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The 6 Best Recumbent Cross Trainers For Home Use – Your Comprehensive Guide

the best recumbent cross trainers

Recumbent cross trainers have been popular in the rehab setting for a long time because they offer a safe, comfortable way to strengthen your legs and improve cardiovascular health.

This is often a challenging task right after surgery or for people with mobility issues. This is why these machines can be found in almost every rehab clinic around the country.

Turns out you no longer have to go to therapy to reap the rewards from recumbent trainers. Nowadays, manufacturers are producing machines designed specifically for home use.

This is great news for the people out there that have a hard time exercising due to physical limitations.  Instead of having to go out to therapy or find someone to take you to the local gym, you can purchase a recumbent trainer and exercise safely in the comfort of your own home.

But, like any other fitness equipment, you need to know what to look for before making a purchase.

Doing your research is the best way to reduce your chances of buying a lemon. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place!

My guide is here to teach you everything you need to know about recumbent trainers, including what you should look for and how to compare different models.

I’ve also included my top picks for the trainers available for home use.

Let’s start from the beginning.

What Is A Recumbent Cross Trainer?

If you’ve accidentally stumbled across this article or aren’t exactly sure what counts as a recumbent trainer, let’s make sure we’re all talking about the same thing here.

A recumbent cross trainer, or recumbent trainer, or recumbent elliptical trainer, or recumbent stepper is a combination of a recumbent bike and an elliptical trainer.

The seat resembles the large, comfortable seat associated with recumbent bikes. But instead of pedaling like you do on a bike, you are pushing large pedals back and forth with your feet.

You also get to use handles for your arms, just like most ellipticals let you do.  This is great because you can effectively get a full body workout while sitting comfortably on a large seat with backrest.

If you’ve never heard of a recumbent trainer, you may have heard of the NuStep, the first (and most popular) recumbent trainer.

It came out in the late ’90s and was designed by a bio-medical engineer and an exercise science guy from Michigan State. The goal was to create a safe cardio machine for people who had had cardiac surgery.

It was marketed to physical therapy clinics and rehab settings and the rest is history. You can find a NuStep in pretty much every therapy clinic these days, and for good reason- they work very well.

NuSteps are awesome, but they are also very expensive. They claim they have “home models”, but their most affordable machine is about $4000. If you have the money, you can’t go wrong with a NuStep. Their biggest flaw is their steep asking price.

When I think of home exercise equipment, I think of equipment that is usually a little more affordable.

I was actually inspired to write this article after a discussion I had with one of my patients. For those of you who aren’t aware, I’m a physical therapist in my day job.

I do home health- that’s where I travel to my patient’s houses and treat them in the comfort of their homes.

Anyway, my patient had recently had a total hip replacement and was talking about how much he loved using the NuStep at therapy before his surgery.

He wanted to purchase one for his home, but was disappointed when he saw how much they cost. He asked me if I knew of any cheaper options…

I said I would look into it for him and the idea for this article was born.

Long-story-short, yes, there are more affordable options available. And yes, some of them have a lot to offer and are worth buying.

And yes, you guessed it- those elliptical trainers worth buying are the ones I’ve reviewed below.

How To Choose A Recumbent Cross Trainer

When it comes to recumbent trainers, the options aren’t quiet as vast as they are with recumbent bikes or ellipticals. Searching online, you may only come up with a handful of options for home use.

This definitely makes the search a little easier. You may even be able to use price alone, depending on your budget.

Even so, it’s always a good idea to know what you should expect when comparing these machines. Here are a few key characteristics I suggest you examine during your search.

Use this info as a guide and make sure to compare these features among the different recumbent trainers you are considering.

Seat

The seats on recumbent trainers are always a little larger and they always have a backrest. Some seats will have an adjustable recline setting, which is a nice feature to have because it allows you to customize your position more.

Some seats may also offer arm rests- this can add comfort if you are exercising your legs only and not utilizing the arm handles.

The nicest seat feature found on some recumbent trainers is the ability to swivel. On these machines, you can release a lever and the seat rotates 90 deg to the side.

This makes it a lot easier to get in and out of and is especially helpful if you have mobility issues or are transferring from a wheelchair.

