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Getting the Best Workout From Your Elliptical Machine

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Elliptical machines merge the features of a stair-climber with a ski machine for a good, low impact workout. What makes an elliptical machine different than other cardiovascular equipment is the combined upper and lower body workout. You stand on pedals that move on an a track, and move your arms back and forth, opposite your legs.

Yowza Fitness Treadmills and Elliptical With an elliptical machine, you get a solid workout that utilizes several muscle groups including the quadriceps, hamstrings, butt, chest, back, triceps, biceps and core. The obvious benefit from exercising more muscles is that you tone more of your body with no additional time required. Furthermore, you also optimize your calorie expenditure.

Elliptical machines can use either flywheel or magnetic resistance to help move the components. While some quality flywheel construction exists, magnetic resistance is said to deliver a smoother, more consistent workout. This is the result of how inertia is used and generated. Another important aspect of elliptical construction is the stride width. A small stride width makes for a challenging and sometimes uncomfortable workout for taller individuals. Quality elliptical machines provide a longer stride width along with features that allow you to adjust the width for the best fit.

Several different brands of elliptical machines exist today that range greatly in cost and quality. Before you make the move to purchase an elliptical machine, consider the following:

  • Cost.  What is the price range for the products offered, compared with other brands?
  • Flywheel or Magnetic Resistance.  It's good to know how each model is constructed to meet your needs.
  • Stride Width.  How wide is the stride width? A larger width is preferred by taller people.
  • Return Policy.  Does the company enable you to return an elliptical machine for a full refund?
  • Guarantee.  Should a piece or part of the elliptical machine break, does the company offer any guarantee for repair or replacement?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best elliptical machines available today. We hope these reviews help you find the best elliptical machine that meets your needs!

Disclosure: We pay our reviewers and we are compensated for our reviews. Click here for details.

Elliptical Machine Reviews

5 stars
Yowza Fitness

YOWZA FITNESS Visit Site

Cost:

$999 - $2,349

Use coupon code YOWZASAVE for $200 or more off any purchase

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Yowza Fitness, manufactured by GreenMaster, currently sells exercise equipment to over 47 countries. They focus on building quality components into their products to achieve a higher level of reliability and durability at an affordable price. They only sell their products direct, which keeps the prices down and allows for the best customer service support available. They currently sell both variable motion ellipticals and a conventional dual action elliptical.

Yowza Fitness products come with the most impressive lifetime warranty on the motor, 5 year parts and 2 years in home labor. This is exceptional especially given the affordable price of these machines.

Yowza Fitness delivers excellent elliptical designs, uniquely created to reduce wear and tear that other climber ellipticals are prone to. The elliptical machines come with features that are most in demand by today's customer, such as an iPod dock and hi-fidelity speakers. Some of the Yowza ellipticals come with an excellent ab workout giving you the perfect combination of cardiovascular and toning exercises all at once. A steady incline system, preset workouts, and Sure Fit pedals will also aid in your workout success. We also liked that Yowza's pedals come with a rubber shock absorption to minimize the impact.

Equipment overview:

  • Stride Motion: Rear drive, reversible, electromagnetic silent roller-less action
  • Price Range: $999 - $2,349
  • Different Models: 4
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Stride Width: 20 - 32 inches
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Guarantee: Lifetime Frame and braking system, 5-Year Parts and 2-Year In Home Labor
  • Shipping: Free

Another feature we really like is Yowza's patented CardioCore upper body movement system. CardioCore targets the muscles of internal and external obliques, rectus abdominus, and serratus anterior, while providing you with the most comfortable and fluid upper body movement available in an elliptical machine today. This natural path of motion eliminates the strain and stress caused with other elliptical machines.

We found several positive reports about Yowza Fitness elliptical machines, including their great value, quiet operation, and smooth ride. With exceptionally designed, quality built elliptical machines, the Yowza products are becoming very popular in the fitness world. We were also excited about the return policy and warranty should something occur.

Yowza Fitness seemed to think of all the details in making a line of great elliptical machines, and they top if off with an environmentally friendly manufacturing process. If you're looking for an outstanding elliptical machine at an affordable price, Yowza Fitness should be your first stop.

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4.5 stars
Sole Fitness

SOLE FITNESS Visit Site

Cost:

$999 - $1,699

Sole Elliptical machines are quality built for an excellent workout. These elliptical machines are designed with a high level of quality to provide a smooth and stable experience.

Sole Fitness offers a natural fluid motion design provided by a whisper quiet drive system. These ellipticals function in both forward and reverse motion. The combination of a heavy flywheel and a high gear ratio means a smooth feel with plenty of resistance at the top end.

