What Are The Best Home Cardio Machine in 2019?

Closeup of the legs of a man using the best home cardio machine in his garage.

Does anyone else struggle to find time to exercise? This is a common complaint from many people I work with. While for some it’s a case of needing to re-prioritize the things in their life, for others it seems that they just have too much on their plate.

Some days, I find myself chasing my tail all day long, rushing from one thing to the next. When I’m out of time, it’s the 20-minute drive each way to the gym and the 40-minute workout that get put on the back burner.

Choosing to buy a home cardio machine can be a great option for people who are tight for time, giving the option of working out whenever they have time, and can offer many more advantages.

The problem is, there are so many to choose from—so many different types of cardio machines, and then so many different makes and models of the same type. How to decide?

Fear not! Read on to find out more about cardio machines, including detailed reviews of some of the top equipment for home use. Welcome to our world of the best home cardio machine!

Product
Details
Our Rating
Our #1 Rated
5.9AE Elliptical

AFG Sport

5.9AE Elliptical

5 out of 5

In the Home Cardio Machine category

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  • Tablet connected: use your tablet along with the AFG fitness app to control your elliptical, track your workout and monitor...
  • Equipped with Bluetooth 5-watt speakers for wireless music streaming
  • Superior motion: our signature frame design ensures the optimal body position, the most natural movement and the Best overall...
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #1 Rated

5 out of 5

In the Home Cardio Machine category


Our #2 Rated
230 Recumbent Bike

Schwinn

230 Recumbent Bike

4 out of 5

In the Home Cardio Machine category

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  • Goal Track capability enables user to set individual exercise goals; 2 user profiles for multiple user set-up.
  • MP3 input to listen to your favorite playlist through in console speakers; Maximum User Weight 136 Kilogram
  • High speed, high inertia drive system for easy start up and smooth, quiet workouts
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #2 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Home Cardio Machine category


Our #3 Rated
Body Trac Glider

Stamina

Body Trac Glider

4 out of 5

In the Home Cardio Machine category

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  • Unique, full-range-of-motion rowing mimics being on the water
  • Multi-function electronic monitor to keep you motivated
  • Comfortable molded seat
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #3 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Home Cardio Machine category


Our #4 Rated
SF-T7603

Sunny

SF-T7603

3 out of 5

In the Home Cardio Machine category

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  • 【Sturdy, quiet, & high quality】solid steel construction with extra shock Absorption System make your indoor run or walk a...
  • 【Lcd monitor & pulse grip】monitor the heart and pulse rate, Track distance and time, included with 9 workout programs...
  • 【Adjustable incline with shock Absorption 】tune up your workout with 3 levels of adjustable incline, less impact on your...
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #4 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Home Cardio Machine category


Our #5 Rated
Assault AirBike

LifeCORE

Assault AirBike

3 out of 5

In the Home Cardio Machine category

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  • Twenty Sealed Ball Bearings throughout the frame and pivot points to provide a smooth and durable feel
  • Unlimited Resistance for upper and lower body extremities based on Air Resistance; Get a complete Cross-Fit Workout
  • Computer features motivational programs providing many programs (Tabata, Intervals, Watts, Heart Rate) to accomplish your...
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #5 Rated

3 out of 5

In the Home Cardio Machine category

What Are Cardio Machines?

Cardio machines are the kind of workout machines that get your heart pumping and increase aerobic fitness. They’re the treadmills, exercise bikes, rowers, steppers and elliptical trainers that make you feel warm and a little out of breath when you use them.

The idea behind working your cardiovascular system is to make it become more efficient. When we first start to exercise, the energy stored in our muscles gets used up fast. To keep exercising, we need more fuel.

The most efficient way of producing more energy is through chemical reactions involving oxygen, supplied to the muscles in the circulating blood. The more effectively your cardiovascular system works, the more efficiently your body can work.

What Types of Cardio Machine Are There?

All of the different types of cardio machines are designed to improve aerobic fitness, but they do so in a variety of different ways. Here’s our quickstart guide to cardio machines:

Treadmills

Either manual or electric.

Stationary Bikes

Various different types, including recumbent, upright, wheel driven, air bikes and spinning bikes.

