12 Best Cardio Machines – 2024

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Last Updated: October 14, 2023

If you’re in the market for a piece of cardio equipment for your home, you’ve come to the right place! There are many different types of machines available for doing cardio, and one isn’t necessarily better than another. It only matters which kind is best for you.

Whether you’re a serious runner looking for a treadmill, an avid indoor cyclist, an elliptical junkie, or a newbie to indoor rowing, there’s an option for you among these best cardio machines. We’ll guide you through the ins and outs of the top machines that we recommend for cardio, and also dive into why cardio is important for your overall health.

Best Cardio Machines 2024

Why You Should Trust Us

Here at Treadmill Review Guru, we specialize in testing all kinds of cardio equipment. We use our experience in the industry to analyze every machine we test so we can help you find the best one for you and your fitness goals.

Things like mobility and joint issues, content, and cardio preference help dictate the type of machine that is best for you. We keep all of these factors in mind during our review process, that way we can provide you with the best cardio machine options for home use.

Best Cardio Machines 2024:

See the details, Pro’s and Con’s and why each treadmill made our best list below.

Sneak peek of the best cardio machines:






 



Best Cardio Machine 2024 – Our Experts’ Top Picks

Here is the list of top picks for the Best Cardio Machine of 2024 by Treadmill Review Guru – you can’t go wrong with any cardio machine on this list.

1. Best Cardio Machine Overall: NordicTrack Commercial X32i Incline Treadmill

Best-Treadmill-Overall--NordicTrack-X32i-Incline-Treadmill

Our pick for the best cardio machine overall is the NordicTrack X32i Incline Treadmill. It’s also earned the top spot on our best treadmills list for the past several years. The NordicTrack X32i is a premium treadmill that has a lot of features to offer and really stands out in both construction and content. It inclines up to 40% and declines to -6%, which is a lot more than most treadmills on the market. This way, you can really amp up your cardio training on this treadmill. The X32i also has more cushioning than a lot of its competitors, making it more forgiving on the joints, and thus appealing to more people.

The hearty 4.25 CHP motor can handle all kinds of training, from running, sprinting, hiking, and even sled push workouts. Once you log in to your iFit account, you’ll be able to train virtually all over the world with high-class instructors on the massive 32” touchscreen. iFit offers over 17,000 trainer-led on-demand workout videos in a variety of disciplines so it can really add a lot of value to your training. Plus, on this large screen, you can take workouts off the treadmill’s deck to utilize the X32i as a complete, all-around training machine. Mat classes like yoga and strength training are available through iFit, too. Of course, without a membership, you can also access the onboard workouts if you would prefer to use this treadmill without a subscription.

The spacious 22” wide and 65” long deck supports all strides and makes for a comfortable, yet intense training experience for those who have room for the heavy, non-folding design. The quiet motor that goes up to 12 mph, is appropriate for most homes, too. If you’re looking for the best cardio machine on the market, you’ve found it with the NordicTrack X32i. You can’t go wrong with this incredible treadmill!

You can check out the full review of the NordicTrack x32i, here.

Pros
  • It inclines to 40% and declines to -6%, which is higher than most treadmills.
  • The 32” touchscreen is iFit enabled for access to thousands of trainer-led workouts filmed all over the world.
  • Large running surface of 22” x 65” supports all strides and fitness levels.
  • Quiet and powerful 4.25 CHP motor goes up to 12 mph and is appropriate for most homes, handling heavy use.

Cons
  • It doesn’t fold.
  • It’s heavy and requires 2 people to move.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 32” HD touchscreen
  • Over 17,000 on-demand fitness classes on iFit
  • Reflex cushioning
  • AutoAdjust Technology with iFit
  • iFit Enabled
  • Bluetooth enabled for heart rate monitor and headphones
  • Heart Rate ArmBand (Sold Separately)
  • Two Speakers
  • Two Water Bottle Holders
  • Non-folding
  • 2 Transport Wheels
  • 4.25 CHP DurX Commercial Plus Motor
  • Footprint: 76” L x 40” W x 73” H
  • Running Surface: 22” x 65”
  • Treadmill Weight: 462 lbs (when in box)
  • Weight capacity: 300 lbs
  • Speed: 0-12mph
  • 40% incline and -6% decline
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty on the frame, 2-year warranty for parts, and 1-year warranty for labor
We recommend the NordicTrack X32i as the best cardio machine overall because it offers a wide variety of training options which are all really great for cardiovascular health. You aren’t limited to running and walking on the X32i, and the content available on iFit will make sure you’re never bored doing cardio again.

2. Best Manual Treadmill: AssaultRunner Pro Treadmill

Best Manual Treadmill: AssaultRunner Pro Treadmill

If you’re looking for a treadmill that doesn’t require electricity, then a manual one is the way to go. Our pick for the best manual treadmill is the AssaultRunner Pro, it’s also the best overall on our best manual treadmills list. With a motorless design, the belt moves with your legs. This means that the faster you run, the faster the belt will go. There’s no max speed so you can run as fast as you want (and can).

The slats on the belt are rubber-coated and very durable to handle a lot of use. The Pro handles up to 350 lbs, so it’s great for larger users. It also has a steel frame and is rated for commercial and residential use. The console is a small battery-powered LCD screen that displays your metrics and doesn’t require a subscription to operate.