All of the NuSteps offer this feature, some of the competitors do too. Just a heads up though, trainers with swiveling seats are more expensive.

Pedal Motion

The motion of the foot pedals is something else to consider. The motion can be linear (like a stepper) or have a circular pattern that more closely mimics the motion of an elliptical machine.

It may not make much difference to you and you may not even really notice, but technically speaking a linear motion would provide the lowest impact workout.

If you have severe arthritis you may want to look for a machine with a linear pedaling motion to ensure as little impact as possible.

Features

You probably shouldn’t expect all the fancy bells and whistles you see on other types of fitness equipment. These machines are usually pretty simple.

The console usually just displays metrics like steps, time, distance.

Some nicer machines might calculate METs (metabolic equivalents) or watts, but you shouldn’t expect a lot of bluetooth functions with fitness app tracking (although some machines do offer this).

Most trainers will offer workout programs, but the number and sophistication of them will vary. Keep in mind these machines are designed for people who usually just want to hop on and ride.

Other important built-in features to look for include:

  • Walk-through frames- makes getting on/off easier
  • Adjustable handle bars- makes it easier to ensure the right fit for anyone
  • Adjustable resistance levels to accommodate users of any fitness level
  • Heart rate monitor compatibility

Weight Capacity

Like any type of fitness equipment, it’s always a good idea to consider the weight capacity of the trainer you are considering. It needs to at least safely fit you or any family member that might be exercising on it.

If stuck between two options, always go with the machine with the higher weight capacity, it indicates superior strength and durability.

Recumbent trainers usually have weight capacities that are higher than other types of equipment. Nice trainers will start at 300 lb capacities and go as high as 600 lb.

Warranty

Last, but not least, is warranty. Always consider the warranty when making a recumbent trainer purchase. More expensive models tend to have higher warranties, but that rule is not written in stone.

These machines typically have warranties that are divided into frame, parts, and labor.

Labor is always the shortest warranty, typically 1-2 years.

Parts warranties usually vary between 3-5 years depending on the model.

Frame should be the longest, because it’s the part that is least likely to fail. Good frame warranties can range between 5 years to lifetime.

 


The 6 Best Recumbent Cross Trainers For Home Use

#1 Teeter FreeStep LT1 Recumbent Cross Trainer – Most Budget Friendly

Teeter FreeStep LT1 Recumbent Cross Trainer

This cross trainer by Teeter is one of the most highly-rated trainers you can find online. It’s also the most affordable. The first thing you might notice about the Teeter FreeStep is that it’s actually pretty compact.

This is great if your workout space is limited and every inch counts. A downside to a lot of these machines is that they do take up a good amount of floorspace.

The seat on this trainer is a little smaller than some of the more expensive models and there are no arm rests. The recline setting of the backrest is adjustable to help keep you more comfortable during your workout.

Unfortunately, the seat doesn’t swivel- and I’m not surprised, it would be pretty impossible for a trainer this affordable to include a high-end feature like that.

The Teeter FreeStep utilizes a liner step motion, similar to performing a step machine while sitting comfortably. This pattern should limit the stress through your hips and knees as much as possible.

The handles are large and do offer some grip variety that can allow you to emphasize certain upper body muscle groups during your workout.

When it comes to features, the FreeStep doesn’t offer a lot. It has adjustable handle bars and a small LCD display that shows your workout stats. It also has a water bottle holder and a small shelf on the display where you can place a smart phone.

This recumbent trainer has a max weight capacity of 300 lb. This is on the lower side of our expected range, but still respectable.

Especially considering the price. Considering the smaller footprint and lower weight capacity, the FreeStep may be better suited for smaller users- that said, 300 lb will still fit most users.

The warranty department is where the FreeStep really falls short in my book. Teeter only offers a 1 year warranty on this trainer. There’s just no getting around it, this is an awful warranty.

Users all seem to agree the machine is well-built and feels sturdy during use…but only 1 year?

Overall, the Teeter FreeStep is a good choice if you are on a tighter budget. It’s designed with a compact footprint and still offers most of the sought after qualities the more expensive machines offer.

In my opinion, the only place where this trainer is really lacking is in the warranty department. For the price though, there’s no better option. See full review.

