Want to buy an elliptical machine to stay fit? While an elliptical machine is the best bet for fitness enthusiasts on the run, it is important to remember that they come at a price and the wrong choice can have a negative impact on the body. Some important parameters to consider before buying an elliptical machine are the size and weight, the type of machine in terms of design, the flexibility offered by the machine, the tracking software, and the availability of programmed workouts.
Here are some points you ‘d do well to keep in mind before you buy an elliptical machine:
- Elliptical machines are categorized into Front-Drive, Center-Drive and Rear-Drive. The first create considerable noise, the second have gentler transitions, and the third are usually very long.
- Have a clear idea about the space constraints. Keep the machine in a place where the ceiling is sufficiently high. That’s because an elliptical machine would elevate you more than a treadmill. Also, the pedals will extend well beyond the machine frame.
- An elliptical machine would constrain your movement, unlike a treadmill which allows free-form movement. So do not ignore even the slightest discomfort during the trial as things may get worse with use.
- Be very thorough while checking the exercise intensity. The lowest resistance should be easy to pedal and the highest setting should be challenging at about 75 percent. Be sure that there is a perceptible difference between each level.
- However appealing some features may be, remember that they would be hard to access during an intense session. Don’t go for machines with features that would be useless in the long run.
- Double check the safety features, and keep the machines out of the reach of children and pets, as the moving parts could be dangerous.
Now that you know more about elliptical machines then when you started reading, let’s pill the beans. Here are 10 superb elliptical machines.
Elliptical Machine Reviews of 2017
Weighing 215lbs and measuring 27″x62″x83″, this is one of the bigger machines and can handle up to 400 lbs. The stride length is adjustable, the maximum being around 22 inches. It comes with flexible articulating pedals and custom foot pedals. Heavy duty rails are used to provide stability. There is a 30 lbs flywheel, 20 resistance levels and 20 incline levels for muscle toning. It also features moving arms bars to help you with total body training, and stationary handles with heart rate sensors.
The Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine is powered by Quite Drive System. It can work along with the 16-level resistance selection via control board. There are a total of 10 programs, out of which 2 are customizable. To keep track of your progress, there is a cool 10.1” LCD Console screen. This machine also comes with built-in cooling fans, speakers and water bottle holders. The Bluetooth connection helps in connecting to third party fitness apps like iHealth and MyFitnessPal and in sharing your workout and health stats with your tablet or smartphone.
While the big price tag of the machine is a factor, the features make it worth the spending. It also comes with a 5 year warranty on the parts and a lifetime warranty on the frame.
However, keep in mind that the speakers are not very powerful, and it may not be the best choice for people on the shorter side.
This is the best bet for you if you need to work out on the go and lack the space for a full fledged training machine. Also at around $100, it is a pretty inexpensive elliptical trainer machine in this list.
There is an LED console to show you stats like your workout time, the total number of strides, the number of strides per minute, and the amount of calories burnt during the session. You can easily adjust the intensity by turning the ‘tension knob’.
Some of the other cool features of this machine are its handle-less body and the sturdy nature, easy portability, the noiselessness, the ease of assembly, and durability. Also, the pedals of this machine are large, slip-resistant and can be worked both forward and in reverse. You can use it either with the resistance tubes or without them.
Remember that this machine is not for those people who have balance deficiency.
The ElliptiGO 8C is the “world’s first outdoor elliptical bike and your best indoor elliptical trainer” packed into one.
The front and rear wheels each measure about 20 inches, and the height can be adjusted between 16 to 25 inches. The 8 internal gears can give you a speed of up to 25 mph in case you want to use it outdoors, and it has a total resistance range of 306%.
It has a maximum stride length of 25 inches, meaning you can avail a full range of motion and balanced muscle activation. The Ergon GC3 multi-position grips with the bar-end extensions are adjustable, their ergonomic design offering you greater control over your riding position. It can support weights up to 250 pounds.
However, this model has no water bottle holder, an essential feature of workout bikes. The open track for rollers makes it susceptible to debris. At 44 pounds, it is also very heavy. And finally, it lacks a display console to let you know of your stats while on the run.
Priced at $2,500, you can afford to overlook the tiny hassles as its unique design ensures more muscle involvement than the average elliptical machine.
Measured at 63”x28”x70”, and weighing 164 pounds, this machine can bear a weight of up to 300 pounds.
The Schwinn 470 has an awesome computer, coming with a total of 29 programs which include 12 workout profiles (4 fun rides, 4 mountain rides and 4 challenges) , 9 heart rate controls, 4 custom user defined profiles, 2 fitness tests, 1 recovery test and a quick start. It also has 2 Schwinn DualTrack backlit LCD windows (the main being 3”x5” and the secondary being 1”x5”) on which you can view 13 display functions.
