When choosing the best ellipticals for seniors, you’re not really looking for anything different than someone in their 30s searching for an elliptical, and the reason I say this is that all ellipticals are low impact. They are designed to cause as little stress on the joints as possible, which is great not just for seniors but for anyone who wants to protect their joints.
There’s No Specific Elliptical Type For Seniors.
Manufacturers don’t make specific ellipticals for seniors; yes, you can buy ellipticals you can use sitting down called under desk ellipticals, and yes, you can buy seated ellipticals; seated are the ones that come with their own seats. But both of these types of elliptical are popular for all ages.
Ellipticals will always be the best choice for seniors because of their low-impact design, but which type you choose is really down to your current fitness level and your mobility.
I’ve been reviewing ellipticals for many years, and if there’s something I’ve learned, many 65 – 70 year-old seniors are more fit and mobile than a lot of 30 to 40 year olds. So it’s difficult to recommend a certain type of elliptical for seniors as mobility and health conditions can vary hugely from person to person.
So in today’s guide, we’re going to take a look at a mix of ellipticals. I’ll give you my top picks for the best front-drive elliptical, the best-seated elliptical, and the best under-desk elliptical.
If you’re in a rush, you can check out the comparison table below. If you have more time, please scroll past the comparison table and read the review summaries for each elliptical.
Best Ellipticals For Seniors – Comparison Table
Best OverallSole Fitness E35
- Max User Height – 6’4″
- Resistance Levels – 24
- Flywheel Weight – 25lb
- Weight Capacity – 375lb
- Incline – Power Adjust 0-20%
- 7″ Color LCD
Best SeatedTeeter LT-3
- Max User Height – 6’4″
- Resistance Levels – 13
- Flywheel weight – 9lb
- Weight Capacity – 300lb
- Incline – No
- 3″ LCD
Best Under-DeskCubii Desk Jr
- Max User Height – No limit
- Resistance Levels – 8
- Flywheel weight – 4lb
- Weight Capacity – 250lb
- Incline – No
- 2″ LCD
1. Sole E35 Elliptical (Best Overall)
The Sole E35 is an elliptical where you stand and push the pedals to get the flywheel spinning. It’s an elliptical design for the more mobile seniors. If you can walk to the shops or walk your dog every day, you should be just fine using a standing front drive machine. And if you’re unsure, you can always chat with your doctor first.
Sole Fitness are a company that’s been making high-quality semi-commercial ellipticals for years. They pride themselves on their machines’ build quality, which is why they also offer the best warranties on the market.
What I like about this company is that they put all their efforts into the essentials of the elliptical, and the techy stuff like the monitors come second.
High Quality and Built Like a Tank
The E35 is my favorite elliptical Sole make, its a well-built, heavy-duty machine weighing 231lb which is almost commercial heavy, that extra weight tells me this machine is made from high quality materials, and that 231lb weight ensures this machine feels sturdy. There’s no movement when exercising on it.
What’s just as important as the build of an elliptical is how smooth the elliptical motion feels. You want to avoid a jerky strutting motion that you’ll find plagues most of the cheap ellipticals on Amazon.
Jerky elliptical motions are off-putting, and you won’t get a proper workout. If anything, it will do you more harm than good.
Smoothest Elliptical Motion In its Class
To achieve a smooth elliptical motion, your elliptical needs a heavy flywheel, and the Sole E35 comes with a 25lb flywheel, which is more than heavy enough to keep everything smooth and consistent.
Other features also play a part in how smooth your elliptical feels; one of those is the resistance system. You need a frictionless resistance system like magnetic resistance, as this type of resistance creates a much smoother feel than the other types.
Also, with the Sole E35, you get dual rails and actual wheels for the pedals, a feature you won’t find on other ellipticals in this price bracket.
The dual rails prevent the pedals from any sideway movement and keep the elliptical path nice and straight, and the four wheels keep everything moving smoothly.
When you combine the heavy flywheel, those excellent dual rails and wheels, the high ratio gears, and the frictionless resistance system, you are left with the smoothest elliptical motion in the price bracket.
Work the Glutes & Hamstrings With a 20% – 20 Level Incline
The E35 also includes an impressive power adjustable incline. An incline feature is great for working the large posterior chain muscles like your glutes and hamstrings, and its something you might enjoy using once you’ve got used to the elliptical.
