Best Machines for Cardio Reviewed
There are a variety of ways one can experience and efficient cardio workout session from the comfort of their own home. Home gym cardio machines can come in handy when the weather outside is too cold or when for running. Another advantage of owning home gym equipment is you can say bye! Bye! To gym membership fees and cues for specific equipment.
Cardio home equipment comes in all shapes, sizes, and price point: meaning there’s something for even the pickiest of consumers. These machines can also target various muscle groups and offer varying levels of resistance. Granted, it takes a keen or trained eye to pick the best equipment, but with this guide, you too can know what to look something suitable to your needs.
Below is a mixed collection of the best cardio machines that the market has to offer.
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Top-Rated Best Cardio Equipment Reviewed
1. Concept2 rowing machine
Full body workout
Concept2 has established itself as one of the most reputable brands when it comes to the design and production of rowing machines. This company has enjoyed 40 years of success and has kept improving upon each subsequent model. The concept2 model D is not an exception to this rule; it has gained rave reviews and broad market coverage.
Like all stationary rowing equipment, model D provides a challenging yet effective full-body engagement and a low impact. This efficiency makes this model ideal for athletes that want to add a little cross-training to their workout regimen. You also get to enjoy the bikes high standard of quality for longer because of the sturdy construction.
This rower also comes with a sophisticated monitor that keeps track of all your vitals and displays them neatly. This equipment attains a full-body workout because it mimics the motions and resistance of rowing a boat. The display also comes with controls that you can use to adjust parameters like speed and strength.
Concept2 has well-thought-out ergonomics with comfortable handles and an adjustable footrest, which enhances your comfort as you work out. The model is compatible with RowPro software, which helps you get even more out of your workout. The flywheel and the bumper are also adjustable to control resistance and lower the level of noise the machine makes.
A low profile design makes the machine highly portable, thus, easy to store. The low impact effect of the device also makes it ideal for when you don’t want to stress your ligaments. It comes at a justifiably high price point but is worth every penny.
2. Schwinn Airdyne Pro
Fair price point
The Schwinn Airdyne Pro exercise bike is ideal for working out even in the most stuffy of indoor environments. This exercise bike rewards you with a cooling breeze the harder you work out. What’s more, you produce the power needed to run the bike as you keep cycling.
This bike is easy to assemble, which means you can get to your exercise faster. This factor also adds some convenience every time you want to store the bike after use. You also get to enjoy a smoother ride thanks to the fan wheel. The user’s safety is enhanced through features such as well-balanced paddles that have secure straps.
The Schwinn Airdyne Pro exercise bike has a monitor that displays your RPM although it is not backlit so visibility can be an issue. This exercise bike provides a low impact workout and is suitable for those recovering from injury or surgery. The Schwinn Airdyne Pro exercise bike is one of the most affordable pieces of equipment within its class.
3. Sunny health and fitness
Steady workout platform
Lacks flexible movement
This product is ideally suited to the needs of fitness enthusiasts due to the level of engagement and resistance. This device may have the most modest appearance on this list, but it delivers a lot more than you can imagine. The sunny health and fitness stepper targets many muscle groups in areas such as the tights, arms, hips, and buttocks.
This stepper gets your heart pumping as you tone those glutes, and calves. Unlike larger steppers, the Sunny Health and fitness stepper allows for natural arm movement. This natural motion serves to enhance your workout with arm swings. A stable build quality provides more support for steady climbs and sprint workouts.
The focus on the lower body makes this device ideal for cross-training. You also have the option of an upper-body workout with the addition of resistance bands. There is no setup or assembly required all one needs to do is place it on the floor and get stepping.
You can adjust the level of resistance to an appropriate level. The sunny health and fitness stepper also has a silicone fluid that makes operation silent and smoother. This device may come at a high price range relative to its size, but it is highly effective and sure to last for a long time.
4. Bodycraft SPX indoor bike
Lacks a displayer
The Bodycraft SPX is one of the most highly-rated indoor cycling bikes for home as well as gym use. This indoor bike comes with a belt drive that pushes a heavy flywheel for heavy friction and resistance. It has a comfortable seat, ergonomic peddles, and a bottle holder: to ensure that you are comfortable and hydrated.
