Ellipticals are great for weight loss and staying in shape when you reach your goal. I personally prefer them over treadmills because they’re more fun to use and much safer for the joints. Your whole body is working out in unity, which also leads to a more balanced physique.
You’re probably aware that elliptical machines are also quieter than treadmills, since your feet are placed firmly on the machine instead of having to jog in place. They also require less motor power which further reduces the noise.
But even then, there are louder and quieter ellipticals, and the noise differences can be significant depending on the belt, the motor power and the thickness of the material surrounding the motor.
So I commend you for actually doing some research instead of purchasing impulsively, which is something that I’m guilty of doing when it comes to fitness equipment.
If you’ve followed my blogging adventures in the past, you probably know that I’ve worked as a fitness trainer for a number of years.
I’ve recently had the opportunity to test over a hundred cardio machines and help in choosing the best ones for a popular gym brand in the US. I’m unfortunately not allowed to disclose the name, but I’ll give you a hint: it’s been around since Pumping Iron! 🙂
This experience has inspired me to write a review article and help my fellow home gym enthusiasts. I’ve seen so many bogus claims made by “reviewers” who haven’t even tried the machines that they’re recommending. How could they know which ones are the best? They might correctly assume that a machine is quieter than the other ones based on rumors floating around, but how can they know for sure if they haven’t done any real-life comparisons?
Either way, you should choose not only a quiet elliptical, but also one that is durable and has useful features you’d expect from a newer cardio machine. These 5 elliptical trainers made it on my list of recommendation, while 15 missed the mark, some narrowly, others by a large margin.
- Nautilus E614
- Schwinn A40
- AFG Sport 5.9AE
Out of these 3 ellipticals, Nautilus is the quietest and best for the buck option. AFG is the best in terms of overall quality and available features. But it’s also the most expensive machine on the list. Schwinn is quiet and very comfortable to use, and it has a solid amount of features, but less than Nautilus.
You can’t go wrong by choosing either one of these, just make sure that they’re small enough to fit into the room. The next two ellipticals are more affordable but also a bit smaller, which can be useful for an apartment:
- Thomas Quiet Elliptical
- Bestlucky Home Use Elliptical
If you get either one of these machines you won’t have to worry about the noise. It won’t be noticeable through the walls, unless you’re living in a cardboard box.
When I was testing out these and other cardio machines, I had to try all the different features and see if everything works.
It was a two week process, but I learned a ton about them. So if you’re interested in other good and bad features besides the noisiness, this is what you should know:
Nautilus E614 – My #1 Choice
This Nautilus is my personal favorite for a number of reasons: elegant design, very smooth performance and a simple user interface. I don’t like being overwhelmed by the on-screen information and they made a good job of preventing that.
That’s not to say that Nautilus lacks on-screen options. There are in fact 22 programs to choose from for a variety of workouts. There’s the much needed Quick Start but also 9 profile, 8 heart rate controls, 2 fitness test and 2 custom programs. You can also play with 20 levels of resistance to increase or lower the intensity of the workout.
Perhaps the best thing about it is the goal tracker, which allows you to set individual exercise goals. The elliptical remembers your settings so you can improve with each workout following up on the previous one.
I must say that I’m guilty of not trying the in-console speakers and MP3, but the input port is there. There’s also a media shelf, USB media charger and adjustable fan for those hot summer days.
It can also be used by up to 300 lbs heavy person. I was testing these machines with a competitive bodybuilder who was “bulking” at the time. He actually weighed 310 lbs at the time and used it without any problems. I’m not sure if it would be wise in the long run but it carried him well.
Overall, Nautilus is my top choice due to a relatively affordable price, elegant design that doesn’t waste any space and a perfect amount of useful on-screen features. Most importantly, the noise was barely noticeable.
Schwinn A40 – If Nautilus Had a Smaller Brother
I think that line perfectly describes Schwinn A40. It’s smaller in size, it has less features and it’s more affordable. But when it comes to performance quality, these two machines are very similar.
Schwinn is super quiet. When it comes to features however, it has only 7 programs available, Quick Start included. There are 8 resistance levels (Nautilus has 20). I really liked the LCD console, which is quite large and easy to use. It shows speed, time, RPM, calories, distance, heart rate and results in a nice way.
A very useful feature that Schwinn has are transport wheels. If you plan on moving the elliptical around this can really come in handy especially after a hard workout when you don’t feel like lifting up anything and dragging across the floor could result in scratches.
So definitely check out Schwinn A40 if you’d like to save 200 bucks at the expense of some cool features that Nautilus has. We’re all different, many people don’t need that many programs or available adjustments. If you’re one of them, it might be a more rational choice for you as well.
AFG Sport 5.9AE – A Powerful & Quiet Elliptical
If you want to get the best of the best, and you don’t really care about saving money or space, this is the elliptical for you. It’s larger than both Schwinn and Nautilus so take that into account before getting hyped about it if you don’t have much space to play with.
