Best elliptical trainer 2024 for a joint-friendly full-body workout at home

The best elliptical trainers for limb-twitching, cardio-pumping workouts at home

Man on best elliptical trainer doing a workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best elliptical machines are a great addition to any home gym. And when we say great, we mean huge, as these cardio machines can be pretty sizeable, although these days, you can get more compact models. The not-so-humble elliptical trainer – or cross trainer as it's also known – is probably the least elegant piece of home gym equipment, but it can be highly effective, especially if you're after a low-impact, full-body workout. 

Elliptical trainers might not be as popular as the best treadmills – especially the best folding treadmills – or even the best exercise bikes, but they're a great alternative if you're not a fan of these cardio machines. They’re perfect for getting fit without joint pain, thanks to the low-impact nature of the exercise. The lack of joint-pounding enables users to easily and quickly increase their aerobic fitness without putting strain on sensitive body parts, making ellipticals ideal for those who want to get fit but lack the floor space at home to house numerous machines and gym equipment.

Although ellipticals may not be the cheapest piece of home gym equipment, we’ve included a variety of models to suit all budget types. From big brands like NordicTrack and Bowflex, to more affordable options from JTX Fitness and Reebok, these are our pick of the best elliptical machines.  

Best elliptical trainers to buy right now

Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Best overall

NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Trainer ReviewT3 Best Buy badge

(Image credit: TJ Fink)
Best elliptical trainer overall

Specifications

Dimensions (in inches): 74 x 58.5 x 29.5
Resistance level: 26
Max user weight: 374 lbs (170 kg)
Stride length: up to 32" (auto-adjusting)

Reasons to buy

+
Full-body workout that’s easy on the joints
+
Auto-adjusting stride is fun/easy to engage
+
Built-in fan and at-your-fingertips incline/resistance controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Monthly iFit membership required (30-day trial included)
-
Tricky to move once assembled

When it comes to virtually exploring this planet, few cardio machines compare to the NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Trainer, which brings the great outdoors to your doorstep. This elliptical is easy on your joints, and its adjustable stride is far more dynamic than most cross-trainers. Not to mention the fab 14-inch screen!

Overall, the NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Trainer is a splurge for any home gym, but one that may be worth it in the long run – or, err, stride. The machine itself is top-notch regarding low-impact cardio, but if you can afford the monthly iFit membership to boot, there’s a lot to like about this premium elliptical. Your inner child will never get bored, and your inner gazelle will thank you later. 

Read our full NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Trainer review.

Best premium

Bowflex MAX Trainer M8 against white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Bowflex)

2. Bowflex MAX Trainer M9

Best premium elliptical trainer

Specifications

Dimensions (in inches): 49.2" L x 30.5" W x 65.1" H
Resistance levels: 20
Max user weight: 300 lbs (136 kg)
Stride length: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Many helpful features to combat subcutaneous fat
+
Dual-mode LCD/LED screens
+
Takes up half as much space as traditional ellipticals
+
Short workouts ideal for time-poor people

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited stride length

Bowflex claims its M9 trainer – which replaced the popular M8 model – is one of the fastest ways to torch fat without the high impact of running and other bodyweight programmes. We aren't going to disagree because this unit incorporates the best elements of a stepper with an elliptical trainer's fat-torching upper body workout.

The Bowflex MAX Trainer M9 comes with a 1-year JRNY membership included in the price, through which you can access curated workout and entertainment options, including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and more. You can also roam over 200 scenic destinations from around the world that you can explore at your speed! All the content is shown on the generous-sized 10" HD touchscreen.

Of course, you don't buy the Max Trainer M9 to watch Netflix when you're sitting on the couch. Thanks to the 20 resistance levels, this elliptical provides an excellent way to do low-impact HIIT workouts in a neighbour-friendly way. We also appreciated that the Max Trainer M9 didn't command the space in our home gyms like traditional ellipticals. It's not a cheap piece of home gym equipment, but it's an amazing, innovative machine that makes working out a breeze or at least enjoyable.

Best mid-range

JTX Zenith on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: JTX Fitness)

3. JTX Zenith

Best mid-range cross trainer

Specifications

Dimensions (in inches): 74.8" L x 34.2" W x 68.1" H
Resisatnce levels: 16
Max user weight: 363 lbs (165kg)
Stride length: 21"

Reasons to buy

+
Suitable for taller people
+
Competitive price point
+
3-year repairs and lifetime frame warranty

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires a lot of space

The JTX Zenith has a traditional horizontal layout, with the 17 kg flywheel at the rear of the unit – it'll command any home gym it's in for sure! Despite the large overall size, the Zenith's 21-inch max stride length isn't quite as generous as the NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Trainer's 32 inches, which has a vertical constriction.

