Table of Contents
- 1 Who Needs An Elliptical Trainer?
- 2 Why Do You Need An Elliptical Machine?
- 3 Our Reviews Of The Best Elliptical Machines
- 3.1 Best Overall Elliptical
- 3.2 Best Elliptical For Heavy People
- 3.3 Best Elliptical Under $1,000
- 3.4 Best Elliptical For Home
- 3.5 Best Elliptical For Runners
- 3.6 Best Elliptical for Commercial Gyms
- 3.7 Best Elliptical Machine For Seniors
- 3.8 Best Budget Elliptical
- 3.9 Best Elliptical Bike
- 3.10 Best Under Desk Elliptical
- 4 Factors To Consider Before Buying An Elliptical Machine
- 5 In Conclusion
The elliptical is a very important type of fitness equipment. It’s closely related to the treadmill and both are needed for a good cardio workout. Marie Mulrooney said it is one of the friendliest gym equipment. A workout on the elliptical machine is vital for the development of one’s cardiovascular system.
An elliptical trainer can be used for exercising a plethora of muscles in the body. Some of the muscles trained include deep core muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps etc. Another benefit of working out on an elliptical is that you enjoy your workout without stressing your joints. As a matter of fact, this is where it has an edge over a treadmill.
In the lines below, we will review some of the best elliptical machines. This review is intended to help you ease the pain of choosing an elliptical machine that meets your standards. We will highlight the features, strengths, and weaknesses of the machines under review.
Here’s a table showing the best elliptical trainers which we selected.
Before we review the best elliptical machines mentioned above, let’s find out…
Who Needs An Elliptical Trainer?
To start with, statistics have shown that many people with gym memberships barely use them. Being able to handle a lot of clients and paperwork usually takes its toll on us. No one goes to the gym weak nor under a bad weather.
Similarly, individuals who have had knee and hamstring surgeries require it for their effective rehabilitation as a result of the low impact exercise. So to get back to the point, busy people, gym members who use the gym less frequently, runners, fitness experts, seniors, and virtually everyone needs an elliptical.
Why Do You Need An Elliptical Machine?
Quickly we’d like to point out a handful of reasons why you should get an elliptical machine. In the first few lines of this best elliptical machine review article, we mentioned one or two benefits. We’ll look at more of the benefits of having one of this machines in this section.
Effective For Weight Loss
Everyone that is keen on shedding weight via cardio workouts needs either a treadmill or an elliptical. Experts have opined that the elliptical can help you burn more calories than you’d do on the treadmill. The more calories you burn, the faster you shed weight.
An elliptical trainer is undoubtedly beneficial to our cardiovascular system. The heart rate increases when we are exercising on an elliptical machine. This indirectly causes the aerobic capacity of the body to increase. An increase in aerobic capacity of your body ensures you can workout for long without losing breath.
Offers Non-Impact Exercise
The elliptical, unlike the treadmill, is good for non-impact exercises. Non-impact exercises are important for people who suffer from bone and joint conditions. Some of these bone and joint conditions include torn ligaments, arthritis, and osteoporosis, to mention just a few. Elderly people or individuals that have had knee surgeries benefit immensely from this awesome workout machine.
An elliptical machine pedal fits snuggly when you are working out. You don’t have to thump your feet on any board like you’ll do on a treadmill.
Total Body Workout
Let’s reiterate this again – workouts on an elliptical trainer touch all the muscles in many parts of the body. Truth is, you work both the upper and lower parts of your body at the same time. This saves you the stress of doing some workouts on other machines for other parts of your body.
Promotes Gradual Progression
An elliptical offers several features that add resistance to workouts. Such forms of resistance like an adjustable incline feature and varying resistance levels, allows the individual to progress over time. The progress moves from slow and steady to higher intensity training. Such resistance allows you to build up your strength and endurance in due course.
Improves Balance and Mobility
Doctors recommend the elliptical to people who recently underwent an ACL surgery. They believe that it would help such persons regain strength in their hip region since the elliptical machine is designed to improve balance and mobility.
Used to mimic various types of exercises
Some of the best elliptical machines allow you to mimic several exercises like jogging, running, walking, climbing stairs, etc. These types of exercises can only be achieved by setting different resistance and intensity levels. Some elliptical trainers, however, are equipped with wireless heart rate monitors. This helps the elliptical machine to automatically adjust the resistance level based on your heart rate.