Sole Fitness elliptical machines include a heart rate monitor, fan, built in speakers and power incline.

Equipment overview:

  • Stride Motion: Heavy flywheel
  • Price Range: $999-$1,699
  • Different Models: 4
  • Financing Available: No
  • Stride Width: 20 inches
  • Return Policy: 30 days - 8% restocking fee
  • Guarantee: 5-year parts and 2-year labor coverage.
  • Shipping: Free

The warranty provides comfort in your purchase should something go wrong. With a 5-year parts and 2-year in home labor coverage on their machines we were impressed. If you aren't satisfied with your equipment, you may return your purchase within 30 days minus a restocking fee.

Sole Fitness elliptical machines are built to last. Customer reports describe a quiet and smooth ride, and a durable machine that is ideal for a great workout. Very few incidents of mechanical issues have been discovered. If you're in the market for a well priced, quality elliptical machine, you should consider Sole Fitness.

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4 stars
Smooth Fitness

SMOOTH FITNESS Visit Site

Cost:

$1,099 - $2,599

Smooth Fitness started as a Philadelphia-based retail fitness group in 1984. In 1996, Smooth expanded and began marketing it's products online. The company currently markets the Smooth Fitness line of treadmills and elliptical machines to consumers over the Internet. The Smooth brand of fitness equipment is sold directly from the manufacturer and provides a savings opportunity for the consumer.

We liked the 30 day money back guarantee and the solid warranty should something happen. However, the website was a bit of a turn off at first with a lot of busy text. However, we were more focused on the quality of the elliptical machines rather than the design of the website.

Some of the features of the Smooth Fitness elliptical machines include a decent sound system for your iPod or MP3 player, oversized cushioned, pivoting foot pedals, a console that provides preprogrammed workouts, speed monitoring, and thumb controls on certain models. You also have adjustable mechanisms to find the right fit, a nice stride width and a strong warranty.

Equipment overview:

  • Stride Motion: Flywheel
  • Price Range: $1,099 - $2,599
  • Different Models: 6
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Stride Width: 18-24 inches
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Guarantee: Lifetime warranty on frame and braking system, 5 year parts and electronics, 2 years in-home labor
  • Shipping: Free

Smooth Fitness provides a durable elliptical machine for a fair price. Some of their higher priced models appeared to be less of a good value unless you are looking for a really long stride and are willing to pay for it. We did find some reports of issues with initial setup, but overwhelmingly strong feedback on the sturdiness of the machines. If you can get past the flashy website, Smooth Fitness is worth a look.

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4 stars
LifeCORE Fitness

LIFECORE FITNESS Visit Site

Cost:

$799 - $1,849

LifeCORE Fitness, Inc. started in the early 90's as an owner/operators of fitness retail stores. LifeCORE Fitness recently started manufacturing their own exercise equipment and has kept the consumer needs in mind with their design. LifeCORE Fitness has a mission to make the highest quality equipment that is easy to use, and is a good value for the consumer. They also pride themselves on excellent customer service.

LifeCORE currently provides only two elliptical machines that are far apart in price. Typically, exercise equipment is designed for a target market. In this case, LifeCORE seems to have focused one model on budget spenders, and the other on customers with deep pockets.

Both of the LifeCORE elliptical machines have received positive reports. The lower end model is considered a basic, yet durable choice. You can anticipate preset programs, slip resistant pedals, 3 custom user profiles, and a heart rate monitor.

Equipment overview:

  • Stride Motion: Magnetic resistance
  • Price Range: $799 - $1,849
  • Different Models: 2
  • Financing Available: No
  • Stride Width: 17.5 - 21 inches
  • Return Policy: 30 days minus shipping
  • Guarantee: 5 years Parts and 1 year labor
  • Shipping: Free

While the lower priced model provides a decent value, the higher priced elliptical machine offers a nice center design which allows for straighter posture, better stability, less space, and is very comfortable to the rider. Reports indicate a very solid machine and a strong value for your dollar. We did like the customer service team at LifeCORE Fitness and they answered our questions quickly and effectively.

All in all, LifeCORE is a good choice for elliptical machines and should cater to both the lower budget shoppers, and those willing to shell out the extra money for comfort.

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4 stars
Schwinn

SCHWINN Visit Site

Cost:

$599 - $999

Schwinn is an American icon, and offer a well-known brand of bicycles. Schwinn also sells home exercise equipment along with commercial fitness equipment.

