Elliptical machines offer a surprisingly effective cardio workout that targets your upper and lower body. Major muscle groups along the back of your body benefit most from this exercise, especially those larger muscles in your legs. Plus, it’s a great low-impact alternative to running or jogging! Once you’ve decided to add an elliptical machine to your home gym, you might be overwhelmed by the different choices on the Canadian market.
We’re here to help! Through our private test lab evaluations and feedback from our team of testers, we can recommend the following best elliptical machines in Canada. We tested these machines (and many that didn’t make our list) in performance areas like resistance type, dimensions, weight limit, and display and tracking.
Best Elliptical Machines for Canadians
- Best Overall: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine
- Best Cross Trainer: Bowflex Max Total 16 Elliptical
- Best Seated: Cubii JR1 Seated Under Desk Elliptical Machine
- Best for Beginners: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Elliptical Machine
- Best Portable: Stamina in-Motion Elliptical Machine
- Best for Small Spaces: Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
Why Did We Choose These Elliptical Machines in Canada?
Each of the elliptical machines we recommend to you stands out differently. These traits put them at the top of our list. Here’s how we chose the best elliptical machines in Canada.
Our best elliptical machine overall is the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine. This option is simple, with two different arm modes, eight magnetic tension levels, and no complicated controls to contend with.
The Bowflex Max Total 16 Elliptical is the best cross-trainer elliptical on our list. 20 resistance levels, dual rails, and six different handlebars make it possible to get the most out of your workout.
If you have joint issues or need to exercise while sitting down, consider the Cubii JR1 Seated Under Desk Elliptical Machine. This machine helps you work out while seated, which is helpful for busy users or those who have problems finding their balance.
Are you just getting started on your fitness journey? The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Elliptical Machine is the perfect place to start. This light elliptical is simple, with no resistance options or complicated controls. Use this as a starting point if you’re new to elliptical machines.
The Stamina in-Motion Elliptical Machine is one of the best options for those who need to take their elliptical on the go. This lightweight and portable machine can be used seated or upright, too.
If you have a smaller home gym, consider the Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine. This option is great for users of all heights, but it doesn’t take up a lot of space wherever you have it set up.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine
Sunny Health & Fitness’s SF-E905 Elliptical is the best elliptical machine in Canada. It offers 8 levels of smooth magnetic tension, as well as the metrics and ergonomics to make you feel comfortable and ready to face your workout. The LCD monitor helps track your time, speed, distance, calories, and total distance metrics, as well as your heart rate. Pulse-tracking pads located on the stationary handlebars give a real-time pulse reading, so you know when you reach the most effective part of your workout.
This elliptical features large footpads with a non-slip texture, so those with all shoe sizes can comfortably use the elliptical. Even if you’ve had a snug fit with other machines, this option might be able to help. In addition, the ergonomic handles help provide a workout for your upper body, too. You can use the stationary handles to track your pulse or keep pace with your legs using the moving handles.
The micro-tension controller uses magnetic tension control to move through 8 different levels of resistance. These tension levels give beginners a place to start, but those who are already comfortable with using the elliptical can challenge themselves as well. You control the tension with a knob in the frame of the machine. The manual adjustment means you can take a break before increasing the difficulty.
Have a smaller home gym? You can easily move this elliptical machine to wherever you need thanks to the transportation wheels. You can take it to another room to work out or store it when not in use. The wheels make it easy for most users to lift and store this machine. Floor stabilizers on the front and back of the machine keep the machine from slipping, rocking, and swaying. Turn the sides to lock them in place, ensuring that your elliptical stays balanced and even for your workout.
The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine features 8 levels of smooth, magnetic resistance that you can adjust manually. Pulse sensors located on the stationary arms track your heart rate, while the digital monitor on the console helps track time, speed, distance, and calories. The large, non-slip foot pedals are suited for users with all shoe sizes, as they are large enough to fit most conventional sizes (and beyond).
- 8 levels of smooth, manual magnetic resistance
- Pulse sensors on stationary arms
- Digital monitor tracks time, speed, distance, calories, and heart rate
- Large non-slip foot pedals for all shoe sizes
From the Test Lab
“This elliptical machine has handy manual resistance and huge non-slip pedals. Most of our taller users found it to be a great option for them.”
Best Cross Trainer
Bowflex Max Total 16 Elliptical
It's Great For:
The Bowflex Max Total 16 Elliptical is a cross-trainer hybrid option that provides access to features that elliptical experts will enjoy. This machine uses a JRNY membership to unlock the power of the machine, which lies in pre-recording workout programs as well as live trainer-led sessions. A year of JRNY is included with the purchase of the elliptical. You can access all your favourite programs via the 16” HD touchscreen.
