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Choosing the Best Elliptical Machine
While price may be a concern for some people, finding the best elliptical machine might come down to the comfort of sticking with one of the top manufacturers that have worked in the past. Some of those brands are highlighted below in addition to the ellipticals that are a smart choice for home use.
The 3 Best Cheap Ellipticals
The 3 Best ProForm Ellipticals
The 3 Best SOLE Ellipticals
The 5 Best Elliptical Machines for Home Use
What Elliptical Machine Features Matter and Why?
Frame and Pedals lists all the features associated with the frame and foot pedals. Being able to add levels of resistance and adjust the stride length will be important to the overall comfort and usability of the machine. The best elliptical trainers will also allow the user to adjust the incline of the machine. This category is of fundamental importance to the elliptical because it contains so many of the features that make the elliptical work in the first place. When reading elliptical reviews, it is important to select a machine that scores well in this category.
- Adjustable Stride - You can adjust the stride length.
- Heart Rate Hand Grips - Hand grips that can measure your heart rate are included.
- Incline - The elliptical machine can incline.
- Pivoting Pedals - Foot plates or pedals that can pivot to match your foot movement are included.
- Powered Incline - You can adjust the incline with the push of a button.
- Resistance - You can add levels of resistance to the stride.
- Transport Wheels - Wheels are included for easy transport.
Warranties describes all of the warranties that the company offers on their products. Lifetime frame warranties are relatively common in the industry and will certainly be found on the best models. Many companies also offer more limited warranties on electronics, labor, and parts. This category is extremely important because if the machine breaks, warranties can help ensure that the user will not have to pay for the repairs.
- Electronics Warranty - An electronics warranty is included.
- Labor Warranty - A labor warranty is included.
- Lifetime Frame Warranty - A lifetime frame warranty is included.
- Parts Warranty - A part warranty is included.
Console is all of the features designed to help users control their workouts. A quick start button can help users jump right in to their workouts and a reading rack is useful for holding a book, magazine, or tablet. The best elliptical machines will also have a chest pulse sensor, used for measuring heart rate, and a built-in console fan to help keep the user cool throughout the entirety of the workout. This category is relatively important because it houses all of the features that control the machine.
- Built-In Fan - A built-in fan is included in the console.
- Chest Pulse Sensor - There is a chest pulse sensor that takes your pulse and sends and sends information to the console.
- Numeric Keypad - A numeric keypad is located on the console.
- Quick Start - There is a button that allows you to quickly start a workout.
- Reading Rack - A rack to hold a book, magazine, or tablet is included.
Display explains all of the information that the elliptical provides on the console's display screen. This includes information like the workout time, speed, and incline of the machine as well as the distance traveled. The best machines will also inform the user of how many calories they have burned and their projected pace per mile. This is a fairly important category and definitely something that should be considered when reading elliptical machine reviews.
- Calories Burned - The number of calories burned is displayed.
- Distance - The total distance you have traveled is displayed.
- Heart Rate - A sensory system that detects heart rate is included.
- Incline - The incline is displayed.
- Projected Pace - The projected pace per mile, based on your current running speed, is displayed.
- Screen Display - There is a screen that displays information about your workout.
- Smart Heart Rate - Heart rate is displayed when your age and weight are entered.
- Speed - The current speed is displayed.
- Touch Screen - A touch-screen display is included.
- Workout Time - The display shows the length of time you have been working out.
Support encompasses all of the ways one can contact the manufacturer with questions or problems. Phone and email support are extremely common with social media support becoming a more popular option. The best companies offer live chat support on their websites, a convenient feature for getting quick answers. Support is relatively important because if a user runs into a problem with the machine or has a question about a feature, being able to speak to a customer support representative can help the user get back to enjoying their trainer much faster.
- Email/Ticket - The manufacturer has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.
- Live Chat - The manufacturer offers live chat support.
- Phone - You can contact the manufacturer by phone to get support.
- Social Media - You can contact the manufacturer with questions through social media websites.
Workout Programs are the different types of onboard programs built in to the product. All machines have a manual mode which allows the user to adjust the resistance and, in some cases, the incline to their liking. Some of the best machines include weight loss, target heart rate, and interval workouts, among others. This category is moderately important, depending on whether the user enjoys using these additional programs or prefers to design their own workouts.
- Heart Rate - You can select a workout program designed to help you reach your target heart rate.
- Interval - You can select an interval training program.
- Manual - You can manually select your resistance.
- Random - You can select a random workout program.
- Weight Loss - You can select a workout program designed to facilitate weight loss.
Delivery and Assembly refers to where the manufacturer will deliver the machine and whether or not they provide assembly. It is common for most manufacturers to offer curbside delivery, and the best companies will offer in-home and in-room deliveries, along with an in-home assembly option, though those typically come at an extra cost. Though this category is not directly related to the operation of the machine, those who do not feel up to the task of moving and assembling the machine on their own will want to choose a product ranking high in this category.
- Assembly - The manufacturer offers delivery and assembly inside your home.
- Curbside - The manufacturer offers curbside delivery to your front door.
- Free Shipping - The manufacturer offers free shipping.
- In-Home - The manufacturer offers delivery inside your home.
- In-Room - The manufacturer offers delivery inside a room of your choice.
Entertainment is all of the features designed to make exercising more enjoyable. This can include things like an audio port and speakers, which are both useful for those who enjoy listening to music as they work out. This is not a critical category, however, as these features are bonuses rather than crucial components of the machine.
- Audio Port - You can plug your audio device into the machine.
- Speakers - Built-in speakers are included.
- Wi-Fi - A built-in Internet browser is included.
Learning Materials is a category made up of all the features that a manufacturer provides to assist users in learning about the company policies and the machines themselves. Almost all companies offer an FAQ and user guides for its products, while the best companies stand apart by offering an industry-related blog and video tutorials that show how to assemble, use, and maintain the elliptical. This category is not particularly important, as it does not have a direct impact on the machine itself; however, those who are unfamiliar with ellipticals may find these resources to be quite helpful.
- Blog - The manufacturer maintains a blog with useful industry-related articles, tips, or other valuable content.
- FAQ - The manufacturer provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions.
- User Guide - A user guide or training manual is provided by the manufacturer.
- Video Tutorials - The manufacturer provides video tutorials.
User Reviews is how highly the product was rated on the Amazon, Best Buy, and Sears websites. Higher user reviews are generally a reliable indicator that the product is of good quality, whereas poor reviews may be indicative of unexpected problems. In addition, user reviews can be a great way for interested customers to gain insights that are not listed in the product spec or on the manufacturer's website.
- Favorable User Reviews - The product received four out of five stars or higher from customers on amazon.com, bestbuy.com, or sears.com.