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Your guide to this review is Lisa Fitzgerald

best elliptical machines


Best Elliptical Reviews – Top 5 Fittest List for Sep. 2020

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It’s easy to make a resolution to get into shape. What’s not so easy is forcing yourself to go to the gym, or to run or bike every day.

It’s easy to buy a treadmill or exercise bike (or spin bike) with the best of intentions. What’s not so easy is forcing yourself to climb on and finish your workout even when your back and joints are aching and you would rather just go watch TV.


The Best Elliptical Machines Give you a Great Workout that is Easy on the Body

That’s why low-impact home exercise equipment, particularly the best elliptical trainers, have become so popular.  They’re the perfect form of cardiovascular exercise which lets you firm up muscles, lose weight, and build muscle mass in the comfort of your own home. They’re also much easier on your body; since your feet stay on the pedals, you avoid repeated trauma to your legs and feet. That lets you exercise longer, and lets you work out even if you’re sore or hampered by chronic lower body pain. You will thank yourself for it in decades to come.

You can find flimsy elliptical machines for $100-$200 if you just want to see whether this type of low-impact exercise works for you. If the option is available to you, a better approach would be trying an elliptical out at a gym and then purchasing a high-quality machine for long-term use at home if you decide to go for it.

Once you’ve decided to go low-impact and are looking for the right machine for your needs, Groom+Style’s elliptical reviews will help you to quickly identify the top five machines available for your needs.

If you need some guidance on what to look for in an elliptical machine or trainer, check out our elliptical machine buying guide first, which has further information on the subject.


1. Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine

best elliptical machines - Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine
Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine. Click on the photo to check the Price on Amazon.

You have to give up a few things to get the things you truly want. With the Schwinn470, what you give is flexibility in some of the adjustments; the incline only goes up to ten degrees (the biggest negative in our mind), and you can’t make any stride adjustments, which may be a problem for some people. What you get in return is a significantly lower price than what you’ll pay for fancier brand names. With this option you will get a good-quality, mid-range home elliptical trainer.

You’d expect a Schwinn product to be solid (even when most of us were kids, Schwinn always made the sturdiest bikes), and even though the 470 is lighter than some of the other ellipticals on our list, this machine is definitely made to last with an oversized crossbar and center frame support. There are 25 different resistance settings controlled by an Eddy Current Brake system and selectable on the handlebars, and a robust 29 programs with four selectable user settings – both nice features for a machine in this price range.

Perhaps the best aspects of the Schwinn 470 are the computing, monitoring and display features. There are two LCD windows allowing you to check 13 different parameters, download your performance data and transfer it to either the proprietary Schwinn Connect or MyFitnessPal. The team does think they should have included a heart strap monitor with this unit (although it’s designed to use one).

The latest model year version of the Schwinn 470 adds added Bluetooth capability for sending workout data to an app. There are no other major changes, though, except a higher price. The review team thinks you’ll get a better buy if you choose the older version, which is still widely available on Amazon and elsewhere.

This is a really nice elliptical trainer for the money.

Details of the Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine:

  • Dimensions: 70 x 28 x 71 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 300 pounds
  • Weight: 186 pounds
  • Incline: 0-10 degrees
  • Stride: 20 inches
  • Resistance Levels: 25
  • Programs: 29
  • Warranty: Ten years on frame, two years mechanical, one year electrical, 90 days on labor

Check Schwinn 470 Price On Amazon


2. Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine

best elliptical machines - Sole Fitness e35 Elliptical Trainer
Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine. Click on the photo to check the Price on Amazon.

Sole Fitness is well known for its top-notch commercial grade exercise equipment and makes several terrific ellipticals for home use, including the higher-priced E95.

The Groom+Style review team found that the E35 provides almost all of the benefits and features of the E95 at a lower cost. And the machine is very similar to that of an elliptical trainer you’d find at your local gym: solid and well-built. (How solid is this machine? It can handle users who weigh as much as 375 pounds.)

