Elliptical trainers are very popular workout machines. If you are in the market for a new elliptical machine, then you’ve come to the right place. This is our Elliptical Trainer Buying Guide that has been made to help you along the way.
There should be no doubt that elliptical trainers make very ideal workout machines for your home as they are both easy on the joints, low impact, and it challenges both the upper and the lower body, which results in an ultimate calorie burn.
Many people are trying to choose between traditional treadmills and elliptical trainers. In that connection it needs to be said that, unlike traditional treadmills, elliptical trainers use cushioned pedals and a drive system that has been developed to create a smooth, circular motion which is very similar to walking or jogging. But the user’s feet will never leave the pedal and joints will also be supported all the time.
There is also another benefit of an elliptical trainer which is, that elliptical trainers gives you the ability to work out both the upper body and lower body simultaneously. That is a major benefit for increasing muscle tone and naturally also achieving optimal calorie burn. There is a lot of elliptical machines on the market, but it is very important to consider a few factors to find the perfect elliptical trainer for your needs.
Consider your budget and goals
As said, there is a lot of considerations there need to be done before you can purchase an elliptical trainer, but one of the first things to consider is your budget. You’ll have to make up with yourself how much you are willing to spend, but you should also spend some time to research the features of the different tiers of trainers, so that you’ll know what price range to target.
As an example; if you are looking for a compact elliptical machine that you can use on a daily basis, but you would like to be without bells, whistles and advanced customizable features, then you should take a look at the many different kinds of basic elliptical trainers which price range is starting at around $500. Then you can be sure that the quality is good and the price is fair.
If you are more interested in reaching more advanced fitness goals and therefore also er interested in features like heart rate monitoring programs and generally a more advanced console, then you’ll have to look into more elite models, which usually starts at around 1,500$, but can go significantly higher than that.
Fact is, that you should consider your budget and your goals before buying an elliptical trainer, so you won’t have to pay for more of less than you need and want. Therefore it is really important for you to know your goals and stay within your price range, so you aren’t going to pay than you actually are willing to invest in your elliptical trainer.
How about space and design?
The many different elliptical machines on the market varies in terms of both brand and design. Some models are more compact and are even coming with wheels or a foldable design, so it is easy to move it around and pack it away, while others will have neither.
Actually this depends largely on where the drive system (also known as the flywheel) is located. It will either be placed in the front, in the back, or on the sides. If the drive system is placed in the back the trainer will rarely be compact or easy to transport, but if you choose a front drive trainers it will be more compact, easy to store and transport. Some brands will even be offering a foldable design, so it is easy to pack away.
Throughout the last couples of years a lot of companies have also started to produce elliptical trainers with a center drive design, which means the flywheel is placed on either side of the machine. These models are often very compact and a few of these models are also a foldable design.
If you know your space requirements beforehand, then it will be much easier for you to choose the overall build and design of your coming elliptical trainer. You should be aware that the primary part of the more elite trainers and those with higher weighted user capacities are generally more heavy machines, why they can be quite difficult to maneuver – and especially since very few of these models are equipped with transport wheels.
It is not everybody who need to transport their trainer on a daily basis, but if you would like to fold your elliptical machine into a closet or move it into a corner, you should be looking for a model which has been equipped with either transport wheels or generally just choose a lighter model with a foldable design.
Brake, resistance system and flywheel
As mentioned earlier there are a lot of factors to consider before purchasing your future elliptical trainer, but there should be no doubt, that the brake and resistance system as well as the weight of the flywheel are some of the most important factors to consider. Those factors are going to have a huge influence on whether the respective elliptical machine are the right for you.
These factors will affect both the durability of the trainer, how loud the machine will be, and also the overall fell of the machine. This also means that you should be looking for an elliptical trainer with eddy current brake systems that are functioning through magnets to create resistance. Electronic magnetic resistance systems are both the smoothest type of brake, but also the most commonly used one.
In electronic magnetic resistance systems there are only three parts, which is the servo motor that moves the magnets into position, a computer board which job is to signal the servo motor when to move the magnets, and of course also the magnets that create the resistance. An electromagnetic brake system will also allow you to control the resistance by pressing a button on the console or the handle bars. But a manual brake system will be using a tension knob instead.
As this system are using magnets on the flywheel to provide tension, it is also very important that the flywheel has the right weight. Most basic and standard trainers are equipped with a flywheel that weighs around 15 pounds, but if you are looking for a more elite trainer, you’ll have to look for a model with a flywheel weighing around 17 pounds or more.
