Reviews Ellipticals Gym Equipment

5 Best Recumbent Ellipticals in 2024

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy (21 years of Oly Lifting experience)

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You enter a fitness paradox when you need exercise to combat joint pain and stiffness, but those same conditions don’t let you. Sweating over a treadmill or stepping onto a basketball court may become impossible because of old age or prior injury.

That’s where the best recumbent elliptical comes to the rescue.

You might’ve seen large cross-training machines in rehab centers, with various contraptions like pedals and handles. They allow low-impact, total-body cardio, but tend to cost a lot. Luckily, manufacturers are also selling more affordable recumbent cross trainers for home use.

Check out our top picks. And don’t worry about going to therapy or joining a gym! Take your daily dose of calorie burn from the comfort of your home.

best recumbent ellipticals

Top 5 Best Recumbent Ellipticals Reviewed

  1. Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer — Top Pick
  2. Body Power 3-in-1 Trio Trainer — Runner-Up
  3. Body Champ 3-in-1 Exercise Machine
  4. ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT
  5. Inspire Fitness 2.5 Cardio Strider
ProductTotalAdjustabilityDurabilityMonitor FunctionalityPortabilityMultifunctionalityValue for Money
Teeter FreeStep5810109.51099.5
Body Power57.598.510101010
Body Champ5799.5910109.5
ProForm Hybrid568.59.5109.59.59
Inspire Fitness5510109998

1. Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer — Top Pick

teeter freestep recumbent cross trainer elliptical

Roger Teeter started this company in 1981 to innovate fitness solutions for an active lifestyle. The best-selling recumbent elliptical trainers are part of their “Stabilization” series, which targets strength and recovery.

  • Item Weight: 110 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 300 lbs
  • Workout Programs: Teeter Move App
  • Color: Black
  • Product Dimensions: 54” x 29” x 52.5”
  • Display: Time, Distance, Speed, Calories
  • Additional Features: Device Stand, Water Bottle Holder, Teeter Move App

The FreeStep is designed with a robust steel-tubing frame. Its pedals mimic a linear stepping action that’s easy on the knees. You can scroll through 13-level resistance to amp up the challenge in your workouts. Also, the magnetic dial system doesn’t contact the flywheel at any level, generating a whisper-quiet motion.

You won’t have to turn up the volume to watch your favorite TV show. Since it carries a device holder, you can prop up your tablet or phone. It won’t block the LCD from showing key stats one by one. Or you can simply relocate it anywhere in the home with the help of transport wheels.

You get plenty of adjustments! It has two sets of handles. One of them is fixed under the seat, allowing a legs-only workout. The other ones are movable. Use them alone for toning your arms, or with pedals for full-body cardio. These are also rotatable, emphasizing different muscle groups (e.g., biceps vs. triceps). Lastly, the seat is adjustable in height and recline. You can quickly find the most comfortable spot by turning the spring-loaded knob. Some users think it could use more padding and adjustability. However, you’ll have to upgrade to a higher-end LT3 in that case.

LT1 is the best recumbent elliptical for people of all ages and fitness levels.

58 EXPERT SCORE

Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer is the best recumbent elliptical for people of all ages and fitness levels.


Adjustability:0
Durability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Multifunctionality:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • A patented zero-impact stride tech
  • Easy to move around
  • Handles and seat are adjustable
  • Free access to Teeter Move library

Could be better:

  • Only 1-year frame warranty

2. Body Power 3-in-1 Trio Trainer — Runner-Up

Body Power BRT5088

It’s a budget brand of Body Flex, striving to maximize quality and value. We recommend this crosstrainer bike for anyone who needs a versatile piece of home gym equipment and doesn’t have much to spend.

  • Item Weight: 72 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 250 lbs
  • Workout Programs: None
  • Color: Gray/Red/Silver
  • Product Dimensions: 43.7” x 62.2” x 29.13”
  • Display: Time, Distance, Speed, Calories, Pulse
  • Additional Features: Transport Wheels, Three Handlebars, 28-day Meal Plan by Leisa Hart

This recumbent elliptical bike is designed to provide multi-style training on a single platform. You hop on steppers, and it's elliptical. Sit down and grip the U-shaped handles for riding an upright bike. Or lean back to the backrest cushion while switching to upper pedals and wraparound handles at the seat base; you’re in for recumbent biking. What’s more surprising is that you don’t have to adjust or mount any hardware for transition. It’s seamless!

