Written by Tamara

Tips for buying an elliptical

Getting fit won't happen automatically. That's why you're planning to buy an elliptical. Cool! When buying an elliptical, however, there are a few choices to be made. For example, do you want a front-driven or a rear-driven elliptical? How heavy do you want the flywheel to be? Below, you'll read what you should really know when buying an elliptical.

1. Determine how often you're going to use the ellipticals

Before buying an elliptical, consider carefully how often you'll be using it. We distinguish between light use and intensive use. If you exercise a lot, or if multiple people will be using the appliance, an elliptical for intensive use is recommended.

2. Pay attention to your body height

An elliptical's stride length can have a big impact on your training. A full, long stride resembles a running motion more and is more intensive than a shorter stride. A longer stride length isn't always better. The ideal length mainly depends on your own height. For people shorter than 160cm, a stride length between 40 and 45cm is enough to be able to make a full stride. For people between 170 and 200cm, a stride length between 50 and 55cm will be sufficient. Are you over 2 meters tall? You'll need a stride length over 55cm.

3. Determine whether you're looking for front driven or rear driven ellipticals


On a front-driven elliptical, the flywheel is located at the front of the appliance. This allows you to make a flat, elliptical movement that's comparable to the movement you make during cross-country skiing. This movement puts a lighter load on the joints than the movement you make on a rear-driven elliptical.


On a rear-driven elliptical, the flywheel is located at the rear. This allows you to make a longer and less flat stride, making it feel more active. This motion is best compared to walking and running. Rear-driven ellipticals are more durable and more comfortable, but also more expensive than front-driven ellipticals.

4. Choose the right flywheel weight

Every elliptical has a flywheel, located at the front or rear, which is put into motion by the user. The heavier the flywheel, the smoother and more natural the movement. A flywheel that's too light can lead to a somewhat shaky movement.

5. Select the type of resistance that suits your needs.

Magnetic resistance

On a magnetic resistance system, the resistance is adjusted by moving the magnets further away from or closer to the flywheel. This system may be electronically or manually operated. On a manual system, you use a dial to move the magnets closer to or further away from the flywheel. On an electronic system, the computer, together with a motor, provides the right resistance. The advantage to an electronic system is that it allows you to use preset intensity programs.

Electromagnetic resistance (induction)

On an electromagnetic resistance system, also called induction, current is gradually increased or decreased. This means there is less wear than with regular magnetic resistance. The electromagnetic system responds quickly, is continues and can be precisely set. In addition, it measures wattage and it's the most silent system there is. For that reason, this system is the most suitable for sports enthusiasts who want to get the maximum out of their training.

Air resistance

On an elliptical with air resistance, your exercise intensity is what creates the resistance. The harder you exercise, the heavier it gets. The advantage of this is that you're using your entire body. In addition, you train at an intensity that suits your level.

6. Determine which training functions you need

Ellipticals often have several training functions such as an ergometer and heart rate measurement. These functions appear in the training programs. Does the rowing machine have an ergometer? In that case, you can use it to aim your training very specifically at a certain goal, such as building strength, since you'll be training using wattage, your own power. Prefer to go for burning fat or improving your heart and lung capacity? In that case, it's important that your elliptical should be able to measure your heart rate.

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