We know that not everyone has thousands of dollars to buy home fitness equipment, and were excited to find an affordable brand of elliptical machines that provided good quality at a lower price.

Schwinn makes durable elliptical machines that offer a smooth and quiet motion for a comfortable ride. Features on the Schwinn ellipticals include adjustable stride length, workout programs, fixed or moving handlebars, fans, touch screen, oversized cushioned footplates, and heart rate monitoring. Schwinn ellipticals also come with articulating foot pedals to prevent numbness and discomfort during your workout.

Equipment overview:

  • Stride Motion: Magnetic resistance
  • Price Range: $599 - $999
  • Different Models: 4
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Stride Width: 17 - 28 inches
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Guarantee: 10 years - Frame, 2 years - Parts, 1 year - Electronics
  • Shipping: Free

Customer feedback is very positive and most people were surprised that elliptical machines in this price range could provide such a quiet, comfortable workout. Keep in mind when considering your model, people over 6 feet tall will prefer a larger stride width. Also, some of the models only come with a 90 day guarantee. That's worthy of purchasing an extended policy on any priced elliptical machine.

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3.5 stars
Proform

PROFORM Visit Site

Cost:

$349 - $1,999

Proform is a popular brand of fitness equipment, with more sales of elliptical machines, treadmills, stationary bikes and fitness equipment than any other brand. Proform is made by Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. is the world's largest manufacturer of fitness and exercise equipment. Although the company originally sold just to home consumers, it now sells its equipment to commercial users such as health and fitness clubs.

Proform taps the lower market by providing a decent elliptical machine at an affordable price. Proform elliptical trainers offer some of the best value for budget elliptical trainers. If you are buying a model in this lower priced range you can anticipate some nice features from Proform. Some of those include iFit Live compatibility, digital resistance levels, digital incline, programmed workouts, upper body and arm workout, iPod music port, fan and more.

Equipment overview:

  • Stride Motion: Flywheel and magnetic resistance - varies per model
  • Price Range: $349 - $1,999
  • Different Models: 9
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Stride Width: 13 - 21 inches
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Guarantee: Lifetime Frame Warranty and 1-Year Parts & Labor
  • Shipping: Free

Proform makes a wide range of ellipticals that are budget friendly, yet with some nice fitness tracking tools not available on even some of the more expensive brands. As with any budget brand, keep in mind they are not meant for a daily pounding from the heavier population. Lower priced models tended to have a higher rate of quality issues, especially with the belts. Also, keep in mind that some of the stride lengths are shorter and may create comfort issues for those over 6 feet tall. Also look out for any 90 day warranties. Those are generally worthy of purchasing an extended plan to protect your investment and your wallet.

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3 stars
Sports Art Fitness

SPORTS ART FITNESS Visit Site

Cost:

$1,099 - $7,599

Founded in 1977, Sports Art began building fitness products for other companies in 1981. Throughout the '80s and '90s, Sports Art, made exercise equipment for companies such as Schwinn, Universal, Precari and Tunturi. As a result of their commitment to superior engineering Sports Art has focused on new product innovation and has established themselves as a leader with commercial and residential exercise equipment.

Sports Art Fitness provides superior quality equipment. However, while quality is important, price ranks high up there as well. We liked the commercial built quality of these elliptical machines with the adjustable stride width to change up your routine, a nice pedal cushioning system, heart rate monitor, preprogrammed workouts, and high tech programs to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: Magnetic resistance
  • Price Range: $799 - $7,599
  • Different Models: 7
  • Financing Available: No
  • Stride Width: 17 - 29 inches
  • Return Policy: None stated
  • Guarantee: Lifetime frame, 5 -10 years mechanical, 3 - 5 years parts depending on the model
  • Shipping: Free

The quality components of the Sports Art Fitness lines translates into a more comfortable workout on equipment that lasts longer and has fewer repairs. However, the price is really over the top for many of the models and doesn't necessarily equate to a good value for the average user.

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2.5 stars
Healthrider

HEALTHRIDER Visit Site

Cost:

$899 - $1,399

Healthrider is made by ICON Health & Fitness, the largest developer, manufacturer and marketer of fitness products worldwide. In the early 1990s, millions of people had heard of the Healthrider total body fitness machine that brought innovative technology to a low impact work out. Twenty years later the new lines of fitness equipment from Healthrider provides a unique, low impact workout using new technology.

As far as the quality and durability of Healthrider elliptical machines, you can get a decent workout but many aspects of the machines are just average. For example, if you're someone who's looking for a high quality elliptical machine that will last for several years, you'll probably want to invest a little more money into a higher rated brand.