The Bodycraft SPX offers a low cardio output and the type resistance cycling outdoors can’t provide. The frame is made of a sturdy steel material that prevents the bike from wobbling or flexing as you exercise. There are also two coatings of powder paint to stop the bike from rusting as you sweat.
The 46-pound flywheel oscillates around an SKF sealed set of bearings, which gives you a natural cycling motion. The seat and handlebar can be moved vertically and horizontally. This adjustability allows this device to accommodate users between the heights of 5 ft. 2 inches and 6 ft. 7 inches. The Bodycraft SPX comes at a reasonable price point considering that it is among the best in its class.
5. Assault fitness AirBike
Heavy-gauge steel frame
Classic design aesthetics
The Assault Fitness AirBike may have some ancient design aesthetics but wait until you mount it and feel the burn. This air bike gives a high level of engagement that will knock the wind out of even the toughest of all athletes. This bike doesn’t feature a motor and provides wind resistance through the front fan wheel.
The harder you paddle, the more wind resistance you generate. This high level of resistance and muscle engagement is ideal for users that are in search of an intense high-calorie expenditure workout. The Assault Fitness AirBike has a durable steel frame that has stability and provides a smooth ride.
The computer display on the console shows information such as watts, intervals, heart rate, distance, and time. The tilt-able seat also adjusts vertically as well as horizontally to accommodate people of diverse body heights. The Assault Fitness AirBike has a 110-pound weight profile and supports users of up to 350-pounds.
6. Xiser mini stepper
Tough and durable
Lower body engagement
Easy to store
Presents some learning curbs
The Xiser commercial mini stepper is a compact and highly portable alternative to conventional stepper machines. This compact design allows you to use this device wherever you please and reduces storage space. It comes at a higher price point when compared to other steppers within its class.
The Xiser commercial mini has fail-safe durability to it thanks to aircraft-grade aluminum material. Your steps are also smoother thanks to tall hydraulic cylinders that create a fluid motion. The only drawbacks to this model are that it doesn’t offer a full enjoyment or any resistance adjustability.
The Xiser commercial mini is ideal for users that don’t have the space to fit a full-sized stepper. Despite the size, you get the same benefits a full-size option provides. The adequate resistance, durable construction, ease of use, and portability give this model a very high value for money score.
7. EXERPEUTIC recumbent bike
Practical the over-weight
Comfortable and adjustable
Workouts can get monotonous
The Exerpeutic 900XL recumbent bike is a practical, sturdy, and budget-price cardio workout machine. This recumbent bike comes with all the bells and whistles, which includes a handgrip heart monitor. This device is durable and features user-friendly ergonomics that make it easy to climb on and off the saddle.
Even though the Exerpeutic 900XL recumbent bike only weighs 63 pounds, it accommodates users that weigh up to 300 pounds. Aside from that, this device has a lower center of gravity as well as leg stabilizers, which enhances stability. The outsized seat featured on this model is padded for extra comfort.
This bike also features large footpads on the paddles that accommodate a wide range of foot sizes. Eight levels of magnetic resistance provide you with a variety of exercise options, and it features a transport wheel to ease mobility and storage. Although the Exerpeutic 900XL recumbent bike comes at a budget price, you get a whole lot more that you spend on this practical device.
8. Marcy Air1 Fan Bike
Low price point
Optimal resistance level
Easier to storage
The Marcy Air1 fan bike is one of the most affordable cardio machines within its class. This fan bike has a sleek design, and its monitors are simple but effective. This equipment uses fan-based technology to provide resistance for a robust workout session and at a fraction of the price.
You get a full-body engagement when you work out on this fan bike as it targets diverse muscle groups. The resistance level can be adjusted to suit those new to cycling as well as seasoned pros. The frame is a little flimsy when compared to higher-end models, but it's fair considering the low price point.
The Marcy Air1 fan bike is easy to assemble and use and has a basic monitor that displays your vital data. The information displayed includes calories burned, heartbeats, speed, and distance covered. Despite coming at a low price point, this bike delivers all a high-end model does at less than half the price.
