Elliptical machine reviews

Elliptical trainers are essentially a low impact way to exercise. They are certainly regarded as one of the more popular ways to train thanks to their full body cardio workout and the design allowing almost anyone to use it regardless of age, gender, and fitness level.

Comparison table showing the best elliptical machines of 2017
Analysis, consumer reports, and ratings

ModelShopWeight limitProgramsResistanceInclineStride lengthDrive systemFlywheel weightRecord heart rate?Frame warrantyParts warrantyLabor warrantyTransport wheelsWater bottle holderPrice
ProForm Endurance 520 ECheck price300 lbs18180-2020"Front15 lbsYesLifetime1 year1 yearYesYes$$
Horizon Fitness Evolve 5Check price300 lbs3720NA20"Front23 lbsYesLifetime3 years1 yearNoYes$$$
Nautilus E614Check price300 lbs22206 manual positions20"FrontNAYes10 years2 years90 daysYesYes$$
Schwinn 470Check price300 lbs29250-1020"FrontNAYes10 years2 years90 daysYesYes$$
Diamondback Fitness 1260EFCheck price325 lbs19200-2819"FrontNAYesLifetimeLifetime1 yearNAYes$$$$
Nautilus E616Check price300 lbs29250-1120"FrontNAYes10 years2 years90 daysYesYes$$
Horizon Fitness Elite E9Check price350 lbs44200-1020"Front30 lbsYesLifetime5 years2 yearsNAYes$$$$
ProForm 12.0 NECheck price350 lbs32245 positions20"Front32 lbsYesLifetime5 years2 yearsYesYes$$$
Exerpeutic 5000Check price270 lbs1224NA18"Double transmission10 lbsYesLimitedLimitedLimitedYesYes$
ProForm Endurance 720 ECheck price325 lbs24200-2020"Front20 lbsYesLifetime2 years1 yearYesYes$$$
AFG 3.3AECheck price325 lbs8200-2020"Front23 lbsYesLifetime3 years1 yearYesYes$$$

Benefits of elliptical trainers

There are several key benefits to be had. Arguably one of its most important is the low impact movement, that relieves stress on joints and muscles. This can go a long way in protecting people from injuring themselves.

Another benefit they provide is a full body, cardio workout. It does this by making use of both the movable arms, and over sized peddles that help burn off those unwanted calories and tone up muscles.

I would also consider how much more convenient owning one can be. You can cut out commuting times to and from the gym, and any membership fees associated with that. Lets not forget working out in your own home gym allows you to train without worrying about the elements.

Elliptical cross trainer machine buying guide and considerations

There is specific things you should take note of before looking at our elliptical machine reviews. We outline the main areas you should focus on below.

Resistance

Like most home exercise equipment, the crosstrainers difficulty and tension levels are one of the most important things you should look out for. Too little, and you could be limiting your potential, too much and you may be spending over the top for features you may not get round to using.

The resistance levels can vary between eight and thirty. The budget models find themselves at the lower end of the spectrum and the extra variety found at the higher price points. You need to understand what you will be using it for, how versatile it needs to be, as well as the requirements of other people who may wish exercise at home.

Many top rated models, fall somewhere between fifteen and twenty five, so that could be a good place to start your search.

Incline settings

Adding a hill or incline to the peddles can increase the intensity of your workout, and can change up the muscle fibers targeted, which will play a role in keeping your body guessing and helping users avoid the muscle memory effects.

This isn’t something that tends to be included in every elliptical exercise machine. However, the ones that do implement this to their spec list tend to offer a incline ramp of between 0 and 40 degrees.

Workout applications

Exercise programs can play a huge part in how determined you become whilst training towards your goals. These apps come in many different forms and work on different areas including but not limited to:

  • Heart rate
  • Interval training
  • Fitness tests
  • Recovery tests
  • Custom options

It’s not always the case that the best elliptical machines you look at will show a product offering all of these, but if you come across a model that includes heart rate, fitness, and recovery tests, you have the foundations for an intensive training session that produces results.

Monitoring data

Keeping an eye on, and monitoring information related to your workout can have far reaching effects that great improve your performance and fitness in the future. These days, the wide majority of cardio equipment comes with consoles built in that handles this for you.

One should expect a console to provide feedback on the time taken, distance covered, amount of calories burned off, and pulse data. Anything extra should be taken as a bonus. If the elliptical machine reviews you are reading suggest it’s missing one of these, you should look elsewhere, as these are pretty much standard inclusions in today’s exercise technology.

Stride length

The length of stride you take is extremely important. You will want something that suits your leg length, while keeping the workout fresh and challenging. We consider the average stride length to be around the twenty inches mark. However, there are plenty of options that fall well short of this as well as above.

