- Best Elliptical Reviews – (Recommended Picks)
- 1. SOLE Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine Review: A Durable Elliptical for Intense Cross Trainer Workouts
- 2. Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine Review: A Fun, Versatile and Best Front Drive Elliptical Trainer
- 3. ProForm Smart Strider 735 Elliptical Trainer Review: Best Rear Drive Elliptical for the Money
- 4. NordicTrack C 7.5 Elliptical Review: An Awesome Home Elliptical Machine
- 5. Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer Review: Really Packed for the Price
- 6. Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Cardio Machine Review: A beautiful, rules-breaking Hybrid Elliptical
- 7. Horizon Fitness Evolve 5 Elliptical Trainer Review: A Compact Trainer For Space Saving and Storage
- 8. Exerpeutic 1000XL Heavy Duty Magnetic Ellipticals Review: Exercise for Any Budget
- 9. Body Champ Cardio Dual Trainer from Body Max Review: Two Birds with One Stone
- 10. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3609 Elliptical Machine Review
- Conclusions: Easy Choice of Best Elliptical Machine
- Home Elliptical Trainers Buying Guide
- Q. Can my body handle an elliptical workout?
- Q. How much space do I have for my Home Elliptical Machine?
- Q. What is my budget for the Top Rated Home Elliptical, compared to my needs?
- Q. What sort of peripherals do I want on the perfect elliptical machine?
- Q. How important are ‘Elliptical Metrics’ to me?
- Features to consider when selecting an elliptical machine
- 1) Stability
- 2) Tension Resistance Levels
- 3) Types of Resistance
- 4) Elliptical Computer
- 5) Pre-programmed Workouts
- 6) Incline Adjustment
- 7) Stride Length
- 8) Adjustable Foot Pedals
- 9) Flywheel
- 10) Hybrid Trainers
- 11) Warranty
- 12) Ease of Assembly
- 13) Home Elliptical Workout
- 14) Other Elliptical Machine Considerations:
- Benefits of Elliptical Machines
- Care and Maintenance
Hello again, and welcome to my review of the 10 best elliptical machines I tested and reviewed for 2019. I really did find a lot to enjoy about these top elliptical picks, and each cross trainer/elliptical earned a place on my top-rated elliptical comparison chart for a particular reason.
Top 3 Picks of Best Ellipticals for Home Use
Here are the Top 3 overall best elliptical machines from different elliptical categories.
These low impact machines are the current year’s highest quality ellipticals choices for home use and provide great value for your money.
You can compare and analyse the top elliptical features horizontally.
- Stride Length: -
- LCD Console: Yes
- Assembly: Easy DIY
- Dimensions: 70 x 28 x 71 inches
- Weight limit: 350 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 226 pounds
- Warranty: Frame, 10 years Electronics and Parts: 1 year & 2 years respectively Labor: 3 months
- Stride Length: 13
- LCD Console: Yes
- Assembly: Easy DIY
- Dimensions: 46 x 23 x 11 inches
- Weight limit: 300 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 88.8 pounds
- Warranty: Frame, 5 years Electronics & Parts: 90 days
(Disclaimer*: The star rating used above is our own)
I will clarify with a few thoughts about my in-depth elliptical machines review process, so you can understand where I’m coming from.
I did not choose the best elliptical machines solely based on price.
Some ideal elliptical machines here push close to $2000, others can be had for less than the cost of some personal electronics devices. Higher price does not equate to a higher place on my top rated elliptical machines comparison chart.
Top Rated Elliptical Machines Comparison Chart 2019
Here’s the list and comparison chart of the Top 10 best elliptical machines for 2019.
(Disclaimer*: The star rating used above is our own)
We have classic ellipticals in spades in this elliptical machines review, but also a few unique machines that take a new approach to elliptical-style training.
Best Elliptical Reviews – (Recommended Picks)
Below are the in-depth elliptical reviews that will help you understand each Top rated elliptical choice in greater detail.
Elliptical machines carry different prices in range of $100 to over $1000. The prices vary based on features of each high quality elliptical.
We ranked the best elliptical machines based on their testing, features, durability, warranty, support and best value for your money.
1. SOLE Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine Review: A Durable Elliptical for Intense Cross Trainer Workouts
SOLE Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine is our top rated elliptical machine for 2019.
It is one of the best ellipticals for home gyms and suitable for most of the people. It is the recommended home elliptical for seniors with low impact and complete body exercise.
It is a relative newcomer compared to more established brands like Bowflex and Nordic Track,
but they have been flexing their muscles and are seen as something of a hot new commodity in the home training fitness community.
SOLE Fitness showed their chops by providing a wide array of different fitness machines used in hotels worldwide. This was a solid strategy, because providing for the hotel market meant exposure to a wide variety of people who would become familiar with their machines while working out at these accommodations. Now, they’ve moved into the home fitness market, providing models that are the same as or similar to their more popular hotel-provided equipment.
