Elliptical Machine Reviews and Buying Guide

Elliptical Machine Reviews and Buying Guide

If you’re looking to start a small home gym or add to your existing workout space, elliptical machines are one of the best low-impact trainers at your disposal.

You can enjoy a vigorous burst of cardio without inflicting any undue strain and stress on your joints harnessing one of these nifty pieces of equipment.

Home gyms are becoming increasingly popular for anyone who has a busy lifestyle but is not prepared to compromise on working out.

A quick comparison and overview of the products that we`ll discuss today!

When you consider the time you take driving to the gym alongside all that tedious waiting for a machine, you could have put your elliptical through its paces and be in the shower already.

In today’s best elliptical machine reviews, we’ll give you a glimpse at a broad spread of machines so you can choose the best trainer for your needs.

After that, we’ll walk you through what to look out for when you’re hunting down the most effective elliptical.

We’ll get right down to business now with those frank and honest reviews…

5 Best Elliptical Machine Reviews

While the Nautilus is by no means the cheapest elliptical machine up for grabs, this trainer is suitable for all levels including absolute beginners.

While the price tag might make you wince, you should consider all the equipment in your home gym as an investment rather than an expense. When you factor in the money saved by not going to the gym, you’ll soon recoup the cost and the machine should give you years of happy service.

Build quality and functionality are exactly as you would expect from an industry titan like Nautilus. From the moment you hop on this machine, it’s clear where the extra money went.

The highly efficient high-inertia drive system comes with a weighted flywheel to help you get started smoothly then enjoy a consistent workout every time.

Programmability and connectivity are first-rate. You can keep your eye on proceedings using a pair of LCDs. With 22 separate programs to choose from, you never get bored with this machine. Goal tracking makes it easier to keep tabs on your progress whatever your target.

The little media shelf gives you space to charge USB devices or to plug in your MP3 player. Onboard speakers let you crank up the tunes as you hit the Nautilus while a completely adjustable fan allows you to do this without feeling too hot.

The Nautilus is not just efficient, it’s a joy to use as well. Although you’ll need to tweak the ramp manually, you can move it through 6 settings so you should find the comfiest fit in no time.

The 20-inch stride is expressly designed to emulate natural movement.

Maximum load bearing capacity is 300 pounds so the E614 is suitable for more or less anyone.

The crowning glory is a 10-year limited warranty which shows you how much confidence the manufacturer places in this hard-hitting elliptical.

If you’re looking for the best elliptical machine and you have a slightly more fluid budget, the Nautilus E614 is a must-try.

Pro's

  • Superb onboard computer with an impressive range of functionality
  • Fitness goal tracking to help your progress
  • Monitor everything at a glance using crisp dual-screen LCD
  • 20 levels of resistance for a fully flexible workout
  • Adjustable 3-speed cooling fan to prevent overheating
  • Work out to your favorite playlist thanks to onboard speakers and MP3 port
  • Comfy to use with ramp adjusting through 6 positions

Con's

  • Incline needs manual adjustment
  • Absolutely not the cheapest option

Need more details?

Next up, we’ve got something completely different for you…

Since everyone has varying fitness goals along with differing space limitations for their home gym, there’s a market for smaller and more affordable devices. Stamina steps in to plug this gap with the In-Motion elliptical trainer for a no-nonsense approach to working out.

You need to keep your expectations reasonable with the In-Motion. With a unit so cheap and small, there are obvious sacrifices that need to be made but you’ve got all that you need here along with nothing you don’t need.

Although functionality is limited, the simple display shows your workout times along with strides per minute, total number of strides, and the number of calories you’ve torched.

You can use this elliptical sitting or standing for complete flexibility. If you’re looking for a more challenging workout, stand up so you’ll fully engage your core and need to stay more balanced. If you want to focus purely on your lower body, sit down and put the Stamina through its paces that way.

Motion is relatively abbreviated so it might be worth trying before you buy to check whether this is to your taste. You can adjust the intensity level by altering the tension.

While there are restrictions in terms of overall functionality, no corners are cut when it comes to build quality. The steel unit is built to stay the distance while the non-slip pedals are also rugged.

The Stamina In-Motion is best viewed as a secondary machine or as something for the more casual fitness fan who just wants the odd cardio session without all the bells and whistles. As long as you know what you’re getting up front, this stripped-down take on the elliptical delivers in fine style.

Pro's

  • Use both sitting and standing so no excuse for not working out
  • Very small footprint so ideal for smaller apartments
  • Rock-solid steel build for maximum durability
  • Pedals work in both directions for a fuller workout
  • Fine-tune tension to tinker with the intensity level accordingly
  • Extremely affordable elliptical
  • Basic fitness monitor with all vital stats displayed

Con's

  • Some complaints about pedals
  • Tends to speak and become rather less fluid after extended use

Need more details?

Exerpeutic has firmly targeted bargain hunters with this extremely affordable entry-level elliptical.

