The Best Ellipticals (Home, Gym & Hotel)

The Best Ellipticals (Home, Gym & Hotel) in 2021

Elliptical machines are known for providing a great cardio workout that won’t stress your joints. When you’re buying one of these machines, though, comparing all of the different models available isn’t an easy task. To make your fitness journey easier, we’ve identified the top 10 best ellipticals on the market, including the best options for home use, commercial gyms, and hotel fitness rooms. 

The Ellipticals We RAVE About

Schwinn 470 Compact Elliptical Machine
Best Overall
Schwinn 470 Compact Elliptical Machine
Best Residential
SOLE E35
Best Commercial
Life Fitness Club Series

Our Favorite Overall Elliptical

So let’s get straight to the point and discuss our very favorite elliptical machine, all things considered. This isn’t the most expensive or even the very highest quality. It’s also not the cheapest elliptical. We’re assuming you’ve got a grand or two to spend on your health. So without further ado, if you’re in a rush and need to know the elliptical to buy, here’s our pick for the best overall bang for your buck.

Schwinn 470 Compact Elliptical Machine  

Schwinn 470 Compact Elliptical Machine

Quality: 96/100

Options: 96/100

Features: 97/100

Value: 99/100

Our pick for the best overall elliptical on the market right now is the Schwinn 470 Compact Elliptical Machine. This popular workout machine is packed full of features you’ll actually use at a price point that won’t feel like too much of a splurge, even if you’re just buying it for your own home gym. Every way you look at it—from the perspective of durability, technology, affordability, and more—this elliptical from Schwinn is sure to please most purchasers.

A durable frame that comes with a 10-year warranty, large footplates to fit any size user, ergonomically placed handlebars, and a motorized adjustable ramp make up this machine. The elliptical’s technology features start with Schwinn’s DualTrack LCD monitor and include Precision Path foot motion technology, telemetry heart rate measuring capabilities, multiple user capabilities, 29 built-in programs, and Bluetooth connectivity and compatibility with leading health and fitness apps. 

One of our favorite features is the integration of the Explore the World app, which allows you to virtually visit courses all over the world—the perfect motivation for users who tend to get tired of stationary workouts. 

Specs:

Machine dimensions: 70.1” L x 28.2” W x 63.2” H 

Machine weight: 164 lbs

Maximum user weight: 300 lbs 

Number of resistance levels: 25

Average retail price: $999 to $1,299

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The Top Three Residential Ellipticals We RAVE About

What do you look for in a residential elliptical? Some home gyms are small, favoring space-saving designs and machines that do double-duty. For others, only a machine with the latest and most cutting-edge technological features will do. After all, you’re making an investment in your fitness that’s much more personal than a gym membership.

Whether your home elliptical needs are modest or extravagant, these workout machines are worth a look. 

1. SOLE E35

SOLE E35

Quality: 99/100

Options: 93/100

Features: 97/100

Value: 88/100

What makes the E35 elliptical machine special is the brand’s exclusive Power Incline technology, which allows you to target and train areas of the body that regular ellipticals tend to neglect. Between the incline options and the machine’s forward and reverse functionalities, users can get a whole-body workout from one machine right in the comfort of their home. In fact, the E35 is right near the border that separates home gym workout machines from those intended for light commercial use (think hotel fitness rooms). 

Thanks to the whisper-quiet drive system, you never have to deal with irritatingly loud operating sounds—which means there’s nothing to drown out your workout playlist or the dialogue in the show you’re binging right now, and you can get fit without worrying about waking up roommates and family members. Other favorite features include a 7.5” LCD display console, Bluetooth speakers, and an integrated tablet holder. The adjustable, oversized foot pedals are custom-designed by physical therapists to keep the stress off of your knees and ankles. 

If you’re looking in the home gym ellipticals price tier, the list price of well over $2,500 may hit you with some sticker shock. Further, some fitness enthusiasts felt that the machine didn’t have enough resistance, even at the highest level, to challenge them enough. However, if your fitness journey is still in its early stages and you don’t mind paying a bit more for the near-commercial-grade quality, the SOLE E35 is an excellent option to consider. 