 

#2 Spirit CRS800S Recumbent Stepper- Best High End

best recumbent cross trainers

Photo courtesy of Fitness Factory

If you’re working with a slightly higher budget and looking for a recumbent trainer that can stand toe to toe with most commercial  machines, Spirit’s CRS800S is a safe bet.

And what makes this model commercial grade?

For starters, the CRS800S is heavy-duty and easily accessible. When it comes to the frame, this machine is tough enough to handle users weighing up to 450 lb, allowing it to hold smaller and larger folks alike.

This steppers weighs 262 lb itself, which is quite substantial for a home fitness machine.

One of the nicest features on it is the over-sized seat that comes with a reclinable back rest. The seat also swivels, making it easy to get in/out of, regardless of any mobility issues you may have (and there are adjustable arm rests too).

It also has a low, walk-through frame that makes it easy to access from either side.

The CRS800S utilizes a very linear pedal motion, making for a comfortable exercise experience for all. The pedals are large and cushioned and the handles are multi-grip and adjustable.

The console is pretty simple, but it’s easy to use and does come with 10 or so built-in workout programs.

And if you’re a sucker for a great warranty like me, you’ll love this- the CRS800s comes with one one of the best warranties you’ll ever find:

  • Lifetime frame
  • 10 year parts
  • 2 year labor

Yeah, 10 years on parts…crazy.

Overall, if you’re looking for a commercial grade recumbent cross trainer that can hold it’s own with NuStep, Spirit’s CRS800S is worth considering. See full review.

 

#3 Inspire Fitness CS3 Cardio Strider – Most Bang For The Buck

The CS3 Cardio Strider is kind of priced in the mid-range between the Teeter and the higher-end trainers like NuStep. With the extra money you get some pretty significant upgrades- more advanced console, nicer seat, and a more serious warranty.

This machine is priced well and has everything it needs to make it a great choice for a home trainer.

The seat on the CS3 is a little larger than the one on the Teeter, but it still doesn’t have arm rests or swivel. It too is recline adjustable with 3 positions. The frame isn’t quite walk-through, but the step through height is pretty low, making it easy to access.

The handles are adjustable and offer multiple grips to customize your upper body workout. You can also rotate them easily to match the position you need. This comes in handy when you are emphasizing your arms- after all, these machines do offer a full body workout.

The CS3 also utilizes a pretty linear pedal motion, good for reducing stress through your joints. This trainer has stationary foot rests you can park your feet on if you want to isolate your arms.

You can also place your arms on stationary handlebars if you want to isolate your legs.

I mentioned the console is a lot more sophisticated, that might be an understatement. It’ much larger, it’s blue backlit and it comes with 10 preset workout programs.

It also offers 20 different resistance levels, enough to challenge you regardless of your fitness level.

And not only is the CS3 heart rate monitor compatible, it comes with a Polar chest strap monitor!

The max weight capacity on this trainer is 300 lb, same as the Teeter. Should be enough to fit most users comfortably, but if you require a higher weight capacity this isn’t the right machine for you.

The warranty offered by Inspire Fitness is pretty awesome. They offer the following warranty on the CS3 Cardio Strider:

  • Lifetime frame
  • 5 year parts
  • 1 year labor

This is actually one of the best warranties I came across while doing my research for this article. If I remember correctly, it even beats out NuStep. If you’re looking for a recumbent trainer that is built to last, this could be the one for you.

Overall, the CS3 has a ton to offer. With several workout programs to choose from and 20 levels of resistance, getting a good workout won’t be a concern.

And if you are worried, Inspire Fitness is throwing in a heart rate monitor to ensure you are working at your desired intensity. The CS3 offers a great combination between features and price- it’s definitely earned it’s way on this list.

 

#4 Octane Fitness xR6xi Recumbent Elliptical – Most Hi-Tech

Octane Fitness offers several different recumbent trainer models with the xR6’s being the most advanced home units. This machine offers a level of luxury most of the others simply can’t.

I like the xR6xi because it looks like something you would see in your local gym. The design is very inviting- but you know what they say, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover…luckily in this case, the content is just as impressive.

Starting with the seat, you’ll notice that’s it’s large. You’ll also notice the large lever right below the seat- this makes adjusting the height easy and accessible.

