Elliptical machines are close to surpassing treadmills as the most popular home fitness equipment. With an elliptical trainer, you get a workout that uses the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, back, triceps and biceps.
Here are some of the most important factors to consider in choosing the best elliptical trainer:
Be sure to check the stride length of the elliptical machine you are considering. Some machines have a stride length of only 16". This will work for someone who is 5' 3" and under . For people who are 5'7" or talller, look for a stride length of 20" or more.
It's important to be able to adjust the resistance during your cardio fitness session to vary the intensity of the exercise. Look for a machine with resistance that is adjusted autmotically through the stages of your workout from warm up to cool down.
Smooth, Quiet Operation
A squeaky, clunky machine will drive you mad. Opt for quality every time.
Upper Body Exercise
It's may be an advantage to you to choose a cross-trainer which works your upper and lower body at the same time – you'll burn more calories faster and feel less tired than you would with a lower body only workout. On the other hand, if you usually work on building your upper body strength separately anyway, you'll get a better lower body workout from working the ellliptical equipment only with your legs.
Adjustable Articulating Footpads
Adjustable footpads allow you to position pedals at the right angle for you add more variety to your workout. Static footpads may cause numbness in the feet.
A reverse direction feature, although not essential, allows you to pedal backwards to exercise different muscle groups
Front or Rear Drive
The position of the flywheel does not affect the machine in operation but a front flywheel may offer more stability in a less expensive model especially if you are on the heavier side. The rear flywheel design has been patented by a few leading elliptical manufacturers who sell more expensive ellipticals. It is less prone to malfunction as the design is less complex to construct.
Brakes / Resistance
Choose magnetic rather than friction brakes as the latter tend to wear more quickly and are found only on older or cheaper models.
Our Top Picks
Our top pick for the best elliptical machine of 2017 is the Schwinn 430.