Ellipticals are great for low-impact full-body cardiovascular workouts, as they integrate the arms, chest, back, glutes, and legs in either easy, steady, or intense exercise.
Many will opt for the elliptical over a treadmill or stationary bike, as the elliptical puts far less impact on the body compared to a treadmill and engages the entire body when compared to the stationary bike, but what’s the best low-impact elliptical machine.
With criteria based on features, durability, impact absorption, the NordicTrack FS10i Elliptical looks to be the best overall low-impact option that comes with the most advanced features.
It is worth mentioning that the nature of elliptical machines makes them low-impact, as your legs never actually have to leave the surface that you are moving on and absorb the impact of ground contact.
However, some ellipticals are definitely better than others, and that's what we are covering today.
The 2 Best Low Impact Elliptical Machines That Are Worth Buying
1. NordicTrack FS10i Elliptical
The FS10i is one of the more advanced ellipticals in the market, as it provides a wide range of physical features and adjustments along with built-in workout programs led by a wide range of trainers.
Natural Stride Adjustment
One of the inventive features in the FS10i is the 3-in-1 stride adjustment feature.
This allows you to naturally adjust your gait cycle to mimic the normal elliptical movement, but also adjust your gait to get into either a running motion or stair stepper for greater vertical gain workouts.
The most sensible part of this feature is that it adjusts automatically as you change your gait, there is no need to press any buttons to tell the machine to change.
A 1-in-3 stride adjustment feature is probably the best “low-impact” feature of this elliptical, as you can take part in a full-body cardiovascular workout with running and climbing motions without any pounding or impact.
This makes it a unique machine on the market.
Reducing the impact while still opening up your stride to run or climb will allow you to recover faster and deeper, which means you can come back for more good workouts sooner with a lower risk of injury.
The 10” touchscreen is a great interactive feature that increases the quality of life when using this machine, as it makes the potential workouts more interactive and easy to follow along with the trainers cheering you on.
You can get that typical “studio class” experience right at home with the personal trainer you prefer.
Another benefit of having a screen is that NordicTrack has provided many guided activities that provide a “follow-along” format on famous trails, roads, and destinations.
Furthermore, your elevation and resistance will adjust automatically throughout these guided tours depending on the terrain that you are running on, you’ll get to experience the uphills, downhills, and everything in between during these sessions.
Once you’re done, it will also track all of your statistics from your sessions so you can track improvement over time.
Something slightly less related to the elliptical itself is the iFit membership, which is NordicTrack’s all-in-one training subscription that comes with a wide range of live and on-demand follow-along cross-training sessions.
This is more like a cherry on top, but we have a feeling that you’d be happy with the elliptical regardless of having this iFit subscription or not.
- 30-Day iFIT Family Membership Included; Stream live & on-demand workouts on your equipment with Global Workouts & Studio Classes; Add up to 5 users; Elite trainers adjust your equipment ($39 value)
- Immersive 10-inch interactive HD touchscreen streams live & on-demand iFIT workouts directly to your equipment; SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance for near-silent home exercise
- 26 Digital Levels of Resistance; Automatic Trainer Control allows your iFIT Trainer to auto-adjust your resistance in real-time; Enjoy hands-free exercise that matches global terrain in your home
- 32” Adjustable Stride; The FS10i features a unique 32” stride for running, hiking, and walking at home; Up to 10% Incline; Add incline training to your low-impact cardio routine to train for hikes
- 375-pound weight capacity; Protected with a 10-year frame warranty, 2-year parts warranty, and 1-year labor warranty; 74" H x 29.5" W x 58.5" L
Design and Key Specs
There are some specific design features that make the FS10i a high-quality lower impact elliptical machine within the current market.
To start with, the 20 Lb. Effective Inertia-Enhanced Flywheel carries a good amount of weight to it with each revolution, this creates a far smoother gait cycle than you’ll feel with most other ellipticals.
As a result, you will not have to plant or push for a good stride, which will ease the amount of force-related impact on your bones, and joints like at the knees and hips.
We touched upon this a little earlier, but the 3-in-1 stride pattern is a result of the liberal 32" Auto-Adjustable Stride, which leaves plenty of room to alter your gait cycle however you see fit.