It is very important to remember that the heavier the flywheel is, the smoother will every stride be. Therefore it is also very important to ask about the flywheel weight if it isn’t mentioned in the product description. It varies from brand to brand what this type of brake and resistance system is called. Some call them silent magnetic resistance while others call them quiet drive system. Fact is that you should always be looking for the quietest operating machines.
Do you have any requirements for the console?
The right console for you depends largely on your preferences. If you want an elliptical trainer with advanced entertainment options like compatibility with Apple or/and Android, internet connectivity og built-in speakers, then you should be considering investing in one of the more elite type of trainers, as they have more advanced options and features compared with standard models.
It is possible to find standard trainers which is equipped with speakers and have device compatibility, but if you are looking for some more advanced features, then the best choice for you will be a more elite trainer. Most consoles will be equipped with LCD screens – some of them are backlit (which makes them easier to see and use in dim rooms) and some are not.
If you are going to use your machine in a dim room, then you should choose a backlit LCD screen. You should also be aware that the size of the screen also varies by both brand and price point. The more inexpensive models will be equipped with screens with the size of about 6 inches, but more elite trainers will feature LCD screens which have a size of around 10 inches – some do even have even bigger screens.
Most elliptical trainers will also be equipped with basic features like a reading rack, cup holders, an accessory tray and some trainers do also come with a built-in fan, but they will be particular brands and models that do not have the most basic features, which is why you will have to check for the basics, when you are shopping for your next elliptical machine.
You should also be aware of the placement of the cup holder as some brands have mounted their cup holders below the console which means, you will have to stop your workout and reach down in order to reach your water bottle. Other trainers will have a more conveniently placed cup holder within an arm’s reach, so you don’t have to stop your workout in order to reach the water bottle or other drink in the cup holder.
Another factor to take into consideration on the console is the number of workout programs and heart rate monitoring system. The number of pre-programmed workout programs are depending on the price point, but you can expect anywhere from between 8 and 28 workout programs, and most of the elite trainers on the market do also offer a hear rate monitoring system that will be able to link to pre-set workout programs.
Most of the modern elliptical trainers will be delivered with heart rate monitors in the handlebars, but if you want a wireless heart rate monitoring system, then you will have to choose an elite model. A few standard models in at cheaper price will also have the featured implemented, but it isn’t often.
Which customizable options do you want/need?
There shouldn’t be any doubt that customizable options are great if the elliptical trainer is going to be used by multiple people, but these options will also be ideal in general for the people who are interested in changing things up and work different muscle groups and different workouts. However, it is a matter of taste whether you want a lot of customizable options or not.
The customizable options includes a lot of different features as adjustable pivoting pedals, an adjustable stride or an adjustable incline. As for most other factors the amount of adjustable options will be different from standard and elite trainers, which is why some elite trainers will offer electronic and/or automatic adjustable incline based on the different pre-programmed workout programs that is able to automatically adjust your settings based on the program and the muscles being worked. Most standard trainers lack this feature.
A customizable stride gives you the opportunity to set the stride or length from front to back of your trainer; shorter would usually be at about 18 inches and longer will often be at around 24 inches, but it depends on the brand and price point. Longer strides will be more ideal for taller people, while shorter strides will be more appealing for shorter people, but length variations can also be used if you are going to target specific muscle groups with your workout.
Adjustable pedals are not a feature which is offered on all trainers, but his feature is ideal if you can find a model which comes with it and you are willing to pay for it, as the less you have to lift your foot to meet the motion of the strid, the less strain you will also have to put on your lower body. Some models will even be equipped with pedals that can pivot with the natural stride motions of your own legs.
The fixed movement trainers will often be less expensive, but there shouldn’t be any doubt that having the option to adjust several features on your elliptical trainer will simply make for a more comfortable, customizable and enjoyable experience and workout.
Be aware of the warranty
Warranties are – unfortunately – something a lot of people forget to look for, but it is very important to be aware of the warranty as the warranty stands as an indicator of both quality and also the trust that the manufacturer of the elliptical machine has in their own products.
Warranties varies based on a lot of different factors, but most brands offer a lifetime warranty on the frame, which applies regardless of if you are looking at a basic, standard, or elite trainer. The warranty on the parts and labor varies based on the price point. A basic trainer can have a warranty as low as 90 days, but for most standard and elite trainers, you will be able to get a warranty that are at least 1 year, but the average will range between 3 and 5 years.