You can also adjust the recline setting here, but unlike the other trainers that simply changes the backrest angle, this one actually tilts the entire seat/backrest combo. The result is a more comfortable position to operate.

The handlebars are large with plenty of grip options- this makes working out more comfortable and allows for specific muscle isolation.

The pedal motion on the xR6xi is a little more circular than some of the other machines we’ve discussed. Not as circular as a traditional elliptical, but more so than a purely linear motion.

Octane Fitness claims this helps you activate your glutes more- I’m not sure about that, but users agree it feels smooth and comfortable to use.

This recumbent trainer is loaded with features. Easily the most features we’ve seen thus far. Key features include:

  • Compatible with Octane Fitness app for fitness tracking and more workouts
  • Compatible with Polar and ANT+ heart rate monitors
  • Polar chest strap included!
  • 9 preprogrammed workouts
  • “Workout boosters” to help you isolate certain muscle groups and burn more calories during your workouts
  • Multicolor “smart light” gives you visual cues of your workout intensity and helps you stay within your zone

The xR6xi also has a 300 lb weight limit. Their commercial grade machines go up to 400 lb. Either way, this trainer is built solid enough to hold up to intense workouts.

And in the case that something does go wrong, Octane Fitness is backing this machine up with one impressive warranty:

  • Lifetime frame
  • 5 year parts
  • 1 year labor

Overall, I’m really impressed with the xR6xi (and all of Octane Fitness’s recumbent ellipticals). It has by far the most advanced features of any of the trainers discussed thus far and it comes with an awesome warranty to back it up.

I also like that it actually looks like it’s fun to use and not like it should be found in a therapy clinic (no offense NuStep).

 

#5 HCI Fitness PhysioStep LXT Recumbent Cross Trainer – Most Accessible 

HCI is another company that offers an impressive recumbent trainer lineup. Impressive enough to give NuStep a run for their money even.

The LXT looks a little more “rehaby” and doesn’t have all the cool console features like the xR6xi, but it does have something no other trainer listed so far does…a swivel seat.

Yup, this trainer does come with a swivel seat. And this is a game changer for folks who are transferring from a wheelchair or who have mobility issues that make it difficult to step over the frame to get in.

Turning the seat away from the pedals gives you a lot more room to get on and eliminates the need to step over the pedals to get in.

The LXT has a linear pedal motion that provides a natural, gentle back and forth motion that is easy on your joints. This is the most comfortable pattern for achy knees and hips. The large pedals actually have straps to help keep your feet in place.

This is another great feature because I see people all the time that have a hard time keeping their feet on the pedals (either due to weakness or mobility restrictions).

The console doesn’t look that high-tech, but it’s large and easy to read. The LXT comes with 18 preprogrammed workouts and 16 resistance levels. This gives you a lot of control over your workouts.

It also means this trainer can offer you a tough workout regardless of your fitness level.

The LXT is also compatible with wireless heart rate monitors, however one isn’t included.

Another thing this trainer has going for it is that it can hold users up to 400 lb. This is the highest weight capacity thus far. This is amazing for a home fitness machine and can even hold up to commercial grade equipment.

The LXT also has it going on in the warranty department. HCI is backing this machine up with a lifetime frame warranty, a 3 year parts warranty, and a 1 year labor warranty.

Very impressive. Seeing a great warranty like this should give you a little more peace of mind.

As you can see, the LXT has a lot to offer. This is a perfect choice if you have mobility issues. The swivel seat makes getting in and out so much easier.

The warranty is also great. But if you are looking for fitness tracking or bright lights, this isn’t the recumbent trainer for you.

PS- this trainer is several hundred bucks less than the xR6xi and NuStep

 

#6 HCI Fitness PhysioStep RXT Recumbent Cross Trainer – Best Weight Capacity

Rounding out the list is another HCI Fitness produce, the PhysioStep RXT. This trainer is priced the same as the LXT model we just looked at, but does have a few key differences.

Choosing between them would be a matter of preference. Personally, I prefer the LXT, but depending on what you are looking for, this might be the right fit.

The first big difference is that the RXT doesn’t have a swivel seat. The seat does recline and is fully adjustable, but no swivel. The handlebars are also larger and offer multi-grip positions which I do like.

