A Young girl using elliptical machine
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An elliptical is a great way to get an intense cardio workout without the high impact on your joints that you get with running. But some of the best ellipticals are big, bulky machines that need to be plugged into an outlet. So your options for where and when you use one can be pretty limited.

Enter manual ellipticals. These smaller, quieter machines don't require electricity but still offer just as intense of a workout. This makes them perfect for smaller spaces or anyone who doesn't have a dedicated room for their home gym. Wheel the manual elliptical out in front of the TV or take it out in the backyard for a cardio session and then wheel it right back into a corner or closet when you're done.

Here are the absolute best manual elliptical machines for home workouts.

CBS Sports readers' favorite elliptical machine: Niceday CT11


The Niceday CT11 is our readers' favorite elliptical and one of the top-rated machines on Amazon. The 4.5-star-rated cross-trainer machine has 16 resistance levels, so you can go from mild warm-up to a fast-paced cardio session or crank it all the way up for a strength-building workout on par with a stair stepper.

If you just want a low-impact recovery session, the Niceday Elliptical has you covered. And if you want a serious high-intensity cardio session, it's got you covered there, too. The whisper-quiet, butt-kicking machine is on sale for just $550 after coupon on Amazon right now (reduced from $800).

Top features of the Niceday CT11:

  • Sixteen resistance levels let you customize the intensity according to your fitness goals.
  • Digital display tracks time, distance, speed, calories burned and pulse.
  • The built-in pulse sensor on the handles lets you check your pulse regularly.
  • Its cordless design saves on electricity and gives you more options for where you want to workout.
  • Smooth-gliding transportation wheels make it easy to stash in a corner when not in use.
$550 at Amazon

Best elliptical machine for high intensity workouts: Yosuda Pro Cardio Climber


With an 18-pound flywheel, the Yosuda Pro Cardio Climber boasts one of the most intense workouts you'll find in a manual elliptical when you crank up the resistance all the way up to the highest level. And with 16 resistance levels available, it still gives you the option to dial it down to a more moderate intensity when you need it.

The compact machine is just 38 inches long and 21 inches wide, making it shorter and narrower than the Niceday CT11. And with a vertical stride height of 11 inches, the Yosuda Pro acts as a stair climber as well as an elliptical so you'll build up muscle in your legs and core while burning calories from the cardio workout.

Right now, Amazon is offering the 4.3-star rated manual elliptical for just $330 with coupon (reduced from $530).

Top features of the Yosuda Pro Cardio Climber:

  • A heavy 18-pound flywheel gives you an even more intense workout at the maximum resistance level.
  • 16 levels of resistance let you precisely tailor the intensity to your fitness level and workout goals.
  • The compact, cordless elliptical takes up less space than other machines and can be used anywhere inside or outside of your home.
$330 at Amazon

Best folding elliptical machine for small spaces: Gazelle Sprinter


For anyone dealing with extremely limited space, the Gazelle Sprinter is the way to go. When you're not using it, the lightweight elliptical can fold down flat to slide under a bed or be tucked away against the back wall of a closet. So if you don't even have a free corner to stash exercise equipment in -- or you just don't like the look of a machine taking up space in the room -- this is a great option.

When you are using it, the hydraulic pistons provide resistance to give you a more challenging workout. You also have a surprising number of ways to use the machine. You can walk, jog or run on it like you would any elliptical. But you can also lean forward or backwards to get an upper body workout by pulling on the handles rather than using your legs. You can even stand sideways for the "side glide" workout to work the outer leg muscles.

The 4.5-star rated Gazelle Sprinter is $300 on Amazon.

Top features of the Gazelle Sprinter:

  • Weighing just 40 pounds, the Gazelle Sprinter is easy to roll from room to room as needed on the built-in transport wheels.
  • The elliptical folds down flat to store under a bed or in the back of a closet.
  • An exercise guide is included with the machine to show you how to do 10 different workouts on this machine.
$300 at Amazon

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