Recumbent elliptical cross trainers are one of the best ways to get a low impact, full-body workout at home. If you are looking to add an excellent, all-round exercise machine to your home gym, then an elliptical cross trainer might be your best bet. Let’s review the top 3 best recumbent elliptical cross-trainers on the market today to help you exercise all of your major muscle groups on one machine.
There is a lot of evidence that full body workouts are better for you. But, if you think about how many machines you use at your local gym when you do a full workout… it gets hard to figuring out how to get all the equipment into your house. And an accounting firm did a study that showed that the average cost to get all the equipment can be up to $1,000,000 – so pretty much out of budget for most of us!
So, if you are looking for a piece of equipment that can get you in shape, without taking too much space and without breaking the bank, then a recumbent elliptical cross trainer might be a great choice.
These wonder machines help you get a complete body workout in a comfortable seated position while mimicking the action that happens during running.
What sets recumbent elliptical cross trainers apart from other equipment?
So, how are these machines different from other home gym equipment like exercise bikes?
- Well, the first major difference lies in the pedaling motion.Instead of pedaling as you would typically do on a bike, you push large pedals front and back with your feet when using a recumbent elliptical cross trainer. You will be pedaling while sitting.
- Secondly, these machines also let you exercise your upper body muscles because they have moving handle bars that give you resistance, so you can get those muscle groups in on the action.
- Finally, the recumbent part of these devices means you are sitting, not standing. That reduces the impact on your knees and other joints, making this a great way to get a lower impact workout.
At fitnessmasterly, we review many varieties of cardio machines such as treadmills, exercise bikes, etc. However, if you are specifically looking for low impact cardio equipment, recumbent cross trainer ellipticals should be your first choice.
|Equipment||Low Impact||Upper Body||Lower Body||Muscle Targeting||Full Range of Motion|
|Recumbent Elliptical Cross-Trainer|
A low impact workout session that burns more calories by engaging different sets of muscles.
Need more convincing?
Remember how your regular home gym equipment often leaves you feeling exhausted and out of breath instead of making you feel rejuvenated and energized?
While you can get a good “out of breath” exercise on one of these, you can also get a great cardio and resistance workout without feeling like your lungs are burning if you want. Its natural stepping motion will let you exercise longer and get more muscles moving than other devices like treadmills.
Recumbent Elliptical Cross Trainers offer an outstanding form of aerobic workout, at home, that can be carried out irrespective of the weather outside. Cross trainer ellipticals also build arm and leg strength while providing low joint impacting training.
Seated cross trainers, like the ones we review here, provide excellent cardio that is safe if it so happens that you are going through some kind of physical therapy. These workouts will help you to recover gradually, thus increasing your ability. Of course, you need to consult with your doctor or PT before embarking on any exercise regime.
We will present you with a buying guide to help you understand what you need to watch out for when you are going to buy a cross-trainer elliptical.
However, if you are in a hurry and would prefer to go to product links to check them out directly on Amazon, the following are the cross trainer ellipticals that we are going to review them in detail:
|Top Options||Amazon Product Link|
|Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical||Check Price|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Recumbent Bike Exercise Bike||Check Price|
|ProForm Hybrid Trainer||Check Price|
How to choose the best recumbent elliptical cross trainer?
While choosing a recumbent elliptical cross trainer, there are a few, key features you’ll want to evaluate:
They must be big and most definitely have a backrest. Seats with recline setting is an added benefit as it gives more options to customize your sitting position. Remember, one of the key ways you reduce the impact of this workout is because you aren’t standing, thus reducing the stress on your knees and lower back. So make sure the seat is comfortable and adjustable.
The pedal motion can either be linear or circular. The linear motion is like the one achieved on a stepper, and the circular motion is similar to that on a regular exercise bike.
It may come down to personal preference. Do you prefer the more circular motion that you’d get on a some of the standard elliptical machines, or a motion more similar to a stair stepper? We’ve heard that linear motion is the preferred choice as it delivers a low impact workout session, although we don’t have a ton of evidence to support this.
