Best Elliptical Machines – Do NOT Buy Before Reading This!
Last updated: December 1st 2016. Elliptical Machines are truly effective when you need round-the-body fitness workouts Nevertheless, we found that most people are really confused when it comes to purchasing an elliptical trainer for their personal needs. It is especially due to the comparatively higher pricing. This was why we decided to bring the popular elliptical machines to Fitnesstep Labs and test them thoroughly. As expected, it took us a few months to try every single trainer, and a few more days to analyze the performance.
When we look back, however, the effort was worth the results. In fact, we are happy and confident to recommend these best elliptical machines to all our readers. These have been tested and selected through a months-long process. So, when you need the perfect fitness companion for a few years ahead, you can take our word for the selection. We will go through the Quick Recommendations first.
Best Elliptical Machines 2016 – Reviews and Comparisons
If you are not yet ready to decide the best elliptical trainer for you, even after the Quick Recommendations, we have made in-depth reviews of the top seven products we chose out of the huge list.
Top Pick — Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine
Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine is the most expensive and most impressive elliptical trainer you’ll find your list. It’s like you are paying for all the good stuff you are getting. Viewing things from that point, we think this trainer has been priced reasonably. We tried using the fitness gear and we found the overall experience worthwhile and comfortable. We’ll look into its Design, Performance and Features now.
Judging by the dimensions of 27” x 62” x 83”, Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine is comparatively bigger. It weighs 215lbs but can handle up to 400lbs while working out. It comes with power-adjustable stride and the maximum stride length will be between 20” to 22”. We tried using different striding lengths and all the sessions were simply superb. To take care of the ergonomics, the trainer is using articulating pedals and custom foot medals. Out of the duo, articulating pedals are an awesome thing. We loved those flexible pedals while working out. To keep the design stable and cool, heavy-duty rails are used by Sole. As you can see, it’s a rear-drive trainer and the installation may take up to 3 hours, by yourself.
Coming to performance, Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine is powered by a Quite Drive System. Customizability is a cool thing we found in the trainer, especially in the case of additional resistance and programs. This works along with the 16-level Resistance selection via control board. You can pick a suitable program from the list of six and you can customize two workout programs by your own. Using the heart-rate strap was super-cool while working out. And, the 9” LCD Console was providing sufficient information about workout and our progress. Miscellaneous features of this elliptical trainer include built-in cooling fans, speakers, dedicated water-bottle holder etc.
Along with the package, you get lifetime warranty for Sole Fitness E95 Elliptical Machine and 5-Year warranty for parts & electronics. If you ask us, we will say it’s one of the best elliptical machines you’ll ever have. You get some extra features and all the perks of customizability.
Best Buy — Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine
Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine comes from one of the most-trusted fitness gear manufacturers. Surprisingly, it’s one of the value-for-money products in the fitness category, due to many reasons. It isn’t offering many bells and whistles but it proved to be effective in our workout sessions. For the price you pay, this rear-drive elliptical trainer is offering something standard.
When assembled, Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine has dimensions of 70.1” x 28.2” x 63.2”. The size is normal for an elliptical but may need a higher ceiling. When we tried this for regular full-body workouts, the experience was superb and stable. The stride has a maximum length of 20” and it’s easy to change them. In addition, we found the articulating footplates and the integrated fan to be really useful. Heart-rate monitoring is done through the grips and it’s truly effective. Despite the weight of 168.7lbs, Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine should be fine for anyone less than 300lbs. Altogether, we found the total design to be workout-friendly yet customizable.
Coming to day-to-day functionality, we had tried all the 22 Programs from Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine. Out of these, 8 are heart-rate control and there are 2 Fitness Tests as well. We also tried customizing the two programs to see how the machine works. The results were awesome and data management is clean. We tried exporting the fitness data via Schwinn Connect and got some advices too. Its two-track LCD Screen provides ample information on what we are doing. Selecting the resistance level was easy via the control board. There are a few buttons with resistance level and just press them. In spite of all these variable performance aspects, Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine manages to keep the sound level as lower as possible.
