In North America, the use of elliptical machines has grown to become a trend among fitness enthusiasts. Its sudden increase in popularity is due in large part to its multiple benefits and all its functionalities. This type of cardio machine offers a simple and very effective workout that allows you to train like a professional without leaving the comfort of your own home. Today, there are many models and styles of ellipticals on the market.
Throughout this article, we aim to answer any questions you may have about these machines. Thus, enabling you to make the most informed decision at the time of purchase. We hope to help you find the model that best suits your needs, but first, it’s important to know what those needs are to make sure you don’t end up spending more money than necessary on things you don’t need.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best ellipticals on the U.S. market
- 2.1 No. 1: ProGear — 9900 HIIT Fitness Crossover Stepper/Elliptical Trainer
- 2.2 No. 2: Fast 88 — Portable Elliptical Machine
- 2.3 No. 3: Precor — EFX 222 Energy Series Elliptical Crosstrainer
- 2.4 No. 4: Ancheer — Elliptical Machine Trainer
- 2.5 No. 5: Teeter — FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about elliptical trainers
- 3.1 What is an elliptical trainer exactly?
- 3.2 What is the difference between an elliptical and other fitness machines?
- 3.3 What types of ellipticals are there?
- 3.4 How much does an elliptical trainer usually cost?
- 3.5 How much space do elliptical trainers occupy?
- 3.6 Where can I buy an elliptical trainer?
- 4 Purchase Criteria
- 5 Summary
- One of the most important things to consider when browsing is the amount of weight it can bear which is usually between 260 and 300 pounds. If you are at the higher end of that weight range, always choose a model with a higher weight-bearing capacity. If you weigh 290 lb, don’t choose an elliptical that supports that exact weight, choose one that can hold 320 lb.
- The position of the steering wheel is important when exercising. Ellipticals with the steering in the middle are smaller. Machines with rear steering tend to offer the smoothest and most comfortable movement. If you have experience and are looking for a challenge, opt for front-wheel steering which offers more resistance and a more complete exercise for the body.
- There are many different models of elliptical machines. They can be divided into two main categories: machines for professional use or domestic use. Household equipment tends to be smaller, for obvious reasons, they are also designed to be folded or stored.
Ranking: The best ellipticals on the U.S. market
Next, we will show you the best ellipticals you can find in North America. In this section, you will discover which one is the most suitable for you or your loved ones. You can also choose the resistance you like best and the type of equipment that’s right for you.
No. 1: ProGear — 9900 HIIT Fitness Crossover Stepper/Elliptical Trainer
This combination stepper and elliptical trainer is Bluetooth and Smart Cloud capabilities that connects to the free MyCloudFitness app that’s available on both iOS and Android to help you track your workout results. There are 3 workout goal settings via the app that specifically track time, distance and calories burned. This elliptical has an 8-inch vertical stepping path and a 9” horizontal path that provides a smooth and natural elliptical stepping motion, burning more calories than a typical elliptical.
Its patent-pending smart resistance knob connects to the console for more accurate tracking of watts based on tension levels. It is the only smart resistance knob available on the elliptical market with 8 levels of magnetic tension. It’s large 29 lb cast iron exposed flywheel provides smooth and consistent workouts vi a “Front Drive” belt system. The heavy-duty 3 piece crank system prevents any maintenance issues, increasing longevity.
No. 2: Fast 88 — Portable Elliptical Machine
Start planning and recording your fitness statistics with the advanced LCD digital monitor incorporated into the portable elliptical machine by Fast 88. It monitors distance, calories burned, time, speed, with scanning and target zone heart rate monitoring. This elliptical machine is 15.6 inch and provides you with a no-impact flowing workout for the upper and lower body, perfect for people who need all the benefits of running, but safer on the knees.
It has an adjustable magnetic resistance; 8 different levels adjusted by a tension knob to increase or decrease exercise intensity. It is constructed out of a durable and high-quality metal which can support a maximum of 300 lbs. The pedals have a no-slip design to increase stability and comfort. It is designed to be quiet and smooth allowing you to work out without disturbing the family. When finished, simply move the elliptical to the side or small corned by way of its built-in transport wheels.
