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Lee Reherman

Professional Fitness Expert

Best Elliptical Machine & Elliptical Trainer

Featured On:

  • American Gladiators
Let’s imagine for a moment that some poor slob, who’d been stranded on a desert island for 25 years, is finally rescued. Somewhere on his “to do list” after a big juicy steak, a cold beer, and a good movie, is a relaxing trip to the gym. I offer, that one glimpse of an elliptical machine would elicit a response somewhere between “you’ve got to be kidding me!” I mean think about it, if you’ve never seen one before, an elliptical machine looks like the wheel-less love child of a big bug and a bicycle! And the variety of poses you see on an Elliptical only adds to the peculiarity: the rump way out, the chest pressed forward, or the always fun to see, hunch back! Yikes!

I mention this not just because a big juicy steak and a cold beer sound pretty good right now, but because the elliptical machine may be the most improperly used piece of exercise equipment out there. If used correctly, the Elliptical is a fantastic training tool that provides a great cardiovascular alternative to the pounding on the joints from running; or a more even full body alternative to the unavoidable distribution of the workload to the quadriceps from bicycling. But if used incorrectly, the strain on the back, hips, knees, even the shoulders, can cause real orthopedic problems.

Because only your hands and feet touch the machine, all that “real estate” in between is vulnerable to injury from improper use. So part of the task in choosing a Home Elliptical Machine is to simultaneously make certain you’re stance, form, and duration of workout are all “right” for you.

Thus, the key things to look for a home elliptical machine are:
1) Does the machine allow me proper stance and form?
2) Does the machine have the programs and monitoring capability I want?
3) Is the machine’s elliptical mechanism going to last?

With the best elliptical machine, you'll sweat your way into great shape. These elliptical trainer recommendations feature durable equipment that fits into your budget for a home gym.

Best Ellipticals by Lee Reherman

The Best You Can Get

  • Precor EFX5.37 Elliptical Crosstrainer

    Lee says: The Precor EFX5.37 has every whistle and bell imaginable, including a display and variable monitoring system you can customize to your own needs. The ramp angles and biomechanics configuration make this a machine that can fit almost any body type. What puts the Precor over the top is a convertible arm technology that allows you to switch from total body mode to lower body mode, which, when fatigued, helps prevent injury and/or allows workouts to last longer.

    Its unique Convertible Arms technology allows users to quickly and easily switch back and forth between total body exercise mode and lower body exercise mode, and programs include: Aerobic Endurance, CrossTrainer, Custom (2), Gluteal, Heart Rate (2), Hill Climb, Interval (3), Manual, Weight Loss (3).

    • 20 different ramp angles, from 15 to 40 degrees, allow users to individually target all major lower body muscle groups
    • Optimized biomechanics featuring low-impact movements, combined with smooth natural motion, provides the lowest rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of any cardio exercise system
    • Touch sensitive display with toggle switches makes it easy to monitor and customize workouts, and Biofeedback center provides dedicated feedback on heart rate and calories
  • Life Fitness Club Series Elliptical Cross-Trainer

    Lee says: Life Fitness has put all the engineering and function of its professional ellipticals into a model for the home. The oversized pedals and extra long handlebars, allow almost any body type to find a stable comfortable stance. Similarly, the stationary handlebar in the center of the console, provides stability for those longer workouts and/or when its time to go “lower body only.” The Life Fitness Elliptical also has a family friendly feature that allows family members to personalize and save individual programs.

    • A total body workout with synchronized upper-body and lower-body movement that will help you burn more calories with less perceived exertion than lower-body only elliptical machines
    • Features 18 workout programs, seven personalized workouts, a race mode, and goal workouts. Save the name, age, weight, and workout preferences for two users in your household, or create up to two custom workouts for each user
    • ErgoGrip stationary handlebar provides stability during lower body-only workouts, an oversized, dual accessory tray, deluxe 16-character LED message center that provides workout feedback, and built-in reading rack
    • Oversized pedals help ensure that no matter how big, small, wide, or narrow your feet are, you can still expect the same club-quality experience from this elliptical trainer
  • Smooth CE 7.4 Elliptical

    Lee says: The first thing you’ll notice about the CE 7.4 is that it looks really cool! Not that aesthetics should make a “hill of beans” difference, but the unique look of the CE 7.4 is form following function with quality construction from top to bottom. The pedal is uniquely engineered to pivot slightly which may feel somewhat awkward at first, but once you find your natural ankle position and a rhythm, the comfort and stability are fantastic. And the multiple handlebar configuration coupled with the robust program menu provide an almost infinite number of possible workouts.

