The biggest reason to spring for this machine is the iFit programming—you can take a trainer-led class or go on a scenic “hike” via the 14-inch touchscreen. Yes, that means you do need to purchase a separate iFit Membership (starting at $180/year). You can technically use the HIIT H14 without iFit, but in that case, why wouldn’t you buy a cheaper elliptical?

As far as the machine itself, we found it both sturdy and surprisingly quiet. And with a whopping 26 levels of resistance (far more than the industry standard twelve), you can crank up the challenge. Unlike other ellipticals, there are no options to adjust the incline, so you can’t change up which muscles you’re working. You’re also going to want to have a dedicated space in your home for this big boy—he doesn’t fold up, and he weighs over 200 pounds.

Assault Fitness

AssaultRunner Pro

This durable workhorse is super steady and reasonably priced.

What Our Expert Testers Said

If you need your handheld while running, this isn’t your treadmill. It’s a bare-bones machine with no “smart” programming or even a fan. Heck, it doesn’t have a motor or the ability to adjust the incline, for that matter. What it does have is one of the most stable decks we’ve ever run on. The AssaultRunner Pro is exceptionally sturdy and comfortable. We didn’t notice any shaking or weird noises while running. And the deck is supportive; you don’t sink into an overly cushy platform. With a steel frame and corrosion-resistant materials, it also seems quite durable, though you get a five-year frame and three-year moving parts warranty in case anything goes awry.

Just know that there’s a learning curve when you first start running on a manual treadmill like this—it takes a minute to figure out exactly where to land to keep things smooth and how to power the belt at slower paces. Yet one tester, a collegiate strength and conditioning coach, notes that the curved platform not only made treadmill running more pleasant for him but helped reinforce “great running posture and form.”

How We Tested the Best Cardio Machines

We take finding the best cardio machines seriously. Before coming to any conclusions, we intensively test each piece of cardio equipment over a period of days or months to find the standouts we truly want to recommend to you. We rate each one on how it performs, how sturdy it feels, how durable the materials are, what delivery and set-up are like, whether it’s portable and easy to store, how much space it takes up, how ergonomic the design is, and whether it accommodates a range of body sizes. We also note whether there are custom features and how good the “smart” programming is (if any). Because you’re buying these for your home, we know you also want them to look good, so we are considering the style details as well.

Also, since you’re probably not living on an unlimited income, we take into account the value you’re getting for your money. Part of that includes researching how good the warranty is, what the return policy is like, and how customer service is to deal with.

The Benefits of Cardio Machines

There are good reasons that so many people fork over an entire paycheck (or more) to buy one of the best cardio machines for their home.

You Can Get Incredibly Precise Workouts

Sure, you could just head outside for a run or bike ride. But when you’ve got a machine setting the pace or resistance, you know you’ll get the exact workout you’re after with no wind, changing terrain, or lack of motivation to get in the way. You want to hit an eight-minute mile at a 2% incline? Well, that’s precisely what your body will do on a treadmill. (Trust us, the alternative will hurt.)

They’re Convenient

Taking a boat out on a lake may be more scenic than hopping on an indoor rower, but it’s not exactly time-efficient. When you’ve got one of the best home cardio machines sitting steps away from your bed, you don’t have to drive anywhere or, you know, haul a boat in and out of the water. The weather won’t matter. And you can watch Family Guy while you’re at it.

Your Heart Will Thank You

Aerobic exercise is undeniably good for us, particularly when it comes to our hearts. It’s why the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise each week. One 2022 study found that hitting these targets could lower our risk of dying by as much as 25 percent; doing two to four times can further bump up the protection. We’ll take those odds.

What to Look for When Shopping for the Best Cardio Equipment

We get it: Buying a home cardio machine is a significant investment. Here are a few things to consider to make sure the one you choose is something you’re actually going to use enough to make it worth it.

Read the full article here

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