An elliptical trainer is one of the best and safest ways to get exercise.
The majority of my clients come to me with prior or current knee injuries as well as back problems. These injuries have often times resulted in them not getting the much needed cardiovascular exercise that we should all get on a regular basis.
The great thing about an elliptical is it’s zero impact. Unlike a treadmill where your body absorbs the impact of each stride, the elliptical allows you to glide with each stride. You’re feet never leave machine.
Sole Fitness E95
We tested dozens of ellipticals and the winner for the best home elliptical trainer goes to the Sole Fitness E95.
This is the closest thing you’ll find to a commercial elliptical at less than 1/3rd the price. We actually like it better than some of the $5,000+ models we’ve tested.
The stride and movement of the machine is very smooth and fluid thanks to the 34 pound flywheel. It’s also one of the quietest models we tested.
We liked that you can adjust the stride from 20 to 22 inches and also enjoyed that the handles (with built-in pulse sensors) allow the user to grip them in a number of different ways to change up the workout.
Those features alone put it at the top of the list, but the LCD console, fan and speakers sent it straight to number 1. Check this thing out…
We also liked the user controls on the handles and the ease of use when adjusting incline and resistance.
Sole Fitness E35
Since we love the E95 so much, it’s no big surprise that in the number 2 spot is its little brother, the Sole Fitness E35.
Here are the difference between the E95 and the E35…
E95: 34 pound flywheel
E35: 29 pound flywheel
E95: Incline adjusts from 0 to 40 degrees
E35: Incline adjusts from 0 to 30 degrees
E95: 9″ LCD display
E35: 7.5 LCD display
Due to the larger flywheel, the E95 is a little smoother and makes less noise, but it’s a close call.
If the three things mentioned above aren’t important to you, get the E35. If they are, get the E95.
Horizon Fitness EX-69-2 – Best Elliptical Under $1000
The winner for our best elliptical under $1,000 challenge is the Horizon Fitness EX-69-2.
Although significantly different than the two Sole models mentioned above, this is still a nice trainer for the home.
The first major difference you’ll notice is that you have to manually adjust the incline of the machine. As someone who likes to adjust the incline during my workout, I found this annoying. That being said, adding that feature is a major expense, so it’s perfectly acceptable at this price point.
It features a 14.3 pound flywheel that produces a nice smooth motion.
It does include a fan and speakers so you can listen to your iPod or phone.
It has a max user capacity of 300 pounds.
Overall, we were very pleased with the overall quality and feel it’s a great value for the money.
Schwinn 430 – Best Elliptical Under $750
One of the biggest surprises in the elliptical challenge was the Schwinn 430.
This model features a manually adjustable 10 degree incline with 6 preset positions.
Although not as smooth as the models listed above, we had no issues with the overall quality of this machine. Once you get your stride going, it’s smooth and relatively quiet.
This model also features a 3 speed fan and speakers.
What sets this model apart from the others is it has a USB charging station so you can watch and charge your iPad, iPod or phone while you’re working out.
They have also partnered with MyFitnessPal.com (which is an awesome free app) so you can automatically upload and track your workouts. This was a nice touch.
Horizon Fitness EX-59-02
To wrap up the top 5 best ellipticals for the home we choose the Horizon Fitness EX-59-02.
Although this model doesn’t have a fan, a nice big colorful display and a number of other bells and whistles, it gets the job done.
The overall quality can’t be compared to the models that cost over $1,000, but once you get your stride going, it’s perfectly suitable.
It has a maximum user capacity of 275 pounds.
At nearly the same price as the Schwinn 430, it comes down to personal preference.
Personally, I like the additional features of the Schwinn, but we found some users who didn’t like all the extra “fluff” and just wanted a simple machine that is easy to figure out.
You can climb on it, hit the green go button and be on your way.