Best Cardio Machines of 2022 – SI Showcase

Best Cardio Machines

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Cardio exercise has many benefits including improving heart health, reducing overall risk for disease and facilitating your ability to do everyday activities. Research suggests that regular high energy cardio workouts can also be an effective way to help reduce body weight and fat.

One way to get this consistent exercise into your daily routine is by adding a cardio machine to your home gym. Today’s machines provide the convenience to get a workout whenever you want and the latest technology to help you get the most of your experience. With options including treadmills, stationary bikes, rowers, virtual instructor-led classes and more, how do you know which one is right for you? We’ve put together a list of our top cardio machine picks, along with their pros and cons to help you find the one that will keep you motivated and on track.

Our Picks for the Best Cardio Machine:

Mirror

Best for:

  • An immersive instructor-led workout with variety

Key Features:

  • Includes The Mirror, Mirror stand and Mirror lens cap
  • Standard one-year warranty
  • Membership includes live classes and over 10,000 on-demand class options
  • $1,495 + $39/month for membership

If you need the guidance of an instructor to keep you on target, Mirror provides the unique opportunity to experience an immersive class in the comfort of your own home any time you want. In addition to over 10,000 on-demand classes in over 50 fitness categories, Mirror also offers live classes daily. Workout categories include boxing, barre, cardio, strength training, yoga, meditation, ballet, Tai Chi and many more, ranging from beginner to expert levels.

The Mirror experience centers around an actual full length mirror where you can both see your own reflection, along with a projection of your instructor. This allows you to see and correct your positions while watching and participating in the class. The brand also sells a variety of workout accessories to enhance your Mirror workout including free weights, yoga mats and ankle weights.

Reviewers on the Mirror website say that this machine is easy to use and several comment that top perks are its wide variety of workout options and convenience.

Pros:

  • Instructor-led classes
  • Interactive smart tech
  • Ability to see your positions to make corrections

Cons:

  • One-year minimum commitment
  • Requires a $39 monthly membership 

Purchase Mirror


Tonal

Best for:

  • An automatically customized and optimized instructor-led fitness experience

Key features:

  • Membership includes live classes and hundreds of on-demand workouts
  • Personalized programs with automatic weight suggestions
  • Tracks your progress including reps, sets, range of motion, time under tension, power and volume to see gains over time.
  • 21.50 inches x 50.9 inches x 5.25 inches patented Tonal device that can provide up to 200 pounds of resistance and features an interactive 24-inch touchscreen display
  • Smart accessory bundle includes smart handlebars, smart bar, rope, bench (supports up to 400 pounds user weight capacity), roller and workout mat (additional $495)
  • $3,495 + $495 for smart accessories + $49/month for membership

For more information, check out our in-depth Tonal review.

Tonal is a “smart” full-body strength training machine that customizes every workout thanks to advanced AI (artificial intelligence) that automatically selects an optimized weight for each exercise move. Tonal saves you the space that bulky metal weights would normally require by using magnets and electricity to provide up to 200 pounds of weight. The compact device is smaller than many flat screen televisions and should be mounted on a supportive wall.

A Tonal membership gives you access to a growing library of on-demand classes and live workouts with options including strength training, dance cardio, Pilates, barre, meditation, kickboxing and more. Workouts can target your entire body from your upper body to your quads and hamstrings.

One of the benefits of Tonal is that it tracks your progress with detailed analytics that you can check directly on the Tonal screen or on its mobile app. You can also check your workout results including time under tension, pounds lifted, and how many moves you completed.

Pros:

  • Live classes and growing library of on-demand classes
  • Machine uses AI technology to optimize your workout
  • Comprehensive results tracking

Cons:

  • One-year minimum commitment
  • Requires a solid, supportive wall with a three-prong power outlet within 6 feet of the location
  • Requires a $49 monthly membership 

Purchase Tonal


Nordictrack Rower

Key Features:

  • 82 inch high x 22 inch wide x 54 inch long rowing machine
  • Sliding rail system for durability and reduced friction
  • Inertia-enhanced flywheel tracks speed and distance
  • SMR™ (Silent Magnetic Resistance) provides quiet and smooth experience
  • 22-inch HD touchscreen pivoting display with a 30W premium sound system
  • Hundreds of on-demand instructor-led classes through iFit membership
  • 26 digital resistance levels
  • $1,699 + $39/month for iFit membership

Best for:

  • An instructor-led immersive rowing experience

Does getting your cardio while exploring beautiful lakes and rivers sound like your ideal workout? When you can’t be on the water in person, you can experience immersive at-home rowing with the NordicTrack RW900 Rower which features a 22-inch HD touch screen with a 30W sound system. Guided on-demand classes take you to locations around the world. You can also use the screen to track stats like heart rate, distance rowed, speed and calories burned.

