Here we have reviewed several of the most popular and hottest-selling (somewhat) cheap cardio machines for your home and highlighted some of the pros and cons associated with each machine.
Now that most of the country has been ordered to stay home thanks to Covid-19, we need to be creative in order to keep our mojo, which means ramping up our cardio game.
If you are ready to implement your fitness routine at home and you are currently on a pretty tight budget, I think we have the perfect solution for you. This article may be just what the doctor ordered.
We have also included a “Cheap Cardio Machines for Home Gym Buying Guide.”
In this section, we will introduce you to the three different types of cardio machines that we reviewed. We’ll describe each machine, and list some of the advantages and drawbacks to owning and using them.
**Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning we will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on some of our links.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Exercise Stationary Bike
This machine is one of their newest and best to date, providing comfort while you pedal off the pounds. The Sunny Health & Fitness company is rapidly becoming known as one of the premier sellers in the industry when it comes to affordable fitness machines
Ergonomically designed, the stationary bike was built for the ultimate in riding bliss. Its fully adjustable (4 settings) padded seat is a pleasure to sit upon; offering both ease and stability to riders of all sizes.
The sturdy 22-pound flywheel and drive on the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Exercise Stationary Bike provides users with a smooth and frictionless riding experience.
The flywheel can be adjusted on the fly at just the twist of a knob, which increases or decreases the resistance, essentially giving the rider full control over his cardio experience.
The LCD monitor on the bike allows you to track and monitor all of your fitness goals.
Riders can measure and pace themselves according to metrics like time, speed, distance and calories burned; and the tactile pedals with optional straps ensure you feet remain where they belong throughout the ride.
- Low impact. Cardio fitness via the Sunny Health & Fitness Indoor Cycle Exercise Stationary Bike is very low impact, causing zero stress to the bones, muscles and joints of the legs and feet.
- Ergonomic seat. The ergonomic, fully adjustable seat on this bike is padded for comfort and designed to keep you in the optimal posture.
- Lower body only. Although an exercise bike such as this provides a great cardio workout, it essentially only involves the lower body.
Pleny Foldable Vertical Climber
Anyone looking for a whole body workout that will really test their overall cardio fitness should look no further than the Pleny Foldable Vertical Climber.
This machine mirrors the movements of climbing a tilted ladder and will test all of the muscles in the upper body, lower body and core.
A natural movement that will truly increase your cardiovascular fitness over time, this vertical climber also works to tone and shape muscles and will help improve your balance and endurance.
The climber has six adjustable climber handle heights, allowing it to accommodate people of all sizes. The LCD display monitor is very intuitive and allows you to monitor and track fitness rubrics such as time, step count and calories to keep you constantly motivated and engaged.
Unlike other bulky cardio fitness machines, the Pleny Foldable Vertical Climber is very portable. The equipment folds up quickly for easy storage, and the fold-down wheels make it easy to move the machine from one room to the next.
Installation is a breeze with this climber, thanks in large part to the online assembly video for which purchasers will get a link. The customer service is fast and responsive and the product comes with a worry-free warranty against any machine defects.
- Portable. The fold up design of the Pleny Foldable Vertical Climber, coupled with the built-in transportation wheels, makes it very portable and easy to store.
- Adjustable. The six adjustable climber handle positions enables the machine to accommodate people of different heights.
- Balancing troubles. Some reviewers have lamented that the Pleny Foldable Vertical Climber is not always balanced on every floor type.
XTERRA Fitness TR 150 Folding Treadmill
Those who wish to walk or run their way to better fitness will fall in love with the XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill. Far less bulky than the larger and more expensive treadmills on the market, this model provides all of the advantages of the bigger machines without any of the drawbacks.
The automatic treadmill is powered by a robust 2.25 horsepower motor that is both quiet and smooth when in operation. With this motor, users are able to walk or run at speeds ranging from 0.5 to 10 miles per hour.
The wide and spacious walking surface on the treadmill measures 16 inches by 50 inches; and the three manual incline settings allow users to mix up their workout with a little uphill walking or running.
Perhaps the best part of the XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill is its wide 5-inch LCD display monitor. With the assistance of this monitor, fitness enthusiasts can track and challenge themselves according to many different fitness factors, including speed, incline, time, distance, pulse, calories burned and more.
