Which elliptical should you buy? In this buyers guide, we’ll go over all of the things you need to know to make a smart decision when comparison shopping ellipticals AKA Crosstrainers. We’ll cover the different types of ellipticals, the important factors to consider when shopping, how ellipticals compare against treadmills in terms of effectiveness, and even some of the additional features you might encounter for certain models. Continue reading....

People also ask

Does Sparks Assemble and Install ellipticals?

Yes, Sparks has an in-house assembly and installation crew that is responsible for ensuring your elliptical is properly assembled according to the manufacturers specifications. Sparks delivery crew work fast and are experienced so you don't have to worry about your floors or walls getting scratched while they bring the elliptical in your home. The crew also takes all the refrigerator sized trash/packaging, pallet materials with them after install is complete, which is a plus because even if I break it down the packaging still doesn't fit in my trash bins.

Which is the best elliptical for my home?

The ellipticals from True Fitness have a special design in this segment. The smooth oval stride, total body programs paired with the ergonomic handles and sturdy frame make these a popular choice amongst elliptical users.

Where can I test ride ellipticals?

You can test ellipticals out at a Sparks Fitness retail store, they have a store in Sparks, Nevada and a store in Addison, Texas. For store hours and info scroll to the bottom of this page.

Do these ellipticals have apps? Like workout programs and scenic rides?

Yes, see the store for details.

Types of Ellipticals – Which one is the Best?

There are four main types of elliptical trainers that you’ll come across in your search. We’ll go over the important aspects of each type. You don’t need to know too much about some of these elliptical machine categories, though. As long as you have some awareness of each type of elliptical, you should be fine.

Bearing Ellipticals – Top ellipticals for Low maintenance

Ellipticals linked with bearings tend to offer the smoothest rides and, thus, can be a bit more expensive. That said, when you experience the fluid glide of a bearing elliptical, you might just fall in love! 

One of the most well-known brands of ellipticals is Life Fitness, which offers a full line that are bearing ellipticals. Life Fitness developed this proprietary stride which is known as the whisperstride technology.


 Life Fitness is all about creating products that offer low-impact options while also providing a full-body workout. They are especially helpful for those individuals who experience joint pain, most specifically in their knees. Some of the most popular models include E1, E3, Club Elliptical, and Platinum Club.

Ellipticals with Wheels (No Bearings)

Ellipticals with wheels operate in much the same way as those with bearings; however, you’ll find that the smoothness of operation for these ellipticals feels different than bearings. We recommend feeling the difference for yourself at your local elliptical showroom.   

Some of the ellipticals you will find that operate with wheels on a ramp include the Octane q37, q47, and Lifespan E3i. Which are also very popular due to how natural and ergonomic the ellipticals feel when using them. 

Adjustable Stride Ellipticals – Best Value

Adjustable stride control is exactly what it sounds like. It is a feature on some ellipticals that gives you the option to adjust the settings to perfectly match your stride.

But do you need this feature? Maybe.

For instance, changing the stride length of the elliptical will allow you to target different muscles in the legs by lengthening or shortening the stride. Also, if more than one person (whom are of different heights which equals different stride lengths) will be using the machine, you’ll probably enjoy an elliptical with adjustable stride control. If not, you might be able to save yourself some money by picking up an elliptical that fits without requiring adjustable stride capabilities.

Adjustable Stride ellipticals include the Life Fitness E5, Octane Q47, Octane XT-One, and the True Fitness ES900 Elliptical.

Recumbent Ellipticals – Top Rated

With a recumbent elliptical, you are able to pedal both forward an backward through a longer path. That longer path enables you to use more muscles, which can help to target the glute muscles specifically. You are also getting a bit of an upper-body workout given that you can still push and pull the handlebars on these ellipticals. Not only does it work that upper-body but it also helps to burn more calories.

Some of the more popular recumbent ellipticals include the Octane XR6, NuStep, and Bodycraft.

Recumbent Elliptical

Which Elliptical Best Approximates Running?

For those of you who want a machine that can closely match the feel and effects of running but don’t want the impact of running on a treadmill, you might consider the Zero Runner ZR8 from Octane Fitness. It’s chock-full of excellent features, and is the best option for those who want the best of both worlds: running and full-body elliptical zero impact training.

How Do I Find the Elliptical that Best Matches My Stride?

Try Out in Our Store!

Yet, the truth is this: the best way to determine if an elliptical will safely and effectively accommodate your stride length is to come to one of our Sparks Fitness locations and give a few different ellipticals a try! This is a big investment, so the best thing to do is to try some ellipticals out and find the one that best suits you.

Which Is the Best Compact Elliptical?

If space is a concern, you definitely want to consider one of the compact ellipticals that are available. Here are two brands that produce outstanding compact trainers.

True Fitness Ellipticals

True Fitness is known for building all of their models around the biomechanics of the body. This means that workouts are more stable and feel more natural. The machines simply move better with your body and there are fewer awkward hiccups in movement. Many models also offer a full-body workout so you burn more calories at once. Some of the more popular options from True Fitness include the True Fitness M30 & M50 Elliptical, 200 Elliptical, and the 900 elliptical.

Octane Max Trainer

While not all ellipticals are especially compact, the Octane Fitness Max Trainer certainly fits the bill with its limited footprint. Like the True Fitness ellipticals, this one from Octane is an excellent option if you have limited space for your machine. 

Which Burns More Calories: Ellipticals or Treadmills?

Honestly, this might be the wrong question to ask. That is, ellipticals and treadmills are simply different kinds of exercise machines and, as such, suit different purposes.

That said, it seems that you will burn more calories on a machine you enjoying using versus a machine that you do not like. The more fun you are having the more calories you will burn. 

What Are the Top Ellipticals with Personal Training Programs?

Once again, come back to two outstanding brands that you can find at our showroom: True Fitness and Octane Fitness. Both of these companies produce excellent integrated personal training programs with their elliptical trainers.  

True Fitness offers a 360 cardio program that helps to build your body’s overall endurance, while simultaneously maintain your existing muscle. It is a high intensity interval workout program. It begins with a warm-up and proper stretching. The Recumbent bike in this particular workout is advised to be used as the specific warmup. With this program, when the intensity says “high”, you go all out as hard as you can for a full minute.

Octane Fitness provides an Advanced workout program known as the 30:30 Interval regimen. This program helps to build and improve cardio endurance. It begins with a 3-minute warmup and is followed by five separate sets of 30-second intervals of high-intensity work and then 30 seconds of active recovery. With this program, you alternate between fast sprints where you are going as hard as you can and slower walks. Once the five sets are completed, you get three full minutes of recovery, at which time you can see your statistics which include the average of both your slow and fast speeds as well as your average heart rates.