The U handles contain heart rate sensors. And the digital console records simple stats like distance covered and calories burned. The long handlebars can be removed if you're not doing upper-body exercise. The plush seat itself is dual-way adjustable.

Its flywheel is so heavy-duty that it resembles commercial-grade quality. Although it’s not as silent as Teeter FreeStep, it remains smooth throughout the movement. However, the resistance system fails to catch up. There is a knob to control the intensity. But the rubber strip isn't much of a challenge for the weighted flywheel. It makes sense for the population this elliptical is geared towards. You may not break a sweat. But it’s more than enough for a rehabilitation or a senior’s functional fitness program.

If you can’t figure out the assembly, this animated video is really helpful.

58 EXPERT SCORE

Body Power 3-in-1 Trio Trainer recumbent elliptical bike is designed to provide multi-style training on a single platform.


Adjustability:0
Durability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Multifunctionality:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Three machines in one frame
  • Hassle-free transition across movements
  • Compact and lightweight
  • A user-friendly digital console

Could be better:

  • High maintenance; requires frequent service

3. Body Champ 3-in-1 Exercise Machine

body champ trio

This recumbent elliptical cross trainer is also one of Body Flex’s unique trio trainers. You’d see improvements in overall construction and functions relative to Body Power’s model, but with a considerable price hike.

  • Item Weight: 78 lbs (package dimension)
  • Weight Limit: 250 lbs
  • Workout Programs: None
  • Color: Gray/Blue
  • Product Dimensions: 57” x 25” x 63”
  • Display: Time, Distance, Speed, Calories, Pulse
  • Item Weight: 78 lbs (package dimension)
  • Weight Limit: 250 lbs
  • Workout Programs: None
  • Color: Gray/Blue
  • Product Dimensions: 57” x 25” x 63”
  • Display: Time, Distance, Speed, Calories, Pulse
  • Additional Features: Device Stand, Transport Wheels, Three Handlebars

Body Champ uses much more steel than plastic, adding to its durability. Still, the machine is light. You can easily shift it with rear wheels from one place to another. Its base is narrower than Body Power, which is a double-edged sword. More portable! Less stable, especially when it’s under heavy load!

You'll notice a major boost in the resistance system. It features an actual magnetic-encased flywheel. You still have to turn the knob. But there are eight different intensity levels. Nonetheless, a healthy adult will top out at its highest setting.

Many features are identical. You walk on pedals for elliptical training, sit forward on the seat to use it as a stationary bike, and recline for a recumbent. Each setting has dedicated handles; one is equipped with a heart rate sensor. Adjustments and display technology are similar. But the interface is quite small. It's not backlit. Thus, you may have a tough time tracking progress in dim light. There are four basic buttons: mode, reset, and up/down! On the brighter side, it comes with a built-in device holder.

The fact that we rank it below the Body Power crosstrainer bike has to do with the price tag. Minor changes have knocked its regular price out of the low grade. Secondly, the stated stride length of 18 inches appears to be an exaggeration.

57 EXPERT SCORE

Body Champ 3-in-1 Exercise Machine uses much more steel than plastic, adding to its durability.


Adjustability:0
Durability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Multifunctionality:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Allows versatile cardio at multiple resistances
  • Pulse sensor to facilitate calorie-burning targets
  • Electric brake for fluidity flywheel movement
  • A built-in device holder

Could be better:

  • Short stride can restrict elliptical to less than 6’ users
  • No upgrades for the display

4. ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT

proform hybrid

ICON International owns ProForm and several other renowned brands, including iFIT. Therefore, you’ll get limited access to iFIT exclusive programs on purchasing its treadmills or trainers.

