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Best Front Drive Ellipticals of 2023

Comparing ellipticals for home use, you’ll see two main types of machines: front drive and rear drive. The category names tell you where the flywheels (the resistance systems) are stored. Learning about the design differences isn’t fascinating, but it’s darn important for smart shopping! Each machine style generally has a unique set of advantages and drawbacks.

Front drive ellipticals have their pedal resistance systems stored up front -- underneath their consoles instead of hanging out at the back. Therefore the average front drive trainer takes less floor space. But nowadays factories make excellent compact rear drive trainers too… so what’s the BIG advantage of a front drive elliptical? Lower price. Partly because of patent protections, typically it costs less to put the drive up front.

Some of the highest-rated home ellipticals have front drives, but do shop carefully. To emulate the natural-feeling stride of the original rear drive design, the best front drive ellipticals have articulating pedals or adjustable incline. Without at least one of these features, the ride could feel uncomfortable… and that would be ironic! Ultra-comfortable cross training is the goal. Also, the best front drive machines have high quality rollers to reduce vibration and help ensure durability. Our reviewers’ favorites for 2019 are featured on the chart below.

Top 5 Best Rated Front Drive Ellipticals

1 2 3 4 5

ProForm HIIT
Trainer Pro

The Sole E95 is a tremendous value.


The top rated elliptical trainer overall, the Sole E98 is a powerhouse this year.


The compact but powerful Sole E55 Elliptical is a top recommendation for shoppers with smaller workout spaces.


The Sole E95S is a high quality residential elliptical trainer that's earned its $2,199 price tag.



Our custom rating considers all of the elliptical's features, specs, warranties, and 100's of user & expert reviews, to save you time!

Rating: 96.0 %
Rating: 95.1 %
Rating: 94.1 %
Rating: 94.1 %
Rating: 93.9 %

Resistance is what determines calories burned per stride. The more levels, the more precisely you can control the difficulty.

26 LevelsECB20 Levels20 Levels15 Levels
Stride Length

Stride Length is important for comfort and smooth strides. A stride length of 18-21 inches is ideal for most heights (5'3 - 6'7).

n/a20"20"20"18" - 24"

Elliptical Programs allow you to complete a workout with changing speeds and inclines, without changing anything manually.

50+ iFit10101010

The flywheel controls the smoothness and resistance of your workout. In general, the higher the better.

30 Lbs27 lbs32 lbs20 lbs30 lbs

Suggested retail price, typically higher than the price you'll pay with our recommended retailers.


After carefully evaluating each online retailer that offers this Elliptical, this is the website we recommend purchasing from.

See Best PriceSee Best PriceSee Best PriceSee Best PriceSee Best Price

Front Drive Ellipticals Buying Guide

The first decision you’ll need to make when you begin shopping for a new elliptical is “Do I want a front, center or rear wheel drive?” While there is no true “right” answer, the drive system of your elliptical will impact your performance. Some exercise enthusiasts are absolutely steadfast on only using rear drive systems. Meanwhile, others have changed through the years from rear drive to front drive systems. Again, it’s a personal choice.

In order to understand front drive ellipticals, we should begin with the history of ellipticals. The first elliptical trainers started to emerge in American health clubs in the late 90s. Consequently, the elliptical is still a fairly new innovation. Today, ellipticals have all but replaced Stairmasters as the preferred lower body cardio trainer.

Because ellipticals are still a relatively new invention, manufactures are still finding ways to improve the machine. Front drive ellipticals, also known as shuffle trainers, provide a motion that is similar to the old Stairmasters and feature a stepping motion. Rear drive ellipticals, meanwhile, generally feature a smoother, natural heel-to-toe motion that is often seen on commercial models from Precor and Life Fitness.

However, that is not to say that front drive ellipticals are inferior to rear drive ellipticals. Sole Fitness, for example, features a front drive design and their ellipticals are highly regarded for the home market. On the other hand, NordicTrack offers all three different types of ellipticals for you to choose from.

Some experts will tell you that the front drive elliptical trainers are more linear and thus produce a flatter oval motion. Users may say that this design is not as comfortable or fluid. Others will feel that the front drive ellipticals lack the same stability because you are placing more weight toward the front in order to power the trainer. Consequently, the elliptical might wobble noticeably if the frame is not stable.

Regardless, front and rear drive ellipticals are both enhanced when they are equipped with a heavy-duty flywheel. You’ll find flywheels on more expensive models and they are definitely worth the higher price tag. Flywheels allow a much smoother motion and stride, which can make front drive ellipticals as fluid as rear drive ellipticals.

In the end, the decision to buy a rear drive or front drive elliptical will come down to personal preference. If you’re not sure which design works best, it is a really great idea to test ride BOTH drive designs. Do you notice a major difference? If not, you can probably save a little money and invest in a front drive elliptical.