    • Ergonomic, pivoting foot pedal emulates the orthopedic movement of your ankle, and supports your heel while allowing your ankle to assume its most functional position throughout the entire elliptical cycle
    • Extra long 21” elliptical stride & heavy duty flywheel accommodates even the tallest users comfortably and eliminates the aggravating “bump” sometimes felt with other elliptical machines
    • Upper- and lower-body workout with a unique 3:1 ratio of lower body resistance to upper body resistance. This allows your arms and legs to receive an equal workout without one tiring before the other
    • Electromagnetic braking system allows for smooth transitions and stops even during strenuous workouts
  • MultiSports Elliptix 6600 Elliptical Cross Trainer

    Lee says: MultiSport has basically stripped off the bulk of its commercial unit and delivered a streamlined top quality elliptical for home use. The small footprint of the 6600 almost says, “economy,” but the stride length and pedal spacing quickly dispel that notion by delivering the same feel and stability of the much bulkier professional model. The display monitors every imaginable variable, and the family friendly program menu allows multiple users to create and store training programs.

    • Commercial quality features with a 21” stride length and 5” pedal spacing
    • Fully programmable with 12 user programs and up to 4 users can input user specific programs
    • The Eddy Current Electronic Breaking System gives a smooth natural foot pattern and true elliptical motion
    • LED with dot matrix console that displays: RPM, speed, watts, recovery time, distance, calories, pulse, and scan
    • Rugged heavy gauge steel construction with precision machined sealed steel bearings at all pivot points, and smooth poly V-Belt drive train
  • Ironman Achiever Elliptical Trainer

    Lee says: Ironman has developed a well-deserved reputation for delivering quality equipment across the entire fitness category, and the Achiever Elliptical is no exception. It is a good-looking machine with plenty of pedal and handle-bar space to accommodate any body type. Also, the resistance system is engineered to be nearly silent, so if a cranky downstairs neighbor is an issue, the Ironman might be right for you. Another unique feature is the oversized colorful display, which makes all those variables you’re tracking easy to see, no matter how delirious a strenuous workout makes you!

    An oversized blue and yellow LCD gives you constant feedback on your workout by tracking your time, speed, distance, RPM, calories, pulse, program number, intensity level, body fat percentage, and BMI while also storing the progress of up to nine users at once.

    It has eighteen built-in programs, including twelve preset, four heart rate, one pulse recovery, and one user-customizable program and a wireless chest strap transmitter, which lets the trainer monitor and regulate your workout intensity to keep you at a specified target heart rate.

    • A unique structural design with oversized pedals, molded comfort grip, and finger grooves, that put you in a biomechanically correct position yielding better balance and stability, and placing minimum stress on your weight-bearing joints
    • Patented center drive technology and friction-free magnetic resistance system, which combine to deliver smooth, quiet, and maintenance-free operation

You will be happy with any of these

  • NordicTrack Elliptical, ASR 630

    Lee says: NordicTrack has been at the Elliptical game longer than almost anyone, and the experience comes through with ASR 630. Two modern features of the 630 that will really knock your socks off are the MP3 Music port, and space saver rollaway base. I’m a big advocate of incorporating music into any workout routine as both a motivational and pacing tool, and the ASR 630 builds this right in. And if space is a concern, the base folds up for easy storage.

    • With the innovative MP3 Music Port and ifit® Workout technology, the ASR 630 lets you choose your own music and your own ifit® weight loss or wellness workouts
    • Be amazed as you listen to your own MP3 files and are given instruction from a Personal Trainer through the built-in speaker system
    • It also features the innovative 1-Step™ SpaceSaver® technology so you can enjoy a first class workout and quickly fold up the base and roll it away
    • With the brightly lit ClearView™ Display, upper-body arms, 6 1-Touch™ workouts and more, you have all the features you need to get the body want
  • Schwinn 431 Elliptical Trainer

    Lee says: Schwinn has always been known for quality, but hasn’t always delivered that quality in an economical package. The 431 does just that, with a commercial quality elliptical mechanism, and plenty of home gym features. The flywheel is located up front, which creates a slightly different feel if you’re used to a rear placement, but the space savings is significant. Also, the console below the display includes an MP3 compartment, towel rack, and bottle holder, which makes the 431 a one-stop elliptical purchase with no hidden upgrades.

