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On the market for more than two decades, these versatile pieces of workout equipment are some of the most popular in fitness centers and home gyms alike. Why? First of all, many people prefer the motion of an elliptical trainer over treadmills because of the decreased impact on joints. Not everyone can hop on a treadmill and run a 5K with painful knees and ankles; using an elliptical machine gives you a high level of cardiovascular exercise without as much strain.
Another advantage of using an elliptical trainer is the ability to get a full-body workout. Although using the handles is optional, most exercisers like to use the push-pull motion to strengthen muscles in the arms, abs and back at the same time as the lower body. Who wouldn't benefit from the efficiency of working out multiple muscle groups at once?
Thursday, January 27th
SOLE remains at the top of the list when it comes to affordable, high-quality elliptical machines. With 6 models to choose from, all priced under $2,500, there's something for everyone. Best of all, SOLE gives you 30 days to decide if you want to keep your equipment - and they'll even cover the return shipping fees if you don't! This retailer hits the mark for great elliptical machines at impressive prices, with customer-friendly policies to match. SOLE Fitness earns our highest rating.
Xterra makes it possible to get a good-quality elliptical machine at a fantastic price, with their most advanced model coming in at less than $700. Customers say that the ellipticals are surprisingly sturdy and provide a terrific workout. Just be aware that the user weight limits tend to be lower than other machines', and that the shorter stride lengths on Xterra ellipticals might make their equipment less suitable for very tall individuals.
If you're looking for an elliptical that offers live coached workouts - and where trainers can actually change the resistance on your machine in real time - ProForm is one of two retailers that offers that through the iFit platform (along with NordicTrack). This store has several models to choose from, including one design that mimics both an elliptical and a stair climber and another that combines an elliptical with a recumbent bike. Prices are on the lower end, and customers say that ProForm machines offer a solid workout for the money.
NordicTrack is the sister brand to ProForm, offering elliptical machines that are slightly more advanced (and a little more expensive too). Customers love the interactive personal training that comes with the complimentary 1-year iFit membership included with every elliptical purchase. NordicTrack machines provide an exceptional level of quality and features for the money, putting some of today's hottest fitness trends within reach of most shoppers.
If you have warm fuzzy feelings about your favorite elliptical at the gym and wish you could have one for your home, Precor can make that happen. Precor machines are found in many gyms around the world and are available for purchase by everyday consumers too. Of course, expect a gym-level price tag - the least expensive model sells for $2,700 - and be aware that Precor doesn't accept returns for any reason after delivery. While that puts their ellipticals out of reach for many customers, their machines deliver an unparalleled workout when money is no object.
Schwinn isn't just for bicycles. They offer three basic styles of elliptical machines that will give you a solid all-body workout without emptying your wallet. Schwinn offers a longer return period and warranty coverage than many rival retailers, but availability may be an issue: only one machine was in stock during our most recent visit. The company will need to up their inventory in order to move up in our rankings, but it's still worth taking a look to see what might be available when you're ready to buy an elliptical.
LifeFitness gym equipment can be spotted almost everywhere, and for those who have the money and want to replicate their fitness center workouts at home, these elliptical machines are dependable and high-tech. On the downside, LifeFitness isn't as customer-friendly as it was in the past, with a shorter return window, higher costs for delivery and setup, and fewer elliptical trainers to choose from overall.
Horizon Fitness used to be one of our highest-ranked retailers of elliptical machines. Unfortunately, their selection has dropped to just two models available for purchase online. Those two ellipticals get plenty of praise from customers, but we found numerous issues reported regarding Horizon's lackluster-to-nonexistent responses to warranty issues and other problems. You'll probably have a better experience buying your elliptical machine from a higher-rated store.
Diamondback Fitness is best known in the cycling industry, but their two-model selection of ellipticals has made some progress since our last review - including one that offers a touchscreen that can connect with your favorite apps (fitness or otherwise). But, the company doesn't have a great reputation when it comes to customer service, with complaints about the difficulty of getting help when equipment arrives damaged or needs warranty service.
Plus, many elliptical machines can be used in different ways: some combine a traditional elliptical system with a recumbent or upright bike, while others let you change the stride motion to more closely resemble a stair stepping machine or even a treadmill. This flexibility makes it likely that you'll use your elliptical trainer for a long time, because you can change the workout to match your mood, your physical capabilities at the moment, your fitness goals, or the other users in your household.
And, if you think that elliptical machines have been left out of the live streaming workout craze, think again! Some of the most advanced models offer large touch screens that can deliver real-time coached workout sessions - and may even allow a trainer access to change your resistance levels or incline during the workout! Even if your elliptical doesn't come with that built-in feature, almost all brands and models have a tablet holder, allowing you to choose your own workout platform and go for it (or just binge a few episodes of your favorite TV show: your choice!).
When choosing the right elliptical machine for your home gym, how can you tell which retailer should get your business? Here are several factors to keep in mind as you shop:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best retailers of elliptical machines available today. We hope this information helps you pick the right equipment for your home gym!
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