Elliptical trainer workouts are an elegant and effective way to burn body-fat. However, not all elliptical trainers are created equal, and a lot depends on choosing a quality machine. In a nutshell, this could mean the difference between looking forward to your daily workout, or looking for any possible reason to skip it. So, choosing the right machine can be a make-or-break factor in sticking with your workout program. And, since exercise machines are notably expensive, it pays to do some research prior to embarking on a purchase.
Unfortunately, getting an unbiased opinion on exercise equipment is difficult nowadays, amidst the overload of information and sales propaganda.
Therefore, Med-Solver chose to do the work for you: To spare our readers long hours of research and tedious reading, we compiled a brief list of elliptical models
we consider to be best buys in their respective price range. We hope the info below proves helpful and simplifies your decision-making process.
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Elliptical trainers are hybrids between stair-steppers and ski-machines. You stand on
pedals which move on an elliptical track,
usually via rollers. Most elliptical trainers
have adjustable resistance levels, and higher
end models also offer multiple incline options.
Overall, elliptical trainers deliver similar fat-burning results as compared to treadmills, but have the advantage of a lower impact workout,
sparing your joints and ligaments. Therefore, elliptical machines may come in handy for people
with knee, hip or back problems, as well as for those engaging in prolonged, frequent workouts.
Below is a list of features to look for when choosing an elliptical trainer:
- Sturdy build, heavy enough to ensure stability during exercise
- Smooth, fluid motion - never wobbly or jerky
- Comfortable, non-slip foot-pedals, positioned such as not to put strain on your joints
- Comfortable handle bars, allowing correct posture during exercise
- Adjustable resistance levels that can be changed with ease (either manually or electronically)
- Dual direction movement (both forward and backward)
- Built-in programs (preset as well as customizable), to ensure exercise variety
- Heart monitor and calorie counter are not mandatory, but are a nice feature to have. A
heart monitor is especially useful for exercise novices, significantly overweight
individuals, or those suffering from medical conditions that increase cardiac risk.
- Last but not least, a solid warranty is essential: It assures you the manufacturer stands
behind his product, which tells volumes about product reliability.
Listed below are 11 elliptical trainer models which we believe represent an excellent value for the price. Over time, these models have consistently earned favorable consumer reviews and expert ratings. The machines are
listed below in ascending price order.
The above being said, please note that lower end elliptical trainers will not have the same
durability and flexibility as more expensive models. When shopping for a budget elliptical
trainer, keep in mind you may have to compromise on certain features and overall quality. In
general, experts say the best elliptical trainers are priced at $1,000 or more.
This lightweight, 90 pound elliptical trainer is compact enough to be wheeled from room to room,
yet sturdy enough to provide stability even at higher speeds. It supports up to 275
pounds user weight, has 10 preset programs and 2 heart-rate-controlled programs. The handgrips,
which contain the heart rate sensors, move to provide an upper body workout.
The great advantage of this model is a one year warranty on parts and labor, which is hard to
come by in this price range. (Most budget elliptical trainers offer only a 90-day warranty.)
On the downside, this model has a stride length of only 15 inches, which may be too short for
This model is highly ranked by reviewers, scoring a couple of best-buy ratings. It uses a flywheel
design, and the handlebars move to provide an upper body workout. The heart
sensors are located in the handgrips. There are 12 built-in workout programs, and the stride length is 18
inches, which should be enough to accommodate taller users. The Schwinn 418 supports up to
275 pounds user weight, and reviewers say it is quite stable and durable for its price range. This
model offers a 15-year frame warranty on the frame and a 6-month labor warranty.
On the downside, it came to our attention that several owners recently posted complaints on Amazon regarding a manufacturing flaw: All of them reported the same problem, specifically failure of the welds anchoring the mast to the
frame. In view of the limited labor warranty, this may represent a significant problem.
This flywheel design elliptical trainer features an 18 inch stride, 14 preset programs and handgrip
cardiac monitor. The handlebars move to provide an upper body workout. This
model includes a couple of videogames you can play on the small console screen. A music port
and workout fan are also provided. The Proform 20.0 supports up to 250 pounds user weight.
Its main drawback is the limited warranty - only 90 days on parts and labor.