Rowing Machines

With resistance provided by either hydraulics, flywheel, magnetic force or water.

Elliptical Trainers

Simulates a running motion on fixed foot plates to reduce joint stress, can often be used in forwards and backwards motions.

Steppers and Climbers

These mimic great aerobic activities like going up stairs and walking up steep hills.

Why Buy a Cardio Machine?

Convenience is a big advantage of having your own cardio machine at home. This means you’re not relying on the opening times of your local gym, and you can plan your workout for whenever suits you.

Many parents find that they can set their children up with an activity or a movie that keeps them occupied long enough to fit in a workout while being able to keep an eye on proceedings and avoid having to pay for childcare.

That’s an extra saving in addition to the money a good home cardio machine can save in respect of often expensive monthly gym subscriptions and travel costs from and to the gym.

People can choose to do shorter, more frequent exercise session if this suits them better without wasting time and fuel making multiple visits to the gym.

Disadvantages of Home Cardio Machines

There are really only a couple of downsides to having your own cardio machine. The most obvious one is the initial cost. A good-quality cardio machine can last for years and can be a cost effective way to exercise in the long term, but the initial outlay can range from a couple of hundred bucks into the thousands.

Storage space is another issue, some cardio machines particularly the more sturdy ones are quite big. While some fold fairly flat and can be slid under a bed or wheeled into a closet when not in use, others can’t.

Consider where you plan to site your cardio machine, and remember to allow for plenty of clearance room around it. If you’re going to store the machine between uses, check it’s not too heavy or cumbersome to be maneuvered into position. If you have the space to do so, it’s a good idea to store your cardio machine in the same room as you plan to use it.

How Do I Choose the Best Home Cardio Machine?

- Rowing 1 1

Choosing to buy a home cardio machine is usually a considerable investment for most people, especially if you opt for good-quality equipment.

So which type is best? One way to answer this question is to look at things from both scientific and personal perspectives.

The Science

Research from Harvard Medical School gives us essential information about how much energy we use during different types of exercise.

Their results suggest that of all the different types of cardio machines and workouts, a 30-minute session of running at a pace of eight-minute miles tops the bill, burning 375 calories. Vigorous cycling on a stationary bike is a close second, with 315.

Next comes the elliptical trainer and ski machine, both in the region of 270 to 285 calories, followed by vigorous stationary rowing at 255 calories every half an hour.

So that’s it then? We should all go out and buy treadmills? Well…not quite. There are a few other things to think about…

The Personal Considerations

I mentioned earlier the personal considerations when buying the best home cardio machine for you. What I mean by that is you need to take into account what you enjoy doing.

Treadmills could use upwards of 500 calories a minute (which would be amazing, of course!), but if you don’t enjoy using a treadmill, and it ends up being used as a cumbersome clothes rail, then you’re not going to burn a single calorie (well, maybe a few once in a while when it’s in the way and you need to move it).

Despite the very best intentions, we probably all know someone—or perhaps we even are the person—that this has happened to in the past. By opting for a home cardio machine, you’re making a big commitment to one particular type of exercise, so make it something you enjoy doing.

There’s a strong feel-good factor with exercise, and the more fun you have while exercising, the better the effects. So the best plan is to make a few visits to a gym. Use all of the different cardio machines there, more than once.

Take note of how comfortable you feel when using each machine—which one really gets you into your groove when you turn your mp3 player on? Do you feel like you’ve had a really great workout and there’s lots of scope for training progression?

Build up a picture of what it might be like to only have access to one machine, and make a reasoned, well-informed decision as to which one you’re most likely to use every day. Congratulations! You’ve just chosen the best home cardio machine for you!

Precautions for Use

Make sure you set your home cardio machine up correctly. Some need considerable assembly. Pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions on building and maintaining your machine. Not only will this make sure your cardio machine is safe to use, it will also help to maximize its life span.

It’s important before starting any new exercise to make sure that it’s safe for you to do so. This applies especially if you haven’t been doing very much physical exercise for a longer period of time, or if you have an existing medical condition.

