Best Recumbent Cross Trainers (Recumbent Steppers) for Home

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Intro

Have you ever wanted to work out from home but are not sure what piece of fitness equipment you should buy? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Most people new to working out don’t have access to the relevant information to make an informed decision before spending their hard-earned cash.

In this comprehensive review, you will learn:

  • What a recumbent cross-trainer is
  • The top recumbents trainers on the market
  • The benefits and cons of recumbents
  • What to look for before buying
  • Specifications like weight and dimensions and 
  • A final recommendation

So if you don’t want to waste your money on a piece of home fitness equipment you don’t need, keep reading this expert review and guide and learn which recumbent trainer is best for you!

Let’s get started.

What is a recumbent elliptical cross trainer? 

In recent years working out from home has become not only a craze but necessary, primarily due to the pandemic that has kept everyone at home. 

Now when you think of home fitness equipment, most people think of spin bikes or rowers, but how many of you have thought about buying a recumbent elliptical cross-trainer? You might be asking, what is a recumbent trainer? Well, chances are you’ve probably used one while at the gym but didn’t realize what it was.

Recumbents like the Teeter FreeStep LT3 Recumbent Cross-Trainer position the user in a slightly reclined seated position and typically require the user to cycle or push with their legs while pumping the handles with their arms and upper body. Simply put, recumbent cross-trainers offer the best of both worlds by providing the user with lower and upper body movement resulting in a challenging yet comfortable total body exercise session.

teeter lt3 in action

Most recumbent cross-trainers include various pre-programmed activities that replicate things like riding through the mountains, performing HIIT or high-intensity interval training, and even longer workouts that focus on boosting your cardiovascular system. Users also have the option of using ther manual system, which, to be honest, is my personal favorite. 

Recumbents are great for all users but are perfect for beginners to fitness and the elderly. Recumbent elliptical cross-trainers are also ideal for those undergoing rehabilitation or who have a limited range of motion in their joints because of an injury or a condition such as osteoarthritis. You can find out more information in our article about the differences between a typical recumbent & a recumbent elliptical cross-trainer.

Recumbents are a great way to work out because they are low impact, meaning they put little to no stress on the joints.

6 Best Cross Trainers for Workout & Rehab 

Here at girlbikelove we have done the research and your homework for you. Below you will find the 6 BEST Recumbent Elliptical Cross-Trainers on the market today. 

Best Overall: Teeter FreeStep LT3 Recumbent Cross-Trainer

If you’re looking for the best recumbent trainer out there, then you can’t beat the Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross-Trainer. The LT3 offers users a low-impact workout with numerous pre-programmed fitness buttons and is made from the best quality materials possible.  

The LT3 is not the most expensive on the market, but as I mentioned, that doesn’t mean it’s not the best, because in this case, the Teeter FreeStep LT3 recumbent Cross-Trainer is simply the best value-for-money trainer money can buy.

Things We liked:

  • Burn a whopping 17% more calories compared to other recumbents
  • Challenging full-body workout 
  • Low impact perfect for all users 
  • Great for those undergoing rehabilitation or the elderly
  • Smooth elliptical pedaling motion

Things to Consider:

  • Quite bulky and takes up space 
  • The maximum user weight is only 300lbs 

Best Value: Teeter LT1 Recumbent Cross-Trainer

The Teeter FreeStep LT1 is the little brother to the Teeter FreeStep LT3, but although it’s the little brother, the LT1 packs a real punch. Here’s what you can expect. 

The magnetic resistance system is second to none and is ideal for all user levels. The adjustable handlebars are a well-thought-out feature that allows different size members of your family to use the LT1. The digital screen is my favorite feature and makes tracking data like speed, distance, time, and calories effortless. You’ll also get a sturdy device holder to watch your favorite Netflix or Youtube shows while working up a sweat. Oh, and don’t forget the two water bottler holders to help quench your thirst when things get hot.

If you aren’t sure which of the Teeter bikes is the best for you, we have written a detailed article with the comparison between the Freestep LT1 vs. LT3.

Things we liked

  • Digital console is second to none
  • Easy to track ride metrics
  • Sturdy device stand
  • Access to the TeeterMove App
  • Affordable price tag

Things to Consider

  • No pre-programmed buttons, but you can access the TetterMove App
  • Doesn’t foldaway 

Best with Swivel Seat: PhysioStep LXT Recumbent Trainer

Undoubtedly the best swivel seat recumbent trainer out there, the HCI Fitness PhysioStep LXT, provides users with a low-impact workout making it ideal for those undergoing rehabilitation. There aren’t many pieces of equipment that make it easy for those with mobility issues to use, but the LXT does precisely that.