This smooth, flywheel design elliptical trainer features 15 workout programs, a 20 inch stride,
multiple resistance levels adjustable at the touch of a button, comfortable oversized pedals,
moving upper handlebars providing an upper body workout, and a CardioGrip monitor. It has a
sturdy frame and supports up to 350 pounds user weight.
This model comes with a 1-year warranty on frame, parts and labor. Additional coverage may be purchased upon checkout.
According to ConsumerSearch.com, the Spirit XE 350 is rated the "best entry-level elliptical
trainer". It features a long 20 inch stride, upper body handles, articulated foot pedals
which reduce ankle stress, 20 resistance levels and 10 built-in programs. A workout fan and
wireless heart monitor are also included. This model supports a maximal user weight of 350 lbs. Considering
its features and overall quality, this model appears to be underpriced at this time.
The warranty is excellent, with lifetime coverage for the frame and brake system, 5-year coverage for other parts, and 2-year coverage for labor.
This model provides plenty of features and durability for the cost. It has 9 customizable
programs, a wireless heart monitor, upper body handle bars, and pivoting foot pedals
that reduce ankle stress. Stride length is 18 inches, and maximum user weight 300 pounds.
The Smooth CE 3.2 comes with a lifetime warranty for frame and brakes, 3-year warranty for
parts, and 1 year for labor.
This model is a step-up from its predecessor, the Smooth CE 3.2. It provides a noticeably smooth
ride, and a long 21 inch stride. The heavy steel frame ensures good stability. Maximum user
weight is 350 lbs. All other features mentioned for the Smooth CE 3.2 are provided with this
model as well.
The warranty is quite strong, with lifetime coverage for frame and brakes, 5-year coverage for
parts, and 1-year coverage for labor.
This model is an upgrade of the Vision Fitness 6200HRT and, similar to its predecessor, is
scoring high in consumer reviews. The Vision Fitness X6200HRT features 16 workout
programs, among which 4 heart-rate-controlled programs, upper body handles, oversized pedals
with articulating footplates, contact and telemetry cardiac sensors, and a heavy steel frame which
ensures stability. Maximum user weight is 300 pounds. Stride length is 19.75 inches. Plus, the
unit folds for storage. It comes with a lifetime frame- and brake warranty, 3-year parts warranty
and 1-year labor warranty.
According to ConsumerSearch.com, this model is rated "best elliptical trainer".
Despite being Precor's entry-level model, it is considered one of the most durable on the market.
It has 4 built-in programs, 20 resistance levels, and a 19 inch stride which makes it comfortable
for taller users. Unlike cheaper elliptical machines, this model has an adjustable cross-ramp
incline of 12-25 degrees. There is no maximum user weight mentioned on the spec-sheet, which
is an indication of quality workmanship. A heart monitor is optional and can be purchased for an
The warranty includes lifetime coverage for frame and welds, 10-year coverage for parts, and 1-
year coverage for labor. The only drawback with this model is the absence of moving handlebars, which limits the workout of the upper body.
This is a higher-end model equipped with adjustable cross-ramp incline, moving handlebars for
upper body workout, 12 built-in programs, 20 resistance levels, wireless heart
monitor, reading rack, and a "My Workouts" option which stores workout data (weight, incline,
etc) for up to 4 workouts or 4 people. Resistance is automatically adjusted to keep you at your
target cardio heart rate. Maximum weight is 300 pounds. The warranty includes lifetime frame
coverage, 3-year parts coverage, and 1-year labor coverage.
Precor has the reputation of making the best elliptical trainers on the market, and this model goes
to confirm this fact. The Precor EFX 5.33 features an adjustable cross-ramp incline
of 15-30 degrees, movable handlebars for upper body workouts, variable stride length of 21-23
inches, excellent stability, 14 built-in programs, 20 resistance levels, 2 programmable User IDs,
contact heart rate sensors, and the same warranty as described for the Precor EFX 5.17i.
Please note: Although the information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge, no guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Please verify all data with an official vendor prior to making a purchase.
Note: It is prudent to consult with your doctor prior to starting an exercise program, especially if you are new to exercise, suffer from any medical conditions, or are a woman over the age of 50 or a man over the age of 40.
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