Specs:

Machine dimensions: 82″ L x 31” W x 71″ H

Machine weight: 231 lbs

Maximum user weight: 375 lbs

Number of resistance levels: 20

Average retail price: $2,600-$2,800

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2. Bowflex Max Trainer M9 

Bowflex Max Trainer M9

Quality: 95/100

Options: 93/100

Features: 97/100

Value: 90/100

Like Schwinn, the Bowflex brand is part of the Nautilus family of fitness products. Bowflex’s Max Trainer M9 model is widely admired for the full-body, pulse-boosting workout it provides with one machine that fits nicely in a home gym. More than your average elliptical, the Bowflex Max Trainer M9 blends the familiar motion of an elliptical with that of a stair stepper machine to provide a cardio workout that’s at once low-impact and high-intensity. 

You’ll love the advanced technology features that set the Bowflex Max Trainer M9 apart. A high-definition interactive 10″ touchscreen allows you to access individualized adaptive workouts and virtual courses, as well as taking fitness classes, viewing in-depth metrics that help you gauge progress toward your goals, and streaming shows and movies right from the elliptical console (with the purchase of the JRNY Membership). 

At double the price point of the Schwinn 470 Compact Elliptical Machine—not counting the cost of the membership you will need to make the most of the M9’s features—you’re getting some extra bells and whistles for your money. While the convenience of being able to stream straight from the elliptical machine and access fitness classes and adaptive workouts is a great feature, it’s the Max Trainer M9’s unique motion and its capacity for high-intensity interval training that really set it apart.

Specs:

Machine dimensions: 49.2” L x 30.5” W x 65.1” H 

Machine weight: 148.8 lbs

Maximum user weight: 300 lbs

Number of resistance levels: 20 

Average retail price: $1,999

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3. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine Cross Trainer

 Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine Cross Trainer

Quality: 93/100

Options: 93/100

Features: 88/100

Value: 100/100

Maybe you don’t need all the bells and whistles for your at-home workout. Simplicity is elegant, especially when it gets the job done at a budget-friendly price. That’s what you’ll get from the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine Cross Trainer, a basic but widely popular elliptical model available at the $200 price point. 

This machine may not offer Bluetooth connectivity or a fancy interactive console, but its digital monitor tells you what you really need to know: your speed, distance, time working out, calories burned, and heart rate. Pulse sensors are integrated right into the full-motion handlebars, so you don’t need to mess with a separate band, clip, or other gadget, and you can work your arms at the same time as your legs. Non-slip pedals make working out easier and safer and won’t slow you down.

Although the resistance levels available on the SF-E905 model lag behind the 20+ resistance levels available in other best-selling elliptical machines, users say they’re sufficient for a good workout, and the magnetic resistance system allows for a quiet and smooth ride on any difficulty level. The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical isn’t the right choice for every home gym. However, if you’re short on space or you can’t afford a $1,000 machine right now—and you’re only looking for your elliptical to function as an elliptical, not as a whole overpowered computer system—this space-saving, affordable workout machine may be exactly what you need. 

Specs:

Machine dimensions: 28” L x 17” W x 57” H 

Machine weight: 60.8 lbs

Maximum user weight: 220 lbs

Number of resistance levels: 8

Average retail price: $210

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The Top Three Gym Ellipticals We RAVE About

For commercial gym use, you need more from an elliptical machine. After all, these machines go through a lot more wear. Instead of one person or family using them for a comparably short span of time, ellipticals in commercial gyms are used all day long, every day. They are also likely to require more frequent adjustments to resistance level, stride length, and pre-programmed workout selections, since users may be different sizes, have different levels of current fitness, or have different fitness goals. 

The best ellipticals for commercial gyms cost more than home gym ellipticals, but they’re an investment in your fitness studio and in keeping your clients coming back to your business for all of their fitness needs. 

Life Fitness Club Series + Elliptical Cross-Trainer

1. Life Fitness Club Series + Elliptical Cross-Trainer 

Quality: 98/100

Options: 97/100

Features: 98/100

Value: 92/100

The Life Fitness brand has a long history of producing quality fitness equipment, and the brand’s Club Series line has continued to impress gym-goers for more than 20 years. This elliptical’s sturdy frame comes with a lifetime warranty that attests to the machine’s durability. The 15” oversized FlexForm pedals are exactly what gym owners and managers are looking for in their workout equipment: comfortable, slip-resistant, easy to clean, and large enough to accommodate users of all sizes. 