Allows For Multi-Tasking
You can watch your favorite shows, sign documents, sort an inventory, type an email, read a book or listen to Drake’s new album while working out. The Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Machine is a good example of an elliptical designed for multi-taskers. It’s small, simple to use, fits right under the desk and is inexpensive. There are more expensive elliptical machines with even better features.
Our Reviews Of The Best Elliptical Machines
We’ve taken the time to do a painstaking review of the most sought-after elliptical on the market. Here’s our review below.
Best Overall Elliptical
Before we selected the AFG Sport 5.9AE elliptical machine as the best elliptical 2018, we screened it along other contestants for the crown. This screening was done based on several categories which included resistance levels, features, workout programs, etc. It pulled through although by a slight margin. Let’s find out the selling points of this awesome piece of machinery.
Firstly, the AFG Sports elliptical comes across as a sturdy and well-built machine. Actually, it is, thanks to its solid frame which is built to support weights of up to 325 lbs. which is slightly lower in contrast to other top rated elliptical like the Sole E35. It sports a non-adjustable 20” stride length which turned us off a bit. However, the 20”stride length is quite ok except, of course, you’re the tallest man on the planet. In that same vein, AFG equipped it with a 23 lbs flywheel. We believe this is one of the reasons why workout is super smooth on this elliptical.
The center console is what really intrigued us – it will certainly intrigue you. In particular, we were amazed as to how AFG were able to fit in 43 workout programs into this elliptical. The workout programs are divided along 4 lines. These lines include intervals, weight loss, distance, and calories. That’s not all, as they included 16 resistance levels for optimum performance when working out.
Some of the features you’ll definitely enjoy include the fan, impressive sounding speakers, Bluetooth, and bottle and tablet holder. Furthermore, you’ll appreciate the 20 level incline feature available on it – we’ve not seen many elliptical trainers with an incline feature.
There are two sets of handlebars on the AFG Sports elliptical; the movable and fixed. The fixed handle comes with a heart rate monitor which is useful for keeping track of your heart rate.
We liked the fact that the control unit was easy to access without having to stop our workout. The buttons are well placed and they easily respond to touch. And in all honesty, we appreciate the sizeable LCD display screen on this elliptical. It is compatible with smartphones which can be used to track, manage and review workout history.
Best Elliptical For Heavy People
With an impressive maximum weight capacity of 375 lbs, the Sole Fitness E35 machine is the best elliptical machine for heavy people. It is designed for maximum comfort during workouts. Using it for the first time, we couldn’t help but appreciate how smooth our workout was.
On a first close look, the E35 elliptical looks premium. It is indeed premium as prospective owners need to shell out quite a pricey sum for the machine. There are a plethora of features to make every minute you spend on the machine worthwhile. This is evident in the 10 different programs available on the machine. You can customize 4 out of those 10 programs to suit your personal preferences. Additionally, you can easily adjust the stride length of the machine by an additional two inches.
To make workouts more fun, SOLE equipped the E35 elliptical with 16 levels of resistance. Needless to say, the tougher the workout, the better. On the negative side, we didn’t like the 16 resistance levels offered by this elliptical. Obviously, the premium price tag should allow for more premium features.
On the other hand, the 20-degree incline adjustment feature makes up for that deficit. Surprisingly, we were able to pedal in both forward and reverse directions as we worked out on the E35 elliptical. This should help you exercise more muscles than you can think of.
We did like the console style on the E35 elliptical. The 7.5” LCD screen was handy in sharing vital workout information with us. Moreover, we enjoyed the sound of the music blasting through the speakers, the feeling of the cool breeze blowing directly from the fan as well as the comfort of the 15” pedals. In addition, you can easily keep your water bottle handle on the console.
Best Elliptical Under $1,000
The Schwinn 470 Elliptical machine is a masterpiece from Schwinn. They may not have made the best top rated elliptical like the Body Solid E300 elliptical, however, they proved their genius with the 470 Elliptical machine. There are quite a handful of things we like about the Schwinn 470 and we listed them below.
First, we like the 29 workout programs that come with the elliptical. These programs are split across several lines. There are 12 preset workout profiles, 9 heart rate controls, 2 fitness tests, and 2 recovery test, not to mention the remaining 4 user-defined custom programs.
One of the advantages of this feature is that you can create your own personal programs. Similarly, your wife and kids can create theirs and save it on the machine. Furthermore, Schwinn equipped the 470 elliptical with a dual LCD screen. This screen displays all the important information pertaining to your workout. Additionally, the buttons are conspicuously placed and easy to press during a workout.
