Buying Guide for Elliptical Machines
Why buy an elliptical?
Cardiovascular exercise is an important part of most fitness regimes, and elliptical machines give you the same cardio work as conventional running but without the high-impact strain on your joints. These machines are an excellent way to get in your daily workout while still being gentle on your body. Plus, not everyone has a convenient place to go for a jog, and you always risk being stuck inside if the temperature is too hot, below freezing, or otherwise unpleasant. If you have an elliptical at home, you’ll be able to get your workout in regardless of the weather and temperature outside.
Some people also simply prefer to exercise in the privacy of their own homes rather than going to a gym or running outside. Others find they’re better at sticking to a daily or regular exercise schedule when they have workout equipment at home—it’s a lot easier to come up with an excuse to skip the hassle of getting ready and driving to the gym than it is to skip a day when you have a machine like an elliptical at home staring you in the face.
What should you look for in an elliptical?
- Size: Elliptical machines tend to be pretty big. Many models can’t be tucked away easily, but some can fit under your desk. If space is a concern, you’ll want to consider a model that fits your available space. Remember, the stride length of the legs can extend past the edges of the machine, so be sure to consider that when determining how much space is needed.
- Technology: Modern elliptical machines are equipped with screens that display workout progress and intensity, and most have sensors in the handles or chest straps to measure your heart rate while you’re using the machine. Higher-end machines come with preset exercises and apps that track your progress, some of which allow you to make custom workouts.
- Exercise Intensity: Not all machines are made equal. Some of the cheaper and smaller models simply can’t provide enough resistance for an intense workout. A more sturdy and solid machine is required to perform more intense workouts without damaging the machine (or yourself).
Is there anything else you should look for in an elliptical?
Be sure to keep the elliptical’s orientation in mind before you buy, as this will affect your stride. Elliptical machines come in rear-drive, front-drive, and center-drive models. Rear-drive tends to be smaller but can vibrate and be louder than a longer model. Front-drive models are much quieter and sturdier, but they tend to be very long and take up the most space. Center-drive models are more compact, but the overall radius of the pedals is longer due to their more natural stride than the other types.
|A Quick Guide to Home Gyms|
|A Few Tips||Make Your Home Gym More Inviting |Storage Hacks to Keep Your Home Gym Organized | When to Replace Your Home Gym Equipment | Tips to Avoid Distractions During Home Workouts|
|Best Equipment to Add||Dumbbell Sets | Dumbbell Racks| Weight Plate Sets | Elliptical Machines | Resistance Bands | Weighted Jump Ropes | Kettlebells | Exercise Balls | Treadmills | Treadmill Mats | Exercise Dice | Floor Mats | Water Bottles|
Our Picks for the Best Elliptical Machines
Schwinn Fitness 470 Elliptical
Whether you're training for a marathon or a mile, this is an excellent elliptical machine for most people.
Pros: Sturdy, quiet, and with a front-drive trainer that does a great job minimizing vibrations, the Schwinn 470 has 25 magnetic resistance settings for intense workouts fine-tuned to your body. You can adjust the incline and resistance with its easy-to-use buttons. The computer on this model is also very advanced for its price, with two backlit displays, multiple saved profiles, customizable workouts, and the ability to download your workout data to various phone apps. The handles have heart rate monitors built-in, and there’s even a three-speed fan to keep you cool while you work out.
Cons: Exercise machines tend to be quite pricey in general, and this elliptical is no exception. Even by elliptical/home gym equipment standards, it’s on the expensive side and thus not a budget-friendly option.
Bottom Line: The Schwinn 470 is a top-tier elliptical machine that will suit most people and has pretty much every feature you could look for in a home gym machine. If you’re in the market for an elliptical and can afford the high price tag, you can’t go wrong with this model.
Niceday Elliptical Machine, Cross Trainer with Hyper-Quiet Magnetic Driving System, 16 Resistance Levels, 400LB Weight Limit
This elliptical offers good resistance options, helps you track your progress, and is strong enough to support most adults.
Pros: If you’re looking for an elliptical that will require minimal assembly or has a high weight capacity, check out this model from Niceday, as it checks both boxes. The machine comes 90% assembled, so you should be able to put the rest together on your own without taking all day to set it up. And it’s capable of supporting up to 400 pounds. Those aren’t the only benefits this elliptical offers either. There are 16 different resistance options to suit a wide range of fitness levels, from beginner to expert, and the easy-to-read digital monitor tracks not only calories burned and your heart rate but your elapsed time, distance, and calories burned with each workout. It’s easy to tuck away when you’re not working out, you don’t have to plug it in for the digital screen to work, and it’s nice and quiet when in use.