The features on a recumbent elliptical machine are directly proportional to the costs. In general, they are not as advanced as the features found on other fitness equipment.
These machines have simple features like a digital console that displays time and distance. Some also have a pulse sensor to monitor the heart rate.
However, the must-have features to look out for are:
- Adjustable handlebars
- Adjustable resistance levels
- Durable frame
- Easy assembly and maintenance
- Weight capacity
Just like any other fitness machine, you must consider the maximum weight capacity of the recumbent elliptical cross trainer that you plan to buy. This is the weight of the user that the cross trainer can accommodate.
Keep in mind your weight and the weight of the other people who will be sharing the equipment.
It is better to choose a machine that has a higher weight capacity as this usually indicates more durability and strength.
How did we choose?
Our experts spent numerous hours researching and testing the most popular recumbent elliptical trainers available in the USA market. All of this effort has helped us choose the top 3 recumbent elliptical trainers on the market right now.
We have also taken into consideration the price and customer satisfaction ratings while coming up with the list.
So, let’s get started!
Teeter FreeStep recumbent cross trainer and elliptical (LT1 and LT2)
Teeter is a family-run business. Established in 1981 with a mission to build quality, safe, and innovative products, it helps people enjoy their lives without any back pain.
Roger Teeter, the founder of the organization, experienced years of debilitating back pain. Inspired by his personal experience, he launched inversion tables, designed with the sole intention of improving spine health.
The Teeter FreeStep recumbent cross trainer elliptical is one such product and is part of their “stabilization” series. It strengthens the muscles while keeping low impact and reducing the likelihood of injuries – while at the same time keeps you active and fit.
Teeter FreeStep comes in two different models: LT1 and LT3.
The LT3 model comes at a bit higher price than LT1 – usually about $200 more, but prices really fluctuate on Amazon, so it may be different at this moment. And the reason for this is because of the upgraded, performance-enhancing attributes of LT3. The bearings are upgraded to UltraGlide, which promises long-lasting frictionless motion. SoftStep pedals also added to provide a durable grip surface. The following table shows what is additional in LT3 compared to LT1.
- SoftStep Pedals: With a rubber (TPR) tread overlay, the pedals offer a softer yet durable grip surface for added cushioning, traction and control.
- ComfortSelect Seat: With a 27% thicker cushion and a 12% increase in surface area, the seat features two mounting points to customize its position to fit your needs.
- SureGrip Handles: High-grade rubberized coated handles provide enhanced grip and durability over the standard foam-wrapped handles.
- UltraGlide Bearings: Commercial-grade steel ball bearings are an upgrade over plastic bushings at each pivot point for advanced fluidity of motion, resulting in effortless start-up and stride transitions.
- Extended Warranty: Extended 2-Year full warranty as opposed to 1-year standard warranty for LT1
Main features of the product
The Teeter FreeStep redefines the experience of exercising in the comfort of your home environment with a zero impact, stress-free cardio, and power workout.
Designed to allow you to exercise with a promise not to cause high impact pain, the Teeter FreeStep brings a new and exciting way to train in your own home. This cross trainer recumbent goes beyond any traditional fitness equipment and ensures to deliver calorie-burning results, also taking the load off your back and joints. Teeter achieves this by its patented stride technology.
Incorporating the dual power motion allows you to naturally distribute the muscle effort throughout the body. If you get tired of exercising your legs, you can focus on your arms and vice-versa. This way, you can exercise for more extended periods?a more natural, comfortable total body workout. The more calories you burn, you faster you progress towards your fitness goals.
This machine is made to last for a long time. Smooth and quiet ride, as I would prefer. Sturdy and comfortable as well. Assembly took 2 hours. Reasonable price and I feel it is worth every dollar
Main features of Teeter FreeStep cross trainer:
The seat of the Teeter FreeStep is adjustable. One can adjust its height as well as the recline positions separately. This is useful for finding a fit that is most comfortable for you.