Secondly, we liked the fact that the machine came with a data export feature. This is immensely beneficial to people who intend to keep their fitness instructors updated with details of their workout activities.
In the same fashion, users can take their workouts to the next level by changing the machine’s resistance. There are 25 resistance levels to choose from. Similarly, you can incline the Schwinn 470 up to 10 degrees. You’re entitled to non-stop audio entertainment via the cool speakers. On the other hand, the fan keeps the sweat away from your body as you work out.
Best Elliptical For Home
The name Nautilus is synonymous with a wide range of fitness equipment in America. As a matter of fact, a handful of their products have become best sellers in recent times. Although the Nautilus E614 may not be a best seller, it is, nevertheless, the best elliptical for home.
Nautilus took time to build the E614 elliptical machine, equipping it with some necessary features. The E614 elliptical sports a 20 level resistance needed for a variety of workout intensities. One thing you’ll easily notice about the E614 elliptical is the smoothness of the flywheel. It’s sturdy and synchronizes seamlessly with the large foot pads. The E614 can only support individuals weighing 300lbs. or less.
Again, we liked the 20” stride length of the E614 elliptical. Likewise, this is also complemented by a 6 position incline for additional intensity during workouts. Nautilus fitted the E614 elliptical with 22 workout programs. We didn’t try all the programs, yet we were satisfied with the few we used. There are 9 preset profiles, 8 heart rate programs, 2 custom programs, 2 fitness programs and lastly, 1 quick start program. The 9 preset programs are split into three categories: 3 fun rides, 3 challenges, and 3 mountain rides.
These preset programs are accessible via the center console which houses the dual LCD screens. Furthermore, one can conveniently adjust programs with the touch of the soft buttons. The E614 keeps you entertained with an mp3 input port connected to nice sounding speakers. Furthermore, there is a USB charging hub for mobile devices. This will probably come in handy when you are working and exercising simultaneously.
Best Elliptical For Runners
Talk about a simple elliptical and you’ll certainly like the ProForm 150i elliptical trainer. First of all, it purely looks basic – to be honest, that was our impression at first sight. We expected an above average performance from the elliptical because of that basic design. However, we were taken aback after we had a hands-on experience with the machine. The frame was quite sturdy and strong enough. ProForm listed it as being able to support users who weigh below 250 lbs.
Furthermore, we liked the features that the ProForm 150i elliptical had although it lacked some important ones. It is equipped with a transport wheel that makes the movement as easy as ABC. The stride length is just 17” which is in contrast to the 20” stride length on some of its competitors. There are also 12 resistance levels to choose from in addition to the stride length. To tell the truth, it lagged behind, but not as much as the Trbitty Elliptical Machine Trainer.
It makes up for those shortcomings, at least, by sporting a water bottle holder, an iFit ready LCD display screen with 12 workout programs, a heart rate monitor as well as a comfortable foot pad. Additionally, there’s an iPod compatible audio system with fairly good speakers – at least, you get something good for a small price.
Runners who intend to keep fit at home without drilling a hole into their purse should seriously consider getting the ProForm 150i elliptical machine.
Best Elliptical for Commercial Gyms
Price wise, the Body Solid E300 endurance trainer is a high end elliptical machine suitable for the gym. However, home owners with a penchant for top of the line products can snatch it up. Of course, it has quite a handful of enticing features hence its position as the best top rated elliptical on our list. Let’s check out its features and flaws.
Aside from the fact that it is outrightly affordable, the E300 elliptical is also a beauty to behold. It sports a unique design because it’s built using the Center Drive system. This gives it a compact design and makes it an excellent choice for anyone who is low on space.
The E300 elliptical is aptly named – it has a maximum user weight capacity of 300 lbs. This is lower compared to the maximum user weight of other elliptical models. On the other hand, it comes pre-equipped with 20 resistance levels and a stride length of 21 inches. We really didn’t like the fact that the stride length wasn’t adjustable given the premium price one has to pay for this elliptical.
For optimum workout pleasure, it comes with just 9 workout applications; two custom programs and seven preset programs. Concerning this, Body Solid could have done better particularly in this area. All the same, we took note of the reasonable 8” step up height and dual action handgrips.
Best Elliptical Machine For Seniors
We are almost through with reviewing the elliptical machines we selected. But, our review won’t be complete without mentioning the Teeter FreeStep machine. It is certainly the best elliptical machine for seniors because it’s compact, has seated features, is easy to use, and sports quite a handful of features.