A taller than average person will require something with a longer stride length, whilst a shorter person will not require anything on the higher end. People who want to purchase it for a family gym with multiple users may wish to consider going for average (20″), or finding an adjustable stride model.

Flywheel weight

As a rule of thumb, the heavier the flywheel, the more consistently smooth your workouts will be. Heavier options also tend to be a lot quieter, which make them fantastic options for home gyms or areas where multiple people will be training.

The lower price tier options can have a weight as low as 14 pounds, whilst the upper tier will often have something a lot heavier built in that can sometimes hit the 35 pounds mark.

Front, rear, and central drive systems

The type of drive system an elliptical machine uses can determine how compact the design is, along with its performance grade. The location of the drive system simply refers to where the flywheel mentioned above is located.

Front drive are at the front, rear drive models have the flywheel at the back. It should be noted that the rear drive options tend to take up more space in length than their counterparts.

Step up height

The height in which you need to step up to the peddles shouldn’t be too much of a concern for regular users. However, those that have joint issues, injuries, or are senior citizens may benefit from a lower step up height. The average can range anywhere from seven to fifteen inches.

Weight capacity

Manufacturers tend to carry out tests on the best elliptical trainers to determine the amount of weight they can carry before issues with the frame and performance arise. We believe the average for home models falls around the 300 pounds mark, but you do get higher priced options that push 400 pounds. This can be used as an indication to how strong the structure is, and what sort of durability you will get from it.

Warranty policies

In the unfortunate event that you run into problems, it’s important that you have a machine that has you covered with a solid warranty policy. Things to look out for are information on its frame, electronics, parts, and any labor costs.

Generally speaking, most products will provide lifetime warranty on the frame, anywhere between 6 months and two years on parts and electronics, plus up to 90 days on labor.

Transportation wheels

Who wants to lift heavy fitness equipment through the house once it’s assembled? I would say not many. That’s why many come equipped with handy transport wheels that are usually clipped onto the end to enable users to roll it in and out of rooms.

Accessories

A considerable amount of accessories can be found on higher priced models. These accessories get rarer as the price goes down. A list of handy accessories to be on the look out for include reading racks, water bottle holders, tablet holders, music or audio ports, and a cooling workout fan.

Brand names

The manufacturer or company behind each machine and there history plays a big part in how we rate a x trainer. Fortunately, there are plenty of reputable brands to choose from including:

  • Schwinn
  • ProForm

ProForm 9.0 NE
ProForm 650 LE

  • Horizon
  • Body Flex

Body Rider BR1830 fan

  • Nordic track
  • Xterra
  • Fuel Fitness

Fuel FE44
Fuel FE48

  • Weslo
  • Nautilus

Nautilus E618

  • Diamondback
  • Freemotion

Freemotion 645

These are just a few of the big players in this industry that have models with high levels of positive ratings and opinions in the past. Most of the time, these companies take an already winning formula from previous designs and tweak it ever so slightly if an upgrade comes into the market. Nine times out of ten you have the qualities of the older models with more modern training technologies and functionalities.

The Best compact elliptical machines

For those of you concerned about the limited space you have at home, these could be the most ideal solutions. There designs are very compact, and have easy storage options when not in use.

For all intent and purposes, Diamondback Fitness offer an excellent design in the 1260ef. It operates on a front drive system, eliminating the need for extra length required by rear drives. Total measurement to demonstrate its space saving properties is 69.5 in length by 27.5 width and 65 inches in height.

Despite the fact its relatively small, it punches well above it weight, boasting an exceptional amount of workout features including a wide selection of exercise applications, plenty of tension settings, and hill climbing / incline. Each of these help bring it inline with multiple market leaders in similar price ranges.

Read our full review here

Best elliptical for the money

Under 500 dollars

There is certainly a of choosing a trainer that is priced below the $500 mark. The main reasoning behind this is the levels of competition. Almost every brand name has a low budget option for those working with limited funds. The result is an over saturation of products that are vying to position themselves as best sellers.

Our pick is the Exerpeutic 5000. After gaining an understanding of its drive system and console options, we believe that their isn’t many other options on the market that can challenge it in this price band thanks to an excellent set of features that can effect anyone’s workout in a positive way, regardless of current fitness level.

A lot of consumers find themselves associating a low cost, with a lower quality. And while that can sometimes be the case, you can also find hidden gems that do just as good a job as many medium tier models.

Read our full review here

Under 1000 dollars

Again, there is certainly some tough decisions to be made at this price point. There are some excellent options that focus on the design aspect, whilst others out perform in the training side. We feel finding something in between is arguably the best option, combining the best of both worlds is definitely a good starting point in our experience.

