Adding variety to your workout routine can help keep things interesting and also make it easier to stay motivated. Cardio is a regular part of many workouts and adding some variety can help prevent injury and strengthen a variety of muscles. In this article, we show you the best cardio machine to help you with your workout.
Gyms commonly have many different kinds of cardio machines to choose from but finding the right one can be challenging if you aren't sure where to start.
Using cardio machines can put different levels of impact on your body, and for those with specific injuries, they may want to first consult with their doctor.
If you are a healthy adult looking to improve your level of fitness as part of a workout routine, finding the best cardio machine can help speed up your results, and improve your confidence moving forward.
Cardio machines often have multiple functions and knowing how to use them properly can make your time at the gym more enjoyable.
How We Chose Our Ratings
To find the best cardio machines and narrow down the categories we looked at a variety of information provided by many professionals. Fitness trainers, exercise psychologists, and other health experts can all offer valuable information about what equipment is most effective and most appropriate for specific situations.
We also looked at the best products in each category and considered the information from these experts when comparing products. The best cardio machines will have specific muscle groups that they work and will also be widely available.
Lastly, we look at data and feedback from actual users to ensure products and brands live up to their reputation and deliver quality to consumers.
Accuracy is important when creating our ratings and we cross-check customer feedback to ensure that it's honest and relevant to the product. Our list includes the best cardio machines in each category and the pros and cons you need to know.
Best Cardio Machine Product Comparison Table
When we look at cardio machines for both commercial and home gyms.
There are differences in pricing and the amount of space required. In this list we’ll share our top cardio machine picks for home equipment. And how likely you are to find more robust versions at your local gym.
1. Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill
2. Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
3. Life CORE Fitness Assault Air Bike
4. EFITMENT Compact Magnetic Elliptical Machine
5. Our Pick: Maxi Climber Vertical Climber
The treadmill is a favorite cardio machine in the gym, and that is for an excellent reason. Treadmills are used for walking or running and increasing the incline can intensify a workout.
Treadmills are an effective form of cardio, and most gyms will have at least a few on hand. Many individuals also have treadmills at home, and some models store upright to save space.
1. Our Pick: Weslo Cadence G 5.9 Treadmill
This treadmill by Weslo can fold up which makes it an ideal choice for many home gyms. With a retail price of $300. It is also far less of an investment than many other pieces of cardio equipment. The onboard computer offers six programmed workouts and a cushioned belt surface.
This treadmill is an excellent product for those that need a no-frills treadmill at home. And also to fit in some beginner to intermediate level workouts. If you are running several miles per day, this may not be the best unit for you.
The treadmill is easy to assemble. And many individuals find that the heart rate monitor is a valuable feature during longer runs. One of the cons of this machine is that it is not as quiet as other pricier models. And many find that the belt is a little too narrow.
For the typical home gym where someone wants to do daily walking and light running. This unit is ideal and well-priced. The onboard computer has several features that both walkers and runners will enjoy. Such as the ability to rest for 60 seconds before resuming the previous setting.
If you find yourself in need of a more robust treadmill.
Then your local gym may be the best place to start looking. While the Weslo Cadence treadmill is ideal for light to moderate use. Additionally, it has many of the same features that the much more expensive and durable models at a commercial gym have.
Rowing machines are a great low impact option that has become a staple in gyms. Additionally, rowing provides a full body workout. And modern monitors can give you lots of information about your fitness while using them.
Rowing machines are also a good option for the home gym because they frequently store in an upright position. Storing them upright helps minimize the space they take up. And the machines are lighter in weight, making them easy to maneuver.
2. Our Pick: Concept 2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
Concept 2 has a long-standing reputation for producing high-quality rowing machines that are used by even elite athletes. Beginners are also able to use this machine as it is suitable for all skill levels.
The Concept 2 rowing machine comes with a monitor that provides several data points about your rowing and workout intensity. There are even user profiles that you can create. And specific models come with cards that users can insert into any machine so that their data can move with them.
The Concept 2 can be stored upright, which saves lots of space. And provides a full body workout with low impact. It can be disassembled into two pieces if needed, and the wheeled base makes moving it around easy. The only con is the price, with a brand-new model retailing for $950. However, used equipment often is found for a much lower cost.
Exercise bikes are a popular choice for those with certain types of joint injuries and other injuries to their legs. Additionally, exercise bikes are a low impact form of exercise. That can also be ideal for those who are more overweight.
