Finding an elliptical which suits your body weight might be a bit of a challenge. There are a lot of ellipticals, but if you’re a heavy person, you’ll need a machine which supports your weight. This usually limits your options.
In this article, I compare the best high weight capacity elliptical machines for heavy people. Furthermore, you’ll discover important buying advice to make a better buying decision. It’s time to end your physical discomfort and get in shape!
Quick Overview: Our Top 6 Heavy-Duty Ellipticals
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
What To Look For In A Heavy Duty Elliptical?
First and foremost, you should obviously always check the maximum weight capacity. If the weight limit is too low, it’s not worth spending your time on researching about the particular model. So make sure you check it right away before everything else.
Additionally, I recommend keeping a decent margin between the weight limit of the elliptical and your body weight. For example, if you weigh 290 Lbs, I wouldn’t go for a machine with a weight limit of 300 Lbs. I would go for a model with a 350 Lbs weight limit instead. Just to stay on the safe side.
Choosing a machine with a relatively higher weight limit reduces the risk of exceeding the maximum weight limit. Exceeding the weight limit might cause your elliptical to break. Plus, if you put less pressure on the machine, you’ll probably experience a smoother workout experience.
The flywheel is one of the most important aspects of your elliptical. The flywheel starts to rotate as soon as you start to move the pedals. It also controls the amount of resistance. A good flywheel provides a smooth workout experience and helps to reduce noise.
If you’re a heavier person, you will most likely put more pressure on the flywheel than a lighter person. The weight of flywheels can vary a lot. They tend to begin at approximately 10 pounds and go up to about 40 pounds.
It’s hard to say how heavy the flywheel needs to be. It will mainly depend on how intense you want to exercise, your weight and your expectations. If you want to be on the safe side, then I advise choosing a machine with a flywheel of at least 15 to 20 pounds.
Stability is another important aspect of elliptical machines for heavy people. The stability of your machine is directly linked to the weight of the machine. Heavier ellipticals tend to be more stable. The weight of an elliptical trainer is usually a good indicator of its stability.
Assuming you’re a heavier person, you will want to go for a model which is as heavy as possible. If you’re in doubt between two similar models, I advise going for the machine with the higher overall product weight.
Another aspect that influences the stability is the construction. A solid construction prevents your elliptical from shaking. Especially the design of the base is something you may want to pay extra attention to, as this is the foundation of the machine.
Additionally, you might want to choose a model with a heavy-duty steel frame. How can you tell if the frame is solid? Just check the warranty period. The warranty period usually gives you a good indication of how solid the machine is. This applies to the warranty on the frame as well as the warranty on things like parts and labor.
What are the benefits for heavier people?
A heavy person has to carry more weight. This can put a lot of pressure on the joints when working out. Therefore, if you want to burn calories by working out on a cardio machine, it’s important to choose a low-impact exercise.
A workout on an elliptical is considered a low impact exercise because your feet never leave the pedals. If you would compare a workout on an elliptical to for example jogging or running on a treadmill, the elliptical is usually less stressful on your lower back, ankles hips and knees. That’s why ellipticals are a good choice for heavier people or people who have knee problems.
Of course, this also depends on the intensity of your workout. Walking on a treadmill puts about the same pressure on your joints as a workout on an elliptical.
Always consult a doctor or personal trainer if you have personal questions about your particular situation.
You can burn extra calories by holding the arm poles. This way you will target your lower-body as well as your upper body.
Unlike, for example at an stationary bicycle where the main focus of the machine is at the lower part of your body. On an elliptical, you can train your arms, back, shoulders, chest, and legs at the same time, which is more beneficial if you want to burn those calories.
Even when you become fit the machine still offers enough of a challenge, because an elliptical is suited for beginners and more experienced users.
As you progress, you can choose to increase the amount of resistance, start with interval training or increase the time of your workout. So, an elliptical always provides a challenge, even if you’ve lost a significant amount of fat and start to become fit.
Is an elliptical good for weight loss?
Compared to other types of fitness equipment, an elliptical trainer is a good machine for weight loss. According to a Harvard Health Publication, the elliptical is rated as one of the top five exercise machines for weight loss.
During the research, the researchers compared a lot of different 30-minute activities. The elliptical trainer is rated at the 4th place of highest calorie burning activities in the gym. The activities that burn more calories are; skiing on a ski machine, high-impact aerobics, and vigorous cycling on a stationary bike.
Approximate calories burned
Calories burned during a 30-minute workout on an elliptical trainer.
How to use an elliptical if you’re overweight or obese (for max. efficiency)?
If you’re going to use your elliptical to get in shape, you probably want to start burning calories as fast as possible. To be honest, in the first few weeks of using the machine you’ll most likely lose weight no matter what you do (assuming your diet stays about the same). If your progression starts to slow down, you may want to start varying your workout routine.
Changing your routine from time to time is very important to burn calories efficiently because after a certain amount of time your body will most likely get used to your standard workout pattern. If your body gets used to your normal workout routine, you'll probably burn fewer calories per workout.