The AssaultRunner Pro is also well-priced compared to other manual treadmills out there. It has a proven durable design that’s simple to use, functional, and proven to handle all day running in public gyms.

A manual treadmill requires little to no maintenance because they don’t have a motor. If you’re looking for a durable, low-maintenance treadmill for running, that can handle everything you put it through, look no further than the AssaultRunner Pro.

Read our full written review of the AssaultRunner Pro, here.

Pros
  • This is a durable, low-maintenance treadmill that’s affordably priced compared to others.
  • The curved and narrow belt helps promote great running form.
  • It doesn’t have a max speed, so it will go as fast as you can run.
  • The console is battery-powered for good metrics tracking and doesn’t require electricity or wifi.

Cons
  • It doesn’t fold up.
  • The manual belt can take some getting used to if you’re a beginner to manual treadmills.

FeaturesSpecs
  • Battery-Operated High-Contrast LCD Console
  • Bluetooth-Enabled
  • Connects to Assault Fitness App
  • Onboard Workout Programs
  • Non-Motorized
  • Curved Running Surface
  • Non-Folding
  • Front Transport Wheels
  • Footprint: 69.9” L x 31.7” W x 64.4” H
  • 100 Precision Ball Bearings
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Treadmill Weight: 290 lbs
  • No Max Speed
  • No Incline
  • Running Surface: 17” x 62”
  • Warranty: 5-year on the frame, 3-year for parts, and 150,000 miles for the belt
If you’re a runner, we recommend checking out the AssaultRunner Pro Treadmill. It’s manual so it technically doesn’t have a max speed and can go as fast as you can. The curved belt also helps promote good running form and can help you burn more calories than a motorized treadmill.

3. Best Exercise Bike: NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle

Best Exercise Bike Overall NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle

The NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle bike isn’t your average spin bike. On top of the 22” HD touchscreen, the S22i has a quiet motor that inclines and declines the bike while you’re riding. So, on top of adding the magnetic resistance onto the bike for tension, the S22i will tilt up to 20% and down to -10% as you pedal. It’s the best exercise bike on our best exercise bikes list, so if you’re looking for the best indoor cycling bike, this one is it.

The incline and decline feature simulates the experience of riding outside, and the graphics and clarity of iFit on the large 22” touchscreen will make you feel like you’re in whatever location your class takes place in. You can change your resistance and incline levels easily on the handles or let the bike automatically adjust for you in iFit.

The extra features aside, the NordicTrack S22i is a solid bike that can accommodate taller and larger users up to 350 lbs. The 32 lb flywheel is heavy enough to give you a smooth, fluid pedal stroke. This is a heavier exercise at 205 lbs in the box, but it can be moved around with the front transport wheels by lifting the back floor stabilizer to engage them.

Check out the NordicTrack S22i if you’re looking for a low-impact, high-intensity studio cycling bike for your home.

Check out our full review of the NordicTrack S22i Studio Cycle Bike.

Pros
  • Inclines and declines to simulate the experience of riding a bike outside.
  • iFit offers countless studio and outdoor rides all led by professional instructors.
  • SmartAdjust through iFit will automatically change the resistance and incline levels for you.
  • The console has fans built in, to help keep you cool during your ride.

Cons
  • The seat is a little stiff and uncomfortable, but it can be swapped with a different seat.
  • It doesn’t fold up, but can be moved.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 22” Smart HD touchscreen
  • iFit Enabled
  • AutoAdjust automatically adjusts in iFit
  • Heart Rate Armband (sold separately)
  • Practically Silent Magnetic Resistance
  • 3 Adjustment Points
  • 2 Amplified Speakers
  • 2 Water Bottle Holders
  • Fan
  • 2 Transport Wheels
  • Footprint: 61” L x 22” W x 58” H
  • Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
  • Bike Weight: 205 lbs (in box)
  • 32 lb Flywheel
  • Padded Racing Saddle
  • Hybrid Pedals: SPDs and toe cages
  • 24 Resistance Levels
  • 20% Incline and -10% Decline
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty on the frame, 2-year for parts, and 1-year for labor
We recommend the NordicTrack S22i for cardio because it has interactive features and content that keeps you engaged and feeling as though you are actually riding outside. Plus, indoor cycling is a low-impact cardio activity so you’ll minimize the stress on your joints while riding.

4. Best Rowing Machine: Hydrow Wave Rower

Best Rowing Machine: Hydrow Wave Rower

For another high-intensity, low-impact exercise, we recommend looking into a rowing machine. Rowing is becoming increasingly popular in home gyms, and the Hydrow is working to keep up with that trend. The Hydrow Wave Rower offers top-notch subscription content on a 16” touchscreen. The trainer-led workouts help guide and motivate you as you workout, which is great for newer users.

The Hydrow Wave is a more compact and affordable model from Hydrow. It stores upright, is lightweight at 102 lbs, and can be moved around when needed. We love the 375 lb weight limit and that the Wave comes in different colors so you can coordinate with your home gym.

Not only are the live, on-demand, and outdoor workouts excellent, but the rowing machine itself is well-constructed and comfortable. The magnetic resistance is quieter than rowers that use air resistance, and the nylon strap doesn’t make much noise either. We found the seat and handles to be really comfortable making the Hydrow Wave great for rowing for long periods of time.

If you’re looking for a high-quality rowing machine that we consider to be the best rowing machine on the market, check out the Hydrow Wave.