The swivel seat is one of the standout features, and the patented stepping motion gives users peace of mind they won’t reinjure themselves. 

But in my opinion, the massive benefit of this machine is the brand behind the recumbent. HCI Fitness has been designing and developing fitness machines for clinical use for over two decades. Physical therapists have used HCI machines and professional sports scientists to help people of all fitness levels recover from injury. 

Things We Liked

  • HCI is one of the most reputable brands in the fitness industry
  • The swivel seat makes it easy for the elderly and those with poor mobility to get in and out easily
  • Users who up to 400lbs can safely use the LXT
  • Low-impact 
  • For all the bells and whistles, the LXT is very affordable.

Things to Consider

  • The handles arent fully adjustable 
  • The pedaling motion doesn’t mimic the leg press 

Best Premium on Budget: PhysioStep HXT Recumbent Trainer

The PhysioStep HXT recumbent Cross-Trainer gives users a total body workout in the comfort of their own home. Not only that, but the PhysioStep HXT is the most compact recumbent in the HCI range and also the most affordable. 

Perfect for those on a tight budget, the PhysioStep still provides a safe and effective workout. When you consider that HCI Fitness has been designing clinical fitness equipment for nearly 30 years, the HXT is very hard to surpass. The HXT also provides users with a challenging upper and lower body workout, meaning you can burn more calories than you would on a spin bike.

Things we Like

  • Reputable clinical fitness brand
  • Total body workout
  • Low-impact
  • Very affordable
  • Excellent value for money

Things to Consider

  • It may not be as smooth as some of its more expensive counterparts

Best Premium 1: NuStep T4r Recumbent Cross-Trainer

The NuStep T4r is one of the most popular recumbent cross-trainers on the market today. Many people in the fitness industry might know the NuStep name because they have been producing and designing fitness equipment for healthcare professionals worldwide for many, many years.

The NuStep T4r allows users of all fitness levels to work out in a safe and effective manner and is perfect for those who want a challenging full-body training session. The recumbent seat is comfortable and supportive, and the independent step length feature allows different users to adjust the stepping motion to suit their needs.

Things we Liked

  • Self-generating power 
  • Very smooth stride and pushing motion
  • The digital console is easy to read while working out
  • Easy to adjust handles and seat
  • A well-known and reputable worldwide brand 

Things to Consider

  • The NuStep T4r Recumbent Trainer is quite large and takes up a fair bit of space

Best Premium 2: Spirit Fitness CRS800S ‘Step Thru’ Recumbent Stepper

Are you on a tight budget? Don’t worry; most people are. So with that being said, the Spirit CRS800S Recumbent Stepper is probably right up your alley. 

Although the Spirit CRS800S is at the lower end of the price scale, it still packs a real punch when it comes to matching up against its more expensive counterparts. Like many of the other recumbents, the Spirit CRS800S provides users with a low-impact and comfortable workout while at the same time still being challenging enough to work up a real sweat. 

If you want to improve your strength and conditioning and aerobic system simultaneously, you should seriously consider the Spirit CRS800S Recumbent Stepper.

Things we Liked

  • Twenty resistance levels
  • Comfortable and supportive seat
  • Ten pre-programmed fitness buttons
  • Maximum user weight of 450lbs 
  • Excellent rock-solid warranty and USB Port

Things to Consider

  • No BlueTooth connection
  • Instructions are somewhat tricky to understand, making assembly challenging

Benefits of a Recumbent Elliptical Cross Trainer

When it comes to recumbent cross-trainers, you might be thinking, aren’t they just like any other home fitness equipment? Don’t they do the same things and have the same benefits? 

Actually, recumbent elliptical cross-trainers have several unique and standout benefits and advantages for health and fitness that other machines don’t offer. As I mentioned earlier, recumbents are great for the elderly and beginners, but let’s look at exactly why both the elderly and newbies will benefit from buying a recumbent cross-trainer.

Postural Support 

Because recumbents have you in a reclined seated position, it can help many users, particularly those who are elderly, to perform the exercise correctly without the risk of injury. Those users struggling with back pain can benefit the most from the comfortable and supportive seated position. 

