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Best Elliptical Trainer Reviews 2019 and Comparison Chart

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Elliptical trainers are some of the most convenient and comfortable fitness machines that you can choose from, due to many aspects. For example, they offer an excellent training setting for a superior cardiovascular boost, a full-body workout, and a great weight-loss potential, with a minimal impact on articulations. That’s why they’re great for a wide array of users. No matter if you’re completely out of shape, you’re no longer young, you’re recovering from an injury or you’re already at a pretty high level of fitness, a decent elliptical machine should be able to offer you the aerobic workout that you need.

But since there are many models out there, it’s only natural to feel a little bit confused when choosing one, if you’ve already decided that this is the training machine that you want to use in the comfort of your home. There are many specific aspects that you should know about elliptical trainers. Within this post, we’ll put them into view, along with a palette of some of the best ellipticals that you can find on the market at the moment. In fact, to begin with, here’s a table with 10 of the best ellipticals training machines for 2019, featuring their core specs.

Table of Contents

Top 10 Elliptical Trainers

UnitSizeMaximum
user
weight
StrideResistanceInclineConsoleWarranty
Schwinn 470
schwinn my17 470 elliptical trainer - 2017
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read-review-button-03
L:70.1"
W:28.2"
H:63.2"
300 lbs20"Eddy
current,
25 levels
Motorized,
0°-10°
29 programs,
Bluetooth
Frame: 10 years
Parts: 2 years
Electronics: 1 year
Labor: 90 days
Nautilus E616

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read-review-button-03
L:71.5"
W:26.7"
H:63.2"
300 lbs20"Eddy
current,
25 levels
Motorized,
0°-10°
29 programs,
Bluetooth,
RunSocial
capable
Frame: 10 years
Parts: 3 years
Electronics: 3 year
Labor: 1 year
Nautilus E618

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read-review-button-03
L:73"
W:27"
H:67"
350 lbs22"Eddy
current,
25 levels
Motorized,
0°-10°
29 programs,
Bluetooth,
RunSocial
capable
Frame: 15 years,
Parts: 5 years,
Electronics: 5 year,
Labor: 2 years
Life Fitness E1 Go

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read-review-button-03
L:81.7"
W:30"
H:58.9"
400 lbs20"Eddy
current,
20 levels
No14 programs,
2 user
profiles
Frame: lifetime
Parts: 5 years
Console: 3 years
Labor: 1 year
Sole E35
sole-e35-01-feat
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L:82"
W:31"
H:67"
375 lbsAdjustable,
20"-22"
Eddy
current,
15 levels
Motorized,
0° - 30°
10 programs
Frame: lifetime
Parts: 5 years
Electronics: 5 years
Labor: 2 years
XTERRA FS5.9e

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read-review-button-03
L:82.3"
W:21.7"
H:67.3"
400 lbs20"Eddy
current,
20 levels
Motorized,
20 levels
19 programsFrame: lifetime
Brake: lifetime
Parts: 7 years
Labor: 1 year
Fitness Reality X-Class 710

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read-review-button-03
L:67"
W:24.5"
H:68.5"
300 lbs20"Eddy
current,
24 levels
No26 programs,
4 user
profiles,
Bluetooth
Frame: 10 years
Parts: 5 years
Console: 2 years
Wear: 2 years
Marcy ME-704

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read-review-button-03
L:53"
W:25"
H:63"
300 lbs16"Eddy
current,
Self-
powered,
24 levels
No23 programs,
Recovery,
BMI
2 years
limited
ProForm 150i

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L:63"
W:26"
H:66.7"
250 lbs17"Eddy
current,
12 levels
No12 programs,
iFit enabled,
Bluetooth
Frame: 5 years,
Parts: 90 days
Efitment 005

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read-review-button-03
L:34.5"
W:24.5"
H:61"
220 lbs11"Manual
magnetic,
8 levels
NoTime,
Distance,
Speed,
Calories,
Pulse,
Goals
SCAN
3 years

Schwinn 470

The Schwinn 470 elliptical trainer has been around for a while, but over the years, Schwinn has brought improvements to it, releasing new versions. So, the model that we’re addressing here is the Schwinn 470 MY17 (2017), or to be more specific, the Schwinn part number 100517.

Frame & Parts

Although the Schwinn 470 elliptical trainer is not labeled as a commercial grade machine, it definitely has the construction, durability, and range of features at least of a light-commercial one. Its frame is made of thick steel tubing, coated with a rust-resistant and chip-resistant paint finish. It’s a heavy-duty, robust machine which can hold users up to 300 lbs (136 kg) with no problem.

The fully assembled machine is considerably heavy; it weighs close to 170 lbs (~76.5 kg), and this weight provides a lot of stability. Plus, the rear and middle bases of the machine are equipped with adjustable stabilizers, while the front base has integrated transport wheels.

This Schwinn elliptical trainer has two sets of handlebars, one fixed and one mobile. Both have rubberized grips for increased comfort. Also, the fixed handgrips integrate pulse sensors.

The joints between the moving bars integrate high-grade sealed ball bearings providing a smooth operation of the machine. Also, the pedal base bars are equipped with industrial-grade rollers which deliver a steady pedaling motion, and a firm grip on the base rails.

Drive & Resistance

The Schwinn 470 elliptical trainer is equipped with a 20 lbs (9 kg) flywheel which has most of its weight in its perimeter, thus delivering a consistent momentum. It’s also bi-directional, giving you the possibility to pedal in reverse.

The pulley is larger in diameter than the flywheel. The transmission between the pulley and the flywheel is done by a durale poly-v belt. Therefore, the operation of the machine is almost completely silent, vibration-free, and the belt doesn’t need any lubrication.

The machine has a motorized magnetic resistance system. In other words, it integrates a servo motor and a magnetic brake, also requiring to be connected to a power source.

The resistance can only be adjusted from the console. There are 25 distinct tension levels. The first few levels deliver a light resistance, while the 23-25 settings provide the possibility to exercise on a pretty high level of difficulty. The resistance can be adjusted gradually, but the console also has quick selection buttons for the levels 1, 5, 10, 18, 25.

Incline & Elliptical Path

This Schwinn elliptical trainer features an automatic incline system. It offers approx. 10° of incline and 10 distinct positions, from 0% to 100%. The incline increments are 10% (in this case, approx. 1°). Just as for the resistance, there are gradual adjustment keys on the console for the incline, but there also are quick keys for the 0, 20, 40, 70, and 100 positions.

The machine features the Precision Path pedals which not only that provide a non-slip surface, they also have integrated cushioning. The elliptical path is horizontal with the incline set to 0%, and rises at the front when you increase the incline.

In case you’re wondering, the unit’s pedals rise up to 26″ (~66 cm) above floor level. This being said, it’s recommended to use the machine in a room with a ceiling that is at least 30″ (~76 cm) higher than your own height.

Last but not least, the machine’s stride is 20″ (51 cm). Therefore, it can accommodate users up to 6’3″ (190 cm) comfortably, providing a satisfying stride during workouts.

