low impact cardio machines

The Best Low Impact Cardio Machines of 2021

As an Amazon Associate, Home Fitness Life earns from qualifying purchases made through links on this page.

The American College of Sports Medicine defines cardio as any form of physical activity that increases your heart rate through rhythmic and continuous motion. Such activities include swimming, jogging, running, martial arts, cycling, and even dancing. Cardiovascular exercise is most likely to keep you in good health and prevent the risk of chronic disease

What some people don’t realize is that cardio doesn't have to be fast and intense and place heavy demands on your body. If you have joint pain from things like post-pregnancy effects, sports injuries, and musculoskeletal problems like osteoarthritis, you're not going to want extra impact on your joints. These kinds of issues typically rule out engaging in things like jogging, plyometrics, and competitive sports. These activities are high-impact and too dangerous and put stress on muscles, ligaments, and joints. Thankfully, the following items provide a formidable alternative. 

The Best Home Exercise Equipment for Low-Impact Cardio

Recumbent Exercise Bikes

Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike with Resistance ME-709

No list would be complete with a review of a recumbent bike. A recumbent bike is a piece of low impact exercise equipment for seniors! This highly affordable piece of equipment was built to last with 14-gauge steel tubing with a powder coat finish. It has an easy step-through design that makes mounting and dismounting easy on the knees and back.

With over eight levels of resistance, you can adjust the intensity of your workout the included tension knob. The padded seat is ergonomically designed with high-density foam to provide an especially comfortable workout. The extra support will keep your arms and back in the proper form while you exercise. 

This recumbent bike also includes an ultra-functional computer screen that can be used as an odometer. The bright display allows you to track items such as distance, speed, time, and calories burned. This model also includes transport wheels at the base to easily move the bike from one room to the next.


  • Good quality for the price
  • Sturdy heavy-duty design
  • The seat is large and the backrest is supportive


  • Heavy and difficult to carry
  • Might not be ideal for very short users

Exercise Bikes

SNODE Magnetic Indoor Spin Bike

This Spin Bike comes with a magnetic control system to provide a smooth and quiet experience. This aerobic machine comes with a 4-way adjustable seat and 2-way handlebar, so you can maintain proper form while mounted. Stable and sturdy, this bike has a relatively high user weight capacity of 287lbs.

With a digital display, you can track all of your important fitness data such as distance, calories, odometer, and pulse. Ergonomically positioned heart rate sensors are provided to track your heart rate. This spin bike is perfect for getting fit exercising 30 minutes a day. Put your iPhone on the holder for music or entertainment while working up a sweat.


  • Very easy to assemble
  • Built to last
  • Easy to move


  • Lower quality odometer and plastic tray
  • Flimsy water bottle holder

Body Rider Exercise Upright Fan Bike (with Softer Seat)

This is a dual action fan bike that comes handy for lower and upper body workouts. Highlights include an adjustable seat height, making it ideal for people of varying heights. It's one of the best machines for cardio. The tension knob allows you to manually adjust the resistance level while the console makes it easy to track your data.

Its ergonomic design engages the upper body and arms for true cardio and strength training. The machine also allows you to have an elliptical. You will certainly love the fan wheel as it keeps you cool for extended workouts.


  • Ergonomic design
  • Comes with console
  • Dual action handlebars
  • Stable and durable steel frame


  • Not the best for those over 5’6” tall
  • No option to set the handlebars to a stationary position

Elliptical Trainers

GOPLUS Portable Magnetic Ellitical Trainer

This elliptical training machine is one of the best all round exercise machines. It was built to help you get a comprehensive cardio workout, targeting all major muscles for weight loss. By turning the tension knob, you can adjust this machine to 8 different resistance levels. Built with a 10-pound magnetic flywheel, this machine provides quiet operation, making it ideal for home or office use. 

With a multifunctional digital monitor, you can track important fitness details, such as distance, speed, odometer. You can get your heart rate and calorie burn. The additional pulse rate grips help track your heart rate during use. As this elliptical machine was constructed by ABS plastic and materials, it is stable and durable and has a 264.4 lb weight capacity.