Pedaling on an incline will burn many more calories because those large posterior muscles have a much higher caloric output requirement than the smaller anterior muscles of the legs like the quads, but as I just mentioned, take your time getting used to the elliptical before you try incline workouts.
And lastly, the Sole E35 monitor is fairly basic, but it’s always like this with Sole Fitness; they like to put all their efforts into the build, and monitors come second.
Still, the monitor isn’t bad. It has 12 workout programs, you also have the quick touch buttons for resistance levels and incline, and you get wireless heart rate monitoring, a 6.5″ LCD screen, a cooling fan, and BlueTooth speakers. It’s basic, but it’s easy to use, which is why I like it.
Overall the E35 is an excellent choice for seniors or anyone who wants a high-quality elliptical with an extra smooth elliptical motion and a sturdy build. It’s better than anything else on the market in its price bracket and has a low step-on height which is certainly a useful feature for seniors who have trouble with high steps.
And with a warranty that includes a lifetime on frame, five years on all parts, and two years on labor, you also have peace of mind when buying, knowing you’ll be covered for years to come should anything go wrong.
Sturdy elliptical for price point – heavy duty frame
Excellent warranty that includes 5 years on parts
Impressive 20 level power adjustable incline
20″ stride suitable for users up to 6’3″
25lb flywheel, dual rails with wheels, and high ratio gears give the E35 the smoothest elliptical motion in its price bracket
20 levels of magnetic resistance
Wireless heart rate monitoring – HR strap Included
Built-in transport wheels, speakers, BlueTooth, cooling fan, and tablet holder
Only 10 workout programs
Monitor might be a little basic for some users
You’ll need an afternoon for assembly
2. Teeter LT-3 Cross Trainer (Best Seated Elliptical)
Teeter like Sole Fitness are another company that’s been around for decades. They are well respected and make the best seated cross trainers for under $1000.
The quality is there with this machine. It doesn’t feel cheap or unstable. However, it’s very different from the front drive ellipticals because you’re sitting down and pedaling this machine. Still, you get almost as good a workout as you have the moving handlebars as well as the pedals, which gives you the full benefits of an elliptical workout.
You don’t get such a heavy flywheel with the seated machines, nor will you get such a premium feel as you do with the high quality front drive ellipticals, but for under $1000, this is about as good as it gets for a seated cross trainer. And thankfully, it feels nice and smooth thanks to the high quality parts used; this is what’s most important.
I was happy to see that you have a magnetic resistance system with the Tetter LT3 -which means this machine is quiet in motion, so you can watch TV or listen to music without being disturbed by the sound of the machine.
And with 13 levels of resistance, there’s enough to keep most people happy, from beginners to intermediates.
The seat is adjustable, and many users have praised just how comfy it is and loved that it’s adjustable, which is good news for people with back issues. The seat has three positions to choose from and two starting positions, so you should be able to find the perfect position for maximum comfort. The handlebars are also adjustable.
Overall the Teeter LT-3 is an excellent choice for people who have trouble standing for long periods or anyone who prefers to sit and pedal rather than stand.
13 levels of smooth, whisper quiet magnetic resistance
Large adjustable seat and adjustable backrest
Low impact linear pedal movement
300lb weight capacity
30 minute assembly
Small LCD hard to read while exercising
No workout programs
3. Cubii Jr Mini (Best Under Desk Elliptical)
The Cubii Jr has been built to last these guys really know what they are doing when it comes to mini ellipticals, and it’s the main reason why they sell more mini ellipticals than any other company out there.
The Cubii Jr is the Crème de la crème of desk ellipticals weighing 32lb, twice the weight of its competitors. This shows the Cubii Jr has been built from quality materials. It’s going to last.
I’ve read a ton of customer reviews and haven’t come across any complaints about durability or build quality, which is rare when we look at mini ellipticals.
Nearly all customers praise this excellent little elliptical! With 4.5/5 as the average rating.
We have eight levels of magnetic resistance, so it’s going to be almost silent in operation. As I mentioned above, the Cubii boasts one of the lowest pedal rotation heights allowing you to use the machine under a desk easily.
At around $200, the Cubii is well priced for what you get; a solid mini elliptical, eight resistance levels, low 10″ pedal rotation height, and industry-leading super low 3″ knee clearance height. An excellent machine that offers you a low-impact workout from the comfort of your armchair.
Increases circulation, strengthening of muscles, concentration and loosening of joints.
