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Elliptical Cross Trainer Buying Guide

Buying Guide for Elliptical Machines

Are you thinking about buying a new elliptical machine, but not sure how to choose the best cross trainer for your needs? Don't buy an elliptical trainer just for decorating your living room. Before decide which one would fit with other furniture, you have to pay attention on some really important things, such as quality of construction and functionality, rather than on style and colours.

We want to make it a little easier for our readers to find the best elliptical machine that will meet all your needs. Besides this Elliptical Cross Trainer Buying Guide, on our website you can find a lot of reviews and articles about each elliptical that you might be interested in. Also, we did do numerous comparations, comparing not only technical data but also the supplier ratings, buying conditions and prices as well.

What to consider when buying ellipticals?

The first thing to consider when buying an elliptical machine is the quality of construction. Sometimes there is no noticeable difference. Two models can look same, but the difference can be in the quality and durability of built-in parts. The manufacturer reputation can be a good indicator as to what level of quality you can expect. Although some models look like toys in comparison to the others, maybe they have been made of a bit better components.

The following features and parts are actually what makes a difference between elliptical machines:

1. Stride Length
2. Consoles & Monitors
3. Foot Platforms
4. Heart Rate Monitor
5. Noise Level
6. Resistance Mechanism

Before buying elliptical machines:

7. Decide Your Budget
8. Decide Where to Place Your Elliptical Machine
9. Meaure the Space for Your Machine
10. Try Out Ellipticals You Consider to Buy
11. Check the Warranty
12. Consider Online Buying

 

1. Stride Length
This should be your starting point when choosing an elliptical cross trainer. The stride length is determined by the user’s height. For example:
- an 16” to 18” stride length is good for shorter people (5’3” or smaller)
- a 20” or 21” stride length is good enough if you are 5’7” to 6’7”
Generally speaking, more than 18” would be good enough for most people. You can also workout on an elliptical trainer with a shorter length, especially if you are out of shape, but we are talking about how to feel comfortable with your new machine.

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2. Consoles & Monitors
Even cheaper ellipticals show statistic reports such as calories burned, distance, speed or total time spent. Although some expensive machines offer many additional programs that make your workout more interesting, to be honest you can always watch your favorite movie on the TV while exercise. It's up to you to decide what you really need and what you expect from your elliptical trainer.

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3. Foot Platforms
If more than one person will use your machine you might want to get an elliptical trainer with an adjustable foot pedals option. It allows you to adjust the elliptical motion based on your height. A good alternative is to buy an elliptical trainer with oversized footpedals.

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4. Heart Rate Monitor
A heart rate monitor simple monitors your heart beats and provides feedback. The devices on ellipticals are usually placed at stationary handles, in front of the console. In some models they are located in moving handlebars, which gives you the advantage to monitoring your heart rate while still getting an upper body workout. However, you can buy a heart rate monitor separately. It costs about $30 - $150. There are numerous models of heart rate monitors on the market today, from quality wathches to chest monitors.

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5. Noise Level
It can drive you crazy! Crackling and scratching may not bother you at first, but over the time it will, believe me. A solid and heavy machine will be quieter than a machine that may wobble or thump on your floor. It could halp if you place a non-skid mat under your elliptical machine.
Another hurly-burly maker is a resistance system. All in all, the magnetic resistance is much quieter than resistance with belts. All new models are equipped with magnetic resistance anyway..

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6. Resistance Mechanism
The workout intensity comes from resistance that slows the machine's flywheel as you try to turn it. An electronic resistance is much better solution than manual. With electronic resistance there is no need to stop your workout in order to adjust knobs and levers, just press a button and keep going. All new models are equipped with a digital electronically adjustable system.

  • Just a few of the budget ellipticals come with the manual resistance system. It works by creating resistance with a magnet that is manually tensioned closer or further.
  • In the budget to mid-price-range you will find ellipticals equipped with motorized brake systems, also known as particle brake system.
  • The high-end models, such as: Sole tend to use the eddy current brake system. The eddy current resistance technology is extremely reliable and durable. It requires a little maintenance allowing the systems to operate smoothly and quietly.

Generally, the models compared on this website do not have significantly differences in noise levels. For more information read about elliptical machine resistance system. in our FAQs.

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Before Buying an Elliptical Machine

7. Decide Your Budget

As we already mention before, firstly, be sure what are your needs. Even the budget ellipticals are machines that work! Don't pay more for options that you actually don't need. Just follow the simple rule: a certain indicator of the product's quality is its warranty. Less expensive equipment is often less reliable, but it is also covered by short warranty. The most home ellipticals, especially under $400, doesn't work as smooth as expensive models. You should have that fact on your mind.

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8. Decide Where to Place Your Elliptical Machine

Decide about where you want to exercise. This will help you discover what size of machine can be entered into the room. You can start with a deciding about a place where you want to place it. Looking at a white wall during exercise will not motivate you to exercise. But look in the direction of the TV or thru window is a much better solution.

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9. Meaure the Space for Your Machine

Be sure that you measured the space where you plan to place an elliptical machine. Ellipticals take up as much floor space as a couch. The most of them don't have a folding option and they are heavy for moving around.

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10. Try Out Ellipticals You Consider to Buy

If you are in doubt between several similar models and cannot decide which one will work the best for you, maybe you should try out all of them. Some fitness stores offer the advantage of actually trying and comparing various ellipticals. Sometimes, small things could make a difference.

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11. Check the Warranty

As we mention before, higher quality goes shoulder to shoulder with better warranty. When you compare two similar models, compare their warranties.

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12. Consider Online Buying
Online buying saves you time and money. Also, you will often get a free shipping, which means you do not pay extra money although your order will arrive to your doors. Online buying is exempt from sales tax. You can do all research from your home and choose from a much larger selection...

We have made reviews of all popular elliptical trainers available today. Also, we have reviewed all of the reputable online suppliers that offer the best rates. A few online stores have gained reputations by their outstanding customer service and good range of products. Some online stores, such as WorkoutWarehouse, offers ellipticals at great discount everyday.

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