In recent years, elliptical use has grown to become a trend among fitness enthusiasts. This sudden boom in popularity is due in large part to its multiple benefits and all its functionalities. This type of bicycle offers a simple and very effective workout that allows you to train like a professional without leaving home.
There are many models and styles of elliptical bikes 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 its important to know what those needs are to make sure you don’t end up spending more money than necessary.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best ellipticals on the market
- 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
- 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 designed to be folded or stored.
- One of the important things to consider is the amount of weight it can bear which is usually between 260 and 300 lb. If you are at the higher end of the weight, always choose a model with a higher weight baring 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. Bikes 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 of the body.
Ranking: The best ellipticals on the market
Next, we will show you the best ellipticals you can find on the market. 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: Stamina – 55-1610 in motion E1000 Elliptical Trainer
This best-seller is a compact and lightweight elliptical trainer for the home or office. It’s foot-pedal-only chassis fits handily under a desk or in a closet. Thanks to it’s low impact design it helps protect your back, knees, hips and ankles. It comes with a multi-functional fitness monitor that tracks your progress and controls the intensity of your work out.
It comes with an electronic monitor that tracks strides, exercise time and calories burned. It has a sturdy steel construction with non-slip pedals. This model requires assembly, which users have reported to be a very simple process. This machine can be used sitting or standing, you can choose according to your fitness goals.
No. 2: ProGear – 1307 300LS Air Elliptical
The ProGear Air Elliptical is perfect for apartments or environments with limited space – space saving is a key feature of this model. This machine provides low impact on the upper and lower body while working on cardiovascular endurance and muscle toning. It has a weight capacity of up to 275 lbs.
It comes with a dial to adjust tension levels to make it a more challenging workout. It also has a heart pulse monitor that allows you to see when to adjust your workout in order to stay within your target zone. This product requires some assembly and it comes with transport wheels for easy relocation.
No. 3: Gazelle Edge – Exercise glider
This product has a large range of motion. It can go from a slow walk to a full run with no sudden stops. It comes with a 5-function computer that tracks speed, distance and time among other stats.
This model has extra-wide, non-skid foot platforms and is made of a 1.5-inch rolled steel frame for durability. For comfort, it has high-density foam handlebars and its maximum weight capacity is 250 pounds. This machine is reported by consumers to be a great starting point to any exercise journey.
No. 4: Exerpeutic – 1200 Folding Magnetic Upright Bike with Pulse
This Exerpeutic machine has compact storage and relocation capabilities. It is designed to support a maximum capacity of 300 lbs. It also has a high-torque 3-piece crank system with magnetic resistance, a heart pulse monitor and a double drive transmission system.
This product has been reported to have a great design. Customers say it is very easy to get off and on the bike, which can provide a more comfortable and effective workout. It comes with extended stabilizers to prevent any movement or tipping when exercising.
No. 5: Sunny Health & Fitness – Elliptical Trainer
This elliptical trainer has large anti-slip foot platforms and moving arms. Like other models in this ranking, it comes with a workout computer with varied functions such as time, speed, distance, calories burned, total distance and a hand pulse monitoring system.
The max user weight for this elliptical is 220 lbs. It has a compact 11” stride length that makes this unit ideal to use in small spaces. It offers 8 magnetic resistance levels to adjust the intensity of your workout. Buyers report it as easy to build and of good manufacturing. Because of the short stride capacity, it is not recommended for tall people.
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 you. 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. More commonly known as “cardio machines.” 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. Elliptical trainers don’t impose 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 places where they do classes revolving 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. This movement also means that the leg joints do not receive aggressive impact.
This machine is ideal if you are new to fitness and also if you’re an experienced athlete. It 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. 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 trainings 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 ellipticals is located at the front of the structure. The movement it provides is flatter than that of other types. It offers the widest stride of all designs. This is a decisive factor for those who are looking for more a demanding training.
- Rear-wheel drive: in this style, the steering wheel is located at the rear 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.
- Central traction: these ellipticals are smaller than the rest. The structure is more solid since it has the mechanism in the centre. This model offers a more natural position for the user’s body.
- Folding Elliptical: these are characterized by the fact that they can fold to store. 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. No more impact on the joints! They may not sound like anything special, but they’re a big hit in North America. They provide the same performance capabilities as indoor models.
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 the same.
Generally speaking, we can distinguish between several price brackets:
- High range: elliptical models for professional use, from 1,400 CAD$
- Medium range : prices range from 500 to 1,400 CAD$
- Low range: domestic ellipticals with prices between 250 and 500 CAD$
In order to choose between one model and 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. Good quality usually also means a product with a 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 heath.
How much space do elliptical trainers occupy?
The dimensions 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.
It’s not the same to finish the exercise and leave the machine where it is, as to have 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: 180/200 cm
- Width: 50/60 cm
- Height: 160 cm
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 The Bay and Sears., They are also available in most of the large wholesale stores like Costco and the Fitness Superstore.
But 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.
Buying an elliptical trainer is a financial investment. If we are not fitness experts, we may not know what features to look for in one of these machines. This is why we have prepared this complete shopping guide, in this one place you will find all the information about the most important features of an elliptical.
- 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 and the way you will pedal. The flywheel is the modern version of the traditional bicycle chain. It consists of an iron disc that activates the movement when the user begins to pedal.
This disc always goes faster than pedalling, which explains how smooth it feels. The faster the wheel motion, the smoother the pedalling. The resistance of an elliptic is determined by its steering wheel. The heavier the weight, the greater its resistance. This has an impact on joint wear and tear, remember to choose a lightweight flywheel to minimize impact.
Before magnets where used, ellipticals had friction straps to increase resistance. The straps wore the machine down and were very noisy. Magnetic resistance was invented as an answer to these problems. Magnets have a much longer life and are a lot easier to configure than straps.
This characteristic also influences how quiet the pedalling is. The movement of the steering wheel transmits heat to the magnets which then turn 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 longe service life. We can categorize them into two types of ellipticals:
- Aeromagnetic: With higher quality magnets. The structure has slots for air to pass through, allowing it to cool.
- Electromagnetic: These incorporate transformers that convert electricity into magnetic energy. They must be connected to a power outlet. They incorporate ventilation holes.
The resistance of elliptical trainers is their main characteristic. It’s what differentiates 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 improve metabolism. Each type of exercise requires a different degree of resistance.
There are several types of resistance:
- 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.
The drive belt connects the flywheel and 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 pedalling. 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 special 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 back and forth. 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.
Gym rooms are full of these styles. They are usually models of high resistance and with front wheels. If you’re looking to improve your training performance, you’ll need to look for more sophisticated models. Some, with electromagnetic magnets, allow 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. It’s time to get in shape!
(Featured image source: Bujdoso: 80782650/123rf.com)