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How to Choose and Buy the Best Elliptical Trainer

Tips from the Treadmill Doctor


Updated June 26, 2014

NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial Elliptical Trainer

NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial Elliptical Trainer

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This is the most difficult part of buying an elliptical trainer. There are some great marketing people in the fitness business. Their goal is to make you think that their elliptical trainer is worth much more than someone else’s elliptical trainer, regardless of price.

Although it is difficult to absolutely determine quality from the price of the product, it is still the best way to separate the quality levels of ellipticals. It makes sense as well. A manufacturer has to spend more money on a better quality elliptical trainer. Therefore, they have to charge more for it as well. In some cases, you pay for a name brand but on our web site at TreadmillDoctor.com you can review our Elliptical Review section and our Best Buy picks will help you discover which ones are better than others from a quality perspective.

So, let’s separate quality levels by price ranges. Currently, we separate the quality levels with $500 increments (i.e.- $0 to $500, $500 to $1,000, $1,000 to $1,500, etc.). Each price range should be considered a step up in quality.

Therefore, if you are single, weigh over 200 lbs., and will use the elliptical 90 minutes per day (remember our earlier example), you will need an elliptical trainer that is in at least in the $1,000 to $1,500 price range.

Determining Elliptical User Variables

There are many variables to consider but here are the three main variables you must consider when purchasing an elliptical trainer:
  • User Weight: The weight of the users makes a difference in how the elliptical trainer will operate. Many ellipticals will start to have vibration problems, increased noise, and balance issues when user weight goes much over 200 lbs. For every 50 lbs. of weight over 200 lbs. of the heaviest user, go up one level in quality. For instance, if the heaviest user is 350 lbs., select an elliptical trainer that is three levels above the bare minimum, or in this case it would be in the $1,500 to $2,000 price range.
  • Time Used: We consider normal use 30 minutes per day each for 2 people. For each extra 30 minutes of use per day, go up 1 level in quality. So if the heaviest user is under 200 lbs. but the total use per day will be 2 hours, the minimum quality elliptical you need is up 2 levels in the $1,000 to $1,500 range.
  • Number of Users: The number of users is the third critical area to consider. Two people is considered normal. For each additional person using the elliptical trainer, go up 1 level in quality. So if the heaviest user is under 200 lbs. and the amount of use is less than 1 hour per day but you have 3 people using the elliptical, you will need an elliptical trainer at least 1 step up in the $500 to $1,000 range.

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