Step onto a cross trainer – or elliptical trainer as they’re sometimes known – and your feet are positioned on two large platforms, your hands reaching forward to grip two handles.
This is the arrangement that a cross trainer uses to simulate walking, running or stair-climbing movement, allowing your feet to roll from heel to toe just as if you were on a treadmill or jogging around your local park.
The big difference? As your feet never leave the pedals, your knees, joints and tendons don’t take a pounding – for those of us who struggle with running or are recovering from injury, a cross trainer is a godsend.
That’s not the only benefit, however. As you also have to push the two handles during the movement, a cross trainer provides a full-body cardio workout – if you’re looking for just one do-it-all exercise machine for the home, an elliptical will cover all the bases.
In this guide, you’ll find the best cross trainers to suit every budget, from basic machines that cost under £200 to commercial standard units that look like spaceships and, well, cost a lot more than £200.
10 of The best cross trainer in UK 2021
1. JLL® CT300 Home Luxury Elliptical Cross Trainer
Featuring a 9 function on-board computer, a 5.5kg flywheel, and multiple resistance levels, the JLL CT300 is an affordable option for those with a slightly larger budget than our sub £100 recommendation.
Combined with built-in heart rate sensors and a tablet holder, the JLL CT300 is certainly a great option at this price point.
We found that it offered a great range of resistance levels and operated smoothly thanks to the 5.5kg two-way flywheel.
However, there are no built-in workout programmes available. That certainly isn’t a deal breaker though, and it gets our choice for the best model under £300.
2. XS Sports Luna Pro 2-in1 Elliptical Cross Trainer
The XS Sports Pro is one of the cheapest cross trainers you can find. Although it has a steel frame, it’s a lightweight machine. However, the maximum allowed weight for the user is 110 kg, while your foot size can’t be more than a UK size 12.
A disadvantage here is that you need to spend some time with its assembly. The instructions aren’t extremely detailed, so you need a degree of DIY know-how.
With its 2in1 construction, it can also be used as an indoor bike, and the cross trainer functions work decently. You can measure your heart rate thanks to its pretty accurate pulse sensors and adjust the workout accordingly
3. Reebok Cross Trainer GX40
If you are a beginner when it comes to croos training you would not typlically need a model featuring adjustable stride, incline, and a hulking flywheel. However, you would not like to bring home a model merely going through the motions. With the all-new Reebok GX40 Trainer, there is no potential danger as it is a sturdy croos trainer. Therefore, it is typlically known to cover all the basics of cross training.
The cross trainer is known to feature an advanced 5-inch LED display for guilding you through a series of built-in workouts. There is also the presence of advanced console feedback on essential workout parameters like speed, calories, distance, and so more. The model is known to feature around 9K of flywheel along with 32-level tension control and an impressive 15-inch stride length. The model can go as fast as you can go.
4. Branx Fitness Magnetic ‘X-Fit’ Cross Trainer
Hugely positive feedback for this elliptical. This fits in with the other Branx Fitness machines, with the same type of things getting mentioned across the ranges. The quality build comes in for repeated praise. What repeats over and over is the excellent service.
There is only a single 1-star review, with that person not leaving any reasons / comments as to why. A couple of people noted that assembly is not easy. This is normal enough for any type of fitness equipment – as we do vary in our practical skills.
Overall, super-solid feedback for the X-Fit – with multiple people noting that they were recommended Branx Fitness by other users.
This mid-budget elliptical is aimed at people who might have seen / tried the budget level home cross trainers and found them lacking.
The X-Fit sits between the commercial style elliptical trainers (for example the Sportstech LXC800) and those budget units. You get a big, solid, and reliable cross trainer with a long stride, advanced console, and app integration – all for a mid-budget price tag.
Add in the excellent service from Branx, and the long warranty, and you will see why the X-Fit is a popular option.
5. Sportstech LCX800 Luxury Cross Trainer
This home elliptical is aimed at people who want gym-sized equipment with a wide range of technology options. If you already know that elliptical cross trainers are right for you and want a model which will last for years – then this one represents excellent value.
Sportstech are already hugely popular in their native Germany. Their products include exercise bikes and treadmills – along with their impressive elliptical trainers. German engineering quality may be a cliché, though it seems to be hitting the right spot with British fitness fans.
If Sportstech were not already crushing it – then the LCX800 Elliptical Trainer will ensure that they do. This German brand makes beautifully engineered fitness equipment with stunning designs. They then add the latest technology, including integration with popular fitness app. The LCX800 Elliptical cross trainer is top of the range. This is the size and spec used in commercial gyms.
As you might expect with Sportstech equipment – the feedback from buyers of this elliptical trainer is overwhelmingly positive.
6. XS Sports CT700 Magnetic Deluxe Elliptical Cross Trainer
This cross trainer also stands out as one of the best value cross trainer bikes in the market. With a 5.5kg two way flywheel, you can be sure of versatility and value for your money.
It is easy to move it from one location to another because of the built-in wheel to the front bar. With advancements in technology, this cross trainer bike has an impressive tablet holder to ensure you are in control as you work out.
It is suitable for all levels of training.
