Elliptical Buying Guide

How To Find Your Best Crosstrainer

Buying an elliptical but confused by all of your options?

That's understandable! There are so many different styles of elliptical trainers out there today that it's easy to get confused.

To help you out, we've created a simple elliptical trainer buying guide below listing exactly what to look for when shopping.

You'll also find a helpful video below on what to look for when choosing a crosstrainer. Enjoy!

elliptical buying guide

Elliptical Buying Guide Video:


Quick Elliptical Buying Guide:

If you're buying an elliptical, here are several key features to look for when shopping:

#1 Heavier Flywheel

The basic rule of thumb is that the heavier the flywheel, the smoother the ride you're going to get. A heavier flywheel also gives you more stability without the starts and jumps felt with cheaper machines.

Some brands that give you particularly heavy flywheels are Smooth and Sole.

#2 Large Pivoting Footpedals

Pivoting or articulating footplates give more support to your ankles and knees throughout the elliptical motions.

They also help reduce toe numbness that can come with longer workouts.

Some popular brands with large articulating footpedals are Livestrong, Smooth and Yowza.

#3 Workout Options

Most ellipticals these days come with built-in workouts. However some also come with extra add-on features that some people really like.

For example, some trainers (like Livestrong and Nordictrack i.e.) let you download new workouts from the Internet or record your workout stats and upload them to track and view your progress over time (which is great inspiration for goal setting!)

Another popular feature you can also find are iPod docks with speakers that can make your workouts more enjoyable.

#4 Backlit LCD Console

If you find a larger console that is backlit, this makes it easier to see your workout stats.

I've found that non-backlit consoles can be very hard to read - which can really put a downer on your workout if you have to strain to see your stats.

Most trainers over $700 have backlit consoles - but more under $600 do not have large windows that are backlit.

#5 Incline

Incline is a feature found on some crosstrainers that changes the slope of the elliptical pathway.

This is a great feature to add extra calorie-burning challenges to your workout and a great way to crosstrain different muscle groups.

Incline either comes in manual mode (where you get off the trainer to adjust the incline) or in power mode (where you can change the incline while working out from the console.

Popular brands that include incline on most of their trainers are Nordic Track, Livestrong and Sole.

So those are some of the main features to look at. For the latest highly rated ellipticals, be sure to check out our Best Elliptical trainers here.


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What I look for in an Elliptical Trainer Not rated yet
I like to know the trainer is sturdy and will provide a good workout. I like to know that if I am going to make a big purchase like this, it has many features. …

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