It includes large foot pedals and foam armrests to provide an especially comfortable workout experience. There is also a mobile phone holder so you can enjoy a little music or entertainment while getting your best cardio workout on. Transport wheels are installed at the base, so you can easily roll it from one room to the next. 


  • This elliptical machine takes very little time to assemble with easy-to-follow instructions


  • No speakers or USB ports to charge your device

Stamina InMotion Elliptical

The Stamina InMotion is a one of a kind elliptical that stands up to the competition impressively. With a price range of $50 - $100, it’s easy to see why this elliptical is a favorite for many consumers. It doubles as a standing exercise machine, a feature that’s only available with very few products on the market. 

This cardio trainer comes with a foot pedal only chassis that fits incredibly well under the desk, allowing you to exercise as you work. Its low impact design is a welcome feature that enables you to be fit while protecting your ankles, knees, hips and the back. Also featured is an electronic monitor that makes it easy to track the exercise time, calories burned or strides taken.


  • Sturdy construction and non-slip pedals
  • Has a multi-functional fitness monitor
  • Tension knob to adjust resistance levels


  • Quality could be better
  • Maximum weight is 250 pounds

Stamina InMotion Compact Strider

This sleek cardio strider can fit under a desk or any small space. It has a lot in common with its elliptical cousin, but integrates more of striding motion.

One of the main highlights is the adjustable tension knob that allows for varying resistance levels. The more you become accustomed to exercising with it, the easier the lower settings will be for you. 

It also comes with heavy-duty track wheels that roll smoothly on the steel base. The handle comes handy when transporting the strider from one room to another. It has a fitness monitor that tracks time, number of calories, strides and more. The pedals are non-slip and can be worked in forward as well as reverse motions. We love that the Stamina InMotion Compact Strider comes in two styles i.e. with or without resistance tubes.


  • Adjustable tension knob
  • Durable construction with steel base and heavy duty track wheels
  • Easy to carry around? Nonslip pedals


  • Pricier that the Stamina InMotion Elliptical Trainer
  • Highest resistance is a little too low

Mini Exercise Bikes

Pedal Exerciser by Vive

Vive Health manufactures mobility, lifestyle and living aid products. One of their most popular cardio products is the Pedal Exerciser, which adapts well to the workspace and can be used for hands or feet. It is easy to assemble as all parts are included and you don't have to make additional purchases. Also, it doesn't require plugs or batteries to power up. After using, you'll feel like you've just used a regular-sized bike.

Its low profile makes these machines great options for the best cardio legwork as well as on top of the table when you need to exercise the upper body. I love the handle as it makes carrying the machine easy. The front and rear legs combined with the weight provide sturdiness and prevent it from moving while in use. This Pedal Exerciser also has a large LCD screen that allows you to easily track the number of calories burned, speed, distance covered, RPM and time.


  • Sleek Design
  • Quiet operation makes it ideal for office use
  • Large LCD screen to monitor stats
  • Can be used for hands or feet


  • Highest resistance is very low
  • Too small for wide feet

DeskCycle Desk Pedal Exerciser

The ability to do cardio exercise while working is something we are always looking for. The low impact DeskCycle is a low profile foot-pedal machine that is designed to fit under the desk, allowing you to exercise while you work. These cardio machines are more affordable than their full-sized cousins and ergonomically designed for small spaces. You can adjust the resistance levels by turning the tension knob locates at the front of the unit. 

The LCD screen is a welcome addition that allows you to monitor the stats and can be mounted on the desk or directly on the machine. Installation is easy as you have to do is attach the pedals and legs to the bike with the included wrench tool. Unlike other under-desk workout machines that may distract you from work, the DeskCycle doesn’t require you to devote some attention to pedaling. As such, you never have to worry about a decrease in productivity.


  • Works with desks as low as 27 inches
  • Eight calibrated resistance settings
  • Magnetic resistance for smooth and quiet pedaling? High-quality 


  • Doesn’t burn as many calories as other models in this roundup
  • Taller people may find it uncomfortable


Available with or without expert installation, the Stamina SpaceMate Folding Stepper will make a nice addition to your best cardio workout machine collection. It offers a complete stair stepper workout without taking up all the space in the living room. These cardio machines come with two adjustable resistance hydraulic cylinders that provide a smooth stepping motion to effectively burn more calories, tone the muscles and exercise the heart. 