Speaking of which, I forgot to mention that the handles on the LXT swivel- some users don’t like this and prefer the stationary ones (they are also available for that model).

The pedal motion is also different on this trainer. The RXT utilizes a more circular, elliptical style pattern. This is where preference comes in.

I like the linear motion better for achy joints, but if your legs feel fine you won’t have any trouble with the elliptical pattern. It too is low impact.

The console on the RXT is very similar to the one found on the LXT. Same number of workout programs and same number of resistance levels (18 and 16 respectively).

The biggest difference is that the RXT is self-powered, meaning there is no electrical plug-in to the wall. The LXT has to be plugged in to operate. The RXT is also compatible with wireless heart rate monitors.

This recumbent trainer has a 500 lb weight capacity. We have a new winner! Yes, this trainer has the highest weight limit of the bunch. Looking at the image you’ll notice the RXT has that extended stability bar across the front.

I’m guessing this is the reason the weight limit is so much higher on this model. This is a great option for the larger users.

Finally, the RXT has the same great warranty as the LXT: lifetime frame, 3 year parts, 1 year labor. You can tell a lot by the warranty a company places on it’s products.

This warranty tells me HCI is confident that their stuff actually works and that they are built to last.

Overall, the PhysioStep RXT is another great recumbent trainer. If you prefer the elliptical pattern and the higher weight limit, this is the trainer for you.

It’s also nice that you don’t have to worry about plugging this thing in, you can put it anywhere and it’ll work just fine.

 


 

Final Thoughts

Recumbent trainers are great, especially for people suffering from arthritis or mobility issues, because they offer a safe, comfortable mode of exercise.

They work well for improving cardiovascular function, but can also help improve strength and flexibility.

When looking for the best recumbent cross trainers, it’s a good idea to know how to compare apples to apples.

Comparing traits like the seat, the console, weight capacity, and warranty gives you a guideline of how to see how these machines truly differ from each other. It also helps you organize your thoughts and figure out which features are most important for you.

All though there aren’t quite as many recumbent trainers on the market as there are bikes or treadmills, there are still plenty to choose from.

The options also fall into a pretty wide price range, with the most economical choices starting around $700 and ranging upwards of $5000.

The recumbent trainers I discussed here all made the list because they have the most to offer for the price and are the highest rated.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and I’ll get right back to you.

 

 

 

Will

51 Comments

  1. Will
    Have you seen/tried the Spirit CRS800S recumbent stepper? I’ve found very few reviews and I’m actually surprised that it is not included in your review, given the specs I read online. This makes me wary of it.

    • hey tamanika, no I’m not familiar with that model. I looked into it a little and you’re right, the specs look legit. I’ll put it on my to-do-list for a review. thanks!

  2. Excellent . You answered a lot of my questions before I purchased one. Thanks

  3. Will:
    You critiqued the Octane xRx6.
    Have you seen/reviewed the Octane xRX4?
    There’s a sale at $1799
    Thoughts?
    Thank you

    • No, I haven’t reviewed the xRx4 yet, but at first glance it looks pretty nice- just a slightly less advanced version of the xR6xi. The sales price of $1799 looks pretty good too. Octane Fitness is a high-end brand. The warranty on this model is still good too. Overall, looks like a pretty safe bet.

        • I haven’t done a formal review on this piece, but at first glance it looks great for the price. The warranty is awesome considering how affordable it is.

  4. Loved your article! Having a terrible time deciding between the teeter freestep LT3, the treadlife fitness strider, xterra fitness stepper, and the inspire fitness cardio strider. All because I cant afford a nustep or hci. I need one as close to the nustep as possible, but need need a swivel seat or fancy console. Help! Any info/opinion would be appreciated.

    • Thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate it. I took a quick glance at the machines you mentioned and I see why you might have a tough time deciding- they all look pretty nice and are very similar in their specs and features. Teeter is a great brand and they specialize in recumbent cross trainers and similar products, so you can never go wrong with them. Their LT3 is really well priced too. The Treadlife looked ok, but I don’t see any reason to choose this model honestly. At its price point, I think it makes more sense to save a little cash and go with the Teeter or Xterra (which looks really good too, love that warranty) or pay more and go with the Inspire model.The Inspire model looks like the nicest of the bunch, but it’s almost 2x the price of the others. If your budget allows it, it’s probably the best choice. If not, I’d probably go with the Teeter. Hope that helps.