No. 3: Precor — EFX 222 Energy Series Elliptical Crosstrainer
Precor introduced the very first elliptical in 1995 and has been the global leader in elliptical manufacturing for over 20 years. This Energy Series Elliptical Crosstrainer will provide you with health club quality workouts from the comfort of your own home. The patent design provides a smooth and natural feel while moving and keeps your body in a comfortable, posture-perfect position for long-duration workouts.
It has a SmartGrip tablet or mobile phone holder that securely holds in any device you may have without blocking the display. Included within its programming are 10 preset workouts that help tailor your exercise to your fitness goals. There are built-in warmup and cooldowns for each and they are configurable for 2 users. The high-contrast LCD display shows all your important workout date at a quick glance. It has a touch sensor and wireless heart rate monitoring that is compatible with any polar compatible wireless heart rate transmitter (sold separately).
No. 4: Ancheer — Elliptical Machine Trainer
The elliptical trainer by Ancheer functions smoothly and quietly to give you a total body workout right at home. The precision-balanced flywheel and V-belt drive provide smooth and quiet operations for those who want all the benefits of running but is safer on the knees. The easy to grip handles allow you to incorporate more upper body movement. The high-tech LCD digital monitor shows distance, speed, calories burned, time and scans and tracks your target heart rate.
The heavy-duty frame has increased strength, able to support a maximum of 330 lbs. The large pedals with ridges prevent your feet from slipping, providing extra stability. There are 8 levels of magnetic resistance adjustments that provide the user with a more challenging workout from beginner to advanced intensities. There are wheels at the front of the unit that allows the owner to move their bike/elliptical around the house at ease, whether that be from room to room or in and out of storage.
No. 5: Teeter — FreeStep Recumbent Cross Trainer and Elliptical
This machine by Teeter is ideal for all fitness levels, providing safe, zero-impact exercise. It has a comfortable and naturally-reclined seated position that reduces body fatigue and eliminates stress on the joints and back while still delivering a full fat-burning cardio workout. The unique striding motion protects your knees and other joints while engaging the near-silent variable magnetic resistance that adjusts in one simple dial.
The dual power motion works your upper and lower body simultaneously, engaging all major muscle groups to build strength and burn more calories. You can modify the workout easily by isolating your legs or arms to reach your desired intensity. Its intelligent design allows you to track your progress with the easy-to-read, battery-powered console. There is a built-in device stand, water bottle holder and convenient transport wheels for easy storage when it is not in use.
Shopping Guide: Everything you need to know about elliptical trainers
If you’ve read this far, it’s because you’re seriously thinking about buying an elliptical trainer. Here’s a complete shopping guide for you to know everything you need to, in order to get the right bike for your needs. Why should you be informed? Very simple: buying an elliptical bike is a financial investment towards your health.
What is an elliptical trainer exactly?
Elliptical exercise trainers are cardiovascular exercise machines that work out the whole body. They are designed to exercise all the muscles of the body simultaneously. It’s a good choice and a great alternative to running for those seeking gentle exercise for the body. This is because elliptical trainers don’t require to place much impact on the joints.
With the consistent use of one of these machines, you will achieve all of your health goals. If you’ve been to a gym’s cardio room, you have probably seen different types of these apparatuses. You can even find classes that revolve around the use of ellipticals. It should be noted that these machines are popular for how easy and comfortable they are to use.
What is the difference between an elliptical and other fitness machines?
Elliptical trainers offer cardiovascular exercise based on oval movements. Hence the name of ellipticals, because of their elliptic movements. This movement is similar to that of a traditional bicycle but involves many more muscle groups to be active. This movement also means that the leg joints do not receive any aggressive impact.
This machine is ideal if you are new to fitness and also if you’re an experienced athlete. Using these machines will help you reduce pain and injury caused by recurring impact on the joints. With this machine, you will exercise the upper and lower body simultaneously as you also gain cardiovascular endurance. Check out the following table for a list of all it’s benefits:
What types of ellipticals are there?