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More Front Drive Ellipticals

The following did not make the Top 5 Front Drive Ellipticals, but are still worth a look:

6 The Sole E35 Elliptical

Sole E35

Rating: 92.6%
Price: $2,799 - Best Price: $1399.99

The Sole E35 is an elliptical that features all the specs (20 resistance levels, 20" stride, 25 lb. flywheel) needed to reach your fitness goals. It also features cushioned and adjustable pedals as well as Bluetooth compatibility and an industry-leading warranty. Read Review »

7 Diamondback 1280ef Elliptical

Diamondback 1280ef

Rating: 92.5%
Price: $2,499.99 - Best Price: $1,999

The 1280ef is Diamondback’s newest elliptical. It features a dual-adjustable stride and an Android-enabled 10” touchscreen. The screen supports interactive training and a variety of pre-installed entertainment apps. Read Review »


ProForm Carbon EX Elliptical

Rating: 92.5%
Price: $999 - Best Price: $999

The ProForm Carbon EX is an excellent value. The elliptical is among the most dependable trainers on the market, and it doesn't cost a fortune. ProForm also offers an outstanding warranty. Read Review »

9 NT-Commercial-14-9-Elliptical-2

NordicTrack Commercial 14.9

Rating: 92.3%
Price: $1999 - Best Price: $1,499

The NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 features a full-color 14" web enabled LCD display with 32 workout apps and all sorts of bells and whistles. Read Review »

10 NT-Commercial-9.9

NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 Elliptical

Rating: 92.2%
Price: $1,299 - Best Price: $1299

The NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 arrives as an updated version of the brand's entry-tier front drive elliptical with iFit compatibility Read Review »

11 Bowflex BXE216

Bowflex BXE216

Rating: 92%
Price: $2,199 - Best Price: $1799

The Bowflex Results BXE216 Elliptical is part of the Bowflex Results series, which was developed with lots of research into what customers want versus what’s already on the market -- and the effort shows! Read Review »

12 ProForm Smart Pro 16.9 NE

ProForm SMART Pro 16.9 NE

Rating: 91.9%
Price: $2,499 - Best Price: $1,499

The ProForm SMART Pro 16.9 Elliptical is full of options for the workout and entertainment lover. Read Review »


NordicTrack C 9.5

Rating: 91.6%
Price: $1,299 - Best Price: $999

The NordicTrack C 9.5 is a top buy front drive elliptical machine. It is equipped with 24 Digital Resistance Levels, 32 workout apps and a 7-inch web-enabled color touchscreen. Read Review »

14 The Sole E25 elliptical is of good value at under $1,000.

Sole E25

Rating: 91.3%
Price: $1,099.99 - Best Price: $1,099.99

The E25 is Sole's most affordable elliptical at just $1,099.99. The elliptical features a stride length of up to 20", a 6.5-inch LCD display, 10 programs and wireless chest strap for heart rate monitoring. Read Review »

15 image of lateralx lx5 a silver elliptical with black handles

Bowflex LateralX LX5

Rating: 91.2%
Price: $2,699 - Best Price: $2,699

Three factors make the Bowflex LateralX LX5 Elliptical a leader: exceptional durability, smooth ergonomics and high quality electronics. Read Review »


NordicTrack C 12.9

Rating: 91%
Price: $1,599 - Best Price: $1,299

The NordicTrack C 12.9 is full of advanced features to make your workout effective and something you look forward to. Read Review »

17 Octane Fitness XT-One

Octane Fitness XT-One

Rating: 90.6%
Price: $8,500 - Best Price: $8,500

The Octane XT-One is an exceptional fitness machine. Like no other it supports striding, running and climbing along with advanced cross training. It can even be used as just an upper body trainer if side platforms are added. Read Review »

18 Bowflex BXE116

Bowflex BXE116

Rating: 90.3%
Price: $1,999 - Best Price: $1499

The Bowflex Results BXE116 is a powerful elliptical machine with a long stride. An especially results-oriented series of cross trainers, the BXE116 supports smooth exercise with cushioned pedals and a 25-level resistance system, and it has Bluetooth for fitness data management. Read Review »


NordicTrack Elite 12.9

Rating: 89.5%
Price: $1,299 - Best Price: $1,299

The NordicTrack Elite 12.9 is packed with features and functionality that will present a challenge and intense workout to almost any user. Read Review »

20 NordicTrack Elite 12.7

NordicTrack Elite 12.7

Rating: 89.5%
Price: $1,599 - Best Price: $1,599

The NordicTrack Elite 12.7 is the complete package with high quality basics, modern tech for training and entertainment, and a long warranty. Read Review »

21 ProForm Smart Endurance 920 E

ProForm SMART Endurance 920 E

Rating: 89.2%
Price: $1,349.99 - Best Price: $1349.99

The ProForm SMART Endurance 920 E Elliptical is a great budget elliptical. It has a 7-inch full-color touchscreen and 32 workout apps. Read Review »


ProForm Carbon El

Rating: 89.1%
Price: $799 - Best Price: $799

The ProForm Carbon El is terrific budget-friendly buy. Among the most dependable ellipticals on the market, it comes iFit-ready and brings an outstanding warranty. Read Review »


NordicTrack C 7.5

Rating: 88.5%
Price: $1,299 - Best Price: $799

The NordicTrack C 7.5 is a good entry-level elliptical machine that is quipped with the necessary workout features to give you a good workout. Read Review »


Diamondback 1060Ef

Rating: 88.5%
Price: $1,999.99 - Best Price: $1,499

Read Review »

25 ProForm Carbon HIIT H7 Trainer

ProForm Carbon HIIT H7 Trainer

Rating: 88.5%
Price: $1,403 - Best Price: $1403

The ProForm Carbon HIIT H7 is a high-quality trainer that supports low-impact, high-intensity workouts. Its 7" touchscreen features iFit connectivity for interactive workouts. Read Review »