Click here to read our full review of the Hydrow Wave Rowing Machine.

Pros
  • The subscription content is impressive, engaging, and is updated continuously.
  • The design is more compact and affordable than the original Hydrow Rower.
  • It’s quiet, stores upright, and can be moved around when needed.
  • It can handle up to 375 lbs and the foot pedals can accommodate any size shoe.

Cons
  • It doesn’t fold in half, and has a larger floor footprint when used.
  • The screen doesn’t adjust.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 16” HD Touchscreen
  • Enabled with Subscription Rowing Content
  • Off-Rower Training
  • Self-Guided Rowing Journey Mode
  • Bluetooth Enabled
  • Front-Facing 3W Speakers
  • Drag Adjustable On Screen
  • Stores Upright with Vertical Anchor (sold separately)
  • 2 Transport Wheels
  • Footprint: 80” L x 19” W x 43” H
  • Construction: Stainless Steel Track and Thermoplastic Polymer Frame
  • Weight Capacity: 375 lbs
  • Rower Weight: 102 lbs
  • Quiet Magnetic Resistance
  • Belt Drive
  • Warranty: 5-years for structural frame, and 12-months components, screen, other electronics, and labor
Rowing is a really great full-body, low-impact workout. The Hydrow Wave Rower keeps you engaged with its content and comfortable as you row on the high-quality rower. The Hydrow Wave is also really helpful if you’re new to rowing and want to make it a preferred cardio choice because you’ll get insight and guidance from experienced instructors.

5.Best Budget Cardio Machine: Bowflex C6 Exercise Bike

Best Exercise Bike Under $1000 Bowflex C6

If you’re looking to save, yet still get a high-quality cardio machine, then check out the Bowflex C6. This exercise bike has a compact design that’s functional to provide a low-impact, yet high-intensity cardio workout. The C6 lets you choose what you want to watch while you ride. It’s Bluetooth enabled, so you can connect to third-party apps like Zwift and you can use subscription apps like iFit or Bowflex’s JRNY, as well. All you need is your phone or tablet to place on the entertainment tray, or skip it and just ride.

The C6 uses magnetic resistance which is pretty much silent, and it offers a smooth pedal stroke that is low-impact on the joints. Even though it doesn’t come with a large touchscreen, the quality and functionality of the C6 bike are comparable to bikes on the market that are higher priced. The Bowflex C6 provides a lot of comfort and flexibility with how you use it.

This bike is lightweight and easy to move. It also is very appealing to most because of its affordable just under $1000 price tag. We recommend looking into the Bowflex C6 if you want a great cardio machine that won’t break the bank.

You can read our full written review of the Bowflex C6 exercise bike, here.

Pros
  • The bike is practically silent, lightweight, and smooth to ride.
  • You can watch the content of your choosing or use third-party training apps from your phone/tablet as you ride. You aren’t locked into a monthly subscription.
  • The 4 adjustment points allow users of all sizes to get the perfect fit on the bike, and the hybrid pedals make it more accessible to use.
  • It comes with 3 lb weights to work your upper body and an armband heart rate monitor to track your heart rate.

Cons
  • The entertainment tray doesn’t swivel or adjust.
  • Requires electricity to use.

FeaturesSpecs
  • LCD backlit console
  • Armband heart rate monitor included
  • Front-mounted 3 lb weights included
  • Practically silent magnetic resistance
  • 4 Adjustment Points
  • Bluetooth enabled to connect to apps like Zwift, JRNY, and Peloton
  • No preloaded programs
  • 2 Oversized Water Bottle Cages
  • 2 Transport Wheels
  • Footprint: 48.7” L x 21.2” W x 51.8” H
  • Weight Capacity: 330 lbs
  • Bike Weight: 112 lbs
  • 40 lb Flywheel
  • Lightly Padded Racing Saddle
  • 1-100 Resistance Levels
  • Hybrid Pedals: SPD clips and Toe Cages
  • Requires power source to use console
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty on the frame, 3-years electronics/parts, and 1-year for labor
If you love cycling but don’t always like taking classes with an instructor, we recommend checking out the Bowflex C6. Cycling is an excellent form of cardio and will boost your muscle endurance, especially the muscles in your legs. Log mile after mile on the C6 and enjoy the sturdy, functional, and comfortable ride.

6. Best Cardio Machine For Heavy Users: Sole F85 Treadmill

Best Cardio Machine For Heavy Users: Sole F85 Treadmill

The Sole F85 Treadmill is well-built and can handle users of most sizes and abilities. The sturdy construction has an impressive 375 lb weight capacity, a hearty 4.0 HP motor, and a large yet firm running surface. We expect these aspects with Sole’s treadmills, but the F85 goes a step further with its 15” touchscreen that includes 12 preloaded streaming apps.

Apps like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Spotify, and ESPN are preloaded into the treadmill, so all you have to do is connect to wifi, log into your account for each app, and start streaming. You can also screen mirror your phone if these apps aren’t enough. Plus, the Sole F85 comes with onboard workout programs and custom settings for structured cardio training.

We’ve awarded the Sole F85 as the best cardio machine for heavy users because of its high weight capacity and that it is best for most people. We especially recommend it to runners who are looking for a treadmill that feels similar to road running underfoot.

We really like the Sole F85 because you have lots of options for how you can use it.