Cons: While this elliptical does have a holder for your phone or tablet, your device might block the machine’s digital screen when it’s in place. Some taller or longer-legged users may also find that this elliptical has too short a stride for their liking too.
Bottom Line: None of us want to have to worry about our gym equipment breaking underneath us as we’re working out, and this elliptical will alleviate that particular concern. Its high weight capacity ensures that it can support pretty much any grown adult regardless of weight or height.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 Air Walk Trainer Elliptical Machine Glider w/LCD Monitor, 220 LB Max Weight and 30 Inch Stride
This elliptical machine is also a powerful at-home workout machine that will save space and won't break the bank.
Pros: You don’t have to break the bank in order to get a good home workout with this elliptical from Sunny Health & Fitness. Slender, foldable, and much more affordable than average, this elliptical from Sunny Health & Fitness is tailored to work out not just your legs but your arms and core as well. The built-in display screen tracks time, “step” count, and calories burned per session. It’s got a nice long stride length, an adjustable abdominal pad, and non-slip foot pedals to ensure that your feet don’t slip off even when you’re moving at maximum speed. On top of everything else, this elliptical machine can fit comfortably in pretty much any bedroom, office, or cramped garage.
Cons: Unfortunately, you can’t change the tension or up the resistance on this elliptical the way you can on most models. It’s more of a low-impact machine, so serious athletes and gymgoers may not find it challenging enough for their needs.
Bottom Line: Elliptical machines can cost hundreds or even thousands, and not everyone has that much to spend on an exercise machine. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly alternative, this gliding elliptical is the right machine for you.
Body Rider Elliptical Machine and Stationary Bike with Seat and Easy Computer, Dual Trainer 2-in-1 Cardio Exercise Machine, Home Gym, Workout Equipment BRD2000, Black & grey, One Size
This elliptical also doubles as an exercise bike, essentially giving you two different gym machines in one.
Pros: This elliptical from Body Rider isn’t just an elliptical. It has a built-in bike seat and wheels, allowing this machine to double as two different pieces of gym equipment in a single device. You can stand upright and use it as an elliptical or sit and pedal as you would on an exercise bike. The versatility of this elliptical allows you to mix up your cardio workout without having to buy a whole new machine. The seat can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally to seven different positions to best suit your height, and the handlebars can be adjusted to three different heights. You can change the resistance with just the quick twist of a knob, and the built-in screen tracks your time, speed, distance, and calories burned. The price is nice too, especially given the machine’s versatility.
Cons: The screen of this elliptical is much smaller than most, and some may find it harder to read. There’s also no place to put your phone or tablet on as you exercise, which poses a problem for those who like to listen to music or audiobooks or read as they’re working out.
Bottom Line: Don’t have room for both an elliptical machine and an exercise bike and can’t decide between the two? With this two-in-one model, you don’t have to, as it has the functions of both in one machine, saving you both money and space.
Stamina InMotion E1000 Compact Strider - Seated Elliptical with Smart Workout App - Foot Pedal Exerciser for Home Workout - Up to 250 lbs Weight Capacity - Silver
This is an incredibly portable exercise machine. Whether you're working at a desk or sitting at home on the couch, this floor unit will increase your circulation and give you a great workout.
Pros: Maybe you’re looking for a way to get in some extra cardio while working at your desk or even while watching TV. If so, the Stamina In-Motion is a fantastic portable elliptical trainer that you can use both sitting down and standing up. It has an adjustable tension knob to provide a variable workout and a small monitor that tracks your strides and calories burned. Available in three different color options, you can “run” either forward or in reverse as the pedals turn both ways. The compatible fitness app has video guidance for assembling the machine and offers personalized workouts and training without requiring a paid subscription like many fitness apps. And this under-the-desk elliptical is a lot more affordable than many of its larger cousins.
Cons: If you use it for more than 30 minutes at a time, this elliptical may start to overheat, which will automatically increase its tension. You may also find that it’s a bit on the squeaky side, so it may be too disruptive for an office environment.
Bottom Line: This model is a great way to improve your circulation while gaming, browsing the internet, or working either at home or the office. You won’t have a reason to procrastinate your daily exercise when you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own couch or chair to use it. It’s also a great option for anyone with mobility issues who has limited exercise options.
There are plenty of good reasons to invest in a home gym if you have the space for one, and an elliptical is a good choice for pretty much anyone. It’ll give you an effective cardio workout, regardless of your age or gender, without putting undue effort on your legs or knees. Add this gym staple to your home today.