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Elliptical Machine Buying Guide

According to fitness gurus and doctors, it is crucial to indulge in at least thirty minutes of cardiovascular workout per day. Indeed, these workouts will help you keep a plethora of medical conditions at bay, such as obesity, diabetes, strokes and even a couple of forms of cancer. However, not everyone can afford to sustain excessive gym fees every week or month. Moreover, going out for a walk or run is not always the best solution, especially during winter or harsh weather conditions. By this token, investing in your own exercise machine can be quite a worthy investment: not only will you be able to avoid the restrictions imposed by gyms or the weather, but you’ll also be able to set your own pace.

Elliptical trainers, for instance, have been shown to provide a challenging training session that will enhance the oxygenation and fluidity of your blood, hence improving your overall health. The good news is that ellipticals usually come in various price ranges and models to suit both your budget and fitness levels. Considering the enormous amount of models that exist on the market, however, making the right choice can be quite a challenge, especially for beginners. Still, it does pay to take the proper time and effort to invest in a machine that meets your standards. Of course, different machines have different maximum user capacities- another important factor that you’ll absolutely need to take into consideration to ameliorate the overall quality of your training session.

a10 schwinnConsider your available space

Elliptical machines can take up quite a lot of space, which is certainly something that you’ll need to consider if you live in cramped spaces. While most of these machines do have a small footprint, the handlebars can easily take up any extra space. Indeed, the unfortunate truth is that too many users tend to enthusiastically dash to the store to purchase a fitness equipment of their choice- only to regret it when they discover that the machine does not fit through their front door. Therefore, it’s important to measure the available floor space that you’re willing to sacrifice before purchasing your trainer. It’s equally important to compare these measurements to the overall dimensions of the machine of your choice.

If space is an issue for you, you can also purchase an elliptical trainer without the handles. These, however, do not provide full-body workouts since your arms remain more or less immobile during the session. However, they do tend to be cheaper and will help you save up quite a lot of space.

Analyze your budget

Before investing in a machine, users should properly analyze their budget to ensure that they don’t stretch their purse strings out too thin. While it’s natural to be over-enthusiastic and dash to the store for the most expensive and professional looking trainer, this may result in you owning a machine that you can barely operate. Indeed, if you’re a novice to this type of apparatus, don’t hesitate to go for a cheaper model with basic features. Remember that the cheaper the machine is, the simpler it will be to use. Of course, more advanced users can certainly go for gym-quality equipment but remember to keep a close watch on the price and be sure to compare several machines before you make your final decision. To help you choose the best model within your budget, here are favorite ellipticals for each price-range:

Budget Range
$50 - 100$100 - 300$300 - 500$500 - 1000$1000 - 1500$1500 +
Our Choice
Exerpeutic Aero Air
aero air exerpeutic
Sunny Pink P8300
sunny p8300
Hybrid Trainer
hybrid trainer
Schwinn 430

430 schwinn
Sole E35

e35 sole
Sole E95

e95 sole

Drive System

Elliptical machines normally sport three major drive systems: Front, Center and Rear. Front drive systems usually accompany trainers that boast of a drive axle system in the very front of the machine. In fact, users can even see the wheel moving during their exercise session. This type of drive system also tends to be cheaper than their counterparts. As far as rear-drive is concerned, these ellipticals boast of a drive wheel located at the very back of the machine, where users can’t see them. While extremely reliable, this type of system can be more expensive than front drive. Lastly, trainers that come with a center drive system normally have two drive axles and are much more resistant than their two counterparts. For this reason, ellipticals with center-drive system are very often seen in gyms and fitness centers.


If you can afford it, it’s not a bad idea to go for a machine that allows you to easily adjust the stride length and incline, such as the ProForm 1110 E. This allows you to add some variety to your training session and prevents your muscles from adjusting to the same motions. Athletes will also be able to benefit from interval training whereby they shuffle between incline and resistance levels to keep their metabolism active and encourage your body to burn more calories in less time.

e95 soleWhile cheaper models have a manual incline feature, more reliable albeit expensive machines do come with an automatic option whereby you can adjust the incline feature at the mere touch of a button.

Extra Features

Of course, it goes without saying that basic, inexpensive models rarely come with the more luxurious amenities that usually come with more expensive machines. Still, if you want to focus on your comfort, you might feel better if you invested in an elliptical with extra features. For example, some machines come with amenities such as a water bottle holder, built-in-fan, heart rate sensor, built-in music player and even a charging port. If you’re willing to spend more money, you can even purchase machines that come equipped with small trays to accommodate your laptops, books or magazines.

The majority of elliptical trainers even come with display monitor that can help you track essential fitness-related data and consequently assist you as you keep an eye on your progress. These readouts often include, but are not limited to, calories burned, heart rate, recovery time, distance, number of elliptical strokes, time, total time covered and the likes.

Other trainers also include ergonomic features like foam-padded elliptical arms that provide a firm grip even when your fingers get sweaty and slippery. Similarly, the market also carry machines that come with oversized and textured pedals, hence allowing you to train as vigorously as you want with very little risk of slipping. If you’re a beginner, it’s also a good idea to select a machine that comes with preset built-in programs to guide you through various paces.