Console & Accessories

The machine’s console features two LCD displays both with LED backlight. The top larger one shows the graphs of the programs, workout goals, incline and resistance settings, while the bottom, smaller one covers the main workout metrics, such as time, distance, speed, calories, pulse, and RPM.

The console makes available 29 workout programs. From these, 12 are preset, others are custom, and others focus on heart rate intervals. However, the console has Bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with various fitness apps. In other words, you can sync it with your phone or tablet in order to directly stream your workout data to SchwinnConnect or MyFitnessPal, or use other apps for their workout interface.

An improvement over the older versions of Schwinn 470 is the RunSocial compatibility. RunSocial is an online app that makes available several virtual routes that you can view and follow on your tablet or smart TV while you workout on your elliptical.

In terms of amenities, this Schwinn elliptical trainer offers several. Among them, we can count a sound system, tablet holder, cooling fan, and bottle holder. The sound system consists of two small speakers placed at the bottom of the console. The cooling fan is integrated right between the two speakers. The tablet holder is placed under the larger display of the console and can accommodate just about any type of tablet. And finally, the bottle holder attaches between the two fixed handlebars.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Professional-looking design
  • Enhanced stability
  • Precision Path cushioned pedals
  • Motorized incline – 10 levels
  • Motorized magnetic resistance – 25 levels
  • Dual display console
  • 29 workout programs
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Compatible with various fitness apps
  • Compatible with RunSocial
  • Sound system
  • Cooling fan
  • Bottle holder
  • Tablet holder
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • The fan is not too powerful
  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder
    will cover the top display

Summary

The Schwinn 470 is a robust elliptical trainer featuring a motorized incline system and resistance system. Its console has 29 built-in programs, also being compatible with various fitness apps, including RunSocial. It’s an excellent machine for users of all levels, great for muscle toning, stamina development, intervals, and weight loss. In all, it offers an exceptional price/quality ratio.

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Nautilus E616

Currently, there are several Nautilus elliptical trainers available, but the E616 is the highest rated. It benefits from an almost clean 5-star rating on various retailer and fitness websites, and that’s one of the main reasons we have selected it for our category of best elliptical trainers for 2019.

Just as the Schwinn model that we’ve reviewed above, the Nautilus E616 has been around for a few years, but has received several improvements. The version that we’re addressing here is the 100671.

Frame & Parts

This Nautilus elliptical trainer features a heavy-duty frame construction, most of its parts being made of steel. There are, though, several parts made of ABS material, these being the covers of the drive system, the pedals, and several other small covers. But nonetheless, the machine is built to support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg).

The unit is fairly large and heavy. With the frame fully assembled, it’s approx. 71″ (181 cm) long, and 27″ (68 cm) wide, while its weight exceeds 170 lbs (~78 kg). These being said, the machine offers superior stability and performs exceptionally even during the most intense workouts.

The machine is equipped with two sets of handlebars, mobile and fixed. The mobile handlebars are curved and have top rounded grips. The fixed handlebars are smaller, placed in front of the users, and integrated pulse sensors. Both sets of handlebars have rubberized grips for enhanced comfort.

Drive & Resistance

The Nautilus E616 features a motorized eddy current resistance system. This means the resistance adjustment is automatic, and can only be adjusted from the console, while the machine requires a power source. It makes available 25 resistance levels, the lower ones being perfect for recovery or light workouts, while the top, 23-25 settings allow you to train on a pretty consistent level of difficulty. Also, when using one of the preset workout programs, the machine will auto-adjust its resistance.

The unit’s internal flywheel has a perimeter-weighted structure, which means that it provides high speed and high inertia, great for intensity and interval training. It weighs approx. 22 lbs (~10 kg) which is not bad for an elliptical trainer. It also allows reverse pedaling, so you can add a lot of diversity to your workouts.

The machine uses a heavy-duty poly-v belt for its transmission. This means the drive system doesn’t need any lubrication. It also generates considerably less vibration than a chain drive, which contributes to the overall smoothness of the ride.

Incline & Elliptical Path

The Nautilus E616 is equipped with a motorized incline system. The unified rail of the unit is connected to the incline lift; its front part raises up as you adjust the incline. Since the incline system involves a motor, the incline can only be adjusted from the console, and the machine needs to be connected to a power source.

There are 10 incline positions available, and a total incline of approx. 10°. The console offers quick and gradual incline settings. Also, some of the programs use the incline and will auto-adjust it if selected.

With regards to the machine’s elliptical path, the first thing to mention here is that the pedals are articulated. In other words, they incorporate extra cushioning to completely eliminate the shock on your ankles and knees during workouts. Also, each pedal glides on a dual rail, which considerably improves stability.

The machine’s stride is approx 20″ (51 cm) which makes it perfectly viable for users between 5’3″ – 6’0″ (160 – 183 cm). Also, the pedal maximum height is approx. 27″ (68 cm), so it’s recommended to use the machine in a room with a ceiling that is at least 30″ (76 cm) higher than your own height.

Console & Accessories

The included console offers 29 workout programs, out of which 12 are preset, 9 are for heart rate, 4 are custom, 2 are fitness tests, 1 is for recovery and there’s also the manual program. Along with these programs, the console is Bluetooth enabled and compatible with various fitness apps which provide a wide array of extra fitness features. There’s also a USB port, so you can transfer your workout data into your Nautilus Trainer App or MyFitnessPal without syncing the unit with your tablet or phone.

The console is also compatible with RunSocial. This is an online app that provides virtual trails that you can follow while you’re exercising, for an immersive training experience.

There are both metric and English settings on the console. Plus, the unit can read your heart rate through the integrated sensors but it’s also telemetric; it works with various Polar HR chest strap transmitters.

Last but not least, the console features two LCD displays with blue LED backlight for improved readability. The bottom display covers the main workout metrics, while the top display shows the program grid, your workout goals and several other readings.

In terms of amenities, the most notable four are the sound system, the cooling fan, the tablet holder and the bottle holder. The sound system is compatible with most MP3 players or smartphones; the cooling fan is placed between the two speakers; the tablet holder is integrated into the console between the two displays, while the bottle holder attaches to the console mast between the two fixed bars.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Professional-looking design
  • Enhanced stability
  • Precision Path cushioned pedals
  • Motorized incline – 10 levels
  • Motorized magnetic resistance – 25 levels
  • 22 lbs inertia-enhanced flywheel
  • Dual display console
  • 29 workout programs
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Compatible with various fitness apps
  • Compatible with RunSocial
  • Sound system
  • Cooling fan
  • Bottle holder
  • Tablet holder
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • The fan is not too powerful
  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder
    will cover the top display
  • HR chest strap is not included

Summary

The Nautilus E616 is a heavy-duty elliptical trainer equipped with a motorized incline and resistance. It makes available 25 tension levels and 10 levels of incline. Its console has 29 programs, Bluetooth connectivity, and is compatible with multiple online training apps. It’s a machine for users of all levels, perfect for high-intensity training, intervals, and weight loss, but also for recovery training and muscle toning. And finally, it offers an excellent value and range of features for the price.