- Durable elliptical
- Variable, Powered incline
- Easy to Assemble
- Great Incline Range
- Definitely on the expensive side
- Huge elliptical machine, and not easily stored
- Restricted elliptical stride adjustment
2. Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine Review: A Fun, Versatile and Best Front Drive Elliptical Trainer
Schwinn is a natural company for the best elliptical machines on the market, because they have a great deal of experience with both mobile and stationary bicycles.
The basic technology behind an elliptical machine is a variation on the idea of a bicycle; it’s simply been adapted to incorporate the arms and a standing natural elliptical motion as you work the pedals, rather than a sitting position.
Schwinn has developed a strong reputation for high quality exercise equipment, and their top rated elliptical machines are equal to the status of their excellent recumbent bikes.
Specifically, I’m talking about the Schwinn 430 elliptical machine. This is a really lovely quiet elliptical trainer that I enjoyed working out with for this elliptical machine review, and a run-through of the features will show you why I liked it.
Schwinn 430 is also the most popular front drive elliptical trainer and quite affordable for majority of the people.
The front drive is greatly popular elliptical design among home gyms.
First, let’s talk about the preset workout routines. The Schwinn 430 elliptical machine lavish console offers users access to 22 different preset exercise programs. This also includes 20 different resistance levels to keep each of the routines fresh and challenging as you improve your fitness levels.
I mentioned the amazing elliptical machine console, so let me elaborate there. It has an interesting little dual-screen display, and allows you to set up two user profiles. I honestly would have preferred more options there, but to be honest there probably aren’t more than one or two people per household who would dedicate a lot of time to fitness, so your mileage may vary. The console tracks calories, distance, and heart rate through the stationary handlebar sensors common to many high quality elliptical machines.
- Ample preset exercise routines
- Generous electronic support
- Extremely sensibly priced
- Oddly noisy compared to other top ellipticals
- Manual adjustment for incline
- No Heart Rate Chest Monitor Support
3. ProForm Smart Strider 735 Elliptical Trainer Review: Best Rear Drive Elliptical for the Money
ProForm is a company offering a wide variety of top rated elliptical machines for home use. Perhaps most interestingly, they have made a serious effort to offer a variety of entry-level machines, priced at affordable rates for people who need a compromise between workout capacity and budget sensibility.
The Proform Smart Strider 735 elliptical trainer is touted as the “middle” entry in ProForm’s entry level training devices.
It isn’t intended to be a high-powered elliptical machine for the physical training devotee, but to make a worthwhile, useful elliptical trainer available at lower price ranges, without compromising overmuch on performance. In this aspect, it succeeds admirably.
Unlike the Schwinn 430 elliptical trainer, the Smart Strider 735 elliptical machine offers powered adjustable incline.
This rear drive trainer gains many favorable elliptical reviews from people worldwide.
You can also easily fold and store rear drive elliptical trainers between workouts and when not in use. These are the best elliptical trainers for people who want to experience a natural workout just like outdoors.
The #3 best elliptical machine only goes up to a 10 degree incline, but it doesn’t require stopping your workout in order to change things. This makes the elliptical very useful for adapting your workout on the fly, allowing you to keep up the pace. I found the adjustment easy and straightforward when I tested the 735 out, and it definitely made keeping to my planned exercise much easier.
As to the workouts, the Proform 735 elliptical machine offers whopping 22 pre-programmed workouts in its console, allowing for a similar range of workout activities to our top two elliptical machine entries.
The variable resistance is solid, making it possible to build very flexible, challenging workouts that take full advantage of what this great elliptical machine offers.
It’s iFit compatible, meaning you can download customized elliptical workout routines built by other users, allowing even more options and flexibility from your purchase. Combine this with Google’s street view, and you can have the experience of visually tracking your progress without the hassle of getting outside with the bugs and the dust. Since I live in California’s Mojave, I appreciated the ability to “escape without actually escaping.”
The foot pedals of Proform smart strider elliptical machine are quite adjustable as well, allowing for a wide range of foot sizes and types. Compared to more restrictive elliptical options, this one is very comfortable to stand and move in.
- Powered incline
- Variable Resistance
- Comfortable, adjustable footrests
- iFit Compatible elliptical machine
- Very, very noisy elliptical trainer
- Somewhat unstable and shaky
- Not wireless heart rate monitor compatible
4. NordicTrack C 7.5 Elliptical Review: An Awesome Home Elliptical Machine
NordicTrack is one of those top ranked fitness companies I grew up hearing about. I remember commercials for their home-fitness “skiing” machine playing on my grandparents’ little 24″ TV. They’ve established themselves as a serious player in the home fitness market for elliptical machines.
