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The 7 Best Heavy Duty Elliptical Machines

Heavy Duty Elliptical

If you’re a larger person, you need to be selective about the type of cardio exercise equipment you use. An elliptical is a great choice for large people who need to lose weight because it is virtually impact free, so that there is no strain on the knees, ankles and hips. However, to meet your needs, you need a heavy duty machine.

Heavy duty elliptical machines come in a range of price points and build qualities. In preparation for this article, I have gone deep into the elliptical trainer market to bring you the 7 best heavy duty elliptical machines that are available right now.

Heavy Duty Elliptical Comparison Table

#1 Editor’s Choice

ProForm Hybrid Trainer
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#2 Editor’s Choice

Schwinn Fitness 470 Elliptical
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Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Heavy Duty Elliptical Trainer
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Nautilus E614 Elliptical Machine Heavy Duty
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NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i Heavy Duty Compact Elliptical Trainer
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Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine
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Schwinn Fitness 430 Elliptical
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1. ProForm Hybrid Trainer

ProForm Hybrid Trainer Recumbent Bike And Rear Drive Elliptical

Editor’s Choice #1: The ProForm Hybrid Trainer comes in as our favorite heavy duty elliptical on the basis of its solid construction, 350 pound (158 kg) max user weight and hybrid design. Many larger people have back issues and this elliptical trainer allows them to protect their back while they are working out thanks to its recumbent design.

The ProForm Hybrid Trainer is an elliptical/bike combo. As well as being great for larger people, it is also perfect for people with lower back issues. The recumbent position takes the strain off the lower back while exercising.


The 15 pound (6.8 kg) flywheel on this machine is at the bottom end of what you need for a heavy duty elliptical but heavier than most standard elliptical machines. The user weight on the machine is 350 pounds (158 kg), which will meet the needs of most people.

The stride length on this elliptical trainer is 17 inches (43 cm), which may be a bit restrictive for taller people. There are 14 inbuilt workout programs on this machine, providing a full spectrum of training options. There are eight calorie burn focused workouts and six performance based for cardio fitness.

iFit Enabled

The ProForm Hybrid Trainer is set up for iFit membership. This option opens up the world of training to provide you with hundreds of live and on demand workouts from around the world. An iFit subscription will cost you $99 per year.

The pedals on this elliptical trainer are oversized. This provides for varied foot placement and accommodates people with larger than normal feet.

Your purchase of the ProForm Hybrid Trainer comes with a 5 year frame warranty and 6 months parts and labor coverage.



2. Schwinn Fitness 470 Elliptical

Schwinn 470 Elliptical

Editor’s Choice #2: The Schwinn 470 makes it into our second favorite spot thanks to its overall user friendliness, solid frame design and overall stability of the machine. Its 20-inch (50 cm) stride length and awesome monitor also really impressed us. The 10-degree ramp option also allows those wanting to lose weight to optimize their calorie burn.

The Schwinn 470 elliptical trainer is one of the top of the line cardio machines from Schwinn, a highly respected player in the home gym space. This is a solid machine with a heavy duty flywheel and a 300 pound (158 kg) maximum user weight. It has a front flywheel design, a center frame support and an oversized crossbar.


The Schwinn 470 is a pretty heavy unit at 170 pounds (77 kg). However, that makes it very stable. It will not rock or otherwise shift, even when you’re going for it during a HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) session. This machine provides you with a 20-inch (50 cm) stride length. That should be enough for most people to get a full, natural stride motion.


There are 25 levels of resistance on this machine. The stride movement is fluid and natural with no stuttery action as you change levels. You can also adjust the incline with the 10-degree adjustable ramp.

The monitor on this elliptical is very impressive for its price, featuring a dual track backlit screen and 29 workout programs. It also provides immersive training by pairing with the Explore the World app.



3. Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Heavy Duty Elliptical Trainer

Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Heavy Duty Elliptical

The Teeter FreeStep is a recumbent elliptical that also provides movable arms to allow you to work your upper body. Teeter have applied their superior engineering technology to this machine to provide a totally zero impact workout. The FreeStep includes patented technology that delivers a unique linkage system that sets it apart from other recumbent training options.

Hybrid Design

The Teeter FreeStep is two machines in one, giving you the combination of push-pull mechanics to work both your upper and lower body. That allows you to work every muscle group through a full range of motion.

The Teeter FreeStep makes use of a variable magnetic resistance system. This provides you with a very smooth and natural exercise motion without the jittery broken motion that can be very frustrating on smaller cardio machines.

See here for the best exercise bikes of 2023.

Patented Technology

The same Teeter engineers who perfected the inversion table have put their skills to use on the FreeStep to deliver patented stride technology that ensures that your knees don’t go over your toes, while also stabilizing the back and hips to make sure that your workout is stress free.



4. Nautilus E614 Elliptical Machine Heavy Duty

Nautilus E614 Elliptical Machine

The Nautilus E614 is a medium-priced rear flywheel elliptical that provides a smooth workout with 20 resistance levels and 22 workout programs. 20-inch (50 cm) Precision Path stride length allows for a very natural elliptical lower body movement. The perimeter weighted flywheel sits at the back of the machine providing a good balance and improved functionality.


The E614 provides you with a six-position incline to allow you to dramatically increase the intensity level of your workout. The calorie burn is greatly enhanced when you train on an angle. However, the incline on this unit is not automatic. That means that you will have to get off the machine in order to change the incline.


With twenty levels of magnetic resistance, the E614 provides you with the increasing challenge potential to keep making progress as you get fitter. The transition between resistance levels is smooth and natural.

Check out the best mini steppers on the market.


The Nautilus E614 comes with a DualTrack LCD window, which provides you with two displays. One of these windows will deliver all of your important training diagnostics and then some. It will monitor your workout heart rate, distance traveled, resistance and program settings. The window will scan through your training diagnostics, which can be annoying for some people.



5. NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i Heavy Duty Compact Elliptical Trainer

NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i Elliptical

The NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i sits at the high end of the budget price point for home use ellipticals. This is a rear mounted machine with an 18-pound (8 kg) flywheel mounted at the back of the unit. It has an 18-inch (45.7 cm) stride length, an adjustable power incline and a vertical space-saver design. The max user weight on this sturdy machine is 325 pounds (147 kg).

24 Workout Programs

With two dozen workout programs built into the console of the SE7i, there’s no excuse to ever get bored when you’re working out on this machine. These programs have been prepared by top personal fitness trainers, with each one having a set duration and automatically adjusting the resistance intensity and stride incline to suit the workout.

22 Resistance Levels

This elliptical provides you with a total of 22 resistance levels, meaning that this machine will be able to provide a challenge for even the fittest athlete. It will also enable you to continually progress your resistance level, even as you keep getting fitter and stronger.



6. Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine

Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine

The Sole Fitness E95 is a front drive trainer that allows you to get on from the back. The console has an impressive 9 inch (22.8 cm) LCD display screen. The console is able to be adjusted so that you can clearly see it from all angles, giving a readout of all of your essential training data.

Resistance & Incline

When you purchase the Sole Fitness E95, you get 20 levels of resistance to add variety to your workout and you get a built-in speaker with Apple and MP3 compatibility. The power adjustable incline goes from 0 to 40 degrees. The handle controls make for a more comfortable workout, so you don’t have to move your hands from the handlebars to make adjustments.

Check out our review of the best rebounders of the year.

Pulse Monitoring

There is a heart rate sensor built into the handlebars, but the E95 also comes with a wireless strap to allow you to get precision accuracy of your training heart rate. The pre-programmed workouts that come with the machine can easily be accessed with the touch of a single button.



7. Schwinn Fitness 430 Elliptical

Schwinn Fitness 430 Elliptical

The Schwinn 430 delivers 22 workout programs, providing you with plenty of choice to meet all training goals.