This machine has the options for both bike mode and standing elliptical mode, which is ideal for a lighter impact exercise. It has all the resistance needed to keep up with daily physiotherapy needs.
For seniors who want to stay active, we highly recommend the Teeter FreeStep Recumbent Trainer.
Best Budget Elliptical
If you are looking for a small, easy to use and affordable elliptical machine, you should look for the Efitment Magnetic Elliptical Machine. Like the Trbitty elliptical machine, this Efitment elliptical also has a 13” stride length. Automatically, it will particularly make tall users a bit uncomfortable. However, that’s what one should expect for paying such a little price for the elliptical.
Additionally, the drive comes with a digital LCD screen which is basic – as expected. It displays the usual pulse rate, calories burned and the likes. The pulse rate sensors are integrated into the handlebars. There are two handle bars on this Efitment elliptical machine; a fixed and the movable handlebar.
You are entitled to 8 varying levels of resistance which is on par with the 13” stride length of the machine. There is room for your mobile device on the center console, just beside the LCD screen. This should make up for the lack of entertainment features. Again, the foot pedals were quite comfortable.
More importantly, we like the movement wheels on this Efitment elliptical machine. It made it easy for just one of our team members to move the machine away to its storage location after we finished working out and testing it. Did we mention that the maximum weight limit is just 220 lbs?
We reviewed two more elliptical trainers that are specialized for certain workout conditions. They include
Best Elliptical Bike
Ever seen any of your neighbors riding an unfamiliar bike and smiling like they spent the night with the POTUS? It’s because they are enjoying their ride on an elliptical bike. Who doesn’t like to have fun?
The ElliptiGO 8C is one of the first few elliptical bikes to enter the market. Available in three colors – red, black, green – this is the ideal on and off-road elliptical bike for everyone. One of the things we noticed about the product during our review is that it cycles smoothly. The ElliptiGO Bike is sturdy and strong enough to support users weighing more than 250 lbs.
It comes with 8 gears and 8 speed levels that allow you cruise at speeds of up to 23mph. Climbing hills is a breeze, thanks to the variety of gears. Additionally, you can purchase the stationary trainer which is sold separately if you intend to use the bike in a stationary position.
The ElliptiGO’s brakes are genuinely strong and they deserve a pat on the back. Aside from that, the elliptical is easy to service as it uses the everyday bike parts. So your local bike shop can easily fix any issues that may arise. However, the company also has a standby team ready to solve your problems. They ought to, after all, you’re paying a premium price for the ElliptiGO bike.
Best Under Desk Elliptical
This is one of our favorite office equipment. Small, portable yet effective enough to give you the desired results. Almost everyone that used it in our office had something nice to say about the Stamina In-Motion Elliptical machine which we selected as our best under-desk elliptical trainer. The pedals are textured making them snuggle on the feet properly although we didn’t like the fact that they were not adjustable in size. The endcaps on the pedals make sure your feet don’t slip off it during a workout.
The Stamina In-Motion elliptical can be used either sitting or standing. However, it feels more comfortable when used in a sitting position. It’s available in three color options; black, green, and orange.
We liked the fact that the foot pedals moved in a reversible motion. This is important if you work your muscles deep and good. Aside from that, there is an adjustable tension setting which is used to control workout intensity level. It is quite similar to the resistance level on main elliptical training machines.
There’s a small electronic fitness monitor which displays a handful of workout data such as the number of strides, time, calories burned etc. Moving the elliptical is easy as it is quite lightweight – at 30 lbs and is deemed portable.
Factors To Consider Before Buying An Elliptical Machine
Did you know that elliptical machines come in various shapes and sizes? Of course, you do. But even so, you may not be aware of the fact that there are “Under the desk” type of elliptical, or are you?
In this section of the article, we’ll share some important tips to know before we check out the best elliptical machines. This is important because we intend to help our readers make a great choice.
Let’s find out the things you should consider.
The availability of funds for a particular project is usually instrumental to the completion of that project. Therefore, the availability of funds for buying an elliptical machine can directly influence the type of elliptical you buy.
It suffices to say therefore, that the higher your budget, the better your chances of buying a good elliptical. Additionally, an elliptical with tons of features will cost more than another with a few basic features. Hence, we suggest checking out the features of the elliptical you intend to buy and answering the question “do I need these features?”