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Nautilus E618

The Nautilus E618 is one tier above the E616 model that we’ve already covered here. Although it offers an impressive range of features and a solid construction, it’s not sold as a commercial machine. It has the same number of programs and resistance settings as the E616 but it’s equipped with a heavier flywheel, it has a greater weight capacity, and has adjustable cushioning on the pedals.

Frame & Parts

The Nautilus E618 features front drive design with a heavy-duty construction; its pedals and rails can support users up to 350 lbs (159 kg), which is specific to light-commercial machines. Most of the frame parts are made of steel, with the exception of the rail covers which are made of aluminum, and several other covers made of ABS material. All the steel parts are coated with a black paint finish, resistant to abrasion and corrosion.

The machine is considerably heavy; with all the parts assembled, it weighs approx. 210 lbs (~95 kg) which means it requires at least two people for transport and assembly. But once it is assembled, it can easily be moved by one person as its front base features transport wheels.

This elliptical trainer features two sets of handlebars, one fixed and one mobile. The fixed handlebars have a unified design, with pulse sensors on each side. The mobile handlebars have a multi-grip design with built-in resistance and incline controls.

Drive & Resistance

This Nautilus elliptical trainer integrates an eddy current resistance system. Therefore, it needs to be connected to a power source. It offers 25 resistance levels. The lowest resistance level promotes a light workout, perfect for warmups or recovery training. The top resistance settings offer the possibility to undertake workouts for strength development, or high-intensity cardio workouts.

As we’ve mentioned above, the Nautilus E618 is equipped with a heavier flywheel than the E616 model. Its internal flywheel weighs 30 lbs (13.6 kg), which is quite an impressive weight for an elliptical flywheel. It also has a perimeter-weighted structure for a consistent momentum and delivers an extremely smooth motion. Also, the transmission uses a heavy-duty, poly-v belt, resistant to stretching and abrasion.

Incline & Elliptical Path

The Nautilus E618 features a motorized incline system. This means its incline can only be controlled from the console or the buttons integrated into the right mobile grip. The incline system involves a motor and a lift attached to the machine’s dual rail assembly. When the incline is adjusted, the lift raises or lowers the front part of the rail.

The machine provides an incline range between 0° and 10°. Its stride is 22″ (56 cm), which means it can accommodate users between 5’2″ and 6’5″ (157 – 196 cm), providing a satisfying range of motion.

At 0° incline, the machine’s elliptical path is horizontal, but as you increase the incline, the front part of the elliptical path raises, which results in a riding feel that resembles going up hill. This being said, with the incline all the way up, and the machine set on the 20th tension setting, you should benefit from quite a consistent workout difficulty.

This Nautilus elliptical machine is equipped with large pedals which have the uspension Adjust™ Performance Cushion System which not only adjusts their impact resistance, it also offers a slight adjustment of their angle. Also, the dual rail and roller system of each pedal considerably improves foot stability during pedaling.

Console & Accessories

This elliptical trainer is equipped with an advanced console. To begin with, it has two LCD displays, both integrating LED backlight. The bottom, thin display covers all the workout metrics, while the top display shows your workout goals, the grid of the program, and several other readings.

The console is telemetric. It can read your pulse via wireless HR chest straps, and an accessory of this sort is included.

The unit makes available 29 workout programs. Some are preset, some target your heart rate, and some of them are customizable. All programs automatically control the machine’s resistance, with the exception of Manual mode, and a part of them also auto-adjust the machine’s incline.

The console has Bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with various online fitness apps, such as the Nautilus Trainer 2, or MyFitnessPal. It’s also compatible with RunSocial.

This elliptical trainer includes a large accessory/bottle holder which attaches to the console mast under the fixed handlebar. The console itself integrates several amenities as well. Among them, we can count a sound system, a tablet holder, and a cooling fan.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • 350 lbs weight capacity
  • Professional-looking design
  • Enhanced stability
  • Suspension Adjust™ cushioned pedals
  • Motorized incline – 10 levels
  • Motorized magnetic resistance – 25 levels
  • Extra heavy flywheel – 30 lbs
  • Dual display console
  • 29 workout programs
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Compatible with various fitness apps
  • Compatible with RunSocial
  • Sound system
  • Cooling fan
  • Bottle holder
  • Tablet holder
  • HR chest strap
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • The fan is not too powerful
  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder
    will cover the top display

Summary

The Nautilus E618 is a solid elliptical trainer, with a construction similar to the commercial models, motorized resistance and incline, and a multi-functional console. It offers an impressive array of features, including adjustable pedals, 29 workouts, 25 levels of resistance, Bluetooth connectivity, wireless pulse tracking etc. It’s not exactly one of the most affordable units, but it’s definitely a solid fitness machine and offers a wide array of features; thus, we can safely say it offers an excellent value for the price.

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Life Fitness E1 Go

Although the Life Fitness E1 Go doesn’t have an incline system and is not exactly one of the most affordable machines, it still benefits from an impressively positive feedback from most users. That’s because it’s a highly durable machine which can hold plus size users with no problem.

Frame & Parts

Since the Life Fitness E1 is a rear drive elliptical trainer, it has quite a large footprint, taking approx. 82″L x 30″W (208 x 76 cm) of floor space. This being said, it’s not exactly a machine for a small room or apartment.

Its frame is made of heavy-duty steel tubing; the pedal bars and crank arms can hold users up to 400 lbs (181 kg) with no problem. This is actually one of the main pluses of this machine.

The fully assembled unit is quite heavy. It weighs approx. 211 lbs (96 kg), which means that it’s not exactly easy to transport and assembly by one person. But once it is assembled, it’s easy to relocate as its rear base features a set of transport wheels.

All the steel parts in its construction feature a durable paint finish which is resistant to corrosion and abrasion. The color used is gray, this being the only color available for this trainer.

The machine features two sets of handlebars, one fixed and one mobile. The fixed handlebars have pulse sensors and are placed right in front of the user. Conversely, the moving arms have curved grips while their connection points to the console mast and the pedal bars have high-grade ball bearings for a smooth operation.

Drive & Resistance

The Life Fitness E1 elliptical trainer features an eddy current resistance system which consists of a servo motor and a magnetic brake. The resistance can only be adjusted from the console and the unit needs a power source. As you adjust the resistance, the motor moves the brake closer or farther from the flywheel, which increases or decreases the intensity of the magnetic field, resulting in more or less resistance.

There are 20 tension levels available. The top 18-20 resistance settings offer quite a bit of tension and can help you break a sweat easily. Conversely, the first several levels deliver very little tension which is great for elderly users or users with certain disabilities.

The weight of the internal flywheel is not specified, but it should be close to 20 lbs (9 kg). It’s a balanced and bi-directional flywheel, made to deliver a smooth and steady pedaling motion. Since the machine has a magnetic resistance system, the transmission consists of a rubber belt and not a chain, to avoid any interference with the magnetic field.