This touchscreen also allows you to stream shows, movies, and music while you work out. A full panel of apps gives you access to a host of entertainment options to keep you going, including interactive maps and trails to view as you pedal.
The Bowflex’s ergonomic handlebars have multiple hand position moulds, a suggestion for how you can hold the handles to make them more comfortable. No matter how tall you are, there’s an option to help you work your upper body comfortably. Since ellipticals are well-known to engage your upper body and lower body, these handlebars can help you get started.
But the Bowflex Max Total 16 Elliptical doesn’t stop there. The dual-rail design, so rarely found in standard elliptical machines, offers improved stability and glide. You’ll find that your workout is smoother and more stable overall, helping you keep your balance while you improve your muscle tone.
With 20 resistance levels, oversized pedals, and a Bluetooth armband (so you don’t always have to grip the stationary handlebar pulse pads), this machine was made for convenience. If you want to challenge yourself in your home gym, this is the machine for you.
The Bowflex Max Total 16 Elliptical offers two ways to track heart rate. There are hand grips on the stationary handles, as well as a Bluetooth armband that tracks your pulse. The 16” touchscreen display uses integrated Bluetooth speakers for all of your favourite music and shows, as well as exercise programs streamed through your fitness subscriptions. There are 20 different resistance levels to challenge yourself with, as well as a dual-rail design that offers a smooth, gliding experience for your workouts.
- Two ways to track heart rate – hand grips and a Bluetooth armband
- Bluetooth speakers integrated into the 16” touchscreen display
- 20 resistance levels to challenge yourself with
- Dual-rail design for a smooth, gliding experience
From the Test Lab
“This elliptical doubles as a cross trainer, with a smooth dual-rail motion that helps maximize the time you spend working out.”
Cubii JR1 Seated Under Desk Elliptical Machine
Cubii’s JR1 Seated Under Desk Elliptical is the perfect solution for Canadians who don’t quite have the balance to stand on an upright elliptical. This option is a floor-seated elliptical, which you can place under your desk or in front of your chair. This is ideal for the elderly, those who are recovering from certain ailments or injuries, or those who want to grab a few hours of light exercise while they work at their desk.
While some pedal models can be used while seated or standing, this one is angled to give you the best access while you sit. Unlike the bike-based pedal elliptical from the last decade, the Cubii JR1 Seated Elliptical offers a smooth, natural motion that still provides great benefits for your legs. The built-in LCD display gives you access to stats like calories burned, strides pedaled, distance traveled, and other useful metrics.
With this machine, it’s easy to track your fitness progress. It’s extremely portable, meaning you can take it to the office or use it at home. There are 8 adjustable tension levels, which you can access via a knob on the front of the device. This way, you can track how you improve over time.
In addition to the fitness goals you can reach while doing other things, this machine works well for those recovering from injuries, strains, and sprains. It’s also great for those who can’t balance on an upright elliptical, or those who can’t stand on a moving machine. The elderly, especially, can get some great benefits from this portable elliptical.
Cubii’s JR1 Seated Under Desk Elliptical Machine fits neatly under most desks, making it simple to work out while you’re working on other things. The smooth, stable motion offers a great leg workout for those who can’t stand on an upright elliptical. It’s a low-impact exercise for those who have joint issues, back issues, or balance issues. It’s great for the elderly. There are 8 manual resistance levels you can use to help improve your workout over time.
- Fits neatly under most desks
- Smooth, stable motion for a great seated leg workout
- Low-impact exercise for those with joint issues or the elderly
- 8 resistance levels to improve your workout over time
From the Test Lab
“This seated elliptical is a great alternative to the upright options, especially for our testers who suffer from joint or balance issues.”
Best for Beginners
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Elliptical Machine
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Elliptical Machine is one of the best elliptical machines in Canada for beginners. While some might want to get started with the biggest, best elliptical possible, this isn’t a practical way to get started with a new exercise regimen. If you aren’t used to working out on the elliptical, consider starting with a machine that is simple and easy to use.
This elliptical doesn’t use any tension adjustments or elevation levels. There’s no need to mess around with settings and features, making it easy to hop on and get started. over time, some users may find that this elliptical doesn’t present enough of a challenge for them. However, beginners and those looking for a light, gentle workout will appreciate this machine.
If you are a taller Canadian, you’ll love the 30″ stride length, which offers enough range of motion for those with longer legs. The handles are taller as well. They provide multiple points of contact to help you stay comfortable. Regardless of your height, the non-slip pedals will prevent instability as you use the machine. This means you can use the machine as gently or vigorously as needed without any safety concerns.
