What to ask yourself when shopping for an elliptical

Purchasing an elliptical trainer can be a very intimidating task. The elliptical trainer is relatively new to the fitness market and thus it is less known. This combined with the high level of sophistication and technology creates a great deal of confusion. 

When shopping around there are some key questions that you should ask yourself. These questions are of the utmost importance as they will prescribe the exact machine to suit your needs. When shopping you should ask yourself:

  • Why do I want an elliptical?
    • Elliptical trainers are the fastest growing trend in the fitness industry. Their cyclical motion design reduces the impact on the joints and greatly reduces the users chance of developing training related injuries
  • What is my fitness level?
    • Look at your fitness level and seriously ask yourself what is your skill level and what are your needs? A novice will not require the same features as a veteran exerciser.
  • Where will I put it?
    • Measure out the space that you have available for your future elliptical. Depending on your space requirements you may choose a different model than someone else who has a different amount of space.
  • How much do I want to invest?
    • The thing to remember when shopping for an elliptical trainer is that there are really two prices to be aware of. The upfront price, and the price over the next 10 years. You may invest $4000 today and that machine will have more features, smoother ride, and better quality/warranty than a machine that costs $2000. The $4000 elliptical will last you 15 years whereas the $2000 one will need constant maintenace and may even be replaced two or three times during the others lifetime.


What makes a good elliptical?

No matter what your answers are for your set of qualifying questions you will still be faced with many options. From these options how do you decide on your final purchase? There are some keys that will help you pick out the highest quality.

  • How heavy is it?
    • the net weight of the machine is very important in defining quality. the heavier the machine the more grounded it will be. This will lead you to have a smoother and more enjoyable ride.
  • What grade is it?
    • Every machine in the fitness industry is graded for residential, light commercial, or commercial use. There are a few commercail pieces that fall into the price points of the average consumer and will ifluence you decision. Commercial pieces are built with heavier construction and higher quality parts resulting in less mechanical failure.
  • What is the warranty?
    • when asking about the warranty of various machines be sure to read the fine print. Many warranty plans will say lifetime warranty of defective parts. This is very deceptive because most manufacturer defective parts will be noticed in the first 30 days of use not 15 years down the road.
  • What are the features?
    • Get on the machine and try it out for yourself. Ask in depth questions and try to figure out what features each machine has and how exactly they will benefit you workout.


When asking yourself how to buy an elliptical simply remember to ask yourself the key questions. These key questions will refine a field of 50 machines down to 2 or 3. From this much smaller field you must delve a little bit deeper into each machine and learn the specs and features. Combine this with your personal preferance after testing each and you will find the perfect machine for you.