Elliptical Path & Stride

As we’ve mentioned above, this elliptical trainer doesn’t have an incline system. But nonetheless, it can still provide a wide array of workouts.

Although it has a rear drive design, its elliptical path is horizontal; it doesn’t give you the sensation of going downhill as other machines with a rear drive do.

The pedal stride is 20″ (51 cm), and is non-adjustable. This is a pretty comfortable stride for a range of users between 5’0″ and 6’3″ (153 – 190 cm). Taller users may find it a bit short. Also, the pedal step-up height is approx. 8″ (20 cm) while at their highest position, the pedals raise by a few inches.

The pedals do not have any articulation or cushioning, but the machine does have the WhisperStride technology. This being said, there is almost no shock on your joints during pedaling, while the usage of the machine is whisper-quiet.

Console & Accessories

There are actually two consoles compatible with the Life Fitness E1 elliptical, the “Go” model and the “Track Connect” model. As the title suggests, we’re addressing here to the machine that comes with the Go model console which does not have online connectivity.

The Life Fitness Go console features a 7″ LCD display with LED backlight, divided into several sub-sections. It shows most of the workout settings at once, including, time, distance, speed, heart rate, target heart rate, calories burned, and the current resistance level. It’s also telemetric; it can read your pulse through the included HR chest strap transmitter.

The console has 12 preset programs and 2 custom programs, plus the Manual mode. The preset programs cover all kinds of workouts to keep you motivated. The 2 custom programs give you the possibility to create your own program, save it and re-use it. The Manual program allows you to exercise freely, adjusting the resistance manually.

There are three notable accessories included with this machine. The first to mention is the tablet holder which consists of a small shelf integrated into the console. The second position on the list of accessories is the dual bottle tray which attaches under the console. And finally, there is an HR chest strap transmitter.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Commercial-grade construction
  • High weight capacity – 400 lbs
  • Aesthetic design
  • Adjustable stabilizers
  • Transport wheels
  • WhisperStride drive
  • Eddy current resistance system
  • Large LCD display on the console
  • 15 workout programs
  • Goal settings
  • Wireless HR chest strap included
  • Tablet holder
  • Dual bottle holder
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • Large footprint
  • No online connectivity
  • No cushioning on the pedals

Summary

The Life Fitness E1 is an elliptical cross-trainer with a rear-drive, 20 levels of automatic magnetic resistance. It includes the Go console which offers 14 workout programs, 2 user profiles, and wireless pulse reading. It features an extremely durable construction with an impressive weight capacity of 400 lbs. Even though it doesn’t have an incline system and it’s not exactly cheap, it still is one of the highest rated machines at the moment.

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SOLE Fitness E35

The SOLE E35 elliptical trainer has been around since 2013, but since then, a new improved version has been released (at the beginning of 2017). This SOLE Fitness elliptical still remains one of the best machines for 2019. It’s a heavy-duty machine and offers an impressive range of features, plus online connectivity.

Frame & Parts

The SOLE Fitness E35 features a durable steel frame with a front-drive design. It’s a heavy structure machine, with an assembled weight over 200 lbs (91 kg). All this weight adds a lot of stability, plus, the machine’s bases are equipped with adjustable stabilizers. Despite its weight, the fully assembled unit isn’t too difficult to move, though; its front base has transport wheels, while the rear base features a lifting handle.

Most of the steel parts within the frame construction are coated with a black paint finish, resistant to corrosion. The rails feature aluminum covers, which are not painted.

The machine is fairly large; it’s 82″ (208 cm) long, and 31″ (79 cm) wide. This means the unit isn’t exactly the best choice for a small apartment.

There are two sets of handlebars on this machine, one mobile, and one fixed. The mobile handlebars feature a multi-grip design. They integrate incline and resistance controls. The fixed handlebars have a simple design and incorporate metallic pulse sensors. Both sets of handlebars feature rubberized grips.

Last but not least, the pedal bars glide on a dual rail system. They’re equipped with high-grade wheels composed of sealed ball bearings and a silicone coating for a smooth and silent ride.

Drive & Resistance

The SOLE Fitness E35 elliptical trainer is equipped with a 25 lbs (11.3 kg) flywheel which has a balanced structure in order to deliver a steady and continuous motion without any bumps. It also gives you the possibility to pedal in reverse; thus, you can diversify your workouts. The transmission uses a heavy-duty, poly-v belt. Therefore, the pedaling motion is very smooth and silent.

This SOLE elliptical trainer integrates an eddy current resistance system. In other words, it uses an automatic magnetic brake with digital control. The machine needs to be connected to a power source in order to make available the resistance. Also, the resistance can only be adjusted from the console, or the controls built in the mobile hand grips.

There are 20 resistance levels available. The 1-3 settings deliver a low level of difficulty, which is perfect for beginners, elderly users or users who require recovery training. Conversely, the 18-20 settings give you the possibility to train on a high level of difficulty, an excellent choice for an intense cardio workout.

Incline & Elliptical Path

This elliptical machine features an automatic incline system. In other words, its incline system is motorized. There is a small motor placed at the rear of the machine which controls the dual rail system. It makes available 20 incline positions.

With regards to the unit’s elliptical path, there are at least a few important aspects to mention. First of all, at 0° incline, the elliptical path is horizontal; but as you add incline, its angle changes, which results in a riding feel that resembles going uphill. Also, the unit’s stride is approx. 20″ (51 cm).

The pedals are articulated, which means they have extra cushioning. Each pedal is 2° inclined inward in order to provide a more natural foot positioning. Also, each pedal has three adjustment positions, from 0° to 10°.

Console & Accessories

The SOLE E35 elliptical machine includes an advanced console featuring a large, 7.5″ LCD display with blue LED backlight and large, easy-to-read digits. It covers all the important workout metrics, including, time, distance, calories, pulse, RPM, speed, and the incline/resistance levels selected.

The console is telemetric. Not only that it can read your pulse via the sensors in the fixed handlebars, it is also compatible with various HR chest strap transmitters. A wireless HR chest strap is included with the machine as well.

There are standard programs available, these being Manual, Hill, Fat Burn, Cardio, Strength, and Interval. Along with these, the unit also makes available two custom user programs and two heart rate programs. The custom user programs allow you to create your own workouts, save them, and re-use them every time you want. The HR programs are set for 60% and 80% of the maximum heart rate.

As opposed to the older E35 version, the newer one offers Bluetooth connectivity and is compatible with various online fitness apps, such as Sole® Fitness App, Fitbit®, Record by Under Armour®, Mapmyrun®, and Apple® Health. Thus, you can sync your smartphone or tablet with the machine in order to directly stream your workout data to one of these apps, use a different workout interface, compete with others etc.

There are several non-fitness features incorporated into the console as well. These are a sound system, a cooling fan, a tablet holder, and an accessory holder. The sound system consists of two speakers at the top of the console. There also is an audio jack in and a speakers port at the bottom of the console. This sound system is compatible with any MP3 player, smartphone or tablet, so you can listen to your music through the machine’s speakers.

