What every best Ellipticals has:
- A heavy flywheel.
- Enough resistance levels.
- Quiet magnetic braking.
Consumer Reports tests nearly 40 ellipticals for ergonomics, exercise range, ease of use, construction, heart rate features and user safety. All of the ellipticals are ranked and rated against each other, and Recommended ellipticals and Best Buy ellipticals are named.
Treadmill Doctor editors rigorously test the products they review, including disassembling each elliptical. Grades are assigned for factors such as ergonomics, adjustability, reliability and more, and information about the manufacturer's track record is provided, but the depth of the discussion varies between products. Some ellipticals have both a brief write up and, elsewhere on the site, an older (or newer) more detailed review. Best Buys and runners up are named in several price categories.
The editors of Fitness Equipment Source are exercise industry experts who extensively evaluate elliptical trainers based on manufacturer interviews, visits to fitness equipment stores, hands on testing (albeit sometimes brief stints), customer reviews and customer feedback.
Editors at Top Ten Reviews spent 120 hours in research and testing to name the top 10 ellipticals of 2017. Price was a serious consideration, as they specifically were looking for ellipticals that "won't strain your budget," and most are mid-priced picks. While testing is not well-detailed, each write-up includes pros, cons and plenty of specs.
The quality and length of Amazon user reviews vary widely; some owners comment on their ellipticals after years of use, while others comment after the first time they put the elliptical together and step aboard. The highest numbers of reviews go to the mid-priced, budget and downright cheap ellipticals. Commercial and gym-quality machines tend to get lower ratings overall.
Walmart's selection of ellipticals is heavily weighted to appeal to the budget-conscious. Some models receive just a handful of user reviews, but others are dramatically more popular and have hundreds of ratings.
At Dick's Sporting Goods the focus is on higher-end, more expensive ellipticals, although there are some budget models listed on the site as well. There tend to be fewer reviews overall, although we see better ratings for the high end elliptical trainers than we see elsewhere.
Target offers fewer ellipticals on its site, and most get only a few reviews, although a couple get more reviews and good ratings. Like Walmart, this is a good source to see feedback for some of the low-to-mid-priced elliptical machines.