NordiTrack elliptical machines might not have quite the shame cachet as Bowflex, but the name is respected, because they provide very high quality elliptical trainers with a variety of solid, useful features.
NordicTrack’s C 7.5 Elliptical Machine is another of the “middle entry level” trainers we’ll be discussing.
This mid priced elliptical is costs similar to the Smart Strider, it has a very high confidence rating from elliptical user reviews on sites like Amazon.
The Great Nordictrack C 7.5 elliptical offers some truly excellent peripheral support. It’s MP3 player compatible, has a built-in fan that adjusts its intensity based on the intensity of your workout, and even has integrated speakers built into the console so you can access your workout jams as you get ripped.
The elliptical machine console itself is quite nice too, with decent storage space for drinks and devices. The screen has a very generous viewing angle, meaning people of differing heights can all enjoy the screen without need for adjustment or craning the neck.
Once again, I enjoyed the fact that the incline of NordicTrack elliptical machine was adjustable, and it adjusts to a full 20 degrees, which is much more in line with industry standards than lower incline rates.
The preset workout routines of this high quality elliptical machine were also dynamic and enjoyable, taking advantage of resistance and incline training options alike.
- Wide array of peripheral support options.
- Very reasonably priced elliptical machine, especially for what it offers.
- iFit compatible
- Controls require the console, without handlebar adjustments
- Range of motion felt stiff at times
- Lack of heart rate monitor support
5. Nautilus E616 Elliptical Trainer Review: Really Packed for the Price
Nautilus is another old standard in the elliptical training community. They produce a wide range of home and gym fitness options, and their elliptical equipment tends toward the “quietly competent” side of things. They don’t bury you in slick advertising, they just put out superior elliptical machines that work well.
The Nautilus E616 Elliptical machine is basically Nautilus’ entry into the low-price, entry level home workout market.
It’s one of the most affordable elliptical machines on my top 10 comparison chart for 2019.
Yet the #5 top rated elliptical doesn’t use the low price as an excuse to skimp on safety or general quality.
It may not be the high-end elliptical trainer’s dream, but it is a great elliptical choice for the home workout crowd.
Let me start by saying I really liked the ability to set up awesome 12 custom workout profiles. These can be geared toward pure calorie burning or toward endurance training, making Nautilus E616 elliptical trainer surprisingly versatile in its price range.
The E616 elliptical console is very easy to read on the go, featuring a blue backlit screen. It’s still a bit on the small side, but with 2 separate displays it’s fairly easy on the eyes and makes tracking goals and progress comfortable enough. It didn’t quite take me out of the workout headspace like other elliptical machine displays would, though it could stand to have a little more screen real estate to work with.
Next, let me state that the elliptical trainer workout was astonishingly smooth. I’ve gotten used to entry-level elliptical machines being a bit noisy and a touch jerky during my research into these models, but the E616 was both smooth and quiet to workout with.
The speakers were also really nice. Most workout speakers on elliptical machines are just average little things, with nothing to recommend them except that they obviate the need for some top wireless headphones.
These good elliptical speakers offered a surprisingly pleasant playback to my music. Honestly, if you’re going to work out with an entry level elliptical machine and need some music, this is a serious winner.
The Elliptical’s App support was also generous, synching to both MyFitnessPal and Nautilus’ own training and fitness apps.
Between this and the 12 customizable profiles, the E616 elliptical machine does a decent job of substituting for a personal trainer. You won’t get everything in the elliptical world out of this, but it can help guide a newcomer into fitness training territory fairly easily.
Nautilus E616 elliptical incline is motorized, which is very nice and frankly surprising on a purely entry-level machine. In this case, it’s interesting to see a lower-end piece of equipment offer something higher-end elliptical machines sometimes neglect to include.
- Smooth and Quiet
- Excellent Peripheral Support, including chest strap
- Strong App Support
- Powered Incline
- Limited incline range
- Obnoxious to assemble
- Absurdly short elliptical warranty
6. Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Cardio Machine Review: A beautiful, rules-breaking Hybrid Elliptical
They sell a wide variety of devices in the home gym style, but their Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is an interesting little departure.
It is the perfect hybrid elliptical machine for fitness enthusiasts with smallest workout area.
The first thing that struck me when I got it set up was that it was a lot more vertical than most top rated elliptical machines.
This is because it’s not exactly an elliptical trainer. Rather, it combines the row/stride motion of an elliptical with the vertical stepping motions of a stair machine.
The core mechanics are still virtually identical to ellipticals machine, though, so I felt it warranted a place on our top 10 best elliptical machines comparison chart.
Let me tell you up front, the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is a device for the serious trainer. The control system starts with 16 levels of resistance, which might seem low compared to other offerings.
However, the hybrid elliptical trainer can be configured with a variety of options. Eight training programs including interval training, calorie burning, fat burning, and fitness evaluation provide a wide variety of options aimed at pushing users to their limit. I work out almost every day, and I still felt pushed by the workouts on the Bowflex M5 max trainer.
