Gym Brains

Best elliptical machines 2018

Elliptical trainers are a fantastic way to workout. The low impact designs and absorbtion technology go hand in hand to ensure users joints and muscles remain injury free. Plus, they naturally have a quiet operation thanks to the absence of a motor.

Top Elliptical for home use

We have analyzed many products in this industry from their design features, right the way through to the varying difficulty levels, price range, and construction. Having looked at this information, we have chosen one that we believe could be the best all round option for many people.

Schwinn 430

A popular model that has numerous functions built into it to ensure people get an intensive, but smooth cardio workout. The stand out specifications include a decent twenty inch stride length, and a multitude of exercise applications and resistances. Additionally, Schwinn Connect will ensure users are kept up to date on their progress towards hitting their training goals.

Check price and read customer reviews here

Elliptical machine comparison table

ModelFront driveResistance
Schwinn 47025
Exerpeutic 1000XL8
ProGear 300LSDial
Schwinn 43020
Exerpeutic Aero AirDial
Body Rider BRD2000Dial
LifeSpan E3i20
Sunny SF-E34168
ProForm 9.0 NE22
Precor EFX 576i20

Buying guide

Our guide below will help answer many of the more frequently asked questions. We also have a section dedicated to individual product reviews as well as buying guides. Simply search through the lists below, or the menu on the right to find a suitable machine for you.

There are many things that can allow a cross trainer to stand out from its competition. We have a rating system in place that help up highlight areas where a specific model or brand excels. These are listed below.

Design

The design should be one of the first things you look at when researching into and analyzing a new machine. You want to keep an eye on the stride length, whether or not dual action arms are included, and various other things like accessibility and user weight capacity. These should all play an important role in your decision.

Step on height

We understand that some people with mobility issues, especially senior citizens, may encounter problems with getting on and off cardio machines. For this purpose, there are many designs in the industry that focus on producing a much lower step on height that’s easily accessible, and not too hard on the joints.

Exercise features

The last thing you want is to buy an cross trainer that doesn’t contain sufficient amounts of challenges. You’ll want to consider your current fitness levels and decide whether the workout options built in is good enough for your requirements.

This will mean looking into the amount and type of resistance provided, whether or not a product has incline settings and how many exercise programs come built into the console.

Console

You’ll want to ask yourself what you need to understand about your workout as no two consoles are the same. Most machines generally come with similar readout options, but the variety in screen size, type, and navigation is vast. You will require something that offers user friendly navigation and menus, and clearly labelled buttons.

Considerations should include touchscreen vs non-touchscreen, display size, back lighting, data readings, quick start buttons, easily readable text, and user friendly navigation. You may also want to look into whether a trainer has built in safety features like an emergency stop.

Single or multiple users

If you are planning to purchase an elliptical trainer for a family home, the most likely scenario will be that you require a machine fit for multiple users. In particular, multiple profiles. Some lower tier options don’t provide this, so that’s something worth keeping tabs on.

For an individual however, there is a lot more freedom in which model you choose, simply because the vast majority of units out there will provide great tracking functionality for one person.

Heart rate monitoring

There are two main ways the top rated elliptical trainers record user heart rate. Some even go as far as offering both as a package deal. The first and most common tends to be hand grips. This is something you can expect to find in the medium price range upwards.

The second will involve wearing a chest strap. What you choose comes down to preferences and how comfortable you are with using either of them. Whichever you end up with, modern technology does a fantastic job in tracking user pulse rate through the console display.

Size, weight, and dimensions

If you live in a home that has low ceilings, or lots of smaller rooms where space is a luxury, taking time to measure the intended gym area will give you a reasonable idea of how tall and wide your machine can be.

Some households have raised floorboards and may come with a limit on the amount of weight they can hold. You will need to find out just how much your room can accommodate then filter the various products by their overall weight.

Accessories

The amount of accessories included within many of the best rated elliptical exercise machines isn’t a deal breaker, but they do make your training more convenient. Be sure to look into whether a machine has a water bottle holder, a fan, audio speakers, USB ports, and tablet / book holders. All of these can play a part in enhancing the overall workout experience and it certainly ties in with staying motivated.

