How do I Choose the Best Elliptical Exercise Machine?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

An elliptical exercise machine is a piece of fitness equipment that specializes in providing a cardiovascular workout with minimal impact to joints and bones. People with injuries or chronic joint and bone problems may find them preferable over other fitness machines, such as treadmills, for this reason. Choosing the best elliptical exercise machine depends on several personal factors, including fitness level, workout goals, and budget.

Women on elliptical machines.
Women on elliptical machines.

One of the first steps to choosing the best elliptical exercise machine is to determine which features are most desirable. Larger gyms often have dozens of elliptical trainers, many with different features such as moving handles, adjustable resistance, and built-in workout programs. Gyms often have heavy duty, top-of-the-line models since these machines see a lot of use from many different people. Test out a few different versions to find out what factors are a must for a personal machine.

Check out consumer guides that review the different types of elliptical trainers. These guides, many of which are available on the Internet, often describe the features, prices, and performance of each model of elliptical exercise machine. Reading guides can help narrow down choices; with dozens of makes and models available, getting options down to five or ten choices may save hours of work.

Before setting out to buy an elliptical exercise machine, set careful parameters for the purchase. Measure the space where the machine will be put to avoid buying a too-large model. Set a maximum budget, considering shipping or delivery costs and tax, if desired. Try to realistically consider how powerful of a machine is needed; many models allow users to go up to ten miles an hour on high resistance levels, something unlikely to be necessary for casual users.

Consumer models are frequently smaller and less powerful than gym models, but are typically less expensive and still equally serviceable. Go to fitness suppliers to test out consumer models, looking for the desired features, power level, and price. If purchasing a new elliptical exercise machine, this may be the final destination on the shopping journey.

For those looking for a deal, consider buying used or refurbished machines. Health clubs and gyms may liquidate their stock as part of an update, leading to considerable savings on extremely high quality models. Want ads and auction websites are also an excellent source of deals. Be sure to test a used elliptical exercise machine carefully and at full speed and power; some less-expensive models deteriorate quickly, zapping the capabilities of the machine. If buying a refurbished model, ask about warranties and service deals before buying.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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