptical with Incline)
Powerful and versatile, the new Sole E95 with 10” screen and steep maximum incline is one of the best home ellipticals of 2018 for any skill level. With a maximum slope of 40 percent, it offers lots more muscle-sculpting potential than its competitors! Choose from 20 incline settings and a wide range of resistance, from very light to very strong. The Sole E95 for 2018 features the industry-standard 20” footpath, and its 27-pound flywheel supports smooth rides even for bigger trainees.
Sole front drive ellipticals earn great ratings for ergonomics. Comparing the Sole E95 with a low-scoring front drive elliptical, we especially feel the difference in pedal ergonomics. Sole pedals have adjustable angle, and the E95 gives 10 choices for an ideal fit. Also, Sole elliptical pedals position your feet with a slight inward tilt instead of straight forward, as this allows a natural stride.
Eight elliptical workout programs are preset, including two that respond to your heart rate. You can also design your own workouts and save two to the console. With Bluetooth you can export your elliptical workout data to the Sole Fitness app, FitBit, Apple Health or another fitness tracking app. Other console features include a sound system for an MP3 player, fans to keep you cool, and a bottle holder.
All in all the Sole E95 Elliptical is one of the best home ellipticals of 2018 for shoppers who prioritize excellent ergonomics and would use the generous incline. This residential model approaches light commercial quality, and the standard warranty backs the parts for five years. Discounts of 50% or more are common at the Sole website… so look for a sale price of $1,699 or less.
NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride Trainer (Hybrid Trainer)
Try a different workout style every day! Super flexible, the center drive NordicTrack FS7i is called a “FreeStride Trainer” because its elliptical path length can extend up to 38 inches. For comparison a standard elliptical at membership gyms is fixed at 20 inches. With the FS7i you can get regular elliptical exercise or take shorter or longer strides. Additionally, while getting excellent cardio exercise you can also get light to moderate strength training: The FS7i has a 20-pound resistance system with 24 settings for a just-right challenge. Whatever settings you choose, this fitness machine will let you move with very low impact exercise to your knees, hips and other sensitive joints. For a “floating on air” sensation, NordicTrack FreeStriders have their pedals move over belts instead of along rigid rails.
NordicTrack advertises that with a FreeStride Trainer you can get the results of training on three kinds of fitness machines: a stepper, an elliptical and a treadmill. We might say you can use the machine like a cross-country ski machine or glider… not so much like a treadmill… but yes, the versatility is impressive! It’s great for your muscles and also helps keep you interested mentally. And for even more variety the FS7i has a power incline with settings up to 10 degrees.
Personal training is part of the NordicTrack deal for 2018: New FreeStriders are sold with 12-month subscriptions to iFit Coach, which are good for up to four user profiles each. The biggest benefit of iFit Coach membership is the unlimited selection of training programs. This includes workout programs to play directly on the FS7 (using its 7” touchscreen) and also video courses you can access on your mobile device or computer for exercise away from the trainer. The iFit Coach app can also help track your daily steps, make meal suggestions based on your workouts, and otherwise work as a 24/7 virtual personal trainer.
In sum the new FS7i is a wonderfully versatile trainer for low-impact exercise with fast results. It’s one of the best home ellipticals of 2018 for those who care about lean muscle sculpting but don’t want too much force. With multiple stride lengths and incline settings, a FreeStride Trainer helps you tone your lower body beautifully, plus you get moving handlebars for upper-body exercise and extra calorie burn.
On the best sale days the new FS7i is priced under $1,800. The factory-direct deal includes a valuable five-year warranty on parts and electronics.
Bowflex Max Trainer M5 (Hybrid Trainer)
Blast calories as you run on air! The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is a unique fitness machine that chases the high impact out of running. It looks like an elliptical trainer but it supports a running motion… so it’s an elliptical-treadmill hybrid, and it outperforms both of the old standbys! Because its ultra low-impact and supports very active upper-body exercise, the Max Trainer M5 can blast twice the calories of a standard elliptical trainer and about 2.5 times the calories of a treadmill. Because the M5 is so efficient, you can achieve an excellent total-body workout in just 14 minutes plus warm-up. A few sessions a week can soon pay off in the mirror, and the exercise pays off immediately in helping you feel stronger and more energized.
