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The 8 Best Cardio Machines for Home

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Cardio machines have a lot of variety. Check out the best ones for your use case:

Stair-climbing machines
Elliptical machines
Rowing machines
Exercise Bikes

From Tosca

Cardio gets the blood pumping!

No matter what your fitness goals are, cardio is a critical element of a well rounded fitness routine. Devoting some time to cardiovascular training can strengthen your heart, improve the strength of your respiratory system, reduce cholesterol, and even lower your risk for dementia.



Steppers (or stair climbing machines) are like endless staircases; they’re an intense and effective mode of cardio. A stair machine specifically works your heart/lung engine while also challenging your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. This is a definite must in any workout if you want to activate your metabolic fitness.

SOLE, CC81 Cardio Climber, Stair Stepper Machine

SOLE CC81 Cardio Climber



  • 20 resistance levels
  • Integrated tablet holder
  • Works the arms for additional calorie burning


  • Some users have trouble pairing with app

The SOLE CC81 Cardio Climber is more like a ladder climber than a stair climber. In addition to increasing your heart rate, this machine works your arms, legs, shoulders, and glutes. Because this workout is so intense, you may want to use the machine in short intervals and work your way up.

Bowflex Max Trainer Series<br />

Bowflex M3 Max Trainer



  • Includes 2 workout programs & 8 resistance levels
  • Tracks history for 2 users
  • Display shows calories burned per minute


  • 1-year warranty is shorter than average

The Bowflex M3 Max Trainer offers the intense movement of a stair climber with the low-impact motions of an elliptical. The included chest strap helps accurately measure your heart rate while you climb. M3 Max users can benefit from 8 levels of resistance.


Ellipticals allow walking and running in a way that’s stressful to the joints. Unlike a treadmill, your feet never leave the surface of an elliptical, which saves your joints from having to absorb shock. The moving handles on an elliptical also engage your arms so you can burn more calories while simultaneously toning them.

Sunny Health & Fitness Legacy Stepping Elliptical Machine

Sunny Health & Fitness Essentials Series Elliptical



  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Small footprint
  • App includes free on-demand workouts


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The Sunny Health & Fitness Essential Elliptical is a good low-cost machine with a relatively small footprint. You can track your metrics on your phone in real time by connecting the machine to the SunnyFit app via Bluetooth. This elliptical offers 8 levels of magnetic resistance.

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Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine

Schwinn Fitness 430 Elliptical



  • 22 fitness programs & 20 resistance levels
  • Media rack for mobile devices
  • Track progress & compare workouts via “Goal Track”


  • Some users struggle to connect Bluetooth

The Schwinn Fitness 430 Elliptical offers a stride of 20” and can incline up to 10 degrees. This high-tech machine’s enhanced Bluetooth connectivity allows it to integrate with multiple fitness apps, including the Explore the World app. The Schwinn Fitness 430 has 25 levels of hydraulic resistance.


Treadmills are a classic piece of fitness equipment found in most gyms, even at home gyms. Users walk or run on a conveyor belt according to their desired pace. Some treadmills also have an adjustable incline feature for additional resistance.

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NordicTrack T Series Treadmills

NordicTrack T6.5S Treadmill



  • Adjustable incline
  • Cushioned deck for joint protection
  • Easylift functionality for storage


  • Some features require iFIT subscription

The NordicTrack T6.5s is all about comfort. It leaves plenty of space for your knees and elbows to swing without hitting anything, and the Flexselect deck cushioning reduces the impact on your joints. When you finish your workout, the treadmill folds up for easy storage.

IN10CT (Intensity) Health Runner Curved Manual Treadmill

IN10CT Health Runner Manual Treadmill



  • Burns more calories than motorized treadmills
  • No electricity required
  • Rubberized belt reduces impact


  • More expensive than some alternatives
  • No media shelf

With the IN10CT Manual Treadmill, you are the motor. This unique machine is 100% powered by you, forcing you to work harder to set and maintain your desired pace. Its unique curved design allows your body to move more naturally as you walk or run.

Rowing Machines

Rowing may be the ultimate full-body workout. In addition to elevating your heart rate, rowing engages muscles in your legs, stomach, chest, back, shoulders, and arms. If you only have time to hit one machine, a rower will give you the most comprehensive exercise in one go.

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Sunny Health & Fitness Rowing Machine Rower Ergometer

Sunny Machine Rower



  • Foldable for easy storage
  • 4 levels of resistance
  • Oversized cushioned seat


  • 220-pound weight capacity
  • Resistance may be too little for intermediate-to-advanced users

The Sunny Machine Rower is a decent low-cost option for beginners. This machine is comfortable and easy to use with non-slip pedals, an oversized seat, and 4 levels of elastic resistance. Plus, the rower folds in half to make storage simpler.

Rowing Machine, Dripex Magnetic Foldable Rower

Dripex Magnetic Foldable Rower



  • 16 levels of resistance
  • Small footprint
  • Folds & rolls for easy storage


  • Straps may be too high for smaller feet

The Dripex Foldable Rower offers 16 levels of magnetic resistance to challenge you. Its media shelf and ultra-quiet flywheel make it easy to work out without disturbing others. And thanks to the folding frame and transport wheels, this machine is easy to stow away when not in use.

Buyer’s Guide

What to Look for When Buying a Cardio Machine

Lots of people buy something like a treadmill or an elliptical with the best intentions, but they never actually use it more than a handful of times. It’s important to ask fundamental questions before making a big purchase.

What Will You Actually Use?

Yes, right now, you’re sure you’ll run on the treadmill every day. But that’s your ideal self. Will your realistic self do it?

It’s okay if the answer is no, but you need to be honest with yourself. You may want to challenge yourself with a stair climber, but will you have the energy and desire to get on it multiple times a week? Maybe you’ll find rowing is a more sustainable daily workout for you.

It’s best to try different machines out at a gym and think critically: what do you realistically see yourself using regularly?

What Kind of Space Do You Have?

Generally speaking, machines feel far bigger than you think they will. Consider the space you’re working with before making a final purchase.

Do you have the room for something massive? Will you need your machine to fold down to half its size? Will you consider it an eyesore if you can’t wheel it out of sight?

What Are Your Fitness Goals?

What are you trying to accomplish in the long term? Any machine will meet your fitness needs if you’re just trying to stay fit.

If you participate in events like marathons or mountaineering, you probably want a specific machine like a treadmill or a stair climber, respectively. If you want to spend the least time working out for the most full-body benefit, a machine like a rower will work great for you.