Bringing the gymnasium experience into your mobile home makes it flexible and easier to do workouts at any time you please. While many people go for treadmills, the pounding on your joints can be hard enough to give you second thoughts.
Also, treadmills may not be the best gamble for older manufactured homes due to excessive vibrations that could take a toll on the joists of your home.
Elliptical trainers mimic the normal running movements minus foot impacts. This design can be especially beneficial if you have bad knees or are rehabilitating from a lower-body injury but still want exercise.
The typical machine comes with adjustable resistance and moving handgrips to allow you to accomplish an intense and full-body workout.
Eight Manufactured Home Elliptical Trainer Shopping Factors
Elliptical trainers don’t come cheap, especially if you want the much better high-end options that feature more functions. You can find a decent high-end product with a price tag in the north of $2,000.
However, don’t fret, you still can get an average product at half that price or less. More expensive machines tend to be heavier and larger as a result of their beefier frames.
Also, the number of functions and features tends to rise with the price tag.
Use our guide to learn more about several different types of elliptical trainers and the must-have features you need to look for in each type of machine, all meant to simplify your shopping process.
Consider these factors:
- Cost v/s Budget – What Machine Can You Afford?
- Workout Space – Where Do You Want to Install Them?
- Elliptical Styles – Which One Suits Your Exercise Needs?
- Must-Have Features
- Safety Features
- Store Testing – Try The Model Before Buying
- Programming & Motivation
- Movable Arms v/s Non-Movable Arms
1. Cost v/s Budget – What Machine Can You Afford?
For many home-based fitness “enthusiasts,” the cost of the equipment and the budget are the two most important factors in purchasing any piece of equipment for a home gym.
Pricewise, elliptical trainers vary can vary widely. It can also depend on the condition of equipment and all onboard features. Be prepared to spend anything between $200 and $5000 for a new or used model.
It’s possible to find inexpensive models at your local discount department stores or similar outlets and they may function just perfectly.
However, they are likely not to last long enough and may turn out to be not as strong and sturdy as their high-end and quality models.
Remember to also consider your body type and workout needs. If you plan to use the unit for your weekly runs and your body frame is small, consider budgeting for a small machine.
Then again, let’s say your body frame is that of a heavy build and you plan to use the unit as part of a HIIT training, you will want something sturdier that can bear your enormous frame and your goals.
If you can’t afford the unit that meets your criteria or needs right away, consider saving until you find a quality machine that offers what you want instead of opting for a compromise.
Some of the recommendable elliptical makers worth checking are
2. Workout Space – Where Do You Want to Install Them?
Elliptical trainers are not small machines. They take up a significant amount of space in your room, so be sure to determine whether the space reserved for them is capable of meeting all installation and spacing needs.
If you are planning to place them in your home-based gym, expect the typical elliptical machine to measure between 4 ft. and 7 ft. in length.
You will also need to reserve a room for the bike-like pedals. Some machines feature extended pedals that stretch about a foot behind the frame.
You will also need to account for approximately 20” of free space needed on either side.
Lastly, you need to consider your ceiling height. This is especially necessary if you are planning to install it in your basement.
Some products can come with a pedal height of 1 ft. or slightly higher at the apex.
3. Elliptical Styles – Which One Suits Your Exercise Needs?
There are four designs of elliptical machines. Each style has its pros and cons:
- center drive
- front drive
- rear drive
This design is very much like a treadmill except that the pedals are placed where the track should be.
If you are looking for a product perfect for very gentle workouts, choose a center-drive elliptical trainer.
This style of the elliptical trainer is also the most compact of all, occupying very little space in your tiny workout room. However, you will need to leave considerable space for their pedal reach at the rear
Typically, this style of trainers comes with one large wheel compartment at the front.
They are the most basic elliptical trainers you could lay your hands on and, for that reason, are the most affordable.
The downside of front-drive machines is that they are prone to excessive vibration and can be noisy sometimes.
A Rear-Drive trainer comes with a smaller wheel compartment at the rear of the pedals.