The famous Bowflex 14-minute workout program is on board to help you reach goals efficiently. You can also choose from nine other workout programs. These direct the Max Trainer to control the resistance, each one mixing the resistance choices differently. There are 16 resistance settings with manual controls too.
New Bowflex Max Trainers can track your fitness data long-term with Bluetooth data export. Data can be logged with the free Bowflex app, which syncs with popular fitness trackers like MyFitnessPal and Apple Health.
The typical online sale price for the Bowflex M5 is $1,599. The standard warranty isn’t so hot, and we recommend protecting this purchase with a $139 extended warranty. Bowflex customers get six-week money-back guarantees.
NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i (Folding Elliptical)
The NordicTrack SE9i is a favorite rear drive elliptical for beginners and smaller trainees. It’s equipped with an 18-pound resistance system and supports an 18-inch elliptical stride. The rear drive design supports very natural motion, plus you get a choice of three pedal orientations for a custom fit. Sold for about $1,250 including five years of parts/electronics coverage, for newcomers the SE9i is one of the best home elliptical deals for 2018.
iFit Coach is central to the workout experience, at least for a year, as a 12-month membership is added at checkout. The new SE9i Elliptical has a high-definition 10” touchscreen display to show off iFit’s GlobalTrek workouts, which help you virtually escape to great-looking destinations worldwide. As scenery moves at your pace, a world-class personal trainer occasionally appears on screen to share exercise tips, motivate or lead you through extra exercises off the machine. Get a new workout program every day! When you start up the SE9i elliptical, you’ll be greeted with scenic pictures from the day’s featured GlobalTrek workouts that match your fitness goals and exercise preferences.
You can also train along any Google Maps route, and iFit Coach makes it easy to draw a Google Maps route with interactive street views the whole way through! Use the elliptical’s power incline to get a sense of real uphill training.
Other specs for the new NordicTrack SE9i are 30 built-in workout apps, a wireless heart rate monitor ($79 value), a tablet holder and an AutoBreeze workout fan. Assembly is relatively quick, and the machine can be made compact for storage thanks to its patented Vertical Spacesaver design.
Octane Zero Runner ZR7 (Luxury Hybrid Trainer)
Octane Fitness designs high-end home fitness machines with a focus on ultra-low impact exercise. Their Zero Runner ZR7 actually enables zero impact running! It supports your body through your full running stride. It auto-adjusts with your motion to allow stride lengths up to 58”, so essentially it’s an elliptical-treadmill alternative for runners and power walkers. In one seamless exercise session you can take shorter steps to focus on your hamstrings, for example, and then lengthen your stride to work your calves. A similar option is the Octane ZR8, which adds adjustable pedal resistance.
Primarily the Octane ZR7 is a very flexible cardio trainer. Additionally it supports cross-training exercises with its attachment points for resistance bands. A set of resistance bands arrives with the machine, and the Octane Fitness app can guide you through special strength training and cross training workouts. A wireless heart rate monitor is provided to supply a constant pulse readout too.
Altogether 35 customizable workout programs are included. To play these programs, you’ll need to add your own iOS tablet computer, smartphone or iPod Touch. The ZR7 uses Bluetooth to stream the routines.
Full price for this classy zero-impact trainer is $3,299 including a five-year parts warranty. During online promotions, the price drops to under $2,500.
Best Home Ellipticals for 2018
|NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i||$1,999||38″||24 Levels|
|Bowflex Max Trainer M5||$1,599||N/A||16 Levels|
|NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i||$1,249||18″||24 Levels|
|Octane Zero Runner ZR7||$3,299||58″||Bands|
More Elliptical Models
Our goal above is to recommend a great home elliptical for just about anyone… but for more elliptical reviews sorted by price and other factors, see our main Best Ellipticals page.
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