As a first among our top 10 elliptical trainers, the Bowflex M5 comes with a wireless chest strap heart rate monitor included! As vital as this tool has become, it’s gratifying to see it properly incorporated “out of the box,” so to speak.
The foot pedals are quite adjustable, and are actually generously cushioned. The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is comfortable, smooth, and quiet. Using this machine felt like an absolute treat from the moment I stepped on.
- Innovative workout method
- Smooth and Comfortable
- Extremely Challenging workout and resistance ratings
- Lack of Peripheral support
- Virtually nonexistent length of warranty
7. Horizon Fitness Evolve 5 Elliptical Trainer Review: A Compact Trainer For Space Saving and Storage
I have to be honest, I’m not hugely familiar with “Horizon Fitness” other lines of equipment, and I couldn’t tell you from personal experience how their other machines stand up. I did like what I got out of their top ranked Evolve 5 Elliptical Trainer, however.
The first feature I really liked about the Evolve 5 elliptical machine is that it is very storage-friendly. As a front-wheel design, it’s on the compact side of Elliptical machines to begin with.
The real benefit of this compact trainer is that it comes with a really nice hydraulic-assist folding mechanism. A touch and a lift, and it folds up into a relatively compact space. It won’t go into the average closet, but it can be folded up to make room if your workout space is fairly limited.
Horizon Fitness Evolve 5 Elliptical takes up less than 4 x 3 space when folded up to store, making it a great elliptical choice for the space-conscious.
The workout suite is pretty generous, with the usual solid array of training programs, variable resistance, and tracking support.
Also, Horizon Compact Trainer has the warranty a good elliptical machine should, with a lifetime warranty on frame. The 5 year warranty on parts and 1 year on labor are less spectacular, but are also fairly close to industry standard.
The setup for the Horizon Fitness Evolve 5 elliptical trainer is also pretty easy, consisting of a short, 3 step process. You can be up and running in 15 minutes with a little work, making it a good “out of the box” workout option.
- Powerful, challenging workouts
- Compact/folding elliptical, easily stored design
- Solid base warranty
- Somewhat unstable elliptical machine
- Lack of Wireless peripheral support
- Uncomfortably fixed unnatural stride
8. Exerpeutic 1000XL Heavy Duty Magnetic Ellipticals Review: Exercise for Any Budget
Exerpeutic 1000XL genuinely is a popular elliptical machine you either really love, or really hate, it seems.
Me, I didn’t have either reaction!! Instead, I see a home elliptical machine that, for what it costs and what it does, is a worthwhile choice.
This #8 top rated elliptical machine isn’t for everyone, but it definitely has a place, and I’ve included it for that reason.
This elliptical is also one of the lowest priced on the market but does not compromise on quality.
Let’s get the “cons” out of the way first, since they are genuine and do deserve a frank discussion.
Exerpeutic 1000XL magnetic elliptical machine is not made from top-quality parts and equipment.
It’s a super-budget elliptical choice, and at its current price, it doesn’t make sense to make it out of high end gear. I can understand that choice, but it does mean this cheapest elliptical machine can be a bit unstable and wobbly at times. It’s also slightly flimsy – if you’re used to going all out like me, expect parts to shake loose.
The elliptical’s resistance settings are very limited, with a total of only 8 choices. Given that the standard is 20 resistance settings, this is almost painfully few. It’s not going to max out anyone’s workout for very long.
Setting up the Exerpeutic 1000XL Magnetic Elliptical was also annoying, with a lot of parts and fairly limited instructions. Further, the low-end quality of the parts means that this cheap elliptical requires a good deal of maintenance – tightening parts, adjusting straps, etc.
So, if it’s so problematic, why did I include it on my top 10 best elliptical machine comparison chart?
- Supremely affordable elliptical machine
- Modest options for exercise routines
- Very limited resistance settings
- Low-budget elliptical construction
- Almost painfully difficult to set up and get working
9. Body Champ Cardio Dual Trainer from Body Max Review: Two Birds with One Stone
The Body Champ is an odd little duck, but an endearing one.
The Body Champ Cardio Dual Trainer offers an innovative dual-training mechanism. I’ve discussed before that an elliptical machine shares many motions and thus technologies with stationary bikes, and the Body Champ seems to have embraced that idea wholeheartedly.
You can use Body Champ Cardio Dual Trainer as a standard elliptical machine, in which case it performs very similarly to the Exerpeutic 1000XL.
The cheap elliptical doesn’t have a massive host of resistance options or powered incline assist; it’s a low budget elliptical machine, remember. It will help beginners, young people, and the budget-conscious get their daily elliptical workouts in.
