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The 9 Best Home Elliptical Machines Around [2024 Edition]

best elliptical machine for the home

Ellipticals are great for home use because they’re low impact, effective, and they don’t take up a ton of floor space.

They’re also pretty reasonably priced, meaning you don’t have to break the bank to find a great model.

If you’re looking for a comfortable cardio machine, investing in an elliptical machine can be a great choice, but with so many options to choose from, you have to be careful.

There’s a lot of junk out there, so you have to know how to spot the winners.

It’s really all about knowing the key differences between ellipticals and knowing what features to look for – and that’s just what I’m here to help with.

In this guide, I’ll go over everything you should consider before deciding on an elliptical trainer – we’re talking specs, features, warranties, and pretty much everything in between.

I’ll also present my top picks for 2024 based on all the specs we discuss.

After reading, you’ll know everything you need to in order to find the right elliptical for your home gym.

Let’s begin.

Stride LengthFlywheel Warranty
#1 Sole E9820"32 lbLifetime frame
3 year parts
1 year labor
#2 Spirit XE39520"30 lbLifetime frame/brake
10 year parts
1 year labor
#3 NordicTrack NEW AirGlide 14i18"32 lb10 year frame
2 year parts
1 year labor
#4 Sole E9520"27 lbLifetime frame
3 year parts
1 year labor
#5 Life Fitness E518 - 24" adjustablen/aLifetime frame
5 year parts
3 year console
1 year labor
#6 Sole E2520"20 lbLifetime frame
2 year parts
1 year labor
#7 Horizon 7.0 AE20"23 lbLifetime frame
3 year parts
1 year labor
#8 Matrix Elliptical E5020"n/aLifetime frame
7 year parts
2 year labor
#9 Schwinn 49020"11 lb10 year frame
2 year parts
90 day labor

The 9 Best Home Elliptical Machines of 2024

#1 Sole’s E98

sole e98 elliptical review
Photo courtesy of Sole Fitness

If you’re familiar with my work, you probably already know I’m a sucker for Sole cardio machines.

What can I say, they’re just my style: easy to use, effective, and built to last.

The E98 is Sole’s highest-end elliptical to date and as such, it’s packing some very impressive stats.

This machine comes with a 20″ stride, allowing it to comfortably fit pretty much all users out there, but even more impressive is the fact that it’s packing a 32 lb flywheel.

I’m not trying to exaggerate or anything, but I do think this is the heaviest flywheel I’ve come across for an elliptical (if you’ve found one heavier, please let me know).

This massive flywheel is paired with 20 levels of magnetic resistance and 20 levels of power incline, giving you complete control over the intensity of your workouts.

And with an updated 13.3″ touchscreen display, you can enjoy built-in entertainment apps, screen mirroring from your phone, and even instructor-led workouts through Sole’s free fitness app (Sole+).

Other highlights include heart rate monitoring, bluetooth speakers, wireless charging, and a cooling fan.

Oh, I should probably mention that this elliptical weighs damn near 250 lb assembled – now that’s what I call heavy-duty.

The E98 also comes with an amazing residential warranty: lifetime frame, 3 year parts, 1 year labor (there’s a light commercial warranty too).

The biggest downside is that the E98 is a larger elliptical, so you’ll need to make sure you have the floor space for it.

But if you’re looking for a powerful elliptical with some great features, it’s gonna be hard to find a better option under $3k. See full review.


#2 Spirit’s XE395

Spirit XE395 Elliptical

It’s a close call between the E98 and Spirit’s XE395 for the top spot because these machines are very similar.

Ultimately, I went with the E98 as my #1 pick because it’s heavier-duty than the XE395 and comes with a nicer console, but it’s still reallllly close – especially considering the XE395 has a better warranty and is a bit cheaper.

Anyway, Spirit’s another great brand that’s very similar to Sole.

I’m not sure if Spirit is that well known yet or not, but they really should be.

Their XE395 comes with great performance specs, including a 30 lb flywheel, a 20″ stride length, and an impressive 400 lb weight capacity.

And with an assembled weight of 216 lb, you won’t have to worry about this machine feeling unstable during workouts.

The XE395 also comes with 20 levels of power incline for added workout intensity.

Additional features include 10 built-in workouts, bluetooth compatibility with apps, adjustable angle pedals, and a cooling fan.