While starting to exercise is a positive thing for the vast majority of people, it’s essential to make sure that the level and intensity of your workouts is appropriate for you.

Aerobic activity, as we’ve already touched on, is designed to make your heart work harder, which in turn increases blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, pushing your body too hard too soon can lead to medical complications. To be on the safe side, check things out with you general medical practitioner.

Once you have the all clear, start off with shorter sessions at a low intensity and increase the number of sessions, the length of time of your workout, the resistance or speed gradually—but only adjust one of these factors at a time.

What Is the Best Home Cardio Machine?

Which type of cardio equipment you choose for home use is largely a matter of personal preference, and there’s no substitute for physically trying them out to see which ones you like best.

To help you choose a specific type of machine once you’ve reached a decision, here’s the low down on some of the most popular and best home cardio machines, and a detailed review of their positive and negative aspects.

Because stationary bikes are such a popular home exercise option, we’ve included reviews of two different styles of bikes: a recumbent and an airbike.

Our #1 Rated
Our pick our #1 rated

AFG Sport

5.9AE Elliptical

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This exercise bike was almost universally liked by users; many reported that it was great fun and comfortable to work out on. People commented on the good quality, and that it’s heavy duty, too—the manufacturer states that the US Military use these bikes for training. The fan at the front provides the resistance and the intensity of the workout depends on how fast you pedal. This means that this bike suits people of all levels.

Most users really liked the stylish look of this bike, and found it comfortable and easy to use. Many commented on the display panel, which was clearly visible and not difficult to operate.

Many people liked the easy, tool free horizontal and vertical adjustments. The only downsides are the considerable size and the price tag, though many users felt it was worth it for what some people said was the best bike they’d ever used.

Pros
Pro Stationary upright air bike.
Pro Maximum user weight 350 pounds.
Pro Dimensions: 49 x 22 x 51 inches.
Pro Weight: 98 pounds.
Pro Steel frame.
Pro Chain drive mechanism.
Pro 24-inch air fan.
Pro Industrial strength pedal cranks.
Pro Clear LCD screen..
Pro Unlimited, effort-determined resistance.
Pro Eight workout programs.
Pro Arm bars for upper body workout.
Pro Low maintenance.
Pro 1-year labor warranty.
Pro 2-years parts warranty.
Pro 5-year frame warranty.
Cons
Con Large machine.
Con High cost.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #2 Rated
Our pick our #2 rated

Schwinn

230 Recumbent Bike

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Sunny has established a good reputation for home fitness equipment, and users were extremely impressed with this treadmill. People commented on the solid build of this machine, the ease of assembly and the quiet, smooth running.

The small speed increments made it easy to use and to progress training, and users commented that the data display was simple to operate and read during training. The three incline levels helped to make training more interesting and challenging.

The only drawback was that a very small number of users reported machine breakdowns, but most people had no such problems, and were impressed with the great value for money.

Pros
Pro Electric treadmill.
Pro Maximum user weight 220 pounds.
Pro Dimensions: 62 x 27 x 50 inches.
Pro 2.2 HP motor.
Pro Track size 49 x 16 inches.
Pro Maximum speed 9 miles per hour.
Pro Speed increments of 0.1 miles per hour.
Pro Three incline levels.
Pro Nine workout programs.
Pro Data display easy to use and read.
Pro Safety handrails.
Pro Heart rate monitor.
Pro Folds for storage.
Pro 90-day parts warranty.
Pro 1-year frame warranty.
Cons
Con A small number of people experienced malfunctions.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

Stamina

Body Trac Glider

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

This hydraulic rower is a very popular machine with many people for home use. On the whole, users thought it was a sturdy, good-quality machine, but a few weren’t impressed with the foot straps, which they found weren’t wide enough and kept slipping out of position, although for most this was easily remedied with extra Velcro.

Featuring two handles connected to a central piston makes this rowing machine nice and easy to use and reasonably compact to store—it folds flat, and can be easily placed in a closet or possibly under a bed.

The adjustable resistance was a popular feature, though some people found the level of resistance eased as the machine warmed up. This made the workout too easy for more experienced rowers, but perfectly challenging for light to moderate rowing.

