Best Elliptical Trainer Machines – Top 5 Fittest Reviews for Feb. 2017
It’s easy to make a resolution to get into shape. What’s not so easy is forcing yourself to go to the gym, or to run or bike every day.
It’s easy to buy a treadmill or exercise bike (recumbent bike or spin bike) with the best of intentions. What’s not so easy is forcing yourself to climb on and finish your workout even when your back and joints are aching.
The Best Elliptical Machines Give you a Great Workout that is Easy on the Body
That’s why low-impact home exercise equipment, particularly the bets elliptical trainers, have become so popular. They’re the perfect form of cardiovascular exercise which lets you firm muscles, lose weight, and build muscle in the comfort of your own home. They’re also much easier on your body; since your feet stay on the pedals, you avoid repeated trauma to your legs and feet. That lets you exercise longer, and lets you work out even if you’re sore or hampered by chronic lower body pain.
You can find flimsy elliptical machines for $100-$200 if you just want to see whether this type of low-impact exercise works for you. A better approach would be trying an elliptical out at a gym, and then purchase a high-quality machine for long-term use at home if you decide to go for it.
Once you’ve decided to go low-impact and are looking for the right machine for your needs, here are Groom+Style’s rankings of the top 5 best elliptical trainers on the market. If you need some guidance on what to look for in an elliptical machine or trainer check out our elliptical machine buying guide first.
1. Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine
Sole Fitness is well known for its top-notch commercial grade exercise equipment and makes several terrific ellipticals for home use, including the higher-priced E95. The Groom+Style review team found that the E35 provides almost all of the benefits and features of the E95, at a lower cost. And the machine is very similar to that of an elliptical trainer you’d find at your local gym: solid and well-built. (How solid is this machine? It can handle users who weigh as much as 375 pounds.)
What immediately stood out to us, other than the machine’s quality, was the E95’s wide range of adjustable options. The powered incline feature allows you to change the difficulty of your workout (and exercise difficult muscle groups) with the touch of a button on the handlebars, changing the incline to as much as 30 degrees, unlike some competitors which limit the incline to ten or twenty degrees. There are 16 different resistance settings, again controlled from the handlebars and handled by the Eddy Current Brake system. And even the stride is adjustable from 20 to 22 inches, allowing you to change the adjustable footrests to match your personal preference. All of this flexibility means that you can set the E35 for any type of low-impact workout you want.
Groom+Style also loved how quiet this elliptical is, thanks to its frictionless resistance system – and we liked the extras that you’d expect on a premium machine like the built-in speakers and iPod plug, the easy-to-read large backlit LCD display, the strap-on heart rate monitor, and the cooling fan which keeps you from dripping sweat during your workout.
The E35 doesn’t have a lot of programmable workout programs, just ten of them (the same number as the more-expensive E95, incidentally) and it’s a bear to assemble, but we couldn’t find anything else to complain about. It’s an excellent elliptical trainer.
Key specifications of the Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine:
2. ProForm 1310E Elliptical Trainer
The review team debated for a while whether to rank the Sole Fitness E35 or the sleek ProForm 1310E higher. We ended up moving the ProForm down one notch, primarily because it’s a little bit more expensive, and only lets you adjust the incline to 20 degrees. Other than that, the 1310E is another rugged, high-quality machine we’d be happy to use on a daily basis.
There are definitely some advantages to this ProForm offering over the E35: there are 25 resistance levels instead of 16, 32 preset workout settings instead of 10, and it is compatible with the cool iFit wireless app which has hundreds of additional programmed workouts (along with street-level video of the routes you choose), along with the ability to track and record your workouts and even connect to your home internet so you can surf while exercising. You do, however, have to pay separately for an iFit subscription if you choose to take advantage of those options.
The 1310E is extremely quiet with a wide base which makes it quite sturdy; it also has high-level extras like iPod connection and speakers, fan and an iPad holder. It may be second on our list, but we’d be extremely satisfied using it regularly.
What you need to know about the ProForm 1310E Elliptical Trainer:
3. Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer
As soon as you hear the brand name Nautilus, your expectations are raised. For the most part, the E614 meets those expectations. This is a strong machine that’s built to last, at a price point a few hundred dollars lower than the Sole Fitness and ProForm ellipticals but with most of the advantages.
The movement is smooth on this Nautilus product, with 20 levels of magnetic resistance controlled from the handlebars and 22 different workout programs. It also has dual LCD windows for displaying your stats, which can also be downloaded and saved via the company’s NautilusConnect system or MyFitnessPal. However, Groom+Style were disappointed that the six adjustable incline levels only go up to 11 degrees, and have to be set manually (meaning you have to get off of the trainer to change them) rather than being controllable via the handlebars. There’s also no way to adjust the stride.
The speakers/iPod and fan standard on expensive machines are included on the E614, and there is a heart rate monitor but it doesn’t strap to your chest, it’s just a grip/handlebar version.
Clearly, the Nautilus is a step down (no pun intended) from higher-priced machines, but it’s more than sufficient for most users, and a trainer which will last for many years.
Important specifications for the Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer:
4. Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine
You have to give a little to get a little. With the Schwinn 470, what you give is flexibility in some of the adjustments; the incline only goes up to ten degrees (the biggest negative in our mind), and you can’t make any stride adjustments. What you get in return is a significantly lower price than you’ll pay for our highest-rated machines, for a good-quality, mid-range home elliptical trainer.
You’d expect a Schwinn product to be solid (even when we were kids, Schwinn always made the sturdiest bikes), and even though the 470 is lighter than the two higher-ranked ellipticals, this machine is definitely made to last with an oversized crossbar and center frame support. There are 25 different resistance settings controlled by an Eddy Current Brake system and selectable on the handlebars, and a robust 29 programs with four selectable user settings – both nice features for a machine in this price range.
Perhaps the best aspects of the Schwinn 470 are the computer, monitoring and display features. There are two LCD windows allowing you to check 13 different parameters, download your performance data and transfer it to either the proprietary Schwinn Connect or MyFitnessPal. The team do think they should have included a heart strap monitor with this unit (although it’s designed to use one).
This is a really nice elliptical trainer for the money.
Details of the Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine:
5. Exerpeutic 5000 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
Not everyone wants to shell out $700-$1500 for an elliptical trainer. For those folks, the Exerpeutic 5000 is a great choice at about $350. This feels more like a home machine than a gym version in terms of its sturdiness and footprint, and doesn’t have many of the features that you’ll pay more for with our other reviewed trainers. But it should hold up well for some time and the ergonomics are good. In short, it’s a good bet for weekend workout warriors.
First, here’s what you won’t get with the Exerpeutic 5000. The incline and stride can’t be adjusted, it’s not as whisper-quiet as higher-priced competitors, there’s not much of a discernable difference between many of the 24 adjustable resistance levels, and you don’t get the bells and whistles like fans or iPod connections.
What you do get is a very large (10”) LCD display, Bluetooth connectivity for easy workout tracking without having to subscribe to a proprietary system.
This is a smaller, fully-functional elliptical trainer, which is sufficient for most people and a very good buy.
Specs for the Exerpeutic 500 Magnetic Elliptical Trainer:
Curious about other ways to stay fit, continue your research and read about the best pilates reformers. Remember that exercise is just one component of staying healthier, adding a greater quantity of fruit and vegetables to your diet is critical as well – a top juicer might just be what the doctor ordered.