We liked the 16 resistance levels and the 19 different programs, although the latter is far from the number of workouts found in Bowflex's JRNY and NordicTrack's iFit apps. On a more positive note, the Zenith has built-in Polar heart rate sensors, making this elliptical capable of measuring heart rate – and, therefore, calories burned – more accurately.

We also appreciated the built-in speakers, a bottle holder and a transport wheel during the testing period. The JTX Zenith is not quite as premium as the machines listed above, but for the price, it provides more than enough features for people who would like to lose belly fat in a low-impact fashion.

Best luxury

Technogym Elliptical against white background

(Image credit: Technogym)

4. Technogym Elliptical

Best luxury elliptical trainer

Specifications

Dimensions (in inches): 63.8" x 25.6" x 63"
Resisatnce levels: 25
Max user weight: 286.6 lbs (130 kg)
Stride length: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Super-stylish design
+
Foldable, so can be stored in communal rooms
+
Wake-up sensor automatically detects people approaching

Reasons to avoid

-
No multimedia screen (need to use your tablet or smart TV)
-
You pay the premium for the style, not for the versatility

The Technogym Elliptical is hands-down the most stylish elliptical trainer on this list – its smooth curves and minimalist design is a delight to look at. It's not just pretty but also functional and foldable, making it easier to store the machine in plain sight, so to speak, or in rooms where floor space is at a premium.

Speaking of premium: the Technogym Elliptical is pricey, as expected from a brand whose exercise machines grace many of the top gyms worldwide. It's not the expensive Technogym elliptical trainer – that would be Artis Vario for 17 grand – but it's more expensive than most of the models listed in this roundup.

Even though the hefty price tag, the Technogym Elliptical doesn't come with a multimedia display like many premium models, which is a shame, but you can use a tablet screen to stream workouts via the Technogym app, at least. One feature we liked was the Wake-up sensor; it wakes up the machine when you're nearby and turns it off when you aren't around.

Best for adjustability

Sole E35 Elliptical on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

(Image credit: Sole Fitness)
Best elliptical trainer for adjustability

Specifications

Dimensions: 209 x 82 x 180 cm / 82” x 32” x 71”
Foldable: Yes
Flywheel weight: 10kg/23lb
Built-in speakers: Yes
Stride length: 20-inch

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek, compact, and quiet
+
Designed to be easy on the joints
+
Compatible with the STUDIO app, which offers 50+ elliptical-targeted classes

Reasons to avoid

-
No built-in video screen

The Sole E35 has a lot to offer for a home elliptical. It’s easy to use and can be adjusted to suit a variety of fitness levels. And, thanks to the machine’s compatibility with the STUDIO fitness platform, it offers users access to a host of fun, challenging workouts.

It’s slightly disappointing that at this price, it doesn’t include a proper screen, but if you’re used to working out with your tablet for company, it’s no great loss. The Sole Fitness 35 is ideal for elliptical newbies and provides both challenging and fun workouts (especially using the Studio app). 

Read our full Sole E35 Elliptical review

Best quiet

Life Fitness E1 on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

6. Life Fitness E1

Best quiet elliptical trainer

Specifications

Dimensions: 150x77x209 cm
Foldable: No
Flywheel weight: N/A
Built-in speakers: No
Stride length: 20-inch

Reasons to buy

+
Whisper-quiet operation
+
Swanky data screen
+
Heart rate monitoring

Reasons to avoid

-
Can get similar features on cheaper cross trainers

With an impressive 20 punishing resistance levels to work with, this gym-grade elliptical machine has been designed to emit as little noise as possible, meaning housemates don't have to put up with the unbearable whooshing of a flywheel. Although there may still be a certain amount of human grunting to endure.

The LCD data screen is crisp, clear and packed with numerous built-in workouts, not to mention bespoke profiles for multiple users. Heart-rate monitoring is provided by a free Polar chest strap, as well as palm-based readings from the ergonomic 'ErgoGrip' handles, while a large, fixed 20-inch stride length and oversized pedals keep workouts feeling natural and free-flowing.

The price may be enough to have many Nordic-walking for the hills, admittedly, but Life Fitness has invested a wealth of gym knowledge into its range of home-friendly trainers, thus justifying the asking price somewhat.