8 levels fo quiet magnetic resistance
Patented ergonomic angles provide a smooth elliptical exercise that is low impact on your joints
Well built, durable machine
Low profile 10″ high footplates, one of the lowest on the market
LCD screen is quite small
No workout programs
4. Nautilus E618 Elliptical
The Nautilus E618 is a front-drive elliptical from Nautilus, you’ll find Schwinn ellipticals are very similar to Nautilus ellipticals, and that’s because Nautilus owns the Schwinn brand as well.
The reason I favor the Nautilis E618 over the Schwinn 470 (basically the same elliptical) is that Nautilus, for some reason, update their line of ellipticals more often than they do their Schwinn ellipticals, and seeing as they are the same price, you might as well choose the Nautilus E618 as it boasts all the latest tech.
The E618 is my favorite front-drive machine in the Under $1000 price bracket. It’s a sturdy elliptical weighing nearly 200lb, it’s a well-built mid-level machine. And surprisingly, it comes with a lot of features for the price point.
You have an impressive 10-level, 10-degree power incline, an extremely large stride length of 22″, and one of the best monitors you’ll come across, as it’s packed full of features.
The monitor includes wireless heart rate monitoring, which is a much more accurate way to monitor your pulse rate than the handlebar’s pulse sensors. You also get a whopping 25 resistance levels and 29 built-in workout programs, quick touch buttons, and access to the Explore The World fitness app. It’s an impressive monitor for the price point.
The only slight drawback I’ve found with the Nautilus and the Schwinn ellipticals is that the flywheels are on the light side, the E618 flywheel weighs just 17lb which isn’t super light, but you’d expect 20lb for an elliptical costing just under $1k
However, 17lb is just heavy enough to keep everything feeling smooth, and you have the magnetic resistance system and belt drive system, two other features that help keep the motion smooth.
Overall a well-built and well-equipped elliptical from Nautilus. If you don’t want to spend over $1k, the E618 is the most impressive elliptical you’ll find for the price point.
Sturdy, heavy build for price point
Impressive 22″ stride length
10° power adjustable incline
Decent monitor with wireless heart rate monitoring, quick touch buttons and 29 workout programs (plus Explore The World App – global routes)
HR chest strap included
Magnetic resistance system and belt drive, make for a quiet elliptical
Built-in transport wheels, cooling fan, BlueTooth, and speakers
Stride length too long for some users
Nautilus known for slow customer service
No HD screen
5. Niceday CT-11 Elliptical
The Niceday elliptical is a rear-drive elliptical. The flywheel is behind you instead of in front of you, and because it is behind you, you’re pulling the flywheel to get it spinning more than you are pushing it.
And because you’re pulling it, you’re using the posterior muscles more than the anterior muscles of the legs, and the pulling action naturally keeps the body in an upright standing position which is exactly what you want. You’re not learning forward all the time as you do on a front-drive machine. And this is one of the reasons rear-drive ellipticals are so desirable, they naturally keep the body in the correct position.
Also, you get a higher calorie burn because you’re working the large posterior muscles.
The Niceday elliptical isn’t a high-end machine. This is a low-cost rear drive, so there’s nothing heavy duty here, but it’s still an excellent choice for light to medium cardio workouts.
You have a 15.5lb flywheel which is great considering the price point. Most ellipticals in this price bracket struggle to get past 10lb.
And the elliptical motion is particularly smooth with this machine, which is one of the reasons I wanted to show the Niceday elliptical. So many people have praised how smooth and good this elliptical feels.
You also have 18 whisper quiet magnetic resistance levels, so noise levels are low, around 20DB for the Niceday elliptical.
As I just mentioned, it’s a low-cost machine, so sadly, there are no workout programs or a nice color touchscreen, the monitor is about as basic as they come. Tracking just your essential workout stats like distance, time, calories, and pulse.
Overall – it’s great to see a well made rear drive elliptical that doesn’t cost the earth. Yes, it doesn’t include many features, but all the essentials are done well. If you like the idea of a rear-drive elliptical, you should check out the Niceday machine. You won’t be disappointed.