The cooling fan is placed at the top of the console as well, right between the two speakers. The tablet holder is under the console display; it’s long and wide enough to accommodate any tablet. And finally, the accessory holder is molded into the bottom part of the console.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame – 375 lbs weight capacity
  • Professional-looking design
  • Enhanced stability
  • Adjustable pedals
  • Motorized incline – 20 levels
  • Motorized magnetic resistance – 20 levels
  • Large display (7.5″)
  • 10 workout programs
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Compatible with various fitness apps
  • HR chest strap included
  • Sound system
  • Cooling fan
  • Accessory holder
  • Tablet holder
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • No buttons for quick resistance
    and incline adjustment
  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder
    will cover the console display

Summary

The SOLE Fitness E35 definitely has the structure and range of features of a light-commercial elliptical machine, even though it’s meant only for residential use. It’s a machine equipped with motorized resistance and incline, has 10 workout programs to choose from, and online connectivity. It has an impressive weight capacity and adjustable pedals. In all, it offers an outstanding value for the price.

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XTERRA Fitness FS5.9e

The XTERRA Fitness FS5.9e is quite similar to the SOLE E35 that we’ve just presented here. It basically has the same range of features and design. However, there still are several differences between these two units. Nonetheless, in this short review, we’ll try to cover all its main features, its pluses, and its minuses.

Frame & Parts

To begin with, the XTERRA FS5.9e has a heavy-duty steel frame with solid pedal bars and rail system which is designed to support users up to 400 lbs (181 kg). The machine itself weighs approx. 216 lbs (98 kg); this weight is an important factor in its overall stability. You can be sure that it won’t rock or wobble even if you engage in the most demanding workouts. Plus, all its bases have adjustable stabilizers.

Despite its weight, the machine is quite portable, once it is assembled. Its front base has transport wheels while its rear base has a lifting handle.

All the steel parts in its construction feature a rust-resistant and chip-resistant paint finish. Several parts also have ABS covers.

The machine’s rails have aluminum covers, while the pedal bars are equipped with high-grade wheels, all for a very smooth pedaling motion.

There are two sets of handlebars on this machine. The mobile ones feature a multi-grip design, with controls for incline and resistance. The fixed ones are equipped with pulse sensors.

Drive & Resistance

The XTERRA Fitness FS5.9e is equipped with a 25 lbs (11.3 kg) flywheel. It has a balanced structure, designed to deliver a fluid, continuous motion and a consistent momentum. It also allows you to pedal in reverse, and when pedaling in reverse, the console will still continue to track your workout metrics.

This elliptical machine uses a durable, poly-v belt, for its transmission, designed to last for many years of use. Since it’s a belt drive, it doesn’t require lubrication, while the vibration generated during pedaling is almost inexistent.

Just as all the above elliptical machines, the FS5.9e has an automatic eddy current resistance system. It’s equipped with an internal magnetic brake and a servo motor, while the resistance can only be adjusted from the console or the controls built-in the handlebars.

The machine makes available 20 levels of resistance. The first three settings deliver light workouts, perfect for warming up, for elderly users, or for users who require recovery training. The top resistance levels offer a very consistent pedaling tension, giving you the possibility to achieve a higher heart rate in a shorter period of time, and a more intense muscle burn.

Incline & Elliptical Path

This XTERRA elliptical trainer features a motorized incline system as well. The rail system of the unit is connected to a small lift and a motor, and when the incline is increased, the lift elevates the two side rails. The machine’s incline system offers 20 levels of incline, with a maximum incline of approx. 17°.

The pedals are cushioned and feature 2° inward tilt, in order to provide a more natural foot positioning. Each pedal has three adjustment positions, offering angles of 0°, 5°, and 10°. This is quite a useful feature as some users may get foot numbness due to the nerves compression, and adjusting the pedals angle can eliminate this problem.

The machine’s stride is fixed; it has a length of 20″ (51 cm), which means the machine can provide a satisfying range of motion for users up to 6’3″ (190 cm). Also, the Q-Factor (spacing between the pedals) is 2″ (5 cm). Therefore, your feet are naturally positioned on the pedals so there is not extra lateral stress.

Console & Accessories

The machine’s console features an LCD display with LED backlight. It tracks all the important workout metrics, and also has a race track function for the distance display, and goal settings for time, distance, and calories. It can also track your pulse rate through a wireless chest strap, and this accessory is included.

The console offers 15 preset programs which automatically adjust the resistance and the incline. Plus, there also are 2 custom programs and 2 heart rate programs which are preset for 60%, and respectively 80% of the maximum heart rate. The unit does not have online capabilities.

Along with the aforementioned fitness features, the console also offers four amenities. These are a sound system, a cooling fan, an accessory holder, and a tablet shelf. The sound system and the fan are at the top of the console. The accessory holder consists of a groove between the console controls; it can accommodate your phone, keys, TV remote, earplugs, and other small accessories. And finally, the tablet holder is a small ledge under the console display.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame – 400 lbs weight capacity
  • Professional-looking design
  • Enhanced stability
  • Adjustable pedals
  • Motorized incline – 20 levels
  • Motorized magnetic resistance – 20 levels
  • Large display with LED backlight
  • 15 preset programs
  • 2 custom programs
  • 2 HR programs
  • HR chest strap included
  • Sound system
  • Cooling fan
  • Accessory holder
  • Tablet holder
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • No buttons for quick resistance
  • and incline adjustment
  • No online connectivity
  • A tablet placed on the tablet holder
    will cover the console display

Summary

The XTERRA Fitness FS5.9e is a heavy-duty elliptical trainer, equipped with motorized incline and resistance. It excels in comfort factors, featuring a set of adjustable and cushioned pedals, resistance and incline controls built-in the handlebars and more. Also, its console provides a wide array of workout programs and several amenities. In all, it’s an excellent machine offering great value for the price.

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Fitness Reality X-Class 710

The Fitness Reality X-Class 710 is an “open-flywheel” elliptical trainer which reminds of the construction of an indoor cycling bike. That’s because it is equipped with an extra-heavy, perimeter-weighted flywheel. For reference, this is the Fitness Reality part number 2366.

Frame & Parts

The X-Class 710 elliptical machine has a durable frame made of steel tubing, with the exception of its rails which are aluminum made. Its pedals and rails are designed to support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg).

The fully assembled machine has a fairly heavy structure; it’s approx. 154 lbs (70 kg), and this weight plays an important role in its stability. Its base bars also have adjustable levelers while the front base has transport wheels.

The machine features two sets of handlebars, one mobile and one fixed. The mobile handlebars have long grips with top, ovalized grips. The fixed handlebars offer a horizontal grip; they also integrate pulse sensors.

Drive & Resistance

As opposed to many other ellipticals, the Fitness Reality X-Class 710 features an extra-heavy, 44 lbs (20 kg) flywheel, similar to spin bikes. This flywheel is designed to generate an aggressive inertia, but also provides a steady pedaling motion. The transmission between the main pulley and the flywheel involved a heavy-duty rubber belt, which delivers a very quiet, vibration-free motion.