Along with these, Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine is offering additional features like Media Tray, USB Connection and one advanced goal tracker. When combined with the 10 Year and 2 Year warranties for frame and mechanical issues, you can purchase this elliptical trainer with all confidence. Most customers find it as one of the best choices, especially for its low price range.
Contender #1 — ProForm Hybrid Trainer
ProForm Hybrid Trainer is an effective choice if you need one of the best multipurpose elliptical trainers. It comes with a hybrid design that lets you involve in elliptical sessions, by standing and sitting. If you think you need emphasis for muscles on legs, you can sit on the well-built seat. It, being a mid-budget product, does not have many advanced features to offer. However, we loved the 15” elliptical stride and the adjustable pedals. They were able to provide an impressive work-out session in the end. ProForm Hybrid Trainer has total dimensions of 46.5” x 25.8” x 18”, which is comparatively easy for compact storage.
Coming to the functionality and performance, ProForm Hybrid Trainer offers a bunch of options for flexibility. For instance, you can choose a resistance level from the set of 16. In addition, you can also choose one of the 16 workouts. There is an important thing to be noted: ProForm Hybrid Trainer does not require power connection, except for the batteries you put in the LCD Computer. We really liked the placement and simplicity of the control panel of the elliptical trainer, which let us shift between workout modes in a few seconds.
Altogether, ProForm Hybrid Trainer is a good, mid-budget elliptical machine you can have, and it offers standard features to go with.
Contender #2 — Horizon Fitness EX-57 Elliptical Trainer
Are you looking for one of the best elliptical trainers that offer better design and quality? Horizon Fitness EX-57 Elliptical Trainer is an option you can count on, if you have a semi-premium budget. when compared to the other trainers we have listed here, this one has a compact design, especially while considering the dimensions of 29” x 67” x 55”. Though it will be able to handle a maximum weight of 275lbs, the manufacturers have brought down the weight to 163lbs. we found it really easy to set up and keep this trainer running. The design lets you stand comfortably on the pedals and its maximum stride length is 18”.
Horizon Fitness EX-57 Elliptical Trainer is powered by electronic resistance system and you can choose one level from the 8 options. Although the flywheel looks big, it’s quite motion and does not make much sound in the long run. We used all aspects of the Non-backlit LCD Screen, and it was satisfactory. There are 9 workout programs. Each program was quite a new experience, not to mention the dedicated capabilities. For instance, you can even set the modes for different terrains like Manual, Hills and Reverse Train.
If you are looking for a mid-budget yet premium-build choice, Horizon Fitness EX-57 Elliptical Trainer is a good choice. You can have lifetime frame warranty and other features too.
Contender #3 — Sunny Health and Fitness Pink Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
This is perhaps the most affordable elliptical machine in our list. That having said, Sunny Health and Fitness Pink Magnetic Elliptical Trainer offers the standard elliptical session and basic features. With the total dimensions of 45.3” x 23.6 x 59.1”, it’s also one of the most compact equipments for storage. We were amazed by the total weight of 51lbs, which allowed us to move the elliptical machine with ultimate ease. However, because it’s a budget-friendly product, you cannot expect any ultra-techy features with the package. However, you can choose the resistance levels.
Performance is where Sunny Health and Fitness Pink Magnetic Elliptical Trainer becomes really basic. This is not to say it’s performing worse. Instead, you don’t really have an impressive set of features like adjustable strider length. That said, it is possible to adjust the resistance by turning the knob. Also, thanks to the small and minimal display board, you can know the calorie burning, distance and other basic data. Nevertheless, the magnetic resistance system seemed to be awesome in the experience. The total impact of workouts was less, though. And, that is what we had expected from such a small and budget-friendly pick.
In short, Sunny Health and Fitness Pink Magnetic Elliptical Trainer is an effective way to stay fit. It does not the advanced set of features, but the basic fitness tasks will be smoother.