To learn more about the Sole F85 treadmill, check out our full written review.

Pros
  • The 15” touchscreen comes with onboard workouts and 12 preloaded streaming apps like Netflix without an additional subscription fee.
  • The construction is very solid and it has a large weight capacity of 375 lbs.
  • It folds up when not in use and has 4 wheels for easy transportation.
  • The deck inclines up to 15 levels and declines 6 levels for more training options.

Cons
  • The cushioning is firmer than comparable models and might not be best for those with joint issues.
  • The fan isn’t as very effective.

FeaturesSpecs
  • 15.6” Touch Screen
  • Onboard Workout Programs
  • 12 Preloaded Streaming Apps
  • Screen Mirroring
  • Wireless Charging Pad
  • Cooling Fans
  • Two Speakers
  • Two Water Bottle Holders
  • Compatible with Garmin Watch
  • Pulse Grips
  • Bluetooth Enabled
  • Folding Deck
  • 4 Transportation Wheels
  • Footprint: 82.5” L x 38” W x 66” H
  • 4.0 HP DC Motor
  • Running Surface: 22” x 60”
  • Treadmill Weight: 319 lbs
  • Weight Capacity: 375 lbs
  • Speed: 0.5-12mph
  • 15 Incline Levels
  • 6 Decline Levels
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame & motor, 3-years deck & other components, 1-year labor, and 90 days cosmetic items
Running and even walking on a treadmill has amazing cardio benefits. We recommend checking out the Sole F85 Treadmill if you want a lot of entertainment options while you workout, or if you’re a serious runner looking for a treadmill that can keep up with you. The running deck has firmer cushioning that feels similar to running outdoors, but still provides enough impact absorption to protect your joints.

7. Best Air Rower: Concept2 RowErg

Best Air Rower - Concept2 RowErg

The Concept2 RowErg is popular in the indoor rowing community. It uses air resistance so if you’re a stronger rower, you won’t have to worry about not having enough tension to pull against. The Concept2 has proudly earned the best air rower title on this list. The flywheel is a fan that sucks in air as you row to provide unlimited resistance. There’s a damper on the fan to control the amount of air that goes into the fan to give you more variety, too.

The Concept2 doesn’t require wifi or an electrical outlet to use. You can simply hop on and start rowing. The console is pretty straightforward with good metrics tracking, games, and connectivity to compete against other Concept2 owners. The Concept2 is also Bluetooth enabled so it will connect to compatible heart rate monitors and you can save your workout history in the ErgData app.

If you’re looking for the best air rower that is tried and tested with extensive use in homes, garage gyms, commercial gyms, and competitions, then the Concept2 RowErg is the air rower for you. It comes with standard legs and tall legs depending on if you need a higher-positioned seat and rail.

Read more about the Concept2 RowErg, here.

Pros
  • It has nice construction quality and is comfortable for high-intensity training.
  • The foot pedals fit any shoe size, and the impressive 500 lb weight capacity handles larger users.
  • The display turns on automatically when you start to row.
  • It can be stored vertically and it’s lightweight.

Cons
  • The air resistance is louder than other rowers but offers unlimited max tension to row against.
  • The seat might be a little too narrow for some users.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • Battery-Powered PM5 Monitor
  • Syncs with the Concept2 ErgData App
  • Bluetooth Enabled
  • Monitor Arm is adjustable
  • Available with Standard or Tall Legs
  • Stores Upright
  • Uses Unlimited Air Resistance
  • 2 Transport Wheels
  • Footprint: 96” L x 24” W x 14” H
  • Weight Capacity: 500 lbs
  • Welded Steel and Aluminum Construction
  • Rower Weight: 57 lbs
  • Seat: Contoured and Lightly Padded
  • Seat Height: 14”
  • Steel Drive Chain
  • Warranty: 5-years for frame and 2-years on the moving parts and console
The Concept2 RowErg air rower is a great option for cardio, especially if noise isn’t a factor in your home. It’s also a solid option if you don’t want a rower with a monthly subscription. If you’re like me, you’ll be sweating and out of breath after just a few minutes of rowing, so it shouldn’t take you long to start reaping the cardio benefits either.

8. Best Cardio Machine For Home Use: NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill

Best Cardio Machine For Home Use: NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill

Our recommendation for the best cardio machine for home use is the NordicTrack 1750. The NordicTrack Commercial 1750 treadmill is a solid treadmill that has great programming and thoughtful features. Being from NordicTrack, it’s iFit enabled so you can take the same classes on the 14” touchscreen as other NordicTrack treadmills. One major benefit of this screen is that it tilts up and down and pivots to either side so you can easily view the screen to utilize iFit’s off the treadmill workout classes.

Treadmills from NordicTrack have some of the softest cushioning that we’ve tested, and the 1750 is no exception. It offers a good amount of cushioning which is great for reducing impact on your joints. It’s excellent for all-around use as well as heavy training. We especially love it for interval training because of the quick touch adjustment buttons on either side of the screen. These let you jump from high to low speeds and grades, easily. The 1750 also declines to -3% as well as inclines up to 12% for even more variations to work within your workouts.

On top of the quiet 3.5 CHP motor, the NordicTrack 1750 also folds up and can be moved around fairly easily. We highly suggest looking into the 1750 if you are looking for a comfortable, versatile, and quiet folding treadmill for your home.

Click here to check out the full written review of the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill.

