Best Cross Trainer 2022: Top Ellipticals For Home Gyms

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When looking for the best cross trainer, it can be difficult to determine exactly how much to spend, especially if you don't know if it will be the most effective machine for your fitness needs.

Although not too dissimilar to an exercise bike, cross trainers, also known as ellipticals, train both your upper and lower body by mimicking a motion best described as cross-country skiing.

If this sounds like the machine for you, then our list of top picks, based on price, reviews, and features, is the perfect place to kick off your search.

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Whether you're looking for something compact, like this Schwinn Fitness 411, to save space, or you're searching for one of the best ellipticals under 500 dollars, like this Exerpeutic 6000 QF, then we've got you covered right here.

We've also answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding cross trainers to help you come to an informed decision on which to buy.

Best Cross Trainer

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Best Home Cross Trainer - JLL CT300

Best cross trainer JLL product image of a silver machine with a magnetic drive system
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Image Credit: JLL
Brand: JLL Fitness | Material: Steel | Dimensions: 120 x 61 x 167cm | Resistance: Magnetic | Max. Weight: 100kg

JLL Fitness looks to be an excellent fitness equipment manufacturer that focuses on creating quality products, like the CT300, at a great price.

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The CT300 comes with a two-way, 5.5kg flywheel, designed to provide a challenging yet smooth workout, plus 8 levels of magnetic resistance for when you need to take that next step up in difficulty.

It also comes with an LCD display with 8 readouts including time, speed, distance, and more, all of which are crucial for tracking how hard you're working, helping you to know where it is you need to improve.

All in all, the CT300 is a great option for home gyms, especially because it comes with built-in wheels which will likely make it easier to transport and store away once you've nailed your cardio session.

Best Budget Cross Trainer - Exerpeutic 6000 QF

Best cross trainer Exerpeutic product image of a black and blue elliptical.
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Credit: Exerpeutic
Brand: Exerpeutic | Material: Metal | Dimensions: 46 x 16 x 64" | Resistance: Magnetic | Max. Weight: 270lbs

The Exerpeutic 6000 QF looks to be a great cross trainer on a budget thanks to its sleek design and array of advanced features.

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What we like about this machine, in particular, is that it comes with an LCD display which you can connect to via the free MyCloudFitness app to track your workouts with your mobile device.

In terms of design, Exerpeutic states the distance between the two pedals (Q Factor) is only 6” to minimise joint wear caused by a wide workout stance.

It's also worth noting it comes with a Double Transmission, designed to reduce the overall length and size of the machine. Overall, a great-looking pick!

Best Smart Cross Trainer - Life Fitness E1

Best cross trainer Life Fitness product image of an all-black elliptical
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Credit: Life Fitness
Brand: Life Fitness | Material: Unspecified | Dimensions: 209 x 77 cm x 150cm | Resistance: Friction | Max. Weight: 181kg

If you're searching for something akin to the cross trainers you get in a commercial gym and have the budget for it, then the Life Fitness E1 might be for you.

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Although the Life Fitness E1 is a premium product, it comes with a few smart features that make it slightly more advanced like the contact heart rate sensors, something normally found on top fitbits, to help you keep track of which exercise zones you're working in.

Moreover, this elliptical offers 20 levels of resistance which should mean there is plenty of room for progression, regardless of your experience and fitness level.

On the whole, if you're looking for something similar to what you'd find in the gym then the E1 is definitely one to consider.

Best Compact Cross Trainer - Schwinn Fitness 411

Best cross trainer Schwinn Fitness product image of a black and red elliptical.
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Schwinn Fitness
Brand: Schwinn Fitness | Material: Unspecified | Dimensions: 53.8 x 24 x 62.5" | Resistance: Unspecifed | Max. Weight: 300lbs

We've previously featured this Schwinn Fitness 411 cross trainer in our list of the best ellipticals under 500, but we're including it again as we think it should make for a top pick if you're limited to space.

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Even though it features a space-saving design, you still get an 18” stride length which should be more than suitable even if you're tall.

Also, it comes with 16 levels of adjustable resistance so you can dial up or down depending on how challenging you want your workout to be, which is great as it allows for heaps of progression.

It's also worth noting that you get what Schwinn calls a built-in media rack to hold your tablet, so you can watch your favourite TV shows whilst you exercise, thus making it, in our opinion, well worth considering.

Best Under Desk Cross Trainer - Sunny Health & Fitness Under Desk Elliptical

Best cross trainer Sunny Health & Fitness product image of a gray, small exercise bike-esque machine
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Credit: Sunny Health & Fitness
Brand: Sunny Health & Fitness | Material: Steel | Dimensions: 20.5 x 16 x 10.5" | Resistance: Magnetic | Max. Weight: Unspecified

Not only did we discuss Sunny Health & Fitness earlier in this list, but we've also featured the brand before in our best exercise bike under 500 list as it is one of the top manufacturers of fitness equipment around.

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Although this may not be your conventional cross trainer, the Sunny Health & Fitness Under Desk Elliptical will likely be a great way of incorporating lower body movement into your working day.