Being seated helps users keep their back and neck straight and their lower body perfectly aligned, all of which help mitigate the chance of serious long-term injury. Because the seated position of the recumbent cross-trainer is comfortable and versatile, you can work out while watching TV or reading a book. 

As a matter of fact, as a professional sports coach, I have prescribed the recumbent cross-trainer to many athletes who are undergoing rehabilitation. This is because the seated position puts the athlete in a safe position that ensures they can exercise without further injuring themselves. 

The recumbent position also makes it very easy for the elderly and those with a limited range of motion to get in and out of the recumbent elliptical. 

A Great Low-Impact Workout

Unfortunately, many people today struggle with joint pain and arthritis; there are many reasons for this, including lack of exercise, poor exercise technique, obesity, and poor diet. Recumbent trainers offer users a low-impact workout, which means the chance of injuring yourself is very low.

Low-impact machines and activities are great because you can work out daily, which means you burn more calories in the long run. The recumbents also do an awesome job at keeping your body aligned, and the elliptical pedaling motion ensures your knee and hip joints don’t sheer when using the trainer.

If you’re undergoing rehabilitation, the first thing you want to do is find a low-impact activity. This is exactly why many athletes and the elderly choose to use recumbent trainers because they offer a total body workout safely and effectively. Running, for example, can further injure the joints and requires a good amount of fitness to start. 

Excellent Way To Burn More Calories

Let’s be honest; most people spend loads of money on home gym equipment for one simple reason; they want to lose weight. Well, although it doesn’t look like it, the recumbent cross-trainer is one of the best machines you can buy to help you burn more calories.

Why? simple; because the recumbent trainer allows you to work out your total body, meaning you burn many more calories than you would if you were using a spin bike or a stepper. Not only do you burn more calories, but you can also strengthen your muscles while boosting your aerobic capacity all at the same time. 

Burning more calories is another reason many athletes use recumbents for rehabilitation. Recumbents can help them stay in good physical shape, maintain healthy body weight and speed their recovery from injury. 

Complete Full-Body Workout

How many pieces of home fitness equipment can provide total body workouts? Not many, right, unless you buy four or five different machines, which would end up costing you a fortune. 

A full-body workout could possibly be the most significant benefit of buying a recumbent elliptical cross-trainer because not only can you tone every single muscle in your body, you can boost your cardiovascular health, prolong longevity and enhance your overall health and well-being. 

Some of the muscles the recumbents target are:

  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Shoulders
  • Legs
  • Buttocks 
  • Core
  • Lats and delts and
  • Chest

So as you can see, to be honest, you won’t find a better piece of home gym equipment if you’re looking for a full-body workout and want to burn the maximum amount of calories all while being comfortable and supported. 

What to look for before buying a recumbent elliptical cross trainer 

When it’s time to go shopping for a recumbent elliptical cross-trainer, there are many factors that potential users need to consider, especially when you consider that many recumbent trainers can cost as much as USD 5000.

Contrary to what most people think, spending more money doesn’t always mean you will get a better piece of home gym equipment. Sure spending more money might get you better built-in fitness programs and a few other bells and whistles, but not everyone is after fancy pre-programmed sessions.

To some users, features like durability, stability, warranties, and the trusted name brand are more important; this is why it’s so important for users to do their due diligence and research ALL recumbents elliptical cross-trainers before deciding which one to purchase.

With all the massive sales and the fancy marketing slogans and marketing campaigns, it’s easy to see why many people get fooled into buying the most expensive recumbent. So with that being said, I’ve compiled a list of features, factors, and components that you should consider to help you choose the right recumbent cross-trainer for you and your family. 

Warranty

When it comes to spending large amounts of money, you need to ensure the recumbent you are buying has a rock-solid warranty and guarantee. Purchasers should be very wary of brands that offer limited warranties and less than adequate customer service; this is a sure telltale sign that the brand’s products are of poor quality.

I highly recommend purchasing a recumbent elliptical cross-trainer with a minimum of a 2-year warranty and customer service focused on making things right and doing whatever is necessary to keep the customer happy. I would also recommend checking customer reviews and, if possible, talking to someone with the same recumbent trainer. 

Reading comprehensive expert guides such as this one is also an excellent way to help you make an informed decision on which recumbent trainer is right for you. 

Assistance and Customer Service 

It’s all very well and good throwing your money around on the most expensive elliptical on the market, but let’s think about it, even then, costly trainers will still need servicing and replacement parts over time. More than likely, if you’re willing to spend 1000s of dollars on a  piece of home gym equipment, you’ll probably be using it many times a week, if not daily.

