How to Compare Ellipticals 

Elliptical trainers come with a variety of features which provide different advantages, such as training effectiveness, affordability and reliability. With dozens of brands to choose from, as well as different machines offered by the same company, you’ll want to compare apples to apples when shopping for an elliptical. Knowing the different features offered on these machines is the first step in making an informed choice.

Compare Stride Lengths

Stride lengths measure the maximum distance between the pedals during exercise. A longer stride length offers more intense exercise. The taller you are, the longer stride length you’ll want. More expensive ellipticals provide a longer stride length.

Compare the Incline

Some (more expensive) elliptical machines offer different rates of incline which allow you to work different leg muscles.

Compare Resistance

Resistance settings allow you to make your workouts more difficult (from a muscular standpoint) or easier to perform physically (which may increase cardiovascular benefits).

Compare Electronics

Everything from heart rate monitoring to speed, calorie, distance and time reports, to MP3/iPod docking stations with speakers can be included with an elliptical. There are mostly “bells and whistles,” but some of these features can enhance your workout and make it more enjoyable.

Compare Portability

Ellipticals come in different weights, and some even fold for easy storage. Folding ellipticals allow you to exercise without sacrificing home space, but may not be as stable as stationery machines.

Compare Capacity

Not all ellipticals support the same weight. Make sure any elliptical machine you purchase is made to bear your weight.

Compare Sizes

If you have limited space for a new elliptical machine, make sure that the footprint (the area it will take up on a floor) meets your available space.

Compare Prices

Do this after you’ve gone through the above Steps. Even if you have a pre-set budget, it’s still not a good idea to start with price, since not every machine you can afford will offer the same benefits. If your desired machines are out of your price range, you may need to see which features are raising the price, and eliminate all of the machines with those features.

Compare Warranties

Make sure your machine has a warranty, and understand what it covers. Does it cover the entire machine, or just certain parts? Will they replace or only repair it? Is it a limited or full warranty? Is the machine warranted for 90 days or two years? Even with a free warranty, you may have to register the machine online or by mail, so be sure to look for a warranty card when your elliptical arrives. If you don’t find any warranty information, immediately call the manufacturer or seller, since many warranties must be activated within a certain time period after purchase.