Cardio is necessary for your health, so while it’s not going to turn you into a Greek God, it will give you the endurance of an olympic athlete.
Y’know, if you do it properly and train yourself from the ground up. We’ve found the best cardio machines that help you lose weight, increase your endurance, and overall increase your heart health.
We know you want to get back to the gym, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to be an option anytime soon—it’s time to upgrade the home gym with the best cardio machine to shed these lockdown pounds, and we’ve got the list for you.
Best Overall: Concept2 Model D
Rowing is a full-body exercise, so it targets weight loss in multiple areas of your body, putting it at the best cardio machine for weight loss at home on our list.
As the best cardio machine for weight loss, you would expect it to have benefits that support your current weight while you bring the numbers down.
Concept2 has an impressive 500 lb user capacity, so no matter where you are in your weight loss journey, you can rest easy on the seat of the Concept2 and row off the calories. With a sturdy aluminum frame, everything feels nice and secure while you’re using it.
Part of weight loss is tracking progress, and since it’s hard to see the pounds come off, tracking progress in your fitness activity is where you want to start.
Unfortunately, the screen on Concept2 is still behind a lot of other rowers. It’s not that easy to read, and the backlight could use an upgrade by another 100 lumens or so.
The only other major flaw here is setup time, which you should (hopefully) only have to do once. It can take about 90 minutes to put this together after you get it out of the box.
Once it’s all set, you’ll get to enjoy frictionless pulling against the flywheel, and enjoy the silence that you don’t often get with other rowing machines (these things can be loud if they’re not built of decent quality).
Last but not least, you’re covered on the frame with a five-year warranty, although not all of those years include labor, so you may still have to pay a nominal fee if you have to send it back.
This is something you’ll see with a lot of full-body workout machines, such as rowing machines, but it’s still good to know before you go all-in.
It’s a more expensive machine, but the Concept2 is worth its weight in gold. Users talk about the longevity and stability of this rower above everything else.
This is the best way to lose weight with cardio (and you’ll get some nice muscle toning benefits out of it, too).
Runner-Up: NordicTrack T Series Treadmills
We know that NordicTrack are the kings of treadmills, but that doesn’t mean we have to pay a ridiculous price just to have access to them. This is the most inexpensive NordicTrack treadmill that they offer, and it still offers the same level of power and durability that their other machines do, so you’re not compromising on a single thing.
To start, this is a beast of a machine at 203 lbs. It’s definitely a two-person job if you’re building it in one room and moving it to another, and based on its size alone, that’s going to be difficult.
However, this aids in stability and ensures you don’t have issues with the actual track even when you hit high speeds.
Although, at 203 lbs, we’re surprised the user capacity is only at 300 lbs. This is one of the highest quality, low-budget treadmills you can find with that perfect middle-of-the-road sweet spot on perks and durability, but we do with the user weight limit was around 350 lbs or higher.
Sure, treadmills are known t o host lower total user weights, but with its limitations, you should still be able to get one stellar workout out of this behemoth of a machine. The SMART Response motor assists you in adjusting motor speeds to accompany your current output, which can help you build up endurance.
There’s an impressive ten-year warranty on the frame, which is great, but labor is only covered for a single year. Typically, labor should be 2-3 years for most treadmills with a five-year frame warranty, so NordicTrack does feel to be lacking here.
The good news is that they’re known as the brand that outlasts just about every other, so the odds that you’ll even need to utilize that year of labor is pretty slim.
It’s heavy, but it’s powerful. NordicTrack’s T Series treadmill offers great scalability if you’re just beginning your weight loss journey, and excellent power for when you get a bit more proficient at running/speedwalking.
Alternative: Sunny Rowing
The handle is affixed and sturdy, and it’s all built into a compression system underneath the handle. You can adjust it up to thirteen different ways, and while it’s definitely unique, it’s also not a genuine rowing experience like a water rower. Still, this rowing machine comes with tons of benefits.
Apart from being adjustable so that you can customize your workout the way you want it, the entire system is lightweight at 20.9 lbs, however that comes with the trade-off of only supporting up to 220 lbs for users.
It’s a toss-up here, but if you’re trying to shed some light pounds and you’re not at the beginning of a long-term weight loss journey, this could fit for you.
The on-board screen is very basic, so while it does give you necessary fitness information, this rowing machine is best used with a fitness tracker apart from from Sunny Health & Fitness offer.
One more note about the unique form with the handle is that it keeps you in proper form while you’re rowing, and a quick YouTube or Google search will show you countless instructors who are constantly correcting rowing machine posture.
You’re equipped with everything you need to lose weight and tone muscles across most of your body, all while saving some money to contribute towards other fitness-related expenses.
It’s not the best thing out there, but if you meet the criteria, it could be a powerful way to save money and begin your exercise regimen.
Alternative: YOSUDA Indoor Stationary Exercise Bike
Stationary cycling is an excellent way to kick out those calories and turn up the heat, and YOSUDA brings us an impressive bike without hitting us for the same prices that a lot of big names do.
You get a 40 lb flywheel that really ramps up the total amount of resistance you can put on this thing, so if you’re looking to go further, then this is how you do it.
We don’t want to keep you here all day, but there are some pretty awesome specs for the price range. First and foremost, you get a comfortable seat that contours to your glutes, so as you apply pressure, the seat adapts.
It’s comfortable and doesn’t add any fatigue when you use it, so that’s a good start. Additionally, you have an LCD screen to display all of your fitness stats while you exercise.
But it’s certainly not all-powerful. Because of the flywheel not being magnetic, you may have to clean out the belt more often than you would expect with other belt-driven exercise bikes, otherwise you get a bit of a whining sound from buildup.