Where this home elliptical trainer shows a worthwhile degree of innovation is in the fact that you can sit down on a chair and use it as a modified stationary bike. If you find your legs just aren’t up to supporting you at the end of an elliptical workout, this makes a great post-exercise cool-down routine. Alternatively, you can warm up on the bike, then rise up into a bit of an elliptical workout.
- Innovative two-type workout system
- Very affordable elliptical trainer, comparable to a decent tablet or cloudbook computer
- Easy to transition between workout modes
- Uncomfortable seating and use
- Restricted elliptical stride
- Lack of Adjustment Options
This is very much in the vein of your standard elliptical, and illustrates very well what features must be traded for pricing.
Firstly, the elliptical machine incline is restricted and in-adjustable. What you get out of the box is what you have to work with.
Further, the elliptical’s resistance settings are not dynamic. Rather, they are adjusted with a small hand knob on the side of the home elliptical machine. Thus, a variable workout is not what you should be looking for in this particular product.
The Elliptical display is quite limited, being a simple non backlit LCD. It can however track the basic metrics such as distance, calories, and even heart rate with the industry-standard handgrip sensors. Again, it isn’t precisely lacking, but it isn’t stellar.
- Affordable Elliptical
- Decently Comfortable
- Very limited workout adjustments
- No Warranty for Elliptical Machine
Conclusions: Easy Choice of Best Elliptical Machine
Elliptical machines for home offer a wide range of options for those looking to work out. We’ve explored high priced, intensity-focused machines that can push you to your limit, and best ellipticals that don’t offer a whole lot, but are readily affordable even on a college student’s budget.
What I’m getting at is that there are many latest elliptical machine options out there, and there’s probably something for just about everybody who’s looking for the best elliptical in 2019.
Home Elliptical Trainers Buying Guide
So, let’s have a few words on the nature of buying a top rated elliptical machine, shall we? Any purchase of exercise equipment is a substantial investment, so you want to know a bit about what to look for in general, as well as what I thought about the particular home elliptical machines mentioned above.
Well, Socrates taught that asking questions is the best way to get to know something. If you ask, you can learn! So here are the top 5 questions you should ask yourself before looking for the best elliptical machine.
Q. Can my body handle an elliptical workout?
The Best Elliptical Machines are wonderful in that they offer very low impact exercise. The gliding motion means you aren’t thumping up and down onto a hard surface as with a treadmill. So it might seem odd to ask if you can handle the elliptical workout, but it’s a fair question.
The best elliptical trainers move your whole body, while standing upright. You have to support yourself, and you’re moving your arms and legs at a pretty brisk pace once you get moving. It can be very demanding on the heart and lungs the first time out. Be sure you’re ready for a fairly intense workout if you’ve never used a modern elliptical machine before.
Q. How much space do I have for my Home Elliptical Machine?
A high quality home elliptical trainer can be a pretty big workout machine.
You need to have the space available to use a home elliptical if you intend to get it, because even the most compact elliptical machine can take up a lot of real estate in your home.
Look into your space considerations and figure out where you’re going to put your top home ellipticals before you buy it. As a rule of thumb, make sure you have a space at least five feet long and three wide available.
Q. What is my budget for the Top Rated Home Elliptical, compared to my needs?
The highest-rated home elliptical trainers are expensive. I’ve mentioned several cheapest elliptical machine models here, but remember that they come with significant limitations on their performance levels.
If you are a fitness devotee and want to get into leading elliptical trainers, you might be wasting money going for a very cheap elliptical option since you’ll likely outperform the machine in a shorter time than someone just looking for a way to add a few minutes of quality exercise each day.
Q. What sort of peripherals do I want on the perfect elliptical machine?
Peripherals are anything not related to the core function of the home elliptical machine. This includes speakers, iPod/Mp3 support, and fitness apps that track your progress as you do cardio and strength workouts. At the core, all you need is the ideal elliptical machine to provide resistance and perhaps varied low-impact exercises with the console.
However, as I’ve said before I like my elliptical workouts to engage my mind. I can’t simply do cardio and strength exercises without something to occupy my mind as well; I get bored very easily. Some classic rock to warm up, Power Metal or Punk to get my heart rate up, and some RnB to cool down make my elliptical machine workout sessions a whole lot easier on my brain.
So ask yourself if you’re the same way, and if a peripheral-focused home use elliptical machine might help you achieve your workout goals. Just realize, you often pay a premium for these extra little services on your best elliptical choice for home.
Q. How important are ‘Elliptical Metrics’ to me?
I’m an info-junkie and judge quality of my favorite home elliptical trainer by precision of its metrics too.
I test my resting heart rate several times a day on the elliptical machine. I monitor my blood sugar, since my family has a history of diabetes. I like to test my average workout heart-rate consistently, so I can see if it’s improving. I’m never happier than when I see a high “calories burned” number at the end of a good cardio session.
So, ask yourself if this information displayed on your top rated elliptical machine is important to you.
