Elliptical Trainer Buying Guide
An elliptical trainer is a very effective exercise machine because it can help you burn approximately 400 calories in one 30-minute workout, or as much as 800–900 calories in one hour if you really push yourself.
These elliptical trainers will dramatically increase your aerobic capacity and boost your overall fitness levels, whilst at the same time working your arms, legs, shoulders, chest and back, and giving you a good full-body workout.
Therefore they can be used for toning, fitness and weight loss, and because this is a low impact form of exercise, they can be used by pretty much anyone because they are easy on the joints, and are highly unlikely to cause any kind of injuries.
All of the top-rated ellipticals reviews in 2018 can be found here, but in the rest of this article I want to provide you with a full elliptical trainer buyer’s guide and discuss some of the main factors that you should consider before you buy one of these machines for your home:
Cost is obviously one of the most important factors that you need to take into consideration because the price of these ellipticals can start from around $100 for the most basic of models, rising to anything from $2000 upwards for some the top-of-the-range gym-standard models.
Whilst many of the entry-level machines that cost less than $600 will be more than adequate for most people’s needs, you might want to think about investing a little more if you require lots more resistance levels and workout programs, for example, and want a few extra features that aren’t generally included with these cheaper models.
Plus it is obviously worth paying extra for a solid, well-built machine if you are planning to use one of these machines on a regular basis.
Another thing you need to think about is how much space you have in your home to accommodate one of these machines.
These elliptical machines can take up an awful lot of space in your home, particularly the bulkier, more expensive models. So if space is at a premium, you should maybe consider buying one of the low-cost machines, or buying one that can be folded away when it is not being used.
You should also consider the height at the highest point because if you have a low ceiling, you may end up banging your head on the ceiling when you use one of these machines.
If you are someone who is just going to use one of these machines a couple of times a week in order to stay in shape and maybe lose a few pounds, then a basic entry-level machine with a limited number of resistance levels should be more than sufficient.
However if you are more of a serious trainer, you might want to think about buying one of the more expensive models because these will tend to have many more resistance levels that you can use to get an intense workout.
You may also want to look at the number of incline settings that a particular machine has because whilst some of the entry-level models won’t have an adjustable ramp or incline, many of the more expensive ellipticals almost certainly will.
Subsequently, this will enable you to replicate the feeling of walking or running uphill to help you burn off more calories and give you a much tougher workout.
Workout programs are not generally available with all elliptical machines, but they can be very useful if they are are included.
That’s because they will provide you with a variety of different workout routines and give you additional challenges, whilst preventing you from getting bored of doing the same old workout every time.
If you look at the product descriptions of various different ellipticals, you will see that many of them will have different stride lengths, with most being in the 16–22 inch range.
Obviously the smaller more compact machines will tend to have shorter stride lengths, which are suitable for most women, and men who are not too tall, for example, but if you are quite a tall person, you may well find that a machine with a stride length of at least 20 inches is more comfortable to use.
If you are unsure about this, or if you have more than one person in your home who will be using one of these ellipticals, you might want to buy one that has an adjustable stride length.
The drive system that is used by one of these machines may not be that much of an issue for many people, but it is worth pointing out that these exercise machines will tend to have either a front, center or rear drive system.
This basically refers to the positioning of the drive axle, drive belt, generator, etc, and is subsequently where most of the weight lies.
You will find that it is usually positioned at the front on most of the cheaper models and on the rear on most of the more expensive commercial models, but the new center drive machines (where it is positioned on both sides) are some of the best and most reliable ones you can buy, but also tend to be the most expensive.
It is always worth reading the product specifications to see what the weight limit is for any machine that you are planning to buy, and this applies to elliptical trainers as well.
Ideally you should always look to buy a machine that can accommodate users well in excess of your current weight because if you are close to or exceed the maximum weight limit, it is far more likely to break after a while, or perform poorly when used regularly.
Following on from the previous point, it is always a good idea to choose an elliptical that has a generous warranty on both the frame and the parts in case there are any problems after you buy it.
This can vary a great deal because some of the cheaper machines may only come with a 1-year warranty on the frame, whilst some of the gym-standard machines may come with a lifetime warranty because they are so well-made, and it’s the same with the parts and labor warranty as well.
Finally, if you are planning on using one of these elliptical trainers regularly, you may also want to look for one that has certain features.
For example, a lot of the more expensive models that you can buy nowadays will often come with extra features such as a water bottle holder, MP3 ports, built-in speakers, a cooling fan and a reading rack, which you might be prepared to pay extra for.