Best cross trainer: 8 top elliptical machines for your home gym

The best cross trainers for your home gym or workout space are right here. Why go back to the gym when you can get fit from home?

best cross trainer: feet on cross trainer working out
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Considering investing in the best cross trainer? Whether you feel uneasy about heading back to the gym anytime soon, or, perhaps you have grown to love workout out from home thanks to lockdown? Either way, buying a cross trainer can help boost your home workouts whether you have a home gym or you work out in your living room. A cross trainer can, when used properly, help you burn calories and body fat, target specific leg muscles, improve your balance and boost your stamina and cardio capacity. That and it's great for maintaining fitness after an injury, too.

We've done some research into the best cross trainers on the web and thus far, we've found eight great models. These cross trainers were chosen based on the workout programmes they can offer, their stride length, incline levels, overall performance and price. We've found everything from the top elliptical cross trainer to the best cross trainer for 2020 and even our favourite 2-in-1 cross trainer and exercise bike. See them all below.

Once you've bought the cross trainer best suited to your needs, find more of the best home gym equipment by reading our guide.

The best cross trainers

Best cross trainer: JLL CT300 Elliptical Cross Trainer

(Image credit: JLL)

1. JLL CT300 Elliptical Cross Trainer

Best cross trainer: inexpensive yet it ticks all our boxes

Workout programmes: 8
Stride Length: 32cm
Incline: N/A
Reasons to buy
+9-function monitor+Heart rate sensors+Tablet holder+Transportable
Reasons to avoid
-Not as advanced machine as others-Not a great choice for those over 6ft

Designed to be both durable and stylish at the same time, the JLL CT300 Elliptical Cross Trainer can simulate climbing, walking or running, all without causing excessive pressure on your joints. It has a nine-function LCD display monitor that shows RPM, speed, distance, time, temperature, heart rate, calories, body fat and pulse; and its dual-action handlebars feature comfortable foam grips. It features eight levels of magnetic resistance and you can pedal forwards and backwards thanks to its 5.5kg flywheel. Our favourite part? It has a tablet holder for those who like to catch up on their favourite programme while exercising instead of looking at the number of calories they've burned, and it's on wheels so it can be easily moved around your home gym.

  • Buy the JLL CT300 Elliptical Cross Trainer

Best cross trainer for home: Life Fitness E1 Elliptical Cross Trainer

2. Life Fitness E1 Elliptical Cross Trainer

Best cross trainer for home: this cross trainer is adaptable for all fitness levels and family members

Workout programmes: 14
Stride Length: 51cm
Incline: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Easily connects with smartphones+Up to four user profiles
Reasons to avoid
-Very big

If you've ever set foot in a gym, it's likely you've spied a Life Fitness machine or two, so you know that you're probably in good hands. The Life Fitness E1 Elliptical Cross Trainer as high tech as they come, and almost endlessly variable for every member of the family. As well as being able to save up to four distinct user profiles, the E1 is also smart stuff: the Track+ console connects to Android and Apple smart devices to create personalised workouts, track in real time and talk to your favourite fitness apps, allowing everyone to embark on their own personal fitness journey. The best cross trainer for those looking for a machine with lots of different modes, we think.

  • Buy the Life Fitness E1 Elliptical Cross Trainer

Best cross trainer elliptical: NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i Elliptical

3. NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i Elliptical

Best cross trainer elliptical: a 3-in-1 trainer for those who are serious about their workouts

Workout programmes: 35
Stride Length: 38in (adjustable)
Incline: 0-10%
Reasons to buy
+ Bluetooth compatibility  + Silent magnetic resistance  
Reasons to avoid
- Tricky to assemble- Expensive

For those who are building their very home gym, the NordicTrack FreeStride FS7i Elliptical 3-in-1 trainer could be the ideal piece of kit for your workouts. Not only is the machine feature-packed with 24 workout programmes and an adjustable stride, but it’s also perfect for multiple people to use even if they have different fitness levels. You might need a hand putting it together, but once it’s up it’s said to be easy to operate, and it has a sound system so you can motivate yourself with your favourite tunes during a workout. Other features include a fan and Bluetooth compatibility to your smart device to track your progress. Our pick of the best cross trainer for those who are after a 3-in-1 model.

  • Buy NordicTrack FreeStride FS7i Elliptical

Best cross trainer 2020: NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical

4. NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical

Best cross trainer 2020: a high-tech space-saving machine that connects to your smartphone

Workout programmes: 30
Stride Length: 18in
Incline: 0-10%
Reasons to buy
+ Folds away vertically  + Connect to your smart device 
Reasons to avoid
- Tricky to figure out settings at first  

This is another great space-saving piece of equipment, but what the JTX Strider X7 lacks, the NordicTrack SpaceSaver makes up for. This is quite a technical machine, so for those who aren’t that tech-savvy you may find it tricky to make the most of it. The cross trainer can connect to your smartphone or tablet to track your progress and you can even connect to GPS and simulate real-life runs for a smarter, more interesting workout (you will need to get the iFit app though). It’s said to be super heavy and a bit of a mission to get it up the stairs but once it’s in it will slip into a small space without making the place look untidy.  