Most trainers will have a shorter labor warranty, which is averaging at about 2 years and a longer warranty for the parts, which is averaging at about 5 years. Most trainers over the $1000 price point will have a warranty of at least 3 years on parts and at least 1 year on labor, but for less expensive trainers (under $1000) you will get a shorter warranty for both the parts and labor.
It should of course be stressed that you should also make sure to look at the warranty on the brakes system. Some elliptical trainers list this warranty separately, but some models do not list it at all, while others will be including the warranty on the brake system along with the frame warranty. The ideal warranty on the brakes system would be either a lifetime warranty or at least a warranty at at least 10 years.
Why should I buy an elliptical trainer?
The primary reason that elliptical trainers started growing in popularity is because of their stark contrast with treadmills, as both type of machines will provide a good aerobic workout, but an elliptical machine has the advantage that it will also provide a cardio workout with low-impact, with a lot less stress and with less strain on the joints in both the back, hips, legs and knees.
Elliptical trainers will also be able to enable users to vary their workouts more than eg. straightforward running, jogging, or walking, which is possible on treadmills. The different types of exercises that combines actions that is used in and known from both skiing, climbing and running, will make your workouts more enjoyable and more fun. It also means that it is easier to stay motivated and continue your hard training on your elliptical machine.
Most elliptical trainers have begun to be delivered with moveable handles, which effectively makes them cross-trainers as well. This has also resulted in an entirely new group being attracted to use these machines to workout both their upper and lower body at the same time and even add strength training to their cardio training. Most of these machines do even let users “walk backwards” as well as forward, which is also a factor that expands the range of muscles, which can be trained with an elliptical trainer, in the end, giving it a more varied workout.
One of the primary benefits of elliptical machines (which is often underrated) is that it can seem easier to complete a workout than on a treadmill. A lot of studies have shown that people working out on an elliptical trainer are expending much more energy than they even realize themselves, which also implies that burning a fair amount of calories on an elliptical machine requires less work compared with burning the same amount of calories on a treadmill.
You must of course be aware that you burn about the same amount of calories. per hour on both machines, but as it seems much easier for you to workout on an elliptical machine, then a workout on an elliptical will seem much more productive, as the exercise is much easier, which is why you are more likely to spend longer doing it. Therefore you will also experience, that you will burn much more calories with an elliptical trainer.
Different kinds of elliptical machines
It is possible to find different kinds of elliptical machines on the market. Therefore you will also have to take it up to consideration which type of elliptical machine that is the right type of machine for you and your needs. Elliptical machines can – basically – be broken down into three categories which means you also will be able to find an elliptical that is perfect for you:
It isn’t everybody who agrees that these are actually a type of elliptical machine, but the label is often assigned to them anyways. Many do also know these machines as air walkers or air striders, as they primarily are machines intended to tone leg muscles while providing a both decent and simple low-impact aerobic workout. In the most cases these machines will also be cheaper than other elliptical machines.
Your feet fit onto pedals which move up-and-down along a special arc to work your different muscles in your legs, but it doesn’t move in the circular (elliptical) motion which is a well-known hallmark of other kinds of elliptical training machines. There really isn’t any change the incline of the movement, which is the intensity of the workout and it can only be varied by changing the resistance of the pedals. This is also the least expensive option.
Elliptical Trainers er the machines which were originally known as (and were also the only ones called) ellipticals. These machines er designed for a full lower-body workout, which is also the reason both the right and the left pedals move forward in the shape of an ellipse. It’s the natural way your legs will be moving when you are either running or walking, so the shape it’s moving in won’t be dangerous.
Most of the elliptical trainer to be found on the market will let you adjust both the incline and the resistance, which will make sure that you are getting a good workout for both your glutes and your hamstrings, but you will also be toning other leg muscles during the workout on your elliptical trainer. Most of these machines will also let you pedal backwards to better work your glutes and also to attack your quads.
This have slowly been becoming the “new standard” throughout the last few years for elliptical machines, as these machines are able to provide both an upper- and lower-body workout in the same workout. Your feet will go onto the pedals just as you know it from a traditional old-style elliptical, while you will also be using your arms to push and pull the unit in rhythm.