9. ANCHEER elliptical machine
Sturdy build quality
Ergonomically designed paddles
Accurate data display
Complicated assembly instructions
Ancheer is one of the most enduring fitness equipment brands in the market. Ancheer produces all kinds of fitness equipment like steppers, power towers, trampolines, elliptical, and many more. The Ancheer elliptical machine is just part of this legacy of excellence in innovation.
This elliptical has a heavy-duty frame that supports a weight of up to 250-pounds. The drive system featured on this elliptical is driven by a v-belt and offers eight resistance levels. The flywheel and belt drive are well balanced to provide a smoother and quieter operation.
An onboard LCD monitor tabulates and displays vital information like calorie expenditure, speed, time distance, and heart rates. The Ancheer elliptical has slip-resistance paddles that have a 13-inch length to accommodate divorces users. The front-wheel also acts as this cardio machine’s travel wheel.
10. Goplus treadmill
5-inch backlit LCD
12 workout presets
Low maximum speed
The Goplus 2.25HP is one of the best entry-level foldable treadmills that feature motorization. This compact treadmill feature built-in wheels that allow you to roll it out of storage whenever you want to take a run. This treadmill has a 47in X 15.5in running belt, which is wide enough to accommodate tall users.
A 5-inch backlit LCD monitor allows you to control aspect like speed as well as track vitals like speed, elapsed time, and distances covered. The console also features a handy gadget dock that you can stash an Mp3 player, tablet PC, or your mobile phone. The only major drawback to this model is the 0.5 mph minimum and 7.5 mph maximum speed that is too low for intensive training.
The Goplus 2.25HP also comes with a safety clip that attaches to clothes. You can unclip the safety clip should you be unable to reach the console. The Goplus 2.25HP is a bit highly-priced for an entry-level treadmill, but it has fantastic features and high durability.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Find what works.
A treadmill is the most advisable piece of cardio equipment found in the market. It allows the body to move freely, reducing the shock of running or walking on rough terrain. By adjusting the speed or inclination, you can mimic real-life situations as you enjoy your work out. You can customize your workout schedule with timed speed intervals that can change during your session.
By adjusting the speed, you can use it in times of recovery from an accident. Its versatility will keep you walking, leading to a full recovery. Most of these machines don’t offer wholesome body work out. Some models have built-in workout timetables. Treadmills may be challenging to use for people with knee problems.
A rowing machine is effective in burning calories compared to other exercise machines. It stimulates crucial muscles in the body. Also, it raises the heart rate quickly as it offers a full-body workout. Always remember to use the correct technique to avoid injuries.
Ask what you intend to achieve.
After deciding on the type of workout machine you want, consider how often you wish to use it. Getting to enjoy the exercise means regular use of the device. Therefore, you should always pick one that will enable you to do your favorite activity.
Ensure whichever type of machine you go for it is suitable for the kind of exercise you want to do. Using an exercise machine for training purposes as is often the case, look at how the exercise transfers in real-life situations. Treadmills and stair steppers help train how to run, endurance and output increase.
If your only interest is for cardio purposes only, then a simple treadmill will do. For training, get a machine that is relatable to your needs. Also, follow the instructions as directed on the manual to avoid injuries and damage to the device.
Technology has come a long way in recent years.
Some of the machines mentioned above have excellent features added to them compared to regular ones. The high-end devices give you an option to connect your phone via Bluetooth. Others have a cooling fan to keep you going without stopping for towel breaks to wipe off sweat. Modern treadmills have a small LED display on them, allowing you to watch videos as you exercise.
Some models have a console that can be attached to your heart rate tracker: it records your stats as you work out. Depending on your budget, a model with hydraulic cylinders can be an option. It creates smooth stepping motion reducing shock on your knees.
What’s your mode of working out.
An exercise machine used to be bulky and heavy. Companies have now come up with smaller and easy to store exercise machines. Some have wheels that make it easy to move when not in use or after use. With the wheels, you don’t have to lift the machine.
