How To Find The Best Elliptical Trainer

Why should I get an elliptical trainer?

If you’re looking for a high-intensity, low impact alternative to running, an elliptical or cross trainer could be your answer. Developed in the 1990′s, these machines have become an essential piece of equipment in gyms around the world.

The beauty of a cross trainer is that whilst providing a cardiovascular workout, they also help to tone the whole body – something you don’t necessarily get with an exercise bike or treadmill. With so many on the market, we’re highlighting 4 features to find the perfect elliptical cross trainer for you.

Where do I start?

Stride Length

  • The first thing to consider is stride length. You’ll need a larger stride length the taller you are and the longer your legs are.
  • If your cross trainer’s stride length is too small for your height, you may not be getting the maximum benefit from using it.
  • Likewise, a cross trainer with a stride length that is too long for you may feel uncomfortable and unnatural.
  • If a few different people are using the cross trainer at home you might want to look at an adjustable stride length cross trainer.
  • We’ve compiled a useful chart to help you find the correct stride length for your needs in our stride length guide.

Flywheel Weight

  • This specification should be given on most cross trainers except maybe the most basic models, and it is measured in kilos.
  • The flywheel weight relates to how the smooth the motion on the cross trainer will be.
  • The larger the flywheel, the smoother the motion will be on the elliptical cross trainer.
  • On more basic machines the cross trainer can feel like it is slightly jerky or sticking at the top of the movement.
  • This can result in the user having to apply more pressure, which is not good news for your knees and joints. It will also be not quite as comfortable and smooth to use.
  • Choose the largest flywheel you can afford.


  • Your elliptical trainer should come with a variety of resistance levels for a varied workout.
  • The lower the resistance the easier it will be to move through the cycle
  • A higher resistance level will need much more effort and will really get your leg muscles working hard.
  • Choose a cross trainer with lots of levels of resistance so you always have room for improvement.

Pivoting Footplates

  • Look out for pivoting footplates.
  • This is a great feature if your budget can stretch to models which include this.
  • It basically means that the footplate on the cross trainer will move to the angle of your foot when working out.
  • This means less pressure on your ankles and no over stretching of your Achilles tendon.

For more information on buying an elliptical trainer for your home, read our essential cross trainer buying guide.