Pros
  • It has a solid construction and countless classes with an iFit subscription.
  • It inclines to 15% and declines to -3%. Many other treadmills don’t offer decline options.
  • It has a large 60” x 22” running surface to do everything from walking to sprinting.
  • The 14” touch screen can be pivoted side to side for training on and off the treadmill.

Cons
  • The 300 lb weight capacity is limiting for larger users.
  • A heart rate monitor isn’t included, but it’s bluetooth enabled to connect to the compatible armband.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 14” Tilt & Pivot HD touchscreen
  • iFit Enabled
  • Over 17,000+ On-demand Workouts with iFit
  • Bluetooth Enabled For Heart Rate Monitor and Headphones
  • Heart Rate Armband (sold separately)
  • AutoAdjust Technology with iFit
  • AutoBreeze Fan
  • Premium Audio Speakers
  • Two Water Bottle Holders
  • Folding Deck
  • 2 Transport Wheels
  • Footprint: 78.5” L x 35.6” W x 64.7” H
  • 3.5 CHP Motor
  • Running Surface: 20” x 60”
  • Treadmill Weight: 293 lbs (when in box)
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Speed: 0-12mph
  • 12% Incline and -3% Decline
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty on the frame, 2-year warranty for parts, and 1-year warranty for labor
If running is your chosen form of cardio, check out the NordicTrack 1750 treadmill. You’ll never get bored while running again with access to all of iFit’s extensive running and walking classes. Plus, the deck provides nice comfort to help lessen the impact on your joints.

9.Best Versatile Cardio Machine: NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Trainer

NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Trainer

The NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Trainer is a 3-in-1 elliptical that can also function like a stair-stepper and treadmill. It offers a 32” stride length for plenty of range, and the pedals adjust to you, keeping you in control. When you use the handlebars attached to the pedals, you’ll get a full-body workout on the FS14i. If you’re looking for the most versatile cardio machine on this list, check out the NordicTrack FS14i.

The FS14i is compatible with iFit so you can stream countless trainer-led workouts to keep you motivated. The 14” touch screen is plenty large to clearly see your metrics and iFit instructor. Enjoy taking walking, running, elliptical, and hiking classes on the FS14i. We personally enjoy taking iFit’s outdoor classes on the FreeStride Trainer.

The impressive 375 lb weight capacity also makes it accessible to users of all sizes. The 20 lb flywheel makes it feel stable and secure to use. Users will benefit from the low-impact, high-intensity workout that this home cardio machine provides.

So, if you want to be able to train your entire body while putting less impact on your joints, consider the FS14i.

You can read our full in-depth review of the NordicTrack FS14i FreeStrider Trainer, here.

Pros
  • The 26 resistance levels, 10% incline, and -10% decline bring a lot of variability to your workouts.
  • It’s iFit-enabled so you can access the extensive library on the 14” touchscreen.
  • The pedal stride adjusts to you and can function like an elliptical, treadmill, and stair stepper.
  • The magnetic resistance is quiet and smooth.

Cons
  • It has a larger footprint than most ellipticals.
  • It doesn’t have a stationary handle, so getting on and off can be a little challenging.

FeaturesSpecs
  • 14” Smart HD Touchscreen
  • 32” Auto-Adjustable Stride
  • iFit Enabled
  • Over 17,000 Classes with iFit
  • AutoAdjust Technology with iFit
  • Heart Rate Armband (sold separately)
  • AutoBreeze Workout Fan
  • Water Bottle Holder
  • SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance
  • Transport Handle
  • Transportation Wheels
  • Footprint: 58.5” L x 29.5” W x 74” H
  • Commercial Solid Steel Construction
  • Weight Capacity: 375 lbs
  • Flywheel Weight: 20 lbs
  • 26 Digital Resistance Levels
  • 0-10% Power Adjustable Incline
  • -10% Decline
  • Warranty: 10-years for the frame, 2-year parts, and 1-year labor
The NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride trainer gives you more options than your standard elliptical. With the 3-in-1 pedal functions paired with the iFit membership, you’ll have many workout options. Plus, the FS14i is a low-impact, total-body workout that is a solid cardio option. If you have the space, we recommend checking it out.

10. Best Vertical Climber: CLMBR

Best Vertical Climber: CLMBR

Another excellent high-intensity, low-impact cardio machine is the CLMBR. This climbing machine has a unique, sturdy frame and attached 21” touch screen. It doesn’t take up much floor space, in fact, the base dimensions are only 35” x 32”. The CLMBR does require at least an 8-foot high ceiling to use, though. If you’re looking for the best vertical climber, this one is it.

The CLMBR has moving pedals and handles that work your body in a vertical motion. The maximum step and reach lengths are 20”, but can be adjusted as you use the cardio machine. Targeted training is also possible on the CLMBR. The moving handles lock up and out of the way, and the dip bars and crossbars stationary handles can held to isolate the lower body. When using the moving handles, they can be adjusted in 1” increments and offer 3 grip options to target your upper body muscles differently. The CLMBR works for users of various heights and weights up to 350 lbs.

On the touch screen, CLMBR offers trainer-led content at an additional monthly cost. With a full subscription, users have access to workout classes led on and off the CLMBR to work the entire body. The classes provide guidance, motivation, and target metrics to hit while using the CLMBR. There are also races you can take against other members to see where you stack up.