How to vary your workout routine
You can vary your workout routine in a lot of different ways. Extending the time you workout is the most obvious one.
If you’re starting out, I suggest beginning with 20 to 30 minutes at a steady pace for at least three times a week. 20-30 minutes of cardio for at least three times a week has a lot of benefits for your health and helps to lose weight.
As you progress, you may want to extend your workout by 5-10 minutes to vary your training. Additionally, you can increase the number of exercises per week. Go from exercising three times a week to four times or even more. Additionally, you can also start with interval training.
Another way to vary your training routine is to start with interval training. During an interval training, you vary the speed and resistance. It’s an effective way to increase your cardiovascular fitness and burn more calories.
Don’t go overboard with interval training, because then you might increase the risk of injury. The ‘key’ here is to vary interval exercises with working out at a steady pace.
If you workout for three times a week then you could vary your exercise routine by doing one interval workout and two regular steady pace workouts. Your body will usually need more time to recover from the interval workout compared to a regular workout, especially in the beginning.
Use the workout programs
Another way to diversify is to use the workout programs. Most ellipticals have a certain amount of pre-set programs you can choose from.
Some ellipticals have programs which are specifically designed to burn calories. You may also find ellipticals with pre-set interval programs. If you want to vary your training, then I suggest starting with the workout programs. As this is one of the easiest ways to bring variation in your normal workout routine.
Here’s a video from David Dubail who is a professional personal trainer. He’ll give you a few tips on how to lose weight on an elliptical machine:
If exercise isn’t already part of your daily routine, then I suggest starting slowly. Set a realistic goal. Also, make sure you always ‘listen to your body’ and consult a doctor or fitness instructor if you need one!
The Best Ellipticals For Heavy People (Our choices)
Exerpeutic 5000 (270 Lbs capacity)
The Exerpeutic 5000 has a dual transmission drive system. The drive system consists of two belts and two flywheels. As a result, your stride will feel smoother. Plus, the drive system reduced the overall size.
The dimensions of the machine are; 55” (L) by 25” (W) by 64” (H). So the 5000 might be a good choice if you’re looking for a relatively compact machine with a smooth stride.
Furthermore, you can use one of the 12 preset workout programs. The programs vary from a fitness or personal program to a heart rate controlled (H.R.C.) program.
The HRC program allows you to set a specific maximum heart rate. This works in combination with the pulse sensors on the handlebars in the middle. The heart rate program is useful to keep an ‘eye on your heart rate’. So you’ll get an indication about the intensity of your workout.
Additionally, the LCD computer in the middle of the console is useful for users who like to keep informed about their workout. The display shows metrics like; distance, calories burned, elapsed time and RPM (Rounds Per Minute).
You can also select one of the four user profiles. The user program will save some personal user info. For example, it can store; your age, weight, and height.
- It includes a tablet or smartphone holder.
- The 18” stride length and dual transmission system provide a more comfortable workout experience.
- It has relatively large pedals, which could be useful for people with big feet and helps to prevent slippage.
- Some users might find the assembly a bit difficult.
Schwinn 470 (300 Lbs capacity)
The Schwinn 470 is a more advanced elliptical with a weight limit of 300 pounds.
The high-speed drive system has a perimeter weighted flywheel, which provides a more comfortable stride. It also has relatively large cushioned footplates. These features are especially useful for heavy people who are looking for an extra comfortable workout experience.
Furthermore, it has 29 programs which you can use to vary your training. The programs vary from profile programs to heart rate control programs. With the heart rate control program, you can choose a heart rate goal. The machine automatically adjusts the workout based on your heart rate goal.
Other features which allow you to vary your workout are the incline and magnetic resistance. This machine has a 10-degree incline and 25 levels of magnetic resistance. The console lets you control both the incline and resistance level with the quick buttons on the left and right of the console.
Additionally, it has goal tracking. The goal tracking system saves the statistics from all of your workouts to a particular user profile. This way you can keep track of your progression.
For example, the lower display can show how many calories you’ve burnt in the last 30 days on the machine. Therefore, the goal tracking system is especially useful if you want to set a certain goal for yourself, which is something I highly recommend!
The 470 from Schwinn is a good choice for a beginner as well as a more experienced user. You might not use all of the features in the beginning. But after a while, you’ll probably discover them one by one, as most of the features are useful for people who want to lose weight.
- A good option for beginners as well as more advanced users because the machine offers a lot of features.
- Solid construction.
- It has more than enough workout programs.
- The console and LCD-display might be a bit overwhelming at first.
Exerpeutic 1000XL (300 Lbs capacity)
The Exerpeutic 1000XL is a manually driven model especially suited for people who want to workout a few times a week. This model is what I call ‘basic’ because it doesn’t have a lot of features and is non-electric.
Keep in mind that the feel of a workout on a non-electric elliptical is different from an electric machine. Some people prefer one over the other.