The seat offers three recline settings to choose from. Additionally, one can adjust the height with the help of a spring-loaded knob.
It is very comfortable as it is larger than a traditional exercise bike seat. It can comfortably accommodate people between 4’11” 6’6 ” tall. So it’s a great option for short or very tall people.
If you want to increase further comfortable levels, you should buy a padded seat cover.
- Pedal Motion
The FreeStep recumbent has a linear pedal motion. As a result, it puts considerably less stress on the lower body joints. The pedals are big enough to fit your shoes comfortably easily.
It has an ergonomic design and allows users to pedal in forward as well as reverse motion. This helps to maximize the workout session.
- Adjustable resistance
It has a quiet, magnetic resistance system. Users can adjust the intensity level from high to low by turning a dial placed near the seat. Users can choose from 8 distinct levels.
As one adjusts the knob, the magnetic brake moves farther or closer from the flywheel, increasing or decreasing the pedaling difficulty.
- Two sets of Handles
This recumbent elliptical features two sets of handlebars- one fixed and one mobile. The handlebars are fixed and attached to the seat, and the mobile handlebars are fixed to the pedal bars.
The fixed handlebars are behind the seat and have small grips. The grip fitted on the right handle has the resistance adjustment dial on it. We like these two different options, so if you don’t want to get an upper body workout, you can just hold the fixed handles and focus on your legs.
The mobile handlebars have curved grips with a dense layer of rubber foam. This provides maximum comfort to the users. It seems like a pretty good grip too.
The length of each of the mobile handlebars is adjustable. Apart from that, users can choose to lock them in an inward or outward setting.
- Digital console
The FreeStep recumbent has a battery-operated digital LCD console that is useful for tracking workout stats like calories, distance, time, and speed.
The readings are available in MPH and miles only. It is not equipped with a pulse reading function. It is easy to use and requires 2 AA batteries.
The top part of the console has a small shelf that can hold your phone or tablet. The digital console does not have any USB ports. There isn’t a water bottle holder.
- Assembly and maintenance
The assembly is pretty straight forward as it comes with a detailed and well-illustrated instruction manual. Additionally, most of the parts are pre-assembled.
The equipment is easy to maintain too. The internal parts do not need lubrication. It only requires a periodic inspection for loose bolts and parts.
- Patented Stride Technology
This is a unique feature of the Teeter FreeStep recumbent cross trainer and elliptical. It is the only home-use stepper that is designed with patented commercial physical training equipment technology.
Simply put, it provides all the benefits of high-end commercial physiotherapy steppers but at a more affordable price range.
As a result of this technology, the legs can move in an upward and downward movement rather than the circular motion found in most exercise bikes.
- A durable frame that can accommodate users up to 300 lbs
- Great for short or tall people
- Transport wheels facilitate easy transportation
- Ideal for low impact exercise
- Does not have pre-set workout programs
- No online connectivity
To get a good idea about the various features and capabilities of the FreeStep recumbent, check this video:
Easy to use. After each workout, I feel great. Granted, it has been only two months that I had this cross trainer, but I like it. Considering that I am very tall, I was worried about getting full stride extension. Fortunately, I get the full stride with no issues. The adjustability of arms and seat are a great plus for my height. Certainly, better than what I expected.Barry. A.
If you are looking for a recumbent that has a fluid, smooth, and natural motion, then the Teeter FreeStep is an excellent choice for you. It helps to relieve pain in the knees, legs, feet, and hips without causing any stress or injuries.
Sunny health & fitness magnetic recumbent bike – SF-RB4708
Sunny Health and Fitness is a premier importer and distributor of high-quality fitness equipment ranging from cycle bikes to treadmills and everything in between. It has headquarters in Los Angeles (USA) and Xiamen (China). They source directly from the manufactures and are hence able to offer products at a more competitive price than others. (We like Sunny so much that we reviewed the best Sunny exercise bikes here.) Sunny is generally considered a great value brand – lower on the cost side, higher on the durability side.
