If you ever went to your local gym, you might have wondered what this spaceship style cardio machine was called. By now you’ll probably already know it’s called the elliptical machine or 'elliptical trainer', as some might call it.
The machine allows you to train your lower-body and upper-body, this is what makes the elliptical trainer stand out from other types of cardio machines. Furthermore, it’s a good machine for weight loss, and it offers a relatively low-impact workout, which means it doesn’t put a lot of pressure on your joints.
In this article, you’ll discover the best elliptical machines for home use. Additionally, I’ll discuss some of the most essential information you’ll need to make a good buying decision. So let’s find out!
Our Top 3 Elliptical Trainers:
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In short, the history of the 'spaceship style cardio machine'
The inventor of the elliptical trainer is called ‘Larry Miller’. He invented the machine to help his daughter who was a high school tennis player. He wanted to help her to improve her fitness level in a way that wouldn’t put a lot of pressure on her joints.
That’s why he made a low-impact workout ‘machine’ from some basic materials. As you might have guessed, it didn’t look like the machine you and I know as an elliptical. But it did the job!
The machine Larry Miller had invented caught interest by a company called ‘Precor’. They were interested in the idea of a low-impact workout machine. To prove it was something that would benefit users in a way Precor thought it would, they worked with Dr. Barry Bates and the University of Oregon.
The outcome of the research proved the assumptions were correct. So Precor started to build their first model. The first model was called the ‘EFX 544’ (Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer). It was the first ever exercise machine which allowed the foot to move from your heel to your toe.
That’s how the elliptical trainer like we know it was invented.
What is an elliptical machine?
The elliptical trainer, or crosstrainer, is a stationary workout machine on which you can stand on two small pedals. You'll have to move the pedals back and forward to move.
Most of the modern models have a console on which you can adjust a lot of things, even compact ellipticals. You can move at your own pace or select one of the workouts. There are usually a variety of workout programs you can choose from. The display usually shows you different metrics, like; calories burned, current pace, elapsed time etc.
The elliptical trainer is a popular home cardio machine. According to some, it’s the second largest 'category' of cardio equipment for home use.
The success of the machine is mainly the result of the effective low-impact workout it offers compared to other types of fitness equipment. Plus, during a workout on the elliptical, you use your whole body.
For example; if you would compare this to a stationary bike on which you mainly use your lower body the elliptical tends to be much more effective. Some people might argue that a treadmill is more effective (for weight loss).
Additionally, there are similar types of fitness equipment which offer a comparable workout experience, like for example; under desk elliptical machines, stair steppers and mini steppers machines. They aren't exactly the same, but each of these machines have design elements which are in some way related to the more 'standard' elliptical machines.
If you are recovering or suffer from a medical condition it’s very important to check with your healthcare provider before doing any type of exercise.
Reviews Of Our Top 3 Ellipticals
The Sole Fitness E35 is an advanced machine especially suited for the more serious users. It has a 25 Lbs flywheel, 20 levels of resistance and ten workout programs.
What makes the E35 stand out is the quality of the machine. The combination of the relatively quiet drive system and 25 Lbs flywheel provide the user with a comfortable exercise experience.
Furthermore, you’ll get a two year warranty period on labor, five years on parts and electronics and a lifetime frame warranty.
- With a total weight of 230 pounds, it is relatively heavy, which makes the E35 more stable.
- The 25 Lbs. flywheel provides a comfortable workout experience.
- Relatively high maximum user weight limit of 375 pounds, which makes it suited for people who are overweight (up to 375 Lbs.).
- It’s not really suited for users who are looking for a simple and basic machine.
The Exerpeutic Aero Air is especially suited for users who are looking for a relatively simple and basic model. This model doesn’t have a lot of 'fancy' features.
What this model does have is a; 12” stride length, a relatively easy to read LCD with some basic metrics about your workout and relatively large pedals. The pedals have a ‘ridge design’, which prevent your feet from slipping off the pedals.
Furthermore, as you might expect this machine doesn’t have an automatically adjustable resistance system. So there are no resistance buttons, which means you’ll have to adjust the tension with the black dial tension knob in the middle of the machine.
- Not a lot of fancy features, which is useful for users who are looking for a basic model.
- With 33-inches (L) by 19” (W) and 46” (H) it has a relatively compact design.
- It has transport wheels, which you can use to move the machine.
- Some users might find this model too basic.
- It doesn’t have an automatically adjustable resistance. You’ll have to change the resistance manually by turning the black knob.
The Nautilus E614 is suited for a wide range of users.
Beginners will probably like the 22 workout programs. You can start to use them without having to think about all of the settings. It has; 1 quick start, two fitness test, two custom, eight heart rate and nine profile programs. Of course, these are also suited for more experienced users.
Those who want to workout at a higher intensity can choose from 20 resistance levels. It also has an 18 Lbs. perimeter weighted flywheel, which provides a ‘natural feeling.’
- The E614 has 22 workout programs which you can use to start with your workout quickly.
- It has a goal tracking system. The tracking system helps to track your overall progress and reach your personal fitness goals.
- It doesn’t have an automatically adjustable incline. So you’ll have to switch the incline manually.
- No telemetry-enabled heart rate feature. This might be unpractical if you want to use the heart rate programs.