Study build – Supports weight capacity up to 400lb
18 levels of resistance – suitable for beginners and intermediates
Super quiet machine – won’t disturb others with the sound of your workouts
Built-in pulse sensors
Two sets of handlebars one fixed – one moving for full-body workout
Transport wheels, just tilt and roll to move
Impressive lifetime warranty on parts
Basic monitor that doesn’t include workout programs
No online connectivity
Can only use pulse sensors when using the fixed handle bars
Buying Tips & General Info For Elliptical Machines (Not Mini)
Is it your first time buying an elliptical machine? Well, you might want to read some of our helpful buying tips, here you can check out all the main features of elliptical machines and you should be able to find out which features suit you and your fitness needs best.
There are many different varieties of ellipticals crowding the market we can however group them into three different categories.
These categories are defined by the placement of the flywheel or drive system. The drive system is the core component that facilitates the elliptical motion.
The placement of the flywheel is important as it can affect stride length, smoothness of elliptical motion, and the level of noise made by the machine when in action.
Front-drive ellipticals – Front-drive ellipticals are usually found in the budget to the mid-level range, they typically have a large wheel housing at the front of the machine.
If you own a front-drive elliptical, you will find yourself leaning slightly forward when exercising, similar to using a stairclimber. A basic but durable design, maybe a little noisier than the center drive machine but nothing too noticeable.
Centre drive ellipticals – Centre drive ellipticals have only been around for a few years, although a reasonably new design they are becoming increasingly popular. Designed to be similar to a treadmill, except the pedals are where the track would usually be. Centre drive designs allow for a gentle workout.
The flywheel center drive elliptical is typically a compact machine and is best suited for those who are exercising in small spaces. Be slightly careful with this compact design as the stride length can be very short.
The pedals can also be on a track, which allows for an incline. Rear drives systems are usually reserved for high-end ellipticals. Some of the widest stride lengths can be found on rear-drive ellipticals.
Hybrid Ellipticals – Hybrid ellipticals boast multiple functions, as well as an elliptical they function as an exercise bike.
You can adjust the hybrid machine to move between bike and an elliptical simply by moving pedals and rearranging the seat. Hybrid ellipticals are mostly found in the budget range and are a popular space-saving choice for people wanting to reap the health benefits of both an exercise bike and an elliptical.
Other Key Components To Look Out For
Stride Length – This is the measurement in between the toe of the front pedal to the heel of the rear pedal while the pedals are at their widest stride. This measurement is vitally important as it determines how naturally you will be able to stride.
If your buying an elliptical for intense workouts, the first thing you will want to be able to do is run freely – if your elliptical has a too short stride length, this will not be possible and your machine will not be doing the job it should.
- If you plan on walking on running slowly, you can get away with a shorter stride length – Great news if your budget is tight.
- Taller users 6ft and over will need a machine with at least 20″ stride length for fast-paced running or walking.
Resistance Strength –
Budget ellipticals $600 and under typically provide eight levels of resistance. While this isn’t a ton of resistance levels, it will provide enough resistance for medium to light cardio workouts.
That’s not to say you won’t burn any calories on a cheaper machine; it all depends on your fitness levels. Still, in general, a machine with eight resistance levels is usually best suited for beginners, walkers, seniors, or anyone looking for lighter workouts.
When you spend a few more bucks $600+, we start to see 16-24 resistance levels here; you can expect reasonably strong resistance in the upper levels. the machines are, in general, of higher quality and will provide the user with much more of a challenge and will allow for years of growth.
$1.5k+ ellipticals will, of course, come with the most resistance levels and heavier flywheels – Great if you can afford one but sometimes overkill for a home gym
Your Workout Space
Ellipticals are not small these things take up a lot of room, so you need to be sure your home has the space to house one comfortably. Most ellipticals are between 4 and 7 feet long, and you’ll also need to remember to leave room for the pedals while they are in motion.
The pedals of some rear-drive ellipticals can extend a foot behind the mainframe. Also, allow for 20 inches on each side of the machine.
Lastly, we need to consider the ceiling height, especially important if you’re hoping to use the machine in a basement. Check the elliptical max pedal height plus your hight-the combined height of both will be the maximum height of the chosen elliptical. The last thing you want is to be banging your head!
This is the fun part of your machine; bonus features can include water bottle holders, tablet holders, fun workout apps, wi-fi, pre-workout programs, and heart rate monitoring. While some are more useful than others, remember not to go too crazy here. The more features you choose, the more money you’ll need to spend.
While still not essential to your cardio fitness, work programs and heart rate monitoring are two features I feel are worth spending a few extra bucks on.
