How to Choose an Elliptical Trainer

What to Look For and What to Avoid When Buying an Elliptical

Elliptical Trainer
Elliptical Trainer. Mike Kemp/Blend Images/Getty Images

The goal when buying an elliptical trainer is to get the best value in your price range. Just like most products, there are certain elliptical brands and models that offer a better bang for your dollar. Below is a list of considerations to assist you in making the right buying decision.

Elliptical Trainers: Cheap is Cheap

There are elliptical trainers available for as little as a few hundred dollars.

What a deal, or is it? If you plan to use your elliptical trainer for more than a clothes hanger, you want a machine that is durable and will hold up for the long haul. Cheap elliptical trainers are built with cheap parts. That is how they can afford to sell them at bargain prices. When you compromise on the components, the potential for mechanical problems increases.

Choose an Elliptical Trainer With a Comfortable Stride

Elliptical trainers have different stride lengths. You want to purchase a machine with an elongated elliptical motion, not a circular motion that has you bouncing up and down. Some elliptical trainers come with strides that are as short as 14 inches. Exercising on a machine with that short of stride can make you seasick. I recommend purchasing an elliptical with a minimum 18 inch stride. You will really notice the difference.

    Stability is Critical for an Elliptical Trainer

    You want a machine that is stable and has a solid feel.

    Cheap ellipticals are very lightweight, which affects the overall stability of the machine. If you are overweight, or you are into strenuous workouts, you may find the machine rocking back and forth and moving around. Moreover, buying a compact elliptical can also negatively affect the stability of the machine.

    The short base and smaller footprint will make the machine less stable. You want an elliptical with a solid feel. When you test the equipment, rock it and shake it to see exactly how stable and sturdy it feels.

      Company & Product Reputation

      When you purchase an elliptical trainer, you are not only buying a piece of equipment, but also the company that stands behind it. Whether you buy online or through a local retailer, you want to be assured that the company will adequately support their products. I have numerous people contact me and complain about certain manufacturers. One recently used a variety of four letter words. The Internet is ideal for researching products and companies. Through third party reviews and customer testimonials, you can get a good feel about the reputation of both company and their products.

        Company Warranty

        Warranties can be very insightful. In a sense, the extent of a warranty tells you how much faith the company has in the durability of their machine. You will notice that cheap elliptical trainers come with a 90-day parts and labor warranty. The manufacturers know they probably will not last much longer then the coverage period. In contrast, there are manufacturers that offer such generous warranties as lifetime on parts, and two years service.

        If your budget is limited and you can only afford an elliptical with a limited warranty, consider purchasing the extension option.

          What Should You Spend for an Elliptical Trainer?

          Of course, you can only spend what you can afford, but these are my recommendations. If you plan to use the elliptical for moderate exercising, you should figure spending at least $700. For those that plan to use the elliptical for regular strenuous workouts, or will have multiple users, you should look at equipment starting at $1,500. Weight is another factor to consider. The heavier you are the more strain it puts on the machine.

            Buy Smart

            Elliptical trainers are great for getting a low-impact, upper and lower body workout. Buy smart and you will have a machine that is ideal for achieving your fitness goals.

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