Ever Unfolding is supported by visitors. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. More about us

Elliptical Machine Buying Guide

Last updated on: February 6th, 2020

The best elliptical trainer is sturdy in nature, easy to operate and mimics the natural motion of running. But before finding the best elliptical trainer for your need, there are many things you should consider. And that’s what we want to focus on in this elliptical trainer buying guide.

Use of ellipticals assumes running motion while eliminating the impact on the joints hence suitable if you have a problem with your knee or are recovering from an injury. The adjustable resistance and the moving handgrips successfully transform the cardiovascular exercise into a full-body exercise. For a typical elliptical user, a thirty minutes session may facilitate burning of between 180 and 270 calories according to the intensity of the training.

Just like treadmills, the best elliptical trainers provides a variety of improved features arising from the ability of the machine to connect to the internet. Therefore, these devices are a significant investment since the most costly one goes for about $3600 while the top-rated one goes for $2200.

However, these figures should not worry you because you can find a reliable elliptical at a cost lower than half of this. The more expensive ellipticals are often larger and sturdier than the cheaper models while most of their parts come with long warranties.

The leading model is solid and has a chest strap for heart rate monitor, twenty resistance levels, lifetime frame warranty, improved safety features and features top-score heart-rate features.

For better understanding and improved rating, ellipticals fall into two main categories; the ones with heart rate monitoring systems and those without monitors. Surprisingly the most expensive elliptical model does not have the heart-rate monitoring feature.

You can find the cheap and the mid-priced machines in some retail outlets and online stores even though the expensive models may be available only in the specialty fitness outlets.

Whether you opt to buy from a local store or from an online merchant, ensure you try out the machine before purchasing.

It is easy to notice a problem, for example, your knees bumping against the frame as you work out or various components failing to work as expected. You may not notice some of these problems from past customers reviews.

What you should consider

The safety features: When it comes to safety, ensure you buy an elliptical with a variety of safety features. Only a few models have perfect safety features.

If you have children, ellipticals are quite dangerous since the moving components of the machine may trap or pinch the children.

Buyers with little children should prevent them from accessing the machine. The buyer should also keep the machine away from visitors and inexperienced people.

Size: The size of the machine is an important factor to consider. Typically, ellipticals are approximately six feet by 2.5 feet even though some models are small.

Ensure you high ceiling space sufficient to accommodate you during the workout since the user has to be in an elevated position than when using a treadmill.

The choice of the elliptical will depend on your needs, the model preferred and the space available. You will also require sufficient space in the training room to get off and on without any risk of injury.

elliptical trainer pedalsErgonomics: Consider your comfort while on the elliptical. Start by checking the handgrips and proceed to the pedals.

Make sure the pedals are a reasonable distance apart for smooth and natural workout. Additionally, the elliptical running path and the length of stride should be naturals.

Therefore, you should try out the machine first to ascertain every component suits you before buying the machine.

Adjustability of the components: You need to find out the adjustable features of the elliptical. Some models have incline while others do not have.

Others have automated adjustment functions and others require manual adjustments. With all these variations, ensure you select the one that suits your needs and budget.

Advanced tech feature: You may check for USB ports, iPod compatibility docks, wireless connectivity features and internet features if you are interested in any of them.

However, although these functionalities are common with the modern ellipticals, they are usually hard to utilize while working out, and therefore, they remain optional.

Assembly: some elliptical machines can go up to five hundred pounds; thus, you should inquire about delivery and assembly of the components.

Before you place your order, you should find out if the price covers for the assembly costs or the service is available at an extra charge.

The assembly service and manufacturer’s assembly instructions are important particularly if you experience challenges working with tools.

An experienced person may take approximately an hour or two hours to assemble the machine. The process involves lifting various components and applying lubricants while on your knees hence the assembly may require two people.

Manufacturers’ warranty: Consider buying elliptical that has two or three years warranty that covers major moving parts. A longer warranty may is not necessary in most cases.

Elliptical features       

Some elliptical features certainly make workout less painful and quite entertaining while others may cause more harm.

Here are the common elliptical features:

Electronic programming

Most models have programming feature that allows adjustment of incline and resistance electronically. Cheaper ellipticals often have a manual adjustment.

Machines with electronic programming make adjustment easier. Besides, the user may feel motivated.


Check the design of the moving pedals and the moving arms since the moving arms in some models tend to block the view of the display.

When you hold the fixed grips ensure the moving handles are not whacking your hands.

Apart from this, ensure you pick a machine with a narrow stance as it is better than the models with widely-placed pedals.

The pedals with safety rims are better than those without.

elliptical trainer heart rate monitorHeart-rate monitor

This feature lowers chances of over excursion and consequent dangers.

Though most ellipticals have heart-rate monitors, chest strap heart-rate monitors are convenient and more accurate than handgrip sensors.

Console gadgets

Most manufacturers are introducing console gadgets such as a fan, LCD TV, and iPod dock.

However, you can opt to purchase the items separately. If they develop a problem, getting a repair service becomes a challenge.


