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Elliptical Machines Performance

Reviews posted by users and experts say the greatest benefits accrue from machines that challenge you over the long haul. The best elliptical will match your stride and offer varied workouts at different levels of difficulty.

Elliptical reviews also indicate that users care about ease of assembly and build quality. For the most part, users' reviews indicate that our top picks for best elliptical machines give good value for the money and generally exceed expectations.

Elliptical Workouts.

Finding the right fit between user and machine means matching your natural stride to that of the elliptical trainer and making sure you can easily grip the handlebars. The harmony, or lack thereof, will make or break your workouts. One 5'8" expert writes in an elliptical review on Fitness-Equipment-Source, a stride shorter than 18 inches makes his workout more like a bounce session than the kind of smooth movement exercisers seek; his preferred stride length is 20 or 21 inches. But, to each his own. The 20-inch stride on the Horizon EX69 finds favor with users (including one six-foot-plus exerciser) who appreciate the length and smooth motion. The action feels much like walking or running, says an Amazon review, and related design features keep you standing upright, which is unusual for a front-drive elliptical machine. Experts say the ergonomics of the EX69 (also incorporated in other Horizon models) make this machine one of the best ellipticals for female exercisers, and we read numerous positive reviews written by women. Reviewers also assert that the preset resistance levels are challenging and the manual incline is easy enough to change.

Stride length is two inches shorter on the Schwinn 420, but that doesn't detract from its strong showing in the crowded gym equipment marketplace. Reviews of the best ellipticals posted on Walmart say the workouts are demanding; one writer considers level 1 "moderate" rather than easy and another reports the leg and butt burn lets you know you're accomplishing something. Experts like the long handlebars, which provide plenty of options for gripping and changing up your upper body workout. And for the record, a few reviews say the 18-inch stride length suits long legs although others argue it's a bit short.

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Smooth and stable is the consensus opinion expressed in ProForm 590E reviews. Exercisers posting on sites such as Walmart applaud the performance; one woman says level 2 gives a good workout and another user reports it helps ease the pain associated with fibromyalgia, which affects muscles and joints. Users also like the placement of the handlebars, which seem to suit various physiques and heights. Several elliptical trainers reviews report the 590E wobbles a bit -- one user remarks that losing 20 pounds would probably put less strain on the machine -- and another says the pedal action seems more circular than elliptical, perhaps a reflection of the 18-inch stride length. In the opinion of Elliptical Trainers, the ProForm 590E is designed for moderate amounts of exercise by users who don't come close to the 300-pound weight limit.

Users also like the Nautilus E514, citing its fluid motion and stable stance. It's an effective complement to a treadmill, asserts an elliptical trainers review at Abe's of Maine, while a user writes elsewhere that she chose this gym equipment over a treadmill because it's better for her knees and back. The 18-inch stride length suits users of varying heights; one man writes in a review on Amazon that it easily accommodates his 5'6" height (ditto for his wife) and a 5'10" exerciser says it felt a bit short only when he broke into a sprint.

Stride length is a tad problematic with the Weslo Momentum 630 and Gold's Gym StrideTrainer 380. The workout intensity with the Weslo is good enough, conclude elliptical reviews, but only if you're not too tall. One user who stands 5'9" reports on the Target site that her knees hit the front of the machine. With its slightly longer 14-inch stride, the Gold's Gym machine is considered the best elliptical for quite a number of fans, particularly users seeking a none-too-strenuous form of exercise, according to reviews posted on Walmart. The reviews note, however, that it might disappoint the already fit and trim and its light weight might not stand up to overweight users. This view is echoed by experts who doubt the StrideTrainer's effectiveness at working the upper and lower body simultaneously and say the stated 250-pound capacity may be wishful thinking.

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