Updated: December 2017

Elliptical Trainer Reviews:

Whether at the gym or at home, one of the most popular pieces of exercise equipment is the elliptical trainer. Elliptical trainers combine the movements of stair climbers, treadmill, and exercise bike into one piece of equipment. Why are elliptical trainers so popular? First, they are zero impact machines. Your hands and feet stay in constant contact with the equipment, meaning no pounding strain on your knees, ankles, or other joints, as is common with treadmills. Secondly, they allow you to work your upper and lower body at the same time - meaning a better aerobic workout, more calories burned. Any gym you walk into usually has a bank of about 10 or 20 of these professional level machines. The gym models are usually heavier, have larger motors, are more rugged, and of course cost more than home models. But depending on your budget, you can find elliptical trainers ranging from $300 to $5000.

Resistance control is done either manually or electronically. The more expensive models usually offer electronic settings. Sometimes the resistance setting is tied automatically to your heart rate to keep you in the optimal training zone. Most elliptical trainers also come with a variety of built in exercise programs, varying speed and resistance. You are also looking for smooth movement - there shouldn't be any sticking or lagging as you move your legs and arms. Consider the size of elliptical trainer you are buying - some are more than 6 feet long and weigh over 250 pounds. Will you have space for it? Will it fit where you want it? If you plan on moving it around, make sure it has wheels under one end so it can be tipped and rolled along - you don't want to try lugging around a 250 lb. piece of metal! Sound - check out how loud the motor is. Will you be able to watch TV when exercising? Will you drive your family crazy with all the rattling and humming? Look for variable magnetic resistance with electronic controls. These magnetic resistors do wear out eventually, but they are much better than other tension setting designs. Adjustable pedals - make sure you can arrange the pedals for safe, comfortable use and a custom fit for you or whoever is working out. Incline - if you want a broader range of workouts, look into models that have a ramp or incline setting. When it comes to reviews we trust Consumer Reports the most and they tested elliptical machines based on ergonomics, exercise range, ease of use, construction quality, safety, and features like heart rate monitor. They tried brands like Sole, Diamondback, PaceMaster, LifeCore, Kettler, Horizon, NordicTrack, and Schwinn. Their tests for safety revealed that 2 models from Stamina are considered a safety risk and consumers are told to avoid those. Even a Proform had a performance issue and it was left off the list of recommended ones to buy. If you look online at Amazon.com for elliptical trainer reviews models from Schwinn get the best ratings when compared to other brands and models. You can also read all the reviews and comments posted by actual customers which should make your purchasing decision well informed. Take a few minutes to browse the top selling elliptical trainers online here.

Best Elliptical Trainer:

RECOMMENDED - Top rated by consumer magazines and supported in online customer testimonials, the Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef Elliptical Trainer is considered a "best buy" at less than $2000. The Diamondback 1260 Ef scores the highest in independent testing and ranks very well for range of exercises, constructions, safety, and several other features. The console is easy to read say most owners and it displays critical information like calories, speed, pulse, time, etc. The built in Polar compatible heart rate receiver is a nice touch and it has a 325 pound capacity. The machine is sturdy and stable so you can exercise without safety worries. Another top seller is the Sole E35 Elliptical Trainer which is cheaper than the 1260 Ef but still rates well in several areas. The 27 pound flywheel and dual action functionality combine to give you the perfect upper and lower body workouts. The food pedals are oversize and adjustable so you can get yourself stable and comfortable no matter the level of workout. The LCD display monitor provides the master controls for all exercise routines. Capacity is 350 lbs. .

Home Elliptical Machine:

When it comes to an elliptical trainer you can use at home and not have to break the bank buying, Schwinn makes the most popular choices. The Schwinn 430 and 431 have each been bought hundreds of times on Amazon.com and the reviews are quite stellar for both. The 430 is priced at $599 while the 431 goes for $699. The Schwinn 431 gives you a few extras that the 430 doesn't. You get 10 profiles instead of 6, it supports 300 pounds versus 275 (Schwinn 430), heart rate control, time trial, 3-speed fan, MP3/iPod holder, and more. Both are considered excellent buys from experts and owners alike. Priced below the ellipticals you tend to find in gyms and health clubs, the Schwinns seem to hold up well in homes everywhere. You can view all the top rated Schwinn elliptical trainers here..

Picking the Best Elliptical for Home Exercise

Where can I buy an elliptical trainer? It helps to check out some of these elliptical trainers at a store before making a decision to purchase. You will likely be spending hundreds of hours on a elliptical once you buy it - make sure you like the way it feels. Sears carries the NordicTracks, Reebok, Proform, Healthrider, and other ellipticals. There is usually a Sears near everyone - start there for an in-person demo. The NordicTrack CX 1055 Elliptical sells for $999 at Sears. It comes with a PowerIncline Ramp to change the shape of your stride and work more muscles. It has motorized resistance and weighs 240 lbs.

Precor makes some higher end elliptical trainers. Their EFX 544 sells for $4295, though you can get a remanufactured one for $2100. Check out TreadmillsCentral.com for a large variety of elliptical trainers at good prices. They carry: Smooth Fitness makes the popular Smooth ME elliptical trainer. It's a little smaller, 4 feet long and 5 feet tall, but is priced at an affordable $899. It comes with electronic variable resistance, and smooth, quiet operation. It has a contact pulse rate monitor, and a wireless heart kit is available for $69. Another recommended model is the ProForm 900 Cardio Cross Elliptical Trainer. This is a cheaper model at just $379, but it comes with 5 pedal settings, has a compact design, and weighs just over 100 pounds. It uses reflex step technology to smooth out the elliptical stride and reduce stress on your joints.

Horizon makes a popular line of elliptical trainers. The Horizon Fitness EX-57 Elliptical Trainer ($599), the E52, the EX22, E53, EX33, and EX44. The EX44 is $999 and has 20 resistance levels, 10 preset programs, and telemetric heart rate monitoring. It has closely positioned pedals and a low step up height, making it easy and comfortable to use. The Horizon ellipticals also have a good track record for reliability and ruggedness. Whichever elliptical you choose, you will feel better and be more healthy before you know it. Always consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.