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Starting off our list is an elliptical that is pretty much redefining what it means to enjoy a commercial grade fitness machine in the comfort of your home. Life Fitness E1 Go cross trainer comes packing a great performance in a format that is very easy to work with. This is what you call a step through elliptical which means that you don’t have straddle the machine in order to use it. The flywheel is hence located in the back of the frame, which does mean that the frame is slightly larger than usual. Truth be told this isn’t a model you would want to get if space is an issue.
That being said, E1 packs great hardware. You’re looking at a 20 inches length of stride paired with comfortable, oversized non slip pedals. The kind that lets you really get into the exercise. The console is fairly generous when it comes to workout routines and presets. It offers some 12 options as well as your standard stats tracking. As a bonus, you also get a media shelf that can accommodate a smart phone or a tablet for entertainment purposes. Overall, E1 is a great choice for just about everyone.
Precor EFX series 546i is a very interesting machine. Whereas our previous pick was considered commercial grade, this machine is an actual commercial elliptical. That means that you are looking at improved performance, good durability and more right out of the box. It also means that some creature comfort options aren’t as readily available. What matters the most is that hardware is on point. These feature an adjustable length of stride that ranges from 21.2 to 24.7 inches. That detail alone makes EFX 546i a great machine. The pedals are large and sport a lip that goes all around the step surface. In other words, grip is not an issue.
On the console side of things, Precor went with the basics at least when it comes to console design. This being an elliptical you would put in a gym, means that ease of use and legibility were the main areas of focus. Because of that the display, or should we say displays are simple and as basic as they come. The good stuff is on the inside. You are looking at 20 levels of resistance, 10 presets and more. These awesome ellipticals are very much worth the money.
Sole E95 may not be a straight up commercial model like some of the previous ellipticals on our list, but it definitely brings a bunch of features often found on such machines. This particular model features a front loaded flywheel which makes it somewhat large compared to similar designs. However, it’s still relatively compact when compared to rear driven ellipticals of similar spec. The customization options on this thing are great. You are looking at fully adjustable length of stride which will allow you to find that perfect position for your body and height. The handlebars are slightly unconventional, which also applies to the static handles where the heart rate sensors are mounted.
As for the console, it comes with a 10″ TFT display which makes it very legible. The back lighting allows you to use the device in low light conditions with ease as well. The built in presets and programs are great to say the least. If you still aren’t satisfied with what’s offered, you have the option of programming your own presets as well. In terms of creature comforts, Sole has included a set of speakers as well as a media deck. All in all, it’s great.
Precor is definitely a household name in this particular segment of the market. These machines are offered at a great discount and represent an awesome chance to cop yourself a truly impressive piece of fitness equipment. The AMT100i we’re looking at here is anything but standard. This elliptical in particular is quite interesting because it features Precor’s adaptive technology. In essence, you can change the way your routine flows on a whim. That makes the AMT100i a very solid choice for those who easily get bored with factory presets.
That being said, this model also features adjustable length of stride. Where most other models offer a few inches of maneuvering space, this one actually allows you to be very flexible in this regard. Lowest length of stride is the climber mode which is technically a 0 inch LoS, while the max is 27 inches. It’s worth mentioning that the console comes with dual displays, one for tracking your stats and one for entertainment. Precor has implemented a number of awesome features and software solutions which make working out a blast. This is truly the end all, be all elliptical to have at home or in the gym for that matter.
Life Fitness X1 may look very similar to the E1 that sits at the top of our list, but it really isn’t. Although they share the rear driven design, these two machines are fairly different. Life Fitness X1 sits on a very sturdy frame. They have obviously used rock solid tubing for this build which shows. The H base allows you to level out the machine perfectly, which eliminates any stability issues down the road. Just like it is the case on most models on our list so far, length of stride is fully adjustable on X1 and maxes out at 20 inches. That is what most would call the happy middle ground when it LoS.
While we are still on the subject of hardware, the most impressive trait of this particular machine is how silent it is during use. Life Fitness has used self aligning ball bearings for this build which make the X1 incredibly silent. This is probably one of the least noisy elliptical machines you can get your hands on right now. The console simple and packs a relatively large, back lit display along with a set of easy to use controls. At this price, it’s impressive.
While most ellipticals out there use a standardized design. However, there are few which go against the grain and feature something unique and different. One such model is the Body Solid E300. One glance at this bad boy reveals just why it is so unusual. It doesn’t have a regular drive system. Instead, it uses what they call a ‘center drive’. The main benefit of this design is the fact that you no longer need a massive frame to support the elliptical. Instead, you can get away with using something very compact since the center of mass is right underneath you.
In other words, this is a high end, full sized, all speced out elliptical that doesn’t take away a massive amount of space in your house. One small drawback is the non adjustable length of stride. You’re looking at locked in 21″ which are pretty natural for most people but not all. As far as consoles go, this one comes with a pretty simple yet functional one that is easy to use. It features a number of built in programs as well as other cool things that will aid you on a daily basis. Body-Solid E300’s definitely on point.
If you are wondering where you know Bowflex from, the answer is simple. This brand was all over the place with their unique resistance machines which replaced weights with flex bars. Since then, they have branched out into other areas including ellipticals. Similar to their initial designs, Bowflex ellitpicals from the Results series are all about performance. This may look like a space age model, but rest assured that Bowflex Results BXE116 is a no-nonsense piece of tech. The machine features a 22″ length of stride with pedals that feel roomy. The entire thing is powered by a 30lb effective flywheel loaded at the front of the machine.
The console unit on BXE116 is all about performance, but it doesn’t disregard the quality of life aspect of elliptical machines. You get a massive silicone color lit display that is easy to read and very legible. The surrounding controls are definitely user friendly and allow for great ease of use. Bowflex went one step ahead and added a USB charging port, an MP3 player and built in speakers. What makes the whole deal so good is the price tag. In very simple terms, this a great bang for the buck choice.
The short answer to this question is a solid yes. Ellipticals come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. From manual ones to behemoths like the ones found on the list above. The fact is that they are not all the same. A sub $1000 elliptical is a great piece of kit to have if you are a casual, light user who just wants something fairly reliable to train on from time to time. On the other hand, if you are a more serious user who values cardio and equipment that allows for a strict cardio regimen, you might need more than just fairly reliable. You will need something that works like a Swiss watch and performs day in, day out. That type of performance costs money. That type of performance is what ellipticals from this segment are designed to deliver. As usual, there are certain features and hardware solutions which allow for this.
One of the most important hardware features that separates great ellipticals from good ones is the adjustable length of stride. While the industry generally agrees that around 21″ is an average or a happy medium for all, not everyone is built the same. By being able to adjust the length of stride to fit your body, you are essentially dialing in the machine for optimal performance. This is the only real way to tap into all of that potential.
While we are on the subject of hardware, it is worth mentioning that good flywheels make a difference. With ellipticals you don’t really need a massive unit, but you do need one that is properly balanced and weighted. Models from this list offer that in abundance.
As far as features go, higher end ellipticals are all about customization, presets and quality of life features. The idea is to present you with a package that will satisfy all of your fitness needs but also keep you entertained should you want for it. Naturally, the latter is optional and purely subjective but it is definitely something you might want to look into when choosing a model that best suits your needs.
Higher end fitness equipment is impressive on so many different levels. They say that you don’t really scratch the surface until you start looking into commercial grade machines. That is definitely true in some ways. The models we have listed above all belong to this category of machines. They’re all commercial grade ellipticals that you can use in the comfort of your home. No matter which one you choose, you will be presented with awesome performance and a set of features that will make your cardio session a blast. After all, these are the best of the best consumer models.