The Best Ellipticals and Step Machines on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

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Photo: Ted Thai/The LIFE Picture Collection/Gett

Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed (that’s four-to-five-star reviews and lots of ‘em) products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve asked New York trainers about the best workout gear and foam rollers, talked with workout professionals about the best home-gym equipment, and even found the best treadmills and exercise bikes for your home gym, we’ve gone deep here on the best ellipticals and step machines you can find on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

Best commercial-grade elliptical with heart-rate program

Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine
$1,999, Amazon

4.3 stars, 212 reviews

“Two things you should know about me. 1. I’m sensitive to exercise machine noises [when] working out. 2. I’m a big guy — 6’2”, 230 pounds with nice strong legs. That being said the two biggest factors for me were: Does the flywheel provide enough resistance, and will this thing ding and snap on every rotation? The good news is that if built correctly this [elliptical] is the smoothest and quietest workout machine I have ever stepped on, and I have been on many. It’s kind of crazy how smooth the glide motion is even when inclined. The other good news is that the flywheel is resistant enough to get me sweating within the first 3 [to] 5 minutes.”

Note: There is a newer model of this elliptical, available for $1,900, but it does not have as many positive reviews as this model.

Best manual elliptical under $150

Gazelle Edge
$129, Amazon

4.2 stars, 1,556 reviews

“This is a great piece of equipment! It was shipped to my office, so my friend at work (also a woman) and I put it together at lunch time. The instructions are very clear (you don’t have to be an engineer to figure them out) and it was actually easy to put together. After we assembled it we just folded it down and put it in my car. I have a treadmill, but that’s too hard on the knees every day, so I use the Gazelle every other day, and I absolutely love it! Unlike the treadmill, it’s very quiet, which makes for great TV viewing while I’m exercising. It’s set up in the basement which I also use for guests, so when someone’s coming I just put it in the closet. If you want a piece of exercise equipment that’s low impact, easy to set up, move and store — and one that you’ll really enjoy using — the Gazelle Edge is it!”

Best manual step machine under $100

Wagan EL2273 Mini Stepper Master
$75, Amazon

4.1 stars, 130 reviews

“This was an excellent purchase at a crazy low price. Very easy to assemble in 20 minutes. It works very well. A couple of things to consider: The footstep distance is a little short, but it’s easy to adapt your stepping to match it. The hardest setting is for me about average as I’m pretty fit. But I still work up a good sweat in 30 minutes by speeding up stepping speed. The build quality is excellent too. The little computer works great. It automatically rotates the display through several readings, or if you tap the button for a second or two it stays in a display mode you like which is what I do. … Anyway, I highly recommend this stepper. One of my better purchases.”

Best vertical climbing step machine

MaxiClimber — The Original Vertical Climber
$170, Amazon

4.1 stars, 1,930 reviews

“This is dope! Really easy to set up — all I had to do was put the base and handles on it. Does exactly what it claims. You can really torch a lot of calories in a short time. I’m incorporating into my other exercise routine. I love it. Get rid of your treadmill and elliptical if you have them. Takes up no room at all, and it’s easy to move it from room to room.”

Best folding climbing step machine

Sunny Folding Climbing Stepper
$94, Amazon

4.3 stars, 405 reviews

“I’ve been using this product for a couple of months now and couldn’t be happier. I bought it because I don’t want to pay an expensive gym membership, and I wanted a machine that I could use while watching TV. Exercise is boring to me. Anyway, this machine is comfortable to use and has 12 settings. It’s small and lightweight so you can move it around easily. Since using it, I’ve really noticed a difference in muscle tone and it has been easy on my knees. You can monitor your time, steps etc. It’s nothing fancy but so affordable.”

Best under-desk elliptical

Cubii Under Desk Elliptical with Bluetooth
$329, Amazon

4.3 stars, 264 reviews

“I purchased my Cubii a little over a month ago, and loved it right from the start. It was easy to assemble, easy to connect to Bluetooth and really fun seeing my stats at the end of the day — especially realizing I pedaled six miles mindlessly! It’s very quiet; my co-workers said if and when they heard anything, they thought I turned my desk fan on. The wheel stoppers are great for my desk chair wheels. I find I only need them on resistance 6 or higher where, without them, I push myself away every time I pedal. I feel like my back hurts less now while sitting for 8 hours a day, and I could really feel it working in my thighs. … I love it!”

Best foot-pedal-only elliptical for seated or standing workouts

Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
$90, Amazon

4.1 stars, 3,329 reviews

“Love it — I engage in mindless exercise all of the time in front of the TV set [or] while doing other sedentary activities like using my iPad, Kindle, or going through my calendar and scrounging for other things in my big tote bag. Hours otherwise spent sedentary are spent with my legs circulating with the elliptical, and I can feel it in my hips and legs. Normally I spend so much time just sitting and not doing any exercise — now I can spend hours exercising while engaging in other activities sitting down. I have started doing more yoga again since once you start becoming more active, your body automatically wants to move more. I am very happy with this purchase and it was very easy to put together — no extra work kit needed — just the small metal ‘tools’ that came in the [package] with all the parts that you would need and very simple instructions. I am not someone with good handyman skills, but it took me about 15 minutes to put the entire thing together.”

Best foot-pedal-only elliptical with resistance bands

Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper with Resistance Bands
$40, Amazon

4.1 stars, 933 reviews

“Love this machine! Super compact but gives you the same feeling as a stair stepper. Adjustable resistance with the spin of a knob. Came fully assembled and starting using within minutes. Sturdy, quality machine, especially for the low price tag!”

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The Best Ellipticals and Step Machines on Amazon