If it is, you may want to consider the highest rated home ellipticals for runners with chest-strap heart rate monitoring support, or Fitness App compatibility. Some even let you download other best elliptical machine profiles and compare your workout stats to teammates and exercise buddies, allowing you to indulge a competitive edge if you so desire!
Features to consider when selecting an elliptical machine
All elliptical machines are not created equal in terms of their features and performance capabilities. So, before you rush out and pull the trigger on your most favorite elliptical, it is best to check out all of its features and key specs right in the start. As always, more features equate to a higher price, so pick up your machine wisely and trim down the features you don’t need. Here are some of the most important things to look for in a good elliptical trainer:
Regardless of the type of fitness equipment you using at home, the stability of the machine is crucial. You cannot focus on your workout properly, if the elliptical machine feels insecure to use and rattles a lot. With good workout machines, they are firmly gripped to the ground and do not make any unnecessary sounds during their whole operation. As a rule of thumb, heavier elliptical machines turn out to be more stable than the lighter ones. Besides this, the overall built-quality, design and strength of materials also factor in to add even more stability to the elliptical.
2) Tension Resistance Levels
When using an elliptical machine, you can increase tension resistance levels gradually to challenge your workouts and take them to the next level. The pedals essentially remain at the same position but you need to exert additional force to move them any further. Your muscles have to work harder that translates into greater number of calories burnt. On top of that, your heart also beats faster that results in cardiovascular fitness gains while at the same time you also tone muscles of your body.
3) Types of Resistance
All elliptical machines on the market comes with two types of resistance:
- Fan Wheel Resistance: This type of resistance can be experienced in low cost ellipticals. It is usually smooth and doesn’t offer much of a challenge to the user.
- Magnetic Resistance: With magnetic resistance, you can experience a high-quality workout with least levels of noise. This resistance not only feels smooth but also consistent and natural throughout the whole exercise activity.
4) Elliptical Computer
A computer is one of the most important components to look for when getting an elliptical machine. It is common to have it embedded on the modern equipment, however low-end or outdated models still lack it. All of our top rated ellipticals reviewed in our comparison chart have computers installed on them. We’ll further breakdown the key aspects to look in an elliptical computer:
- Display: The display must be easier to read with ample screen size. Even better if you’ve a backlight to illuminate it. As with the smartphones, the size of the screen keeps on getting bigger as you climb up to more expensive models.
- Data: The variety, quality and accuracy of metrics provided in an elliptical computer depicts its superior quality. With different machines, you get wide range of data such as distance, speed, calories burnt, time spent on each session and heart rate. The heart rate monitor may or may not be included with the machine. You may need to buy it separately if you are interested to monitor heart readings. With high-end ellipticals, you can also connect with internet, upload or download workout data to websites and other digital devices to keep an eye on training progress.
5) Pre-programmed Workouts
With most ellipticals you get a variety of pre-programmed workouts that can be navigated using the computer screen. You can switch between various programs such as weight loss, cardio, intervals, cross-trainer, cross-country, heart rate control (HRC), hill climb programs, fitness test, etc. to reach your desired fitness goals. It helps save time and takes the guess work out of your gym to achieve the results you want by choosing a preset program. All these programs are ideally optimized with user in mind to reach a certain type of goal. After selecting a program, you will see the height of ramp, resistance and speed levels automatically adjust to bring the desired workout impact.
The preprogrammed workout settings can be overridden or stopped at any time, if you need to adjust your workout for any reason. In case, you want to implement quick start or manual settings, you can also choose that option that gives you complete control over the elliptical machine. Even better, you can also set a custom routine to improve your endurance and performance.
6) Incline Adjustment
With incline adjustments, you can easily customize your workout as per your fitness requirements. Choosing a higher incline level raises the slope and gives a definite boost to the intensity of your exercise. It is best to choose between moderate to high-intensity levels to make your workout challenging rather than grueling. The adjustments are easy to make using dedicated buttons provided on the dashboard. All models outlined in our elliptical review use powered buttons and do not use manual incline adjustments which are rather obsolete and not preferable by majority users.
7) Stride Length
In order to extract maximum benefits out of an elliptical trainer, it is crucial to pick the right stride length. With different machines, you get a range of multiple stride lengths that may not suit every person. For people up to 5 feet 3 inches, you need a shorter stride length that ranges from 16 to 18 inches. Likewise, you need length range of 18 to 21 inches for people with heights between 5’4 to 6’7. If the user height exceeds even further, you may need to order special elliptical trainers with stride lengths up to 26 inches. For a customized experience, you can also choose an adjustable elliptical trainer from the market to change stride lengths as per your needs.
By changing stride lengths, you can also target unique muscle areas of your body. Like with shorter strides, you focus on thighs and calves while longer strides work on glutes and hamstrings.
