Elliptical machines at the gym fill up quickly: sometimes with such speed you have to sign up in order to take a turn, biding your time on the stationary bike while you wait. If you own an elliptical machine at home it’s always available and you can place it in front of the TV to work out while catching up on the programs you have been saving up while attending your kids’ soccer games or coming home late from work. A good elliptical machine can cost you upwards of $1,000 but also as little as a few hundred dollars. Here are the top 5 elliptical machines from 2015.
#5: Under $300
The Xterra FS1.5 has slipped quietly into competition among big companies like Bowflex and Nautilus but it is worth a look if your budget is tight. You pay less than $300 and there are trade-offs for this like a dull screen (no light) and no iPod dock or drink holder, but you are at home: put a drink on the table next to you and play music out loud from normal speakers or watch TV.
The XTErra FS1.5 features a 250-lb weight limit, so it’s great if you need to lose a few pounds. A compact shape makes it ideal for storing out of the way in a corner and it is pretty light to move around. There are 16 levels of resistance, 13 programs, and handlebars are cushioned for comfort.
#4: Exerpeutic 5000 Magnetic with Bluetooth App Tracking
Magnetic machines are smooth, quiet, but still challenging. Choose from 24 resistance options and 12 programs using a machine that is light enough to slide into its storage area by hand without becoming a weight lifter (or hiring one to move it for you). The App tracking component lets you connect to an Apple or Android device and follow your regimen to see how far you are going, resistance, heart rate, and so on. Climb on and pedal backwards or forwards if you weigh 270lbs or less. These cost about $500.
#3: ProForm Hybrid
While this list looks specifically at elliptical trainers that provide the motion of cross-country skiing, the ProForm is too notable to ignore. You can use it as an elliptical machine or alter the foot pedals to create a reclining bike. In other words, you get two workouts in one machine for roughly $800. The ProForm uses magnetic resistance to provide a quiet workout. Pedals are adjustable so short and tall people can use it comfortably. The console and buttons are big and easy to use with LCD display and 14 workout apps included. Record and track distance “traveled,” calories burned, and more.
#2: Nautilus E614
This highly rated machine comes from a brand you know and love already. They turn out a good product like this one that safely holds a 300-lb person eager to burn fat. An elliptical machine provides an efficient way to do that without placing stress on joints. The flywheel is designed for easy starting and a smooth ride. Big footpads are comfortable for various foot positions and stances. There is even an incline option with 6 settings, like real cross-country skiing. Choose from 22 programs, track your heart rate, and store information using the onboard interface.
#1: Sole E35
For top-notch build quality in a product for home use, the Sole takes top billing. Handlebars allow you to grip in various ways to ease tension on your hands or change muscle resistance movements. Resistance without friction makes for silent exercise, so all you can hear is your own breathing or the TV if you exercise in front of the screen. Select an incline up to 30º or stay on a flat path. A cooling fan will ensure you don’t overheat as the fat melts away. There is a big backlit screen you can tilt if you are too tall for the usual position and 6 pre-programmed options. Use the speakers to listen to music from your iPod.