It’s also compatible with heart rate monitors too.

The XE395 is also backed by the best residential warranty you’ll see: lifetime frame/brake, 10 year parts, and 1 year labor.

Yeah, 10 years on parts, crazy.

And the fact that the XE395 is on sale for around $2k makes it a top contender in my book. See full review.

#3 NordicTrack’s NEW AirGlide 14i

nordictrack air glide 14i features
Image courtesy of NordicTrack

NordicTrack’s another huge name in fitness equipment, well known for producing popular and dependable home fitness machines.

The AirGlide 14i is their newest, most advanced front-drive elliptical to date and it’s got a lot to be proud of.

If you’re looking for an elliptical with more going on in the tech department, this could be your best bet.

The highlight of the 14i has got to be the 14″ HD touchscreen console it comes with, giving you access to their streaming app, iFit.

Through which, you get access to unlimited, instructor-led workouts, scenic routes, and metric tracking (subscription fee required).

The large, gorgeous display is designed to pair perfectly with iFit and if you aren’t looking for a streaming fee, this probably isn’t the elliptical for ya.

Although the hi-tech console is the highlight of this model, its also sporting some impressive performance specs.

Most notably, a 32 lb flywheel, 26 levels of magnetic resistance, and power incline up to 15%.

The 14i can also decline down to -5%, which is truly unique for an elliptical – correct me if I’m wrong here, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a decline function on any other elliptical.

The warranty on this machine isn’t as generous as the ones we’ve seen above, but still not bad: 10 year frame, 2 year parts, 1 year labor.

The biggest downside is the stride length- at around 18″, taller users may find themselves having to shorten their stride a little.

But if you’re under 6′ tall, you probably won’t notice.

Overall, the AirGlide 14i  is a high-end elliptical with impressive specs. This model is a great choice if you’re looking for a hi-tech console with lots of workout variety. See full review.

#4 Sole’s E95

sole e95

Photo courtesy of Sole Fitness

Yup, another Sole elliptical made the list – and I can’t promise this is the last one either.

The E95 is priced as a mid-range elliptical, but this machine is flirting with commercial grade and has some significant upgrades you don’t always see at this price.

Like a 27 lb flywheel, which is only a few pounds lighter than what we’ve seen on the more expensive ellipticals above.

This elliptical also comes with a 20″ stride length, 20 resistance levels, and 20 levels of power incline.

The E95 also comes with an upgraded, 13.3″ touchscreen console with built-in entertainment apps, plenty of workout options, and screen mirroring from your phone.

The E95 is a heavy, solid machine with a commercial grade worthy weight capacity of 400 lb.

And with an assembled weight of 242 lb, this elliptical is tough enough to handle users of all sizes.

Additional highlights include a wireless charging pad, bluetooth speakers, a tablet holder, and a built-in cooling fan to help keep ya comfortable during workouts.

This elliptical is also backed by a great warranty: lifetime frame, 3 year parts, 1 year labor.

Oh, and I almost forgot- the pedals on this model are adjustable, giving you the option to switch the angle to find your optimal position.

A nice feature for folks worried about comfort.

Overall, I think the Sole E95 offers a great combination of specs and features for this price range. If you’re looking for an elliptical that offers a lit bit of everything, you can’t go wrong with this one.  See full review.

#5 Life Fitness’ E5 Elliptical Cross-Trainer

life fitness e5 elliptical cross trainer
Photo courtesy of Life Fitness

Ok, so let’s be real- no legit “best of” list can be complete without including at least 1 Life Fitness machine.

I know these machines are really expensive, but if we’re going to be honest about the best options out there, we have to talk about the expensive ones too.

There are several residential Life Fitness ellipticals that could’ve easily made this list, but I decided to include the E5 because I think it has a reasonable price to features ratio.

Well, reasonably priced for Life Fitness anyway.

Plus, it’s about time we get a rear-drive machine on this list – I don’t want anybody to think I’m bias.

What really sets Life Fitness apart is the smoothness of operation their machines offer. They’re pretty darn quiet too.

The E5 also comes with another feature you don’t see too often: a power adjustable stride length.

With the push of a button on the console (or moving handle), you can instantly adjust the stride length anywhere from 18″ to 24″.

