According to the American College of Sports Medicine, various factors help make a top rated elliptical machine. Some of these include durability, ease of maintenance, sturdiness, a suitable stride length, and an easy to read control panel. TopTen Reviews did a comparison study of 2014's top ellipticals before choosing a top 10.
Light and Loaded
The Schwinn 400 elliptical, rated number 10, weighs only 164 pounds but has a maximum user weight of 300 pounds. It has 29 preset workouts with a quick-start feature, but only five resistance levels and a fixed stride-length of 20 inches. The LCD monitor displays your workout duration, calories burned and distance covered. You can monitor your heart rate through the handle grips or with a chest strap, although the chest strap isn't included.
Pound for Pound Champion
The Precor EFX is ranked No. 1 by Top Ten Reviews. It weighs 184 pounds, with a maximum user weight of 250 pounds. A user can vary his stride-length and make other adjustments like the incline of the foot pedals. It got a high mark even though its number of preset workout programs, eight, is low compared to other top rated machines. Top Ten Reviews rates the AFG AE No. 8. It has a maximum user weight of 325 pounds and a stride length of 20 inches. It has 20 resistance levels and 10 preset workout programs with warm-up and cool-down modes.
The third-ranked machine, Sole E, weighs 200 pounds with a maximum user weight of 300 pounds. The Lifefitness X at No. 9 checks in at 215 pounds and a maximum user weight of 350 pounds. Like the Sole E, it has the usual features of a top rated machine with preset workouts, and a fixed stride-length of 20 inches. The No. 2 machine, the Smooth Agile DMT, weighs 223 pounds with a maximum user weight of 350 pounds. It was also highly regarded by Ellipticaltrainers.com. That site praised its ability to let a user change the motion in mid-stride. For example, you could go from an elliptical to a hurdling motion.
The No. 3 machine was the 240-pound Vision Fitness S7. It has a variable stride-length and a quick-start mode, but doesn't have warm-up and cool-down modes. You can monitor your heart rate through the handle grips or the included chest strap. The ProForm Front Drive elliptical, rated No. 6, weighs 240 pounds with a maximum user weight of 375 pounds. Its 32 preset workout programs is the highest among the top rated ellipticals. You can adjust the stride-length between 20 and 22 inches, and choose up to 25 resistance levels.
Plus Sizes with Question Marks
The Diamond Back 1260 EF elliptical machine, No. 4 on the list, is 245 pounds and can hold someone checking in at 325. It has 15 preset workouts with warm-up and cool-down modes and a quick-start feature. However, according to Ellipticaltrainers.com, its fixed stride-length of 19 inches is a significant negative. The Nordic Track Rear Drive is the heaviest of the top rated ellipticals at 285 pounds, with a maximum user weight of 350 pounds. It's No. 7 on the Top Ten list, but Ellipticaltrainers.com say the stride is uncomfortable and causes knee pain.