  • Item Weight: 132 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 350 lbs
  • Workout Programs: 8 Elliptical and 8 Bike Workouts
  • Color: Gray/Black
  • Product Dimensions: 70.5” x 24.5” x 60.5”
  • Display: Time, Distance, Speed, Calories, Pulse, Watt
  • Additional Features: Water Bottle Holder, Device Stand, 30-day Premium iFIT Membership

It’s a 2-in-1 seated elliptical cross trainer. The optionality of riding it as a stationary bike doesn’t exist. Still, you can squeeze in quick cardio while seated or standing. The back support is made adjustable. Transitioning requires you to switch pedals. However, the recumbent follows more of a gliding pattern than a circular one, which is common in hybrid designs. There are two sets of handles. The large moving ones contain EKG Grip heart rate sensors.

Moreover, the bright LCD shows power output. You can adjust it for a better view. It’s not touchscreen-enabled, but has Bluetooth connectivity. You can slide in your device and enjoy on-demand classes from iFIT trainers. You’ll have to subscribe to a monthly or family plan in order to continue the membership. Small details – such as an iPod-compatible audio port, double speakers, and a bottle holder – come in handy!

ProForm Recumbent Elliptical
photo by cherylann1166

ProForm also boasts a silent magnetic resistance (SMR) system. And Hybrid XT comes with a whopping 16 levels. Despite it being frictionless, you may sometimes hear squeaks and clicks. It has to do with its lightweight flywheel, which weighs 13 lbs – below average even for home-use recumbent stepper machines.

The price pays off in the shape of customer service. It has a 30-day money-back guarantee with 5-year support on frames and 90 days on moving parts. Most people find its assembly tricky. You can call in expert assemblers or extend the warranty for three years at an additional cost.

56 EXPERT SCORE

ICON International owns ProForm it’s a 2-in-1 seated elliptical cross trainer.


Adjustability:0
Durability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Multifunctionality:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • 16 preset workouts with the SMR system
  • Free iFIT membership
  • Extraordinary 350 lb of load capacity
  • Tiny, thoughtful add-ons like bottle and phone holders

Could be better:

  • Not straightforward assembly
  • Some iFIT features are locked during the free trial

5. Inspire Fitness 2.5 Cardio Strider

inspire fitness

Inspire is a well-known name in the fitness industry, especially regarding home gym equipment. They sell top-of-the-line products. Their cardio strider lineup of three models is no exception.

  • Item Weight: 183 lbs
  • Weight Limit: 300 lbs
  • Workout Programs: 6 Full-Body and 2 Upper-Body Interval Programs
  • Color: Black
  • Product Dimensions: 60” x 35” x 50”
  • Display: Time, Distance, Speed, Calories
  • Additional Features: Water Bottle Holder, Device Stand, CENTR Subscription

It has numerous design cues of Teeter FreeStep. Made of a compact matte-back steel frame with a powder coat finish, its flywheel produces a silent and smooth motion due to a similar Poly V Belt. The battery-powered LCD is reliable with its basic metrics rating, as is the magnetic brake resistance. A media rack sits above for holding a phone, tablet, or magazine. The linear stride of pedals and four-way adjustable handles allow a full-body workout. With CS2.5, you also get a stable footrest if using handlebars alone. The seat can be moved up/down so that you comfortably reach the grip.

However, Inspire equipment is a heavy-duty and pricey choice. To justify the exorbitant price tag, you'll get a subscription to CENTR, the wellness training of Chris Hemsworth, along with the company's own app.

Furthermore, it has up to 20 resistance levels, thus a suitable recumbent cross trainer for seniors and young ones alike. You won't have to turn any knobs. Just press the plus/minus button from the console. There are eight cardio-resistance programs: Rolling Hill, Mountain Climb, Peak, Plateau, Hill Interval, Upper Body Focus, Arm Focus, and Strength Interval.

A product’s quality can be inferred from the support it comes with. Inspire Fitness gives a stellar warranty: 10 years on frame, 3 years on parts, and 1 year on labor. If you're searching for the best recumbent elliptical that might not have the best value for money but a long-lasting performance, this cardio strider deserves a look.

