Whether you’re a runner, rower, biker, elliptical lover, or work from home, you deserve the best cardio equipment your home gym (or living room, office, or garage) allows. After all, indoor cardio machines can help you reach your fitness goals even when the weather’s bad, you can’t get to the gym or studio, or you only have a few minutes to spare for a workout.
Treadmills, stationary bikes, stationary bikes, and other exercise machines come at a price tag, but you can still find a range of models to suit a variety of budgets. We asked fitness experts for their opinions on the best cardio equipment, so you can rest assured that we’ve found the most investment-worthy equipment.
Here, you’ll find the best at-home cardio machine to suit your favorite cardio workouts, from beginner-friendly treadmills to low-impact elliptical bikes to heart-pumping indoor cycling bikes, available at major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and more. Read on to find your favorite piece of workout equipment—and complete your home gym.
The best rowing machines
The rowing machine is an excellent choice for a full-body workout that includes both cardio and strength training. Most models on the market offer a range of resistance levels, so you can adjust the difficulty to your liking, and then it’s up to you whether you choose a machine with technological bells and whistles or one with a more streamlined user experience. For the former, go with the Hydrow, a rower with immersive features and memberships in plenty of on-demand classes (which costs $38 per month), or the touchscreen-equipped Smart Rower from Echelon. For the latter, the Concept2 is widely considered the standard bearer for rowing machines for its full-body-engaging ability, simple interface, and longevity (it’s seriously built to last). And Sunny Health & Fitness has a very reliable — and budget-friendly — option with magnetic resistance to consider, too.
For more: 19 Best Rowing Machines For Home Workouts What to look for when shopping for a rowing machine
The best grinders
From sprints to hikes, you can get up to your preferred pace on one of these great treadmills, some of which earned SELF Home Fitness Awards in 2022. Beginners and seasoned runners alike will find something to love in the ever-popular T101 from Horizon Fitness, Those who are looking for a very intense run can opt for Assault Runner Pro, which is driven only by the speed and effort of the user. Are smart capabilities and iFit membership priorities? Either the ProForm T7 or the NordicTrack 2950 check those boxes and then some.
For more: 9 Best Treadmills You Can Buy on Amazon, According to Running Coaches What to look for when buying a treadmill
The best smart treadmill
Speaking of treadmills with additional features, your options are plenty if you’re outfitting a smart home gym. Both running experts and our tester highly recommend the Peloton Tread, a deluxe machine with plenty of metric tracking options and access to Peloton’s broadcast classes for $39 per month. Trainers love the ProForm Pro 2000, too—it’s a true workhorse treadmill that will stand up to daily use, while raising your heart rate with personal trainer-led workouts and Bluetooth audio integration.
For more: The 9 best smart treadmills, according to running experts
The best folding treadmills
Are you short of gym space? The Folding Treadmill is the perfect solution to get you through your paces without compromising your home for a bulky exercise machine. You can choose from models that fold upright or flat, and some are just as suitable for serious running as standard treadmills, like the NordicTrack EXP 7i. Others, however, excel at jogging or walking speeds, like the Walkstation from Sunny Health & Fitness. Experts also recommend that you make sure that the maximum weight capacity of the folding treadmill is right for you before purchasing it, because this type of treadmill can have lower limits than other models.
For more: 15 best folding treadmills for working out in small spaces
Ellipticals are another great option if you want a low-impact lower-body and upper-body workout at the same time. It won’t stress your knees like running will, and it has a lot to offer in terms of versatility: You can focus on the cardiovascular benefits of pedaling with just your feet. Or, for a full-body workout with a higher intensity, you can increase the resistance, pushing through the handlebars and pedaling with equal effort. The Schwinn 411 and Niceday Elliptical are two great options that are moderately priced and won’t take up much space. And if an elliptical combined with a stepper tray sounds fun (and you’re willing to splurge), consider the Bowflex range of machines—the Max Total M16 even comes with a hand strap for heart rate monitoring.
For more: 12 Best Low Impact Cardio Elliptical Machines At Home What To Look For When Buying An Elliptical Machine
The best exercise bikes
Experts love indoor exercise bikes because they can perfectly match you on your fitness level, thanks to adjustable handlebars, seats, and resistance settings. You can pedal or slow things down to work your lower body muscle groups like your glutes, hamstrings and quads. Then many models are designed to keep you comfortable (like the ergonomic handles found on the Echelon featured below) or enable interval training (like the Sunny Health & Fitness Pro II bike with its built-in dumbbell rack). For something closer to a HIIT-style full-body workout, consider the Assault AirBike, which incorporates arm motion into the ride.
For more: 17 Best Exercise Bikes For Home Cycling What to look for when shopping for a stationary bike
Best under desk exercises
Those who can’t do a full workout in their day can stay active with the exerciser under the desk. There are treadmills and ellipticals that you can use in your seat, as well as handleless treadmills that can easily fit under a standing desk. Despite their small size, they can nonetheless provide a good cardio workout: The SELF Home Fitness award-winning DeskCycle has eight resistance levels, and some feature small LCD screens that track key metrics like speed and time, like the affordable Vive Desk Bike Cycle.
For more: 14 best-selling under-desk exercises to keep you moving at home