This design makes them be the longest elliptical trainers out there.
The pedals can be designed to take the shape and design of a track-and-roller which permits an incline.
You will find some options equipped with a suspended arm system which makes them provide the smoothest workout.
These machines are designed to blend multiple functions found in the above three styles.
Elliptical hybrids typically feature the functions and features of the familiar stationary bike.
As such, you can usually make adjustments to the device to move between multiple modes, rearranging your pedals and seats.
In many cases, hybrid machines don’t trade off durability with versatility. Despite their many functions, they last longer to a point of rivaling the above three popular designs.
4. Must-Have Features
There is a list of features that every elliptical trainer, even the most basic trainers, must possess. You are not going to compromise on them.
Here is a list of a few of them:
- Adjustable Incline
- Adjustable Resistance
- Smooth Motion
- Stride Length
- Upper Body Comfort
- The Quiet Factor
This feature isn’t very necessary for beginners, but being free to adjust the device’s ramps can be highly valuable to some users as it helps add intensity to workouts.
Some devices stick to manual adjustments while more advanced options offer automatic adjustments
Virtually all elliptical machines you will find in the store supports adjustable resistance.
It should be easy at a low setting and a bit challenging at around 75 percent, with observable changes at every level.
Adjustable resistance permits you to press further as you get endurance and strength.
Ensure that the pedals are able to move quietly and smoothly.
It should not feel jerky but should fit snuggly so you are comfortable during the entire movement.
None of the pieces should impede your motion, either.
Some products only offer a 14” stride which would certainly fall short of the needs of even the averagely sized users.
Look for a product with a stride measuring about 21” instead.
Insist for an adjustable stride if you intend the machine for multiple users
Upper Body Comfort
Some users might not even need arm handles during workouts, but it is a must-have feature if you want more intensity.
Also, some users may want to ensure that the handgrip movements are comfortable for them
The Quiet Factor
The last thing you want to hear are creaking noises during your workouts.
However, devices can be a bit loud.
Choose a machine that won’t sound like a train in the morning when you are doing your workouts.
5. Safety Features
Safety and effectiveness are two important things everyone wants in their machines, whether they are amateurs or strict fitness enthusiasts.
Look for a unit that offers cool down and warm-up periods.
Handrails that offer balance shouldn’t get in your way, either. You will also want a unit that comes with easy-to-read displays and consoles so that you can see how hard you are working.
To safeguard your investment, choose an elliptical trainer with a good warranty and minimal maintenance needs.
A good warranty should include such things as 1 year for labor or 1 to 3 years for parts. I
t is also worth asking the dealer or store if they have a team of trained staff who would service your equipment in the event of a breakdown.
Keep Children Away
If you have small children at home, an elliptical trainer can appear like a fun toy to play with. Some products include safety features such as pin locks so the pedals are held static.
Others will let you lock the operators and the screen to prevent unauthorized use.
These are top safety features worth putting into consideration, though many homeowners would simply close the doors leading to the workout room.
Bonus Features Worth Putting into Account
This’s the interesting part because a typical elliptical trainer can come with all manner of bonus features.
There are those that will help you with your basic workout routines while others can turn the whole affair into an enjoyable experience.
For instance, a tablet holder is required to keep you entertained while a bottle holder is necessary to hold a bottle of cold water and keep you hydrated.
Having a heart rate monitor onboard is could be useful as well, don’t you think?
An interactive model can automatically adjust your workouts to help you stay in your zone.
Most devices include pre-set programs, although the more money you spend on a certain model, the more you will get.
Some elliptical trainers also permit you to prepare your own customizable workouts.
Features like a fitness tracker application, Wi-Fi, and a range of motivation software are useful as well.
Bear in mind that the more functions or features the model of your likings has, the more money you will need to spend on it.
Yet, if it simply keeps you enjoying the workout and helps you stay on track, it is definitely worth every penny.
