You can find flimsy elliptical machines for $100-$200 if you just want to see whether this type of low-impact exercise works for you. A better approach would be trying an elliptical out at a gym, and then purchase a high-quality machine for long-term use at home if you decide to go for it.
Top 10 Elliptical Machines
- Elliptical machine provides challenging cardio workout, supported by blue, backlit LDC display that helps you...
- Adjustable pedals and console and power adjustable stride and incline; 20-to-22-inch maximum stride length;...
- Bluetooth connectivity, syncs with the Schwinn Trainer App and other apps for fitness tracking
- Sync with free downloadable RunSocial App and run through 19 locations with 27 routes alongside people from...
- Sync with the mixed-reality app RunSocial and race through 19 locations with 27 routes Alongside friends while...
- Compact design but still offers the 18" Stride of large elliptical
- Go to ifit.com/activate to redeem your one month iFit membership and activate your equipment for unlimited...
- iPod compatible audio, 7" backlit display, 32 workout apps, 24 resistance levels, 5" elliptical stepping path...
- Goal Track capability enables users to set individual exercise goals
- 22 programs: 9 profile, 8 heart rate control, 2 custom, 2 fitness test & 1 quick start
- Dual-action Handlebars for total-body workout and synchronized upper/lower body motion
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance to increase and decrease workout intensity
- AIR WALK TRAINER: The non-slip pedals will help simulate a slow walk or work up to a full run while...
- TOTAL BODY WORKOUT: The air walker exercise machine targets muscles in your arms as well as your legs. When...
- 2-in-1 fitness machine with settings for elliptical trainer and exercise bike dual usage
- High-momentum fan blade flywheel system for smooth, fluid movement
- ENDURANCE TRAINER: High Intensity Cardio Elliptical Trainer built with dual action forward and backward...
- RESISTANCE: 8 Levels of Magnetic Resistance promote quiet, smooth workout with versatility. Virtually NO...
- 8 Levels of adjustable resistance
- Hand pulse monitoring system allows you to control your heartbeat
Elliptical Machine Features to Consider
An elliptical is an excellent piece of equipment to invest in, but before you buy, you want to make sure you are aware of all the features that make up a great machine. We’ll cover all the key bases below to get you on track:
As with any piece of equipment, stability is crucial. During a workout, you want to be able to concentrate on your session with the machine being almost an afterthought. In fact, the best machines are the ones that seem to disappear because of their stability and ability to fit you, not the other way around. On average, a heavier elliptical will be more stable. However, with the higher-end elliptical machines, better design trumps weight and can provide ample stability.
Tension Resistance Levels and Types of Resistance
As far as types of resistance, there are two main styles:
1. Fan Wheel Resistance
Fan wheels can provide a smooth ride and tend to be employed on lower-cost ellipticals.
2. Magnetic Resistance
Magnetic resistance can provide the quietest, most consistent, and most natural feeling workout.
Not all ellipticals come with a computer, but if they do or you want one, here’s what to look for:
The display should easy to read. Backlighting is a plus.
2. Data Provided
The best elliptical computers will give you a range of data including distance, stride speed, time of the session, and heart rate if you have the necessary adapter or if it’s included. Some elliptical trainers feature the ability to upload your data to external devices or websites for tracking progress.
If the elliptical includes a computer, which most do, they will ideally include programs that give you workout options geared toward weight loss, intervals, cardio, etc.
The ability to change the degree of your incline is at the core of working out on an elliptical. Easy-to-use power incline controls are preferable to manual incline adjustment. The best elliptical trainers have the ability to greatly vary positions for a diverse and challenging workout.
Elliptical stride length varies from machine to machine and matters more for some people than others. A 15″ length may be fine for some users. And if you’re tall, a longer stride length is a good feature and common on a lot of machines. A 20” stride length allows the natural stride almost anyone would have while walking quickly.
Adjustable Foot Pedals
Adjustable articulating/pivoting foot pedals are helpful for replicating a natural stride motion and avoiding injury. Additionally, large pedal surface space allows for users of any foot size to comfortably fit their feet in the pedal. Sole Fitness has addressed this and features a two-degree inward slope on their ellipticals that they claim reduces stress on your knees and ankles.
As on indoor exercise cycles and Spin bikes, the flywheel helps create a fluid and natural momentum that keeps your elliptical workout from being jerky and jarring. It helps mimic actual motion. Dual Direction Flywheels – Dual direction is a nice feature that allows for switching your rotation for a workout of the opposite muscles.
Machines like the ProForm Hybrid Trainer combine elliptical machines with recumbent bikes or exercise bikes. With this type of dual trainer, you’re getting a two-for-one (or even three-in-one) piece of equipment. These trainers feature a seat that is more upright like an exercise bike or reclined like a recumbent bike. This style of elliptical can be a good option, but be sure to do your research to ensure the quality is there.
- Transportation Wheels
- Ease of Assembly
- Power supply (external or batteries required)
- Step-in height
- Water bottle holder
- Speakers with inputs
- Tablet/book holder
- USB Port for Charging and Data Transfer
Benefits of Ellipticals and How They Work
The incline of your machine dictates which muscle groups you will be engaging the most. Higher incline and stride length target your hamstrings and glutes, while lower incline focuses on giving your quads and calves a great workout. While your legs are pumping away, the long upright handles engage your upper body muscles including pecs, arms, shoulders, and back. Also, the upright pole grips give you something to hold onto while you’re swinging your legs front to back.
Other Elliptical Machine Considerations
Home Elliptical Workout
The best elliptical machines generally include just about everything you’ll need to have a challenging yet comfortable workout at home. Normal running shoes will be fine for striding on the foot pads. Also, while working out at home, a nice benefit is that you can place the elliptical in front of your TV to be able to watch workout DVDs, workouts on Youtube (see below) or enjoy your shows and movies while losing the extra pounds.
Since there are a lot of moving parts some machines will need some maintenance such as lubrication from time to time. Squeaky parts and uncooperative resistance levels should be fixable with a quick call to the manufacturer. And the best ellipticals have solid warranties in case anything goes wrong.
It’s important to wear appropriate clothes when working out on an elliptical. Baggy clothing can get caught in the machines moving parts, so wear tighter-fitting clothes if possible. And always wear rubber-bottom, close-toe sneakers or running shoes while exercising.