Depending on the type of machine you choose, a cardio machine can have a lock system to detach it into two parts. The two parts can be stored in small spaces. Most devices don’t need tools to separate them, saving you precious time.
Some of the designs have thin frames but are durable and can lift certain weights. Check the maximum weight your desired machine can lift. If you exceed its weight capacity, order a bigger exercise machine.
Ease of Use
It should be up-front.
Some machines have adjustable footrests that enable you to get a comfortable position as you exercise. Ergonomic handles, allow you to have a firm grip on the device. You can control the level of resistance thanks to an adjustable flywheel and, keep the noise level of the fan down.
Some seats adjust to the user's preferred position. Moving up, down, forward, and backward, it allows you to choose a comfortable spot.
Some advanced cardio machines have a small LCD screen that is easy to use. It allows you to check your performance data. Additionally, you can also track the speed, time, distance, and calories burned. The screen can also be used to view the motivational programs pre-installed in the machine.
Going through the user manual will also guide you to understand the type of exercise machine you have.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Having a workout plan helps you to plan your sessions effectively. You can plan your day knowing that you will work on your fitness too. Doing this will also get you interested and excited about using your machine.
You can plan to have high-intensity workouts on consecutive days and low-intensity workouts to switch up the routine. Having one or no plan at all might get boring and, you end up not using the machine as you originally planned. If you don’t know how to make one, use the pre-installed workout programs that come with the device.
Get on the machine slowly. Keep movements at a slower pace, allowing your muscles to warm up. Maintain the pace for a few minutes, and then gradually increase the speed until you get comfortable. Ease yourself into the workout if you are using the machine for the first time. Identify the type of exercise you want to do, whether it’s for fitness or weight loss purposes. They are versatile and great for training purposes.
Doing too much for the first time may cause overuse injuries. It occurs from making the same motions repeatedly, straining your muscles and joints. Switching things up will help to avoid this from happening.
Other Factors to Consider
Before purchasing any equipment, it is imperative to consult a professional. If you have a job that involves sitting down a lot, treadmills are the best choice. Foldable machines are ideal for home use allowing you to save on space. Also, remember that exercise bikes don’t offer upper body workout like treadmills.
Decide on the amount of time you want to use the machine for and get one that suits your fitness plan. Ensure that you don't end up spending a lot of money on something that you won't enjoy using. Pick a cardio machine that fits your exercise schedule.
Always read the instructions before assembling the machine for use. Regular exercise machines are easy to use compared to the high-end models. They have few parts and are easy to maintain.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Can I assemble the cardio machine by myself?
All the models named above come complete or require simple assembly with clear instructions. Manufacturers have made it easy for you to use the machine as soon as you receive it.
q: Which is the best model for losing weight?
Any of the machines will work without a glitch. It all depends on how much time you spend on the device. Because there isn’t a specific machine built for weight loss only, one that offers full-body work out should be your first choice.
q: How do I stay motivated to use my cardio machine?
You can watch your favorite program as you work out or even listen to music. Rewarding yourself as your workout helps keep your mind off the exercise. An audiobook can also help you enjoy and feel relaxed during your workout.
Also, consider interval training: doing high-intensity exercise with periods of rest. Instead of spending hours on the machine, mix things up. Have a low-intensity training followed by a high-intensity training session.
It is also essential to check and record your stats. When you notice that your heart rate has lowered on the routine that you use, it is time to switch to a different work out because your body has gotten used to it.
q: Is there a portable model that can be carried to places of work?
Stair stepper comes to mind with this question. It has a mini model for such situations. You can put it under your desk and get to use it during breaks. You can take it with you as you leave the house because it doesn’t consume so much space. Get to work out at any time of the day.
q: Should I be worried about safety?
All the machines are safe, once you learn how to operate them. Some need practice before you get to understand how they work. Exercise bikes may require care when mounting and dismounting. They also have a stable design reducing the risk of falling off while in use.
If there are children in your house, tell them they should not play near the exercise machine as a safety precaution. Store them out of their reach or keep them locked in a room if you have space.
Whenever you feel weak or out of breath, then it is time to take a break. Always be hydrated. Dizziness and weakness are some of the signs your body sends to tell you it’s time to take a water break. Dehydration may cause you to fall and injure yourself.
q: Is there a specific method for cleaning the machine?