Check out our full written review of the CLMBR.

Pros
  • Provides a full-body, low-impact workout that is challenging.
  • The 21” touch screen offers subscription content with over 500 trainer-led classes.
  • The moving handles adjust for your height and offer different grip options.
  • It can handle users up to 350 lbs.

Cons
  • It makes noise when in use.
  • The warranty is less extensive than what other brands offer.

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 21” Touch Screen
  • Enabled with Subscription Content
  • Over 500 trainer-led classes
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Multi-Grip Handles
  • 1” adjustability depending on height
  • Multiple Stationary Handles for Targeted Training
  • Oversized Textured Pedals with Adjustable Foot Straps
  • Device Holder
  • Water Bottle Holder
  • Transportation Wheels
  • Footprint: 32” W x 35” D x 88” H
  • Weight capacity: 350 lbs
  • Product weight: 180 lbs
  • User Height: 4’11” up to 7’
  • Frame: Cast and extruded aluminum
  • Step length: 20”
  • Reach length: 20”
  • Magnetic resistance
  • Resistance: 1-11 levels
  • Warranty: 1-year
For an effective cardio workout, check out the CLMBR. It uses adjustable magnetic resistance and by adjusting your body, you can make the workout more intense. All the muscles in your upper and lower body will get in a great workout while you have the option of following along with energetic and engaging instructors on the CLMBR.

11. Best Air Bike: AssaultBike Pro X

Best Air Bike: AssaultBike Pro X

An air bike is for you if you want a total-body, low-impact workout that provides unlimited tension. If you’re looking for the best air bike, then the AssaultBike Pro X is where it’s at. The Pro X is a newer addition to Assault’s popular lineup of air bikes. It has a belt drive system which helps cut down on some of the sound generated from this bike. It still makes noise from the large fan, but it feels smoother than other air bikes with chain drive systems.

The belt drive also requires less maintenance, and the Pro X can be used just about anywhere because it doesn’t require electricity to use. The seat is comfortable with nice padding and adjusts vertically and horizontally for a good fit. The moving handles are where you can really work your upper body and even do isolated targeted upper body training by resting your feet on the foot pegs on either side of the fan.

The pedals are compatible with athletic shoes and the motion can be pedaled forward or back. The AssaultBike Pro X is durable and well-constructed with a 330 lb weight limit. This bike is substantial at 125 lbs, but movable when you need to move it with the front transport wheels. Under each floor stabilizer are adjustable leveling feet to plant this bike to the floor, too.

We recommend looking into the AssaultBike Pro X if you’re looking for a comfortable, durable, and easy-to-use air bike that doesn’t make as much noise as others. Its simple console offers preset and custom intervals as well as the option to do targeted goal training.

Check out our full review of the AssaultBike Pro X here, to learn more.

Pros
  • This cardio machine provides a low-impact, intense workout with unlimited resistance from the fan.
  • The belt drive system makes for a smoother and quieter pedal stroke than other air bikes with chain drives.
  • This is a durable and stable bike that handles up to 330 lbs of user weight.
  • The LCD console doesn’t require electricity and comes with structured training options.

Cons
  • It might be too loud for some homes.
  • It doesn’t come with an included wind guard.

FeaturesSpecs
  • Hi-Contrast LCD Display
  • No Electricity Required
  • Preset Interval Training and Custom Settings
  • Targeted Training Settings
  • Dual-Band Wireless Bluetooth Compatible
  • Syncs with Assault Fitness App
  • Wind Guard (sold separately)
  • Included Phone Rack
  • Included Water Bottle Holder
  • Included Storage Tray
  • 2 Front Transport Wheels
  • Footprint: 51.7” D x 24.5” W x 52.5” H
  • Weight Capacity: 330 lbs
  • Bike Weight: 125 lbs
  • Unlimited Air Resistance
  • 27” Fan
  • 6 Steel Fan Blades
  • All-Metal Pedals
  • 2-Way Adjustable Seat
  • Knurled Foot Pegs
  • Flat “Sport” Configuration Handles
  • Warranty: 7-years frame and 3-years non-wear parts
The AssaultBike Pro X is a powerful air bike capable of handling a lot of use. Within a few minutes of moving the pedals and handles, you’ll get that heart rate up for a killer cardio workout. You can plan on spending long sessions on the Pro X or using it for interval training.

12. Best HIIT Cardio Machine: ProForm Pro HIIT H14

Best HIIT Cardio Machine: ProForm Pro HIIT H14

The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 is at the top of ProForm’s lineup of elliptical trainers. It offers a challenging workout that feels somewhere between an elliptical and a stair-stepper. The pedals move 5” horizontally and 10” vertically for an effective workout for your posterior chain, as well as the rest of your body. The handles let you grip multiple places depending on your height and preference. The handles move like an elliptical and the HIIT H14 gives you a workout that’s forgiving on the joints. We love that it provides a high-intensity workout, that’s why we’ve awarded it as the best HIIT cardio machine.

The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 has a 14” touch screen that is enabled with iFit. You can take classes specifically on the HIIT machine, as well as walking, running, and hiking classes filmed indoors and out on iFit. With a subscription to iFit, you can even create your own outdoor routes using the Google Map feature. This lets you explore locations on your own, or by following an instructor with iFit’s large library of classes.

