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What to Look for in an Elliptical Trainer – What Consumers Need to Know

How Much Should I Spend?

If you’re on a budget and are just looking for a way to work out in the comfort of your own home, then a sub $500 elliptical trainer is good enough. However, as more goes into the construction process of an elliptical trainer than an exercise bike or treadmill, you’ll often find that the build quality leaves a lot to be desired. You also need to keep in mind that the cheaper the elliptical, the shorter the stride, meaning that taller individuals will have no choice but to spend more.

Should I Get a Front or Rear Drive Model?

The drive mechanism really is the heart of any elliptical trainer. While there are many ellipticals on the market that feature both a front and rear design, one or the other is more common. However, we recommend rear drive models, as they deliver a higher degree of reliability and smoothness.

How Long Should the Warranty Be?

The length of the warranty is often a good indicator of how much a company believes in their machine. However, as you might expect, it doesn’t make sense for manufacturers that sell ellipticals which cost a couple hundred of dollars to offer a 15-year frame warranty. So there are always exceptions. While you of course want to look at models that are backed by lengthy warranties, finding a handful of consumer reviews online mentioning if they’ve run into any problems is always a good idea.

How Long Should the Stride Be?

Stride length is one of the most important aspects to consider. The longer the stride the more comfortable using the machine will be for taller individuals. It’s always wise to consider purchasing a model that comes with an adjustable stride rather than a fixed one. Better yet, is to look at models that have a self-adjusting stride length that adjusts to your personal stride, although these often retail for over $1,000.

Do I Need an Elliptical that Works in Reverse?

What we mean by this is the ability to rotate the foot pedals both forwards and backwards. The answer is it depends. If being able to work out various muscle groups (thighs and calves going forward, and glutes and hamstrings in reverse) is important to you, then definitely purchase this type of model.

Are Workout Programs Necessary?

Just like models that work in reverse, workout programs aren’t necessary – they are a preference. However, we always recommend purchasing a machine that comes with a few built-in workout programs, as these can take the monotony out of your workout regime.

Should I Opt for a Model With a Belt or Magnetic Resistance System?

To put it as simply as possible, belt resistance is found on budget ellipticals and so is not able to deliver a very smooth workout. Furthermore, the rubber belt constantly creating friction against the flywheel causes the rubber belt to wear down and even snap. It is for this reason why we suggest magnetic resistance models.