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The Best Low Impact Exercise Equipment for Bad Knees [2024]

exercise equipment for bad knees and low impact cardio machines for bad knees

When I was young, someone once told me that, as I got older, I would miss my knees the most. I didn’t really understand that then but, boy, do I ever understand what they meant now! 

Whether you’ve ended up with bad knees due to an accident, illness, or overuse, it’s difficult to do any sort of cardiovascular workout that doesn’t put stress on your knees.

I’ve done some serious homework here and in this article, I’m going to tell you about the best cardio machines that are super easy on the knees (and hip joints or other joints as well!).

Editors Choice Badge for Best Exercise Machine with Low impact for Sensitive KneesIn a Hurry?  Here are My Top 3 Picks:

If you’re pressed for time and just want to find the best low stress workout equipment for bad knees, here are my top choices:

  1. Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross-Training Elliptical
  2. Hydrow Rower
  3. Teeter Power10

*We review fitness products impartially and may earn a commission from affiliate links. For details see our disclosure page.

Our analysis of rowing machines is listed below in this article, where we have provided a comprehensive assessment of each machine. Keep reading! You’ve got nothing to lose but that knee pain! Logo

Which Cardio Machine Has Least Impact on Knees?

I know, you’re tempted to just give up on most exercise and physical activity because your knee pain is more than you can tolerate. You really shouldn’t, though. Harvard researchers and scientists say that if you want to reduce knee pain and even possibly avoid surgery, you need to exercise the muscles that support the knee.

The best way to do that is with a cross-training elliptical.

1. The Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Cross-Training Elliptical

Get the Best Deal at Teeter Compare on Amazon

If you’ve been considering elliptical machines but wanted something “more”, the Teeter FreeStep is exactly what you’ve been looking for!  

For those of you who have had physical therapy, chances are that you’ve used a similar machine and you wished that there was a more affordable model for your home gym. The Teeter FreeStep answers that need too!

See Olympic Rower Rachael Taylor in Action with the Teeter FreeStep Elliptical Trainer:


The ideal solution for all fitness levels, this piece of exercise equipment is a recumbent elliptical, so it removes pressure from the knee joint while exercising and strengthening the muscle group that supports the knee.

How the Teeter FreeStep Differs from the Regular Recumbent Bike

Teeter FreeStep Elliptical Trainer

The Teeter FreeStep is a step above and beyond an ordinary recumbent bike due to its linear, more natural stepping or walking motion. This is different from the traditional recumbent bike, which uses a circle type of knee motion that can cause inflammation (known as cyclist’s knee).


The FreeStep is also a full-body workout, exercising the upper body, as well as the legs. You will experience less knee pain while you burn calories and even lose weight during your low-impact cardiovascular workouts! 

The Teeter FreeStep is an incredible elliptical machine for bad knees and other knee problems where weight-bearing exercise must be restricted.


If you’re concerned that you might become bored with an elliptical machine, you might want to consider rowing as an exercise equipment for bad knees and joint pain.

2. The Hydrow Rower: One of the Best Exercise Machines for Knee Pain

hydrow logo 

Side view of my Hydrow machine

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Get the Best Deal at Hydrow Compare on Amazon

Rowing isn’t for everyone, and that’s a fact. But if you’ve been injured or are suffering from arthritis yet would like to get cardio exercises and a complete workout, rowing might be the answer. Rowing exercise machines will help strengthen the muscles that support your knee and hasten your recovery.


Before engaging in any type of exercise, however, you should speak to your doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist. This article is not to be considered medical advice, only a general advice from a friend.

How the Hydrow Helps Knee Pain

 View of Screen on my Hydrow

View of Screen on my Hydrow

Rowing machines, such as the Hydrow, build strong knees by working the quadriceps on the front of the thighs and the hamstring muscles on the back of the thighs. Engaging these muscle groups equally prevents knee injuries due to imbalance. 

If you want an indoor rower, you want the best, right? You won’t find a better rower than the Hydrow. This indoor rower is designed for rowers by professional rowers and is a great piece of exercise equipment for bad knees.

