An elliptical is yet another of those machines that can be ideal both for serious workouts as well as for casual workouts. It is something that has the least chance of hurting the user. Ellipticals are often pretty easy to use and they don’t exactly cause too violent and extreme of an impact on the body that may lead to muscle injuries. On the other hand, if you do use it properly, the elliptical can offer a pretty intense workout and can burn as many calories as any other top workout equipment.

Moreover, you can get some of the best ellipticals under $400. In this guide, we discuss in detail everything about an elliptical and the key points you need to consider while you are looking to buy one. Let’s get right to it.



Types of Ellipticals

Rear-drive ellipticals

These kinds of ellipticals have the wheel placed behind the user. This system and design is found generally in the relatively expensive category and is believed to provide a bit smoother and better pedal movement and thereby a more effective workout. Though it offers a more intense workout, some users may find the positioning in this case a bit awkward.

Front-drive ellipticals

As you probably figured out from the name itself, this category has the wheel placed in front of the user. This is one of the most commonly used category of ellipticals. Further, most of the budget-friendly ellipticals fall under this category.


A Simple Elliptical Buying Guide, All You Need To Know On Purchasing An Elliptical!


Hybrid elliptical

This category of ellipticals is designed to be dynamic according to the use and preferences of the users. You will have the option of switching the positions and rearranging the wheel and pedals according to your comfort.

Automatic v. manual

Pretty evident from the category names itself, this is a common distinction. Automatic ones are obviously more expensive than the manual ones but are way easier to use and are more dynamic.

Things to consider while buying an Elliptical

Coming to the main part of this article, the following are the factors you should consider while buying an elliptical.

Stride length

Stride length is basically the maximum range of motion of both the pedals on the elliptical. It is certainly an important factor to consider for the intensity of the workout will depend a lot on the stride length. The rule of thumb is, the taller you are the greater should be your stride length preference. It is pretty much a no brainer. If you are buying the elliptical for a gym, you should buy two or three ellipticals of different stride-lengths or rather an adjustable hybrid machine.



Resistance systems

This determines the level of difficulty involved starting the pedaling or in bringing the machine to a stop. More expensive categories and hybrids would usually have a motorized resistance system, while the cheaper ones would have a manual system that would be a tad harder to bring to a stop or initiate. Further, there are brands and categories that allow you to adjust the level of resistance.


Depending on the category and brand of the ellipticals you are considering, there can be variation in the quality and type of belt used in the elliptical. Be sure to check out the make and material of the belt as it plays quite an integral part in deciding the durability and sturdiness of the machine.

Level of inclination and adjustment 

This is something that can be influenced by the budget. The expensive ones, as well as some of the average priced models have features allowing the users to adjust the inclination for the workout according to their capacity and preference. Adjustment of inclination may not be available with many of the manual and cheaper models.

Types of motions

Some machines offer reverse pedaling, some offer forward pedaling while some offer both reverse and forward pedaling. You can make the choice by determining what kind of motion would be comfortable for you.


Nobody would want a noisy and uncomfortable workout session. Whichever machine or brand you choose, one of the basic things to look for in the reviews would be any complaints about the machine making noise.



Ease of use

While a couple of electronic features can increase the excitement and motivation for using the machine every day, too many features and electronic displays can be too complex and frustrating for some users. Find the one that fits your level of comfort and understanding.

Safety and maintenance of the machine

Some machines come with additional safety features like emergency stop buttons. Also, there can be safety lock features to ensure that the machine doesn’t start automatically when not in use. A few other things to check would be the warranty and guarantee offered by the manufacturer and free maintenance and services if any.


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Other features

There are several other small and attractive features and add-ons offered by different manufacturers and different categories. Some of them are:

  • Calorie Tracker: This feature allows the user to keep track of the number of calories burnt in each session. It is a pretty common feature with the motorized ellipticals.
  • Heart rate: By measuring the heart rate, you can have a better insight and understanding of the intensity of your workout and the progress that you are making. With this feature, you will be able to stay in a healthy range. Too high of a heart rate would open you to chances of physical discomforts and injuries. Too low would mean your exercise isn’t intense enough to make a difference.
  • Time: This simply displays the duration of workout. It is a very basic feature, but still useful.
  • Preset programs: Many of the high-end models will have different preset training programs. Some would even allow you to customize them.


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Finally, the choice is yours. Do your research, shortlist and compare the brands and products of your choice before you finalize any purchase. I hope that this post has been insightful and will allow you to form a more informed decision when finally purchasing an elliptical.

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