This is a cool feature for 2 reasons: it ensures a comfortable fit regardless of your height, and it allows you to concentrate on different muscle groups during your workouts.

With the E5, you also get to choose between the less sophisticated “Go” console and the slightly more advanced “Track Connect” console.

If you aren’t interested in fitness apps and data tracking, you can save some cash and go with the “Go” (get it?).

You get extra workouts and user profiles with the “Track Connect” option, but it costs about $500 more (which I think is way too expensive, but that’s a discussion for another day).

The stride length features makes the E5 a smart choice for homes with multiple users, especially if the users are all of different heights.

The E5 also comes with comfortable pedals and the same WhisperStride technology as the more expensive ellipticals in Life Fitness’s lineup.

Other notable highlights include 20 levels of magnetic resistance, a 400 lb weight capacity, and heart rate monitoring capabilities.

You can also usually get free delivery and assembly with Life Fitness, fyi.

The biggest downside is that the E5 doesn’t come with an adjustable incline, something you have to give up to get the adjustable stride.

But if you’re looking for a luxury rear-drive elliptical, the E5 is a very smart choice.  See full review.


#6 Sole’s E25

sole e25
Photo courtesy of Sole Fitness

Ok, I promise this’ll be the last Sole elliptical that makes this list, but I wanted to include it to show that Sole has a great affordable model too.

The E25 is their most affordable option they offer and will cost ya somewhere around $1000 on sale.

For the price, it comes with a great combination of performance specs and console features though.

Right off the bat, this elliptical is packing a 20 lb flywheel and comes with a 20″ stride length.

The 20/20 combo makes for a comfortable and smooth ride, while also ensuring the E25 has enough muscle to provide a challenging workout.

Speaking of 20/20, this elliptical also comes with 20 levels of resistance and 20 power incline levels (maybe sole should’ve named this the E20?), giving advanced users the option to really crank up the intensity of their workouts.

And with an assembled weight of 209 lb, it’s also heavy-duty enough to handle users weighing up to 350 lb, which is quite impressive for this price range.

The E25 wasn’t lucky enough to get one of Sole’s new touchscreen consoles, but it does come with bluetooth speakers and a USB charging port.

It also comes with the same 10 workout programs Sole offers on most of their machines as well.

And even though this elliptical is more affordable, Sole still backs it up with a great warranty: lifetime frame, 2 year parts, and 1 year labor.

Overall, it’s the impressive combination of specs, warranty, and price that landed the E25 a spot on this list. Simply put- there’s no better option for $1000. See full review.


#7 Horizon’s 7.0 AE

Horizon 7.0 AE Elliptical

Horizon Fitness may not be as immediately recognizable as some other brands on this list, but they do a great job of providing high quality products in the budget and mid-range price levels.

They offer several ellipticals in the budget price range, but I think their newest model, the 7.0 AE has the best combination of specs and features.

Primarily because they finally offered power incline with this model.

This elliptical also has a 20″ stride length, making it a comfortable ride for most folks.

To go along with this stride length, it’s packing a 23 lb flywheel- impressive considering this is one of the most affordable options on this list.

Horizon pairs that heavy flywheel with 20 resistance levels and 20 levels of power incline, giving you the ability to really crank up the intensity of your workouts if you so choose.

Other fun highlights include bluetooth speakers, a USB charging port, and one touch speed/incline buttons.

This elliptical also has a fairly large display screen, making viewing all your stats easy during your workouts.

Speaking of workouts, this elliptical is a little lacking in the workout department (only 6 included), but it comes with the same great warranty as the E25 above.

It’s also heavier-duty than most in this price range, with an assembled weight of 194 lb and a weight limit of 325 lb.

Overall, the Horizon 7.0 AE is a smart choice for people looking for a quality elliptical that is easy to use and that won’t break the bank. See full review.

#8 Matrix’s Elliptical E50

matrix elliptical e50
Image courtesy of Matrix Fitness


Matrix is another great brand, known for their top notch commercial and residential fitness machines.

Their residential lineup isn’t huge, but the ones they offer are well-built and loaded with great features.

The E50 is one of their premiere ellipticals and it’s easily one of the finest home models out there.

When it comes to performance, the E50 is the smoothest acting, quietest elliptical I think I’ve ever used. It’s likely due to Matrix’s Exact Force Induction resistance system that doesn’t use moving magnets and their suspension pedal design.