55 EXPERT SCORE

Inspire Fitness 2.5 Cardio Strider make of a compact matte-back steel frame with a powder coat finish, its flywheel produces a silent and smooth motion due to a similar Poly V Belt.


Adjustability:0
Durability:0
Monitor Functionality:0
Portability:0
Multifunctionality:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • Heavy-duty, corrosion-resistant built
  • Subscription of Thor’s CENTR App
  • Resistance changes from the monitor
  • 10-year frame warranty

Could be better:

  • No heart rate sensor

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What Are the Benefits of Using Recumbent Ellipticals?

✅ Long Usage, Less Exhaustion

The seated position of a recumbent cross-trainer allows you to focus on the workout. In contrast to a standard elliptical or upright bike, you get to recline and exercise your leg and arm muscles. As a result, you don't get drained before checking off your calorie budget.

✅ Easier on the Back and Joints

Besides a long and comfortable seat, the fact that you stride instead of going in a circular motion helps with less impact. A recumbent elliptical machine doesn't aggravate your joints like a treadmill. But it still provides effective full-body cardio.

✅ Suitable for Seniors

Research tells us that our body starts losing muscle mass after 30 years of age. Then, aching knees and cracking joints await you to get fully inactive. With the best recumbent cross trainer at your side, you can stay young and fit. This is also true for people with arthritis or limited mobility.

What to Look For in Recumbent Ellipticals?

1. Stride

Check out the pedal motion first and foremost. A linear stride is zero-impact. More dynamic and gliding movements may be versatile. Also, the length of stride (distance a pedal covers) determines your workout experience. If you’re over 6’ tall, make sure to get one with at least 15” of stride.

recumbent ellipticals sport

2. Resistance

Resistance is the required energy to move pedals up and down. Go with variable resistances like the ones we listed in our recumbent cross trainer reviews. Also, the magnetic system is more effective than the felt rubber.

3. Seating

The seat is the biggest factor that differentiates a recumbent from a stationary bike or standard elliptical. Find one with adjustments, a swivel, and a lot of padding, so you comfortably operate the machine for hours.

4. Portability

Home-use equipment needs to be compact, lightweight, and transportable. Look for wheels and pick-up handles. But don’t sacrifice the durability of a recumbent elliptical. One good barometer is the weight limit. 300 lb is a good capacity.

5. Monitor

Your feedback in the console should be easy-to-read. Buy battery-powered models. Or else, you'll be vacating a spot near the power outlet. Having heart rate sensors and a phone holder is also a good sign. If you can have a button for resistance up there, it's the cherry on the cake.

6. Functions

A recumbent elliptical is itself a cross between a recumbent bike and an elliptical. You get the seating of the earlier and stride of the latter – a cozy combo. A lot of manufacturers are integrating multiple functions. You can use them as elliptical and stationary/recumbent bikes.

7. Price and Warranty

Cost is an important decision factor. You should conduct a price-performance analysis by weighing all the benefits against the price. Cross-trainers are a long-term investment. Thus, a decent warranty boosts overall value for money.

The warranty is usually divided between frame, parts, and labor. The steel frame is durable, so it comes with extended support. If you're spending about $1000, ensure replacement coverage for parts and technicians.

Functions intenza fitness

How to Use a Recumbent Elliptical Right?

Recumbent is a fairly easy-to-use machine. You hop on and start pedaling. But doing it in a way that supports your fitness goals requires a bit more attention.

Do's

  • Warm up and stretch out before kicking off the session. Otherwise, you might face cramping issues.
  • Adjust the seat and handles to the optimal position. You shouldn't be leaning forward or dangling your feet.
  • Target interval training. You can switch the resistance level yourself if there are no preset programs.

Dont's

  • Dive into assembly yourself. Most units weigh over 100 lbs. It's best to get a helping hand.
  • Go at higher resistances early on. It can prove disastrous for your health and hydration.

Difference Between Standard Elliptical and Recumbent Elliptical

1. Position

The most significant difference is how you perform the exercise. You're supposed to stand up as you use a standard elliptical. However, the recumbent gives you a nice large seat to enjoy the workout comfortably.

