Compact Elliptical Or A Full Featured Elliptical?

When you think of investing in a reliable elliptical trainer to conveniently work out at home, the first thing to cross most minds is the need for a compact elliptical, so that it doesn’t occupy too much space. But size isn’t everything, and there are many vital parameters and features that you need to be aware of, prior to finalizing your purchase decision.

A Compact Elliptical that meets all your needs to the hilt!

With our structured, unbiased reviews and rating, coupled with this full-fledged Elliptical Buying Guide, we intend to guide you towards investing in the right elliptical trainer. The main judging criteria in the reviews include Size and Design, Comfort and Ergonomics, Safety, Advanced Features and Personalization, Console, Warranty and Maintenance. This in itself signifies that you should never limit your purchase parameters to that of a compact elliptical that fits in your budget.

So let’s go straight to the different Elliptical Machine Features that one needs to explore!

1. Size and Design Features

The physical dimensions and weight of the elliptical machine are definitely important to check out, vis-à-vis the space you can manage in your home, how often you’d need to move it around etc. Should you have limited space at home, make sure you find out if the elliptical machine you’ve set your eyes on, offers the following features.

  • Compact design- Home versions are always more compact as compared to professional ones!
  • Foldable- Many home elliptical machines boast of a hydraulic design that can be folded effectively after use.
  • Wheeled- If you’re finicky about cleaning, it would be a good idea to get home a wheeled elliptical so that you can easily move it around, rather than let dust settle around areas that cannot be reached.

Of course if you’re amongst the fortunate few who don’t have ‘space worries’, you can go in for a full-fledged, commercial model with all the advanced features you covet!

Not to forget the three categories of elliptical trainers that we’ve spoken about in the previous section, you should consider opting for a ‘Front Drive Elliptical’ if you’re short-statured, a ‘Rear-Drive Elliptical’ if you’re tall and a ‘Center Drive Elliptical’ if compactness is your top priority!

2. Comfort and Ergonomic Features

For many of us, an elliptical machine not being ergonomic, or not providing the desired level of comfort, can be a deal-breaker! This is because the core concept behind an elliptical machine is the provision of a low-impact, yet effective workout with absolutely natural body movements. Here are some parameters you might want to check out!

  • Ease of Use- An ideal elliptical machine is one that you can easily use without the help of a professional trainer.
  • Smoothness of Motion- The flywheel plays the core role in ensuring that your pedaling motion is fluid, seamless and doesn’t strain your joints. Generally, the heavier the flywheel, the smoother will be your motion.
  • Incline Adjustment- You can gradually raise the ‘challenge level’ of your workout by increasing the incline or slope at which you’re working out. But make sure you don’t spike it up too high in one go!
  • Variable Resistance- Pedaling resistance is directly proportional to effort you need to put in for pedaling, which in turn helps you burn more calories.
  • Forwards and Backwards Motion- Keeps your workout from getting boring or monotonous!
  • Stride Length Variation- Based on your body frame, length of your legs and feet etc, you should be able to adjust the stride length of the pedals. This is a crucial feature without which it can be very uncomfortable to use the elliptical trainer.

3. Safety Features

Your quest for the perfect, compact elliptical trainer for your home gym is largely incomplete if you’ve not enquired about its safety features such as Pedal Lock, Machine Lock, Emergency Stop Button, Anti-Skid Ramp, Cushioned Grip Bar, Oversized and Well-Spaced Pedals etc. This becomes all the more important when you have young children at home. Last but not the least, the break-system is also very important, and it’s always better to opt for an elliptical machine with Electromagnetic Brake System (which is ultra-smooth and push-button based) as opposed to a manual brake system that can cause sudden jolts, thereby hampering safety.

4. Advanced Features and Personalization

  • Upper Body Workout- The basic elliptical models have provision for only lower body workout, whereas most advanced models in the market today, enable varietal workouts and help you in working various muscle groups.
  • Heart Rate Monitoring- Some models have wireless heart monitors, while others have wired ones, and yet the simplest ones may not have heart monitoring facility.
  • In-built Workout Programs- You can opt for pre-programmed versions to work various muscle groups, while some advanced machines enable you to feed in your preferred program.

5. Console Features

The Console is basically the screen which acts as an interface between you and the elliptical machine. In fact, a look at the console of any elliptical will straightaway tell you how feature-rich or hi-tech the model is. So while simple models meant for meeting modest requirements will simply display the date, time, distance covered so far, calories burned etc, state-of-the-art elliptical will have an enormous range of console features like Health Apps syncing, Bluetooth Connectivity, USB Charging, iPod Compatibility, in-built entertainment features and so on!

6. Warranty and Maintenance

There are two different aspects of the warranty and maintenance of elliptical trainers that you need to check out.

  • Frame Warranty- Most reputed elliptical machine brands offer a lifetime warranty on frames, while others might offer a 5-year period.
  • Parts and Labor Warranty- The warranty period offered for parts and labor is always lower than that of the frame, and could vary anywhere between 90 days to 1 year.

Additionally, you should also find out if there is a Customer Service or Tech Support Helpline, to bail you out when you’re facing technical snags or issues pertaining to functionality, repairs and maintenance.

Armed with excellent in-sights on the working of an elliptical, as well as its various benefits and reviewing criteria, we’re pretty sure that you’re several steps closer to finding a functionally efficient, feature-rich compact elliptical to fuel your fitness resolutions with ease!