    Its oversized cushioned footplates and a built-in fan will maximize comfort, and an easy-to-read blue backlit LCD display giving you resistance, speed, time, distance, interval time, watts, RPM, and calories track progress and assist with improvements to overall performance.

    • The sporty look employs an 18-inch stride length to accommodate varying heights of users, and you’ll get a challenging workout with 16 resistance levels and an impressive 25 lb. steel flywheel
    • Features a space saving compact design measuring 59-in x 26-in x 68-in that will fit nicely into most home environments, and a 300 lb. user weight capacity can support most users
    • The Quiet ECB Eddy Current Brake frictionless system provides an almost silent and smooth workout, and an iPod/MP3 player portable media compartment, towel hook, and an easily removable oversize water bottle holder are included
  • Fitness Quest Eclipse® 1100 HR-A Elliptical Cross Trainer

    Lee says: The Eclipse 1100 is part of a long list of quality home gym equipment from Fitness Quest, and the economy of price and space earn the Eclipse 1100 a look if you’re tight on bucks and room. The LCD display and variables tracked are more robust than many other “economy ellipticals,” and though the 1100 is economically priced and thus somewhat stingy on the “bling,” the elliptical mechanism is durable commercial quality.

    • 16 levels of magnetic resistance and an expanded electronics package. The easy-to-use computer provides immediate feedback on speed, distance, time, approximate calories burned, and hand pulse
    • It also features an LCD window with 12 pre-set workout programs, one manual program, one user program, and one heart-rate control program
    • A unique, patented orbital linkage system provides you with a smooth, elliptical pattern as you workout, and the quiet, low-impact stride feels completely natural and is exceptionally smooth through the entire range of motion
    • Large, slip resistant foot platforms designed for stability and ample foot room
  • ProForm XP 420 Razor with Perfect Motion Technology™

    Lee says: If you’re looking for an economical elliptical and don’t need all the whistles and bells, then the XP 420 may be exactly what you’re looking for. The basic elliptical mechanism is as good as those that cost three times the price, and though streamlined and basic, the programs and display still deliver what you need for a focused workout. Another feature is the small footprint, so if space is a concern, then the ProForm deserves a good look.

    • Measuring only 3 inches wide, it is approximately half as wide as a traditional elliptical mechanism allowing you to enjoy more natural and ergonomic strides without sacrificing quality
    • Adjustable stride length and digital resistance allow you to adjust your workout resistance for increased calorie burn and higher intensity
    • 4 Personal Trainer Workouts and 2 Target Toning™ Trainer Workouts - target specific areas of your body with these new workout programs that let you select a muscle group and go
    • Target Pacer, EKG™ Heart Rate Monitor & CoolAire™ Workout Fan help you work out longer and more comfortably
  • Crescendo Fitness CrossTrainer Elliptical Machine

    Lee says: Another great bang for the buck, the Crescendo is all function with no frills. The elliptical mechanism is heavy duty and durable, and the small monitor tracks the essentials just as well as any higher-priced elliptical. If you’re shopping to add to a room full of exercise equipment, or if you’re putting an elliptical in a recreational room where you’re focus will be elsewhere, especially in a room where you’ll be watching television, the Crescendo may be just the right fit.

    • Heavy-duty cross trainer elliptical machine is the perfect addition to any home gym with smooth magnetic resistance designed to lessen stress on knees and joints
    • Has a double-direction 5-kg. flywheel
    • Features 7 functions: scan, time, speed, odometer, distance, calories, and pulse

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Choose the best elliptical machine with our help. We recommend the elliptical trainer that meets your fitness goals and your budget. Always the best price, our elliptical cross trainer recommendations feature NordicTrack, Schwinn, ProForm and other elliptical trainers that will help you get in shape in no time.