6. Store Testing – Try The Model Before Buying
It just goes unsaid that you need to try a product before taking it home. Before you buy an elliptical trainer, visit more than one retailer—preferably retailers that specialize strictly in fitness equipment and accessories—and try out several models on offer.
Remember to wear your workout outfit and/or gear and exercise on each machine for about 10 minutes to get the feel.
While testing out the model, pay attention to all important areas including the console and the pedals. Make sure nothing impedes your movements and motion is smooth.
7. Programming & Motivation
Programming and motivation require special mention because they have a bigger say on whether you actually stand to benefit from the elliptical trainer or not.
The basics as far as fitness are concerned are incline, stride, and elapsed time. Having a daily measure of the total amount of calories burned can be very motivating.
When choosing a model, find out what additional features or information will help you stay motivated session after session of your workout.
Here are some of the useful programming and motivation features to look for in a machine of your liking:
- Heart Rate interactivity
- Custom & Pre-set programs
- Custom Courses
- Ease of Use
Heart Rate interactivity
The surest way of determining the intensity and progress is to measure your heart rate (HR. Every individual has a target HR range within which they must work.
Too high HR creates a risk for injury while very low value will fall short of your workout goals.
The perfect elliptical trainer comes with HR control programs which will actually adjust the workout variables while listening and measuring your HR to ensure that you remain within this range.
Typically, you enter your desired HR and the device will respond accordingly multiple times throughout the workout.
Custom & Pre-set programs
Boredom is one of the top reasons why many people abandon their programs somewhere midway.
Having a device that offers a wide range of programs can help keep even the most boring program on the planet fresh and diverse.
The ability to switch things around and customize any program to meet your specific requirements is also an important feature.
Don’t forget to look for a few research links behind the programs listed on the device of your choice.
The perfect elliptical trainer will “remember” all your favorite workouts so that you don’t have to key them in during every session.
Some machines allow users to create their own custom courses from scratch.
Look for a product with the ability to prepare and store multiple custom courses to remove duplication and waste of time
Ease of Use
How easy is it to use the model of your choice?
In the world of fitness and personal training, we’ve found over the last few years that most of us are intimidated or frustrated with the number of buttons and features we need to deal with on an electronic device.
In the case of an elliptical trainer, a model with so many buttons and features can be an obstacle to regular and effective exercise.
The best models keep it simple.
A typical trainer should take the utmost 2 to 3 simple steps to make a selection or launch a program.
Choose an elliptical trainer that has a “quick start” mode or one that allows you to switch to manual mode. These modes usually require just 1 or 2 button push to get things started.
How diverse is the equipment of choice?
The key to successful workouts is consistency over the long haul.
Get yourself a model that can bring variety and new challenges to your routine.
Such a trainer is more likely to help you stay motivated and even help you achieve success in your goals.
A few minor tweaks to several of the available variables will help keep your routine challenging and fresh.
8. Movable Arms v/s Non-Movable Arms
Most of the elliptical trainers you will find in the store comes with moveable arms.
These arms are often inter-connected to the resistance system and pedals to provide the much-needed dual-action fluid upper body workout.
- A big part of them features just two types of arms: a type of arm that is referred to as standard, which normally straight ahead of the device’s body when pulled and/or pushed.
- The second type is referred to as the non-standard converging arm. Non-standard converging arms retreat toward the central part of the body. They are designed to mimic a natural running or walking motion.
Fixed arm elliptical devices don’t feature moving arms, and are starting to be a little rare nowadays.
They are perfect for lower-body workouts. Also, they are ideal for people who are not into using arms regularly as well as those moves love to move back and forth during workouts.
Armed hybrid elliptical trainers are extremely rare hence they are the least common of all trainers.
These elliptical devices are optimal for anyone who prefers workout variety because their arms can be easily docked in position so they don’t automatically move erratically when not in use.
Choosing the model of an elliptical trainer can be a fairly easy task because of relatedly few choices you need to make.
It is advisable that you prepare a budget and determine the specific models that fall within your budget before going after the equipment.