You can track stats like time, calories, total distance, and step count on the simple LCD monitor. Because this is the only part of the machine that needs power to run, it’s simple to replace the 2 AA batteries when needed. When you are finished with your workout, you can fold this elliptical down to half of its normal length to conserve space in your home.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Elliptical Machine is a lightweight, beginner-friendly option with a 30″ stride length. This allows even some taller users to get comfortable on this compact elliptical. The air resistance model makes your workout gentle without losing effectiveness. You can track metrics such as time, count, distance, and calories on the LCD monitor. When you are finished, the elliptical folds away easily.
- 30″ stride length
- Air resistance provides a gentle but effective workout
- LCD monitor for time, count, distance, and calories
- Foldable when not in use
From the Test Lab
“We loved the gentle workout this elliptical offered. Beginners will enjoy getting started with this simple machine.”
Stamina in-Motion Elliptical Machine
The Stamina in-Motion Elliptical Trainer is one of the best portable ellipticals in Canada. This option is unique in a few ways, including the ability to use it in forward or reverse motion. Each pedalling direction changes the targeted muscle groups, meaning that you can get a more complete exercise while you use this elliptical.
This lightweight machine is ready to go with you to the office or different locations within your home. Use it while you watch TV in the living room or work at your desk. You can use it while you sit, or you can stand on it to get the most out of your workout. The textured, non-slip pedals help keep your feet right where you need them, so you don’t have to worry about sliding around while you work out.
This elliptical has an adjustable tension knob on the front of the machine, alongside a small fitness monitor. The monitor tracks distance, but you can also scan to see how you’ve improved over time. The tension knob has a few different tension levels, though they function a bit differently than machines with set tension levels.
This machine offers a low-impact, seated alternative to upright elliptical machines. It’s great that you can choose how you want to use it, as those who can occasionally stand up can get a more effective workout, too.
Stamina’s in-Motion Elliptical Machine offers a manually adjustable tension knob, which gives you plenty of resistance steps to choose from. This machine offers balanced operation so that you can use it while sitting or standing. No matter how you like to work out, this portable elliptical provides an option. The forward or reverse motion helps you target different groups of muscles, too. The entire machine is extremely lightweight, portable, and easy to move from place to place. You’ll be able to exercise anywhere.
- The adjustable tension knob gives you plenty of resistance steps to choose from
- Allows you to work out while sitting or standing
- Forward or reverse motion to target different muscle groups
- Extremely lightweight and portable, so you can exercise anywhere
From the Test Lab
“This portable glider looks like a seated option, but it works both seated and standing. It’s a great choice for those who are always on the go.”
Best for Small Spaces
Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
The Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine is the perfect elliptical in Canada for smaller spaces. While you get an 18-inch stride, the track is relatively small. This means that even taller users can use the machine in tighter spaces. If you have a smaller home gym, this might be the perfect option for you.
This elliptical machine is made to save space, with a small footprint that fits effortlessly in your home gym. It comes with features not usually found in smaller ellipticals, too. You’ll find padded handlebars here, which make long workout sessions more comfortable on your hands. A set of smaller handlebars feature heart rate contacts, so you can keep track of how your cardio session is going.
The LCD console offers metrics like time, distance, heart rate, calories burned, and speed. Here, you can change the resistance level and track your progress throughout your workout. If you regularly use a tablet as you work out, you can take advantage of the tablet holder to watch your favourite workout programs.
The magnetic resistance featured here is extremely smooth. There are 16 variable resistance levels to choose from, so the machine can grow with you as you become able to handle higher resistance levels.
The Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical machine features an easy-to-use display. The LCD screen and minimal buttons help you easily navigate the features of the machine. There is a tablet holder if you prefer to watch workout programs as you get your heart rate up. There are 16 variable resistance levels you can choose from, ramping up as you improve. This elliptical works well for users up to 136 kg, or 300 lbs.
- Easy-to-use LCD display
- Tablet holder to use with Schwinn’s app
- 16 variable resistance levels
- Works well for users up to 300 lbs, or 136 kg
From the Test Lab
“The 18-inch stride length of this machine was impressive considering its small size. it’s perfect for even taller users in a smaller space.”
Why Trust Us?
For years, we’ve tried to find the best products in Canada for your lifestyle. Whether you need new kitchen appliances, new home gym equipment, or a mattress to improve your sleep, we’re ready to help. We combine results from our test lab evaluations with feedback from our exemplary team of testers to bring you recommendations. Here are some of the performance areas we looked at for the best elliptical machines in Canada.
- Resistance Type. The type of resistance that an elliptical uses can tell you how effective it is for your workout. We looked for magnetic resistance where we could, so you’ll get a smooth resistance experience.