Apart from that, customer service isn’t the best, so getting a warranty fulfilled can be a bit of an issue. They respond, it just takes way too long to get through to someone.
YOSUDA made a great stationary bike with a great weight capacity of 330 lbs, good stat tracking, a stylish look, and a gym-quality feel to their entire device. It’s not perfect, but then again, there’s no such thing as perfect at-home gym equipment.
Alternative: Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stair Stepper
It surprises a lot of folks, but resistance bands can be just as good for you or better than resistance through free weights. When you couple it with a heart-pumping exercise with resistance, you’re burning calories and training muscle groups at the same time.
You can remove the resistance bands if you just want a simple stepper exercise for the day, so you’re not forced to use them every single time. On top of that, the resistance bands are high-quality and can be used separately as well, so you’re basically getting two-for-one with Sunny Health & Fitness.
It’s a simple device, and as such, it has simple limitations. The maximum user weight on this stepper is 220 lbs, and while that’s fairly expected for a 20 lb exercise device, there’s an issue with the pedals.
The black coating on the pedals has been known to come off, so be sure you’re using exercise shoes with this when you strap in.
This problem goes away after a few times, but it can still sully your shoes or get on carpeting if you aren’t careful.
Overall, you’re getting what you pay for in terms of size and power, but if you’re serious about weight loss and aren’t ready to invest in an expensive machine ranging in the hundreds (or thousands), this is the best place to start.
Cardio Machine for Weight Loss FAQs
What is the Best Treadmill or Elliptical?
The most effective cardio machine for weight loss in this case would be an elliptical. With an elliptical, there’s muscle growth and movement that you just don’t get on a treadmill.
Apart from building muscle, the motions rae more dynamic, so you’re burning calories in different areas of your body instead of it all focusing in one spot.
With greater reach, you’ll be affecting more muscle groups as well, so you don’t have to worry about certain areas of your body thinning out faster than others.
While an elliptical isn’t an all-in-one solution, they can be paired with water rowers for resistance (strength) training to help build muscle in more dynamic ways.
What is the Most Effective Exercise Machine?
Specifically for cardio, the entire point is that your heart rate increases. That means you could use an elliptical, an exercise bike, or any cardio machine that you want to.
Yes, some have other alternative benefits such as leg muscle growth or more focus on your arms, but the whole point is to elevate your heart rate.
Cardio stands for cardiovascular, and according to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, cardiovascular means “of, relating to, or involving the heart and blood vessels”. If it makes your blood pump faster and increase your heart rate (in a safe manner), it’s cardio.
Whichever you decide to exercise cardio on, it should be fun and fulfilling. The number one reason people stop doing cardio is because it is a relatively boring exercise for many individuals, there isn’t as much to focus on like there is with deadlift or other resistance training types.
Cardio is important, so find a method you can stick with and use the right machine, and subjectively, that will be the best cardio machine.
Which is Better For Weight Loss: Stationary Bike or Elliptical?
An elliptical will help to burn more calories than a stationary bike. If you spend the same amount of time on the elliptical that you spend on a stationary exercise bike, the elliptical would help you more by burning more calories, and by helping with leg muscle development.
But does that mean it’s better? Typically, people will go with the most efficient home gym equipment, and then realize that they’ve made a problem. The equipment is useful if you aren’t going to use it, and many users will have a more pleasant experience on an exercise bike and an elliptical.
Everyone has their preferences, and they should absolutely be taken into account. If you’re not happy with what you’re doing to exercise your body, chances are you aren’t going to stick with it.
Sure, it was more efficient, but now you’re not doing anything to work out since you fell off the wagon, so what’s the better long-term benefit?
Home cardio equipment should help you develop habits and not just solely be used for weight loss. You want to keep those pounds off after you shed them, so many sure you really think about which machine you would have a more pleasant experience on: an elliptical, or a stationary bike.
Also, this isn’t to say that the margins are alarmingly large between ellipticals and exercise bikes, but they do exist. Go with what you enjoy doing more.
Which Cardio Burns the Most Calories?
Surprisingly, it’s not going to be something you can get from any machine, whether it’s at home or in the gym. Running is the best cardio activity to burn calories, but not the type of running you do on a treadmill.
There are no variables on a treadmill, which seriously interfere with the results you get from running. Plus, no treadmill is going to be better at impact resistance than an outdoor trail.
So what is the best cardio machine for weight loss? It could be a treadmill, but because of the nature of how you run, it could also be a stationary bike. It all depends on how you move your body while you do it. The thing with standard running is that it requires you to propel your body forward.
With a treadmill, you know the floor is going to move, so you tighten up your core and keep on the straight and narrow. Then you become adjusted to what it feels like to be on a treadmill. It’s less diverse and requires less force than running outside.
Last but not least, you have to think about the environment you’re running in. Fresh air and a breeze versus an overwhelming pocket of heat that emanates from yourself and the motor of the treadmill.
It’s stuffy and not good for exercising. Running is the best, treadmills and stationary bikes can both tie for second place, depending on the conditions and how you use them.
Burning Calories Doesn’t Have to be Boring
Your cardio machine has its limits, and if you’re serious about getting fit and improving your health, it’s time to upgrade.
Now you know what to look for, what to value, and where your personal fitness plan plays into all of this. We’ve laid out the best of the best, now it’s just up for you to decide which one suits you.
Remember: there’s no harm in buying equipment that you simply use at home versus at the gym, but at the time of writing, the pandemic isn’t exactly on its last leg, so going all-out for home gym equipment is an investment many of us need to make.