The best cross trainers and elliptical trainers

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If you’re looking to get fit but don’t like the idea of going into a packed gym every day, then investing in home gym equipment can be a worthwhile decision. A cross trainer is an excellent machine that is easy for everyone to use and is great for cardiovascular exercise as it uses all of the muscles in the body. 

But how do you know which cross trainers are any good? If you going to buy a cross trainer, you want to make sure you’re investing in one which works well for you, and is going to last a long time. There are a few different things to consider before you make your decision, depending on who is going to be using the machine and how often it will get used. 

If it’s going to be used by several members of the family, consider a cross trainer with a variable stride length as this allows different people to adjust the machine to their needs. Shorter strides tend to simulate walking, whereas longer strides provide more of a running workout. Some elliptical machines also come with an incline function, which aims to target more muscles including your abdominals and thighs. 

All machines come with varying resistance with most good quality ones featuring electro-magnetic resistance. You can also get machines with belt and flywheel resistance which are generally a lot cheaper but they may not provide the same longevity that electromagnetic machines do. 

We’ve picked out some of the best cross trainers on the market to go in your home gym. Whether you’re a novice looking to start a healthier lifestyle or a professional athlete looking for some serious equipment to train on, there’s something to suit everyone’s needs and budgets.

1. NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i Elliptical

A 3-in-1 machine for a versatile workout

Best for: 3-in-1 trainer | Workout programmes: 35 | Stride Length: 38in (adjustable) | Incline: 0-10%

Smart touch screen
Built-in fan
Incredibly pricey 

For a truly substantial workout, this elliptical machine gives you the benefit of all the different cross trainers in one. You can adjust the stride depending on who’s using it and what type of workout you want, as well as adjust the incline to intensify your workout and target certain muscle groups. With 35 different workout programmes, you won’t be short on motivation and you can keep yourself occupied with the integrated tablet holder and sound system which allows you to watch your favourite shows or play your playlists while exercising. It’s pretty big and pretty expensive, but for those serious about getting fit, this is a worthwhile investment which will stand the test of time.  

2. Bowflex Max Trainer M5

Burn calories fast with this feature-packed machine

Best for: Total body workout | Workout programmes: 9 | Stride Length: non-adjustable | Incline: No

Transport wheels
Compact design
 Not adjustable 

If a quick and easy workout in the comfort of your own home is what you’re looking for, then this elliptical machine is a good pick for home gyms or spare bedrooms. It’s compact design means it has a low footprint, aiming to be the ideal size to fit in any room of the home without taking over the whole house. It doesn’t have as many workout programmes at the Nordic Track FreeStride machine, but it’s still incredibly feature-packed nonetheless. You’ll be able to track your progress with the free corresponding app and monitor heart rate during every workout. Users love that it comes with transport wheels which makes it easy to get into the house and set up with no hassle.  

3. NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical

A high-tech piece of kit that’s slim and compact

Best for: Space-saver | Workout programmes: 30 | Stride Length: 18in | Incline: 0-10%

Folds away
iFit compatible
 Quite technical

This elliptical machine looks beautiful and runs beautifully, too. If you’re quite tech-savvy, then you’ll love this machine as it is compatible with iFit and you can even use google maps to replicate real-life routes as well as use personalised workout programmes. If you’re a bit of a technophobe, this machine may be a little complex for a beginner, but the built-in workout programmes are fairly intuitive to find and use. One of the other great things about this machine is it is designed to fold away, so if you’re short on space, this machine won’t take up too much room in your lounge or bedroom.  

4. Reebok ZR8 Electronic Cross Trainer

A simple and affordable machine for first-time users

Best for: Beginners | Workout programmes: 19 | Stride Length: 15in | Incline: No

Affordable 
Intuitive console
A little loud 

If you’re looking to buy your first cross trainer and don’t want to spend too much, this affordable cross trainer is perfect for beginners. It’s not overly feature-packed but users like how intuitive it is for novices to get to grips with and its electronic resistance system suggests it will hold up well for years to cone. Customers recommend placing it on carpet rather than hard flooring such as wooden or laminate, especially if placing upstairs or if you live in a flat as the sound carries through.  

5. Sole E95 Elliptical

Fully adjustable machine for the comfiest workout yet

Best for: Comfort | Workout programmes: 10 | Stride Length: Adjustable 20-22in | Incline: 0-20%

Cushioned foot pedals
Lifetime guarantee on parts & motor
Quite bulky 

Have the smoothest workout on the Sole E95 Elliptical as it is a fully adjustable machine with cushioned foot-pedals that cater to anyone’s workout needs. The console provides all the information you need to track your progress, including time, speed, distance, resistance, calories and pulse. It also comes equipped with chest strap and hand grip sensors to accurately monitor heart rate. The only downside to this machine is it's quite expensive and quite bulky, but if you’ve got your very own home gym it’s a sleek looking machine that is bound to provide a decent workout. 

6. JTX Strider-X7 MAGNETIC CROSS TRAINER

A budget buy for a quick and easy solution to exercising every day

Best for: Budget buy | Workout programmes: 21 | Stride Length: 16in | Incline: No

Colour screen console
Quiet 
Can't sync with phone 

This is another great budget buy for anyone looking to invest in a compact machine for frequent use at home. Many users found this machine very easy to assemble unlike some other complex machines and it is surprisingly quiet. It has a range of workout programmes and a reliable electromagnetic resistance system which aims to provide a smooth ride. The only thing users wish it had was smartphone connectivity, but the LCD console in itself is impressive.  

7. XS Sports Pro 2-in1 Elliptical Cross Trainer Exercise Bike-Fitness

A bike and a cross trainer in one for the ultimate workout

Best for: 2-in-1 | Workout programmes: 0 | Stride Length: n/a | Incline: No

Use as a bike
Easy to assemble
Very basic 

This 2-in-1 machine gives you all the benefits of a cross trainer along with that of an exercise bike, too. Users have found this machine is particularly good for muscle toning and improving their cardiovascular fitness, but the machine doesn’t have any pre-set workouts so it’s all down to you. It’s a little noisy but if you’re someone who likes versatility when working out, you’re getting 2 machines for the price of 1 and it’s very affordable compared to many exercise machines on the market.  

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