4 Dumb Mistakes Most People Make When Buying an Elliptical Trainer

Updated on July 9, 2017

Many times we end up making some buying decisions that are not in our best interest and I have seen a lot of people making mistakes while buying for elliptical trainers.

So my goal with this hub is to tell you about the 4 mistakes people usually make during buying an elliptical so that you guys can make a well informed decision.

Four mistakes I see a lot of people make are.

  1. They look for an elliptical that's light in weight
  2. They look for elliptical with big stride length
  3. Not Considering Who & How Many People Will Use It (One Size Never Fits All )
  4. Comfort

Light Weight Elliptical

What people usually look for is an elliptical cross trainer that is it should be light in weight so that it's easy it move it around if needed.

But the problem is if the trainer is too light in weight it's probably not a well built trainer and won't be able to provide a smooth, whisper and enjoyable workout.

You can go and check any elliptical machine at gym or at local store that provides a quiet and smooth workout and feels like a well built machine and you will find few things in common and one of those would be their weight.

I am not saying that they all would weight equally but what I am saying is all of them gonna to be too heavy (more than 250 pounds).

I understand that if the machine is too heavy it's would be too difficult to move it if needed but there are some trainers (such as smooth ce 7.4) that are well built & are too heavy in weight but they come with what's called tilt-go-wheels so you can move it around with ease just by plugging those wheels in.

But it doesn't stop there. Here is what else you need to know. Stride length of an elliptical trainer is equally crucial.

Elliptical's Stride Length - Bigger Isn't Better

Before buying anything we all look for recommendations and reviews which is good but you there are sometimes (during making purchase) you will be more likely to make a well informed decision if you have already tried the product and elliptical cross trainer is one of those products.


Here is why, most of the fitness equipment websites & review websites say that the bigger the stride length the better BUT it is not true.

What you need from an elliptical machine is a full range of elliptical motion and it depends on user's height.

If the stride is too short (this depends on your height) then you will feel choppy and the trainer won't be able to provide full elliptical motion and on the other hand if the stride is too big (again your height is what it matters) then you may end up over stretching your legs which isn't a pleasing experience either.

So what you need to do is try few elliptical machines at gym or local store with different stride lengths to figure out which one is the best fit for you.

Here is the general recommendation for stride length according to user's height.

For users with less than 5'3" a trainer with 16 - 18 inch stride can provide a full elliptical motion, for a user with 5'7" to 6'7" an elliptical with 20 - 21 inch stride will be able to provide a full elliptical motion. And if you are more than 7' then there are some ellipticals available with 26 inch stride length.

Note: As I said this is just a general recommendation for different users with different height. You should definitely try few different elliptical trainers before making a buying decision.

Since best stride length depends on users height that brings us to out thing point which is one size never fits all.

One Size Never Fits All

I know you have heard of this several times under different circumstances but it's really that important and in case of elliptical machines there is no difference.

If you plan to use elliptical at home and you are going to be the only one who will ever use it then you don't need to worry about this but chances are that's not the case even at home.

You see, you need to make sure that everyone who plans to use this trainer feels comfortable with the stride and get the full elliptical motion from it without over stretching his legs.

And if like many people you face a situation where there is a huge difference in users height than what you want to look for is an elliptical with adjustable stride (such as Smooth's DMT-X2 Elliptical) so that different users can set the length of the stride as they see fit.

And that brings us to the last but the most important thing you need to look for in an elliptical trainer and that's Comfort.

At the End of The Day Comfort Matters the Most

Comfort is the most important thing you need to look for in an elliptical. You can read elliptical reviews of different brands and different trainers at my blog.

It's really that important because if you don't feel comfortable on elliptical machine you are less likely to use it on regular basis and that's the last thing you want to happen.

If trainer makes noise, doesn't provide smooth exercise and doesn't feel sturdy would you enjoy the workout? of course not. No one would.

And would you do something on regular basis that you don't enjoy? I wouldn't. I don't want to push myself everyday to get that workout done; it's too difficult, I would rather have an elliptical that provides a workout that I can enjoy and pulls me everyday instead of me pushing myself.

So the point is you need to make sure that the cross trainer that you are going to buy provides smooth workout that you will enjoy. And for that it's really important to try few elliptical trainers before you buy any.

As a customer we all want three things from any purchase that we make and those are best quality product/service, great after sales service/support and best price.

But I have news for you; you will never be able to find a combination of all the three things. You will have to sacrifice any of the three things.

When comparing different trainers to make a well informed buying decision you need to be able to differentiate between price and cost.

Price is a onetime payment that you have to pay while making a purchase of an elliptical whereas the cost is something you will be concerned about the rest of the lifetime of elliptical.

Let's say you are comparing two different elliptical trainers. Price of first the trainer is $500 and the price of second one is $1000 (double the price of the first one).

This is what I would do and I suggest you do the same. I would calculate the cost of both of the trainers. Let's say I am reading reviews about the first one and there are complaints from people who have used it or are using it about the noise, break down, not smooth motion, etc but it works and it lasts for 3 years.

And the reviews for the expensive one are great. People love it, it provides great workout, it's smooth, etc. Not only it works but it's fun to do the workout on that machine and it lasts for 5 years.

If I end up buying the first elliptical (the cheap one), I might workout for 2 days a week because it's makes noise, it's not smooth and it's no fun whereas If I buy the second one I know I will use it regularly (at least 4 days a week).

So here is the math. I will use first elliptical machine twice a week for three years (156 weeks) which means it will provide me 312 workouts. And I will have to pay $500 for it. Therefore price for each workout is going to be $ 500/312 = $1.60.

In case of the expensive trainer I will use it four times a week for five years (260 weeks) which means it will provide me 1040 workouts. And the price for the elliptical is $1000. Therefore price for each workout is going to be $1000/1040 = $0.96.

Do you see the difference? Even after paying twice as much for expensive elliptical my cost for each workout is going to be 40% less as compared to the cost of each workout from cheap trainer.

Not to mention because I will use it more often I will achieve my fitness goals faster which is what matters at the end of the day.

And above numbers are real. You definitely can find a great elliptical trainer that you will enjoy to work on, which can provide great workout in thousand dollars range and will last more than 5 years, for example sole e35.

On the other hand you will also find many trainers in five hundred dollars range that is just piece of crap. You will find horrible reviews from users. I am not going to link to a specific product but you definitely can find them on Amazon.

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