Did you know there are different types of elliptical machines? Each type of elliptical trainer has specific and differentiating characteristics. These differences affect the way in which we will carry out the exercise and also the different training options that we will be able to get out of it. Let’s see what some of these differentiating characteristics are:
- FWD: The steering wheel of these type of ellipticals is located at the front of the structure. The movement it provides is flatter than that of other types of machines. It offers the widest stride of all the designs. This is a decisive factor for those who are looking for more demanding training or those with longer limbs.
- Rear-wheel drive: With this style, the steering wheel is located at the rear of the machine, which provides more inertia. This translates into a more ergonomic, smooth and comfortable step. They have fewer moving parts, so they require less maintenance. They’re very practical models for gyms and homes alike.
- Central traction: These ellipticals are considerably smaller than the rest. The structure is very sturdy since it has the main mechanism in the center. This model offers a more natural position for the user’s body.
- Folding Elliptical: These are characterized by the fact that they can fold in order to be stored. This is an important feature for users who are looking for competitive models but don’t have much space. These machines still offer the same features as normal models.
- Outdoor: The best option for those who do not want to train indoors. If you like to run, you should know that with one of these models you can do it without pain. They provide the same performance capabilities as indoor models but they can’t be used if the weather is harsh outside.
How much does an elliptical trainer usually cost?
The price of elliptical devices varies greatly depending on their performance capabilities and extra features. The materials and the brand also influence the final price of each model. Each manufacturer builds trainers according to their own criteria and prices them in the same way.
Generally speaking, we can distinguish between several price brackets:
- High range: Elliptical models for professional use, from 1,400 USD
- Medium range: Prices range from 500 to 1,400 USD
- Low range: domestic ellipticals with prices between 250 and 500 USD
In order to choose between one model over another, you must keep your budget in mind. To save time when executing your search, focus on models that are within your price range. Like with most things, it is almost always better to invest a little more and go for a quality machine that will last and not give any issues. Moreover, machines with the best technology can help you reach your goals faster and easier.
Moreover, good quality usually also means a product with longer life. Keep in mind we are not talking about the best models with the highest prices, just be aware that investing in better quality is usually worth the money. This is not just a financial investment, you are also investing in your longevity and good health.
How much space do elliptical trainers occupy?
The dimensions of these trainers will depend on the model and the type of machine. To find the right machine, you must first ask yourself how much space you have at home. The answer to this question will give you the parameters for which model you need. Size matters when considering comfort in small spaces.
It’s not the same to finish the exercise and leave the machine where it is, as having to fold it and store it. For this reason, domestic ellipticals are smaller than professional ones. We recommend that you take into account the transport and transfer capabilities of each model. For example, making sure it has wheels and that the grips are foldable.
Broadly speaking, the standard measurements of an elliptical trainer are usually around the following numbers:
- Length: 70/80 inches
- Width: 20/25 inches
- Height: 60/65 inches
For this reason, you should keep the stride length in mind. Ideally, you’re looking for a stride length of 50/51cm, which is the average stride of most people.
Where can I buy an elliptical trainer?
You can buy them in the sports section of any large department store. You can find a variety of elliptical trainers for sale in places like They are also available in most of the large wholesale stores like Costco and Fitness Superstore.
We should note that on the Internet you’ll find more models, brands, and types of ellipticals to choose from. You can find them on Amazon, eBay or Etsy. If you prefer something more specific, you can search in pages specialized in sports machinery.
There’s no doubt that buying an elliptical trainer is a financial investment. If you’re not a fitness expert you may not know what features to look for in one of these machines. This is why we have prepared this complete shopping guide so that in this one place you’ll find all the information about the most important features of an elliptical. This next section goes over all the most relevant purchase criteria to keep in mind at the time of purchase.