The rowing machine’s improved sliding design helps reduce friction and increases durability while Silent Magnetic Resistance technology (SMR™) keeps things quiet. Adjustable foot straps hold your feet in place on the oversized pedals and soft ergonomic handles provide a comfortable grip. The RW900 will automatically adjust resistance as you row along with your classes.

Rotate the screen to follow off-machine classes like strength training, yoga, stretching and Pilates. Classes are provided through iFit, NordicTrack’s membership app ($39/month).

Pros:

  • Growing library of on-demand classes
  • Progress and results tracking available on-screen and through the mobile app
  • 30W sound system and tilting, pivoting display helps make experience immersive and provides versatility

Cons:

  • Need enough space for the machine’s large footprint
  • No live classes
  • Need a monthly iFit membership to watch on-demand classes ($39/month)

Purchase NordicTrack RW900 Rower


Bowflex Max Trainer m6

Best for:

  • A space-efficient low impact cardio workout

Key Features:

  • Compact elliptical-style machine design with 46-inch long x 26-inch wide x 64.2-inch high footprint
  • Two-year warranty on frame and parts (90 days on labor)
  • Magnetic media rack for tablet or smartphone
  • 16 levels of resistance
  • Multi-grip handles
  • Heart rate monitor integrated into grips
  • $1,299

For more information, check out our in-depth Bowflex Max Trainer M6 elliptical machine review

If your go-to cardio machine at the gym is the elliptical or stair climber, this popular machine with over 1,000 five-star reviews on the Bowflex website may be just the one for you. Taking up less space than most ellipticals and treadmills at only 46 inches long x 26 inches wide x 64.2 inches high, the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 is a great option for those with limited space. The machine is a cross between an elliptical and a stair stepper, offering 16 levels of resistance that you can adjust for your desired challenge. There is a choice of five pre-set workout programs and a manual setting. The Max Trainer M6 also features a display that shows you how many calories you are burning, heart rate, RPM and resistance level.

The machine comes with a year membership to Bowflex JRNY, Bowflex’s membership app that offers trainer-led classes, customized fitness recommendations and workout music. The machine’s magnetic media rack allows you to watch Bowflex JRNY classes on your smartphone or tablet. 

Pros:

  • Low impact
  • Compact design
  • Compatible with JRNY App and includes one-year free membership

Cons:

  • Maximum user weight 300 pounds
  • After the first year, membership is $19.99/month

Purchase Bowflex Max Trainer M6


Rogue Echo Bike

Best for:

  • A quiet and smooth low impact cycling workout

Key Features:

  • Heavy-duty steel construction
  • 58.9 inches long x 29.9 inches wide x 52.75 inches high
  • 127 pounds
  • One-inch front wheels for portability
  • Quiet belt-driven steel fan blade
  • Battery-powered LCD console
  • Two- year limited warranty
  • $845

If cycling is your preferred method of aerobic exercise, this compact air bike provides a home gym friendly way to achieve your cardio goals with convenience. Rogue Echo’s belt-driven steel fan is designed to help provide a smooth and quiet ride. The bike is suitable for smaller spaces and features reinforced steel construction that is sturdy enough to eliminate wobbling even during max energy bursts. An LCD console tracks key stats including intervals, distance, calories burned and heart rate. For easy portability, this bike has two small one-inch wheels at the front to move around your home gym.

For an additional $40, you can purchase a bike wind guard to shield air blowback from the fan blade. Other Rogue Fitness add-on accessories that you can purchase include a bottle cage ($9) and phone holder ($10).

Overall, reviewers on the Rogue Fitness website say they love this indoor cycling option for a smooth, sturdy and quiet cardio workout at home. However, some reviewers under 5 feet 5 inches say that this cycling bike is not adjustable enough for shorter people. 

Pros:

  • Low impact
  • Compact design
  • Quiet design

Cons:

  • Some reviews say display screen is fragile and difficult to read in low light
  • Some reviewers say the machine may not be comfortably adjusted for heights under 5 feet 5 inches
  • No instructor-led classes

Purchase Rogue Echo Bike


Sole f63

Best for:

  • An easy to follow walking, jogging or running workout

Key Features:

  • 82 inches long x 66 inches high x 35 inches wide
  • 254 pounds
  • 20-inch x 60-inch running surface
  • Tablet/phone holder
  • Bluetooth compatible speaker
  • Heart rate monitoring pulse grips and chest strap
  • 6.5-inch LCD display console
  • Speed options of 0.5 -12 mph
  • 15 incline levels
  • Lifetime warranty on frame and motor
  • $1,199.99

If you feel intimidated by complex machines with multiple moves, a treadmill may be a great straightforward option for your cardio. The best treadmills provide the opportunity to take an easy, moderate walk or a heart-pumping run.

