When it’s time to put in some cardio, you have a bunch of different options. You can lace up your sneakers, open the door, and hit the road. But, road work isn’t for everyone.
The impact of running on the road can really do a number on your joints, especially your knees. If you don’t live in an area with a climate that’s conducive to running outdoors year round, road work might also be a problem.
Enter the elliptical machine – an indoor cardio tool that emulates running without the joint jarring impact.
What to Look for in a Quality Elliptical
Not everyone’s needs are the same. Not every elliptical machine is the same. When shopping for a new one you’ll want to make sure you choose the elliptical machine that’s best for your personal needs. The first real aspect of what you really need to consider is the price versus your budget. The quality and features of various ellipticals covers a very wide range. And, with that wide range of options comes a wide range of prices.
You can sometimes find some of the more basic models for less than $100, but the high-end models can run into the thousands. So, starting your search with a budget in mind is extremely helpful.The next major factor is going to be how much room you have. If the area where you plan to set the machine is fairly small, you’ll want to focus on the compact models. While, if you have a large area or room to house your new elliptical, you won’t have to worry about sizes.
Lastly, you can consider what features you want. There are bare bone models that get the job done without any bells and whistles. And, you have fancier models, like those with large LCD screen and bluetooth connections.
Reviews of Our Top Choices
There really are a wide assortment of quality elliptical machines available. And, they fall in at different price points. We tried to pick what we feel are some of the best choices in terms of overall value (bang for your buck).
Schwinn 430 Elliptical Trainer
You cannot go wrong with the Schwinn 430 trainer. The Schwinn name is well known and trusted in the biking world. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they make excellent exercise machines as well.
The 430 is very well built and has a lot of high end features. it’s not the cheapest model out there, but it’s not the most expensive either. Its features with its reasonable price make it a very solid value and won’t leave you feeling like you’re missing out.
At first glance you can tell this is much more than a simple flywheel with some handles and footboards attached. It’s a complete workout machine and would be suitable for both a gym or your home.
The Schwinn 430 flawlessly combines excellent engineering with quality technology. The elliptical motion is natural and smooth. The quality manufacturing keeps the machine quiet while in use. And, the electronics let you track your workout data, follow predefined workout programs, and more.
- Plenty of Options – The electronics offer a total of 20 different resistance options ensuring you’ll never outgrow the workout,
- Lots of Feedback – the LCD screen actually allows you to monitor 13 different feedbacks, such as estimated calories burned and distance covered.
- Data, Data, Data – Export your workout data so you can keep historical records and adjust your workouts in order to meet your fitness goals.
PROS & CONS
- Screen – The LCD screen is beautiful and backlit, making it easy to see in almost any light condition.
- Sturdy – It has a sturdy design without being overly bulky.
- Assembly Required – It’s large enough that it doesn’t ship completely assebled. You’ll need to spend some time putting it together.
EFITMENT Compact Trainer
If the title we chose for this product doesn’t make it clear enough, this is a much more compact model than the Schwinn.
The EFITMENT model E005 is a much smaller machine meant for those who don’t have as much space, though this more of a home model and not something you’d find in a gym. Smaller doesn’t however mean bad. It just means that if you don’t have an extra room in your house to use as a workout room, you aren’t left in the cold as far as elliptical machines go.
Probably the biggest feature is the smallest one. This is not a full-sized trainer. It’s both compact and portable, so you can easily move it when you’re finished your workout and store it out of sight if you desire. It’s also a very big value play. You can get a solid workout in whenever you want without lightening your wallet too much due to the lack of fancy and thus usually expensive extras.
- Just Big Enough – This machine features a smaller 11-inch stride that allows you to get in a good workout without requiring the need for its own room.
- Smooth & Safe – Like other ellipticals, this is a lopw/no impact machine meaning your joints won’t take a pounding.
- Quiet – It’s a very quiet machine and the simple but functional design means there isn’t a lot to break.
PROS & CONS
- Bang for Your Buck– You’ll be hard pressed to find another machine that is a tremendous blend of function and value.
- Simple Electronics – The data feed is not complicated and shows you all the basics like your heart rate and how long you’ve been active.
- Simple Electronics – There aren’t any specialized workout routines or programs included.
Stamina InMotion Trainer
This is probably not what you think of when the words elliptical trainer come to mind.
But, it does fit the basic definition. it is a piece of workout equipment that you move with your legs in an elliptical motion in order to work on your cardio. This is obviously the most compact and budget friendly elliptical trainer reviewed. But, don’t let the size fool you. It’s a quality machine.
This is both compact and lightweight. You can use it almost anywhere making it ideal for those that have little to no room, or that want to keep active while sitting at a desk.It’s also a pretty sturdy machine for its size.
- Budget Friendly – It’s much less costly than a full-sized machine with tons of features.
- Easy to Store – Unlike other ellipticals, you can easily stash this in a closet or under a desk.
- Sit of Stand – Though it’s small, it’s still very functional. you can use it in either a seated or standing position.
PROS & CONS
- Non-slip Pedals – The pedals are textured so you don’t have to worry about slipping, which is important as there aren’t any handles like the full-sized machines have.
- Variable Tension – It’s not a one size fits all design. You can adjust the tension to give you and easier or harder workout as you see fit.
- Size – It’s just simply too small for what some people are looking for.
From full-sized fancy elliptical machines to small elliptical models for your home and even under-the-desk models, there’s something for you out there. And, with all of the different price points, there’s no reason to keep putting off your promise to improve your fitness. The great thing about opting to buy and use an elliptical is that they are very friendly on your joints. Unlike running outdoors or on a treadmill, he smooth low/no impact strides will help you get your heart rate up without breaking down the joints in your knees, hips, and ankles.