  5. Hi, Will – thanks for your article. We are between steppers: Spirit CRS800s, which you mentioned above but hadn’t, that point, reviewed. Also, the HCI Physio Pro, which is grade up from the LXT (which we are also thinking about) and the SCIFIT StepOne, which looks like it competes with the Physio Pro. How important would you rate the ability to lock the steps so that you can move both feet at once as an alternative movement with the Physio Pro and the SciFit? In all cases, the machine has to be a comfortable fit for a woman of 5’0″ tall. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

    • All 3 cross trainers you’re considering look to be very high-end, so it really comes down to personal preference. With regards to the lock step feature- I wouldn’t say it’s a crucial feature for a good workout, but it is a nice touch- this would allow you to bump the resistance up a little and use it as a leg press machine. So, I like it as a feature, but I wouldn’t say it’s the most important thing to consider. I think all 3 of these machines should be very comfortable to use. Personally, I really like the warranty offered on the Spirit. Overall though, all of these are commercial grade models and should do the trick nicely. I know that’s about as clear as mud, but I hope it helps.

  6. My father is a 75 year old diabetic who swears by NuStep. Based on that information does one model stand out?

    • Yeah, NuStep really is the gold standard when it comes to recumbent cross trainers. If you father likes the NuStep, I’d recommend going with one that has a similar, linear pedal motion, that will mimic the feel of the NuStep. You may want to consider the HCI PhysioStep LXT or the Inspire Fitness CS3, both of which have nice linear pedal motions. Depends on your budget too of course, but for the price, the Teeter is a great buy.

  7. Thank you so much for the only place on-line that gives this kind of information. A question – what is it about the Nustep TRS4000 that makes it better than any other recumbent dual exercise bike? My husband and I are in our 70’s, his knee is not happy, but we are basically in good shape. We could afford it – is it worth it?

    • Hi, good question- NuStep pretty much invented the recumbent cross trainer, so for awhile they were the only name in the game. These machines became popular in rehab settings and assisted living facilities because they were comfortable and safe to use for older adults (and apparently NuStep even consulted with rehab specialists when designing their NuSteps). Because of this, NuStep has become well known. Over the last few years, other brands have also started offering recumbent trainers, but since NuStep was the first, they’re considered the gold standard. Well, NuStep’s are also time tested and have shown that they work great. These machines are designed with comfort and accessibility in mind, making them a great choice for folks with achy joints or other mobility issues. I guess this is my long-winded way of saying, yea, I think NuSteps are worth the money if they’re within your budget. The other recumbent trainers on this list are fine, but NuStep is still the marker that all other recumbent trainers are measured against. I hope that helps!

  8. I obsessed endlessly over your advice and eventually brought my husband to the bike store. He had used the NuStep at our PT’s office and liked it. He got on the NuStep at the store and thought it was nuts not to get it. The bike will be delivered tomorrow morning. Thank you so much for your advice.

  9. One more NuStep comment – IF one can afford the exorbitant price, the seat and back support are incredibly comfortable. So if one has back problems, this is indeed the bike to get.

  10. Great article! Not only did you define what a recumbent cross trainer is in basic understandable terms, you succinctly described the features to look for. Your in-depth review of five was extremely helpful.
    Thanks very much for your insight!
    Craig
    Question – when is the best time to purchase: now (December 9), or some other time of year for best price?

    • Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated. Great question- I’ve haven’t really noticed any time of year where these machines are cheaper, but if a brand is going to have a sale or promotion it’s probably going to happen between November and December. I didn’t see any big changes in price for these cross trainers in particular this year, but other brands and products were. Sorry, I know that isn’t much help.

  11. Any thoughts on the HCI Fitness Physiotrainer CXT ? I like its looks; is it it comparable to other HCI machines? It is advertised at $1399 and free shipping on Amazon.It also looks relatively compact. I don’t have a lot of floor space.