Healthriders do have some nice features, including the fun iFit Live compatibility that provides a wireless connection to the internet, programmed weight loss workouts, heart rate monitor, fan and more. But plastic parts on their equipment tend to wear out and break. We also thought the warranty was too short given the quality and durability of the Healthrider products.

Equipment overview:

  • Stride Motion: Magnetic resistance
  • Price Range: $899 - $1,399
  • Different Models: 4
  • Financing Available: No
  • Stride Width: 18 - 20 inches
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Guarantee: Lifetime Frame Warranty and 1-Year Parts & Labor
  • Shipping: Free

You'll see the option to add extended coverage during your checkout process, and that should be highly considered for better coverage on these elliptical machines. In the end, Healthrider makes a decent elliptical machine at an ok price. The technology of the Healthrider makes the product more interactive and fun than some other brands. However, the durability issues strongly suggest purchasing the extended coverage.

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2.5 stars
Reebok

REEBOK Visit Site

Cost:

$999 - $1,999

Reebok is a well known clothing and shoe line but also provides fitness equipment. Reebok fitness equipment is a brand of ICON Health & Fitness, the largest developer, manufacturer and marketer of fitness products worldwide. These elliptical machines come with a level of brand recognition that is favorable for many. However, we were more interested in the quality and value of the Reebok elliptical machines, rather than their image.

The Reebok elliptical machines are priced in the high mid-range and as such should have the quality parts, warranty, features and durability we expect from our highest rated brands. In comparing the Reebok elliptical machines to other brands, even brands made by the same manufacturer, we saw a name markup for the same or lesser quality features of other elliptical machines.

The warranty seemed to provide the biggest disparity in this price range, with a measly 1 year on parts and labor. Some people may become entranced with the nice features that come with the Reebok elliptical machines, including a large list of workout programs, fan, iFit compatibly, oversized pedals, quick programs and programs geared to losing weight. While these features are nice, they are worthless if the machine itself is of subpar quality.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: Magnetic resistance
  • Price Range: $999 - $1,999
  • Different Models: 3
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Stride Width: 20 inches
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Guarantee: Lifetime frame warranty. and 1 year parts and labor
  • Shipping: Free

We also noticed that for the price tag of nearly $2,000, Reebok was passing off a 20 inch fixed stride width, with no opportunity to change. An adjustable stride width feature is common on many machines in this price range.

Overall, the Reebok brand elliptical machines didn't stand out in our comparison as a good value. The programs and features are nice but are available in lower priced brand models. If you are looking for a quality, fairly priced elliptical machine, we recommend you look at a higher rated brand.

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2 stars
NordicTrack

NORDICTRACK Visit Site

Cost:

$799 - $1,999

NordicTrack was founded as PSI NordicTrack, Inc. in 1975 by Edward Pauls who studied mechanical engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and was a designer of ski boots and bindings for the Minnesota based Rosemount, Inc. NordicTrack is best known for its cross-country ski simulator which ruled the home fitness equipment market in the late 80's. Since that time the company has manufactured several different pieces of fitness equipment including elliptical machines, strength trainers, exercise bikes, treadmills and more.

NordicTrack elliptical machines have some great features including workout programs, heart rate monitor, interactive video games, iPod speakers, fan, decent display and decent stride widths. To the average consumer NordicTrack hits all of the hot buttons. But when you look a little closer you might not be as impressed.

Equipment overview:

  • Stride Motion: Magnetic resistance and flywheel dependant on the model.
  • Price Range. $799 - $1,999
  • Different Models. 9
  • Financing Available. Yes
  • Stride Width. 18 - 30 inches
  • Return Policy. None stated
  • Guarantee. Lifetime guarantee on the motor and frame, with 1 year of parts and in-home service guarantee
  • Shipping. Free

Like most NordicTrack equipment there are a lot of models to choose from, but the differences are generally with the features and not upgrades in durability or performance. We found numerous reports of durability and quality issues that leave a lot to be desired. Some of the models are also light weight and not geared to the serious athlete.

Despite the lower cost on some models and the nice features, we recommend you look at the big picture and choose a higher ranked product that you can depend on. If you still need a NordicTrack, we highly recommend you purchase an extended warranty to protect your investment.

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2 stars
Gold's Gym

GOLD'S GYM Visit Site

Cost:

$277 - $427

Gold's Gym started in 1965 and has since expanded globally to a well respected commercial gym for the serious body builders and exercise fanatics. Unfortunately, the home equipment doesn't provide the same quality that we would expect from equipment with the Gold's Gym name.