The machine’s resistance system involves a small servo motor and a magnetic brake. The resistance can only be adjusted from the console, and the unit needs to be connected to a power source. As you adjust the resistance, the servo motor changes the position of the brake in relation to the flywheel. This way, it adds or reduces the intensity of the magnetic field, and thus adjusts the pedaling difficulty.

There are 24 tension settings available. The first level of resistance provides a fairly light pedaling difficulty, but due to the weight of the flywheel, the momentum is quite consistent. This being said, it’s recommended to gradually stop the pedaling motion if you decide to pedal in reverse. Conversely, the highest tension settings provide a tough challenge.

Elliptical Path & Stride

This Fitness Reality elliptical trainer doesn’t have an incline system. Also, despite the fact it is a front drive machine, its elliptical path is slightly inclined forward. This results in a motion that resembles going down on a soft hill. This leads to a more intense workout for the glutes.

The pedals are made of a durable ABS material; they don’t have any cushioning and they’re non-adjustable. But due to the engineering behind the drive system, the pedaling motion does not produce any shock. The supporting bars of the pedals are equipped with industrial-grade silicone wheels, while the aluminum rails cradle each wheel adding stability to the ride.

The machine’s stride is fixed, having a length of 20″ (51 cm). This being said, it accommodates comfortably users between 5’3″ and 6’3″ (155 – 190 cm). Also, the highest pedal position is approx. 21″ above floor level. So, it’s recommended to use the machine in a room with a ceiling that is at least 25″ (64 cm) above your own height.

Console & Accessories

The Fitness Reality X-Class 710 is equipped with a programmable console. Its display is 6″ in diagonal and has LED backlight for improved readability. It tracks time, distance, RPM, speed, watts, calories, and heart rate.

The console offers plenty of workout programs. 20 are preset, 3 are for heart rate, 2 are custom, and 1 is manual. There is also a Recovery Test function.

The unit also has Bluetooth connectivity. The Bluetooth Smart Technology allows you to sync your trainer with your IOS device in order to directly transfer your workout data into the free MyFitQuest App. This way, you can keep track of your progress, set up fitness goals, etc.

Last but not least, the machine’s console integrates a sound system and a tablet holder. The sound system consists of two speakers, placed at the bottom of the unit. It’s compatible with most MP3 players and smartphones, and the audio jack is on the back. The tablet holder is at the top of the console, so if you place a tablet on it, it won’t block the view of the console display.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Durable frame – 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Superior stability
  • Transport wheels and lifting handle
  • Extra-heavy, perimeter-weighted flywheel
  • Large, ergonomic pedals
  • Pulse sensors
  • Frictionless magnetic resistance
  • 24 tension levels
  • 26 workout programs
  • Recovery test function
  • Bluetooth Smart Technology
  • Compatible with MyFitQuest app
  • Sound system included
  • Tablet holder included
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • No incline
  • No buttons for quick resistance adjustment

Summary

The Fitness Reality X-Class 710 elliptical trainer is a heavy-duty fitness machine, offering 24 levels of eddy current resistance, an extra-heavy flywheel, and a Bluetooth console with over 26 workout applications. It has a sturdy construction, its pedals and rails can hold users up to 300 lbs. It’s a great machine for interval training, stamina development, muscle toning, and weight loss. It’s not one of the most affordable ellipticals but does offer an excellent value for the price.

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Marcy ME-704

The Marcy ME-704 elliptical trainer is part of the self-generating series that Marcy Fitness released at the beginning of 2018. Although it’s an affordable machine, it’s equipped with an internal generator and produces the energy required to power the console when you pedal.

Frame & Parts

The Marcy ME-704 is an elliptical trainer designed for home use, but nonetheless, it does have quite a sturdy frame and can hold users up to 300 lbs (136 kg).

This Marcy elliptical trainer is not extremely large. It takes approx. 53″L x 25″W (135 x 64 cm) of space, but it’s recommended to leave at least two feet of clearance all around it for safe usage. It’s also not extremely heavy; with all the parts assembled, it weighs approx. 97 lbs (44 kg), which is enough to provide a proper stability. Plus, its rear base features adjustable stabilizers while its front base has transport wheels.

Evidently, the frame is made of steel tubing, the only non-steel parts in its construction are the pedals and the covers of the drive system. All the steel parts are coated with a rust-resistant paint finish.

Drive & Resistance

The Marcy ME-704 elliptical trainer is equipped with an eddy current resistance system. It basically consists of a small motor and a magnetic brake, plus an internal generator which produces the required energy to power the console and activates the brake when you pedal. This being said, the unit does not require to be connected to a power source, and the resistance is exclusively adjusted from the console.

There are 24 resistance levels available. Also, most of the preset programs built-in the console automatically adjust the resistance, if you choose to exercise by them.

The internal flywheel is balanced and bi-directional. It’s designed to provide a steady motion, and a low impact workout even during the highest tension settings. The transmission system is belt-based, using a high-grade rubber belt which delivers a whisper-quiet pedaling motion.

Elliptical Path & Stride

This elliptical trainer features a rear drive system, with a crankset similar to an exercise bike. This being said, the elliptical path is slightly inclined forward, which leads to a pedaling feel that resembles going down a soft ramp. For some users this is a plus, as it puts more focus on the glutes.

The pedals are made of durable ABS material. They’re directly attached to their medal bars, without having any cushioning or articulation. The highest pedal point is approx. 16″ (40 cm) above floor level

Compared to other similar elliptical trainers, the Marcy ME-704 has a slightly longer stride (16″/40 cm). This means a taller person (over 6’0″) will still benefit from a more complete range of motion.

Console & Accessories

The included console features an LCD display with blue LED backlight and large digits, easy to read. It shows all workout metrics at once, so you don’t have to use a scan feature to rotate them. It tracks time, distance, calories, speed, RPM, pulse, and the selected resistance setting.

The console offers 23 workout programs, 1 manual, 12 preset, 4 custom, 5 heart rate, and 1 watts. It also has a Recovery function and a BMI function.

The unit is telemetric. This means it can read your pulse via an HR chest strap transmitter. This accessory is not included, though. So, if you don’t opt for one, you can always use the sensors incorporated into the stationary handlebars.

In terms of amenities, there are two more notable ones, the tablet holder and the sound system. The tablet holder is integrated into the console, right under the display. The sound system is also integrated into the console, the speakers being at the bottom. It’s compatible with most smartphones or MP3 players, and the audio jack is on the back of the unit.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Excellent stability
  • Self-generating motorized magnetic resistance
  • 24 resistance levels available
  • Telemetric console
  • LCD display with LED backlight
  • 23 workout programs
  • BMI and Recovery functions
  • Tablet holder
  • Sound system
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • No HR chest strap
  • No bottle holder

Summary

The Marcy ME-704 is an elliptical trainer made for home use. It features a self-generating magnetic resistance system with 24 levels, and a console that offers 23 workout programs. It’s a machine for light to mid-range intensity cardio workouts, one of the most affordable trainers with a self-powering resistance system at the moment.

