Tips for Buying an Elliptical
Are you ready to burn calories and put your cardiovascular fitness to the test? While elliptical trainers are gentle on the joints, don’t underestimate their challenging and fat-blasting workouts. The trick is selecting the right machine for your needs, and the following tips for buying an elliptical will help you do just that. With the education you’re about to receive, you’ll have the expertise needed to size up any elliptical and determine if it’s the right one for you.
The right elliptical will fit your personal needs in all of the following areas:
- Current fitness level
- Expected growth in fitness
- Current weight
- Space availability
- Fitness goals
To find the right elliptical trainer, you may need to weed out ellipticals that don’t suit you first. For instance, the elliptical that an unfit 50-year-old would find comfortable and challenging is likely different than the elliptical trainer that an athletic 20-year-old would select for aggressive fitness training. The following tips for buying an elliptical will help you match your needs to the most suitable trainer.
Check the weight and position of the flywheel.
A heavier flywheel will deliver a smoother ride. You’ll notice that prices tend to go up along with the weight of the wheel. However, this is one area where you don’t want to skimp too much. You can find flywheels that weigh less than 15 pounds, and many commercial machines will go up to 30 pounds. If you can’t afford a commercial elliptical trainer, aim for a mid-market machine with a flywheel close to 20 pounds.
Next, consider the position of the flywheel. You have three options:
- Front-Drive Elliptical: The flywheel is positioned in front of the petals.
- Rear-Drive Elliptical: The flywheel is positioned behind the pedals.
- Center-Drive Elliptical: The flywheel is positioned on both sides of the pedals.
If you want a more challenging workout that feels more like walking up stairs than walking on flat ground, the front drive may suit you best. This setup requires you to lean forward a little while walking, and the motion is a bit more strenuous than the flat-ground feel of a rear-drive elliptical trainer. You may have to buy a rear-drive elliptical if you want to adjust the incline manually or electronically.
If you don’t need an incline feature to increase the intensity of your workout and you have a reasonable budget, consider a center-drive machine. The pedals are a little closer together than on the other elliptical setups, and you will benefit from a quiet, smooth ride that is incredibly gentle on your muscles and joints.
Balance space availability with features and price tags.
Don’t get so caught up searching for the most affordable elliptical trainer or the machine with the most impressive features and forget that you have to fit this machine into a designated space within your home, office, or private gym. Measure the area in which your elliptical will go, keeping in mind that you need free space on all four sides of the machine for safety purposes.
As you find elliptical trainers with features that meet your fitness and budget needs, look at the specs to determine the footprint of each machine. You’ll find that many center-drive machines are more compact than the other designs, but that isn’t always the case.
Select an elliptical that will keep up with you for years to come.
You can look at the following features and resources to determine whether an elliptical trainer is durable and versatile enough to keep up with your workouts now and in the future:
- User weight capacity
- Brand name
- Consumer reviews
If you’re substantially overweight, you will have fewer options because many elliptical trainers are only suitable for users under 250 pounds. Although some machines can handle over 300 pounds, you may have to look at commercial products to find those options. The weight capacity is based on the strength of the materials used to create the machine, so you may shorten the operational life of your elliptical or break the machine rather quickly if you’re too heavy for its materials.
Elliptical trainers with the most durable materials often have the longest and most comprehensive warranties, and reputable brand names will often offer the best warranties. The more a company stands behind their product, the higher quality you can expect.
When you read consumer reviews, look for complaints of broken parts and other equipment failures. If you see a lot of those complaints for a specific elliptical, you may want to take it off your list of options.
The Right Elliptical at the Right Time
Now that you’ve absorbed these tips for buying an elliptical, you’re ready to start your search for the best elliptical trainer for your personal needs. Remember, your needs are different from the needs of other people, so you must assess the specs for each machine and determine their suitability to your budget, personality, and unique fitness needs. What works for someone else may not fit into your workout routine smoothly.
Finally, now that you’ve reviewed our tips for buying an elliptical, check out Fitness Gallery. We handpick each piece of fitness equipment sold in our stores, so you know that you’re getting high-quality products at a great value. Plus, we have top-of-the-line used equipment for those on a budget. To learn more, please visit our online store, or stop by our showrooms in Denver (CO) or Highlands Ranch (CO). Our knowledgeable staff can help you find the perfect equipment for your fitness goals.