These elliptical machines are super low priced and as a result seem to come with a lot of issues. We first noticed the inadequate deck size for most people, and the smaller sized motors that produce an uncomfortable jerky ride for most customers.

Gold's Gym elliptical machines continued to disappoint with quality and durability issues, a wobbly frame and cushioning that left a lot to be desired. The 90 day warranty that comes with many of the Gold's Gym elliptical machines is far from adequate.

Equipment overview:

  • Stride Motion: Magnetic resistance
  • Price Range: $277 - $427
  • Different Models: 2
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Stride Width: 14 - 18 inches
  • Return Policy: None stated
  • Guarantee: 90 Days Parts & Labor
  • Shipping: Free

While the Gold's Gym elliptical machines appear better made than some other Gold's Gym equipment, they didn't compare well with higher rated brands. Very few people would find a wobbly frame and short, uncomfortable stride width acceptable. We recommend you choose a higher rated elliptical machine for your fitness needs.

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1.5 stars
Weslo

WESLO Visit Site

Cost:

$139 - $399

Weslo is another Icon product. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. is the world's largest manufacturer of fitness and exercise equipment. We have to assume that Weslo must be their lowest-end brand name. You can't find elliptical machines any cheaper than a Weslo - but that's not a good thing when it comes to home gym equipment.

In case you're wondering, Weslo hasn't magically created a wonderful elliptical machine for a few hundred dollars. Weslo proves that point with numerous customer complaints about the quality of the Weslo elliptical machines. Specifically, we found reports of durability issues, wobbly frames, malfunctioning heart rate monitoring, console issues, jerky rides, so on. Some elliptical machines have only lasted 2 weeks or less, and repairs are sometimes left resolved for months. The 90 day warranty is completely inadequate for products of this type.

Equipment overview:

  • Stride Motion: Magnetic Resistance
  • Price Range: $139 - $399
  • Different Models: 8
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Stride width: 14 - 18 inches
  • Return Policy: No
  • Guarantee: 90 days
  • Shipping: Free

If you're looking for a low priced elliptical machine, save your money and choose a higher rated brand. A good quality elliptical machine, with adequate stride width, dependable parts, and a smooth ride are imperative to achieving your fitness goals. A model so cheap that it wobbles, jerks and ultimately breaks will not get you where you want to go.

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Benefits of Using an Elliptical Machine

Elliptical Machines have many wonderful benefits. Whether you are looking for a low impact exercise or a productive all-around body workout, elliptical machines are a great choice.

Elliptical machines are found in almost every gym across the country and many people have chosen one as their go-to machine in their homes as well. Some elliptical machine models even fold up, making convenient storage in the home easier, no matter the size of your apartment or house.

Another great benefit of using an elliptical machine is you can get a lower body and upper body work out all at the same time. No other machine rivals the full body workout that the elliptical machine offers. You can work out your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, back, triceps and biceps all together. It is very important to distribute the resistance between both the upper handlebars and lower pedals to receive all these benefits. Many people just go through the motions with the arms and donít utilize the machine for its full upper body workout. If the machine is used properly, you can increase aerobic capacity, tone muscles and lose weight. You can get a full-body workout in as little as 20 minutes.

With an elliptical machine, your feet never leave the machine thus the work-out considered is low impact. This reduces the stress on knees, hips, and backs. Less stress on the joints is helpful for older individuals with joint ailments. Also heavier individuals that have extra weight on their joints and anyone who is cautious with new or old joint, knee or hip injuries will benefit from a low impact workout. The movements on the elliptical machine mimic the natural path your ankle, knee and hip follow during high impact exercises such as walking, jogging or running. The movements are natural to your body without the negative affects the high impact jolts can have on your body.

An elliptical machine work-out is considered a weight-bearing exercise which helps maintain healthy bone density that can prevent the onset of osteoporosis. This is important to remember no matter how young or old you are today.

Elliptical machines are also very safe for your body in regards to injury. Since the movement is fluid and smooth, the risk of injury is very low. There is very little room for harm to your muscles, joints or body.

The price of elliptical machines have become more affordable in the last few years. Owning your own is easier to fit into the budget and saves you the cost and trip of going to the gym.

There are numerous benefits to incorporating an elliptical machine into your workout. Choose to use it for your cardiovascular and toning needs. Enjoy the an elliptical machine as your full workout, or incorporating it into your workout regimen. No matter the extent of use, the low impact nature of an elliptical machine means happier and healthier joints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yowza Elliptical Machines

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