To add to the ‘chill quotient’, you can use the reading rack to support your tablet or book while working as you can still view your stats on the lower display. This machine has its own system to connect to apps like the Schwinn Connect or to MyFitnessPal to help you transfer your time, distance and calories information.
There are 25 Eddy Current Brake (ECB) resistance settings with 5 quick keys. You can automatically incline it to 10 degrees with the help of 5 quick keys, a feature uncommon in devices at this range. There are 3 fans to keep you cool during your workout sessions.
A real disappointment is the fixed 20” stride, which may be difficult for some. Also, many machines offer a better incline of up to 20 degrees. While this machine does support a heat-strap monitor, it doesn’t come with one. It also lacks a chest strap. You need to install these separately, rather disappointing for a machine in this price bracket.
But considering the quality of the features it comes with, the bottom line is that the Schwinn 470 remains one of the best buys.
The NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical machines has dimensions of 62”x29”x68” and is designed to support up to 350 pounds. And with 38 built in workout apps and a host of other exclusive features, it happens to be one of the best products you are likely to get at its price.
One of the best things about this model is the extent to which its features can be customized. There is a 38” stride which is auto-adjustable and which offers you all the combined benefits of an elliptical, a treadmill and a stepper. And thankfully, unlike some of the models listed here, it comes with a cool wireless chest strap.
Adding to the awesomeness, it has a 10 % power adjustable incline to help you with automatic metabolic boost and targeted muscle toning while simulating real world terrain. The pedals are adjustable. The rear drive machine design makes it far more comfortable for your back as compared to the usual front drive ellipticals, and also makes your strides appear more natural.
And these are not the only perks of the rear design. Along with the frame, which can be folded up vertically, it also helps in saving up a lot of floor space.
There is a cool 7” high definition LED screen to help you to access the programs, connect with iFit and to the web in general while you are still working. It also has a tablet computer shelf and a set of 3” iPod-compatible console speakers. There are 26 digital resistance levels which are very easy to use with the OneTouch controls without requiring you to pause.
The 18 pound flywheels can play spoilsport though as they stop your rides from being smooth or potentially challenging.
All in all, this is one of the costliest elliptical machines out there, but considering that it has the features of three machines packed into one, it is one of the best options if you are looking for a luxury training machine.
One of the best multipurpose elliptical trainers, you should pick the latest version of ProForm Hybrid Trainers if you are looking for the perfect cross between an elliptical machine and a recumbent bike. It perfectly transitions from one to the other. Coming at dimensions of 46.5”x25.8”x18”, this machine is also easy for compact storage. It can support a weight up to 350 pounds.
This machine comes with 16 resistance levels and 16 built-in workout programs, including both interval and manual training programs. It also has a watts power meter that can help you know your pacing continually and make changes accordingly. It is Bluetooth enabled, helping you to sync your stats with fitness apps and gadgets. This machine works without a power connection.
It has a cool number of adjustable features, like pedals, seat, and the console. To ensure your comfort, the upper arm grips are cushioned, as are the oversized foot pedals. The Silent Magnetic Resistance training technology ensures a smooth and noiseless experience, making it perfect for any environment.
There are some downers though. While the 15” stride length is enough for most users, it is not adjustable and can create problems for taller users. The flywheel is at 13 pounds, much lower than the recommended 20 pounds. Also, the Bluetooth enabled console works only with iFit programs, meaning you need to get a separate subscription. And the display screen is really small.
Another major turn-off is the 90 day period warranty for the parts, and a 5-year warranty for the frame. These are much less compared to some other machines which have a lifelong warranty on the frame.
Overall, it is hard to resist the features you get at the price of $399. It has one of the best service-to-cost ratios among similar products in the market.
A hybrid between the dear old treadmill and the elliptical trainer, the Octane Zero Runner ZR8 Elliptical is one of the best zero-impact running machines with its unique frame which ensures zero joint compression and no fatigue.
Serving as an elliptical trainer and a stair stepper, this machine allows you to make strides up to 58”, adjusting automatically all the while. The workouts are categorized as Endurance, Toning and Active Recovery. You can access up to a total of 35 SmartLink programs, and the SmartLink feature helps in tracking and graphing workout data, generates long-term plans extending from 30 to 90 days based on your performance, and most remarkably, provides a step-by-step video guidance for hundreds of exercises. This also comes with the Gait Analysis to alert you against poor posture.