  • Buy the NordicTrack SpaceSaver

Opti 2 in 1 Air Cross Trainer and Exercise Bike

(Image credit: Opti)

5. Opti 2 in 1 Air Cross Trainer and Exercise Bike

Best 2 in 1 cross trainer and exercise bike: affordable, compact and multifunctional

Workout programmes: N/A
Stride length: 11-inch
Incline: N/A
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+2-in-1+Compact for what it is+Adjustable+Console feedback+Wheels for easy moving
Reasons to avoid
-Basic – no workout programmes or incline levels

This 2-in-1 cross trainer and exercise bike is great for those with limited space. Use this machine to work your entire body at once and improve your cardiovascular fitness from home. Not only that but it promotes good blood circulation and it can help increase your lung capacity – all from one machine. Use this machine sitting as an exercise bike or standing as a cross trainer, your choice. Boasting an air resistance system with free tension control, it's completely adaptable to your fitness level. Both the seat and handles are adjustable depending on the height of the user, while it boasts self-levelling pedals. While it's admittedly basic in terms of features – a lack of pre-set programmes and no incline levels – this machine does offer console feedback on everything from speed to distance and calories burned. With a 1.9kg flywheel and an 11-inch stride length, it's perfect for occasional use or beginners. It's even on wheels for easy transporting.

Best basic cross trainer: Reebok ZR8 Cross Trainer

(Image credit: Reebok)

6. Reebok ZR8 Cross Trainer

Best value cross trainer: basic, affordable and does the job

Workout programmes: 19
Stride Length: 15in
Incline: 0%
Reasons to buy
+Affordable+Easy to use+On wheels+Adjustable and anti-slip footplates+Built-in hand pulse sensors in handlebars
Reasons to avoid
-Fiddly to assemble-No water holder-No incline

Ideal for occasional use or for beginners who don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a high-tech, pricey machine, the Reebok ZR8 Cross Trainer features 19 programmes, 12 of which are pre-set workouts. Its 5.75in LCD control displays speed, distance, time, calories and pulse rate. The machine runs pretty quietly – ideal if the machine is in a spare bedroom – and smoothly. There's no incline function to simulate a hill, but you can increase the resistance to make your workout harder. For those who are conscious about it being on show in the middle of the living room, this cross trainer is on wheels, meaning it can be easily moved out of sight when not in use. And a big plus is its price tag. Perfect if you think it might spend more time under your discarded clothes than you.

Find the best exercise bikes in our dedicated guide

  • Buy the Reebok ZR8 Cross Trainer

Best cross trainer for beginners: JTX Strider-X7 Magnetic Cross Trainer

7. JTX Strider-X7 Magnetic Cross Trainer

Best cross trainer under £500: an affordable machine that's great for beginners

Workout programmes: 21
Stride Length: 16in
Incline: No
Reasons to buy
+Folds away  +Not too complex +Inexpensive
Reasons to avoid
-No techy features which is expected for the low price tag

If you’re thinking of investing in your first cross trainer and don’t want to spend too much money, then the JTX Strider-X7 Magnetic Cross Trainer could be the machine to help you get started. It boasts no-frills, but it’s a slim machine that can be folded away when not in use which is also great for those who lack the space for a bigger feature-packed machine. You’ll have a large console with 21 different workout programmes so you can still monitor your progress as you go, and it uses magnetic resistance which means you’ll still get the same smooth experience as with some of the other cross trainers on the list. The best cross trainer if you're a beginner.

Best cross trainer for upper body: Bowflex Max Trainer M5

8. Bowflex Max Trainer M5

Best cross trainer for toning: a set-stride machine that works your core and upper body as well as legs

Workout programmes: 9
Stride Length: non-adjustable
Incline: No
Reasons to buy
+ High-intensity workout + Well-built  
Reasons to avoid
- Can only register 2 users in the software 

The Bowflex Max M5 set-stride elliptical trainer will force you to have a hard workout with its positioning designed to increase core and upper body toning by up to 80 per cent. You’ll have 16 different resistance levels and you can monitor your training on the LCD screen and sync it to the free Max Trainer app that is available on both iPhone and Android. The only downside is you can only register two users to this machine, which can be a little annoying if the whole family want to use it to track their goals. The machine itself is also said to be very sturdy and pretty compact.

  • Buy the Bowflex Max M5 set-stride elliptical trainer

How to buy the best cross trainer

There are a few different types of cross trainer you can buy, and some things you’ll want to consider before choosing the right elliptical machine for you.

Electromagnet or belt resistance?
There are different types of resistance that can be used on these machines, the most common being electromagnetic, with some cheaper models having a belt resistance. 

Stride lengths
If you’re looking for a cross trainer that can be used by multiple members of the family, then make sure you pick a cross trainer with variable stride lengths. This will allow you to adjust the length of your strides depending on your size and what type of workout you want to do.

LCD monitor
If you'd like to track your progress and have access to pre-set workout programmes so you can make the most of your machine at home, then make sure the cross trainer you use has an LCD monitor to display this information.

For some of the most high-end machines, you’ll be looking at setting yourself back up to £2,500, but if you’re on a budget or short of space, there are plenty of more basic options available for as little as under £200. Consider the type of training you want to invest in and then see what each of our choices has to offer…

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