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Top 8 Best Cardio Exercise Machines for Bad Knees

If you often perform outdoor exercises like running, basketball, or football, you are more likely to face the joint problem. And this would be a frustrating thing.

The majority of the exercise that results in weight and fitness maintenance involves using the lower body. The knees are often under a lot of stress due to your weight and the added load of the exercises. It becomes harder to perform the cardio exercise when you run into knee pain.

But having a bad knee doesn’t mean you can do regular cardio exercise, with the use of the best exercise equipment for bad knees, you will also get all the benefits of cardio exercises without knee pain.

In a hurry? Here are our top 8 picks of the best cardio exercise machines for bad knees:

See the overview, pros & cons below.

What Cardio Exercise Machines Are Best for Bad Knees?

While certain machines offer considerate help for bad knees, other account it right in the design. In order to ensure personal satisfaction, it is advisable for a user to understand the extent of knee problems.

This will help the user to choose and exercise accordingly for a safe and healthy workout regime.

#1. Recumbent Bikes

Recumbent bikes are one of the best exercise equipment for people who have lower back and knee issues.

The major reason for this is the upright support extended by these bikes for the lower body, making it perfect for low impact yet intensity workouts for users with knees problem.

Moreover, through its proper cushioning, there is no accumulation of stresses that can cause spine problems or muscle spasms.

And your legs are always in an outright position and do not get stressed unless you exert in the wrong way.

#2. Treadmills

One of the major advantages that treadmills offer is the flexibility and the capacity to absorb shocks, making treadmills a great option for people with knees problem.

Most treadmills have a spring or absorbing action for the right landing of footing.

This prevents any undue load on the knees and the thighs and also protects the lower back.

Meanwhile, the adaptable design also stands as a significant advantage over natural running.

Read Also: Treadmills Buyer’s Guide

#3. Rowing Machines

Rowing machines are a boon when it comes to wholesome exercises without any undue pain.

The primary reason for this is its aesthetic design. Most rowing machines have a wholesome body movement and offer a free motion for the legs and hands.

However, most of this is nicely smothered through the shoulders and the core muscle group, protecting any injury chances.

Moreover, these machines have special features to prevent jerks or abrupt loading.

#4. Elliptical Training Machines

A prominent name among the best cardio machines for bad knees would be that of elliptical machines.

The main reason for this is that elliptical machines have a design to translate the motion smoothly from the thighs to the other half of the lower body.

Moreover, the design also has the feature of smartly compensating for adjustable resistance for every user.

Read Also: The Ultimate Elliptical Machines Buyers Guide

How to Choose the Best Cardio Exercise Machines for Bad Knees?

In order to exercise in an efficient manner without causing any pain or damage to knees, smart choices are important.

For example, the body’s position, the design of the low-impact fitness machine, safety features, etc. are all-inclusive in this choice.

Meanwhile, certain highlighted points prevail significantly over the other ones for a healthy and safe workout.

#1. Multiple Resistance Levels

Resistance level decides the amount of input a person has to give in to a workout regime. Moreover, the design used to create the resistance is also significant to determine the utility.

For instance, magnetic models are the smoothest of the lot and do not cause any jerk or abrupt shocks.

However, with air resistance, there can be chances of shock loading.

The right design with the right resistance setting can work miracles for the perfect workout without damaging the knees.

#2. Recumbent Bikes or Ordinary Trainers

When it comes to problems like arthritis or other similar issues, recumbent bikes are the answer.

The upright ones have the tendency to support the lower frame as well, but back support is much lower.

Recumbent bikes provide a firm footing, ample leg space, and adjustable settings for resistance.

#3. Foot Grip

The foot grip plays an extremely important role in deciding the fitness machine’s ability to deal with bad knees.

Treaded design with proper foot straps is often the right choice for people who suffer through foot or knee pain.

The nature of such design ensures safety and steadiness of the footing.

Moreover, the design can also keep the foot position upright without causing any pain in the hips or back.

#4. Back Support and Leg Space

The idea is simple: to accommodate the leg space nicely without exerting any pressure on the back.

This is done by providing perfect cushioning along with support for the foot arch, and seating space that can house the lower body.

Modern-day cardio and training machines always take care of this factor to help out all types of users.

Top 8 Best Cardio Exercise Machines for Bad Knees

#1. Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike ME-709

The Marcy Recumbent Exercise Bike has various resistance levels at its disposal for users of all kinds.

The design is made to ensure the right combination of comfort as well as enthusiasm for fitness.

The main highlight of the design is the amount of back support extended through the backrest and the seat’s softness.

The cushioning effect makes sure that no extra load goes through to the back and hips.

Moreover, the paddles are counter-balanced, and there is enough leg space. The leg space is designed in a way that ensures no bounce back from the footing along with optimum support.

The electronic dial and meter for cardio readings will provide an accurate and clear depiction of the exercise parameters.

Meanwhile, the armrest and hand support parallel to the sea also ensures no pain in the elbow or limbs and the right body posture.


  • Ample cushioning along with perfect hip support
  • The right amount of back support
  • Accurate readings on-screen and easy-use keys
  • Hand rest with grip for right support and rest


  • Moderate resistance levels
  • No front or dual handle design

#2. Schwinn Recumbent Bike 100515

The Schwinn Recumbent Bike 100515 counters shortcomings of other designs to be among the best recumbent bike for bad knees. 

Its design incorporates an elaborate panel upfront, which has easy keys and digital display.

The handles are designed to provide the right amount of rest and support to the users.

The design also finds itself among one of the best low-impact cardio machines for the elderly through the perfect back support.

Meanwhile, the product is light and easy to move around, along with a footing design that provides perfect traction.

The product has pre-loaded workout programs for the ease of the users. Better connectivity and support features make it a match-winner.