    • HCI is a pretty well-respected brand and generally speaking, their products are high-quality. When it comes to their Physiotrainer CXT, I like that it comes fully assembled and you’re right, it’s pretty compact (only taking up a floor space of 5′ x 2′), but I have a few concerns too. It’s a stretch considering this a recumbent cross trainer because to me it looks more like a very light weight recumbent bike with handles attached. You’ll notice the pedal action is completely circular, as if you’re riding a bike. The machine weight is very light too at only about 75 lb, which could make it feel a little flimsy during use. The warranty is really short too given the price. Speaking of price, I think $1399 is way too expensive for this product. Personally, I’d like this machine better at half that price. Overall, I like HCI, but I don’t think this is one of their better models…and it’s way overpriced if you ask me.

  12. Your article really fulfilled my query. Appreciated. Authors like you are really needed.

    I want to subscribe your newsletter so I can get informed by mail whenever you post. Can you please tell me how I can do this? 🙂

    Thanks

    • Thanks for the kind words. We don’t have a newsletter at the moment, sorry. Take care!

    • For the price, it’s hard to beat the Teeter, but all of the models on this list are top notch. I recommend you consider your price range and then look at the different specs and features each has to offer and try to find the one that has the most to offer for the price. If there are any models in particular you have questions about, just let me know. Take care.

  13. Is Nustep the only one with both linear motion and armrests? I have chronic overuse conditions in my arms and would probably need armrests.

    • NuStep comes to mind first, but I think Spirit has one too (Spirit CRS800S Recumbent Stepper). We tend to only see the armrests on the higher-end, more commercial grade machines.

  14. I am having a hard time finding the actual dimensions of some of these bikes: length x width x height. Teeter has my attention until you emphasized the importance of the warranty.
    What goes wrong with these bikes that the warranty is so important? What kind of repair person comes to your house to service or repair them?
    What do you know about Sunny Health and Fitness?

    • Hi, great questions- I’ll try to take em one at a time. When trying to find the assembled dimensions, it’s usually best to go to the brand’s website and look at the product specs there. If you can’t find them on the website, you might have to try and find them in the product manual- many are available online, but sometimes they can be hard to find too. In the case of the Teeter LT1: 54.0 x 38.0 x 52.5 in (L x W x H). When looking at warranties, it seems like it’s usually the moving parts that tend to break down first- the resistance might stop working correctly, the display could stop functioning, unwanted noises could appear. If repair was necessary, you would contact customer service- they might send parts and walk you through the job yourself (depending on the difficulty of the job) or contact a local agency they have a contract with to come out and work on the machine for ya. Even on more affordable machines it’s pretty rare for the structural frame to break down. Sunny is a very respected budget brand and I think they have some of the best products for their price range- especially when it comes to spin bikes. Their warranties usually suck too, but for the price range it’s kinda expected. XTERRA is another great budget brand who tend to offer better warranties. Hope that helps!

  15. Hi Rosalind,
    Can you please share which NuStep model you purchased and if you love using it. thanks! We are so torn between a NuStep and a StarTrac recumbent bike. Donna

  16. Great article. Living up north makes it hard to find much on a budget. I ended up stumbling across a Body Charger. Couldn’t find much for reviews on it. Unit seems very solid and I could only find new models on the company’s website in Taiwan.
    Have you seen these trainers?
    Cheers from the Great White North.

    • No, I’ve never heard of that brand before. I checked out their website and it does look pretty solid- I like that it comes with a 400 lb weight limit, that’s a good sign. But I didn’t see any info on price or warranty- definitely stuff you’d want to look into before deciding. If you do decide to go with Body Charger, I’d love to hear back from ya to see how you like it.

  17. Additional info for last comment. Didn’t realize how many models they make at Body Charger. The one I found is a GB7006 EMS

  18. Hi, this is a great review
    I am looking for an Octane but cannot find a dealer in the NY, Long Island area. Are you aware of one? Are they still selling that recumbent elliptical?
    Thanks

    • Thanks for the kind words. I’m not familiar with the dealers, but I think you should still be able to purchase one online. They seem to be getting harder to find, but you might be able to get one through Johnson Fitness- here’s the link. Hope that helps.