You get 20 levels of eddy current resistance on the 430. Twenty resistance levels will allow all family members to train at their own pace.

This model comes fitted with a high inertia, perimeter weighted flywheel for a jerk free, natural stride motion. This machine also features the same front drive system that allows for closer, more natural pedal positioning. You will also notice that, unlike competitors, both Schwinn ellipticals position the foot pedals at an ideal height for easy mounting and dismounting.

Manual Adjust

The Schwinn 430 elliptical trainer requires manual adjustment. This means that 430 users will have to dismount the unit in order to change the incline. This obviously interrupts the workouts, making it impractical for such protocols as HIIT training.



Buyer’s Guide

How To Choose The Best Heavy Duty Elliptical

Things To Consider When Buying The Best Heavy Duty Elliptical

All elliptical machines are sold with a stated maximum weight allowance. The maximum weight depends largely on how solid the frame construction is. Look for a heavy duty elliptical that has a maximum weight capacity of between 300 and 400 pounds (136 – 181 kg).

As a general rule of thumb, you should look for a machine that has a maximum weight that is at least 50 pounds (22 kg) heavier than the weight of the heaviest anticipated user.

Don’t forget to check out our reviews of the best recumbent ellipticals.


There are a number of machine designs that you can choose from when choosing a heavy duty elliptical. A foldable machine may be ideal in terms of ability to store. However, foldables are not as strong as fixed machines. The foldable portion of the elliptical can be a weak point. Read our Bowflex Max trainers reviews here.

I recommend going for a rear drive elliptical rather than a front drive. Rear drive machines position the flywheel at the back of the machine. This allows for a longer stride. The movement is also more fluid and natural than on a front drive elliptical.

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You should look for an elliptical that has a step through design. That makes it a lot easier for heavier people to get on and off the machine.

Larger people should go for an elliptical with a step through design. This makes it easier to get on and off the machine.

Flywheel & Resistance

The flywheel is the power base of every elliptical machine. In order to meet the increased power demands of heavy users, a heavy duty elliptical needs to have a decently weighted flywheel. Check the specifications on any machine you are considering to make sure that the flywheel is at least 15 pounds (6.8 kg).

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Workout Programs

Many ellipticals come with built-in workout programs. This is great to add variety and allow you to work through the different types of workout, from fat loss to High Intensity Interval Training. An elliptical that has 8 – 10 programs should be enough for anybody. Be wary of retailers who provide 20 or more programs at an inflated promise – you don’t need that many!

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Durability & Stability

Durability and stability are very important on a heavy duty elliptical. You need a machine that features a heavy duty frame that sits soldily and will not move around, even when you are doing high intensity training.

Look for a heavy duty elliptical with a max user weight between 300 – 400 pounds (136 – 181 kg).


You should expect the retailer to stand behind his product with a substantial warranty. When it comes to a heavy duty elliptical, the minimum that I would expect is 5 years on the frame with 90 days on parts and labor. Ideally, you should be getting around 2 years of parts coverage.


While consoles that look like they’ve come from an episode of Star Wars may look impressive, they are not that functional. You want a console that is simple and easy to operate. The digits on the display need to be big enough to be easily read while exercising. The screen should be backlit to allow you to see it from different angles and in varying light conditions.


Unless your elliptical machine is comfortable, you will not use it as regularly as you should do. The comfort of an elliptical is largely dependent on the flywheel size. A larger flywheel will provide a smoother action that eliminates uncomfortable jerkiness.

Look for an elliptical with two sets of handles; fixed and moving. This will allow you to burn more calories.


Heavy duty elliptical machines naturally cost more than lighter machines. You should expect to pay somewhere in the range of $750 to $1,500 for a quality high-weight capacity elliptical.

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Heart Rate Monitoring

You should look for a machine that has a heart rate function. Many elliptical trainers will come with built-in sensors on the handles. These are not overly reliable. A far better option is to buy a machine that has the ability to work with a chest strap heart rate monitor. Often, though, you will have to buy the chest strap separately. This will cost around an extra $70.

