Rhian Hunt's blog
The low-cost elliptical market includes many different models of exercise machines, meant to appeal to casual users or those who are experimenting to find the type of exercise that is best suited to them. Some of these models are poor-quality, while others are plain but well-made.
Elliptical trainers come in all sizes, levels of complexity, and price ranges, varying from fairly simple entry-level models to top of the line types with enough features to make their consoles nearly as complex as those of a jet fighter.
Tall, slender, silvery, the Schwinn 420 Elliptical Trainer is a high-quality mid-range elliptical trainer at a very affordable price point. Surprisingly lightweight – and very sturdy considering its light construction – the Schwinn folds for easier storage and moves on a set of built-in wheels as well.
For a low-cost, straightforward, entry-level elliptical trainer that gives a fine workout but lacks many of the more sophisticated exercise metrics of the more expensive models, the potential elliptical exerciser may want to turn to the Kettler CT 307 Elliptical Cross Trainer, a compact, affordable model produced by a German company and distributed in the United States by a firm in Virginia.
Most elliptical trainer exercise machines have a fixed stride length – perhaps 18 inches, perhaps 20, depending on the model, but still with no adjustment possible. The Schwinn 460 Variable Stride Elliptical Trainer takes a different approach, however, which I find very useful: the foot pedals automatically adjust the stride length based on the amount of pressure you exert on them with each step.
The Sole series of elliptical trainer machines offers a whole array of progressively more sophisticated elliptical trainers, with the model number indicating where the particular machine falls on the continuum -- the higher the number, the more advanced the machine.
The Sole E95 Elliptical Trainer represents the higher end of modern elliptical trainer design, and features enough sturdiness, powerful but smooth resistance, and data feedback from its sophisticated computer console to give any level of user a well-rounded workout.
The Diamondback Fitness 1260Ef Elliptical Trainer is the Rolls Royce of the elliptical market -- expensive, but manufactured to an extremely high standard and offering both a very high quality exercise experience and a tantalizing array of features and options.
As the lowest-cost Sole elliptical, the E25 has many of the features of the more expensive models, but also accentuates some of their flaws as well.
Although nowhere near as famous as some other brands of rowing machine, HCI Fitness manufactures the commercial-grade Proteus PAR-5500 Rowing Machine, a large, well-engineered exercise device that is available to both the home and professional markets.
Sole Ellipticals are designed by engineers and physical therapists. Their philosophy is that the machine is adjusted to you while you workout and not the other way around.
Resembling an intricate piece of modern sculpture in glossy black metal with a few stark white highlights, the Sole E35 Elliptical Trainer is a higher-end elliptical machine that offers lasting quality and a solid workout that will keep most users fit and well-toned for years.