What immediately stood out to us, other than the machine’s quality, was the E35’s wide range of adjustable options. The powered incline feature allows you to change the difficulty of your workout (and exercise difficult muscle groups) with the touch of a button on the handlebars, changing the incline to as much as 30 degrees, unlike some competitors which limit the incline to ten or twenty degrees.

There are 16 different resistance settings, again controlled from the handlebars and handled by the Eddy Current Brake system. And even the stride is adjustable from 20 to 22 inches, allowing you to change the adjustable footrests to match your personal preference. All of this flexibility means that you can set the E35 for any type of low-impact workout you want.

Groom+Style also loved how quiet this elliptical is, thanks to its frictionless resistance system – and we liked the extras that you’d expect on a premium machine like the built-in speakers and iPod plug, the easy-to-read large backlit LCD display, the strap-on heart rate monitor, and the cooling fan which keeps you from dripping sweat during your workout.

Sole has recently released the E35 Elliptical Trainer System for a couple of hundred dollars extra. It adds Bluetooth capability so you can export your workout data to any smart devices for tracking your progress on the Sole app or any other fitness app.

The E35 doesn’t have a lot of programmable workout programs, just ten of them (the same number as the more-expensive E95, incidentally) and it’s a bear to assemble, but we couldn’t find anything else to complain about. It’s an excellent elliptical trainer.

Key specifications of the Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine:

  • Dimensions: 71 x 27 x 68 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 375 pounds
  • Weight: 200 pounds
  • Incline: 0-30 degrees
  • Stride: 20-22 inches
  • Resistance Levels: 16
  • Programs: 10
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame, five years on parts, two years on labor

Check Sole Fitness E35 Price On Amazon

Unfortunately, the Sole Fitness E35 is out of stock at the present time. However, we found the Precor EFX 546i to be a great substitute. We encourage you to take a took and check the Precor EFX 546i price on Amazon.

3. Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer

best elliptical machines - Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer
Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer. Click on the photo to check the Price on Amazon.

As soon as you hear the brand name Nautilus, your expectations are raised. For the most part, the E616 meets those expectations. This is a strong machine that’s built to last, at a price point a few hundred dollars lower than the Sole Fitness elliptical but with most of the advantages.

The movement is smooth on this Nautilus product, with 25 levels of magnetic resistance controlled from the handlebars and 29 different workout programs. It also has dual backlit LCD windows for displaying your stats, which can also be downloaded and saved via the company’s NautilusConnect system or MyFitnessPal.

However, the Groom+Style review team was disappointed that the six adjustable incline levels only go up to 11 degrees. Thankfully, Nautilus has at least provided a motorized control for adjusting the incline, which was missing from their previous E614 model. (The E614 is still available on Amazon at a lower price; it’s still a good elliptical but with fewer levels of resistance, fewer workout programs and the need to adjust incline manually). There’s also no way to adjust the stride.

The speakers/iPod and fan standard on expensive machines are included on the E616, and there is a heart rate monitor which can either be activated from the trainer’s handlebars or via chest strap.

Clearly, the Nautilus is a step down (no pun intended) from top-of-the-line machines, but it’s more than sufficient for most users and a trainer which will last for many years.

Important specifications for the Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer:

  • Dimensions: 51 x 34 x 22 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 300 pounds
  • Weight: 186 pounds
  • Incline: 0-11 degrees
  • Stride: 20 inches
  • Resistance Levels: 25
  • Programs: 29
  • Warranty: Ten years on frame, two years on parts, one year on electronics, 90 days on labor

Check Nautilus E616 Price On Amazon

If you can handle a few less features and want to save some money the Nautilus E614 is still a great choice.

Check Nautilus E614 Price on Amazon


4.1 NordicTrack C 7.5 Elliptical Trainer

best elliptical machines - NordicTrack C 7.5 Elliptical
NordicTrack C 7.5 Elliptical Trainer. Click on the photo to check the Price on Amazon.