Modern exercise bikes come in different sizes, with smaller ones that are more suitable for home gyms. And larger ones found in commercial gyms. Regardless of the size of the bike, you should be able to get a great cardio workout.
3. Our Pick: Life CORE Fitness Assault Air Bike
The Life CORE air bike has become a staple in gyms. And is commonly used for CrossFit and HIIT style workouts. It's not a space saving design, but many enjoy the air flow generated from the fan when they pedal.
The fan is the secret to this bike, as the harder you pedal, the more resistance is created. This creates a high-intensity workout that is challenging no matter how fast you can pedal. The bike comes with a fully adjustable seat, which can be adjusted six different ways.
The handlebars also move which creates an even full body workout for your extremities. The monitor also includes pre-set programs to help you get started. And while the fan provides a bit of resistance, it is also very quiet.
The cons of this machine are that it can take up a bit of space if you want one at home. And many find that even with all of the adjustments the seat is still uncomfortable. This bike retails for around $820 which can also be an investment for many.
Elliptical machines offer an excellent source of low impact exercise that many prefer over using a treadmill. With an elliptical machine, you can work several muscle groups at once. And it can be a great alternative to biking or swimming.
Elliptical machine workouts should be fairly intense to get the most from your workouts. Many individuals use these machines at a very low intensity. Which doesn't allow you to burn nearly as many calories or strengthen your muscles in a meaningful way.
4. Our Pick: EFITMENT Compact Magnetic Elliptical Machine
While you may not find an elliptical machine this small at your local gym. This model could be an excellent choice for someone looking to add to their home gym. The compact design comes with a wheeled base for smooth movement and retails for around $190.
The EFITMENT elliptical machine also has both moveable and stationary handholds. So that you can work both your upper and lower body at the same time. Ellipticals provide a low impact workout, and this model can offer similar benefits to running. Without the potential damage to your knees.
The cons of this machine are that it can limit the stride of those who are taller. And it may be not durable enough for rigorous daily workouts that last a long time. It is also less adjustable than the models typically found at the gym. And comes with fewer features programmed into the on-board monitor.
Climbers are a relatively new form of cardio. And not every commercial gym will have a climber machine for you to try. However, climbers have gotten more popular. Because it provides a full body workout that uses the weight of your own body.
Rumor has it that Matt Damon uses a climber machine as part of his cardio workout. And the machines have been standard in rock climbing gyms for years. While climber machine designs may vary, the basic movements are the same. And many find it to be a fascinating form of cardio.
5. Our Pick: Maxi Climber Vertical Climber
While there are much more robust climbers available, they often take up quite a bit of space. And tend to cost several thousand dollars. With that much space required and the expense. It can be challenging to find a climbing machine at your local gym.
However, home gym models have begun to emerge, and while the quality could largely be improved. The space-saving designs allow people the chance to get a full body climbing workout at home. With a far smaller price tag.
The Maxi Climber retails for $180 and provides a low impact workout. That does the job of several machines at the gym. The foldable design means that it can be tucked away when not in use. And it can be adjusted to suit the height of various users.
One con with this machine is that it can wear down over time with prolonged and rigorous workouts. And replacement parts may be needed. It does come partially assembled, but more assembly will be required. It also doesn't come with any fancy display or on-board computer like other workout equipment.
Instead, it has only a workout timer that stops and starts when you use the machine or pause.
Buyer’s Guide For The Best Cardio Machine
When looking to buy a cardio machine. There are a few factors you'll want to keep in mind before making a final decision. Functionality is an essential item to consider. Mainly if you are looking for a space-saving option that you can tuck away when not being used.
The Functionality of the Machine
Many of the cheaper machines for home use will tend to have little to no adjustment. And provide only one kind of exercise. Be wary of treadmills or ellipticals that don’t have adjustable components such as stride, incline, or resistance.
Home Gym vs. Commercial Gym
When you use equipment at a commercial gym. Keep in mind that those machines are designed to be used all day by many individuals. Their designs have long-term performance and durability in mind but typically take up much more space than is required.
Durability and Construction
Home equipment that is cheap can be tempting. But be sure to read the reviews of others who have thoroughly tested it. Many times, the construction may not be durable enough for long-term use. And some maintenance will be involved to keep your equipment running at its best.
Home versions of cardio machines may also have clever ways that they can be stored. And many units either fold or are stored in different positions.
Lastly, don't be shy about measuring your space. To make sure a new cardio machine will fit when in storage, and when in use.