The Life Fitness Club Series + Elliptical Cross-Trainer has two sets of handlebars to give users variety in their workouts. A set of stationary handles lets you focus on lower body workouts only, while a set of multi-grip moving handles allows you to maximize the full-body impact of your exercise. The moving handles feature remote resistance controls so you can seamlessly switch between the 25 available resistance levels for a workout that will challenge you just the right amount. 

Another standout feature is the 7” LCD touchscreen that allows you to access trending workouts, quickly replay a previous workout, and view workout performance trends. Use wireless Bluetooth connectivity to interact with the machine. Select the workout that fits your needs by choosing a goal based on time, distance, heart rate, or calories, or make use of interval training based on speed or incline.

Specs:

Machine dimensions: 86: L x 29” W x 64” H

Machine weight: 301 lbs

Maximum user weight: 400 lbs

Number of resistance levels: 25

Average retail price: $7,999

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Precor AMT 835 with Open Stride

2. Precor AMT 835 with Open Stride

Quality: 97/100

Options: 99/100

Features: 97/100

Value: 90/100

One of the more expensive elliptical machines to land a spot on our list, the Precor AMT 835 model is a substantial investment, with a list price upwards of $9,000. That said, this workout machine offers exceptional adjustability that makes it perfect for the fitness club environment, where many different users with different body types will use the same machine. 

Use the Open Stride feature to adjust the stride height from 6.8 inches to 10 inches and the stride length from zero to 36 inches. The design of the tapered moving handles is meant to fit all users, and a second set of stationary handles integrates a heart rate sensor directly into the handle grip. In blending the motions of walking, running, and climbing—and allowing for different strides and levels of resistance—this machine lets you target different areas of the body. 

The durable frame and welds have a lifetime warranty and come in two colors, black pearl and gloss metallic silver. While the P31 advanced LED console that comes with the AMT 835 model isn’t as visually impressive as the P62 and P82 LCD capacitive touchscreen displays available on the next level up models, it does provide 20 in-workout feedback metrics to guide your progress and performance. 

Specs:

Machine dimensions: 80” L x 35” W x 69” H 

Machine weight: 412 lbs

Maximum user weight: 350 lbs

Number of resistance levels: 20

Average retail price: $9,295

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3. Octane Fitness Zero Runner ZR8000 Elliptical

Quality: 97/100

Options: 94/100

Features: 99/100

Value: 90/100

The benefit of elliptical machines is the ability to get a low-impact workout that, unlike running on the ground or a track, puts minimal stress on the joints. However, one line of ellipticals has used innovative technology to create a no-impact workout: the Zero Runner series of machines developed by Octane Fitness. Zero-impact running means no joint pain, no stress, and no muscular imbalances. 

The commercial version, the ZR8000, is available in both standard and smart models and delivers an exercise experience that aligns better with users’ natural running posture than running on a traditional treadmill does. Beyond this revolutionary technology, you will find features like a 10” capacitive touchscreen display, two kinds of heart rate monitoring (wireless and digital contact achieved through sensors on the stationary handlebars), and Wi-Fi connectivity. 

Of particular interest for gym owners and managers is the machine’s low cost of maintenance and operation. You don’t have the treadmill belt, motor, or deck that requires regular maintenance. Since the Zero Runner is self-powered, it won’t even add to your electricity bill. 

Specs:

Machine dimensions: 43.2” W x 69.6” L

Machine weight: 344 lbs

Maximum user weight: 400 lbs

Number of resistance levels: 15

Average retail price: $7,200-$9,775

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The Top Three Hotel Ellipticals We RAVE About

The Top Three Hotel Ellipticals We RAVE About

In a hotel fitness room, you need a machine to be durable enough to withstand use by many different users, but an elliptical machine with a price tag approaching $10,000 is overkill. While your guests want to be able to keep up their fitness routine during their travels, the workout equipment isn’t the reason for their visit, as it is in a gym.

For this category, we focused on elliptical machines in the light commercial category of durability and features, with options ranging from the $500 price point to the $5,000 price point. 

1. NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 Elliptical 

NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 Elliptical

Quality: 95/100

Options: 97/100

Features: 98/100

Value: 97/100

The NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 model is an outstanding elliptical machine with commercial-grade manufacturing and features and a price point modest enough that it’s a favorite in home gyms as well as fitness clubs. That combination makes it a perfect choice for light commercial uses like hotel fitness rooms (not to mention one of our favorite ellipticals, period). 

What’s so special about it? The 26 digital resistance levels give you more resistance options with this elliptical than with any other machine on our list. With the power-adjustable incline control, users can select an incline level of up to 20 percent to better work their hamstrings and glutes, reach their ideal heart rate, and burn more calories in less time. Users can adjust the ramp and pedals to their ideal stride length for the muscle group they want to target. Cushioned, oversized pedals and soft-touch hand grips make the machine comfortable to use, and an AutoBreeze fan keeps users cool as they work up a sweat. On the technology side, the 14” high-definition touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, and digitally amplified speakers are sure to impress. 

If you also purchase an iFit membership, you’ll get even more out of this machine through iFit interactive personal training. We’re talking live interactive training sessions offered day and night with world-class trainers who can automatically adjust the resistance and incline levels of the machine, so there’s nothing to distract the user from their workout. New workouts are added to the workout library every day. A one-year membership, which is listed at the $400 price point, is currently included in the purchase price when you buy directly from NordicTrack. 

Specs:

Machine dimensions: 67” L x 29” W x 69” H 

Machine weight: 210 lbs 

Maximum user weight: 350 lbs

Number of resistance levels: 26 

Average retail price: $1,999

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2. SOLE E98 

SOLE E98

Quality: 99/100

Options: 95/100

Features: 97/100

Value: 91/100

SOLE has a well-deserved reputation as one the best-known names in hotel-grade elliptical companies, so it should be no surprise that the brand landed spots in both residential and hotel categories on our ranking list. Let’s start with the heavy-duty steel frame, which can support users of up to 400 lbs and comes with a lifetime warranty when used in a light commercial capacity. 

Like other top-performing SOLE models, the E98 features the Power Incline function and oversized, ergonomic foot pedals that were custom designed through collaboration with engineers and physical therapists to be more comfortable and put less stress on knees and ankles. The drive system offers a quiet, smooth ride that’s sure to please guests. 

This elliptical boasts some high-tech features, like a 10.1” LCD screen, Bluetooth connectivity, and Bluetooth speakers. An integrated tablet holder, charging USB port, cooling fan, and water bottle holder make this elliptical about as convenient as a workout machine can be. 

Specs:

Machine dimensions: 82” L x 31” W x 71” H

Machine weight: 249 lbs

Maximum user weight: 400 lbs 

Number of resistance levels: 20

Average retail price: $4,800

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3. ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT Recumbent Bike

ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT Recumbent Bike

Quality: 90/100

Options: 97/100

Features: 96/100

Value: 98/100

If you’re looking for great hotel elliptical equipment at a more affordable price point, look no further than the 2-in-1 ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT. Not only is the hybrid machine a bargain at its $599 list price, but it does double-duty by serving as both an elliptical and a recumbent bike with the simple adjustment of the console and pedals. The machine includes 16 total built-in workouts, 8 for the elliptical and 8 for the bike. 

As an elliptical, the machine features full-motion soft-grip handles that allow you to get a full-body workout, oversized and cushioned adjustable foot pedals, and 16 digital resistance levels, putting it right up there with other top-performing models. As a bike, it offers a cushioned seat that adjusts for maximum comfort and pedal placement that allows for a more natural pedaling motion.  

Like NordicTrack, the ProForm brand is part of the ICON Health & Fitness company and works with the optional iFit membership to provide interactive personal training workouts that automatically adjust machine settings for the user. Whether you spring for the membership or not, you’ll be impressed by the large LCD display screen, Bluetooth connectivity, integrated tablet holder, and audio auxiliary port with speakers. 

Specs:

Machine dimensions: 70.5” L x 24.5” W x 60.5” H 

Machine weight: 145 lbs

Maximum user weight: 350 lbs 

Number of resistance levels: 16 

Average retail price: $599

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Krystle Dodge

Krystle Dodge is a freelance writer and lifelong geek whose passions include food, beach trips, tabletop games, all things Disney and Harry Potter, and spending time with her family. She graduated from Rowan University and lives in South Jersey with her husband and son.