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In a sea of cardio machines, the elliptical stands out as the preferred choice of many people for a number of reasons – it is easy to use, it feels much better on the body compared to a treadmill, and you can multitask while using an elliptical. Still, many people are under the false impression that using this machine isn’t as effective as running on the treadmill or a stationary bike.
Using the elliptical is not cheating. In fact, it’s a fantastic machine for cardio that offers a low-impact environment to work your upper body and lower body. The elliptical can improve your cardiovascular endurance without taking a large toll on your joints.
Working on the elliptical also strengthens your core and legs while activating your body. In a nutshell, ellipticals are great, which is why you should consider getting one for your home gym.
To help you find an elliptical that suits your needs and wallets, we have compiled a list of best ellipticals available now.
- The Best Elliptical – Comparison
- 1. Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine – Our Top Choice
- 2. ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer – Best Budget Elliptical
- 3. Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer
- 4. Stamina InMotion Compact Strider
- What Makes a Good Elliptical?
The Best Elliptical – Comparison
1. Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine – Our Top Choice
The Schwinn 470 is one of the most affordable ellipticals currently available in the market. It features 25 different levels of resistance and a 10° incline ramp to make your workouts more challenging. This trainer also incorporates pulse grips to monitor heart rate and supports telemetry monitory too; however, a chest strap must be purchased separately. The total weight of the Schwinn 470 is 164 and its footprint is 70.1 x 28.2 x 63.2 inches. The transport wheels make it easier to move the machine from one place to another.
The Schwinn 470 sports a 20lb flywheel and 20-inch stride. This treadmill will stimulate a natural running motion, as it comes with the Precision Path Foot Motion Technology from Schwinn. The moving handlebars of the Schwinn 470 are ergonomically positioned to make the experience comfortable for you.
The convenience features of this elliptical include a water bottle holder and a 3-speed fan. It also boasts a USB charging port and Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to sync it with the Schwinn Trainer, Apple Health, RunSocial, and Fitness Pal to track your performance.
When you are working out on the 470, you have 29 preset workout programs to choose from, including fitness tests, heart-rate control programs, and custom options. The console is capable of storing a maximum of four profiles and you have the option to monitor up to 13 feedback categories like calorie goals, distance, and time. You can also transfer all your workout data to any of the apps supported by the Schwinn 470.
This elliptical boasts a blue backlit LCD display screen that is 5” wide. It incorporates a dual-track display and allows you to see your data on the bottom screen when you are using the tablet rack.
The Schwinn 470 makes some knocking or clicking noise and this problem isn’t covered by warranty. If this is a deal-breaker for you, we suggest you look elsewhere as most customers have complained about their machine making noises.
The Schwinn 470 comes with a 10-year warranty on the frame, while you get 90 days of warranty-covered labor.
- 29 preinstalled programs
- USB charging port
- 25 resistance levels
We Don’t Like
- May start making knocking or clicking sound
- Warranty coverage isn’t as good as some
- Doesn’t seem as durable as others
2. ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer – Best Budget Elliptical
If you aren’t sure whether you want a stepper or an elliptical, the ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer could be a good choice for you as it gives you the best of both worlds. The price is quite reasonable for a trainer that’ll give you a wide range of low and high-intensity workouts.
The elliptic path on the ProForm Cardio Elliptical Trainer is less horizontal and more vertical – 5” horizontal, 10” vertical. That steep path is the main reason this trainer will take up less room in your home gym than most of the other similar models. The 24 resistance settings and 32 pre-programmed workouts should allow for a pretty rewarding high-intensity workout.
The console doesn’t boast extensive features but it should be enough for most users. There is no heart-rate monitor on this machine which is a major letdown.
- Relatively small footprint
- 24 resistance levels and 32 pre-programmed workouts
We Don’t Like
- Hard to assemble
- Not the most durable and long-lasting
- May start making noise after a while
3. Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer
If you have a tight budget and want to buy an elliptical trainer that won’t put a dent in your wallet, the Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer by Sunny Health & Fitness is worth considering. This trainer uses magnetic resistance to offer a smooth and quiet workout experience.