Being a foldable cardio machine, this model fits nicely in a closet or under the bed. It is also has a battery-operated electronic monitor that tracks the number of steps during the workout, number of steps per minute, time taken and calories burned. Installation takes less than ten minutes and pewter-colored frame gives the machine an attractive look.


  • Great design and look
  • Is foldable and can fit in small spaces when not in use
  • Multi-function monitor that tracks your stats
  • Independent design stepping action
  • Handles with foam covering to provide a good grip


  • Customer service is a little disappointing
  • Attaching the handle bars foam covers can take a while

Rowing Machines

Stamina ATS Air Rower

The ATS Air Rowing Machine lives up to the quality and affordability associated with products from Stamina. It has a steel frame as well as an oversized chrome seat rail, which provide stability during cardio workouts. This rowing machine features an ergonomic handle, nylon straps and a large padded seat. Great for a full body workout.

A spinning fan provides air resistance for the lowest-impact strength and cardio workouts. The large LED backlit screen makes it easy for you to track your data while the maximum weight capacity is 250 pounds. This rowing machine is a perfect addition to any home gym. 


  • Comfortable thus allowing for a good full-body workout
  • Multifunction LED display screen
  • 3-year warranty on the frame and 90-day warranty on parts
  • Air resistance with spinning fan
  • Metal pull chain


  • It can be noisy
  • Lacks a console

Vibration Machine

Confidence Fitness Slim Full Body Vibration Platform Fitness Machine

This compact low-impact machine features the latest innovation from Confidence Fitness i.e. Vibration Plate. This creates a high frequency vibration that causes a stretch flex within the body.In other words, it helps the muscles contract involuntarily so as to induce the effects of working out without exertion of conventional workouts.

Yoga straps enhance the effect of the Vibration plate when it comes to targeting and improving different muscles. The display console is user-friendly and has a simple navigation menu. Click here to read my detailed review of the Confidence Fitness Slim Full Body Vibration Fitness Machine.


  • Vibration plate increases stimulation and amplifies exercise
  • Up to fifty-speed settings
  • Compact design makes it ideal for home use


  • Cannot fit under the desk
  • Not eligible for shipment outside the US

What is low impact exercise?

This is an activity where one foot typically stays in contact with the ground. These kinds of exercises are ideal for seniors or people with bad knees who want to avoid injury and rest joints. Cardio exercise is also recommended for people with lower back pain or sciatica.

The purpose of low-impact exercises are to improve cardiovascular health while reducing the possibility of damage to tendons and ligaments. There are lots of different exercises that qualify, such as cycling, barre workouts, yoga, power walking, jogging, swimming, and rollerblading. Almost everything but running or using a treadmill qualifies. Check the list of leg cardio machines above for examples.

What's the best low impact exercise?

That depends on your goals. Different exercises involve different muscle groups. While exercises like cycling, power walking, and rollerblading mostly involve your legs, exercises such as swimming, rowing, and yoga involve your whole body. Yoga also has an added benefit of promoting mental and emotional health. So, choosing the best exercise depends on your goals and personal preferences.

Is rowing a low-impact exercise?

It sure is. Using a rowing machine can not only burn about 600 calories an hour, it also brings other muscles in on the action. This is a much lower impact option than a treadmill. The trick with rowing machines is to focus on pushing with your legs and allowing your arms and back to follow. Proper posture must be maintained with this exercise equipment to achieve a safer rowing experience.

What low impact machine burns fat?

Pedal Exercisers, rowing machines, ellipticals, vibration platform machines, steppers, and a stationary bike. Every kind of exercise machine for cardio are effective, but require consistent use to promote results.

Any of the compact cardio equipment you see listed below will do the job and will explain which factors to consider when working on machines. They are a nice way to clear your head, reduce stress and improve mental health. If you're looking to improve your home gym, let's take some time to take some time to look at our list of the best low-impact cardio machines of 2018.


The best cardio machines do more than just help you reduce weight and tone your muscles. Now you have an idea which might be the best cardio machine you can use at home.

My personal favorite is the Pedal Exerciser by Vive due to its sleek looks, low-profile design, and quality construction. Quiet operation means that you can use these exercise machines without distracting others in the office.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.