8) Adjustable Foot Pedals
The foot pedals on an elliptical trainer should be large enough to allow smooth forward and back movements. It must have some sort of flux in order to allow comfortable walking experience in the air. This also helps to alleviate feeling of numbness and keeps the blood circulating. Having an adjustable foot pedal is a plus when buying an elliptical machine. This feature enables you to place your feet comfortably and reduce any strain. Eventually, this also helps to keep ankles, knees and hips aligned in a proper position.
Some of the models also enable users to adjust angle of the pedal. Furthermore, both pedals should be at suitable distance from each other, however this separation should not be greater than your hips. If there is more distance, it can put extra strain on your glutes, knees, hips and lower back. Also have a look at the type of materials used to manufacture foot pedals. They should provide some sort of cushioning to make the workout more comfortable. While most budgeted elliptical use hard plastic, it’s not uncommon to see high-quality plastics used with better cushioning effect in higher-end models. In case you’ve already purchased a cheaper model, you can still eliminate harsh impact of hard plastic to a certain extent by wearing good quality shoes.
The smoothness and quietness of an elliptical machine is directly proportional to the weight of flywheel. So with using heavier flywheels, you are able to feel smooth and less jerky motion as it is able to spin more efficiently. Majority of the machines come with 13 pounds of weight, however it ranges from 23 to 30 pounds in some high-end ellipticals. The flywheel is actually meant to make the motion of the elliptical feel more natural. With dual direction flywheels, you can always work on opposite body muscles by switching rotation. The flywheel is further connected with pedals using a drive belt. With grooves, the energy is efficiently transferred between pedals and flywheel. The greater the number of grooves you find on the belt, the lesser is the feeling of slippage experienced by the elliptical user.
10) Hybrid Trainers
When searching for the right elliptical, you may have stumbled upon hybrid machines that offer 2-in-1 or three-in-one functions. This means that you can get an elliptical and recumbent bike in a single piece of equipment. Not only this but you get even more versatility with 3-in-one trainers that combine exercises of elliptical, upright and recumbent bike in one unit. Some of the popular manufacturers include ProForm and Body rider who manufacture these models. Due to their storage friendly design, you can maximize your home space and resources with hybrid trainers. Furthermore, you can seamlessly transition into any of the exercise modes without using any tools or adjustments. If you need extreme versatility and flexibility to tailor your workouts, a hybrid elliptical machine is the perfect choice for the money.
Not all ellipticals offer same type of warranties. It greatly varies for each manufacturer and shows their confidence in produced items. The time span of warranties for frame, parts and labor are not equal at all. For instance, since parts seem to wear out comparatively earlier due to continuous use, they are covered for a shorter period of time. Likewise, the labor warranty ranges from medium to short term on majority elliptical machines. On the other hand, it is not uncommon to see lifetime warranties on frames, since they are harder to break and can last for a long time.
Let us explain all of this further through an example. Take our top rated elliptical ‘Sole E35’ offers lifetime warranty on frame, 5 years on electronic and parts while 2 years coverage for labor. This means if any of your elliptical parts or electronics malfunction within 5 years, the company will cover it free of cost. You’ll also get the benefit of not having pay for labor for the first 2 years, however if something happens afterwards, you’ll need to pay for the service charges. As far as frame is concerned, it is covered with a whooping lifetime warranty. This is truly an example of some of the best warranties on the market from a prestigious brand like Sole. Other reputable brands that offer pretty decent warranties include Schwinn, ProForm and NordicTrack, etc.
12) Ease of Assembly
While most of us would like to assemble the elliptical machine ourselves, it is important to pay attention to step-by-step instructions mentioned in the assembly manual. With such a heavy and large piece of equipment, you don’t want to keep any parts to remain loose or improperly fixed. For any reasons if the machine breaks down during use, it can be disastrous for everyone. If you are uncertain or confused about assembly, you can it done with help of a professional without wasting anytime to figure out the whole process. When shopping for an elliptical, you also order professional assembly services along with it. By doing so, you can avoid frequent mistakes, reduce risk of future injuries and save valuable time.
13) Home Elliptical Workout
The top-rated elliptical machines offer you everything that you need in order to carry out an awesome home workout. To make your workouts even more comfortable, you can wear good quality shoes to work with the pads. In order to keep yourself motivated, you can watch videos to learn better exercise techniques. You can also browse and play your favorite TV shows, watch movies on the display to enjoy and keep yourself entertained.