Contender #4 — Body Rider BRD2000 Elliptical Trainer with Seat
Body Rider BRD2000 Elliptical Trainer with Seat is one of the few elliptical trainers that combine quality and an affordable pricing. In most cases, you will be amazed to find the budget-friendliness of this product. This rear-drive machine can be used as an elliptical trainer as well as an exercise bike. It comes with an awesome seat that is high-quality. We were really impressed by the build quality. Let that be about the pedals or the drive enclosure, there is a premium touch in everything. Talking about the heat, you can adjust the seat height and arrangement, for a comfortable workout. Also, the installation is very simple than other choices.
As you can guess, Body Rider BRD2000 Elliptical Trainer with Seat does not offer many features. However, we found the use of high-momentum fan blades. These blades are quite effective and create a smooth breeze during the workouts. In total, the performance aspect was superb. The control panel is simple and is limited to tracking time, speed, distance and calorie burns. There are no pre-set workout programs or anything advanced.
Body Rider BRD2000 Elliptical Trainer with Seat is the best choice for those who need a sturdy-built elliptical machines. It does not have many advanced features, but that should be fine for most.
Contender #5 — Exerpeutic 5000 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
As the last product in our list and reviews of best elliptical machines, Exerpeutic 5000 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer is a well-built combination of affordable budget and standard feature. By spending half of the semi-premium models, you get cool features like mobile application tracking. With the dimensions and weight of 55” x 25” x 64” and 80lbs respectively, it is having standard size, but the weight is dramatically lower than we expected. We used the trainer for a variety of needs, and it withstood with variable body weights. Considering that, we found the overall design to be compact.
Exerpeutic 5000 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer has a maximum stride length of 18” and there’s a Bluetooth-enabled tracker. You can connect the equipment to your smartphone and see information real-time. This is useful if you have longer fitness goals to keep. Also, it’s easy to adjust the tension system, thanks to the Magnetic system. You can adjust the tension from control panel — a feature we didn’t find in most of machines at this budget range. Other notable features of this elliptical include the Double Transmission drive system, water-bottle holder, hand-pulse sensors and the larger stride pedals.
Summing up, Exerpeutic 5000 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer is an optimal choice for those who need build quality and better tracking options. And, yes, it’s budget-friendly.
What Are Elliptical Machines — And, Why Use Them?
There was a time when homes and gymnasiums were filled with treadmills and other heavy equipments for exercise. It’d taken us a few years to understand the lower impact of those devices on calorie burning.
Elliptical machines — also known as Elliptical Trainers — were introduced as a method for full-body workouts and sustainable fitness. An elliptical machine is a fully-fledged workout machine that can simulate different types of exercises like skiing, walking, running etc. That is, depending on the requirement and fitness goals of yours, you can choose the type of exercise. Also, when compared to other types of fitness equipments, elliptical trainers are compact and can be stored at your home. So, an elliptical machine is supposed to be a storage-friendly and compact method for versatile exercises. Of course, there are many reasons why you should use an elliptical trainer for your day-to-day exercise needs.
The first reason is versatility. This basically depends upon the type of elliptical trainer that you are buying. However, even in the basic models, you will be able to adjust the resistance and tension according to your type of workout. For instance, if you want to burn more calories than you did yesterday, you can adjust the resistance or change the workout mode. So, in a single device, you get a lot of benefits. Second, elliptical trainers don’t have a negative impact on the joints. Nor will you feel an unusual strain on movable parts of your body. As we said earlier, an elliptical machine manages to combine effectiveness of workouts and the lower impact. Other reasons include better data tracking, analytics and electronic-based controls.
Factors for Choosing the Best Elliptical Machine
You should keep the following thoughts in mind if you need to purchase the best elliptical machine for your home needs. These concepts are made for day-to-day use.