The F63 treadmill is a 3.0 HP machine with 15 levels of resistance and speeds of up to 12 mph. The machine features six preset program options including cardio and fat-burning. The 6.5-inch LCD display provides details like your speed, incline, time, distance traveled, calories, pulse and pace. The treadmill also has a large stop switch for safety.

You can use the console’s built-in bluetooth speakers to listen to music while you workout or sign up for Sole’s membership app, Studio ($19.99/month), for access to more than 3,000 classes, including treadmill workouts. The treadmill’s tablet holder allows you to watch Studio programs (or your own entertainment) on your phone or tablet. Currently, you can get a three month free trial to Studio with the purchase of a F63 treadmill.

Pros:

  • Large user-friendly console display screen
  • Bluetooth audio speaker for entertainment
  • Whisper deck is designed to reduce noise

Cons:

  • Best for those under 325 pounds
  • The treadmill’s size may be too large for some spaces

Purchase Sole F63 Treadmill


Sunny Health Fitness Bikes Magnetic Recumbent

Best for:

  • A stable, seated low impact cardio workout

Key Features:

  • 46 inches long x 24.5 inches wide x 38 inches high
  • 58.7 pounds
  • Wide cushioned seat
  • Digital LCD monitor provides tracking info
  • Adjustable non-slip pedal strap
  • Pulse sensor
  • Eight resistance levels
  • Magnetic tension system
  • Three-year structural warranty, 180-day warranty on parts and other components
  • $299.99

If you are looking for a budget-friendly cardio machine for your home gym, Sunny Health and Fitness Recumbent Bike provides an adjustable seated option with eight levels of magnetic tension resistance. Recumbent bikes are lower to the ground than other stationary bikes, feature a larger seat and a backrest to help with stability. They are made to be easy to use no matter what your skill or fitness level.

The Sunny Health and Fitness Recumbent Bike’s design is crafted to provide a comfortable workout thanks to its wide cushioned seat that offers lumbar support. Its step through foot straps help with mounting and dismounting. Magnetic resistance technology is utilized to provide a quiet and smooth ride. Resistance can be adjusted from one to eight with a tension knob which you can twist to choose your challenge. The seat is also adjustable and can be easily moved forwards or backwards, accommodating leg inseams between 29 inches and 38 inches.

The bike’s LCD digital monitor provides statistics including time, speed, distance and calories burned to track your progress. Pulse grip sensors measure your heart rate which can also be viewed on the digital monitor.

You can enhance your workout experience by downloading the SunnyFit App on your phone or tablet, a free app that provides customized training plans and on-demand workout videos, including guided scenic bike routes.

This recumbent bike is a popular piece of equipment among senior reviewers over 70 on the Sunny Health and Fitness website. 

Pros:

  • Wide cushioned seat with supportive seat back
  • Provides progress tracking and heart rate monitoring
  • 30-day money back guarantee

Cons:

  • 300-pound capacity
  • No phone or bottle holder

Purchase Sunny Health and Fitness Recumbent Bike


Concept2 Skierg

Best for:

  • A full body low impact cardio workout inspired by Nordic skiing

Key Features:

  • 19-inch bottom width and 20.5-inch top width x 16-inch depth x 85-inch height
  • 46 pounds
  • Aluminum frame
  • High strength drive cords with strapless ergonomic handles
  • Smartphone/device holder
  • PM5 performance monitor provides progress tracking
  • Takes two D cell batteries
  • Flywheel and damper
  • Two-year limited warranty
  • $770

The Concept 2 SkiErg is designed to bring the sport of Nordic skiing to you, providing a total-body workout for your arms, legs and core.

The main focus of this cardio machine is arm technique used to pull high-strength drive cords and create a smooth, continuous motion. Concept 2 SkiErg also engages your core and lower body as you drive the machine’s ergonomic strapless handles down, extending your arms and bending your needs to achieve the movement. You can use Concept 2 to do skiing techniques including alternating arm pulls or a double pole motion. In addition to standing, movements can be done in a seated position to focus on the upper body and core.

Concept 2 SkiErg features a PM5 digital monitor that provides Bluetooth and ANT+ wireless connectivity to allow you to sync it with heart rate monitors and fitness apps, including the free Concept2 ErgData app.

The machine should be mounted on a supportive wall or a floor stand. While Concept 2 SkiERG does not come with a stand, you can purchase SkiErg’s floor stand for an additional $220. 

Pros:

  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Can be used seated or standing
  • Compatible with free app

Cons:

  • Must be mounted to wall or floor stand
  • Floor stand not included
  • Heart rate monitor not included

Purchase Concept 2 SkiErg


Why Buy a Cardio Machine?