Yes, NordicTrack is known for expensive fitness equipment. But their budget-level C 7.5 is well-made and provides most of the features you’d look for in a home elliptical machine at a price much lower than the Sole E35.

The C 7.5 is built around a front-wheel drive, the 20-pound flywheel that’s gives you an extremely smooth workout, with 22 digitally-set resistance levels, a 20-inch stride, 26 preset programs and a motorized incline function that ranges from 0° to 20° – not spectacular, but very good for the cost.

What really stands out to the team is that this NordicTrack is tablet and iFit compatible. That allows you to use your tablet as a monitor (or watch a movie while exercising), download lots of extra programs, do advanced stat tracking and even download Google Maps workouts that make your session a lot more realistic and enjoyable. One thing to know, though: this is a bear to put together, so paying for assembly might be a smart move.

Note: we review the more expensive NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 next.

Higher-level NordicTrack ellipticals like the C 9.5 and C 12.9 will provide more features like a strap heart monitor (not just handlebar monitors) and more resistance levels, for hundreds and hundreds of dollars extra. The C 7.5 has more than enough for most weekend warriors, though, at a price that’s easier to take.

Digging deeper on the NordicTrack C 7.5 Elliptical:

  • Dimensions: 67 x 25 x 69 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 325 pounds
  • Weight: 220 pounds
  • Incline: 0-20 degrees
  • Stride: 20 inches
  • Resistance Levels: 22
  • Programs: 26
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame, two years on parts, one year on labor

Check NordicTrack C7.5 Elliptical Price On Amazon


4.2 NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 Elliptical Trainer

NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 Elliptical Training Machine

We know what you’re thinking: the word “commercial” in the name of a product always means big bucks. In truth, this NordicTrack isn’t that much more expensive than the Sole Fitness E35. And while Groom+Style slightly prefers the Sole Fitness elliptical, this is a pretty darn good machine as well.

The word “commercial” also implies that this unit is designed for a gym or other public workout facility – and that seems to be the case. This is a heavy, solidly-built trainer which runs much more quietly than you might expect. The magnetic-resistance NordicTrack 14.9 is constructed with a front-drive 32-pound flywheel, 26 levels of resistance can be changed on the smart HD touchscreen, and the adjustable stride and power ramp features (plus 35 preset workouts) make riding this elliptical as challenging as you choose. You can pedal in reverse, too.

The 14.9 can handle riders weighing up to 350 pounds, and it comes with both handgrip and Bluetooth-enabled chest-strap heart rate monitors. Even the workout fan is more powerful than what is found on most competitors. There’s an integrated tablet holder and speakers, and the purchase includes one year of the company’s iFit health-tracking and visualization program.

This NordicTrack is the most expensive elliptical in the G+S rankings, but it’s worth the money and should last for decades if treated nicely.

Digging deeper on the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9:

  • Dimensions: 68 x 30 x 68.5 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 350 pounds
  • Weight: 210 pounds
  • Incline: 0-20 degrees
  • Stride: 17-19 inches
  • Resistance Levels: 26
  • Programs: 35
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame, six years on parts, three years on labor

Check NordicTrack 14.9 Elliptical Price On Amazon


5. Exerpeutic 5000 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer

best elliptical machines - Exerpeutic 5000
Exerpeutic 5000 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer. Click on the photo to check the Price on Amazon.

Not everyone wants to shell out thousands for an elliptical trainer. For those folks, the Exerpeutic 5000 is a great choice as our beast cheap elliptical for home use.

This feels more like a home machine than a gym version in terms of its sturdiness and footprint and doesn’t have many of the features that you will pay more for with our other reviewed trainers. But it should hold up well for some time and the ergonomics are good. In short, it’s a good bet for weekend workout warriors.

First, there are a few things that you won’t get with the Exerpeutic 5000. The incline and stride can’t be adjusted. It’s not as whisper-quiet as higher-priced competitors. Also, there’s not much of a discernable difference between many of the 24 adjustable resistance levels, and you don’t get the bells and whistles like fans or iPod connections.