Workouts programs are excellent for setting new challenges and keeping your interest, especially for long cardio workout sessions. Heart rate monitoring is extremely useful for those of you who wish to exercise in your target heart rate zones.
Benefits of Ellipticals
1. Boost your stamina and cardio capacity – Aerobic exercise is a vital part of any balanced exercise routine. Aerobic exercise demands your heart and lungs to work harder; thus, in doing so, making them stronger.
Elliptical allows for an excellent aerobic workout ellipticals work both your upper and lower body, strengthening your muscles, heart and lungs continued use will help build your stamina and endurance
2. Low Impact – Elliptical reduce the stress and strain on your legs through an elliptical motion. Your feet never leave the pedals; it is like walking in mid-air. In comparison, when you walk or run on a treadmill, every step causes a jolt to your body.
3. Burn A Lot of Calories – Depending on how much you weigh. An elliptical can burn 230-350 calories in 30 minutes. Burning more calories than you consume can really help you to lose weight. If you want to give a significant boost to your calorie burn, try increasing the intensity of the workout on your elliptical.
4. Dual-action workout – One of the benefits you are going to like about elliptical machines is the combined upper and lower body workout. This is why ellipticals are sometimes called cross-trainers! When we use the elliptical properly, the elliptical trainer can strengthen and tone the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, back, triceps, and biceps.
5. Weight Bearing – Unlike an exercise bike, an elliptical provides a weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercises help slow down and prevent osteoporosis.
6. Improve Balance -We know weight-bearing exercises can help to strengthen our bones, but did you know they can also help you improve your balance. If you stand up straight on an elliptical and let go of the fixed set of handlebars, you not only target your core muscles, but you also improve your balance.
Once your new elliptical arrives on your doorstep, the next thing you’re going to have to do is to assemble the machine. It’s certainly not the part most people look forward to, but there are a few things you can do to make the whole process a little easier. First, make sure you have an extra person to help you out.
Ellipticals are generally quite large machines, and some parts will need to be held in place. A few people may be able to manage on their own; however, I’d always recommend two people for assembly.
Next, you’re going to need the right tools. Most elliptical, including the Horizon ellipticals, comes with all the tools required for the job. However, in my experience, the tools sent with home gym equipment are usually sub-standard, so for an elliptical, I’d recommend you have ready a decent set of screwdrivers and a wrench.
And lastly, make sure you read the instructions carefully! Another good tip is not to tighten any of the screws, etc., fully until the elliptical is fully assembled.
To Sum Up
The Sole E35 Elliptical is an elliptical that has it all. The build quality is high, and the frame is heavy-duty. The elliptical motion is extra smooth thanks to the heavy flywheel, the high raion gears, and that frictionless resistance system. This is a solid elliptical for a home gym.
Still, you must be a fairly mobile senior to use a front-drive machine. If you can stand/walk for more than 15 minutes and your general fitness is okay, there shouldn’t be any reason why you can’t take advantage of the health benefits this low-impact high-grade machine from Sole Fitness has to offer.
Just remember it’s a large machine and can be difficult to unbox and assemble, so unless you have family members or friends who can help you assemble it, it might be best to pay for Sole Fitness’s white glove assembly service.
If you don’t want something as heavy-duty as the Sole E35 and prefer to sit and pedal rather than stand, then the Teeter LT-3 is your best choice. Teeter are a company that’s been around for over 40 years. They are well known for the quality of their products. There isn’t anything that can match them in the under $1000 price bracket. Also, assembly is much easier, with the Teeter LT-3 taking most people around 30 minutes.
Best Ellipticals For Seniors FAQs
Are Under-Desk Ellipticals Good For Seniors?
An under-desk elliptical only works the leg muscles, so you will not burn as many calories as a full-size elliptical that provides a full-body workout. However, for seniors who have trouble standing for long periods, an under-desk elliptical is an excellent choice as you pedal the elliptical while sitting down.
What is The Best Elliptical For Seniors?
The Sole E35 is the best elliptical for seniors as it provides the smoothest elliptical motion thanks to its heavy-duty flywheel and high-ratio gears. It also has a low step-on height which is perfect for seniors who have trouble with high steps.
How Long Should a Senior Use an Elliptical For?
Before taking up any new exercise regime, it’s always best to talk to your doctor first. Once you get the thumbs up from the doctor, most seniors find they can use the elliptical for almost as long as anyone else, with times ranging from 30-40 minutes 6 times a week.