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      June 1, 2020

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Life Fitness vs Precor

Best Elliptical Machines

To help you find the Best Elliptical Machines, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Life Fitness and Precor.

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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.

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.

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Best Reviews

2020

Elliptical Machine Reviews

3.5 stars
Life Fitness

LIFE FITNESS

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Cost:

From $1,799 to $11,199

LifeFitness is a popular brand of fitness equipment, both for fitness centers and home users alike. They carry a wide spectrum of cardio and strength machines, and their selection of ellipticals is one of the biggest on the market with 11 different base models to choose from.

Whether you’re looking for a basic elliptical or all of the latest bells and whistles, you’ll find it on the LifeFitness website. On the lower end of the spectrum are the X5 and X1 models, though the X5 was sold out at the time of our review. If you’re looking for a health club-quality console with all the latest technology for Bluetooth connectivity and TV/app compatibility in your elliptical, the Platinum Club Series and Club Series models are what you’ll find at your local gym and are available for purchase to use in your home gym too.

Equipment overview:

  • Stride Motion: Uses Whisperstride technology with maintenance-free ball bearings
  • Price Range: $1,799 - $11,199
  • Different Models: 11
  • Financing Available: No
  • Stride Width: 20 inches
  • Return Policy: 30-day trial period on all products. A 25% restocking fee (up to a maximum of $500) is also charged on all returned merchandise.
  • Guarantee: Most products have coverage of 3 years for consoles and parts, lifetime for the frame, and a 1-year labor warranty. You'll see the option to add extended coverage during your checkout process, which we recommend
  • Shipping: Free

LifeFitness ellipticals are, across the board, more expensive than most of the other manufacturers on the market. Why? Consider the technology available even on the lowest-end models. For instance, the entry-level Track+ Console is compatible with both Android and Apple devices, includes 14 pre-programmed and 12 custom workouts, and allows users to establish up to four different user profiles on the machine. LifeFitness’ most advanced console, the Discover SE3, has up to 50 different workouts, including 8 custom ones, limitless user profiles, all packaged in a familiar tablet-style screen. Warranty coverage is decent as well, particularly the three-year coverage for the console itself.

Unfortunately, the high prices of LifeFitness ellipticals may be out of range for shoppers looking for a basic entry-level model—once you factor in sales taxes, you’ll be spending over $2,000 for the lowest-end machine. In addition, if you decide you don’t like your LifeFitness elliptical and want to return it within the first 30 days after purchase, expect a 25% restocking fee.

On the other hand, if you need a machine that makes less noise than most ellipticals, LifeFitness uses their proprietary Whisperstride Technology: maintenance-free ball bearings that reduce friction and make it almost silent to use (unless, of course, you start singing along with your iPod or other device while working out!). Along with the ability to change the resistance and stride length during a workout, this feature is a perk not seen in most ellipticals. Also, LifeFitness is one of the few retailers we found that offers certified used home exercise equipment, which can make it more affordable to add an elliptical to your home gym.

We did find some reviews from customers who had issues with consoles and connectivity. For those using Apple devices, you may need to purchase an additional adapter to connect to the elliptical, since LifeFitness still uses 30-pin docking instead of the newer versions. Also, there have been instances where the console shipped is incompatible with the machine, requiring an extra part to be sent by LifeFitness.

We give LifeFitness a good rating for overall quality and reputation, while recognizing that many customers may not be able to afford the higher price tag on their elliptical machines.

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3 stars
Precor

PRECOR

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Cost:

From $1,599 to $7,495

With a history spanning three decades, Precor provides equipment for home and commercial users alike - from home gyms to fitness centers and more. Their focus on constant innovation and attention to high-quality engineering is evident in their treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes, and strength equipment.

Precor offers 9 models of ellipticals for use in home gyms. Starting on the lowest end, the EFX 221 Energy series has stationary handlebars to focus your workout on the lower body for cardio and toning. On the other end of Precor’s spectrum, the EFX 835 Experience series features moving handlebars for a total body workout, along with a converging stride path that mimics a natural footpath similar to walking or running.

Equipment Overview:

  • Stride Motion: CrossRamp technology, which allows users to change the height of the elliptical path their feet travel while working out; magnetic resistance
  • Price Range: $2,345 to $4,299
  • Different Models: 9
  • Financing Available: No
  • Weight Capacity: Up to 350 lbs.
  • Return Policy: Precor does not accept returns after products have been delivered
  • Guarantee: All products have a lifetime warranty on the frame, 3 years on the Console, 5-10 years on parts and “wear items” (depending on the model), and 1 year for labor
  • Shipping: $199 for delivery + installation

The Precor website makes it challenging to compare differences between models. You can click “compare” to add any model to a list, and then click on the next “compare” button on the right-hand side of the page. But, the results page doesn’t lay out the models in a way that helps you compare side-by-side. For instance, when we compared the EFX 221 with the EFX 835, the sections describing the preset workouts aren’t in the same place in the table, so you’ll have to scroll back and forth on the page to try and determine if the differences between the two are important to your workout goals.

One feature shared by all of the elliptical models sold by Precor is the CrossRamp technology used mimic natural movement and reduce stress on the joints. You may be interested to read about the evolution of the technology and its most recent design, the Converging CrossRamp design, located by clicking on the “Precor EFX CrossRamp Technology” link on the right-hand side of the main Ellipticals page.

When looking at all of the available ellipticals on the market, Precor failed to measure up in a few key areas. First, even on the highest-end models, Precor’s consoles provide just the basics of time, heart rate, and exercise tracking - competitor models typically include compatibility with smartphones, even TV screens and other up-to-date technology with the more expensive ellipticals. Also, Precor does not offer free shipping: ellipticals have a flat-rate delivery and installation fee of $199. However, the most significant drawback with buying any fitness equipment from Precor is the absence of any return policy. Simply put, once you buy a Precor machine, it’s yours - even if you get it home and realize that the elliptical motion hurts your knees or the machine itself doesn’t fit in your home gym like you expected. Most retailers of ellipticals do allow for returns - usually with restocking fees - exactly because they recognize that not every customer will have the chance to try out a Precor elliptical prior to purchase, to make sure it’s a good fit for their goals, physical health, and so on.

Precor has a great reputation; most customer reviews give their elliptical machines high marks for an excellent workout and good durability. However, for some people looking for an elliptical for their home gym, they may feel that the lack of high-tech features and no return policy make Precor’s steep price tag too risky an investment.

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Continued from above

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!

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