Max Secunda Hydrow Rowing Machine Workout

It offers a low-impact, full-body workout that you will never get bored with. The 22-inch HD touchscreen offers a terrific view of iconic river locations that include all the sound effects you would expect. There are hundreds of live-on demand classes and variable resistance levels to ensure maximum calorie burn that beats all treadmill machines and most types of home gym machines.


Hydrow SAVE $100 or £100!! => Use Coupon Code:  ROWINGCRAZY

The Hydrow is a near-perfect knee exercise machine for people with knee injuries or anyone who wants to improve their fitness level and avoid knee problems.

Check Out our Buyers GUide for Rowing Machines

Watch our Youtube video below by Rowing Coach Max Secunda:


3. The Teeter Power10: Equipment to Strengthen Knees

Teeter Power 10

Get the Best Deal at Teeter   Compare on Amazon 

Sometimes, a single piece of exercise equipment isn’t enough to give you the cardio workout you want without becoming bored.

If you want a low-impact cardiovascular workout but you want exercise programs that will prevent you from becoming bored, you should consider a unique elliptical machine called the Teeter Power10.

Learn more with our full video by Olympic Silver Medalist Rachael Taylor:


Why is the Teeter Power10 the Best Combo Exercise Equipment

This elliptical rower does more than strengthen your legs. It works both as an elliptical and indoor rower and is the perfect exercise equipment for bad knees.

The Teeter Power10 has multi-grip handles, so you can work shoulders, arms, and back muscle groups through its unique pushing/pulling motion. Just move your hands to a different position and bam! You’re working a new set of muscles!

Teeter Power 10 Elliptical Rower

Even the experts at the Cleveland Clinic say that elliptical exercise machines are better for bad knees than any weight-bearing workouts, such as what you get from a treadmill or stationary bike (when you pedal on the exercise bike while standing up).

This unique rower-elliptical combo works by strengthening your leg muscles without subjecting the joints or your feet to excessive stress or pounding. Most people you see in the gym use the treadmill and stationary bike, both of which only work the lower body. In comparison, cardio workouts done on a rower will exercise the upper body and lower body at the same time.


While treadmills are great weight-bearing exercises that build bone mass, they can also be hard on the knee joints. Repeated pounding action or stress on the joints can cause long-term damage, something that’s best avoided.



The Teeter Power10 offers trainer-created exercises for every fitness level, and best of all, these exercise programs on the Teeter Move app are free; no monthly subscription required! 

Zoe enjoying her workout using the TEETER POWER10

With the Teeter Power 10, your exercise program will move to new levels and there will be no need for you to leave your home gym to incorporate other types of strength training exercises.

Whether your goal is weight loss, pain relief, or recovering from an injury – or if you’re looking for alternatives to running, step ups, and working out on a stationary bike or treadmills – this is what you’ve been looking for.

Teeter Power10 Elliptical Rower Product Features

People who want the best exercise equipment with the perfect mix of low-impact cardio workout and strength training while reducing stress on the knees, will find this the perfect machine for their home gym. 

Remember This Before You Buy an Exercise Equipment

Physician checking injured knees of male athlete

Only you and your doctor know about the full details of your knee injury or knee condition. So before buying any equipment, I recommend that you consult with your doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor and discuss your plans to buy a new piece of home gym equipment. Then you should first try both indoor rowers and ellipticals at your local gym to get the feel of both machines.

One of the above pieces of equipment for bad knees is bound to work for you and your activity plans.

Read Our Full Review on Recumbent Bike Rower Combos!!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which is the best exercise equipment for arthritic knees?

A: Elliptical machines and elliptical cross trainers are better for bad knees than treadmills or bikes.

Q: What exercises should I avoid with bad knees?

A: Squats, lunges, running, jumping, or high-impact sports such as basketball, football, or soccer.

Q: How can I get in shape with bad knees?

A: There are many ways to get in shape even if you have arthritis, had knee surgery, or pain in the knee joints themselves. Some of the best options include:

  1. Elliptical machines
  2. Indoor rowers
  3. Swimming
  4. Recumbent bikes
  5. Yoga
  6. Pilates

Try all of the above or switch them around for the ultimate in a super fun exercise program. Bad knees or bust!

1 thought on “The Best Low Impact Exercise Equipment for Bad Knees [2024]”

  1. Pingback: Are Ellipticals Good for Seniors? – Cardio Nerd

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