Best for durability

Sole Fitness E25 on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

7. Sole Fitness E25

Best elliptical trainer for durability

Specifications

Dimensions: H176 W61 L163 cm
Foldable: No
Flywheel weight: 11kg
Built-in speakers: Yes
Stride length: 20-inch

Reasons to buy

+
Lifetime guarantee
+
Gym-like spec

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires a decent amount of space

If you're after a cross trainer that's big, chunky and manly looking, look no further than the beastly Sole Fitness E25, which boasts an 11kg flywheel and impressive 20-inch stride length. A long stride is nothing unless you know what to do with it, but this dual-wheel unit makes the most of its notable stats with a comfortable and balanced elliptical movement.

So confident is Sole Fitness that you won't shake its rugged E25 apart with a rowdy workout; it offers a lifetime guarantee on the parts, motor and frame. All that's left to do is strap on your heart rate monitor, plug in some tunes and do your very worst, sirs.

Best budget

Reebok Z-Power Cross Trainer on white backgroundT3 Approved badge

8. Reebok Z-Power Cross Trainer

Best budget elliptical trainer

Specifications

Dimensions: H169cm, W72cm, L135cm
Foldable: No
Flywheel weight: 9kg
Built-in speakers: Yes
Stride length: 15-inch

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent VFM

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the most demanding trainer

Neat, compact and great value for money, this budget offering from Reebok provides a neat, low-cost intro to the world of elliptical trainers. The petite, 5.5-inch digital screen gives readouts on all the key info: speed, time elapsed, distance covered, calories burned, pulse, watts and RPM, while a number of preset programmes address a wide variety of fitness goals.

A short, 15-inch stride length and relatively light flywheel don't make for the most natural elliptical experiences, but the extra long handles boast heart rate monitoring tech, so you can keep an eye on training zones and adapt effort accordingly.

How to buy the best elliptical trainer for you

Although broadly similar in design (two platforms for your feet and a couple of handles to grab), elliptical trainers differ significantly in features, build quality and resistance level. Like an exercise bike, most elliptical trainers use a flywheel to create resistance. The weight and design of this wheel will determine how buttery smooth the workout feels and how much resistance one can pile on. 

In general, the cheaper units will use a much lighter flywheel, which may not offer the sort of resistance true fitness freaks need to break a sweat, while shorter stride lengths and stubby handles can limit the muscle groups worked. Similarly, the more expensive and complex units can combine elements of an elliptical with things like a stepper or climber, which reduces the amount of floor space required but still delivers a solid, all-over workout.

Beware, the really cheap stuff does away with the magnetic motors entirely, which is great for electricity bills but terrible for anyone who actually wants to increase their heart rate. You'll flail like a lunatic to get anywhere near the fat-burn zone.  

Naturally, space and budgets will be important factors. In general terms, the more expensive you go, the larger and heavier the device becomes as manufacturers launch gizmos, gadgets, and chunkier build quality in their models. It's worth looking out for adjustable platforms, a multitude of grab handles, a decent spread of resistance and the more powerful drive systems if you want a trainer that's good enough to warrant ripping up the gym memberships.

How we test the best ellitpicals

Ellipticals are big ol' exercise machines, making them trickier to store in our not-so-generous home gyms, but this doesn't stop us from trying. Therefore, most of the ellipticals listed in this guide have been tested in home gym environments; only on some occasions, we had to resort to testing them in our storage facility near our photo studio.

Elliptical trainers undergo rigorous testing to ensure they deliver the workout experience the manufacturer claims in their marketing materials. If the machines come with an app subscription included in the price, we test these, too.  

FAQ

What is the best elliptical trainer?

NordicTrack is King of the Elliptical hot steppers and its E11.5 Elliptical Cross Trainer offers a staggering amount of bang for your buck. It has a large, 18-inch stride length and its rear-drive system offers an elliptical path that closely matches natural stride ergonomics.

Couple this with the adjustable pedals, extra tall workout arms and the 22 digital levels offered by the Silent Magnetic Resistance flywheel, and you have an extremely adjustable home system. It also cleverly folds flat for storage and is priced so it doesn't break the bank, yet manages to crush the more budget offerings in terms of features.

Do ellipticals help lose belly fat?

Using an elliptical trainer will help increase heart rate, especially if you use them for longer than five minutes at the time. This, coupled with a healthy, balanced diet, can help you lose belly fat and weight in general. Better still, training on an elliptical won't necessarily ramp up your heart rate too much, meaning it will be easier to keep it in that 'fat burning zone' sett spot (50-60% of max heart rate).

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for T3.com and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.

With contributions from