Our Editors independently research, test, and rate what we feel are the best products. We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.
Elliptical machines are some of the most incredible cardio machines on the market today, and are constantly being innovated upon and improved. They offer an excellent aerobic workout that’s easy on the joints, while incorporating both the upper and lower body.
They work well for just about any age and physical fitness level, while coming packed with loads of fun features that are sure to keep you motivated to accomplish all of your exercise-related goals. If you’re wondering how to buy an elliptical machine, then you’re in luck because we’ve come up with an in-depth guide to lead you exactly to what you want!
The elliptical you purchase needs to fit comfortably in your home without you hitting yourself on a wall or other nearby object. We suggest actually getting out a tape measure to have an accurate idea of the space you have designated for this purpose. Remember, it’s not just the size of the elliptical you have to accommodate, but enough room for the stride, as well.
If you want to stow it away when you’re not using it, then make sure to measure the storage space and make yourself familiar with the dimensions of the elliptical when folded. Also make sure it can fold!
As ellipticals are kind of “lifted” off of the platform, they’re taller than treadmills, so also measure your ceilings to ensure they are tall enough. Just for safety and comfort reasons, it’s ideal if you have at least 20 inches of space on each side of the elliptical.
You obviously want your elliptical machine to work well with your body. No one likes feeling like their body is being “forced” into a certain position and you probably shouldn’t use a machine that does that either. You should be able to stand up straight when grabbing onto the moving handles.
As you move your arms back and forth, nothing should feel like it’s rotating unnaturally or that you’re having to extend your arms too far, etc. The same goes for your feet and legs when using the pedals.
Levels of Resistance/Incline
To add more intensity to your workout, you can increase the resistance and/or incline. Some elliptical machines do not give you the option to adjust incline, but that all comes down to personal preference. However, with resistance, you should be able to use it on at least 75% of the hardest setting. This will offer you room to adapt and improve your physical fitness level without plateauing.
If your elliptical isn’t challenging enough then in a few months you’re likely going to find it too easy to yield meaningful results and will have to find another machine.
No matter what kind of experience you have with elliptical machines, you’re likely to find built-in exercise programs helpful. They can allow you to select a goal and the machine will adjust the settings according to your goal without you having to do anything. It’s almost like having it on autopilot.
There are some programs that can take you into immersive worlds and environments, which makes it all that captivating and helps to eliminate the risk of boredom which is a very real threat to fitness goals.
Extra features may just be what makes you lean towards a certain model over another. They may not be the main appeal but they can certainly have a big influence on your user experience. Bluetooth capabilities are incredibly useful if you want to sync your smartphone or tablet to built-in speakers, if you want to track your workout on an app, and so on. The possibilities are really endless just from that one feature alone.
Some even come with USB outlets that let you move workout data to your laptop, play music, and more. These can usually charge your smartphone as well, which comes in handy if you like using it as you work out.
Types of Ellipticals
Now, let’s go through the 3 main types of elliptical machines you’ll find on the market today so you can narrow down your options even further.
These are just your normal elliptical machines that you’ll find in your average commercial gym. They feature that gliding motion and typically 2 sets of handles: one stationary set which is set closer to the body, and a set of moving handles which allow you to engage your upper body as well with a push-pull movement.
Ellipticals for Seniors
Elliptical machines in general are great options for seniors who want to get in shape or stay active, but need to avoid exercise which is hard on their joints. Ellipticals, as we previously mentioned, are famously easy on the joints. Ellipticals made for seniors oftentimes come with the option to sit down, which is great if their core or back isn’t strong enough yet for a full standing aerobic workout.
Under Desk Ellipticals
While a huge percentage of us live a sedentary lifestyle, if you don’t have time to head to the gym or go for a walk, there are options! Under desk ellipticals are the perfect solution to get your heart rate up and burn some calories while you’re sitting at your desk.
These models are nice and compact so you can easily fit them under your desk or take them home and use them while you’re watching Netflix or browsing the internet. As they’re so lightweight, you don’t have to worry about hauling them everywhere either. They’re great little pieces of equipment that can have a large positive impact on your mental and physical health.
If you want something in between and under desk and full size elliptical, recently compact ellipticals have appeared bridging the gap. These are an ideal compromise in portability and capabilities of a full size elliptical.
Now that you’re practically an expert in all things “elliptical trainers”, do you know which model is right for you? With so many options available out there, there should be at least 1 or 2 which fit your needs perfectly. We hope that our guide has helped you narrow your options down, and that you have a much better idea of what you should be looking for. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you again soon!