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Best cross trainer: 9 top buys for your home gym

Real Homes logo Real Homes 06/10/2020 Annie Collyer
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Looking to buy the best cross trainer? Whether it's for use in your new home gym, you have a dedicated space in your garage for it to go, or, you'll be using it in the living room and putting it away after each use, we've found nine top buys to help you stay fit from home. No need to go to the gym or pay that hefty membership fee anymore...

An easy way to burn calories and fat, improve your balance, boost your stamina and cardio capacity and also target specific leg muscles, a cross trainer uses your arms and your legs to get your heart racing. They can also be great for maintaining fitness after an injury. We've found the best cross trainers on the market for 2020 and popped them below. These cross trainers were picked based on everything from their price to performance, their incline levels, workout programmes and stride length. Keep scrolling to see them.

Once you've bought the best cross trainer best suited to your needs, you can find more of the best home gym equipment in our guide.

The best cross trainers

Designed to be both durable and stylish at the same time, the JLL CT300 Elliptical Cross Trainer can simulate climbing, walking or running, all without causing excessive pressure on your joints. It has a nine-function LCD display monitor that shows RPM, speed, distance, time, temperature, heart rate, calories, body fat and pulse; and its dual-action handlebars feature comfortable foam grips. It features eight levels of magnetic resistance and you can pedal forwards and backwards thanks to its 5.5kg flywheel. Our favourite part? It has a tablet holder for those who like to catch up on their favourite programme while exercising instead of looking at the number of calories they've burned, and it's on wheels so it can be easily moved around your home gym.

If you've ever set foot in a gym, it's likely you've spied a Life Fitness machine or two, so you know that you're probably in good hands. The Life Fitness E1 Elliptical Cross Trainer as high tech as they come, and almost endlessly variable for every member of the family. As well as being able to save up to four distinct user profiles, the E1 is also smart stuff: the Track+ console connects to Android and Apple smart devices to create personalised workouts, track in real time and talk to your favourite fitness apps, allowing everyone to embark on their own personal fitness journey. The best cross trainer for those looking for a machine with lots of different modes, we think.

For those who are building their very home gym, the NordicTrack FreeStride FS7i Elliptical 3-in-1 trainer could be the ideal piece of kit for your workouts. Not only is the machine feature-packed with 24 workout programmes and an adjustable stride, but it’s also perfect for multiple people to use even if they have different fitness levels. You might need a hand putting it together, but once it’s up it’s said to be easy to operate, and it has a sound system so you can motivate yourself with your favourite tunes during a workout. Other features include a fan and Bluetooth compatibility to your smart device to track your progress. Our pick of the best cross trainer for those who are after a 3-in-1 model.

This is another great space-saving piece of equipment, but what the JTX Strider X7 lacks, the NordicTrack SpaceSaver makes up for. This is quite a technical machine, so for those who aren’t that tech-savvy you may find it tricky to make the most of it. The cross trainer can connect to your smartphone or tablet to track your progress and you can even connect to GPS and simulate real-life runs for a smarter, more interesting workout (you will need to get the iFit app though). It’s said to be super heavy and a bit of a mission to get it up the stairs but once it’s in it will slip into a small space without making the place look untidy.  

This 2-in-1 cross trainer and exercise bike is great for those with limited space. Use this machine to work your entire body at once and improve your cardiovascular fitness from home. Not only that but it promotes good blood circulation and it can help increase your lung capacity – all from one machine. Use this machine sitting as an exercise bike or standing as a cross trainer, your choice. Boasting an air resistance system with free tension control, it's completely adaptable to your fitness level. Both the seat and handles are adjustable depending on the height of the user, while it boasts self-levelling pedals. While it's admittedly basic in terms of features – a lack of pre-set programmes and no incline levels – this machine does offer console feedback on everything from speed to distance and calories burned. With a 1.9kg flywheel and an 11-inch stride length, it's perfect for occasional use or beginners. It's even on wheels for easy transporting.

Ideal for occasional use or for beginners who don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a high-tech, pricey machine, the Reebok ZR8 Cross Trainer features 19 programmes, 12 of which are pre-set workouts. Its 5.75in LCD control displays speed, distance, time, calories and pulse rate. The machine runs pretty quietly – ideal if the machine is in a spare bedroom – and smoothly. There's no incline function to simulate a hill, but you can increase the resistance to make your workout harder. For those who are conscious about it being on show in the middle of the living room, this cross trainer is on wheels, meaning it can be easily moved out of sight when not in use. And a big plus is its price tag. Perfect if you think it might spend more time under your discarded clothes than you.

Find the best exercise bikes in our dedicated guide

If you’re thinking of investing in your first cross trainer and don’t want to spend too much money, then the JTX Strider-X7 Magnetic Cross Trainer could be the machine to help you get started. It boasts no-frills, but it’s a slim machine that can be folded away when not in use which is also great for those who lack the space for a bigger feature-packed machine. You’ll have a large console with 21 different workout programmes so you can still monitor your progress as you go, and it uses magnetic resistance which means you’ll still get the same smooth experience as with some of the other cross trainers on the list. The best cross trainer if you're a beginner.

The Bowflex Max M5 set-stride elliptical trainer will force you to have a hard workout with its positioning designed to increase core and upper body toning by up to 80 per cent. You’ll have 16 different resistance levels and you can monitor your training on the LCD screen and sync it to the free Max Trainer app that is available on both iPhone and Android. The only downside is you can only register two users to this machine, which can be a little annoying if the whole family want to use it to track their goals. The machine itself is also said to be very sturdy and pretty compact.

Choose this Sunny Health & Fitness cross trainer if you are on a budget. Not only is it affordable, but it's safe to use, too. With anti-slip foot platforms that are large and secure, as well as eight levels of adjustable resistance, you can tailor this machine to your fitness level. Though basic since there are no workout programmes available and you can't adjust its incline, this cross trainer does have a hand pulse monitoring system to provide heart rate readings, as well as an LCD monitor. Refer to this monitor to track your time, speed, distance, calories and more. It's even on wheels for easy moving, and it has a compact stride length of 28cm – great for smaller homes. It has floor stabilizers so it can be used on uneven ground or carpets, too. There's a maximum user weight of 100kg, but other than that you should be good to go! A great cross trainer for occasional use.

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How to buy the best cross trainer

There are a few different types of cross trainer you can buy, and some things you’ll want to consider before choosing the right elliptical machine for you.

Electromagnet or belt resistance?

There are different types of resistance that can be used on these machines, the most common being electromagnetic, with some cheaper models having a belt resistance. 

Stride lengths

If you’re looking for a cross trainer that can be used by multiple members of the family, then make sure you pick a cross trainer with variable stride lengths. This will allow you to adjust the length of your strides depending on your size and what type of workout you want to do.

LCD monitor

If you'd like to track your progress and have access to pre-set workout programmes so you can make the most of your machine at home, then make sure the cross trainer you use has an LCD monitor to display this information.


For some of the most high-end machines, you’ll be looking at setting yourself back up to £2,500, but if you’re on a budget or short of space, there are plenty of more basic options available for as little as under £200. Consider the type of training you want to invest in and then see what each of our choices has to offer…

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