The majority of users found the display screen easy to use, but a few wished it could have been bigger and in an easier location to see clearly while exercising. Overall, however, people considered this a great home rowing machine, especially considering the reasonable price tag.

Pros
Pro Hydraulic rowing machine.
Pro Maximum user weight: 250 pounds.
Pro Dimensions: 46 x 23.5 x 28 inches.
Pro Machine weight: 38 pounds.
Pro Steel frame.
Pro Easy to assemble.
Pro Padded, molded seat.
Pro Anti-slip feet.
Pro Multi-function LCD display console.
Pro Adjustable resistance.
Pro Pivoting footplates.
Pro Folds for easy storage.
Pro One year frame warranty.
Pro 90-day parts warranty.
Cons
Con Problems with foot straps slipping.
Con Did not provide enough resistance for a few people.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

Sunny

SF-T7603

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Schwinn has a solid reputation for good quality. This recumbent bike allows data to be exported via USB to the Schwinn fitness app and some others. Despite this, some users felt this bike was struggling to keep up with other products featuring Bluetooth connectivity. Most people, however, conceded this was reflected in the very reasonable price.

The bike itself was sturdy and comfortable during use, and users liked the speakers, book or tablet shelf and built-in fan. One drawback for some people was the size of the machine and the fact that it needs a dedicated space. Others would’ve liked the option of a chest strap monitor.

Pros
Pro Recumbent stationary bike.
Pro Maximum user weight 300 pounds.
Pro Dimensions: 64 x 27 x 50 inches.
Pro Weight: 82 pounds.
Pro Easy assembly.
Pro Steel frame.
Pro 22 pre-set workout programs.
Pro 20 resistance levels.
Pro Heart monitor handgrips.
Pro Seat horizontally and vertically adjustable.
Pro Large foot pedals.
Pro Low maintenance.
Pro 90-day labor warranty.
Pro 6-month parts warranty.
Pro 10-year frame warranty.
Cons
Con No Bluetooth, not compatible with chest strap monitor.
Con Large, and not easily stored.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

LifeCORE

Assault AirBike

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

With Bluetooth connectivity to speakers, the option of accessorizing with surround sound for music and compatibility with popular fitness apps, such as MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness, this elliptical trainer was very appealing to technically minded people.

In terms of exercise experience, most users reported this machine as good quality, sturdy and comfortable to use, even during high-intensity training. The hands-free chest strap monitor was a popular feature which allowed more natural movement and less fiddling about.

The majority of people liked and enjoyed using this machine and thought the cost was reasonable for the quality. The only downside for a few users is that, as with most elliptical trainers, the stride length isn’t adjustable.

Pros
Pro Elliptical training machine.
Pro Maximum user weight 325 pounds.
Pro Dimensions: 76 x 34 x 57 inches.
Pro 43 pre-set programs.
Pro 20 incline levels.
Pro 16 resistance levels.
Pro Wireless heart monitor chest strap included.
Pro User friendly LED display monitor.
Pro Soft touch handles.
Pro Forward and backwards pedaling.
Pro Quiet operation.
Pro Features USB ports
Pro Bluetooth compatible.
Pro Built-in tablet and book holder.
Pro Stride length 20 inches.
Pro Lifetime frame warranty.
Pro 3-year parts warranty.
Pro 1-year labor warranty.
Pro Optional assembly service (extra charge).
Pro Free delivery.
Cons
Con Fixed stride length.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our Choice

These are all great options when choosing the best home cardio machine. Each one is a very popular model of its type. The one that was rated slightly higher than the others, though, was the LifeCORE Fitness Assault Air Bike.

With its smooth operation and sturdiness, many users commented on the great quality of this cardio machine, even when training at high intensity.

No doubt some of the appeal of this air bike is its ability to suit people of all shapes, sizes and exercise levels, from absolute beginners to elite athletes. People also found the machine to be reasonably quiet in operation, with the low-pitched whir of the fan being barely audible over a normal TV volume.

Easy adjustments both horizontally and vertically, a very generous warranty for this type of product and the backing of a reputable company, plus the fun factor make this bike a great investment, and worth the initial cost.

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