Fun fact, but jumping on the treadmill is just one side of the cardio training spectrum.
If you want to delve deeper into the art of heart-pumping (and perhaps break free from the usual half-hour grind), here are the top 5 best home cardio equipment to get you started.
What's Inside This Article?
The Best Home Cardio Equipment, My POV
While it certainly costs more than any other product on this list, the Nordic Track T-Series 6.5 S Treadmill is an investment that, in my opinion, is worth every penny.
The machine combines the classic traits of a typical, high-quality treadmill (wide tread belt, shock-absorbing cushioning that’s good for the knees, etc.) with new-age innovations (i.e., an LCD screen, an easy-to-access online library that’s stocked with workout programs, speakers, adjustable inclination, and much more).
Unlike most treadmills, this one is also designed to fold, which makes it perfect for small apartments.
Other names on my list are:
- Schwinn 470 Compact Elliptical Machine
- Stamina ATS Air Power Rowing Machine
- Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike
- Sunny Health & Fitness Step Machine
The Top 5 Best Home Cardio Equipment, Reviewed
- Multiple, Easy-to-Adjust Resistance Levels
- High-Quality Design
- Durable Materials
- Pulse-Measuring Grips/LCD Monitor Check Your Stats
- Easy to Move
- Safe, Non-Slip Petals
- Silent Flywheel
- Difficult to Assemble
I always had a love-hate relationship with cardio as I was never the guy who would sit on his bike and watch TV at the same time.
That’s why I’m a fan of models that keep me engaged throughout the process with their features and user-friendly design.
That’s the case with this Schwinn Compact elliptical machine.
The model has twenty-five different resistance levels and twenty-nine pre-set workout programs.
A feature that I really appreciate within this machine is the ability to connect to the Explore The World App, which is an app to set and track progress in an interactive way.
It also has a built-in flywheel, which, in tandem with the V-belt, makes each stroke that much easier.
FYI, the stride length on this thing is pre-programmed and just right.
The elliptical is also equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, which allows users to set, track and monitor progress with application-based tracking tools like the one mentioned above, Explore the World, My Fitness Pal, or your other favorite one.
The LCD monitor also gives you an insight into the metrics by showing your heart rate, calories burned, distance covered, etc.
It’s also very easy to move around thanks to the transport wheels at the front.
But, what I like the most is that it’s super quiet, so you can work out even if someone else is in the room and needs to sleep.
The pedals are also quite stable, thanks to the non-slip material used.
The one thing that bugs me is the assembly process, as it feels quite complicated for the average Doe.
- Long-Lasting Materials
- Air-Resistance System Adjusts to Your Pace
- LCD Monitor Tracks Your Stats
- Comfortable During Use
- Adjustable Footplates and Straps
- Easy to Store
- Long Guarantee
- A Bit Expensive
It’s no secret that when it comes to fitness, I’m somewhat of a perfectionist.
Using air resistance, this model relies on the user’s power as the harder you row, the more resistance it generates.
That means that no matter your fitness level, it’ll always match your pace without you having to adjust anything.
The model features an LCD monitor, which shows you how well you do throughout your session by checking your speed, distance, time, and calories burned.
The padded seat and handles also make the experience much more comfortable, so you can work out for hours (if needed) without feeling agitated.
The model also has adjustable footplates and straps which can be tailored to your height and foot size.
And my favorite part?
Well, the rower folds and has a set of built-in wheels, which means storage is a breeze.
Oh, and note that the frame comes with a 3-year guarantee, which is more than you could ask for.
My guess is that you probably won’t need it because the model is made of aluminum, which is durable AF, but it never hurts to have a backup.
- Comfortable Seat (with Saddle and Backrest)
- Ergonomic Pedals
- LCD Screen Shows Stats
- Easy-to-Use Resistance Knob
- Durable Construction
- Annoying Clicking Sound
For decades now, indoor cycling and guys simply had to co-exist. But, as we learned more about the benefits of this type of workout, we started jumping on the trend as well.
The bike features a resistance knob, which makes it easy to pick between the model’s eight different levels.
Each of them simulates riding on a unique terrain, so there’s zero chance your body will ever get used to the resistance.
It also has a user-friendly LCD screen, which doubles as an odometer and displays your metrics. This way, you know how you did last time and try to top yourself in the future. The pedals are also specially designed to keep your feet in proper position thanks to the adjustable foot straps and the counter-balanced weighted surface.
Unlike most stationary bikes, this model has a big, comfortable saddle with a backside that looks a lot like an armchair. This feature allows you to rest your upper body while you are working out.
FYI, the distance between the steering wheel and the seat is enough to fit even the tallest of guys.
The only thing I didn’t like about this model is the clicking sound it makes every eight strokes or so.
- Lifetime Frame & 25-Year Motor Warranties
- Foldable Design Saves You Space
- Has a Library of Workouts in Store
- Adjusts Deck Automatically Based on Pre-Programmed Sessions
- High-Quality Built-In Speakers
- Spacious Tread Belt
Remember the Nordic Track your dad used to have?
Well, this is the Gen-Z version of the original, and it sure knows what it takes to make a guy sweat.
The treadmill is actually a smart device.
So, it features a library of on-demand workouts, allowing you to train alongside world-class instructors.
That said, all you have to do is select the program you want to follow, and the machine will automatically adjust the inclination, speed, and resistance of the tread belt based on the plan chosen.
The device also features a set of digitally amplified speakers, which means you can attach your smartphone and listen to your favorite music as you jog.