The Sunny SF-RB4708 is a no-frills recumbent exercise bike that puts affordability and simplicity over everything else. Even though it is compact and light, it has a solid build and gets the job done well.
This cross trainer magnetic recumbent bike allows you to do a full-body work and burn more calories. You will be moving the handlebars back and forth while pedaling at the same time. This, in turn, works out your arms, shoulders, and back and the pedals get your lower body.
The Sunny SF-RB4708 is a great way to burn calories, especially if you are on a budget.
My doctor recommended this bike to me. I used to go to a health center to do my exercise, but I could not go to everybody. Instead, I bought this recumbent. Very happy with the purchase. The price is very reasonable when compared to expensive alternatives such as Nu-steps. Satisfied.
Main features of the Sunny SF-RB4708
The Sunny SF-RB4708 recumbent exercise bike has a simple design that looks smart and will not be an eyesore in your home.
Some of the salient features of this equipment are:
- Seat and handlebars
This exercise bike has a contoured, cushioned seat with additional padding. We really like this padding; it will help keep your butt comfortable and keep you legs from falling asleep during a vigorous and prolonged workout session. Plus, it helps to relieve pressure on the tail bone due to the continuous sitting position.
The seat has a durable synthetic upholstery. The backrest also has a thick layer of padding.
The recumbent has moveable handles that go back and forth while pedaling. You can not lock the handles. It will move along with the pedals at all times. Hence if you wish to exercise using only your arms, keep your feet firmly on the floor. So, unlike the pricier Teeter that we just reviewed, there isn’t a second set of stationary handles that you can grab if you want to do a lower body workout only.
- Adjustable resistance
The SF-RB4708 has a manual magnetic resistance system that comprises of a magnetic pad connected to a lever via a steel wire. By adjusting the lever up and down, users can increase or decrease the resistance.
It has eight levels of resistance, thereby allowing users with varying fitness levels to perform an effective and challenging workout.
- Step-through design
This convenient feature makes getting on the recumbent exercise bike very safe and secure. Due to the step-through design, one does not have to extend their legs over a high bar to sit on the exercise equipment.
Just step over the low bar, sit on the seat comfortably, and start pedaling.
Built using nylon material, the pedals of the Sunny SF-RB4708 are very durable. It has a weighted design and adjustable straps to ensure foot stability. It also has standard threads that make it easy to find a replacement if you ever need it.
Additionally, there is a narrow Q-Factor to ensure your foot is positioned onto the pedals comfortably, and there is no lateral stress induced on your knees.
- Digital Monitor
The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RB4708 has a digital monitor screen for tracking your progress. It has a heart rate monitor that reads your heart rate precisely and allows you to exercise at the correct intensity to achieve the desired results. It also displays the distance and time.
The monitor is easy to use. It has a scan function that shows all the workout metrics for 6 seconds on display. One can switch off the scan function by pressing the mode button. The set button lets you set a value for calories, time, distance, and pulse. You can clear the values and set them to zero using the reset button.
- Pulse Sensor
The handlebars have EKG sensors installed in them to track your pulse. This is an excellent feature as measuring the pulse rate is an essential tool for exercising efficiently and correctly.
Information about your pulse rate will make you better aware of your fitness and health status.
- Patented Easy Seat Adjustments
The unique feature of the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RB4708 recumbent exercise bike is its patented easy seat adjustment technology.
With this feature?s help, users no longer have to get up from the machine to adjust the seat. Instead, they can easily adjust the position with the support of a handle placed at the side.
- Light recumbent bike
- A maximum user capacity of 350 lbs
- Less expensive – we pretty regularly see it under $300
- Easy to assemble and operate
- Minimum maintenance required
- No provision for bottle holder
- There are no armrests at the seat
Check the video below to see this recumbent exercise bike in action:
I feel this is an excellent recumbent cross trainer for the price. Well designed, and I find it very sturdy. Delivers what it says it is supposed to do. Assembly instructions were not super clear, but overall it was easy to assemble. The size of the seat is decent; however, it is firm. I used an extra foam pad.Paul. J.