The E50 also comes with huge pedals and a comfy 20″ stride length.

This is a really heavy-duty model too, weighing in at around 293 lb and coming with a weight limit of 325 lb.

The performance on the E50 is next level, but I think its Matrix’s consoles that impress the most – these things are awesome.

You get to choose between a simple LCD console and HD touchscreens of various sizes, so you can customize your experience based on what you’re looking for.

The largest HD screen they offer is 22″ of media delight.

It comes loaded with all the most popular entertainment apps, but it’s also loaded with iFit, the same streaming platform NordicTrack uses.

This means you can access all their instructor-led workouts too if you like (but you don’t have to).

Matrix’s warranty is equally amazing, as they cover the E50 with a lifetime frame, 7 year parts, 2 year labor guarantee.

The biggest downside here is the price – if you go with one of the HD touchscreens, this elliptical ain’t cheap.

This model also doesn’t come with a power incline, which I could see being a deal breaker for some folks.

But if you’re ok with not having the incline and are looking for one of the smoothest-performing ellipticals out there, the E50 is certainly worth checking out. See full review.


#9 Schwinn’s 490 Elliptical

Finishing up our list is another quality elliptical by a popular brand.

The 490 is Schwinn’s newest elliptical and with it, they’ve come up with a great solution for people dealing with limited floor space.

With a compact footprint of only 58″ x 34″, the 490 is a foot or so shorter than many of the other ellipticals mentioned on this list.

This alone could be reason enough to opt for this model, but the 490 scores pretty highly in other departments as well.

This affordable machine comes with a 20″ stride length, 25 resistance levels, 13 built-in workouts, and the ability to incline/decline from -5% – 15% (oops, I forgot about the 490 when I mentioned the decline feature earlier…)

The flywheel is only 11 lb on this elliptical, which is quite lightweight, but it’ll still get the job done for folks looking for lighter-intensity workouts.

The console on the 490 is fairly standard, but it’s bluetooth compatible with the JRNY apps, giving you access to all their workout and streaming options.

It also comes with bluetooth speakers, USB charging, and a media shelf for holding your tablet.

Schwinn’s warranty here is pretty solid too: 10 year frame, 2 year parts, 90 day labor.

At around $1k, the 490 finds itself in a highly-competitive price range, but if you’re looking for a compact elliptical with some nice features, it could be a smart buy. See full review.



Choosing An Elliptical Machine

Ellipticals are a great choice for home fitness.

I like to think of ellipticals as a combination between stationary bikes and treadmills.

You know, you get the benefits of performing a weight bearing exercise (burning more calories) combined with the low impact motion of a bike.

It’s win-win: burn more calories, less stress on the joints.

As a physical therapist, this makes me happy.

Folks love using ellipticals in the commercials gyms, which is obvious because at my local YMCA they are always the first thing to fill up.

Luckily, ellipticals for the home have gotten pretty advanced and there are plenty of models that won’t break the bank.

They’re a little smaller and a little less heavy duty, but they can offer a lot of the same features the commercial machines offer.

And let’s face it, most of us may not have the room (or budget) for a full sized commercial grade elliptical in our home gyms.

Keep in mind commercial grade equipment has to be designed to take the wear and tear of a lot of users day in and day out.

Anyway, when looking for a home elliptical, where do we start?

Let’s start with the most important features you need to consider before purchasing.

Stride Length

Stride length is the most important consideration when it comes to how comfortable an elliptical is while you are using it.

This is what gives an elliptical it’s “feel”, if that makes any sense.

Technically speaking, it’s how far the pedals move (front to back) during use (as a therapist, stride length is something we consider as well during walking).

Having a longer stride length will make it feel more natural, shorter stride lengths will make the motion feel choppy and uncomfortable, especially for taller people.

Most ellipticals have stride lengths ranging from 12 – 20+ inches. Nicer ellipticals will be in the 20 inch range because it comfortably fits most people.

Anything below 16 inches is probably going to be uncomfortable, unless you are under 5’3″.

That said, I’ve run across seniors and other folks with achy joints that actually prefer the shorter stride lengths because it feels better on their joints.

Something to think about.


The flywheel in an elliptical is similar to the flywheel you’d find in an exercise bike.

It’s what you are pushing against and moving as you use the machine.