7. JLL® CT200 Home Cross Trainer
With a lightweight 5kg flywheel and just eight levels of magnetic resistance, this is not a machine for an experienced gym-goer hoping to thrash out punishing workouts at home. However, it will certainly do the job for people just starting a health kick or looking to maintain their fitness with a few short workouts a week. One thing to note is that the 30cm stride length will probably be a little cramped if you’re over 6ft (1.83m) tall.
8. Neezee 4-IN-1 Elliptical cross trainer
This four-in-one elliptical has the ability to be your complete at-home gym. You can use it as a stepper, treadmill, bike and cross trainer. It has large anti-slip pedals to suit your stride length, plus add stability and comfort. The fixed handlebars have a soft, sweat-resistant surface and the adjustable seat is really comfortable. The 10lb two-way flywheel and V-belt drive ensure smooth, quiet running and the advanced LCD digital monitor shows you exercise speed, heart rate, time, distance and calories. Choose from eight-levels of magnetic resistance, and move it around easily thanks to the front wheels. It is rather heavy, so you’re best finding a spot for this where it can live full-time.
9. Sportstech CX2 Cross Trainer
With so many cross trainers on the market right now, models like the Sportstech CX2 Cross Trainer have to find their unique selling point to get people to climb aboard.
This elliptical trainer is a bit different in the way that it users power and relies on different features to motivate users.
This is an interesting product that has a lot of potential for those that are already fit and active. The range of resistance levels and motivational apps is perfect for those that want to push themselves a little further in their training. The self-generating power just adds to the challenge. But, this might have limitations for those that are less able or less confident.
Therefore, the Sportstech cross trainer remains a great choice for anyone looking to upgrade their cross trainer this season.
10. ORBITREK X17 Cross Trainer Machine
This at-home cross-trainer machine has been designed to bring bike riding right into your home. It is a solid machine that is meant to serve you well while remaining strong. You also get some workout programs to personalize your workout session and get the most of the machine. The machine allows you to work out not only your arms and legs but the whole body as well.
Is the ORBITREK X17 cross trainer a decent fitness equipment investment? We would like to think it is since it comes with several resistance levels and burn paths to offer you a remarkable workout session. Also, the cross-trainer offers you the functions of five machines in one unit.
How to Choose a Cross Trainer
If you just want to know which are the best elliptical trainers on the market, keep scrolling to the next section. But here’s some information about how to choose the right model.
- Stride Length. The longer the stride, the more intensely you can workout on a cross trainer. The cheapest models often have a very short stride, which is fine for a walking-style exercise but not for intense exercise. Shorter strides can also feel awkward. If you need a more difficult workout, look for a stride length between 16″-21″. Some of the best cross trainers also have a variable stride length, which increases the length while minimising the size of the machine.
- Stepping Smoothness. A comfortable elliptical trainer needs to have a smooth stride. If the motion is jerky or unstable, the machine can be unpleasant to use. Smoothness is affected by the drive train and weight of the flywheel.
- Resistance. Most high-quality cross trainers use magnetic resistance, but they don’t all adjust resistance in the same way. Cheaper models use a simple mechanical knob. Others have a motor system that allows you to adjust the difficulty via the on-board computer. A motor resistance system is required for pre-set workout programmes. There are also belt resistance cross trainers, although this system is typically only used on the cheapest machines.
- Front or Rear Driven. The location of the flywheel determines whether a cross trainer is front or rear driven. Rear drive cross trainers usually have a more elliptical feel to their motion than front drive models. The location of the flywheel only has a minor effect on the quality of your workout though, so it’s not one of the most important factors.
- Incline. Some trainers provide an incline feature. This allows you to increase the intensity of your workout while specifically targeting muscles in the thigh and stomach. Incline can either be set via the on-board console or manually depending on the type of machine.
- On-board Console. Nearly all cross trainers come with some sort of on-board console, but the features vary greatly. The most basic just show statistics such as distance, time, calories burned and speed. More advanced consoles can track your progress over time or sync with external applications. The best home cross trainers also have the ability to read heart rate via a heart rate belt (although you’ll need to buy the belt separately).
- Maximum User Weight and Stability. Make sure you choose an elliptical trainer with a maximum user weight that’s suitable for all members of your household. In general, the higher the build quality the heavier the maximum weight. It should also have effective stabilisers so there’s no chance of it toppling over during an intense workout.
- Convenience Features. There are a number of non-essential features that can make a cross trainer more enjoyable to use. Tablet holders are great if you want to watch YouTube or Netflix while working out. Even a simple drinks holder can be useful to keep topped up on fluids.
Another important consideration is how much you want to spend. That’s why we’ve separated the list below into budget, mid-range and premium categories to help you find the best home cross trainer whatever your budget. We’ve also included short elliptical cross trainer reviews to help you make the right choice.
As mentioned above, the cross trainer that’s right for you will depend on the kind of workout you want to create for yourself. If you’re looking for a low-intensity exercise that simply keeps you active through the week, you can go for a much simpler machine. On the other hand, if you want something that’s going to kick your exercise up a notch, then you might want a more complex device.
What do you think about our guide to the best cross trainers? Is there a trainer that you love that we haven’t mentioned? Let us know and enjoy your workout!