- Dimensions. No matter how much space you have in your home gym, there’s an elliptical for you. We looked for larger machines and smaller ones, all of which work well in the space you have.
- Weight Limit. Each elliptical machine has a weight limit. We provided a variety of machines with a range of weight limits for every user.
- Display and Tracking. Most Canadians want to track their workout statistics over time. We looked for ellipticals with a variety of display sizes, types, and tracking metrics, so you can keep track of exactly what you want.
Why Should You Use an Elliptical Machine in Canada?
Elliptical machines are a popular way to get your cardio in. But what are the benefits of using one? Why should you choose one for your home gym? Let’s look at some of the top reasons you should use an elliptical in Canada.
Ellipticals work your upper and lower body while you work out. The handles present on most machines can provide an arm workout while you drive the machine with your legs. If you are using your elliptical correctly, you’ll be working your hamstrings and glutes, as well as quads, chest, back muscles, biceps, and core muscles.
It’s also a low-impact workout. Because of the way that an elliptical machine glides in use, it doesn’t put as much of your weight directly on your joints. This means that you can get some of the best benefits from walking and jogging without irritating your joints, which is especially useful if you have issues with joint pain or past injuries.
An elliptical is also one of the best machines to choose from if you want to target your leg muscles. The longer, larger muscles along the backs of your legs are targeted in the elliptical movement, so you can work on building and toning these muscles with the use of an elliptical machine.
Finally, an elliptical machine is a cardio workout. It’s a great option if you want to boost your workout stamina or your cardio health. You can go slow with a steady-state cardio option, or you can use an elliptical for high-intensity training. The choice is yours, and most elliptical machines are versatile enough to help you achieve these goals.
How to Choose an Elliptical Machine for Canadians
Every Canadian needs different features from their elliptical machines. Because of all the different features and options to navigate, it can be difficult to choose the elliptical that’s best for you. Here are just a few of the most important things to consider when choosing the best elliptical machine in Canada.
While treadmills and other exercise machines use a variety of different resistance systems, there are only a couple of options you should keep an eye on when choosing an elliptical machine in Canada.
- Magnetic resistance uses a magnet that moves closer to the wheel as you increase the resistance. The wheel is pulled, making it more difficult to move. Magnetic resistance is smooth, but might not offer more serious, advanced resistance.
- Electromagnetic resistance is a more advanced model. It’s a more expensive option that you might not find in more moderately priced machines. This resistance uses magnets fixed around the drive wheel, which react to an electric current to make the wheel more difficult to turn.
Most of the elliptical machines on our list use magnetic resistance. Some adjust manually, while others can be adjusted via the console or touchscreen.
The drive type, or configuration, of the machine can make a difference in your workout.
- Front Drive. With a front-drive elliptical, the flywheel is at the front of the elliptical. These ellipticals aren’t as common as they used to be, because they tend to be noisy and shaky. However, front-drive machines have a much smaller footprint than the more common rear-drive machines.
- Rear Drive. A rear-drive elliptical uses a flywheel at the back of the machine, behind the pedals. The rear drive is the most common configuration, especially when it comes to budget models. They are longer than other options but smoother and quieter. The rails can sometimes tilt to offer another level of resistance.
- Center Drive. Center-drive ellipticals offer a rounded stride, making the transition between strokes gentle and easier to handle (especially for beginners). This configuration feathers central flywheels at each side of the machine. It’s the type most used in large gym chains, and they tend to take up less floor space than the longer rear-drive systems.
Tension levels, or resistance levels, can help you train more effectively. While some ellipticals are standard gliders (and offer no tension levels), a machine with tension is ready to support you on your fitness journey. More tension levels are better if you are looking to improve muscle tone or stamina over time.
Tension levels can adjust how hard it is to move the machine in increments. A beginner will start at the first resistance level and continue to increase the tension as they improve.
The way you increase the tension level can play a factor in how effective it is. Manual tension adjustment requires you to stop the machine and turn a knob to change the tension. Other machines may use a console to help change tension. The type you choose depends on how you want to use your machine.
The size of a machine can be one of the factors that help you decide whether it’s the right option for you. Consider the space you have in your home gym. Do you have the floor space for a large elliptical? During use, the pedals extend beyond the bounds of the machine’s footprint. Some machines have a larger stride than others, and their pedals will extend farther in the front and back. Consider not just the footprint of the machine when not in use, but the space you’ll need around it to work out safely.
The footprint and stride length of the machine is far from the only things to consider, though. The height of the machine (and your height) are also important measures to keep in mind. That’s because an elliptical machine will elevate your height during use. If you have low ceilings, consider your height and the added height of the elliptical pedals at their highest point.
