people's choice

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

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 products and single out the most convincing ones. 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, exercise bikes, and under-desk ellipticals 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 ellipticals

“I have had this for two years now and still in great condition. I use it multiple times a week. Worth the money since I can’t always go to the gym each morning. The box it came in was very heavy and I wanted it upstairs, so that was logistically hard; however, that would have been the case no matter where I got it. I just love it and would not know what to do without it.”

Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer

“I gave this five stars because it exceeded my expectations. I think this is a great elliptical, especially for the money. No matter what level of fitness you are, you can get a great workout on this machine with the many settings and programs. The console is well designed. I especially love the fan! There is a swishing sound when in operation but otherwise very quiet. Out of all types of exercise equipment I’ve tried, I’d say the elliptical is my favorite. You really get a whole body workout. Assembly was not difficult. The step-by-step directions were easy to follow. I assembled it by myself in about an hour and a half.”

Best manual elliptical

Gazelle Edge

“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 under-desk elliptical

“I normally don’t write reviews, but the Cubii warrants one. It’s a very useful device, and I have been using it for about a year now. It’s really easy to work while pedaling (I work on a computer writing software) and there have been days where I ride it for four hours or more, just pedaling out of habit more than having to concentrate to keep going. It’s a continuous low-level exercise that adds up over time, and yes, you do feel it in your legs when you stand up. Their customer support is also really great. I recommend this product if you’re on the fence and can’t decide, just do it!”

Best step machines

Sunny Folding Climbing Stepper

“This was the best $100 I’ve spent! It’s perfectly out of the way even when set up. We have it on a small woven door mat and just pull it away from the wall it’s kept near when we use it. I am five-foot-four and around 120 pounds and keep it set at a resistance of 5. After 15-20 minutes I’m usually sweating and huffing pretty good and go for about 30 minutes total. My husband uses it at a slightly higher setting, he’s five-foot-ten and around 190 pounds. He can do about 15 minutes on it at a time. I love how it keeps track of workout time, steps, and estimated calories and just cycles through the numbers as you go. I either aim for a time limit or a calorie limit.”


“Great for use in a small apartment! Works great and very affordable. So far it’s doing its job with firming and toning legs and butt. Definitely recommend to someone with limited space who’s looking for an affordable piece of workout equipment.”

Wagan EL2273 Mini Stepper Master

“Great little machine for short workouts. I get on it four or five times a day for five to ten minutes. The faster you step the harder the workout. It’s great when I can’t get out for a two- or three-mile walk because of the weather. I also bought one for my 80-year-old mother. She’ll get on it for a few minutes several times a day as she can’t do long walks. It helps keep her leg strength up and keeps her from being completely inactive. I bought my mother’s three years ago and I’ve had mine for over two. I won’t hesitate to buy another one if this one wears out.”

Best mini-stepper

Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper with Resistance Bands

“I bought this because I’m a total fatty and quite broke. Of course I wanted the thousand-dollar elliptical, but my bank account disagreed. I got this little gem and it’s nice for quick morning and evening workouts. It gets your heart rate up quickly, which I hear is good to burn those calories. It offers a nice little step workout, aaaaand has the bands for arms — double whammy. I’m pleased with the purchase. Now lemme go and get to it so at least I can be skinny and broke. Cheers!”

Best vertical climbing step machine

MaxiClimber — The Original Vertical Climber

“Best piece of exercise equipment I ever purchased! Lightweight, sturdy, easy assembly. Used for about two weeks now and I’m already seeing results. Two to three minutes, four days a week is all it takes until you can build your stamina up. I’m 47 and have worked out regularly for years, but when I started using this machine for two minutes, it will get your heart rate up. I thought, okay this isn’t gonna do anything, and boy oh boy, the next morning I discovered the muscles I hadn’t been reaching with my normal work out routine. The foot pedals could be a bit larger but once you place your feet correctly there shouldn’t be a problem. Pay attention to your form when using to get the best possible workout and to avoid injury. I don’t use the timer on the machine as it’s in a very awkward place, but I set the timer on my phone and that works just as well.”

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The Best Ellipticals and Step Machines on Amazon