The pedals are made of aircraft-quality aluminum, which makes them extremely lightweight and durable. They are placed just 1.4 inches apart, making them extremely comfortable for the hips. Besides, it has all the regular features that come with the average elliptical machine, like Bluetooth, water bottle holder and tablet holder.
The power operations are cordless and noiseless, helping in conserving a lot of power in the process.
The bottom line is that while it is one of the costlier machines available, it is a very good buy.
This is one of the most popular elliptical machines for home gyms. At 173 lbs, this is also one of the lightest models available.
Like the Schwinn 470, it offers 29 workout programs which include 12 profiles, 9 heart rate control, 4 customizable, 2 fitness tests, 1 recovery test and a quick start option. While most of the programs are the common ones like aerobic, cross-training and calorie burning, the manual program is a rare feature. It allows you to work without having to select any program or without even turning on the console. At 25, it has 4 more resistance levels to offer compared to its predecessor, the Nautilus E614. You can also create up to 4 user profiles in this machine.
Another feature in common with the Schwinn is the dual LCD display which allows you to work out while using the inbuilt tablet or book holder.
Again, this machine lacks a bit in the warranty department. You get 10 years for the frame, 2 years for the parts, 1 year for the electronics and only 90 days for the labor. The biggest challenge however is assembling the parts, and it is best to get professional help here. Also, this machine doesn’t come with its own chest strap. And the 20” stride is not adjustable.
On the upside, the machine can give many big names a run for their money with its speakers, and you can add in an MP3 player, or use them with Bluetooth. It also supports two options for heart rate monitoring- the inbuilt contact option, and the telemetry feature which needs to be purchased separately.
Overall, considering the price, it is a very good buy when it comes to value for money.
This mini cardio stepper is a cool alternative to the Stamina InMotion for those who want an easy way out of the expensive and space consuming machines. At 17”x16”x11”, it is ideal for saving space.
It has two Hydraulic cylinders that help create the stepping motion. It is very good at toning your thighs, calves and guts without exhausting your body, making it ideal for office use or while you are on the go.
Like the Stamina InMotion machine, it offers an easy aerobic workout, comes with durable oversize steel footplates that are slip-resistant, has an electronic monitor to track everything that you do on it, and has built-in resistance training.
With the help of this machine, you can burn out around 350-450 calories by working out for 40 minutes as a beginner. The Locktek twister stepper with the two slightly twisting foot pedals can accelerate your blood circulation and improve your heart health if you spend even 20 minutes on it.
Supporting a weight of up to a mere 220 pounds, this machine is not ideal for heavy duty regimes. Also, it can get overheated sooner compared to some other machines. Many have had issues with the sound.
Very popular in health clubs, the Precor AMT835 is one of the best models in the Precor Adaptive Motion Trainers series.
It comes with Precor’s patented low impact motion and the brand new Open Stride feature which allows you to take up to 36” strides. The stride height can be adjusted between 6.5” and 10”. This machine is designed for total body training as it comes with features of an elliptical trainer, a treadmill and a stair climber, and is also very easy on the joints.
This machine includes a P30 Console with Motion Controls and Quick Start which features 20 electronic workout readouts, 6 built in workout programs (Manual, Interval, Variety, Performance, Weight Loss, and Heart Rate), an electronic keyboard, a reading rack and a USB. Plus there are three sets of handlebars with this model having a free suspension design.
Like most of the other top elliptical machines, you can connect this to music devices and other gadgets.
As it is self-powered, it saves substantially in the electricity department.
On the downside, there are no fans for cooling or speakers built into the console. The motor is very loud and it can carry a weight of only up to 350 pounds. The number of programs is much less compared to the other machines in this range. And finally, there is no Drive System information.
As for the warranty, you get only 7 years on frame, 2 years on parts and 1 year on labor.
You can put your money on this one if you are looking for a machine that would be highly versatile. At a little over $9,000, it is a good buy at that range.
In addition to being convenient, elliptical machines offer a host of other benefits. Working out on them increases the body’s aerobic capacity, helping you perform activities for long periods of time without losing your breath. As you get to use both the upper and lower portions of your body at once, these machines offer a total body workout experience without impacting the muscles, making it ideal for those with joint problems. And most importantly, these machines help you burn calories like no other. You can burn up to 400 calories in just half an hour depending on your weight, according to a report in Harvard Health Publications.
While the list of machines included here is pretty comprehensive, remember that you may not necessarily have the expertise for zeroing in on the machine that would be the best for you. It is always advisable to consult an expert before venturing out to buy one.