To safely operate an elliptical, you need a lot of space. Exceed the footprint of the machine and be sure to factor in the height of all users before you make a purchase.
Each machine has a weight limit. Those above the weight listed as the weight limit shouldn’t use the machine. These limits are not suggestions. If you use the machine while exceeding the weight limit, you could damage the machine or cause injury to yourself. It could also void your warranty, meaning that the company won’t honour your warranty if the machine breaks or doesn’t work correctly.
To prevent voiding your warranty or using the machine dangerously, make sure to carefully honour the listed weight limit. Heavier Canadians can find sturdier machines with a bit of looking. A standard elliptical machine has a weight limit of around 250 lbs (113.4kg), though some exceed 300 lbs (136kg). Look carefully for a machine that fits your needs, and choose one with a weight limit that exceeds your weight.
Stride length is a mildly important feature, but it’s less important than some would have you believe. The stride length you should choose correlates to your height. However, choosing the wrong size stride length for your elliptical doesn’t mean that you can’t use it. There is almost no situation where a stride length that is too long (or too short) will ruin your workout experience.
That’s because you can control the motion of the elliptical, including your rhythm and the length of your strides. While things might get a little more difficult if you are very tall and choose an elliptical with a very short stride length, it usually doesn’t pose a problem.
Just in case, choose a longer stride length whenever possible. Most users will be satisfied with a stride length of over 20 inches. A stride length of 20 inches is optimized for those over 5’7”, which is about average. Shorter users will be able to control their stride, and taller users can increase the stride length by a few inches if they feel they need the extra functionality.
An elliptical machine offers a total body workout, meaning that your arms also work while your legs are working. Most ellipticals have two different handlebar options. They might have shorter, stationary handlebars to help you balance, track your pulse, and stay focused. Meanwhile, moving arms can help you tone your arms as you work on your legs.
The type of arm you choose is up to you. Keep in mind that most ellipticals will use both, and you can switch between them at will. Double-check to make sure that the elliptical you want has the arm (or handlebar) option that you’re looking for.
Display and Tracking
The display, or console, helps you keep track of your progress. In some elliptical machines, the display can help you choose workout programs or adjust the tension, too.
Regardless of whether your elliptical has these special features, most displays keep track of a few key metrics. Heart rate is one of the most important of these metrics. Workouts are most effective when your heart rate stays within a certain range. Heart rate tracking can help you ensure that you’re getting the most out of your workout. Options for this include pulse monitor pads on the handlebars, as well as other Bluetooth options to help keep track.
Other metrics you might want to track using your display include:
- Distance. This is the distance you’ve run, measured by your strides.
- Time. How long you’ve been working out.
- Calories. The number of calories burned during your workout.
- Speed. How fast you are going, as measured in either mph or km/h.
If you’re interested in tracking any of these, make sure to choose an elliptical that displays them in real-time.
While most ellipticals track your metrics for a single session, you might want to track them over time. An easy way to do this is to connect your elliptical to a fitness app that can track your progress. An elliptical with Bluetooth connectivity to connect to compatible fitness apps, allowing you to store this information for future use.
Other connectivity benefits may include program streaming, with trainers and sessions you can follow along with. In some cases (such as with a Bowflex elliptical), you might be able to subscribe for on-demand access and live workout classes. During live classes, your instructor will be able to control the programming on your elliptical, ramping up the difficulty as the program becomes more intense.
The level of connectivity you want is personal, but some great benefits come with a fully-equipped connectible elliptical machine.
As with any piece of workout equipment, your elliptical should be comfortable to use. Features like non-slip pedals, padded handlebars, and a more natural feel can make all the difference. Whether you’re just getting started or you know all about ellipticals, you should choose the option that best meets your needs. Consider choosing one with better ergonomics to help you feel a little better during your workout.
Look for a machine that looks comfortable, especially at the points you’ll be interacting with it. If your machine feels great, you’ll be more likely to use it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is an elliptical machine better than a treadmill?
An elliptical machine provides a different type of workout than a treadmill. An elliptical workout is low-impact and works both upper and lower body muscles, whereas a treadmill usually just tones your legs. However, the machine you should choose depends on your personal exercise preferences.
Can an elliptical help tone my legs?
An elliptical machine can help tone your legs and lower body muscles. If you are looking for an exercise that can work both your lower body muscles and your upper body muscles, an elliptical can help.
How long does it take to see results on an elliptical machine in Canada?
Like most workouts, an elliptical machine won’t show results immediately. If you exercise regularly and use your elliptical as part of a workout routine, you may begin to see results in 1-3 months.