It also comes with a reinforced cushioning (FlexSelectTM) that absorbs shocks and minimizes the strain on your joints.
And here comes the best part: The model actually folds, allowing you to save tons of space and store it pretty easily.
It has my stamp of approval from that trait alone.
It also comes with a lifetime frame and 25-year motor warranties, so you can keep pounding the deck, knowing that Nordic Track has your back.
- Durable, Stable Frame
- Non-Slip Handles and Pedals
- Adjustable Step Height
- LCD Monitor Presents You With Metrics
- High Weight Capacity (250Lbs)
- Easy to Store
- Short Warranty
- Makes a Squeaky Noise
I was never a fan of stair-steppers, mainly because I thought they had nothing special to offer to the person that used them – besides the illusion that they worked out.
However, a few months ago, I had the opportunity to try this model in a local gym when I was traveling, and it got me hooked.
For starters, the machine is equipped with an LCD monitor, which displays your metrics during each session.
That’s to be expected by treadmills and ellipticals obviously, but having such luxury with this device made me like it even more.
It also has a handlebar, which helps you stay balanced.
Compared to other steppers, this one has a pretty steep step height (FYI, it’s also adjustable), which means you can train your lower body as well.
The frame is also made of heavy-duty steel, meaning it can handle the pressure.
Both the handgrips and the footplates are slip-resistant, helping you stay put and avoid injuries mid-session.
What I didn’t like is the squeaky noise it makes after each step.
How To Choose The Best Home Cardio Equipment
One of the first things you need to consider when buying the best home gym equipment is the machine’s design.
Since cardio itself is focused on increasing your heart rate by engaging your entire body, you should be ready to stock up on big-a*s models that can keep up with your masculine, vigorous physique.
That’s why it’s best to opt for models with a steady and reliable outline.
When it comes to fitness, cardio is more of an umbrella term.
And that’s because it’s used to describe a variety of fitness goals, which can all be accomplished by putting your body into aerobic mode.
So, whether you want to burn fat, work on your stamina, or increase your agility, you need to pick a machine that can keep up.
Varying from dirt-cheap to “I could buy a motorcycle with this kind of money,” the price on most home cardio equipment depends on various factors such as their size, quality, features, and even popularity.
However, since we’re talking about high-octane machines here, I’d advise you to put quality over money.
And that’s because most cardio machines rely on mechanics and programming.
So, if you’re trying to hold a sale on a model, you inevitably make a discount on its quality and efficiency, which could be dangerous down the line.
Another thing you should consider is the equipment’s footprint. If you have a big enough place that can accommodate even the bulkiest of machines, then you can pick pretty much any device you fancy.
But, if you’re like most people and your place is the size of a dollhouse, my suggestion would be to seek equipment that’s foldable and takes more vertical than horizontal space.
And yes, I know, that could be kind of tricky as cardio equipment is usually spread all over the floor.
But, some models are quite condo-friendly such as the stair-stepper and Jacob’s ladder – which brings me to the next point.
Types Of Cardio Machines
Believe it or not, there are several types of cardio machines, each of which is designed to accommodate a different fitness goal.
If you’re not familiar with them, these short descriptions will help clear the air:
Forcing you to move your limbs in a circular up-and-down motion, the elliptical is an excellent choice for anyone with fragile or worn-out joints.
The resistance and speed on the thing can be adjusted manually or automatically, allowing you to increase your stamina as you go.
Most models come with hand grips that work the upper body as well.
This type is usually recommended for people with small apartments as it doesn’t take much space.
Working your back, core, arms, and legs through a smooth back-and-forth motion, the rowing machine is as close to a total body workout as you can get.
However, since each brand designs the device in a unique way, you should keep an eye for the model’s pulling method.
In my experience, models that feature pulleys are far more efficient than those that use pistons.
Requiring zero training and taking minutes to assemble, the stationary bike is an easy and surefire way to up your cardio.
Compared to traditional biking, I find it to be boring because of the lack of motion.
It can be uncomfortable for long stints, but if you find a model with an adjustable seat and toe clips, the experience can be much (much) better.
Plus, experts agree that it’s low-impact, which means it causes minimal strain and injuries. That makes it just fine for those days when you want to go easy on your body.
Another reliable choice for gym-goers of all levels and sizes is the treadmill.
The machine is a must for anyone serious enough about cardio.
Even this research shows that compared to several indoor cardio machines such as the Air Dyne or air-stepper, the treadmill has the highest aerobic demands, maximizing your cardio potential.
The only problem is that it takes too much space and doesn’t fold, which means you make some space before you buy it.
A member of the low-impact equipment family, the stair-stepper uses your body’s weight to increase your heart’s activity.
If you’ve never used the machine, you may find it a bit strenuous at first, but handrails and the large stair platform can make a huge difference.
Many modern models feature a set of resistance bands on both sides, giving you the chance to also work on your upper body.
Having a strong cardio system improves your ability to move faster, cycling the farthest, etc.
Your overall endurance gets refined, your heart becomes strong.
Although I am a big fan of a great outdoor workout like running shirtless along the beach or down the street, climbing some real stairs, or cycling for a few hours while getting a breeze of fresh air, I don’t rule out the idea of owning a machine for those rainy days when I can’t go out.
So, if you have nothing against machines, are looking to purchase a piece of cardio equipment, my strongest recommendation is the Nordic Track T-Series 6.5 S Treadmill and it comes much as a personal preference since pretty much every single piece of equipment in this list will get you the job done.
So, in your opinion, what makes the best home cardio equipment?
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!