For machines with LCD screens, a soft dry cloth with sprayed water on it can work. If the screen were not as clean as you would want it to be, add a little vinegar, and clean gently until clean. A damp cloth with soap will work for regular workout machines. Remember to avoid cleaning agents that have alcohol or ammonia.
For mechanical help, it is better to take it back to where you bought it from for service. Insist on a warranty when purchasing.
q: Are there safety tips to follow as I exercise?
People get distracted and end up falling off exercise machines. The number one reason for distraction has always been mobile phones. Keep off your phone during workout sessions. If it is necessary for you to have your phone on, then use a Bluetooth headset.
Also, avoid looking down or at your feet because you might stumble and fall over. Also, remember to tie your laces before getting on any machine. Watch your speed, trying to get off a device that is at high speed because it can lead to a fall.
Always use both hands while working out. If you feel the need to wipe off sweat from your face or hands, it is advisable to pause and do so. Applying chalk on your hands will help with sweaty palms. Gloves are also a great way to deal with sweaty palms.
Place your machine over a carpet to avoid it from moving as you are using it. Stretch your calves, hams, ankles, and quads. If you had an injury before on your knees, utilize a knee brace to protect it. Icing the knees when you feel some strain will help, and then heat it up afterward.
q: How do I use the key that came with my treadmill?
Most treadmills have a magnetic safety key. It starts the machine and also turns it off quickly. The magnetic end of the key should always be attached to the device and the other part of it to your outfit. In case of a fall, the key comes out of the machine, and it stops instantly. It is a great safety feature.
q: What is bike mode, and how is it helpful?
This mode helps mimic the real-world feel. As you pedal faster, the resistance and speed increase: strengthening the lower body. Try different methods on your exercise machine as you get used to it.
q: Is there an age limit for using cardio machines?
There is no age limit for exercising on these machines: you can use them as you get older, and if your body allows you to. Older people can use the devices at a slower pace, and if they are allowed to by a specialist. Children have kid-sized models that are safe and designed to handle them. Do not allow children to use or be around your work out machine. It is not safe for them because they are too powerful.
Besides, there is no special outfit for using a work out machine. Normal gym wear will do. Keep it neat and simple.
q: Is there a big difference between the recumbent exercise bike compared to the upright bike?
Area of comfort is the big difference. Recumbent exercise bike offers more seat base area compared to an upright bike and back support. It also gives exercise to the gluteal muscles. Upright bikes are the number choice for outdoor cyclists. Unlike the recumbent bike, it provides a full-body workout.
On an upright exercise bike, the biceps, triceps, and shoulders are engaged, leading to a stronger upper body. The abdominal muscles also get to be involved because of the upright position. One advantage they all have is muscle strengthening. They are easy on the joints because they are used on flat surfaces compared to real bicycles.
q: Are there any heart-related complications that arise from overusing these machines?
It is imperative to get a professional opinion before engaging your heart in vigorous exercises. Cardio exercises increase the heart rate as you work out. Studies have shown that these exercises have a positive impact on heart health. It can also reduce some heart disease risk elements.
You get to have more oxygen blood for your body because your heart gets healthier and stronger. Always check the readings of your heart rate monitor. It is there to guide you and let you know when you are going over the top.
q: Is there a specific way to sit on or step on my machine?
There is no particular way of getting on the machine, but there are measures that can be taken to avoid injuries. Aligning your body is very important because you will get the most of your workout. Keep your back straight, head high, and shoulders back. Remember to keep your feet inside of the pedals when using cardio bikes.
On a treadmill, your feet should be getting weight from your heel to the middle of your foot, ending with the toes as you would on a regular surface. Always ensure that your weight is evenly distributed as you work out. Don’t lean on one side of the exercise machine, as you get tired. Chances of falling off the workout machine and injuring yourself will reduce.
Handrails will also help maintain your balance on the machine. They are designed to help you secure and get well positioned during your workout. Relax your arms and hold them lightly. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, put your hands by your side to allow them to swing naturally.
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