  19. I am a 48-year-old woman who has been diagnosed with Avascular necrosis. I had a full knee replacement two months ago. I had an MRI on my left knee and it also needs to be totally replaced. My doctor is also concerned that I’m going to need both hips replaced. I wanted to know in your opinion what would be the best investment for hips and knees for surgery for rehabilitation? Thank you.

    • Based on what I’m hearing, a recumbent cross trainer would be a smart choice for ya. These machines are low impact, but can also provide nice range of motion and strengthening exercise for your lower extremities (which will be key as you go through therapy and then maintain afterwards). Plus you can get your arms involved too, which is always nice. If you’ve got the budget for it, Spirit’s CR800S is a great buy- well priced for a commercial grade machine. If you’re working on a limited budget, Teeter’s FreeStep is about as good as it gets for the price. The other models on my list here are also all very nice. Overall, I think it makes sense to get a recumbent trainer based on what I’m hearing. The next best choice would be a recumbent bike. Hope that helps and let me know if you have any more questions.

  20. Thanks fir all the info! Can you comment on the resistance levels available in TVs Teeter? I’m a 60 year old, quite fit, runner but I’m trying to find a machine that will challenge me but also be suitable for my 84 year old mother in law who is living with us. She has mobility issues and a torn meniscus. I live that the teeter has has upper body work that can be done without legs, if needed. Thank you for any info you may have.

    • Both the Teeter LT1 and LT3 use a magnetic resistance system utilizing a 15.4 lb (7 kg) flywheel. This isn’t particularly heavy for a cross trainer or a recumbent bike, but it’s pretty common for more budget friendly models. Both of these machines are designed to offer comfortable, low impact exercise which is more in the light-moderate range in terms of intensity. It’s hard to quantify the exact amount of resistance they can offer without a watt output max (which some brands offer, but Teeter doesn’t). If you’re a fit runner, you might find that these machines aren’t that challenging, but it sounds like your mother-in-law could benefit greatly from one.

  21. I’m 74 years old and have rotator cuff issues in both shoulders. I previously had a schwinn airdyne but could not adjust the handles so my shoulders would not hurt. Are the handles on the Teeter adjustable to a fairly low level? I’m 5′ 6″ tall

    • The nice thing about the Teeters are that you can adjust them to have the handles facing inward or outward and you can choose between 4 different height positions- giving you a lot of variety in terms of handle position. You can also choose to grasp the handle with a neutral grip, so you really do have a lot of options with regards to the position your hands are in. Worse case, you shoulders will be at around 90 deg of flex (about shoulder height) during use, but you can definitely use so that your shoulders are flexing less. I think most people should be able to find a comfortable position. Hope that helps.

  22. Thank you for your reviews! They’re greatly appreciated, you helped make my decision very straightforward. I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to wade through every make and model and feature out there. Based on your recommendations I went with the Teeter LT3 which will be perfect for my disabled daughter.

    I really like how you combine an easygoing writing style with some solid information, it makes me feel like I’m having a conversation with a friend who is also a physical therapist. It’s also nice to see that you respond to readers who have additional questions and concerns. Thanks again for your work, I really appreciate it.

  23. Will, I enjoyed reading your article. Since you brought up who created the NuStep, it was me: Steve Sarns, I earned my MS in Exercise Physiology at the University of Michigan. I retired from NuStep in 2017 after surviving having a cancerous tumor in my ethnoid sinus cavity. This came about when our family sold NuStep Inc.. I am still on the board of NuStep LLC although I am not an active player. NuStep is based in Ann Arbor MI where all the products manufactured. Yep, Made in the USA. I am grateful to be alive! Stay strong and healthy! Steve

    • Oh wow, Steve, I’m honored that you read my article! As a PT, I know first hand how your innovation has been key to helping so many people exercise and rehab their ways back into shape. Without NuStep, we wouldn’t have any recumbent cross trainers these days, so thank you for your hard work! I’m glad to hear you beat cancer and I wish you a happy and healthy future. Take care and again, thanks for reading!

  24. Will, thank you so much for your great article! It was so helpful and informative. Now I feel that I can make a good decision — just have to decide how much I’m going to spend! Really tempted to go all in with the NuStep! Thank you, thank you for giving us all this wonderful information.

    • My pleasure, glad you found it helpful. Thanks for reading and good luck with your new cross trainer!

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