Best Ellipticals for Home Use 2017

Which ellipticals are best for home use? Here we recommend three top-ranked elliptical trainers for 2017. But since everyone’s needs are different, we also explain how to compare your many options.  This article concludes with a long list of home elliptical trainers with a variety of star ratings.

Three Best Ellipticals for Home Training

Size matters in the elliptical world. The best elliptical trainer for any home will fit the space and fit the people. Most shoppers prefer home ellipticals that aren’t as large as club versions… yet aren’t too small or weak. The best home ellipticals allow full-size strides and enough resistance to challenge each user.

Here we list three ellipticals in terms of reasonable machine size, stride length, resistance, warranty and more.

Buying Guide for Home Elliptical Trainers

How much should you spend on an elliptical machine? The quality of home elliptical trainers varies widely. Low quality elliptical machines sometimes cost less than $500. Some of the best home ellipticals cost thousands more. Here are some tips about elliptical machine features to help you make a wise buy.

See best ellipticals by price.

Performance

Some of the best home ellipticals perform like health club fitness machines. Very cheap ellipticals on the other hand are poor imitations. Here are some performance essentials to know when shopping.

Resistance: The best home ellipticals offer wide ranges of resistance. They can challenge trainees in peak condition as well as those getting gentle physical therapy. A heavier flywheel makes an elliptical machine cost more, but the flywheel  makes a big difference to performance quality. Look for a flywheel weight of at least 20 pounds if you want your cross trainer to carry you beyond the beginner’s level. Also choose a heavier wheel if an intended user is rather hefty. Otherwise the elliptical motion might not feel sufficiently smooth.

Stride Length: The best home ellipticals have stride length settings for every intended user. In some families one size fits all, but in others it’s wise to choose an adjustable stride elliptical. Adjustable stride is available on mid-range and high-end models. Elliptical machines with especially generous stride ranges are also called “hybrid trainers” because they perform like low-impact treadmills or step machines as well as elliptical cross trainers.

Upper Body Training: Most but not all home ellipticals have moving arm bars. The best elliptical handlebars are angled to comfortably fit people with different “wingspans.” Also, on the best ellipticals the coordination between the upper body and lower body motion feels natural. On a cheap exercise machine the movements might not feel synchronized.

Durability

What influences an elliptical machine’s durability? The best cheap home ellipticals have rather simple electronics. That’s because most resources are put into essential components to prevent breakdowns. But when you spend an average or higher budget on an elliptical, you can expect great electronic features along with long-lasting mechanical performance. Here are some factors contributing to elliptical durability.

Maximum User Weight: Maximum user weight is a great clue about elliptical durability. The best home elliptical trainers have user weight capacities of at least 300 pounds.

Metal vs. Plastic: Durable elliptical machines have metal and tough resin parts, and aren’t built with thin breakable plastic. Higher quality materials reduce the chance of breakdowns, and heavier components make the exercise machines more stable during workouts.

Rear Drive Design: Rear drive ellipticals are generally associated with fewer maintenance needs. Still, durable ellipticals with center drives and front drives are easy to find here on our review site. An advantage of center drive and front drive ellipticals is that they’re more compact. Also, front drive ellipticals tend to cost less (assuming stride length, flywheel weight, and other factors are equal).

Warranty: Definitely read the product warranty to get an idea about durability. The best residential elliptical deals include standard parts/electronics warranties of at least two years.

Features

The best elliptical cross trainers for home use have just the right amount of features to keep you motivated with training programs and entertainment. Here are some popular features.

Adjustable Incline: While some ellipticals have adjustable stride to vary your workouts, others have adjustable incline. This lets you simulate climbing at different angles for muscle toning and especially rapid calorie burn. In general the incline options become greater as price increases. Some of the most popular ellipticals pair incline training with interactive video; look for technologies such as iFit and Passport.

Customized Programs: The quality and variety of exercise programming can contribute a good deal to the overall cost of a crosstrainer. On cheaper elliptical machines there might be many programs but little variety. The best home ellipticals support multiple user profiles, have excellent preset program variety, and can also supply personalized workout programs.

Heart Rate Control: The best home ellipticals can work with chest straps for wireless heart rate monitoring, plus they have programs for heart rate control. These ellipticals adjust their resistance to help people work within target heart rate zones.

HD Video and Web: Premium home ellipticals have widescreens that support high definition video and have Android browsers. They make it easy to track workout data and surf the web or watch your favorite TV shows at the same time. A common screen width on home ellipticals for 2017 is 10”. The widest screen on an elliptical we've reviewed is 22”.

iPhone/iPod Compatible: Home ellipticals at all price points have speakers for MP3 players. High-end ellipticals have speakers with higher fidelity and might have on-screen controls for mobile devices. Secure holders, sometimes with charging ports, are also built into the machines.

List of Elliptical Trainers for Home Gyms

Our top three recommendations for home ellipticals are shown above. Listed here are plenty more choices with a variety of star ratings.

Best Ellipticals for Home Use

Model Rating Flywheel Resistance Price Lowest Price
Sole E95 5-stars 27 LBS ECB Under $2,000 See best price »
NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i 5-stars 20 LB 24 Levels Under $2,000 See best price »
Bowflex Max Trainer M5 5-stars N/A 16 Levels Under $2,000 See best price »