The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-RB4708 is a great entry-level model that is super low priced. It is an excellent choice for elderly users and people who need recovery training.
ProForm Hybrid Trainer
ProForm is a dominant player in the home fitness equipment market. Their product line consists of hybrid trainers, exercise bikes, ellipticals, and rowing machines. The company?s commitment to quality has made it a leading name in the industry. ProForm doesn’t usually have the cheapest products, but the value to price ratio is usually excellent, and this “hybrid trainer” is no exception.
The ProForm hybrid trainer is a piece of versatile fitness equipment that converts from a recumbent exercise bike into an elliptical trainer in a few minor adjustments. This feature lets users perform cross fitness training on one machine itself. It is Bluetooth enabled and compatible with iFit services.
Fantastic hybrid machine. I really like the fact this cross trainer is a 2-in-1 exercise machine. I did not subscribe to iFIT and rather just use the machine and pre-set programs. It is compact for home use, and the price is right.Jasmin. M.
Main features of the product
This 2-in-1 fitness machine is not only versatile but also durable, quiet, and affordable. Have a look at some of the most striking features of this product:
- 2-in-1 design
Unlike the other devices we reviewed in this article, the ProForm Hybrid Trainer converts from a seated elliptical to a standing cross trainer. That’s a pretty neat trick – but keep in mind, it’s different than the other devices we talk about in this article.
- Adjustable seat
ProForm understands that to have a fantastic workout session, it is essential to focus on the details. As a result, the hybrid trainer has a cushioned, adjustable seat to provide maximum comfort to the user.
The backrest has a vented structure. This helps to cool off during a high-intensity session. Additionally, the curved design of the backrest provides extra lumbar support and lines up your posture to avoid sore backs.
The seat has an adjustable rail with 17 adjustment positions. The seat’s upholstery consists of durable and waterproof vinyl material.
Users who are up to 6’3″-6’4″ can stretch their legs completely when used as a recumbent bike.
- Long and Smooth Elliptical Strides
This hybrid trainer has 15″ stride length, which allows users to steadily moved towards their fitness goal while enjoying full elliptical strides. Some people may find this to be a bit short of a stride.
The elliptical strides accord a softer landing for your legs and a consistent path to tread on, reducing accidental missteps.
The ProForm trainer has three sets of handlebars. The seat handlebars are directly fixed to the seat frame. They are not adjustable and have small grips.
The handlebars next to the digital console have EKG sensors to monitor the pulse when held by the user.
The mobile arms have a more extended grip, which makes it comfortable for users of all sizes. These are not lockable and will move along with the pedals.
Keep in mind you can’t use the handles while doing the seated exercise.
- Adjustable pedals
The pedals can be adjusted in two positions – inclined and horizontal.
To use as a recumbent bike, lift the pedals, open the braces, place their ends inside the pedal arms, and finally lock them in an upright position.
If you want to use it as an elliptical, close the braces to rest on the metallic pedal arms.
The pedals have no suspension or articulation system. However, it has a ribbed surface that provides good adherence. Also, the pedals are large enough to accommodate footwear of various sizes.
The battery-operated console features a LED-backlit LCD monitor. It has three display panels. It is capable of tracking speed, time, RPM, distance, calories, and pulse. It displays three parameters at a time.
The console has a tablet holder as well as a sound system that is compatible with a majority of smartphones, tablets, and MP3 players.
It has a prominent speaker at the bottom half of the console. Users can adjust the volume using the volume keys fitted on the console. An audio jack is also available on the right-hand side of the unit.
- iFit and Bluetooth enabled
This feature sets it apart from the rest as users can sync their IOS or Android devices to the iFit app and transfer their workout data into their iFit account.