2. Impact

Striding upright passes more pressure on your hips, knees, and ankles. When you're sitting, this impact is minimized to a great extent. Not to say it compromises the performance. This 2014 study recorded more activity in hamstrings with recumbent than a stationary bike.

3. Muscles Worked

As standard ellipticals have fixed handles, they only exercise your leg muscles, such as the glutes and hamstrings. But with the moving handle arms of a recumbent machine, you're simultaneously working out your deltoid and chest too.

4. Versatility

Recumbent ellipticals are also cross-trainers. Chances are you’ll find more machines in one frame, like a bike and glider. You don’t have this space-saving, value-maximizing feature with a standard elliptical.

FAQ

Are Recumbent Ellipticals Worth It?

A recumbent elliptical is the safest option out there for home workouts. You're still getting all the benefits: calorie burn, aerobic, strength, low impact, full-body muscle targeting, etc.

It's not only a wise purchase for senior or injured people, but also for active athletes who wouldn't mind comfortable cardio at the end of the day.

Which Is Better: Recumbent Bike or Recumbent Elliptical?

Both let you sit back and sweat it out. The pedal motion is where they part ways. Seated elliptical cross trainers fuse a recumbent bike's stable and comfortable posture with the elliptical's natural, low-impact, and stress-free stepping motion. It's best for people with limited mobility, joint disorders, or some injury. On the other hand, bikes can be more challenging.

Is It Ok to Ride a Recumbent Bike Every Day?

Sure! You can definitely ride a bike every day. It's like cycling outdoors. But make sure to consult your doctor beforehand.

Regular exercise is good for overall health, mood, and immunity. Exercise bikes provide a safer way to achieve these benefits with only a 10 km ride. You’re lucky if you have a recumbent elliptical bike. It's got a seat for back pain sufferers, low-impact motion for joint health, and handlebars for upper-body exercises.

Conclusion

After days of research, we picked five cross-trainers for our best recumbent elliptical reviews. Teeter FreeStep is the ultimate winner of price-performance analysis. It’ll help you stay in shape and avoid injuries for a long time.

What do you think is the finest cardio workout machine? Bike? Elliptical? Or a hybrid cross-trainer that works as both and occupies minimal space?

Also read:

References:

  1. Animation Assembly Video_Body Power Trio-Trainer 3 in 1 // youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMsZ5TBbUhI
  2. Elliptical Vs. Treadmill: Which Is Better For Your Bones? // Saveourbones:
  3. https://saveourbones.com/elliptical-vs-treadmill-which-is-better-for-your-bones/?9317964618
  4. Sarcopenia With Aging // Webmd:
  5. https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/guide/sarcopenia-with-aging
  6. Electromyography during pedaling on upright and recumbent ergometer // Pubmed: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24567858/
  7. The Top 10 Benefits of Regular Exercise// Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-exercise

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here

Ihor Shymechko

Author: Ihor Shymechko
Pro Olympic Weightlifter, Coach

Experience: 26 years
Best Results: Snatch – 208 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Ihor has been a professional weightlifter since 1996, boasting over two decades of competition experience. His notable achievements include clinching the European Championship in 2009 and securing a silver medal in the 105kg division at the Senior World Championships in 2011. Ihor represented his country in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. After retiring from competitive weightlifting, he transitioned to coaching, leveraging his vast experience to guide athletes who now compete on both national and international stages.

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Oleksiy Torokhtiy

Reviewed by: Oleksiy Torokhtiy
Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Experience: 21 years
Best ResultsSnatch – 200 kg,
C&J – 240 kg

Oleksiy Torokhtiy is a professional athlete boasting 20 years of experience in Olympic weightlifting. With multiple European and World titles under his belt, he has showcased his prowess in two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 and London 2012). Upon concluding his illustrious career, Oleksiy dedicated himself to coaching. By 2022, he had conducted over 200 weightlifting seminars worldwide. He is the visionary behind an international sportswear and accessories brand known for its motto, “Warm Body Cold Mind.” Additionally, he is an esteemed author and the creator of a series of training programs and eBooks.

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