Flywheels come in different weights and can range anywhere between 13 – 30 lb.

Heavier flywheels are typically preferred because they make the ride feel smoother- the extra weight (once you get it moving) builds up momentum and makes the flywheel spin more smoothly.

Heavier flywheels should, theoretically, be able to provide more overall resistance as well, but this depends on the magnetic resistance system too.

Nicer ellipticals typically come with heavier flywheels, but you should always check to make sure.

Personally, I recommend aiming for a machine with a flywheel in the 20 lb range to ensure smooth operation.

However, when it comes to the luxury or commercial grade ellipticals, the flywheel rule gets thrown out the window.

Most commercial grade ellipticals don’t use perimeter weighted flywheels.

These machines are usually designed differently so they can provide the same smooth resistance without needing heavy flywheels- has something to do with different gear ratios and more sophisticated magnetic resistances.

You might also want to consider whether you want the flywheel in the front or the rear of the machine- these days you have options in both categories.

A lot of us might not care as long as all the other specs measure up, but generally speaking, front drive ellipticals tend to take a little less floor space and cost a little less.

CYou can check out my guide on front vs rear drive ellipticals for more info.

Weight Capacity/Assembled weights

I’m always talking about weight capacity with cardio equipment.

It’s just one of those things you have to look at and compare and if I’m stuck between two machines, I always go with the one with the higher weight capacity.

It’s a great indicator of quality of build.

You have to at least find a machine that comfortably accommodates your weight. Preferably, you should have a 50 lb cushion, but this may not be doable with some of the larger users.

I always aim for at least a 300 lb weight capacity.

Again, higher is always better in my book and higher-end models will offer 350 – 400 lb weight limits.

I like to look at the machine’s assembled weight as well. This inconspicuous spec tells us exactly how “heavy-duty” the machine is.

As you’d expect, heavier ellipticals will likely feel more stable during workouts.

Personally, I like to see assembled weights of north of 200 lb because anything this heavy should feel nice and stable during use.


Warranty is another good indicator of quality.

Simply put, quality machines tend to have better warranties.

Junkier machines have weak or no warranties – always something to consider when purchasing fitness equipment.

Elliptical warranties are usually divided into frame, parts, and labor.

Quality ellipticals will often offer lifetime on the frame, although this does depend on the price of the machine.

More expensive ellipticals tend to come with more generous guarantees, but this isn’t always necessarily the case either.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you have to do your homework.

You should expect at least 3-5 years on parts and a 1-2 years on labor for quality ellipticals.

Some brands go above and beyond and offer up to 10 years on parts (but this is rare).


You need to find an elliptical that fits your space. If your machine is too large for your space, you aren’t going to be able to use it effectively.

Most home ellipticals need a floor space of about 3′ x 6′ to be used comfortably.

Keep in mind ceiling height as well.

If you’re planning on putting it in an attic and you’re tall, make sure you will have enough head room at the highest point of the ellipticals motion.

Users under 6 ft tall should be fine on any elliptical with an 8 ft ceiling.

If over 6 ft tall, add 20 inches to your height and that should be the minimum ceiling height- this is just an estimation, when in doubt, look at the specifications for the machine you are considering.

If you think ceiling height is going to be an issue, you should read my elliptical guide for low ceilings.


Ah, maybe the most important factor to consider.

You obviously have to find a product that fits your budget. There are quality machines in all price ranges, but the more you pay, the more you get (usually).

I like to break down ellipticals into 3 price brackets:

  • Budget (under $1000)- this is a very large category and there’s a lot of variation in what you can get here. The nicer models in this price range will offer long stride lengths, heavy flywheels, and loads of features.
  • Mid-range ($1000-$2000)- ellipticals in this price bracket should come with heavier-duty frames, more advanced features, and longer warranties. There are some really nice machines in this price range and this is where most of us are probably going to find the right model.
  • Luxury ($2000 and up)- these are the nicer, higher-end machines. These machines should start to feel commercial grade. For the extra cost, you get more comfortable (and sometimes adjustable) stride lengths, higher weight capacities, better warranties, and the most advanced features.

Other Things To Consider:


Different elliptical machines offer different levels of adjustable resistance.

The nicer, higher quality machines tend to offer more control over resistance.