So let’s start with the good things: smooth, quiet performance, has super-comfy foot pads, provides optimal body position for natural movement, durable heavy welded-steel frame, this elliptical has it all. And let’s not forget all the user interface features which blow any competition out of the water.
First of all you can use Bluetooth to connect your tablet along with the AFG fitness app to control the elliptical, track workouts, monitor progress and more. The elliptical also has pretty decent Bluetooth speakers for wireless music streaming.
Another convenient addition is the free chest strap for wireless heart rate monitoring. This wasn’t available during testing so I’m not sure if it works well or not. But let’s say that it does; in that case you don’t need to rely on handles to monitor your heart rate.
Now let’s mention the bad: the price. That’s really it. Most people look for an elliptical in the $300-$600 price range. This elliptical on the other hand is made primarily for gyms, so that it can be used 24-7 for a very long time without any major maintenance.
This powerful AFG Sport elliptical might be too big of an investment for you if you plan on using it only sporadically. But if you love to train frequently and you’re in the process of creating a reliable home gym that can last you for years to come, investing in powerful equipment like this definitely makes sense.
Tomasar Magnetic Elliptical – Affordable Choice For Shorter People
I was really surprised when I found out that this Tomasar elliptical costs around $250.
It has many good things good for it. One of them is the LCD display monitor which shows all the measures as the displays on more expensive ellipticals. That includes time, speed, distance, calories burned, hear rate monitoring (through the handles) and more.
There are 8 resistance levels to choose from, and you can easily adjust it through the tension knob found just below the monitor.
This Tomasar is designed for smaller apartments, so it’s small and easy to move around thanks to the wheels which are located on the front side.
However, smaller size can spell trouble for a taller person, unless you can use a shorter stride. I’m 5’9 and it was almost too small for me.
If you’re 6’0 or taller, it’s probably too small for you and you’ll have to return it, since your knees will be hitting the handles repeatedly. But for this very reason it’s perfect for shorter people as it really saves space.
Bestlucky Magnetic Elliptical Trainer – Similar to Tomasar
This elliptical is even smaller than the Tomasar, but it can be used by people who are 5’9 or taller. This has more to do with the design that anything. It’s more narrow, which means that it takes less width from the room, but it allows for a lot of foot movement length-wise. The basic footprint is 41″ x 18″, however the distance across the top of the handlebars is 28″.
However, while Tomasar can support 165 lbs, this Bestlucky elliptical can support 150 lbs. However it’s worth mentioning that these are the official numbers, which are usually made lower in order to prevent any legal issues. In reality the upper limit is always 10 lbs or so higher than the official numbers.
Besides these concerns, you get the standard features you’d expect from a good elliptical. A smooth and quiet operation thanks to a balanced flywheel and V-belt. Also 8 levels of magnetic resistance. The digital monitor and pulse rate grips are almost identical to the ones on Tomasar and Schwinn, providing all the necessary measurements on display.
The main reason I decided to place this Bestlucky on the list is the pedal, which provides a really good grip and is pretty large. I hate it when the pedal is small because it often puts more pressure on joint stabilizers.
This elliptical is only slightly more expensive than Tomasar. If you’re looking for something a little narrower and you also happen to be taller, Bestlucky is a great option. Just to be clear, the girl is not part of the package. 🙂
Main things to consider:
1) Supported weight
If you’re overweight, you’ll definitely want to invest in a larger elliptical that can support you. The ones on this list are in the 250-300 lbs maximum range.
The height of your ceiling also plays a part. These are all smaller machines designed for home use so if your ceiling is average height, it’s not gonna be an issue.
3) Overall size
Make sure that the machine is small enough to fit into the room you wish to have it in. Measure the space beforehand or at least have a reasonable measurement in mind.
How to further reduce noise from an elliptical:
- To eliminate squeaking noises, lube up the belt and any visible parts at the joints with WD-40 spray or a similar lubricant.
- Make sure that the floor is even so that the machine doesn’t wobble when you’re using it. If it does, place something under the side that’s responsible to even them out.
- Consider soundproofing the room or at least upgrading some parts. For example, placing weatherstripping tape between the door and the frame or covering a wall with soundproof panels can block much of the noise. This is affordable and easy to do. Check out how to soundproof a home gym for more tips on quite workouts.
There are many quite ellipticals on the market. But not all of them are of equal quality. Some are overpriced, others are missing crucial features, their display monitor is poorly programmed or the base is made from poor materials.
The design itself can be problematic if it takes up a lot of unnecessary space. There’s also the comfort aspect, which depends on many factors, including the design of the handles and pedals.
It’s hard to make a right decision without testing the machine first. So I hope this review article will help you to choose the best elliptical for amazing home workouts.