Workout variety is never a challenge with this treadmill, thanks to the 12 pre-set fitness programs from which users can select. Preset direct access speed keys on the treadmill allow for fast and easy control of the workout.
In addition, the conveniently placed hand pulse grips which are situated on the side handlebars, allow you to monitor your pulse and maintain the proper speed and incline for maximum fat burning results.
- Fold-up design. The fold up design of the XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill allows for easy storage.
- 12 preset workouts. The 12 preset workouts, ranging from hill climb to speed test to fat burning mode, allows for great variety in your workout, which ultimately leads to better fitness.
- High impact. Even though the XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill has a shock-absorbent running surface, workouts on a treadmill are much more high impact than those on other cardio fitness machines.
Home Gym Cardio Machines Buying Guide:
Cardio machines come in a variety of types, each of which is designed to raise your heart rate and improve your overall fitness. Of course, it would be nice if we could all afford a home gym that included every single type of cardio machine out there, but for most people, that scenario is unlikely.
Instead, you may just have to select one or two cardio machines and focus on the workouts each of these machines offer. Therefore, to help you decide just which cardio machine (or “machines”) is right for you, we have briefly described the three types of fitness machines that we reviewed.
Here we have outlined some of the pros and cons associated with each type of machines:
Treadmills have long been the go-to machine for cardiovascular workouts. That’s because workouts on these stand-up machines definitely DO produce good fitness results. Treadmills are automatic machines with a movable walking/running surface and side rails for maintaining one’s balance.
Today’s models usually come with some type of monitor for measuring progress, and pre-set workout programs designed by fitness specialists. Some of the higher end ones also come with Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to plug in your favorite media.
- Great workout. Running and/or walking on a treadmill provides a good cardiovascular workout.
- Easy to use. Treadmills are easy to use, even for beginners.
- Big Footprint. Treadmills are larger than other types of cardio fitness machines and usually take up a lot of space.
- High Impact. Consistently walking or running on a treadmill is high-impact exercise that may be hard on the muscles, joints and even bones.
Stationary bikes, as fitness equipment, have been around as long or longer than treadmills. Perhaps that is because they also offer a very sound cardiovascular workout.
Like their name suggests, stationary bikes look and act like actual bicycles, only they have a base that prevents the bike from moving when being pedaled.
Today’s stationary exercise bikes have come a long way from the models of old. When using today’s stationary bikes, you can adjust the resistance level—usually from 1-15—based on your fitness level and daily goals, and you can even mimic uphill riding on some models.
Like treadmills, they usually have a monitor that helps you track things like time, speed, distance, calories and pulse; and the pedals on the bike usually have straps that go over your feet to prevent said feet from slipping off the pedals and potentially causing injury.
- Safe and Easy to Use. Like treadmills, stationary bikes are pretty easy to use. Simply put, if you can ride a bike, you will have no problem using a stationary exercise bicycle, and because the workout is done while sitting, they are safer than other types of machines.
- Comfortable and Low Impact. Stationary bikes are also very comfortable to use, especially when compared to treadmills. Most are ergonomically designed for posture and comfort, and sitting on that heavily padded seat sure beats standing up any time. Riding a stationary bike is also easier on your joints than walking on a treadmill.
- Not the best calorie workout. For those strictly looking to burn calories, walking on a treadmill will almost always burn more calories than riding a stationary bike during the same time frame.
Vertical Climbing Machines
Last but not least, let’s take a look at vertical climbing machines. These machines resemble a ladder that is tilted away a bit from the user. They feature pre-designated handles and footholds for your hands and feet, and when turned on, the user can climb the ladder at his own pace.
These machines are fully adjustable, and can be set with more or less resistance depending on your fitness level. Most even have adjustable handholds to accommodate people of different heights.
- Total body workout. When working out on a vertical climbing machine, all parts of the body are engaged: legs, arms, back, shoulders, core. This makes for a great cardio and strength workout.
- Adjustable. The movement and resistance of the ladder can be adjusted based on the user’s fitness level.
Not easy to use. The vertical climbing machine is one of the more difficult-to-use machines you could have in your home gym, and not recommended for beginners just starting out on their fitness journey.