14) Other Elliptical Machine Considerations:
- Transportation Wheels
- Step-on height
- Speakers with inputs
- Water bottle holder
- Tablet or book holder
- USB Port to Charge or Transfer Data
- Power supply
Benefits of Elliptical Machines
Isn’t it amazing to see so many elliptical trainers used by people at the local health club? It is because elliptical machines are really good at providing low-impact workouts for both lower and upper body. While using them, you may not have to worry about stressing your joints as they tend to provide a natural motion to help burn calories. Although people of all ages use ellipticals, however they are especially bone-friendly for senior individuals. Here are some of the key benefits of using ellipticals:
- Low Impact Workout: If you are looking for an exercise equipment to generate least amount of impact on joints, lower back and legs, then an elliptical machine is an ideal pick. It is specifically designed to keep your feet on pedals and inside air so that they never touch the ground to take any impact. During walk or running, your feet take the shock and transfer it further to bones, joints and lower back. This is one of the reasons why people in their advancing years prefer to invest in ellipticals for their home workout.
- Smooth Feet and Legs Motion: With an elliptical machine you no longer have to worry about stressing any of your body parts. This equipment naturally replicates the motion of your ankle, knees and hips during walking, running or jogging. Even better the adjusting pedals keep your feet in a comfortable position to match angle of elliptical stride.
- Perfect Weight Bearing Exercise: The elliptical exercise helps to protect your joints from injuries, develop strong and dense bones coupled with burning more calories and increased metabolism. In combination with right diet, it significantly helps to prevent outset of osteoporosis and slows down deterioration of bones.
- Dual Action Workout: There is no other fitness equipment on the market that can provide both upper and lower body workout simultaneously. What actually happens is that you are able to share resistance between upper and lower body parts using the cross trainer. The triceps, biceps, chest, back, hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps work in a connected way to turn over maximum benefit.
- Calories Burning: Just like with any other fitness machine, the main goal is to burn calories and tone your muscles fast. And, an elliptical trainer does not disappoint in this department as well. You’re even better with an elliptical rather than opting for a recumbent bike to burn calories at super speeds.
- Workout Programs: Overtime, the ellipticals have evolved and now come with many advanced features to take your workout routine to the next level. With pre-programmed workouts, the machine changes the terrain automatically and adds further resistance to meet your fitness goals. Just like a treadmill, you’ll also love the excellent features on a wide LCD screen.
- Low Maintenance: When it comes to costs and frequency of maintenance, the ellipticals clearly outrank treadmills. After buying an elliptical, you don’t need to think about motors, belts, bearings, rollers and other techy stuff wearing out like in case of treadmills. Unlike a treadmill, an elliptical produce reduced impact and does not carry large number of moving parts, so it is less likely to create maintenance issues.
Care and Maintenance
Despite of the low maintenance requirements for an elliptical machine, we’d like to elaborate some of the effective ways to last your machine for years without developing major faults.
- Cleaning your Elliptical: This activity can be performed on weekly if not daily basis. The ellipticals are prone to accumulate dust on their surface if not wiped out with a clean cloth. This dust and dirt can obstruct smooth functioning of your machine. Not only this but sweat also falls on other parts of your machine during each workout. If not properly cleaned, it can lead to rust on exposed parts over a period of time. For all these reasons, it is recommended to follow manufacturer guidelines on how to clean chosen elliptical machine properly. A vacuum cleaner, silicon spray and clean cloth are some of the handy gear you can use for cleaning task.
- Lubrication: Rusty and squeaky parts can get in your way of getting maximum benefit out of an elliptical machine. One of the easiest ways to avoid all this hassle and ensure proper smooth working of your machine is by lubrication after each use. The wearing of parts is induced due to friction and lubing can definitely help to keep it running frictionless. Again, we recommend to read the owner’s manual on how to moderately lubricate your elliptical machine.
- Tights the loosen up nuts and bolts: Due to continuous movements and vibrations, some parts of your elliptical machine may start to create squeaky and weird sounds. Don’t fret as this may have been caused due to loosen up nuts or bolts that need tightening. If you are able to find those nuts, just tighten them up and you are good to go. In case, you are not able to locate the issue, you can also get help from an elliptical professional. Beware that you must not indulge in anything that you do not have the capability to handle or fix by yourself. If you are not familiar with technical things, you may end up damaging your machine that results in even more expensive repairs.
- Keep the use under moderate levels: Not all elliptical machines are created equal and come loaded with distinct specs and built-qualities. A budgeted elliptical cannot match the sturdiness and ruggedness of a top-notch machine. This is why it is important to keep the use of your machine under moderate levels. Sure, the high-end expensive units can take up all the beating but don’t expect a cheap elliptical to take that same level of abuse. Keep in mind all the specs, weight and height limitations when finalizing an elliptical machine for home use.
- Use Elliptical Mat: With a good quality mat placed under your elliptical, you’ll not only protect the floor from scratches or cuts but it’ll also help to keep your machine firm on the ground to prevent slippage. Pick a right size of mat to perfectly match the machine dimensions and enjoy your workouts at home.
Thanks for reading our elliptical reviews. We hope our in-depth research can help you find the right elliptical machine that delivers you the best elliptical workout.