Measuring just 20.5" long and 10.5" tall, this machine should easily fit under your desk and it comes with an integrated handgrip so you can pick it up and store it more easily.

In terms of the difficulty, the Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical has 8 levels of magnetic resistance to make things progressively harder if you feel like it, and a 3.52lbs flywheel which will likely be heavy enough for low-intensity exercise whilst working.

Ultimately, this may not include all the features of a standard cross trainer, but it does tick a lot of boxes in terms of the perfect machine for office workouts.

Best Cross Trainer For Beginners - Gazelle GEDGECAT Edge Glider

Best elliptical under 500 Gazelle product image of a silver manual cross trainer.
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Credit: Gazelle
Brand: Gazelle | Material: Unspecified | Dimensions: Unspecified | Resistance: Manual | Max. Weight: 250lbs

If you're just starting your fitness journey or perhaps recovering from injury, then a low-impact machine like this Gazelle GEDGECAT Edge Glider could be the way to go.

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It works using a dual-action suspension system that moves with your body through a complete range of motion, allowing you to increase or decrease the intensity at your own pace.

Moreover, it comes with a display that will keep track of your speed, distance, time, and calories burnt, helping you follow your progression through informed statistics.

Overall, we feel the Gazelle GEDGECAT Edge Glider could be a great option to consider if you're after something low-stress and impact to kick off your workout journey.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cross Trainers

People often have a tonne of questions about ellipticals, but we're here to clear up a few common queries to help you make your purchase.

Is A Cross Trainer Worth It?

Ultimately, this depends on your budget and what you're looking for in a piece of cardio equipment.

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Generally speaking, using an elliptical is a good way of incorporating your whole body into one workout which is ideal for burning calories and for improving mobility.

If you're looking for a way to build muscle, then even the most intense elliptical workout won't compare to weight training with a top barbell, but, for improving cardio, the cross trainer is up there as one of the best, even compared to some of the best spin and air bikes around.

Is A Cross Trainer Better Than A Treadmill?

We have previously covered whether a treadmill is better than an elliptical and, in the said guide, we state that both can offer an effective cardio-based workout.

However, a cross trainer has an advantage over running in that it's a much lower impact activity which is ideal if you're a beginner, you're recovering from an injury, or you're looking to complete longer sessions regularly.

With that being said, you may be able to burn more calories more efficiently on a treadmill compared to an elliptical.

For example, a 2017 study into the effects of HIIT training found a treadmill to be effective for burning calories, reducing body fat, and improving cardiovascular fitness in a short period of time.

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Also, if you're training for a specific goal like a marathon, for example, then regularly running on a treadmill will likely be a better tool to help in your preparation.

Ultimately, we feel both treadmills and cross trainers are great for their own specific purposes, and choosing which is right for you will come down to personal preference and your fitness goals.

Can You Lose Weight Using A Cross Trainer?

According to Havard Medical School, a 155lbs person will burn 334 calories in 30 minutes on an elliptical, therefore suggesting you can lose weight whilst using an elliptical.

However, it is important to pair your training with the right nutritious diet.

The key here is to be in a calorie deficit, i.e. burning more calories than you consume throughout the day.

A handy way to track this is by picking up a top smartwatch which should give you a general estimate as to how many calories you burn during your day, which you can then compare to the calories you consume.

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Can You Use A Cross Trainer Every Day?

Even though you can use a cross-trainer every day, it is normally advised, like with any form of exercise, that you have a least one rest day a week for recovery purposes.

Also, undergoing the same exercise every day can become repetitive and your muscles will likely adapt to the elliptical motion, so a smart choice would be to incorporate other forms of exercise like walking, running, or swimming to workout different muscle groups and avoid repetition.

How Long Should You Use A Cross Trainer For?

There's no one definitive answer to this question as it will vary depending on your type of training.

However, research suggests that at least 15 minutes a day on a cross-trainer can have major health benefits, most notably improving your cardiovascular fitness.

If 15 minutes is all the time you have to use your elliptical, then the American Council on Exercise recommends you use that time as efficiently as possible by doing High-Intensity Interval Training to maximise your benefits.

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Are Cross Trainers Good For Bad Knees?

As previously mentioned, a cross trainer workout should be a relatively low-impact session.

Low-impact exercises typically put less strain on your joints, therefore, cross trainers are widely regarded as good exercise machines to use if you've got joint pain or health conditions such as arthritis.

This is supported by Mayo Clinic which states an elliptical machine provides a less stressful way for people with bad knees to get a regular workout compared to using a treadmill or jogging and running.

Are All Cross Trainers Electric?

Not all cross trainers are powered by electricity; however, most of the ones you'll likely find on the market are, particularly if they come with an onboard computer to analyse fitness metrics.

Having said that, there are some manually powered machines, similar to the Gazelle GEDGECAT Edge Glider, which come with no electronic components.

Manual ellipticals tend to be most beneficial for beginners, but we recommend an electric piece of equipment if you're looking to continue to progress towards your fitness goals.

Read More: Best Shoes For CrossFit Available Now