You can expect anywhere from 8 levels of resistance up to 25. Most resistances are controlled magnetically- as the magnetic brake comes closer to the flywheel, it provides more resistance.

Magnetic systems are quiet and smooth and require very little maintenance.

Just keep in mind that having more resistance levels doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting more total resistance to work against- it just means you can make smaller adjustments to the available resistance.


Pedals on ellipticals come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

It’s important to find one that feels comfortable during use because this is the biggest point of contact between you and the machine.

Pedals should be large enough to comfortably accommodate your foot and allow for some movement as you workout.

Nicer pedals have non-slip treading to reduce chance of injury during use.

Console Features

Consoles will vary greatly depending on price range. More expensive models will come with higher tech components:

  • Pre-programmed workouts: hills, intervals, fat-burning, heart rate, etc. Ellipticals can offer anywhere from 8 – 40 different workouts.
  • LCD screens: some ellipticals have 1, some have 2 screens for viewing workout metrics (others have none). Nicer models have well lit screens making it easy to see all your stats. And these days you can find HD touchscreen displays as well.
  • Heart rate monitoring: many machines will offer contact grip heart rate monitors for tracking heart rate during exercise. And most ellipticals are compatible with bluetooth monitors these days as well.
  • Motorized Inclines: some ellipticals offer an incline adjustment- similar to changing the resistance you are pushing against, you can increase or decrease the angle for exercise variety.
  • Speakers: mid to higher-end ellipticals will come with built-in speakers for connecting your phone or mp3 player. A lot of machines these days are coming with bluetooth speakers.
  • Bluetooth: a lot of machines these days offer bluetooth compatibility to easily track your workout stats using one or more apps on your smartphone.
  • Fans: nicer machines will have built-in fans with adjustable speeds to help keep you cool during your workout. Not a must, if you ask me, but a nice little perk.

Ok, by now you probably have a good idea of what features you can expect to see discussed when looking at elliptical reviews.

As you can see, a lot of the console features are not essential to the operation of the machine.

They just make working out a little more interesting. If the extra features aren’t as important to you, you can save some money by finding a machine with fewer bells and whistles.

Final Thoughts

It’s a good year to buy an elliptical because there are a lot of great models out there.

And if you made it all the way through that guide I applaud you – I know that was a lot of material.

But now you should feel like an expert when it comes to home ellipticals.

When choosing your next elliptical, you know you need to consider certain factors, including: flywheel weight, stride length, machine size, weight capacity, warranty, and price.

These are the essentials and should directly guide your buying decision.

You’ll also want to consider console features, but I personally think performance specs should come first.

But to each their own.

I know there are a ton of great ellipticals out there that didn’t make this list, but I tried to include machines from varying price ranges and of different styles.

And based on the specs and features we discussed, I stand by the ellipticals I chose.

Now that you’ve seen the best ellipticals 2024 has to offer, there’s only one more thing to do… find the one that best matches your needs and start using it!

I hope this article was helpful.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, leave them below and I’ll get back to you (and if there are any ellipticals you think should’ve made the cut, please share).






Will's a licensed physical therapist (DPT) with over 15 years of experience treating patients from all backgrounds. He's been lifting weights and exercising in one form or another since middle school and has been working out in his own home gym for over a decade. When it comes to fitness equipment, there isn't much he hasn't tried. In his spare time, if he isn't writing or working out, he's likely playing basketball, watching movies, or hanging with his family.

10 thoughts on “The 9 Best Home Elliptical Machines Around [2024 Edition]”

  1. Ok I searched you site and really enjoyed all of the information on it. I didn’t see a guide on Hybrids. I figure there is a reason for that or two but it’s what I need. I have had a lumbar laminectomy and fusion from L3 to S1. But I still have one screw that just wont heal and tends to cause me pain I can not overcome. So while I can walk and stand I don’t get to do it far or for long without a break or sit down. I am good on the Elliptical bike (at Physical therapy) but would love one where I can stand as long as I can then rest but still keep moving. Non of these reviewed had a seat, nor did the Sole site. I get that a commitment to an elliptical or recumbent bike might be the best for some but I would really like to try a hybrid. As I know the more I walk the more I’ll be able to. Walking around the block is boring me to tears, so I don’t go as I should.