Brand

The brand name is important because some are far more reputable than others. Companies don’t build up a name for themselves by producing and manufacturing sub bar products. That’s why special attention should be paid to who makes it. We highlight quite a few leading names above and go into detail about the products each of them offer, along with any good and bad points.

We cover many individual names in detail above, but for a quick overview of some of the most popular options, see the list below.

ProForm
Schwinn
Exerpeutic
Precor
Xterra

Price

The budget you’re working with will often determine the quality of a end product you get. You will find models from all price points. All will have their individual advantages, for example $2000 options are great options if you want a commercial like stability for home use. There will also be plenty of choice at the $1000 and below, but they often sacrifice features and the build quality of the more expensive options.

Ergonomics

When we speak of ergonomics, we are referring to the shape of the hand grips and how comfortable they feel to you. You’ll want something contoured to fit a standard hand grip, or at the very least something well padded.

This somewhat ties into the peddles too. You should be focusing on the distance between both of the foot plates and ask yourself if the striding motion feels natural as you workout.

Assembly

Two things you want to keep tabs on when assembling a product. The first being whether or not it’s included within the price, or if it’s something you will have to do manually.

The second is look out for what people are saying about how much time it took to set up. Most machines can be installed within a couple of hours, but we have heard stories of people spending half a day putting it all together and still finding out they’ve made a mistake at the end of it. This can be put down to complicated instructions, or a product simply having far too many parts.

Something to keep in mind before you purchase is to find out whether it’s going to require plenty of heavy lifting or if it’s a two man job.

Warranty

Most warranty policies cover you for a number of years in the event that something breaks off, or stops working. For elliptical machines, you will need a policy that provides numerous years coverage on the frame along with moving parts, and at least a year on labor and any electronics.

Safety precautions

You should always check if a company has taken the correct measures to ensure one of their ellipticals are safe and have the right design features in place. Most modern products have this covered with the likes of emergency stop buttons, as well as pins to glue the arms and footplates in place when not in use.

Entertainment

A lot of this has been covered previously in the console section, but you should be asking yourself what form of entertainment you require whilst exercising. You will find plenty of compatibility with modern gadgets ranging from tablets and iPods, as well as unique screens included with virtual trails. If you can make do without these extras, you stand to save plenty of cash.

Storage

Building a home gym takes up space. This we all know. However, there are steps we can take to limit the space consumption.

The first thing would be to check whether an elliptical machine comes with transport wheels. This will enable people to make light work of moving it around the home and into storage.

The second would be to check whether or not the design allows it to fold up. A foldable trainer is far more stowable that the majority of cardio exercise machines in the fitness industry and a great option for smaller sized rooms.

The wrap up

Armed with new knowledge on how to identify the best elliptical trainers and how they operate, you should now be able to find a great fit for your needs. Before you decide to buy anything, remember to consider the things mentioned above, read consumer ratings to help you discover any major flaws, and ensure there is sufficient challenges included.

Taking these steps now will save you a lot of hassle in the future because you will most likely end up with a cardio machine that will last for years to come.

Browse our elliptical trainer reviews

AFG 7.3AE
Body Rider BRD2000
Body Rider BRD2800
Body Rider BR1830
Exerpeutic Aero Air
Exerpeutic 1000Xl
Exerpeutic 650
LifeSpan E3i
Precor EFX 576i
Precor EFX 221
Precor EFX 225
ProForm 9.0 NE
ProForm 12.0 NE
ProForm Endurance 520 E
ProForm Endurance 720 E
ProForm Endurance 920 E
ProForm Pro 9.9
ProForm Pro 12.9
ProForm Pro 16.9
ProForm 935 E
ProForm 650 LE
ProForm 7.0 RE
ProForm 1110 E
ProForm Smart Strider 495 CSE
ProForm Smart Strider 695 CSE
Proform 14.0 Mme
ProGear 300LS
Schwinn 470
Schwinn 430
Sunny SF-E3416
Sunny SF-E905
Sole E25
Universal E40
Xterra FS3.0
Xterra FS4.0e
Xterra FS5.4e
Xterra FS5.6e
Xterra FS5.9e