  • Intelligent features for connectivity and easy usage
  • Bright panel along with the right amount of automation
  • Proper use of backrest for users across ages
  • Sufficient and adjustable leg space for every user
  • Proper design and strapping for the pedals


  • Rigid handles
  • Little bulky to use in restricted spaces

#3. Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine

The Concept2 Model D design has the essential features that make for a perfect indoor rowing machine.

Intelligent use of dampers to provide air resistance means that the design is perfectly fit for fluctuating usage.

The seating arrangement is flexible and provides an easy slide option for a wholesome workout for the entire body.

The digital monitor has all the essential readings and stays right in the line of sight for the user. It takes two simple cells to power the unit with no external power source needed.

The product also provides easy connectivity options for its user to connect to Android and iOS devices for health readings.

The model is perfectly suitable for people with any sort of pain or joint issues because of a wholesome and absorbing design pattern.


  • Easy connectivity to every major cell phone device through the panel
  • State of the art ergometer for perfect health readings
  • Adjustable air damping for varying the resistance through airflow onto the flywheel
  • Smooth glide design for the seat to incorporate full-body exercise


  • Little heavy to be handled by a light person
  • A bit tricky to accommodate in tight spaces and corners

#4. Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine SF-RW5515

The design has the concept of magnetic resistance at its heart to provide a varied user support level.

It is also provided with a slide rail that is 44 inches in terms of the in-seam length for the seat to slide across.

This means that this rowing machine’s design will provide the perfect exercise for the entire body without any load onto the knees or any other joints for that matter.

The user can easily adjust the resistance level between the sets through a simple knob turn.

An elaborate digital monitor in the front is perfect for the users to monitor the health and usage parameters.

The seating arrangement for the product is comfortable using cushioning and has secure foot strapping.


  • Perfect grip through handlebars that have rubber or foam grip
  • Smart slide rail design for ease of usage and wholesome workout
  • No need for a heavy external power source
  • Can be moved and stowed horizontally with the help of movement wheels


  • Not likely to be stowed in the vertical position
  • Meter design is relatively simple

#5. ProForm Endurance 920 E Elliptical

ProForm is one of the elliptical trainers’ pioneers, and ProForm Endurance 920 E is no exception either. The design of the machine is extremely stable.

It utilizes a front-laden flywheel design that has a smoother transition instinct to avoid any jerks.

The paddle length extends for a decent way and does not interrupt in simultaneous activities.

The product also has multiple handle orientations for a comfort grip and wholesome body exercise options.

Moreover, intelligent sensors are incorporated in the handle and the panel for heart rate, pulse, and other body parameters.

The front panel is highly interactive, along with a color screen and smart keys.


  • Spacious foot pedal design with secure strapping
  • Intelligent and interactive screen packed with features
  • Sensors for judgment and display of physical parameters
  • Multiple handle configurations for loaded workout sessions
  • Multiple resistance levels


  • Bulky to move around
  • The panel can be a bit tricky to familiarize with

#6. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Elliptical Machine

The SF-E902 is an upright elliptical trainer for bad knees that produced by Sunny Health and Fitness.

It has a rigid design and a handle that curves in towards the user upfront for a comfortable workout.

The frame of the body is made out of solid metal but is not heavy at all.

Also, the front panel is very easy to understand and use and houses all the essential keys and features.

The lightweight design and adjustable levels of workout, make this an easy machine to fit into the household and workspaces.


  • Lightweight and easy to move around even by a single person
  • Adjustable configuration for every user
  • Easy design with no loose parts that can be vulnerable
  • The bottom footing is provided with secure foot design for perfect traction


  • Restricted functions
  • Basic Panel

#7. XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill Black

The XTERRA Fitness TR150 is a folding treadmill that has been custom-made with the knee patients at its hearts.

It is highly suitable for people who are also dealing with arthritis or similar issues.

The base of this treadmill’s shock absorption capacity is really high, which means there is hardly any bounce back onto the user.

Moreover, the front handle and support desk also makes it easy for the user to get an upright posture.

The panel is simple to use and can be efficiently used to regulate the resistance and inclination.

The side rest is treaded for the user to stop in the middle of a run and then resume usage.


  • Can be stored in the vertically upright position after folding
  • Easy resistance and other adjustment feature for varying use
  • Front lean support to avoid jerk and excessive loading
  • Treaded design for proper footing on the bottom to avoid any mishaps


  • The panel has lesser features
  • External power source for drive

#8. NordicTrack T Series Treadmills

The NordicTrack T Seriesis a superlative option among the present generation of treadmills.

The 6s and 6si model are both in the same line of reference and have superior connectivity features.

It has an easy USB port, an interactive display screen, and easy keys to operate.

The connectivity feature needs access to iFit, which is provided on the membership.

The product has tertiary spring action that absorbs and dissipates the shocks to prevent any damage to knees or ligaments.

Moreover, the connectivity feature also provides thousands of options for interactive runs across the globe, synced with Google Maps.


  • Easy storage and transport through medium-eight design
  • Sensors incorporated on handles for body parameters
  • Connectivity features to work out with other people
  • Highly absorbing design for people with a history of back and knee


  • Shorter handles
  • Lesser number of intermediate resistance levels

Choosing the Best

Through direct design analysis, it is easy to understand that shock absorption is important for bad knees. Moreover, stability and upright back support also play an important role.

Cardio and training machines that provide a combination of all these are the best choices for the long run.

It is ultimately upon the discretion of the user, also taking into account their varied pocket strength.

The idea of no residual stress onto the critical body part also remains important.

With all these design parameters, a person can have a healthy and safe workout.

These features will also prevent any further damage and also help in relaxing the muscles and joints to a large extent.

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