The CDC recommends that most adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity a week. A cardio machine provides a convenient way to get your cardio any time of day from the comfort of your own home. 

The Benefits of Cardio Machines

The best home cardio machine options can help you achieve your fitness goals by providing the following benefits:

  • Cardio machines are convenient to use any time from the comfort of your own home.
  • They can save you the cost of gym membership.
  • They save you the time of traveling to and from the gym.
  • They can help you lose weight and burn calories.
  • Low impact workout options are available.
  • Cardio machines can help strengthen the core and improve balance.
  • They are available for multiple skill levels.
  • Machines with instructor-led class options can help motivate you to stay on track.
  • Many machines have accompanying fitness apps that can help provide customized plans to help you achieve fitness goals.
  • Working out from home reduces the need for childcare. 

Types of Cardio Machines

Types of cardio exercise machines include treadmills, stair climbers, elliptical machines, rowing machines, ski machines and exercise bikes including recumbent bikes and fan bikes. There are also a variety of “smart” cardio machines that provide instructor-led classes with multiple functionality options. 

What to Look for in a Cardio Machine

When selecting a cardio machine you should start by looking at your budget, how much space you have available and your fitness goals.

You should also consider your own personal preference for style of exercise, along with your physical needs. For instance, some cardio machines can be used while in a supported seated position, while others require standing. Some machines have weight capacity or height limitations.

If you want a machine that provides speed or resistance, you’ll need to look at what settings are available to make sure you can get the level of challenge you want.

Keep in mind that some cardio machines require a monthly membership to get the best experience, while others can be used with or without a fitness app membership. 

Type of Exercise

According to The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) aerobic (cardio) exercise is a type of exercise that uses large muscle groups to maintain a continuous rhythmic activity. Types of cardio exercises that the machines on this list provide include:

  • Rowing
  • Cycling
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Skiing
  • Dancing
  • HIIT

Kollins Ezekh, certified personal trainer and owner of Members Only Boxing and Fitness in Los Angeles, recommends starting your workout with a dynamic warm up before getting into cardiovascular exercise to ensure that the muscles are ready for movement. 

Size

Cardio machines vary in size from compact machines that are suitable for small spaces to machines with larger footprints. It’s important to consider the measurements of a machine before making a purchase to ensure that it will be appropriate for any space limitations.

Technology

Fitness technology is constantly evolving and many brands incorporate their own exclusive or patented technology into their machines. Often updates in technology help provide a smoother, quieter and more efficient experience. Technology can also be used to track your progress and help provide statistics about your workout.

Many fitness machine brands have their own apps that can integrate with the machines to offer a more immersive experience. Apps can provide a customized experience, including live and on-demand classes. While some apps are free, others require a monthly membership to use. 

Cost

Cardio machines vary in price, and the ones on this best cardio workout machines list range from around $300 to over $3,000. 

FAQs

Is 20 minutes of cardio enough?

According to the CDC, even 10 minutes of exercise a day can help make a difference for your health. Ideally, you should get about 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. You could achieve this with 30 minutes of exercise per day, 5 days a week.

Ezekh says that even if you have to work up to your time goals, it’s important to just get started. “Do it anywhere you have access to and do as much as you feel comfortable doing. Even if you only do the same form of cardio and increase one or two minutes each time, you will eventually work your way up to your desired time,” says Ezekh. 

Is it better to do cardio in the morning or at night?

Morning and night exercise each have their advantages.

For instance, one 2022 study suggests that morning exercise enhances abdominal fat loss and reduces blood pressure in women while evening exercise increases their upper body muscle strength, power and endurance. For men, the same study found that evening exercise lowers systolic blood pressure and fatigue, and stimulates fat oxidation when compared to morning exercise.

Which machine is best for belly fat?

According to John Hopkins Medicine, 30-60 minutes of daily moderate to high-intensity exercise is recommended for those looking to achieve weight loss.

Research also suggests that HIIT training or high-intensity interval training may be an effective strategy for abdominal fat loss. This type of workout is achieved by doing intervals of high intensity exercise followed immediately by shorter intervals of low intensity exercise.

Each cardio machine on this list can provide a moderate to vigorous workout or can be used to do intervals to help you achieve your weight loss goals. 

Final Thoughts

Cardio equipment is a convenient home gym option to help you achieve your weekly amount of recommended exercise to keep you healthy and achieve fitness goals. Whether you prefer a simple classic cardio method like riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill or want to be motivated by “smart” machines with instructor-led classes, this list will help you find the best exercise machine options for your needs. Before starting a new exercise regimen, consult with your medical provider. 

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.


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