This keeps you from becoming stuck in any certain position of repetitive motion, which will displace force more effectively throughout your workout.
We suggest you take advantage of this opportunity to switch things up with your stride, some days you can opt for the standard elliptical gait cycle, but other days it will be a good idea to open up your stride to mimic your running pattern (still without any impact), so you can loosen up your hips and reach a better level of full extension.
Finally, you can really fire your glutes and quads with an uphill climbing motion to activate large muscle groups.
For further personalization to your workout, you can select from a range of 24 Digital Resistance Levels depending on how you are feeling on a certain day. This allows you to make hard days hard and easy days easy.
To complement your resistance level, you can adjust the incline level as well, which is Power-Adjustable Incline and come with a range of 0 – 10% Incline depending on what you want out of your workout.
As we have said before, it's healthy to switch things up, as it lowers overall impact even more.
Although these are impressive features, something less impressive is the 375 Lb. User Capacity, as we’d like to see a capacity up to 400 Lb. to accommodate for more bodies. Especially at the price point at which this machine is selling.
As far as shipping logistics go, you will be looking to receive 284 Lb. In Box Product Weight at its initial arrival.
Furthermore, all of these features mean that this is not a particularly compact machine, measuring in at 58.5” x 29.5” x 74” (4.8’ x 2.5’ x 6.2’), which we are measuring in LxWxH.
- 20 Lb. Effective Inertia-Enhanced Flywheel
- 32" Auto-Adjustable Stride
- 24 Digital Resistance Levels
- Power-Adjustable Incline
- 0 – 10% Incline
- 284 Lb. In Box Product Weight
- 58.5" L x 29.5" W x 74" H Footprint
Before ordering this machine, make sure to find a location in your home and measure out the dimensions so you know exactly where and how this will fit into your living area once constructed, as it will be hard to hide.
2. Bowflex BXE116 Elliptical
Although the NordicTrack FS10i seems to be the best overall elliptical optimizing low impact, there is another machine that we feel at least deserves a mention and small overview for its high standard of value and low impact options.
The Bowflex BXE116 Elliptical, provides an incredibly smooth ride with many similar features, only with fewer screen-related features. As we do not get a monitor, but rather a more traditional 7.5” LCD display with all the key statistics.
However, you have the Bluetooth capability to connect to your tablet and use a program through that device.
The greatest low-impact feature in the Bowflex BXE116 Elliptical is the Switch Select Cushioning System, which uses an extra-large—but not bulky—footplate that displaces force more effectively than a traditional elliptical footplate.
When this footplate is combined with the strong flywheel, you will definitely limit any abrasive impact on your muscle, tendons, joints, and ligaments.
- 9 Pre-Programmed Workouts
- 25 Resistance Levels
- High inertia drive system with perimeter weighted flywheel
- Dimensions: 77" L x 31" W x 70" H
- Weight: 263 lb.
- Weight limit: 375 lb.
- Adjust pedal angle
- Switch Select Cushioning System
- 9 Pre-Programmed Workouts
- 25 Resistance Levels
- High speed, high inertia drive system with a perimeter weighted flywheel for easy start up and smooth, consistent workouts
- Dimensions: 77" L x 31" W x 70" H || Weight: 263 lbs || Weight limit: 375 lbs
- Adjust pedal angle for comfort or for additional muscle activation
There you have it! Our top pick for the best low-impact elliptical is the NordicTrack FS10i, because of its modern technology features, high-quality construction, and force-displacement capabilities due to the 3-in-1 adjustable stride pattern.
The mix of all these offers a really strong value that seems to justify the higher price point.
You may like: Best Elliptical under $300
Along those lines, definitely be aware that this machine will be an investment, and you may even consider using the payment plan option that NordicTrack provides through its website, which will also provide you with a 30 day free trial for iFit.
There are other great options out there like we see with the Bowflex BXE116, so make sure to take a look at this option and several others just like it to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want in a low-impact cardio machine like an elliptical.
Hi, Jeremy Here,
I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journey. About Me.
Last update on 2023-01-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API