The Best Reviewed Sole E95 (*Est. $1,600) boasts an unbeatable combination of durability and important features. Sharing a 400-pound maximum user weight with few other ellipticals, the E95 is a sturdy machine with a smooth, natural motion. It owes its "whisper-quiet" performance to a 34-pound flywheel, the heaviest of our reviewed machines. Only the NordicTrack E 15.0 (*Est. $1,500) and Sole E35 (*Est. $1,170) come close with flywheels weighing 32 and 25 pounds, respectively.
In addition to its durability, the Sole E95 has impressive attributes. While most ellipticals feature only a 15-to-30-degree incline range, the E95 can incline to 40 degrees. Its incline ramp is automatic and, along with the resistance, can be controlled via the handlebars as well as at the center console; this rare feature is also found on the Smooth Agile DMT (*Est. $2200). The E95's 20 resistance levels fall a bit short of the NordicTrack AudioStrider 990 Pro (*Est. $900) and E 15.0, which offer 24 and 28 resistance levels, respectively.
Among the 10 included programs, six are preset, two are custom and two are heart-rate interactive. Like most elliptical trainers, the machine comes with a heart-rate monitor chest strap. Such interactive programs sync with chest straps or other heart-rate reading devices and automatically adjust resistance to maintain the user's target heart rate. All of the models we reviewed include heart rate interactive programs, except the Schwinn 420 (*Est. $600) and the Stamina 55-1610 InMotion E1000 (*Est. $90).
Sole Fitness maintains an excellent reputation of customer service, with most owners reporting that Sole performed in-home repair within the first few days. The E95 comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame; parts are covered for five years and labor for two years. Precor provides 10 years of parts protection on the EFX 5.31 (*Est. $3800) and EFX 5.33 (*Est. $4,300), but only one year for labor.
On top of its excellent warranty, Sole Fitness provides a 30-day money-back guarantee. Smooth Fitness offers a similar 60-day guarantee on the Agile DMT and CE 3.6 (*Est. $1250), but neither covers third-party shipping or assembly.