You need to understand going in that this is a very cheap elliptical. If you’re looking to take on hours of cardio training for an event, this is not the machine for you. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for the occasional light burst of cardio without ruinously impacting your joints, the Air Elliptical is well worth popping on your shortlist.

As long as you’re clear about your needs, this no-nonsense elliptical lets you customize the resistance so you can push yourself even if you’re in peak condition.

Build quality is top-notch, especially when you factor in the price tag. Let’s face it, the machine itself costs less than the price of assembly but the construction doesn’t feel sub-par.

Despite offering solidity, the Exerpeutic weighs in at just 55 pounds and breaks down for simple storage even in tighter spots. The wheels beneath make shifting it around a breeze if you want to reconfigure your gym.

You can track your fitness goals easily, which is more than you’d expect at this price point.

 

All the information you need is front and center on an LCD that’s a cinch to read without stretching forward.

One thing to watch out for is the sloping design that can bring about a little bit too much pressure on your toes. This is another machine well worth road testing before purchase. Even if you intend to buy online, there’s nothing wrong with popping to the store to see how the machine feels first. Think of this as window-shopping and a valuable part of your research.

You should also be aware that this is s hands-on unit. You’ll need to tighten the bolts and monitor that everything is running smoothly. If you take the minimum of care with this, the Exerpeutic should keep going for years. You’ll get a 1-year limited warranty which is reassuring.

If you want a cheap elliptical machine that won’t stiff you on the performance front, the Exerpeutic Air Elliptical is tough to beat.

 

Pro's

  • Exceptional value for money
  • Very lightweight at 55 pounds
  • Stores away even in limited spaces
  • Suitable for light, low-impact workouts
  • Wheeled so move around with ease
  • LCD display with all stats clearly displayed
  • Adjustable resistance control for more flexibility

Con's

  • Need to routinely monitor machine and make sure bolts are fully tightened
  • Forward-sloping design leads to pressure on the toes
  • Wobbly under heavier loads

Need more details?

As we near the end of our elliptical machine reviews, the E 7.0 Z is a first-class offering from the legendary Nordic Track.

Make no mistake at all, this elliptical is not cheap. If you’re looking for a steal, check out one of the other machines we review. If, however, you are not motivated purely by the bottom line and you’re a serious athlete looking for a pro-grade machine at home, the E 7.0 Z is the obvious choice.

Build quality is bordering commercial standard with a 200 pound steel frame serving up all the stability you need even when you’re hitting the elliptical hard.

When you need to relocate your Nordic Track, there are some inbuilt transport wheels so you can do so without straining yourself. This is just as well since the fixed frame doesn’t fold down. Bear this in mind if you intend to decommission your elliptical since you’ll need plenty of storage space to accommodate it.

Customizing the intensity of your workout is something you can do without breaking your stride. Use a simple button to toggle through 20 digital resistance levels so you can get things just right whether you’re a complete beginner or you’re looking for a really heavy shot of cardio.

 

The oversized pedals are good for pretty much any running shoes and the inward angle makes for a natural fit. The machine has both mobile and fixed handlebars. Overall, using the Nordic Track feels great and you know where the money has gone.

The optimized 20-inch stride and manually adjustable incline is conducted at the press of a button.

The resistance system on this magnetic elliptical machine is manipulated from the control panel. This is effective and user-friendly.

The multi-panel display system is backlit so you can read things clearly even in dimmer spaces like the basement.

Pre-set programs are cleaved in half with 10 calorie-burning routines and 10 more inclined toward performance.

If you’re a serious athlete with the money to spare for the best home gym equipment, the Nordic Track E 7.0 Z will make an ideal addition to your arsenal.

Pro's

  • Solid frame built to lastanel display is backlit
  • 20 integrated programs for a complete, varied workout
  • Magnetic resistance with 20 levels
  • Onboard transport wheels to simplify moving
  • Practically zero maintenance
  • Straightforward assembly so get going straight out the box

Con's

  • Placing gear on the tablet shelf can obscure display panel
  • iFit-enabled but module not supplied
  • Extremely expensive

Need more details?

Sitting in the middle of Schwinn’s range of elliptical machine, the 430 is a smart choice if you’re looking for a high-performing design-driven machine to amp up your cardio without leaving home.

Tipping the scales at 165 pounds, it’s half the weight of the Nordic Track without feeling flimsy.

The high inertia drive system promotes a quick and easy start-up followed by smooth and quiet operation.

You’ll enjoy a fair degree of latitude when it comes to workouts. Choose from 20 levels of resistance to push yourself all the way. Beyond this, by adjusting the ramp manually, you’ll be able to flick between 6 incline levels. This is limited to 10 degrees so make sure that’s enough for your needs to avoid disappointment.

If you want to take the straightforward route, there is a range of 22 pre-sets to take advantage of. This is a great way to get up and running if you’re not so confident about what you need. Just try out some programs and feel your way in.

The cushioned pedals are large enough to avoid any pinching or cramp. Handlebars are positioned in such a way you can keep your eye on the display panel.