- Size and Design
Before you purchase, make sure there is enough space for storing the equipment at home. The most important aspect is the height. We are not just talking about the actual dimensions, but about the height when you are using the machine. If you need extra features like adjustable pedals, chances are high that the elliptical machine will be huge in terms of size. At the same time, you should take a look at the sturdiness and quality of design. Of course, you are making a long-term investment when you purchase an elliptical trainer. So, be careful enough to choose the best.
- Type of Elliptical Trainer
In terms of design, elliptical trainers can be divided into three. The first one is called Front-Drive Trainers, in which flywheel is located at the front portion. This setup may require some more space, but the noise and vibration will be low. The next category is named Centre-Drive Elliptical machines; in which you will find the flywheel on the central portion. If compared to other designs, centre-drive machines will take up less space. Then, there are Rear-Drive machines that place its flywheel on the rear portion. You should choose one from the trio, depending on the workout you really need.
Flexibility is yet another aspect that should be concerned. Basically speaking, every elliptical machine should have options for resistance adjustment. Otherwise, you cannot use the machine for varying purposes. If you are buying a premium one, chances are high, you will get easier controls. For instance, in our Top Pick, there are options for choosing between a big number of resistances. In the same way, you should consider the customization options for stride length and pedals.
- Tracking Matters
Are you looking for an everyday, casual exercise using the elliptical machines? Or, are you interested in constant fitness? If you are on the second case, you should consider the tracking methods. It’s good if the device has a fully-fledged tracking system a LCD Display. Heart-rate tracking is an optional feature, but worth-having for sure. However, you should make sure that the additional features don’t mess up with the ergonomics or usability of your elliptical trainers. Other options you can check in an elliptical machine are data transfer, USB connectivity etc.
- Programmed Workouts
This should be a concern if versatility is what you are expecting. To keep things smooth, just see how many workout modes are available with the device. Around 10 workout modes are fine for common users, along with the support for custom-made ones. This is, once again, an optional choice. That having said, if you don’t know how to adjust resistance and move on, it makes sense to go with it.
Well, these points should be considered along with the pricing while choosing the best machines for elliptical workouts. It is great if you can try the machine before actual purchasing. Or, you can count on the experience-based reviews we’ve given above.
Elliptical Trainers Vs Treadmills
People are still a bit confused when they want to choose between Elliptical Machines and Treadmills. Let’s have a briefer comparison here.
As we said earlier, elliptical machines have a bunch of benefits to offer. First of all, there is the lower impact on body. You won’t have any joint-based issues, even after the continuous use of elliptical trainers. Also, you can distribute the impact of exercise into upper and lower parts of your body — thanks to the movable handles. At the same time, Reverse Stride is an awesome feature we find in most of the premium elliptical trainers. In short, an elliptical can be used as a versatile and effective method for proven-result exercises. The only disadvantage of using an elliptical is that you may lose the dynamic element while working out. This should not be a big thing for most, though.
Coming to the case of treadmills, the positive impacts are lesser than the negative ones. It’s a matter of fact that treadmill can simulate natural movements in the long run. You also get the benefits of versatility and better tracking of fitness data. However, coming to the case of disadvantages, Treadmills are really harmful. Continuous usage of treadmill equipments will cause you issue like joint stress. Also, when compared to elliptical machines, treadmills are less secure. In short, you should be an expert to get the best from a treadmill. And, we know this isn’t the case for newbies.
So, in the Elliptical Trainers Vs Treadmills comparison, you have more reasons to go with elliptical machines. By spending a lot less than treadmills, you can have better performance and exercises — right from your home. What’s your choice, by the way?
We hope you now have an idea about elliptical machines, their advantages and how you should choose the best. We’ve considered all the above mentioned points while picking the best recommendations for elliptical machines. If you take a look at the list, you’ll find products from different pricing categories — from the most affordable ones to premium choices. So, from your side, you have the freedom to find the best elliptical trainer according to your budget. Regardless the one you choose, you will have the benefits of quality and durability. Now, what’s your choice from these 7 picks?