Additionally, you should consider the number of people that will be using the elliptical. For instance, you should buy a high-end pricey elliptical if at least 4 of your family members will be using the machine daily.
With that in mind, let’s check out other factors.
Type Of Elliptical Machine
There are just three types of elliptical trainers. They are
- The Traditional Elliptical Trainer which doesn’t have movable arms. This handle is used for support.
- Elliptical Cross Trainer which is exactly the direct opposite of the traditional trainer.
- Dual Function Elliptical which combines the work of the elliptical and an exercise bike.
The price might be just fine, but is the quality good for you? Perhaps, it may be one of the self-acclaimed best models which spoil immediately after fixing it together for use. One of the best ways to check out for its quality is to read the review of other users.
Furthermore, you should consider the braking system and the bearings. Make sure the company lubricated this well. It’s usually the first point of call for damages in an elliptical.
And lastly, you should take a look at the warranty of the machine. This should give you an idea of how long it may last for you. The longer the better – at least, you won’t be buying an elliptical trainer every three years.
The Drive System/Flywheel
In all honesty, a handful of us don’t know an elliptical has different drive systems. For instance, in a car, the drive system can be front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or all-wheel drive. An elliptical has just three basic designs. Each drive system is peculiar to a machine. Furthermore, no two elliptical machines have more than one style. The drive systems are
- Front Drive which is known by the big wheel housing situated in the front of an elliptical.
- Next is the Center Drive which is distinguished by its pedals being a little backwards – closer to the center of the machine.
- Finally, we have the Rear Drive system which is known by the miniature wheel housing located at the back of the elliptical.
You certainly need ample space for your elliptical machine because it’s a necessity for a good workout. Since the elliptical is a pretty heavy machine, frequent movement is not advisable although there are some elliptical machines that come with wheels for easy movement. Concerning this, you should allow a space of about 30” on all sides. It is also important to account for the head room space especially if the machine will be kept in the basement.
Ease of Use
Although this isn’t very important, it’s worth mentioning. Ease of use refers to your ability to use the elliptical without your workout being interrupted. Do you need to stop workout to change music on your iPod? Are the control buttons on the console hard to reach? Does it have an LCD screen that displays necessary data on the fly?
Arguably, this is the most important feature as it is the key to achieving your workout goals. Elliptical machines have tons of features but as we earlier mentioned, more features equals a higher price. Some of the features you’ll find include the fan, adjustable incline and stride, an LCD screen, an audio console, fans, etc.
Look out for elliptical trainers with heart rate monitors especially the ones that come with a chest strap.
The elliptical should have a variety of workout programs to choose from. The number of workout programs available can be as high as 40. Low cost elliptical machines usually have about 8 to 12 workout programs. Likewise, mid-range elliptical models have between 20 and 30 workout programs.
It is pertinent to note that if you are going to be using the elliptical with other members of your family, you should get an elliptical machine with enough storage space for your individual custom profiles.
Ideally, the stride length of almost all the elliptical trainers in the market hovers between 17” and 20”. The higher the stride length, the better for a smoother workout. More importantly, if you are a tall person, you should opt for an elliptical with higher stride length.
Maximum User Weight
This refers to the maximum weight of any individual intending to get on the elliptical. Exceeding the maximum user weight can cause serious damages to the machine’s frame. Please keep a weighing balance handy to be on the safe side.
Resistance Level and Incline
The resistance feature of an elliptical allows for addition of variety to the workout. It helps to encourage one to press on harder towards achieving their goals. The more the resistance levels, the more the number of workouts you can do on the machine.
On the other hand, the incline although not a must have feature for elliptical machines, helps one to work different parts of the body based on the settings. Having it won’t hurt, no doubt.
Foot Pedals/Foot Pad
Be sure to look at the foot pad. Generally, most elliptical machines come with “One size fits all” foot pedals that are comfortable. However, if you have quite large feet, find out if the foot pedal is your size especially if you are buying the budget elliptical machines. The design of the foot pedals and the wheel of the elliptical should also allow for forward and reverse motions during workouts.
Having established the fact that an elliptical is a great workout machine, we’d like to reiterate that a combination of all the factors we listed above is necessary for buying the best elliptical. Lest we forget, always keep your owner’s manual handy. It is important for proper maintenance of the elliptical as they contain the do’s and don’ts of the machine.
Got any questions? We’d like to hear them. Please use the comment section below. Work your way to fitness!