You can also choose ellipticals based on brands. The following manufacturers’ profiles contain important information. (Arranged alphabetically)

Fitness Quest: It manufactures various fitness products including New Balance treadmills and common models sold via infomercials. Fitness Quest sells ellipticals at a thousand dollars or below.

Horizon Fitness: In dollar sales last year, this manufacturer was second to Icon Fitness products with seventeen percent. Its models go for two thousand five hundred dollars or less.

Icon Health & Fitness: The manufacturer produces and supplies the ellipticals under Reebok, Proform or Nordic Track brands.

It dominates the elliptical market and accounted for about seventy percent of money spent on treadmills in 2015. It sells the ellipticals at a thousand dollars or below.

Keys Fitness: It is based in Dallas and often manufactures Ironman elliptical models. Key Fitness models are priced at three thousand dollars or less.

Life Fitness: Home ellipticals by this manufacturer are available through the online stores or at the leading specialty fitness stores. The models within the price range of one thousand eight hundred dollars and four thousand two hundred dollars.

Nautilus: It produces equipment under Universal, Schwinn Fitness, Bowflex, and StairMaster. The price ranges between two thousand two hundred and three thousand three hundred dollars.

Octane fitness: It is a relatively new firm producing elliptical exercises that go for two thousand to four thousand two hundred dollars.

Precor: This is a leading manufacturer producing high-end workout equipment. It sells its models between $2500 and $5000.

Schwinn: Nautilus manufactures Schwinn budget ellipticals that are available online or at specialty fitness outlets. Schwinn Models go for a maximum of $1300.

Spirit: It has been in business for at least twenty-five years selling ellipticals nationwide through specialty centers. It sells elliptical models at $2500 and bellows.

Vision Fitness: The Wisconsin-based firm began operating in 1993 and sells its models through fitness stores and online platforms. Their price ranges between $1000 and $3500.

Tips for shopping

Reliable exercise equipment may be expensive, but you can find a good one at your budget if you consider the following points when buying.

Before visiting the seller or checking online, consider your budget and the space you have for the machine. Additionally, you need to determine how often you are likely to be using the machine since some models are more suitable for heavy use than others.

elliptical trainer availability of spaceConsider availability of space: Most ellipticals are heavy, hard to move and non-foldable and thus they may take up space like that of a dinner table. In the case of limited space, you may opt for different equipment that will save on space.

Consider the prices: Machines costing above $2000 are quite stable just like the ones at public gyms. Thus, they are less likely to be defective.

However, you can find a right elliptical for you at a lower cost. In elliptical ratings, the quality depends on extent and frequency of particular problems even though manufacturer’s warranty covers most of them.

Typically, it might take some time and frequent calls to have the machine repaired under warranty. By contract, machines selling for more than $2000 at specialty fitness outlets rarely have defects.

Consider the intensity of the workout: The costly ellipticals are usually sturdy, have more features and run smoothly than the cheap ones. An expensive machine may have better ergonomics, advanced features, and a generous warranty.

Shopping: You can get a reliable mid-priced elliptical in The Sports Authority, Sears, Wal-Mart and other retailers. Horizon Fitness, Schiwinn, Vision Fitness, and Trimline sells moderately priced models while specialty fitness stores sell expensive models like Nautilus, Life Fitness, and Precor. Regardless of where you decide to buy, ensure you:

Try the machine first: Use the machine first since each machine is slightly different from the others.

Determine the features you require: Some features like workout programs make the exercise interesting. Therefore, such features may help you attain your fitness goals. Avoid paying more for additional features that are not necessary.

Change your mind: Each machine is different thus when you try it, you may like or dislike it. Check various models and change accordingly. Additionally, you should consider different shopping options and be wary of inexpensive equipment advertised on TV or online platforms.

Consider the fine print: The amazing results in most advertisements have an indication of “not typical” note. In most cases, the systems combine aerobic workouts and diet plans. However, most of the results are sensible.

Consider the total cost: You should calculate the total cost including shipping, sales tax, and other related costs.

Beware of machine trials: Even though a month pay-back guarantee may sound a good deal, it is quite hard to return the machine to the seller. Besides, even if the seller accepts it back, the return shipping may cost a substantial amount of money.

If you observe these guiding tips, you will certainly find great top rated elliptical that will help you lose weight and achieve your fitness goals.

I’m a seasoned Interior Designer whose innovation, keen eye for detail and creativity have all earned me the reputation as a reliable go-to professional. Over the course of a decade, I’ve garnered extensive industry experience, successfully designing hundreds of bathrooms along the way. Additionally, I hold an Interior Design Certificate from College of Architecture and Design in Newark, New Jersey. Outside of my profession, I have an avid interest in all things related to fitness and cryptocurrency. If you are looking for a competent expert who can help you renovate your living space, then feel free to contact me today.

1 Comment
  1. Kenneth.. a very nice post.. just what i was looking for..

Leave a reply


Ever Unfolding