As it supports Bluetooth connectivity, you can also use a wireless heart rate chest strap (not part of the kit)
to monitor your heart rate. Otherwise, use the EKG sensors fitted on the front handlebars to get the reading.
The iFit ready feature gives you instant access to 16 training programs – eight bike workouts and eight elliptical workouts.
A certified personal trainer specially designs each workout session.
- Sturdy construction- can accommodate up to 350 lbs of weight
- The magnetic resistance has16 distinctive levels
- Has a water bottle holder
- Transport wheels for smooth movement
- Works with iFit
- You have to pay more to get iFit
- May be a shorter stride
- Adapter and batteries not part of the kit
- Not necessarily a con, but it’s a 2-in-1, so just keep that in mind
Watch a demonstration of the ProForm hybrid trainer to get a sneak peek of its various functionalities:
I am satisfied with the purchase. I am a 60-years young woman with bad knees:) and it took me 2 hours for assembly. All items in the package were clearly labeled. This recumbent is made with heavy-duty materials. For the seat, I had to use a foam pad as the seat is firm. Very easy to change from one exercise to the other. I could not have asked for more for the money I paid.Jenny. C.
If you are not sure about the type of workout machine you want to own- a recumbent exercise bike or elliptical trainer- then ProForm Hybrid Trainer is a perfect choice as it lets you have the best of both worlds.
Recumbent elliptical trainers have become quite a rage and for all the right reasons. Here is a quick summary of the three best recumbent elliptical cross trainer that we have discussed in the article.
This elliptical, recumbent bike with patented stride technology has redefined recumbent exercises. The unique stepping motion allows you to exercise in a way that does not cause any soreness, stress, or joint pain.
It provides a full-body workout and expends more calories to get faster results.
This recumbent cross trainer offers excellent value for price. It’s the lowest cost option that we reviewed in this article, but you’ll find it to be a great value. Even though it is budget-friendly exercise equipment, it does pack a punch. The machine puts the comfort of its users first, built with a patented “easy seat” adjustment feature.
It is ideal for medium to light intensity workouts, recovery training, and stamina development.
This recumbent elliptical trainer is a 2-in-1 heavy-duty fitness machine. It has a Bluetooth and iFit enabled console that has 16 workout programs designed by certified fitness trainers.
It is suitable for intense cardio training, muscle toning interval training, and weight loss. It is a versatile piece of equipment that is durable and operates without making any noise. It also has many customizable features. Just remember, it’s a 2-in-1, so may not exactly be the seated cross trainer that you are looking for.
We hope that our review has helped you to zero in on your desired recumbent elliptical cross trainer. We wish you all the best as you set foot on your fitness journey and meet a better and fitter version of yourself!
Frequently Asked Questions about Recumbent Ellipticals
Which is better a recumbent bike or an elliptical?
The main difference between a recumbent elliptical and a recumbent bike is that the elliptical has a longer pedaling motion. This longer pedaling means your knees make a smaller circle. This also means you can work out a bit longer on the elliptical than on the bike.
Is the seated elliptical a good workout?
Ellipticals are known to provide excellent cardiovascular workouts. A seated elliptical, also called recumbent elliptical, will allow you to do longer duration workouts. These are excellent, especially for those that are recovering from knee issues. Recumbent ellipticals put less stress on your joints, and are a great low impact workout.
How long is a good workout on an elliptical?
For a warmup, anywhere between five to 20 minutes is good. For maximum cardiovascular benefit, it is better to do 15-60 minutes at medium resistance or higher.
Can you lose belly fat on a recumbent bike?
Using any cardio machine such as a recumbent elliptical at a moderate difficulty level will help you to lose body fat. Spot reduction is a myth, but when you lose overall body weight, you are bound to lose belly fat.
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Very good comparison, answered a lot of questions. My main concern was the use of ball bearings on the various models tested. Disappointed to read customer comments on the Pro Form Elliptical Cross Trainer. Looks like the Teeter may win out although I’m leery of the price difference between the tested equipment.