What you do get is a very large (10”) LCD display and Bluetooth connectivity for easy workout tracking without having to subscribe to a proprietary system.

This is a smaller, fully-functional elliptical trainer, which is sufficient for most people and a very good buy.

Specs for the Exerpeutic 500 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer:

  • Dimensions: 55 x 25 x 64 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 270 pounds
  • Weight: 84 pounds
  • Incline: 0-10 degrees
  • Stride: Fixed
  • Resistance Levels: 24
  • Programs: 12
  • Warranty: One year limited

Check Exerpeutic 5000 Price On Amazon


Bonus Option: ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer

ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer

We believe this bonus choice is perfect for two groups of people: those without enough space for a full-sized elliptical, and those who are looking for a full-scale HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout at a very attractive price.

The elliptical path on this magnetic-resistance ProForm is more vertical than horizontal: 10” vertical, 5” horizontal. That steep path is why the machine takes up less room in a home gym than the competitors on our rankings; it’s sort of a cross between a standard elliptical and a stair stepper. The full-body cardio workout is extremely effective, with 24 resistance settings (controllable automatically) and 32 pre-programmed workout apps providing well-designed, high-intensity exercise regimen.

The console isn’t full-featured but it’s more than enough for most users and there’s a ledge where you can place a tablet to connect to iFit (membership not included). Unfortunately, there’s no heart rate monitor.

The ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer is a good choice if you’re not sure whether you want an elliptical or a stepper, and the price is quite nice for equipment that will give you a range of high- and lower-intensity workouts.

More info on the ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer:

  • Dimensions: 66 x 29 x 39 inches
  • Maximum User Weight: 350 pounds
  • Weight: 180 pounds
  • Incline: n/a
  • Stride: Stepper-style
  • Resistance Levels: 24
  • Programs: 32
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame, three years on parts, one year on labor

Check ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Price On Amazon


Curious about other ways to stay fit? If so, continue your research and read about the benefits of home pilates reformers.

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7 months ago

I purchased the Sole E35 last year and love it. My only complaint is that the display does not have a brightness control. It is rather bright when you are trying to use an iPad/tablet on the built-in holder that sets above the display. My solution was putting a piece of window tint over display, and you can’t even tell it’s there. It works perfectly and the brightness is right where I need it. As far as functionality and durability, it is built like a tank and continues to run very smoothly. I use it at least 5 times a… Read more »

7 months ago
Reply to  Randy

Hi Randy,

Thanks for the comment, great you are loving the Sole E35!

Kind Regards,

1 year ago

ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer — do you have to connect to Ifit for the machine to work?

1 year ago
Reply to  Drew

Hi Drew, Thanks for the question. Yes, the ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer will work without iFit. However, it is certainly advantageous to use iFit. The thing to remember about iFIT enabled workout equipment (ellipticals, treadmills or stationary bikes etc) is that the iFit Coach app is actually Free on your mobile device. So you might as well download it and use the free version. They do of course have a paid version with a lot of extra features – when you buy the ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer most shops/online retailers will give you a subscription to the paid… Read more »

1 year ago

I see that the Nautilus e616 is listed a top performer. How does the e618 compare? You can purchase the e618 through Sears for $644 right now ($679 – $35 coupon). I am thinking about taking the plunge as it seems like a better unit for less money, but I wasn’t sure if there were issues with the e618 that weren’t present on the e616.

1 year ago
Reply to  Ben

Hi Ben, Thanks for the question. That sounds like a great deal for the Nautilus E618 and I can think of no reason why you should not jump on it. Sometimes we have to make a decision between multiple great models and in those cases, we need to balance functionality with the price – but of course, when deals come around this means the equation changes. The Nautilus E618 has a 22inch stride (20 inch on the E616), a 30lb effective flywheel weight (22lb on the E616) and a suspension adjusted performance cushioning system (slightly smoother stride). Hope this helps,… Read more »

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