With a footprint of 28 x 17 x 57 (length, width, height), this elliptical trainer is quite compact and features wheels underneath to make transportation and storage easier. The total weight of the machine is 60 pounds and its maximum user weight capacity is 200lbs. The oversized non-slip foot platforms are suitable for intense workouts. The handles of the Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer incorporate hand pulse monitor to provide heart rate readings. You also get information about the time, distance, speed, and calories burned on the display.
The magnetic resistance of the trainer can be adjusted via a knob located below the workout computer. One of the downsides of this elliptical is that it only offers eight levels of resistance. Another is that it doesn’t include any pre-programmed workouts. If these two things are a deal-breaker for you, we recommend you go with another elliptical trainer.
- Easy to transport and store
- Compact size
We Don’t Like
- No built-in workouts
- Only offers eight levels of resistance
- User weight capacity is only 200lbs
4. Stamina InMotion Compact Strider
This Compact Strider from Stamina has several other features that make it a good option. For starters, it has a decent-sized monitoring device. The Compact Strider also has eight levels of resistance, which means that you can make your workout more intense. The magnetic resistance can be adjusted via a tension knob. Unfortunately, the knob is close to the floor so you can’t access it when standing.
With the InMotion Compact Strider, you can also turn the pedals in reverse. This is a good way to challenge yourself. The handlebars of the elliptical are padded for extra comfort and also easily come off if you would rather workout while sitting than standing. However, they don’t have a back and forth motion.
- Easy-to-read monitor
- Pedals can be turned in reverse
- Low-impact motion
We Don’t Like
- Handlebars don’t move,so no extra arm workout
- Tension knob is located at the bottom
- May not be suitable for high-intensity workouts
What Makes a Good Elliptical?
The stability of an elliptical is crucial. If the machine vibrates a lot or feels not properly secured, you won’t be able to concentrate on your workout. Good elliptical machines are very stable and don’t make any sounds during their operations. Heavier elliptical trainers are more stable compared to their lighter counterparts. Other factors that add to stability include design, materials used, and overall built-quality of the trainer.
Most elliptical machines allow you to increase resistance to make your workouts more challenging. If an elliptical doesn’t offer the option to alter the resistance, you won’t be able to take your workout to the next level. This is why you should go with an elliptical that features a wide range of resistance levels.
Most top-of-line elliptical machines come with built-in workouts programs that can be selected using the display panel or the monitor screen. These may include weight loss, high-intensity interval training, hill climb program, cardio workouts, cross-trainer, and several others. If you want to perform different types of workouts at your home gym, opt for a machine that incorporates several built-in workout programs.
Elliptical machines vary in terms of warranty coverage. A good elliptical machine is backed up with a lifetime warranty on the frame and at least 90-day labor coverage.
Step on the elliptical carefully and slowly. Once you press the start button, keep the movements of your hands and feet at a slow pace, allowing all your muscles to warm up. Maintain this pace for 10 minutes and then slowly increase your speed to a level that is comfortable to you.
Make sure to manage the resistance while you are working out. Keep the resistance low in the beginning. Increase it when you want to make your workout more vigorous. However, make sure that it isn’t too high that you have to push your legs and arms extra hard to keep the elliptical moving.
If you want to see your elliptical performing at its optimal capacity, it is essential that you clean it regularly. After each workout, wipe down the trainer with a lint-free towel. Focus on the handles and console in particular. At least once every month, give your elliptical trainer a more thorough cleaning, focusing on the areas around the rollers and rails.
With average use, you’ll also have to lubricate your trainer once per year. Follow the instructions on the owner’s manual and review your warranty for stipulations about who is responsible for tasks like lubrication. Some companies require lubrication and other similar tasks to be handled by a professional.