You’ll get the expected USB ports so you can keep your devices fully charged as you pound the pedals.

If you planned to monitor your heart rate using a chest strap, be aware that the Schwinn is not your best bet for this.

Overall, if you want a nice level of performance and versatility from your elliptical without bankrupting yourself, the Schwinn 430 is a great way to buy into a brand you can trust at a reasonable price.

Pro's

  • Rugged build without sacrificing design
  • Reasonably lightweight but accommodates most users
  • Top performer on the resistance front
  • Monitor your heart rate through rails
  • Varied incline options to keep you on your toes
  • USB port for your media devices
  • Pair of displays to make your life easier

Con's

  • Incline is restricted to 10 degrees
  • Not compatible with chest strap for monitoring heart rate

Need more details?

OK…

Now you’ve seen 5 of the best elliptical machine on the market honestly broken down for you, we’ll take a closer look at these nifty pieces of kit to further simplify your buying decision.

What Is An Elliptical Machine?

Think of an elliptical as a tweaked version of a treadmill.

The drive system and cushioned pedals mean you sidestep the jolting you get with a treadmill so you can work out hard but with very little impact on your joints. Since your feet never lose contact with the pedals, you can hammer it without hammering your knees and ankles into the bargain.

Where elliptical machines were once the preserve of the professional gym, more and more home users are appreciating the benefits of an elliptical.

Where do these machines come into their own, then?

Why You Should Use an Elliptical Machine

One of the key selling points of ellipticals is the way you can work out your upper and lower body either together or in isolation.

If you use an elliptical smartly, you can get a full body workout hitting the abs, glutes and arms through to your legs and back.

You can adjust both resistance and incline so you’ll be able to get precisely the workout you need.

While the design of an elliptical might pull you up, if you incorporate one of these low-impact cardio machines into your home gym, you can enjoy a broad spread of really powerful workouts.

Using an Elliptical Machine

The simple pump with your legs and grasp the handlebars of the elliptical to give both your upper and lower body a sound workout.

Higher stride lengths and more severe inclines will bring more pressure to bear on your hamstrings and glutes. Target your calves and quads by lowering the incline.

Since using an elliptical can be quite exhausting, stick to shorter sessions until you’ve built yourself up.

Now, we’ll round out by looking at what you should think about to get the best elliptical machine for your needs.

What To Look For When You’re Buying an Elliptical Machine

Budget

Price is always a factor in any buying decision but it should not be the prevailing factor.

Linked to price is overall value. The overall cheapest elliptical is not the best if it falls apart after months. Think about price related to lifespan to get a good general view of value.

When you’re buying equipment for your home gym, you should also consider the cost compared to monthly memberships and travel expenses.

Bottom line, think about more than just the bottom line.

Tension and Resistance

You should look for resistance levels close together to avoid any jarring leaps in effort.

Elliptical machines come in 2 main types:

 

  • Fan Wheel Resistance: Cheaper machines can nevertheless still offer a smooth experience with fans wheel resistance
  • Magnetic Resistance: Magnetic resistance elliptical machines give a great ride with a premium on consistency

The more resistance levels on the machine, the more you’ll be able to hone your workout to deliver exactly what you need.

Stride Length

The benchmark for elliptical machines is a 20-inch stride. This more or less resembles the average person when they’re walking.

Stride length should be fit for purpose on most of the common ellipticals but, if you’re particularly tall, you should look out for something that makes allowances.

Incline

Think long and hard about whether you want to adjust the incline using a manual control or a much handier programmable alternative.If you want to stave off workout boredom while pushing yourself to the very limit, the more you can vary the incline the better.

Stability

While many people are looking for a fairly lightweight elliptical, this should never be prioritized over stability. After all, you’ll use the machine every day whereas you’ll only move it from time to time.

To generalize, heavier ellipticals tend to be more stable. When you enter the realms of the much more expensive models, the wonders of technology can compensate to some extent for raw weight.

Think carefully about the size of intended users and make sure you choose in line with these requirements.

Flywheel

The flywheel help to create a natural and fluid movement.

This works in much the same way as on exercise bikes or spinners and eliminates any jerking and jarring from your workout.

Some ellipticals come with dual-direction flywheels allowing you to get further flexibility from your workouts.

Pedals

A good set of adjustable pedals is essential.

If your feet are especially large, make sure to look for ellipticals with pedals to match.

Onboard Computer

If you want an onboard computer to help out with tracking your fitness goals, look for a display that’s sensibly positioned and easy to read even in dimmer conditions.

Some ellipticals allow you to connect to third-part devices in order to further interpret data like stride speed, calories burned and overall timing of training.

Wrap-Up!

We very much hope you’ve found these elliptical machine reviews have angled you in the right direction.

As long as you pay close attention to the elements above and you stick to reputable brands, adding an elliptical to your home gym is a wise move.

Drop us a line any time if you have any queries or feedback and we’ll get back to you promptly.

Come back soon!

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