What You Need To Know Before Buying An Elliptical

before you buy an elliptical

Buying an elliptical trainer is not only an investment in your health, but also a significant financial investment as well.

Before you buy an elliptical trainer, there are several important considerations to mull over to ensure you receive a machine that meets your needs and will be a worthwhile long-term investment.

If you are familiar with the elliptical trainer, then you know that it is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that is easy on your joints.

It's a great way to get in and stay in shape and allows you to progress throughout your fitness journey. Once you make the important decision to purchase an elliptical trainer, you may be confused when you start researching all of your options. There are so many different models out there it can be a difficult task.

How much are you willing to spend?

One of the most important questions your need to answer is ‘How much are you willing to spend?' There are home use elliptical trainers that run the gamut of price ranges. You can purchase budget models for around $200 or spend as much as $5,000 for a gym quality machine. Think about your personal finances and what how you will be using the machine to help you set your budget.

How much space do you have?

Many people forget to factor in how much space an elliptical trainer will take up in their home. Not all of us are fortunate enough to have dedicated space for our workout area and must place the machine in other areas of the home like the family room or a bedroom. Take the time to measure how much space you have. Make note of the length and width of the space and bring that information with you when you shop.

How much do you weigh and how tall are you?

Some of the less expensive machines actually have fairly low weight restrictions! For example, one cheaper model has a maximum weight of only 200lbs, which could be very restricting for some people.

You may not have considered that height can play a factor in your elliptical trainer selection. Some machines only offer a 14” stride length, which could be too short for average sized people who would need a greater stride length. If you will be using the machine with someone else, look for a stride length of around 21”.

What features are important to you?

It shouldn't surprise you that the more bells and whistles that the elliptical trainer comes with, the higher the cost. Think about the features that are most important to you and are must haves. Here are some features to consider:

- Heart rate monitor
- Pre-programmed workouts
- Moveable handlebars
- Built in fan
- Ramp settings / incline
- Front or rear flywheel
- Adjustable pedals
- Foldaway for storage
- Warranty
- Adjustable resistance

How noisy a machine are you willing to tolerate?

One big difference I've noticed between the more expensive elliptical trainers and the budget models is their noise level. In fact, I used one inexpensive machine (I believe it was around $300), which was so noisy that I had trouble hearing a person standing right next to me. If you like to watch TV or listen to music as you exercise, that machine would have made it difficult to do so. In addition, if your machine is going to be in a busy area of your house, the noise factor could be an extremely important consideration.

Can you try before you buy?

One great idea offered from a local fitness supplier in my area is the try before you buy option. You can select an elliptical and it will be delivered to your house for a two-week period for a rental fee. You get to use the equipment and if you decide to purchase the model, they will apply the rental fee to your purchase price. Same policy applies if you decide to purchase an alternate machine. If you decide you don't like the equipment in your home, then you forfeit the rental fee.

It is a great idea for people who just aren't 100 percent sure about their decision. If this type of program isn't available in your area, then be sure to take the time to shop around and visit several retailers to try many models. Don't just go on for 30 seconds, dress for exercise and try the machines out for several minutes to get a proper feel for the equipment. Is it smooth? Are the handrails comfortable and convenient? Do you like the feature selections? Pull out your measurements and compare with the information available on the machine to determine if it will fit in your space.

By following these tips when you are purchasing your elliptical trainer, you will help guarantee that you will select the machine the meets both your fitness and financial needs.

All the best,


As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.

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