To be honest, most fitness equipment companies and brands are sincere and reputable. Most brands have excellent customer service, but just like any industry, a few companies always try to “con” their customers into buying expensive products and then fail to offer adequate customer service and repair. 

If you find you run into a company with a 1-800 number, you could be in for a long, long wait and a frustrating one too. You may end up speaking to a person in a completely different country from where you purchased your recumbent trainer. These customer service reps are typically very polite, but they don’t have access to the information you need; this is the brand’s fault, not the customer service representative’s. 

Trying to get your trainer fixed can often take weeks and even months, which is very frustrating because you’re talking and communicating with a different customer service rep every time. Quite simply, it’s tough to get an answer and even tougher to get the answer you want. 

Fitness Store or Internet

Where you buy your recumbent elliptical cross-trainer can significantly impact customer service, servicing components, communicating with staff, and talking with someone knowledgeable. Are you buying it from a big box store? Or are you purchasing directly from the brand from their website? 

Both of these options have their advantages, but just like anything, they also have their disadvantages. Think about it, though, would you be better off buying your recumbent direct from the manufacturer’s website or buying it from a big box store that also sells lawnmowers, washing machines, and fridges? 

In my opinion, you’re always much better off buying your recumbent direct from the manufactured website. 

They offer:

  • Better deals
  • Expert and knowledgable staff
  • Great customer service
  • Rock-solid warranties and guarantees
  • Prompt 

Also, online stores that specialize in fitness equipment must offer the general public high-quality products; otherwise, if not, they’re more than likely going to go out of business. It’s in the brand’s best interest to sell quality merchandise, whereas big box stores can sell hundreds of different products to boost their bottom line. 

Check Your Local Gym First

One of the best and easiest ways to check a recumbent trainer’s quality before buying one is to head down to your local gym and try the brands they have. Your gym likely has several recumbent trainers; if you’re lucky, they may have more than one brand and type.

What better way to check which recumbent is best for you than by trying it out first? One downside of buying online is that you can’t try the product out before buying, but using a recumbent at your local gym negates this problem and keeps more money in your pocket.

Gyms will have the best machines available because they need to ensure they are durable since they will be getting plenty of use by the members daily. Trust me; if your gym has a particular brand of recumbent trainers, then you should purchase the same one too. 

Machine and Maximum User Weight

Users often forget to consider the size, dimensions, and weight of the recumbent trainer they’re looking to buy. Put simply, if you’re 160cm and weigh 120lbs, you probably won’t be comfortable on a recumbent cross-trainer that is made for someone who is 190cm and 200lbs. 

Recumbent elliptical trainers mean that users are seated, so if you’re on a machine designed with shorter people in mind, you’re going to have difficulty getting the most out of your workouts. 

The most obvious factor is that using a machine that is not fitted correctly can cause a huge potential for provoking serious injury, which is the last thing you want when trying to boost your fitness, health, and well-being. Maximum weight capacity is also a factor you need to consider, especially if you’re pondering having the entire family use the recumbent trainer. 

Remember, when it comes to purchasing home gym fitness equipment, expensive does not always mean it will be better. As a matter of fact, more often than not, it’s the recumbent trainers that are middle-of-the-range, which are the ones best suited for most people.

Expensive recumbent cross-trainers are great if you have the money and you’re a serious athlete using the recumbent for things like training and working out when coming back from injury or undergoing rehabilitation. Take your time, do your research and ensure you look for the factors I’ve mentioned above.

Wrap-Up 

Best Recumbent Elliptical Cross Trainers

So there you have it; when it comes to the recumbent elliptical cross-trainer, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better piece of gym equipment for the home. 

If you’re looking for a full-body workout that doesn’t put stress on the joints and burns more calories than your conventional spin bike, then you should seriously consider the recumbent trainers. 

  • Great for the elderly
  • Perfect for beginners 
  • Excellent for recovery and rehabilitation
  • Burn more calories
  • Low-impact
  • Total body workout

Don’t forget before you spend your hard-earned cash to consider the factors that are unique to you; this way, you ensure you purchase the recumbent trainer that is right for you. 

Brenton Barker

Brenton holds a Degree in Sports Coaching from the University of Delaware and was the former Head Advisor for the Japanese Government's Sports Science Institute. Brenton currently consults with several Professional Athletes and clients in Self- Accountability, Health, and Goal Orientation.

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