Click here for the best ways to lose belly fat at home.

Heavy Duty Elliptical Benefits For Larger People

Heavy Duty Elliptical Benefits For Larger People

Low-Impact Exercise

An elliptical machine is an example of a closed chain cardiovascular exercise. That simply means that your feet never lift off the foot platforms. As a result, you do not experience any of the jarring to the ankles, knees and hips that comes with open chain options like a treadmill or jump rope.

Full-Body Workout

When you use the moveable arms on the elliptical machine, you get both an upper and a lower body workout. This brings your arms, chest and back into the exercise. As a result, you are able to burn more calories than when doing exercises than only work the lower body. These exercise benefits are only matched on a rowing machine.

Long-Term Challenge

A heavy duty elliptical machine allows larger people to work at their own level. If they are unfit, they can start with a low resistance at a walk pace and then gradually build the intensity without stressing their joints. This allows them to get a long term challenge on their way to achieving their weight loss goal.

Ellipticals are closed chain machines. This means that they are virtually zero impact!

Heavy Duty Elliptical Exercise Tips

Heavy Duty Elliptical Exercise Tips
  • Maintain an upright posture when you are using the elliptical. Your spine should be in a neutral position with a natural arch. Pull your shoulder blades back and keep your chest up.
  • Brace your core to provide a stable base for your upper and lower body movement.
  • Do not lean on the fixed handles. When you grab the fixed set of handles, you take your upper body out of the movement and reduce the potential calorie burn.

How long does it take to walk 3 miles? Click here to find out.

Elliptical Maintenance/Elliptical Repair

To get the best life and performance from your high weight capacity elliptical machine, you should carry out some basic maintenance. After every session, you should wipe the machine down with a soft damp cloth.

Check weekly that all screws and other fittings are secure. Once a month you should give the machine a more in-depth clean. Focus on the underside where dust and debris may accumulate. Every six months remove the external casing and use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris from the internal componentry.

Read more on the elliptical machine maintenance here.

Follow the user guide instructions regarding lubricating your elliptical trainer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, elliptical machines are good for the obese. The main reason is that they are a form of very low impact cardio exercises. You do not lift your feet off the foot pedals so there is no jarring on the ankles, hips or knees. Ellipticals are also very efficient calorie burners that provide a full body workout, giving a more of a total body workout than other exercise equipment.

No, an elliptical will not build muscle. Even though it works the muscles of the upper and lower body, there is not enough resistance provided to cause the microtears in muscle fiber needed to start the muscle building process. However, the elliptical will burn a lot of calories. This can help you to lose weight. When you do this, your muscles will be more defined.

Yes, 30 minutes on an elliptical is a good amount of time for a calorie burning workout. To get the most out of your 30-minute workout, you should vary your pace between slow, medium and high intensity. Do 10 minutes of slow, then pick up the pace for the next 10 minutes. Finish with your fastest pace.

To travel a mile (1.6 km) on an elliptical, you would have to take 1,584 strides on a machine with a 20 inch (50 cm) stride. That would take most people around 15 minutes. However, if you have a shorter stride machine, it will take longer to reach the one mile target. In general, though, you should be able to travel around two miles (3.2 km) every 30 minutes on an elliptical.

How long it takes to see results on an elliptical depends on what your goal is. If you are mainly trying to lose weight, you will need to combine your elliptical machine workouts with a reduced calorie diet that puts you in a daily negative calorie balance. If you maintain a 500 calorie daily energy deficit, you can lose a pound (0.45 kg) of fat in 7 days.


A heavy duty elliptical will meet the exercise needs of larger people while also providing the durability and stability to last for many years. The best heavy duty elliptical on the current market is the ProForm Hybrid Trainer.

Check out the best price and reviews on the ProForm Hybrid Trainer here.