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ProForm 150i

The ProForm 150i is one of the most affordable elliptical machines from ProForm. Although it doesn’t have an incline system, it does offer a pretty impressive range of features and a programmable console.

Frame & Parts

The ProForm 150i is an elliptical machine for home use but does offer a weight capacity of 250 lbs (113 kg). Its core frame is steel-made, but there also are several ABS parts. Among them, we can count the pedals, the console case, and the covers of the drive system.

The unit is smaller than other ellipticals with a front drive but still is a fairly large machine. With the frame fully assembled, its 63″ (160 cm) long, and 26″ (66 cm) wide. It also weighs approx. 127 lbs (57.6 kg), but once it is assembled, its transport can easily be done via its front transport wheels.

The machine features two sets of handlebars. Both have rubberized, simple grips. The fixed ones also have integrated pulse sensors.

The whole frame is coated with a corrosion-resistant and abrasion-resistant paint finish. The color used is black, this being the only version available.

Drive & Resistance

This ProForm elliptical trainer features an automatic magnetic resistance system which consists of a servo motor and a magnetic brake. The resistance can only be controlled from the console. Also, some of the programs will auto-adjust the resistance if selected.

There are 12 tension levels available. The first 1-3 levels provide a very light resistance, great for recovery training, or for users with disabilities. Conversely, the top 11-12 resistance settings provide enough resistance to give you the possibility to break a sweat, improve stamina, and tone leg muscles.

The machine uses a belt drive. The weight of the internal flywheel is not specified, but given the dimensions of the machine and its overall weight, we can safely say that it should be between 12 and 20 lbs (5.4 – 9.0 kg). It’s a balanced flywheel which delivers a smooth pedaling motion. It’s also bi-directional, allowing you to pedal in reverse.

Stride & Elliptical Path

The ProForm 150i features a fixed stride which is 17″ (43 cm). This means it can provide a satisfying range of motion for users up to 6’0″ (183 cm). Also, the pedals raise at approx. 20″ (51 cm) above floor level, so it’s recommended to use the machine in a room with a ceiling of at least 25″ (63 cm) above your own height.

The unit’s elliptical path is pretty much horizontal, delivering a natural motion. The pedals do not have any cushioning, but nonetheless, like most ellipticals with a front drive and rear rails for the pedals, the pedaling motion generates very little impact.

Console & Accessories

The first aspect to mention here is that the console can be powered by a set of four D batteries, but the machine can also use a 110-220V – 6V, 2A adapter. This adapter is not included.

The console has a backlit LCD display, divided into three sections. It tracks time, distance, speed, RPM, pulse, and calories. For the pulse reading, you can use the integrated sensors, but the console unit can communicate with several types of HR chest strap transmitters.

The console offers 12 preset programs and has buttons for quick selection of the program duration. It’s also Bluetooth enabled and iFit compatible. Therefore, you can sync it with your phone or tablet in order to directly stream your data into your iFit account, or use the iFit app as your fitness meter directly on your device.

In terms of amenities, there are two features to mention here. These are the sound system and the tablet holder. The sound system consists of two small speakers placed at the top of the unit. It is compatible with most MP3 players, smartphones, or tablets. It has an audio jack and volume controls, while the sound rendered by it is superior to the speakers of most smartphones or tablets. The tablet holder is placed under the main display. It can serve as a shelf for most tablets.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sturdy frame
  • Transport wheels
  • Rear levelers
  • Large, ergonomic pedals
  • Pulse sensors
  • 12 levels of eddy current resistance
  • Telemetric console
  • 12 preset programs
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • iFit compatible
  • Sound system
  • Tablet holder
  • Bottle holder
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required
  • Excellent warranty

Cons

  • No incline
  • A tablet placed on the tablet support
    will cover the console display

Summary

The ProForm 150i is a mid-range, front-drive elliptical trainer featuring an eddy current resistance system, and an iFit compatible console with 12 built-in programs. It’s an excellent machine for light to mid-range workouts, muscle toning, stamina development, and weight loss. It’s one of the most affordable machines with Bluetooth connectivity and a programmable console, and so far, it benefits from a positive feedback from most users.

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Efitment E005

The Efitment E005 is one of the best elliptical trainers in the affordable category. This is definitely not a commercial-grade machine but does offer a pretty decent construction and range of features. So far, this machine has gathered an impressive amount of positive reviews from users, and that’s one of the main reasons it is on our list here.

Frame & Parts

The Efitment E005 is a space-saving machine; with the frame fully assembled, it’s only 34.5″ (88 cm) long, and 24.5″ (62 cm) wide. Although its frame is made of steel tubing, it only weighs approx. 63 lbs (28.5 kg), so its carrying and assembly shouldn’t be a problem for one person.

This elliptical machine is light-weight capacity but does support users up to 220 lbs (100 kg). Its pedals don’t integrate any articulation, but they’re fairly large and have an anti-slip surface.

The unit is equipped with two sets of handlebars with long and rubberized grips. The fixed ones also integrate EKG sensors which is quite a plus for an affordable machine.

Drive & Resistance

The weight of the machine’s internal flywheel is not specified. However, considering the total weight of the unit, this part should be around 8-12 lbs, which is just enough to provide a decent momentum. The unit’s drive system uses a rubber belt, which delivers a smooth and silent motion, and of course, it doesn’t require any lubrication.

This type of elliptical trainer is also known as an elliptical bike, as the pedal bars are attached to a set of crank arms. These crank arms are made of solid steel, while the joints between the pedals and the crank arms integrate ball bearings for a smooth motion.

The machine’s resistance system is magnetic with a manual action. It consists of a magnetic brake which is attached to the tension dial on the front mast through a steel wire. When you turn the dial clockwise, the brake moves closer to the flywheel which increases the resistance. The machine makes available 8 distinct tension levels.

Stride & Elliptical Path

Considering that the Efitment E005 is a rather small machine, its stride isn’t exactly long either. It is only 11″ (28 cm) long, and this being said, the unit isn’t exactly the best choice for a tall user. That’s because this stride will not offer a complete range of motion for a tall user. But nonetheless, regardless of your height, it can still help you burn some calories.

Like most ellipticals with a rear drive, the machine’s elliptical path is slightly leaned forward. This means the pedaling feel resembles walking down a soft hill. This leads to a better workout for the glutes and quads.

The pedal step-up height is approx. 6″ (15 cm), while the highest point reaches a height of approx. 12″ (31 cm) above floor level. Thus, it is recommended to use the machine in a room with a ceiling height at least 15″ higher than your own height.

Console & Accessories

This Efitment elliptical trainer includes a basic console featuring a small LCD display which tracks the main workout metrics, including time, distance, total distance, speed, calories, and pulse. The console does not have any preset programs but does offer the possibility to select target values for time, distance, and calories. It also has a scan function which alternates the workout metrics on the display, showing each one for a few seconds. The scan function can be disabled, though, and this way you can select one of the metrics to be shown on the display all the time.