    1. hey deborah, yea I haven’t done any guides on hybrid trainers. I thought about doing one for awhile, but other priorities came up and it got pushed to the bottom of the to-do pile.
      another issue is that most of them kinda suck. the truth is, it’s difficult to combine an elliptical and a recumbent bike into a single machine and have both parts work effectively.
      hybrid trainers usually do ok for the bike section, but don’t work particularly well as an elliptical. and this is due to the short stride lengths that are common with theses machines. I looked up a few that had 12-14″ stride lengths, which just isn’t going to be comfortable (you might as well stand up and march in place beside a bike).
      because of these really short stride lengths, I don’t think a hybrid is a great choice for ya with your lumbar history. that said, if you really want to try one, the best one I’ve come across is the ProForm Hybrid Trainer Pro– it comes with a 17″ stride length, a 15 lb flywheel, and a decent warranty (this machine is actually on my to do list to review, I’ll have to move it up to the front). I hope this helps, good luck!

  2. Hi – great amount of info. I am a 6 foot male and considering the Nordictrack SE9I because it has the flywheel in the back and more mimics a running motion. I am also interested in the ProForm 12.9 but it has the flywheel up front and I have read that front flywheels mimic more a stepper rather than the fluid motion of a runner with the rear flywheel. Our gym is closed but over the last ten years in our development’s gym I used a rear flywheel – so that is what I am use to. So my long-drawn out question is: as a 6 foot male am I going to be bothered by an 18 foot stride?

    1. Rear flywheel machines like the SE9i do tend to offer a flatter movement pattern, but as a 6′ male 18″ could be a little tight for ya, especially if you’re looking to mimic the feel of running. I’m 6’1″ myself, and personally, I wouldn’t go with anything shorter than 20″. Not to say you couldn’t get a comfortable workout in with an 18″ stride length, but you’ll be able to stretch out more with the longer stride length. Long-story-short: I’d go with the longer stride length.

  3. Rachel Rumple-Comerford

    I noticed you had the Sole 95 and 25 on your list but not the 35. Beyond pricing, can you provide any other info. on the pros & cons of these three. I’m fairly certain I want a Sole & was considering either the 25 or 35.

  4. Hi Will- I am a 55 year old woman, 5’4″ tall, don’t exercise regularly, 145 lb, need to build some strength, flexibility, tone & lose weight. I am looking at ellipticals since every time I try to start a jogging program, I get shin splints and knees hurt. I need one with cushioned petals etc. and easy to put together. Was looking at sole but heard complaints regarding resistance. Can you give a few suggestions. Proform? They have specials right now but not on the 9.9. More programs may help me keep interest!! I have space but don’t want anything gigantic. Thank you so much!;

    1. Hi, if jogging causes pain, an elliptical is a good idea. I’m a big fan of Sole and think they tend to be of higher quality than ProForm and NordicTrack, but if you’re looking for a larger workout library, Sole isn’t the right brand for ya. I’ve recently been looking into Spirit and they have some great machines- they remind be a lot of Sole actually. Not sure what your budget is, but Spirit’s XE795 is very nice and comes with 12 workouts. If you’re looking for a mid-range model with a lot of workout variety, NordicTrack is probably you’re best bet- their Commercial 9.9 is well priced and you can get unlimited workouts if you opt for their iFit subscription. Hope that helps!

  5. What is your opinion regarding the TRUE ES700 elliptical? I bought one last year and the stride motor has burned out 2 times (one just today:3-3-22). The dealer entirely replaced the first one (last Oct=tower-2021)since the time to get replacement parts was 4-6 months. I expect to get a new one this time, however I am concerned that this elliptical will continue to be a problem. Any suggestions and recommendations.thank you

    1. I have to be honest, I’m not very familiar with the TRUE brand, but I know they’ve got a pretty good reputation as far as high-end brands go. And things happen, even for great brands and great products, but the fact that you’ve had the same problem occur on 2 completely different machines in such a short time is certainly a red flag. I know TRUE offers a great warranty, but would you be able to get a refund at this point if you wanted to? Not sure. If not, it might be worth trying your luck one more time in a hope that the third time’s a charm. If a refund is on the table, I think I’d probably take it and try another luxury brand. For that budget, you have plenty of great options- Life Fitness (the E5 has an adjustable stride length too), Precor, Octane Fitness. Good luck and I’d love to hear back about what you decide and how it goes!

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