Alas, you’re ready to get your first elliptical machine but need some information or perhaps, you just need a little advice. We’ve gathered all of the relevant information you’ll need and put together this little buying guide to help you find the best elliptical machine for your home.
Whether it was in the gym or on the street, we’ve all seen or used it at some point. Duplicating the motion of running, ellipticals provide virtually all the benefits of running but without the impact, perfect for those with bad knees or other lower body injuries.
Ellipticals are not cheap and with all of the added features available, careful research and consideration is required when shopping for one. Out of the numerous models we have reviewed, we have narrowed our choices to top 5 recommended elliptical machines for home use.
Top 5 Ellipticals
|Sole E55 Elliptical Trainer||Front||$$$$|
|NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i||Center||$$$$|
|NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i||Rear||$$$$|
|Life Fitness E3||Rear||$$$$|
|Sole Fitness E35||Front||$$$$|
Choosing the Right Machine
There’s a number of factors you should consider when you’re shopping for an elliptical machine:
- Electronic Features – You’ll want to know which optional features you’re going to want. Whether it’s music or pre-programmed features to lessen the boredom, decide on what’s important and what you’re going to need to keep your motivation and maintain your momentum. Some of the consoles contain options that allow you to customize your workouts via digital touchscreen LCD monitors. You can track your training performance including your heart rate, calories, and distance. Many of the newer models even have usb ports for your phone, ipod, or mp3 player.
- Motor/Drive System – There are three different types of drive systems, the front drive, rear drive, or mid drive models and as a result of today’s technology, neither is better than the other … it’s all a matter of personal preference. However, one thing you may want to consider is the flywheel which is the round disc that controls the movement of the pedals and hand grips. The larger the flywheel, the smoother the motion.
- Adjustable Incline – These are important features you’re going to want to have to get a better workout on the machine. It will provide you with more intensity helping you with your fitness goals. The incline will vary depending on the make and model but some will allow you to go all the way up to 30 degrees.
- Adjustable Resistance – Another important feature to consider is the resistance. Resistance will help increase your strength. It’s important to note that the most common forms of resistance in todays ellipticals are electromagnetic and air. It’s a matter of preference but if your budget allows, we would recommend going with magnetic resistance or ECB (Eddy Current Brake) is recommended because it is much smoother.
- Stride – The stride length and shape are more crucial factors to consider. The stride length is generally determined by ones height but the longer the stride the harder you have to work out and the shorter the stride the less your muscles are involved so you may want to keep that in mind. If you’re tall (6 feet) then you’ll probably want to consider a 20″ stride but if you’re shorter then you’ll probably be more comfortable with an 18″ stride. Now a days, you’ll find elliptical machines with adjustable strides so it will comfortably suit every user in the house. The stride shape is also important as you may notice some machines tend to have a more circular motion, similar to a bike, instead of the oval motion as a normal elliptical would follow. Try to avoid the ones with the circular motion as it doesn’t provide the “natural” oval motion as a regular elliptical motion would provide.
- Forward and Reverse Strides – This isn’t really a major issue now a days as most ellipticals are capable of both forward and reverse motions but there are still a few out there that only have the forward motion. Try to stick with the machines that are capable of both.
Some of the best elliptical machines provide similar features to that of a treadmill and burn just about the same amount of calories without the impact.
Prices range from $100 to over $3000. Please note, however, that the expression “you get what you pay for” applies here. Make note of the warranty that comes with the machine. Good manufacturers will provide a lifetime warranty on the frame and a minimum of at least 1 year for parts and labor. Any warranty period shorter than that makes anyone question their product durability.
Check their customer service. This is important. Just because they have an attractive warranty, doesn’t mean they’ll accommodate so easily. Great companies with reputable products will provide excellent customer service and a warranty that will reflect their confidence in their machines.
Just do a little planning and research and you’ll find yourself with a great cross trainer that will help you burn the calories the painless way.