The best home cross trainers for the ultimate cardio workout

Getting your sweat on at home can be so easy with these amazing picks

Man and woman on home cross trainers

by Adam Binnie |
Updated on

Exercising, whether you’re aiming to build muscle, lose weight (or both) relies on putting your body under significant stress, so it can rebuild itself in a stronger form. Activities like running are ideal for achieving both of those goals at once but also take their toll on your joints – with knees, hips and lower back suffering from discomfort and injury that can impact your ability to train.

Related: The best home treadmills

Combining the aerobic workout of a long run with the low-impact rotation of riding a bike, a cross-trainer (or elliptical as they’re more commonly known) offers the ability to absolutely bonfire calories without pounding away at your joints, because your feet never leave the pedals.

An elliptical is a really efficient use of your workout time because you can do a short burst of high-intensity training without the associated high-impact, and also employ your upper body by using the long handles to move your arms as well as your legs.

Related: The best home stepper machines

By moving your foot position or ramping up the incline (if your machine has this feature) you can also target different leg muscles during the same workout, meaning a better ability to mix things up and improve fitness in several areas of your body at once.

The downsides? Well some of the more fully-featured models can take up a lot of space, while cheaper units generate a fair bit of noise. The motion of running on an elliptical is also a bit different to running outdoors, so while a useful training tool, you won’t be training the same range of motion when you go for a run.

Related: The best home rowing machines

The best home cross trainers

Best all-round performer

Situated right in the middle of the road when it comes to cross-trainer budget, the Dripex cross trainer has a digital monitor and pulse rate pinch. It's quiet but heavy-duty, so you'll get a good full-body workout. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of the more expensive machine in this list, but it's suitably more feature-rich than the cheaper option.

Best for big budgets

Horizon Andes 7i Elliptical Cross TrainerJohn Lewis & Partners

This has been built to a gym-level standard, which is great news if you plan to do a lot of miles. The T7.1 elliptical balances entertainment with powerful performance. It's adjustable, has built-in speakers and hand pulse grips and a polar chip receiver to check your heart rate. The special foot frame follows a natural elliptical motion for more efficient workouts.

Best value

With a robust steel frame and padded dual-action handlebars, this trainer is great for a small workout space combined with a small budget. It also promises a single screen multi-function LCD monitor to help you track your stats. With its oversized non-slip footplates, your home workout will be fun and safe.

Best if you don't have a plug socket

Domyos Cross Trainer EL520Decathlon
Price: £349.99 (RRP £449.99)

If you want to enjoy the view from your balcony while you train or your workout space simply doesn't have a power supply, then this model from Decathlon is powered by your movements, which is a very efficient use of the energy you expend. It has a 9kg flywheel, various workouts and a tablet holder, so you've got no excuse to not train now.

Best for something different

This sits between an elliptical and a stepper, offering the intensity of the latter with the smoothness of motion of the former, whilst giving low impact but high-intensity workouts. It also has an accompanying app for your phone to help with your training.

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