Our choice however, is the Schwinn 470. They naturally have a well respected brand name known to produce fine fitness equipment for decades. Some striders fall short in functionality and technology, and this combines both with a sturdy design at a low cost.

You only need to look at the consumer reports and feedback through various online stores and blogs to understand the quality and value for money provided.

Read our full review here

What’s the best home elliptical?

No doubt there shall be some confusion among consumers with regards to what makes a good elliptical for home use. There will be many consumers looking for different things. Some will wish for something affordable, whilst others may be specifically searching for a cardio machine that has the latest and greatest technology built into the console.

Because of this, there will be difficulty in finding a one match fits all solution, but we can find something somewhere in the middle. And for that, we recommend the ProForm Endurance 520 E. This model boasts a excellent range of workout features that not many of the best cross trainers can go toe to toe with.

A 300 pound capacity, alongside iFit compatibility and a great set of training apps mark this out as one of the ones to watch this year.

Read our full review here

Other elliptical trainer reviews

The AFG 5.3AE

This machine has plenty of good things going for it. There is options to change up the difficulty of the workout using several techniques and built in functions. These will include the length of its stride, the amount of tension included, and any workout applications.

Each of these are included and designed to give the end user a fantastic fat burning workout that will help tone up both the lower and upper body.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much consumer feedback at this point in time, but going by previous years options, you can probably gather it will be well received as it was previously.

Definitely one to watch and consider investing in.

The Horizon fitness ex-59-02

An exceptional exercise machine when you are considering value for money overall. Despite it lacking behind in certain areas mentioned in our reviews, like the limitations of tension, it still holds its own against much of its competition and for that, it’s become one of the top rated, and most sought after pieces of fitness equipment today.

A smart console, and comfortable design are just a few of its extras that make up the inner workings, along with a modern design that will offer you everything you need to burn off fat effectively.

But if you can find out more about it. simply the link above for a detailed analysis and review of its specs and design.

The ProForm Endurance 920 E

This is one of our favorite cross trainer ellipticals that we have come across so far in our research. The downside of finding well equipped elliptical machines, is that they often come with a higher than average price tag. And that’s the case here.

However, those of you not too worried about how much you spend will come to appreciate  the adjustable stride length, many resistances and programs built in.

It also gives users the option to share there workout information with friends and family across social media platforms through the console.

The Ironman H-Class 610

This elliptical is equipped with some fantastic training functionality that will really improve your training when used with a good exercise plan.

What it lacks in stride length, it more than makes up in the options available in the console and differing levels of tension.

A rear drive design that will ensure quiet and simple operation whilst remaining durable. Whats more, it’s not too high off the ground making it accessible for many people with joint or mobility issues.

The LifeSpan E2i

Until first looking into the technological and design inclusions of this machine were, we weren’t sure what to expect.

We did realize LifeSpan have a well respected reputation in making cardio equipment, so we dived in to find out more.

Read our full review of this product above, including what makes it tick, why it could be a good match for you, and anything about the design and parts that make it stand out against the competition.

The LifeSpan E3i

Going by machines manufactured by this brand in the past, this could be a good addition to your gym.

However, it’s important to note it doesn’t come cheap with an excellent range of features that push the value up.

Our review covers many of these things including looking at the design, flywheel, striding length, console, and anything else that may be important to note before you buy.

This also comes with several negatives you may not be aware of yet.

The NordicTrack E 7.0 Z

This trainer is one of those that could be easily overlooked in the vast sea of competition currently found in most online shops.

For that reason, we decided to review and uncover the truth behind its quality, design, and overall training options that come built in.

We found there is a good amount of choice in how one exercises, alongside some great ways to keep track of how your fitness is progressing over time.

Read more about it above.

The Horizon Fitness Elite E7

Those of you looking for a higher quality trainer may want to do a little research into what this model can provide you with.

Including a great ergonomic design, which focuses on use requirements and posture whilst exercising, this will make a great piece of workout equipment for home use.

But why not read our full review of it on the link above?

The NordicTrack C 7.5

One of the first things we noticed when we begun researching into this products specs was that there is no shortage of things to help you train. The best ellipticals tend to be packed full of great ways to conduct cardio, and this model delivers.

The number of applications built into the console as well as the differing incline and resistance levels can keep challenging people from all walks of life regardless of current fitness level.

And with a well known brand name behind it, it’s well worth keeping tabs on.

Final thoughts

It’s important to remember getting fit and losing weight takes time and consistent effort over a long period of time. That’s why we always recommend putting together a home gym, fully equipped with weights and cardio trainers like an elliptical machine. The sheer amount of time and cash saved can make any upfront fees worth it. Just remember to research into any potential purchases using our reviews.