Buying Guide: Ellipticals
Ellipticals are one of the most beneficial pieces of workout equipment, and one of the most popular for home use. They provide all the cardiovascular benefits of running without the damaging impact on your bones and joints caused by running on pavement or even a treadmill. Buying an elliptical machine can be an investment, but will pay off for years to come. Our guide gives you tips on what to look for before you buy.

 Types of Elliptical Machines

 Flywheel Location
The location of the flywheel (the equivalent of a bicycle chain) can make a difference in the smoothness of an elliptical’s ride, as well as the position you stand in as you exercise.
Front: Front-drive ellipticals are usually the least expensive, as they have more moving parts and generally produce a little more noise. These machines usually require a slight forward lean while operating.
Rear: This is the original type of elliptical. They have fewer moving parts than front-drive machines, making them easier to maintain, and usually run more quietly. These machines provide more inertia, which makes for a smoother ride, and allow for a more comfortable upright position. These features make it a slightly more costly machine.
Center: This newest type of elliptical is generally the most expensive, but the design allows for the flywheels to be on the sides of the machine, making it more compact, easy to store, and very quiet to use.

 Features to Look For
Exercise programs: Like treadmills, many ellipticals offer preset programs that automatically adjust the resistance and incline as you work out.
Heart rate monitor: Some machines allow you to track your heartrate as you exercise, either through the handles or by using an attached chest strap.
Safety: If you have young kids at home, look for a machine that has a pedal arm safety pin that keeps the machine locked in position when not in use. This will prevent children from playing with or injuring themselves on the machine.
Resistance levels: You’ll want a machine that has adjustable resistance levels to vary the intensity of your workout. Most ellipticals have at least 16 levels, but nicer models can have up to 22. You can also look for machines that allow you to pedal in reverse in order to work out more muscle groups.
Magnetic braking: Most modern ellipticals use magnetic braking, which adjusts smoothly and quietly between resistance levels.
Folding: If space is an issue in your home, look for a folding model that can be stored in relatively small spaces.