The HIIT H14 has a compact footprint compared to other elliptical machines, making it perfect for those looking for total body training that doesn’t take up a huge amount of space. The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 has 26 levels of magnetic resistance that are adjustable.

Click here to read our full in-depth review of the ProForm Pro HIIT H14.

Pros
  • The 14” touch screen is enabled with iFit to provide guided workouts.
  • It is very quiet to use and appropriate for any home space.
  • The 26 levels of magnetic resistance offer a lot of tension and is great for high-intensity training.
  • It is compact and doesn’t take up a large amount of space.

Cons
  • The air output from the fan is weak.
  • The handles and pedals move in conjunction with one another even when it’s unplugged, making it hard for some users to get on and off.

FeaturesSpecs
  • 14” Touch Screen
  • Enabled with iFit
  • Over 17,000 Workout Classes with iFit
  • CoolAire Fan
  • Dual 2” Bluetooth speakers
  • Audio Aux Port
  • Water Bottle Holder
  • Front Transport Wheels
  • Footprint: 52” D x 29” W x 66” H
  • Weight Capacity: 325 lbs
  • Product Weight: 225 lbs
  • 30 lb Inertia-enhanced Flywheel
  • 10” Vertical and 5” Horizontal Pedal Motion
  • Multi-Function Handles
  • Oversized Leveling Feet
  • Oversized Cushioned Pedals
  • Warranty: 10-years for the frame, 2-years for parts, and 1-year for labor
The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 offers a stable, compact elliptical training experience that also resembles a stair-stepper. The 30 lb flywheel and 325 lb weight capacity help make this a sturdy cardio machine, and the 26 levels of magnetic resistance provide a lot of tension for users of all abilities to get a great cardio workout.

13. Best Cardio Machine For Bad Knees: Sole E95 Elliptical

Best Cardio Machine For Bad Knees: Sole E95 Elliptical

If you need a cardio machine that will help protect your knees, we recommend checking out an elliptical. It has adjustable pedals to help prevent foot numbness and allow you to get the best angle for your knees. Our pick for the best cardio machine for bad knees is the Sole E95 Elliptical. This elliptical has a little bit of everything: a great build, a quiet design, and an attached touch screen with a wide variety of content options.

The Sole E95 Elliptical is smooth and quiet with a 20” pedal stride length. The heavy weight capacity of 400 lbs makes this a great elliptical for a wide variety of users. The handlebars also offer different grip options to make it more functional to use. This is a large machine, so we recommend a designated space for it, but it’s worth it if you have the room.

The Sole E95 has included onboard workout programs and 12 preloaded streaming apps like Netflix available to watch directly on the 13” touch screen. You can also screen mirror content from your phone, and charge your compatible phone on the wireless charging pad.

For training options, the E95 has 20 levels of adjustable magnetic resistance and 20 levels of adjustable incline, so you can target more of your posterior muscles when you want to with that incline range.

You can read our full in-depth review of the Sole E95 Elliptical, here.

Pros
  • The pedals are cushioned and adjustable to get the right angle that is most comfortable for you.
  • The 13” touch screen includes onboard workouts and streaming apps like Netflix without an additional subscription fee.
  • This is a heavy-duty machine great for multiple-user households that provides a full-body low-impact workout.
  • The 20 levels of magnetic resistance and incline make for great training options that are quiet.

Cons
  • The stride length might be a little long for shorter users.
  • This is a large, heavy, non-folding elliptical that requires a designated space.

FeaturesSpecs
  • 13.3” Touch Screen
  • Included Onboard Workout Programs
  • 12 Preloaded Streaming Apps
  • Screen Mirroring
  • Wireless Charging Pad
  • Pairs with Garmin Watch
  • Pulse Grips
  • Bluetooth Speakers
  • Adjustable Pedal Angles
  • Cooling Fans
  • Device Rack
  • Water Bottle Holder
  • Rear Transport Handle
  • 2 Front Transport Wheels
  • Footprint: 83” L x 34” W x 70” H
  • Steel Frame
  • Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
  • Elliptical Weight: 242 lbs
  • Flywheel Weight: 27 lbs
  • Step Up Height: 14”
  • Warranty: Lifetime frame & flywheel, 3-years electronics/parts, 1-year labor, and 90-days cosmetic items
The Sole E95 Elliptical is one of Sole’s most popular ellipticals that also works the lower body more than standard ellipticals. Using an elliptical is effective for improving your cardiovascular system, and it’s also friendly on your joints. If you don’t want to be tied into a monthly subscription but want an elliptical with included content, the Sole E95 is a great option.

What To Look For When Buying A Cardio Machine

So, how do you pick what type of cardio machine is right for you? We’ve included the top 4 factors we consider to be most important when determining cardio equipment that’s best suited for you.

Health Limitations

First and foremost, do you have any health limitations? Assuming you’ve checked with your doctor prior to getting into an exercise routine, which we strongly encourage, do you have any joint or mobility issues? Some cardio equipment, like running on a treadmill, is a higher impact activity and can cause added stress on your joints.

That’s why we recommend looking into the cushioning on a treadmill. Some offer more cushioning than others, which helps absorb some of the impact on your joints. And if running is out of the question for you, there’s plenty of other lower impact equipment available that’s provided on this list.

How is your mobility? When indoor rowing, some of the machines sit close to the ground and require a bit more hip mobility to use. Considering any prior ailments before purchasing a piece of cardio equipment for your home can help prevent injuries, let you safely workout, and encourage you to use your machine regularly.