The 1000XL has a manually adjustable 8-level magnetic tension resistance. This means you can adjust the level of resistance by turning the black knob at the lower center.
If you have large feet, then you might want to know about the relatively large pedal design. The pedals also have a ribbed design which prevents your feet from slipping.
- The 1000 XL is a basic model, which makes it a good option for people who are looking for a simple to use machine.
- Extra large pedals for people with big feet.
- It doesn’t make a lot of noise. So you can easily watch TV or listen to music.
- The pulse sensors might not give you an accurate reading of your heart rate.
- The level of resistance isn’t automatically adjustable.
- Some people might not like the feel of exercising on a non-electric machine, but this is a matter of personal preference.
Nautilus E614 (300 Lbs capacity)
The E614 from Nautilus is a sturdy machine which provides a comfortable workout experience.
It has extra large articulating foot plates with cushioning. These footplates are specifically designed to provide extra cushioning during your workout. The cushioning is useful for heavy people because they tend to put more pressure on the pedals because of their weight.
Furthermore, this model has extra frame support, two integrated levelers, and oversized crossbar tubing. The frame support, levelers and crossbar tubing make the construction of the E614 more stable.
The grip handlebars in the middle of the machine are ergonomically placed. This might be useful for people who want to use the heart rate programs. It has a total of eight heart rate controlled programs for you to choose from.
Additionally, you can also choose between; nine profile, two fitness tests, two manual user profiles and one quick start program. So there are more than enough programs to bring variation into your normal cardio routine.
- Extra stable construction because of the frame support, crossbar tubing, and levelers.
- Ergonomically placed grip heart rate sensors, which is useful for the heart rate controlled programs.
- Speakers and a fan may make your workout more enjoyable.
ProForm Smart Strider 935 (350 Lbs capacity)
The ProForm Smart Strider 935 is a folding model with a 350 Lb weight limit. The commercial-grade steel construction is one of the reasons this model can hold a maximum weight of 350 pounds. The commercial-grade steel construction is probably the reason why ProForm decided to give a relatively long warranty.
You’ll get a lifetime warranty on the frame, 25 years of warranty on the motor and one year on parts and labor. The relatively long warranty is a good indicator of the quality of this model. (Manufacturers warranty might not apply in all cases).
One of the things which sets this model apart from the other ellipticals in this article is the 7-inch full-color touchscreen display. You can use the screen to track your workouts and challenge yourself.
Furthermore, the 935 offers a lot of room for customization. You can adjust the incline up to 10 degrees; it has oversized pedals and 20 digital resistance levels. Especially the oversized pedals are an interesting feature. You can adjust the pedals, which helps to improve the comfort of your workout.
- Relatively high 350 Lb weight capacity.
- The 7” full-color touch display helps to make your workout more enjoyable.
- The space saving fold-away design makes it easier to store.
- It’s quite heavy; this might make it harder to move.
- Some people might not like the design colors (of the pedals).
Sole Fitness E95 (400 Lbs capacity)
With a maximum weight capacity of 400 Lb, you can expect the Sole Fitness E95 to be a sturdy machine. The machine itself weighs 215 pounds, which is relatively heavy.
As you might already know, the weight of the machine is a good indication of the overall stability.
It seems like Sole Fitness is convinced about the quality of this model, else they wouldn’t give you a two-year labor warranty, five years on the parts and electronics and a lifetime warranty on the frame.
Another noteworthy aspect is the 34 Lb flywheel, which is also relatively heavy compared to the Sole Fitness E35 and the other ellipticals in this article. A heavier flywheel usually provides a smoother workout experience.
The E95 is a more advanced model suited for overweight users who are planning to use their machine on a daily basis. Or maybe share it with other heavier persons. Its got a lot of features. So you won’t easily get bored.
- The maximum weight limit of 400 pounds is relatively high compared to the other machines.
- The pedals are designed in collaboration with a physical therapist. According to Sole Fitness, the 2-degree inward slope pedals reduces the stress on the knees and ankles.
- A relatively heavy flywheel of 34 Lb. This helps to provide a comfortable workout experience.
- This elliptical has ten workout programs; two heart rate programs, two custom programs and six standard programs. Some people might want more programs.
After reading this article, you’re hopefully closer to making your final decision.
I usually pick one clear winner in these kinds of articles so that the reader will know my personal preference. However, if you are a heavier person, the weight limit normally plays an important role in your decision.
A 250-pound person usually needs another machine as opposed to a 300-pound user. So that’s why it’s a bit hard for me to pick one clear winner.
In general, I can certainly recommend the Exerpeutic 1000XL. This model is, in my opinion, the clear ‘winner’ if you weigh less than 300 Lbs.
The reason why I recommend this model is simple. It’s an easy to use machine with enough useful features. The relatively large pedal design, eight levels of resistance and transport wheels, combined with the simplicity of the 1000XL is the reason why I personally recommend this model.