One of the best cardio tools on your house health club, from treadmills to elliptical trainers to stationary bikes
Whether you’re a runner, rower, cyclist, elliptical trainer, or home worker, you deserve the best cardio equipment your home gym (or living room, office, or garage) will allow. Finally, indoor and at-home cardio equipment can help you reach your fitness goals, even when the weather is inclement, you can’t make it to the gym or studio, or you just have a few minutes to work out.
Treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes, and other exercise equipment come at a steep price, but you can still find a range of models to fit a variety of budgets. We asked fitness experts for their opinions on the best cardio equipment, so you can be sure we’ve found the machines with the best investment.
You’ll find the very best at-home cardio equipment for your favorite cardio workout, from beginner-friendly treadmills to low-impact ellipticals to heart-pounding indoor cycling bikes, available from major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting merchandise and more. Read on to find your next favorite piece of exercise equipment – and complete your home gym.
The best rowing machines
For a full-body workout that includes both cardio and strength training, a rowing machine is an excellent choice. Most models on the market offer a range of resistance levels so you can adjust the difficulty to your liking, and then it’s up to you whether you go for a machine with technological bells and whistles or one with a streamlined user experience. For the former, opt for the Hydrow, a rower with immersive features and membership to many on-demand courses (which costs $38 a month), or Echelon’s touchscreen-equipped Smart Rower. For the latter, the Concept2 is widely considered the standard bearer for rowing machines due to its ability to activate the entire body, its simple user interface, and its durability (it’s really built to last). And Sunny Health & Fitness has an extremely reliable – and budget-friendly – magnetic resistance option to consider as well.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
For more: 19 best rowing machines for home workouts, what to look for when buying a rowing machine
From sprinting to walking, you can hit your preferred pace on one of these amazing treadmills, some of which took home a SELF Home Fitness Award in 2022. While there’s something about Horizon Fitness’s ever-popular T101 that beginners and experienced runners alike will love, those looking for a truly high-intensity run can opt for the Assault Runner Pro, which is powered solely by the user’s own speed and effort. Are smart skills and an iFit membership priorities? Either the ProForm T7 or the NordicTrack 2950 will check those boxes and then some.
For more: The 9 best treadmills to buy on Amazon according to treadmill coaches what to look for when buying a treadmill
The best smart treadmills
Speaking of treadmills with added features, when you’re outfitting a smart home gym, you have a lot of options. Both running experts and our own tester recommend the Peloton Tread, a luxury device with lots of metric tracking options and access to Peloton’s streaming courses for $39 per month. Trainers love the ProForm Pro 2000 too—it’s a true treadmill workhorse that can stand up to everyday use while getting your heart rate up with personal trainer-led workouts and Bluetooth audio integration.
ProForm Pro 2000 treadmill
For more: The 9 Best Smart Treadmills According to Running Experts
The best folding treadmills
Little space in the gym? A folding treadmill is a perfect solution to get into your strides without leaving your home to a giant exercise machine. You can choose from models that fold upright or fold flat, and some are just as good for serious running as standard treadmills, like the NordicTrack EXP 7i. Others, on the other hand, run at top speed when jogging or walking, such as the Walkstation from Sunny Health & Fitness. Experts also recommend making sure that the maximum weight capacity of a folding treadmill is right for you before making a purchase, as this type of treadmill may have lower limits than other models.
Sunny Health & Fitness Walkstation Slim treadmill
For more: 15 Best Folding Treadmills for Training in a Small Space
Best Elliptical Trainers
An elliptical trainer is another fantastic option if you want a low-impact workout for your lower and upper body at the same time. It doesn’t strain your knees like running, and it offers a lot of versatility: you can focus on the cardiovascular benefits and just kick with your feet. Or, for a higher-intensity full-body workout, you can increase the resistance and push through the handlebars and pedals with equal force. The Schwinn 411 and the Niceday Elliptical are both great, moderately priced options that don’t take up too much space. And if an elliptical combined with a stepper sounds like fun (and you’re willing to shell out some cash), consider Bowflex’s range of equipment – the Max Total M16 even comes with a handy heart-rate strap.
Niceday elliptical trainer
For more: 12 best elliptical trainers for low impact cardio workouts at home, what to look for when buying an elliptical trainer
The best exercise bikes
Experts love indoor exercise bikes because they can hit you right at your fitness level thanks to their adjustable handlebars, seat, and resistance settings. You can pedal for speed or slow things down to work lower-body muscle groups like your glutes, hamstrings, and quads. And then many models are designed to give you comfort (like the ergonomic handles on the Echelon below) or allow for interval training (like the Sunny Health & Fitness Pro II bike with its built-in barbell holder). For something closer to a HIIT-style full-body workout, consider the Assault AirBike, which integrates arm movements into the ride.
Echelon Connect Sport indoor cycling exercise bike
Sunny Health & Fitness Pro II Magnetic Indoor Cycling Bike
For more: 17 best exercise bikes for home cycling, what to look for when buying a stationary bike
The best under-desk trainers
Those who can’t fit a full workout into their day can still stay active with an under-table trainer. There are pedal and elliptical trainers that you can use at your seat, as well as gripless treadmills that fit seamlessly under a standing desk. Despite their low profile, they can still provide a decent cardio workout: the SELF Home Fitness Award-winning DeskCycle has eight resistance levels, and some even have small LCD displays that track key metrics like speed and time, like the affordable Vive Desk bike cycle.
Sunny Health & Fitness Under Desk Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
WalkingPad Foldable treadmill
For more: 14 best-selling under-the-desk exercise machines to keep you moving at home