The unit is battery powered. It uses AAA batteries which are included. It also has a sleep mode to which will enter after a few minutes of inactivity on the machine.

Since it’s a basic trainer, it doesn’t include any fancy amenities or accessories. However, its console does incorporate a tablet holder or reading rack which is large enough to accommodate any type of tablet.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Space-saving design
  • Lightweight, easy to handle
  • Large, durable pedals
  • Pulse sensors
  • Frictionless magnetic resistance
  • Quiet belt drive
  • Exercise meter included
  • Goal settings for time, distance, and calories
  • Fairly easy to assemble
  • Little maintenance required

Cons

  • A tablet placed on the tablet support
    will cover the console display
  • No backlight on the console display
  • Stride only 11″

Summary

The Efitment E005 is an entry-level elliptical trainer, featuring a manual magnetic resistance system, belt drive, and a console that can track most of the important workout metrics. It’s a fitness machine for light cardio training, recovery training, and muscle toning. It’s an inexpensive trainer but offers pretty decent quality and range of features for the price.

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As you can see, the selection of elliptical training machines presented above covers a range of models from the most basic, to some of the most inclusive. You should be able to find one in there that fits your needs and budget. However, before we finally close this article, there are several important aspects that must be clarified about ellipticals.

Why Should You Buy An Elliptical Training Machine?

One of the main reasons to invest in a quality trainer pretty much stands for just about any other fitness machine: it’s the possibility to workout from the comfort and safety of your own home. You’ll be able to watch your favorite TV shows or online streams, you’ll be able to listen to your favorite music without bothering anyone, you won’t have to wait in line to use the elliptical, and you won’t be stressed out that others are waiting for you to finish. They are also more appropriate for home use than treadmills as they produce much less noise; the cadence noise, thumping, and stomping sounds usually generated during a run on a treadmill are non-existent when using an elliptical.

During the cold seasons running outside can be risky, or simply impossible; therefore indoor training is the best option. However gym fees may be quite costly, and by saving the money for several monthly subscriptions, you may gather just enough to buy a decent elliptical trainer.

Another important reason to get an elliptical machine is the low impact training that it can offer. Even the most basic models can supply a safer workout, and with a much less impact on the joints than a treadmill or even an indoor cycling bike. When riding an elliptical machine, your feet maintain contact with the pedals at all time, and this way there’s virtually no cadence related shock on knees and ankles. On top of that, many models feature pedals with pivoting mechanisms and extra cushioning, in order to provide maximum comfort. This makes elliptical trainer a great choice for users with articulation problems, or for users recovering from various injuries.

An elliptical trainer offers a full body workout. The elliptical motion engages many groups of muscles, not just the legs and lower body. Also, there are models with pivoting handlebars, such as the Yowza models, which offer a much better workout for the arms, shoulders, and torso. This being said, these machines are great for muscle toning and calorie burning. Depending on your weight and the intensity of workout you’re undergoing, you can actually burn 7-800 calories per hour on this type of fitness machine, or even more.

Since elliptical machines are excellent for cardio training, they can successfully be used in interval workouts. Adding the minimal impact on the joints that they provide, it’s actually recommended to use over treadmills in interval workouts.

Last but not least, an elliptical machine promotes a healthy, upright posture rather than the leaned forward, slouching posture promoted by indoor cycling bikes, which may generate all kinds of back problems.

Main Differences Between Commercial Grade And Home-Use Ellipticals

You ought to know these differences in order to make sure you end up with a durable piece of equipment when it comes to an elliptical. Also, since there are intermediate models, this will help you see better which models have a better price/quality ratio.

To begin with, most commercial grade ellipticals are equipped with shock absorbing mechanisms and cushioning, eliminating completely the stress on ankles and knees, and maximize the contact of the pedals with your feet during your training. This also generates a more stable and smooth feel. On the other hand, the cheaper models have simple pedals, without any shock absorbing system, and in general, without any articulation. Don’t get this wrong though, using a fitness machine of this type, with simple pedals still offers a workout with much less stress on the joints than running. But the more advanced machines improve the elliptical motion by a lot.

All gym-class ellipticals feature a motorized, automatic incline, offering more or less incline percentage. On top of that, they offer various onboard workout routines which will automatically adjust incline and resistance. Conversely, the basic ellipticals don’t offer this feature. However, there are mid-level ellipticals, such as the Nautilus E614 or ProForm 520 which feature a manual incline. In case of a manual incline system, even though you won’t be able to adjust the slope during your workout, you can still have this possibility, which leads to a more diversified workout spectrum.

Footprint and overall assembled weight are pretty large in gym-grade ellipticals. Most of them have a length and width of approx. 80″ x 26″, taking quite some space, and weighing over 200 lbs, which may render transport and assembly rather problematic. On the other hand, many basic models have a much smaller footprint and a weight lower than 80 lbs. Maximum user weight is also an aspect to look at, especially if you need to shed several dozens of pounds. If some of the basic models can only support 220 – 250 lbs of user weight, most commercial grade ones are made to support users of 400 lbs or more.

There are huge differences between the consoles of basic models and commercial models. Basic models typically feature a basic computer, which tracks calories, time, speed, distance, and some of them can track pulse as well. However, gym grade models have quite advanced and multifunctional consoles, with multiple workout apps, built-in cooling fans, sound systems, Bluetooth, and online connectivity.

Advantages of a Variable Stride

One really important aspect with regards to ellipticals is stride length. And we dedicate a whole title to it because this aspect really needs clarification.

In general, in most ellipticals with an incline mechanism, the stride is more or less variable. As incline is increased, so is the stride. Therefore, at a maximum incline, the stride also reaches a considerable increase, and sometimes the pedaling motion becomes closer to a stair climb, rather than a walk, or jog.

The stride length of an elliptical machine is really important as it directly influences the consistency of your workout. For example, a machine with a short stride, of 13″ isn’t exactly fit for an intense workout. Exercising with such a stride pretty much resembles a light stroll, at a small pace. Commercial ellipticals usually offer an adjustable stride, beginning at 19″ – 20″, and up to 32″. It goes without saying that such an elliptical can also offer a heavy-duty workout, for a maximum cardio burn.

Now, it’s important to realize that by using the same stride length, and maybe with the same training routines, may lead to a certain acclimation of your body to that specific training. Thus, the final rewards may be reduced over time. But by adding to incline and stride, or alternating stride lengths and training intensity, you can maximize the efficiency of your training. That’s why, if you’re going to opt for an elliptical trainer, it’s a good idea to invest in one model which offers a decent incline capacity.

Final Word

The elliptical trainers that we have listed here are some of the highest rated at the moment on most fitness and retail websites. Most of them benefit from a clean 5-star rating, which pretty much means they’re top-quality fitness machines. They all have a solid construction, most of them have a motorized incline and resistance system, a programmable console, Bluetooth connectivity, and they can pretty much accommodate a wide range of users, height and weight wise. All of them offer a great price/quality ratio, currently being some of the best elliptical machines. Also, our list here covers all budgets; some of these trainers are priced under $250, while others are close to $2,000.

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