With an elliptical machine like this, you will also be able to adjust the arm resistance on your cross-trainer, which will be giving you full control of your workout and it will also allow you to burn even more calories while you are working most of the core muscles in both the upper and lower body. Elliptical Cross-Trainer will – without any doubt – give you the best workout, but is also the most expensive option.
Best Elliptical Trainers of 2017
If you are looking for a new elliptical trainer, you are surely interested in buying one of the best elliptical trainers of 2017. It is possible, as you can read about some of the best elliptical machines of 2017 below, where you surely also will be able to find a model that suits both your needs and your preferences. Take a look at the models and see if they are interesting for you.
NordicTrack E 7.0 Z Elliptical Trainer
NordicTrack E 7.0 Z is a professional elliptical trainer. It will be delivered with nothing less than 20 workout apps, that has been preloaded onto the machine. All these workout programs have been designed by a certified personal trainer. The apps (workout programs) will be able to automatically adjust the resistance of the machine to reach certain fitness goals defined by you, which will make a easier to keep up the motivation and reach your goals.
It has also been equipped with an adjustable incline ramp. This makes it easy for you to adjust the incline ramps to tone and target quads, calves and glutes. The five-position ramp on NordicTrack E 7.0 Z can be modified to five positions between 0 and 20 degrees. You will also be able to change the shape and length of your stride which makes it possible for you to target different muscle groups and also to add intensity to your different workouts.
As this is a professional elliptical trainer that suits most people, you will be able to adjust the intensity of your workout with nothing less than 20 different resistance levels. The changes can be made with a simple touch of a button, which is why it is very easy to adjust the resistance level on this machine – even when you are already working out at a high intensity level and have to adjust the intensity either down or up.
The flywheel on NordicTrack E 7.0 Z has been engineered for to make sure you will experience an incredibly smooth performance. The flywheel has a weight of 15 lb. and is able to quietly deliver a both even and natural ride. If you like to listen to music while you work out, then you will be pleased to know that NordicTrack E 7.0 Z has been equipped with high quality sound from dual 2-inch speakers and a standard headphone jack.
Body Champ BR1895 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
If you are looking for an elliptical trainer that can be purchased for a fair price and is also worth your money, then you should take a closer look at Body Champ BR1895. This elliptical trainer has been equipped with a magnetic adjustable resistance system for progressive increase and decrease to intensity levels, which makes sure, that you will be having both seamless and uninterrupted workouts. It will be delivered with one compatible AC-adaptor.
Body Champ has also chosen to equip their BR1895 elliptical trainer with advanced built-in technology which includes an exercise computer with a LCD-display. The computer will be delivered with the opportunity to choose between nothing less than 16 levels of resistance, more than 12 different types of exercise programs and 10 preset workout programs. It should also be said, that the machine will be delivered with an integrated hand-grip heart rate system.
Even though the Body Champ BR1895 is quite a cheap elliptical trainer, it can guarantee both a simple and effective training for all levels ranging from simple cardio-based exercises to more intense muscle-toning goals. You are in total control of the intensity of your workout, which makes sure that you are able to reach the workout and the goals, you are working towards. The elliptical machine will also be delivered with a workout DVD that can inspire to make new workouts.
Both the comfort and the options are enhanced because of the two sets of ergonomic handlebars, the set of bidirectional foot pedals and also the step-through design, which will make it easy for you to step on and off the machine. The elliptical trainer will be delivered with a lot of different built-in, user-friendly features including a media shelf, which can be used to store a phone, book, table or magazine. The machine is also equipped with transport wheels for easy transportation.
Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine
There should be no doubt that this is a professional elliptical trainer that has been equipped with a dual track LCD-screen which actually allows you to monitor up to 13 different display feedbacks at once. The machine is also equipped with Schwinn Connect (software made by Schwinn them self for this particularly machine) which can be used for goal tracking and data export to keep you up to date on reaching your different kinds of fitness goals.
If you are looking for an elliptical trainer with a lot of different kinds of programs used to make your training even more exciting and also more easy to keep yourself motivated, then you will be pleased to hear that Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine will be delivered with nothing less than 22 different programs, 2 user settings and also goal tracking to keep you motivated and challenged – and also to keep track of your progress.
You will also be able to choose between 20 levels of resistance to make sure, that there is always a resistance level for everybody and for all needs. Together with the flywheel you can be sure that every workout on this elliptical trainer will be both smooth and quiet. As an extra feature the Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine has also been equipped with an USB-port that can be used for charging different kind of devices, but also for data exchange.