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Elliptical machines are interesting pieces of exercise technology.
They simulate the motions of running without the impact of a treadmill, while still allowing all the relevant muscles to work.
Like any piece of equipment, there are dozens of models available in all shapes and sizes.
Which model is best for your home use? Click here to see our #1 pick on Amazon.com
This guide reviews 5 of the best elliptical machines on the market, complete with pros and cons. In the end, you should know which machine will fit your lifestyle and budget.
If you’re looking for an elliptical, you’ve come to the right place. Before you dig into the reviews, however, you have to know what an elliptical machine is.
What is an Elliptical Machine?
An elliptical, also known as a cross trainer, is the modern evolution of a machine developed in the 1990s.
The idea was to create a machine that simulated running without the impact of heavy footfalls on unforgiving machinery or pavement.
The elliptical does this by providing a platform for each foot that moves in an elliptical orbit, or oval. Your feet never leave the surface, so there is no impact during the exercise.
There are several varieties of elliptical, with the fundamental design depending on where the flywheel is located. Many include arm grips for upper body workouts, though some do not.
Best Elliptical Machine On the Market
Let’s go to the comparison chart of the top 5 elliptical machines available in the market today.
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Top 5 Best Elliptical Machine 2020 Reviews
There are dozens of elliptical machines on the market, running from under $100 to over $6,000.
As a home user, chances are you will never need the features and benefits that come with the most expensive models.
The 5 models selected for review here represent the best elliptical machines available for home use. They each have different benefits and drawbacks, so it’s up to you to put this analysis to use to decide which one is the right choice for your home.
1. Sole Fitness E35 – Best Elliptical Machine to buy
2. ProForm 1110 E – Best Elliptical Trainer for the money
3. Schwinn 470 – Good Elliptical Machine 2020
4. Horizon Fitness Ex-59-02 Elliptical Trainer
5. Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine
The Four Major Features of the Best Elliptical Machines
Before you go out and buy an elliptical machine, you need to learn a bit about the major features you’re looking for.
Feature 1: Stride length. The stride length refers to the front to back distance of a single step in the elliptical cycle. Shorter people — those under 5’3″ or so — will need to find a machine with a short stride length. The machines above all have an average stride length, suitable for people up to a height of 6’7″.
Feature 2: Ergonomics. Different devices have different ergonomic sensibilities. The Stamina, for example, has little in the way of advanced ergonomics due to the lack of handlebars. The ProForm, on the other hand, has ergonomically designed handlebars and a seat incorporating ergonomic elements.
Feature 3: Flywheel location. The flywheel provides resistance to your workout. There are three positions for a flywheel; front, back and center. A front flywheel design is rare these days, due to the strange alterations in gait it produces. Rear flywheels are the most common, including the ProForm. The Stamina uses a center flywheel — in fact, most of the machine is flywheel — giving you even resistance throughout your step. The Gazelle is an older style machine with no flywheel at all, leaving the resistance up to your arms.
Feature 4: A break in monotony. One of the worst enemies to a regular exercise program is the boredom that comes from doing the same thing every day. To solve this, you need either a fancy computer with programmed exercise routines, or the ability to move your machine around to more interesting locations. The ProForm uses the fancy computer, while the Stamina and Gazelle opt for portability.
Choosing the Best Elliptical Machine
For most people looking for an elliptical machine, you have specific criteria.
- Solid technology that allows at least basic calorie tracking and resistance training.
- Mobility and portability, allowing you to move and install your machine at will.
- An average stride length that fits most people.
- An inexpensive, high quality machine that fits your budget.
Keeping this in mind, the three options above can be narrowed down into a single option. The Gazelle is an interesting, minimalist design in elliptical machines, but it lacks the flywheel for resistance training. The ProForm is a powerful home gym, but it is expensive and includes a large number of features the average home athlete does not need. Combine with the size, this makes the ProForm a bit more than most people need.
The winner is the Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine. This is a great elliptical machine for home use and commercial.