Home Workout Space

Another factor that’s important to consider is where your new cardio machine is going to be in your home. How much space do you have for it? Will it need to be stored out of the way when it’s not in use? Is noise going to be an issue?

Some equipment takes up more space than others. Various treadmills can fold up to take up less space, while a number of rowers can be stored vertically when not in use. While exercise bikes tend to have similar footprints, an additional screen attached can make them take up more space than expected. Elliptical sizes can vary pretty greatly as well.

What about your ceiling height? Ellipticals and treadmills typically take up the most space height-wise, and features like inclining on both treadmills and bikes, as well as vertically storing a rower might not work if your ceiling is too low.

Most likely, your equipment may make some amount of noise but some machines are quieter than others. On exercise bikes and rowers noise can be dependent on what type of resistance they use. Treadmills and ellipticals vary on their noise output, too.

Cardio Preference

No matter what type of cardio you do, you should enjoy doing it. It’s important to do cardio workouts regularly to improve your cardiovascular fitness and stay in shape. Liking your cardio routine and equipment will help encourage you to keep up with them.

Otherwise, you could end up with a treadmill in your home that you never use because you hate running. Cardio definitely doesn’t have to be torture, we think it should be fun.

Content Preference

Another factor that can influence how much you like/dislike your machine and how much fun you have on it, is the content it offers. Lots of brands nowadays provide subscription fitness apps to use on their equipment, while others include a few on-board workouts and let you use your own device.

If you like having someone tell you want to do when you’re exercising, then you should check out equipment that have trainer-led subscription classes. Subscription content is also really great if the aspect of having to pay for a monthly subscription motivates you to use the machine regularly.

Or maybe you like to zone out when you workout, or do your own thing? There’s plenty of options that don’t require subscriptions, too. We’ve included a wide variety of content options on this list, so you’re sure to find a machine that aligns with your liking.

Benefits Of Cardio

There are numerous benefits to doing cardio. Cardio can have positive effects on your body, both internally and externally, as well as your mind.

Starting with internal benefits, regular cardio strengthens your heart. When conditioned, the heart will pump blood more efficiently through the body. The heart is an important muscular organ, and keeping it in shape can help reduce many diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, as well as decreasing your chance of having a stroke and heart attack.

On top of the benefits it can have on your cardiovascular system, cardio exercise can help relieve some pain associated with arthritis by lubricating your joints. A few more internal benefits (there’s many beyond what I’m listing!) are better sleep, improved immune system function, and a faster metabolism.

Plus, the more cardio you do, the more stamina you’ll have in your workouts and your muscles will also get stronger.

Of course, regular cardio exercise can help shed excess weight, and you might notice more muscle definition. If you’re older, cardio aerobic exercise can help reduce your risk of falling.

Exercise, including cardio, releases endorphins into the body which are the feel-good hormones. Cardio may help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, as well as reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The list goes on for all the benefits you’ll reap from with regular cardio activity. What’s better than feeling good on the inside and out, and improving your overall health?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Ok To Do Cardio Every Day?

Or maybe you’re thinking: “How much cardio do I need to do?” The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommend that adults should get at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. If you’re doing higher intense cardio then the minimum recommendation per week is about 75 minutes. The World Health Organization suggests doing whatever kind of cardio exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time to see the most benefits.

As far as a maximum duration for cardio sessions, there really isn’t one. But we don’t recommend doing high intensity cardio everyday. Rest is very important for the body to recover and for muscles to repair themselves. Rest also helps prevent burnout and injuries. However, lighter aerobic activity like walking is more attainable to do every day.

What Is The Best Low-Impact Cardio Machine?

Ellipticals, rowers, and exercise bikes are all low-impact machines. As far as which one is best, depends on you. The size of the equipment, how much noise it makes, and the type of activity you enjoy and are able to do helps to determine which of these low-impact machines will work best for you.

Each of these machines comes with their own pros and cons so it’s a good idea to check out the features that they offer as well as the type of movement they require, and areas of the body that they work.

How Do Beginners Build Cardio?

It’s always a good idea to check with your health provider before jumping into a workout routine, especially if you have never done cardio, or are coming back from an injury or illness.

For beginners, I recommend starting small and slow and then building from there. For example, if you’re getting into running, try starting with walking and running intervals for around 30 minutes. If you’re not up to doing 30 minutes, try 15. Once you’re up to 30 minutes, try going for longer and walking less.

It’s not worth it to over do it the first day, because it can make building a routine discouraging. In order to get the most out of cardio, it’s important to do it regularly, otherwise it will always feel torturous -think those times when you’re gasping for breath and wishing it would end.

Trust me, cardio doesn’t have to be torture, so listen to your body and what it can handle and try to incorporate cardio consistently in your workout routine.

Where To Buy Cardio Equipment?

We recommend buying cardio equipment online directly from the brand manufacturer. While many brands are available at local sporting goods stores and online retailers, warranties on the machine are issued by the manufacturer and have to be handled directly through the manufacturer.

Often other retailers sell equipment that they have on hand which might no longer be available from the manufacturer because it’s older. Buying directly from the manufacturer guarantees that you are buying most current and updated models available.

Plus, buying from the brand manufacturer helps us here at Treadmill Review Guru so we can continue providing you with in-depth and thorough product reviews.

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