Ellipticals Buying Guide

Photo of author
Written By Ethan Richards
Ellipticals Buying Guide

Finding your fitness solution can involve investing on a gadget or even a machine to help you kickstart your active lifestyle. Getting an elliptical trainer could help you develop your cardiovascular strength and overall endurance. 

You may have seen these machines that make the person appear to be in a mesmerizing continuous flow of movement. These machines are found in your fitness club or gym and are usually beside treadmills or stationary bikes which are all part of the cardio group of exercises. Perhaps you might have considered having one in your more personal space at home. But before you do consider buying one for your own home, you might want to give the elliptical machine further research. If you’re looking for guidance on choosing the best elliptical for your needs, our comprehensive ProForm Ellipticals comparison is a valuable resource.

Learning About Elliptical Training

We had our first experience of elliptical training back in 1995 when it was introduced by Precor through a machine called the EFX or Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer. To put the machine in analogy, it would be something like a cross between running and cycling into one workout. 
With elliptical training, you are pushing the resistance on a flywheel with the use of your legs on a pedal and your arms on the handles. Because this range of motion is consistent and fixed unlike running, the experience comes out more focused and causes lesser strain on your knees.

If you are not yet fully convinced about choosing elliptical over other cardio options, then perhaps you would be surprised to hear that it actually burns more calories than running!

Elliptical Burns More Calories Than Running

Research from the Mayo Clinic showed that elliptical training actually burns more calories than running. Because you have arm handles in elliptical trainers, your body exercises are no longer limited to just motion on your lower body. You now have upper body workout included in the session.
Additional advantage of the elliptical is that its pedaling exercise keeps the feet firmly on the pedals instead of raising your feet and striking the ground with your body weight. This greatly reduces the impact which in effect reduces strain on your hips and knees. You could say that this is actually a solution to cardio without overworking your knees and hips.

To add to the existing range of motion that focuses on muscles that propel you forward, elliptical trainers also have an option to run in reverse which then shifts focus to your calves and hamstrings more.

The Elliptical Machine

elliptical machine

Any fitness equipment you want to add to your home or personal gym, you will always have to consider the amount of space it takes up. Elliptical machines can be as long as six feet in height and two and half feet width but can vary from fifty inches to ninety inches in length.

Even if you have considered the machine’s size for the space, always check if there is any more space requirement for its motion. Some machines can have a greater range of motion that extends beyond the machine’s current size. And because you are only counting the machine’s height try to consider that you still have enough space overhead when you do get on the elliptical trainer as you will be elevated during the exercise. So to help you with the surrounding spaces, it would be good to factor in twenty inches allowance around the machine.

Placement At Home

Given that you need to have a good overhead allowance, try to consider the placement of the machine in a room where you have a higher ceiling. See to it that the place is also comfortable and will not feel cramped or restricting. This is not just for safety but also for your overall experience. Elliptical training is already challenging on its own so you want the environment to be as comfortable for your training as possible.

Then you also have a view to consider. If you do not prefer watching TV or doing other things while training, it helps to face a window to give you a more open ambiance rather than feeling stuck inside the home. Studies have shown that seeing lush vegetation helps in the overall well being of a person. 

Depending on the seasons of where you are, do consider if the area has an appropriate temperature for working out so that seasonal changes will not be affecting your workout. Enough ventilation should be available to prevent the feeling of suffocation but it is not also recommendable to place your machine outdoors where weather conditions can affect it. 

Last but not least, do consider safety aspects of the machine if you have children or pets in the house. The elliptical trainer, being a wheel-like machine will have pinch points that can get little appendages stuck in it. Make sure you do not make the elliptical easily accessible to whom it may pose as a hazard.

Taking Care of Your Trainer

Decision making on what machine to buy must also come with a thought on personal maintenance of the machine. Thankfully compared to a regular treadmill, the elliptical trainer can go for long periods of time without having any problems or need to do maintenance. In fact, in fitness clubs, elliptical trainers last longer than their treadmill counterparts. Treadmills usually have problems with their running belt or their inclines. 

Because your elliptical trainer is an electrical machine, then you must be wary of things that can affect electrical devices such as:

1. Liquid
See if your room or area tends to have high humidity that might affect the machine. Though the general build is resistant to sweat, wipe off the external surfaces with an absorbent cloth after use.

elliptical machine

2. Dust
Not likely that the dust particles can destroy the machine, but it pays to be on the preventive side and not allow the enough accumulation of dust to interfere with the electronics

3. Electrical surges
Using an AVR or Automatic Voltage regulator will prevent damage to the trainer when there are unexpected fluctuations. It is not necessarily absolute that these fluctuations will completely destroy the machine, but the more sophisticated machines tend to be more sensitive and you do not want to lose your machine to something easily prevented.Taking good care of your elliptical trainer assures you that you will not let something of high-value go to waste. Speaking of value, how much therefore do you need to spend on an elliptical trainer?

Investing In Health

As a fitness machine that you could be using for several decades, they do not come cheap. Prices could range from a thousand dollars to up to three thousand dollars. Rule of thumb for buying fitness equipment: the higher the price the sturdier the equipment. Though it is not to say that you are going to choose the most expensive option, skimping on equipment by going for the cheapest price will eventually show unpleasant results in the long run.

For considerations on your purchase check on the following features:

  1. Drive location
    (a) front drive has the wheel in front and has smaller wheels below the pedals which may make some noise and vibration.
    (b) center drive has the wheels on the center and rides on cylindrical rollers
    (c) rear drive has the flywheel at the rear and makes this the longest of the three kinds of elliptical
  2. Heart rate monitor
    More sophisticated machines track your heart rate as well as adjust the resistance based on the heart rate or pre configured exercise you have chosen.
  3. Incline
    A not-so-common feature is the incline. Some elliptical trainers have the option to incline the pedals to add resistance.
elliptical in inclined position

Aside from the features, making this investment would also have you checking on the warranty and after-sales service. A quick background check online can give you an idea whether your machine provider is reliable. Brands that have been around for decades usually have a cleaner track record in customer service and parts provision.

Even more effective would be checking out the machines in person. This will give you the opportunity to check out the comfort of the machines and personal aesthetic if it fits your preference. Lastly, make sure the delivery service that comes with it will facilitate your placement of the machine or you might struggle with having to deal with getting it on the right spot at home.

Our team has considered all the factors outlined in this buying guide, along with their expertise and knowledge in Elliptical, to recommend the top choice for you. You can shop being confident that someone has considered all relevant information and you will get the best Elliptical to meet your needs. For a more in-depth analysis of ProForm ellipticals, we have prepared a detailed ProForm Ellipticals Comparison. This comparison highlights the unique features and benefits of different ProForm models, helping you make an informed decision. Happy shopping!