- Inertia flywheel
- Transmitter belt
- Stride Length
Also known as the inertia wheel. This is one of the most important parts of elliptical trainers. It determines the type of machine it is and the way you will have to pedal. The flywheel is the modern version of the traditional bicycle chain. It consists of an iron disc that starts the movement when the user begins to pedal.
This disc always goes faster than the pedaling speed, which explains how it feels so smooth. The faster the motion of the wheel, the smoother the pedaling will feel. The resistance of an elliptical is determined by its steering wheel. The heavier the weight, the greater its resistance. Keep in mind that this has an impact on the wear and tear of the joints, remember to choose a lightweight flywheel to minimize the harmful impact.
Before magnets where used, ellipticals worked with friction straps to increase the output of resistance. The straps wore the machine down quickly and were very noisy. Magnetic resistance was invented as an answer to these problems. Magnets have a much longer working life and are a lot easier to configure and exchange than straps.
The movement of the steering wheel transmits heat to the magnets which then turns into force. This is what makes them work and pick up speed. That’s why they must have good heat resistance to function well and have a longer service life. We can categorize them into two types of ellipticals:
- Aeromagnetic: With higher quality magnets. The structure has holes for air to pass through, allowing it to cool down easily.
- Electromagnetic: These incorporate transformers that convert electricity into magnetic energy. They must be connected to a power outlet. They incorporate ventilation holes as well.
The resistance of elliptical trainers is their main differentiating characteristic. It’s what separates them from treadmills and other cardiovascular exercise machines such as exercise bikes or rowing machines. Resistance increases the difficulty of the exercise. Adequate resistance is essential for proper training.
Depending on the results you desire, you should provide more or less resistance to your training. It’s not the same to train for a race as it is to burn calories or increase your metabolism. Each type of exercise requires a different degree of resistance. We can differentiate between two types of resistance when ellipticals are concerned:
- Mechanic: A simple mechanism that unlocks when the central button is turned. It activates the tension cable that brings the magnet close to the steering wheel.
- Motorized: Allows you to adjust the difficulty of the workout from a screen. This model has a greater variety of resistance settings, these usually have preconfigured training programs as well.
The drive belt connects the flywheel to the pedals. It plays an important role in the functioning of the machine: the higher the quality of the belt, the more use you will get out of it. Before you choose a model, think about how you’re going to exercise. If you are going to train every day, choose a model with a quality belt.
It’s very important that you take into account how many times a week you are going to train. The transmission belt is in charge of supporting the most intense part of the exercise. If you’re going to use the elliptical occasionally, you don’t have to look for a strong transmission belt. However, if you want to train often and hard, you’ll have to invest in a stronger belt.
The stride length has a direct influence on the smoothness of the pedaling. The longer the length, the more beneficial the machine will be to your work out. The length usually varies from 7 inches in the simplest models, to 21 inches in some of the more professional equipment. There are also models especially for tall users with a 26-inch stride length.
The size of the pedals usually indicates the stride distance. In addition, they enable the continuous movement of the trainer. Pedals can usually be adjusted to different resistances and to move in different directions. Make sure you look for designs that are comfortable and pleasant for you.
As you can see, elliptical machines are some of the most complete cardiovascular training equipment out there. There are different types depending on the position of the flywheel or the resistance you desire. Each type serves a function and is appropriate for a particular style of training. There are many types of machines to perfectly suit your needs.
If you want to stay in shape or lose those extra pounds from the comfort of your own home, you can opt for a folding model. These are very practical because they allow you to store them anywhere. They are ideal for domestic use and can be just as good as professional models. You also have the option of choosing a more professional machine if you plan to train daily.
Gym rooms are full of different styles. They usually have models of high resistance and with front wheels. Keep in mind that If you’re looking to improve your training performance, you’ll need to look for more sophisticated models. Some, with electromagnetic magnets, allows you to set resistance, time and tilt.
You are now ready to choose an elliptical trainer. Just follow our guidance and advice and you’ll get the best elliptical to suit your needs. If you liked this guide, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment with your thoughts.
(Featured image source: Bujdoso: 80782650/123rf.com)