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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Elliptical Trainer for Your Fitness Business in 2024

elliptical trainers in the gym

Table of Contents
– Introduction
– Elliptical Trainer Market Overview
– Essential Considerations for Selecting the Ideal Elliptical
– Top Elliptical Trainer Picks for Fitness Businesses in 2024
– Conclusion


As a fitness business owner or manager, offering your clients effective and engaging cardio equipment is crucial for their satisfaction and your bottom line. Elliptical trainers have become a staple in gyms and studios worldwide, providing low-impact, full-body workouts suitable for a wide range of fitness levels. With numerous options available, selecting the perfect elliptical for your facility can be a daunting task. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the key considerations and top picks for 2024, ensuring you make an informed decision that benefits both your clients and your business.

Woman Exercising on Elliptical Cross Trainer

Elliptical Trainer Market Overview

The global elliptical trainer market has witnessed steady growth in recent years, driven by increasing health consciousness and the rising popularity of low-impact cardiovascular exercise. In 2023, the market size reached approximately USD 1.2 billion and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% from 2024 to 2030, potentially reaching USD 1.7 billion by 2030. The market is segmented based on type (front-drive, rear-drive, and center-drive), application (residential and commercial), and region. North America dominated the elliptical market with a 42% share in 2022, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific. The top players in the elliptical trainers market include Core Health & Fitness, Icon Health & Fitness, Sole Fitness, Cybex, Horizon Fitness, Precor, Brunswick, PCE Fitness, Landice, and Johnson Health.

Essential Considerations for Selecting the Ideal Elliptical

Drive Type and Stride Length

One of the most crucial factors to consider when choosing an elliptical is the drive type, which determines the machine’s overall feel and stride length. Front-drive ellipticals offer a more compact design but may have a shorter stride, while rear-drive models provide a longer stride and more natural feel, albeit with a larger footprint. Center-drive ellipticals strike a balance between the two, offering a smooth, low-impact motion and space-saving design.

Front-drive ellipticals often feature an incline option, allowing users to target different muscle groups and increase workout intensity. Rear-drive machines typically have a flatter, more horizontal pedal motion that closely mimics walking or jogging. Center-drive ellipticals eliminate the “kick” feeling sometimes associated with front-drive models, providing a more natural stride.

rear-drive elliptical machines

Ensure the stride length accommodates the majority of your clients, typically ranging from 18 to 21 inches. A stride length of 20 inches is considered the industry standard and can fit most users between 5’3″ and 6’5″. However, shorter individuals may be more comfortable with a 16-18 inch stride, while those over 6 feet tall should look for at least a 20-inch stride length.

Some high-end ellipticals offer adjustable stride lengths, allowing users to customize their workout and target specific muscle groups. For example, a shorter stride mimics climbing stairs and engages the quads more, while a longer stride works the hamstrings and glutes. An adjustable stride length of 16-28 inches, like that found on the SportsArt E866, can accommodate a wide range of users.

Resistance and Incline Levels

Adjustable resistance and incline levels are essential for providing a challenging and varied workout experience. Look for ellipticals with a wide range of magnetic resistance levels (at least 20) and motorized incline settings (up to 20 degrees) to cater to different fitness levels and goals. This allows your clients to progressively increase the intensity of their workouts and target different muscle groups for optimal results.

Magnetic resistance systems provide smooth, quiet operation and precise control over the workout intensity. Higher resistance levels engage more muscle fibers and increase calorie burn, making them ideal for strength training and weight loss goals. Aim for at least 16-20 resistance levels to accommodate a wide range of users and fitness abilities.

Motorized incline settings allow users to adjust the angle of the elliptical path, simulating hill climbing and targeting different lower body muscles. Increasing the incline works the glutes, hamstrings, and calves more intensely, while lower inclines focus on the quadriceps. Look for ellipticals with incline ranges up to 20 degrees for maximum workout variety and challenge.

front-drive elliptical machines

Some high-end ellipticals offer automated resistance and incline adjustments through preset workout programs or interactive training apps. This takes the guesswork out of progression and keeps users engaged with varied routines. Quick-access keys for resistance and incline changes also allow for on-the-fly adjustments during interval training.

When comparing ellipticals, consider the increments between resistance and incline levels. Smaller increments, such as 1-2 degrees for incline and 1-5 watts for resistance, allow for more precise adjustments to suit individual needs and goals. This is especially important for beginners or those with joint issues who may require gradual progressions.

Durability and Weight Capacity

Investing in a durable, commercial-grade elliptical is crucial for withstanding the rigors of a gym environment. Opt for models with heavy-duty steel frames, precision-machined components, and high-quality bearings to ensure longevity and smooth operation. Consider the weight capacity of the elliptical, aiming for at least 400 pounds to accommodate a diverse clientele. Additionally, look for models with extended warranties on parts and labor for added peace of mind.

Console Features and Connectivity

A user-friendly, feature-rich console can greatly enhance the workout experience and keep your clients engaged. Prioritize ellipticals with large, easy-to-read displays that show essential metrics such as time, distance, speed, calories burned, and heart rate. Built-in workout programs, customizable user profiles, and heart rate-controlled training options are valuable additions. Connectivity features like Bluetooth, USB charging ports, and compatibility with popular fitness apps can attract tech-savvy clients and provide a more immersive experience.

center-drive elliptical machines

Ergonomics and Adjustability

Ensuring proper ergonomics and adjustability is key to preventing discomfort and potential injuries during elliptical workouts. Look for models with adjustable foot pedals, handlebars, and console height to accommodate users of different sizes and preferences. Cushioned, non-slip pedals and contoured, multi-grip handlebars enhance comfort and stability. Some high-end ellipticals even offer adjustable stride length and multi-position hand grips for a truly customized fit.

Top Elliptical Trainer Picks for Fitness Businesses in 2024

1. Precor EFX 885 Commercial Series Elliptical: This premium, rear-drive elliptical boasts a 22-inch stride length, 20 resistance levels, and 15 incline settings for a smooth, natural feel and challenging workouts. The capacitive touch display, wireless connectivity, and embedded entertainment options keep users engaged. The EFX 885 also features Precor’s patented CrossRamp technology, allowing users to target different muscle groups by adjusting the incline from 13 to 40 degrees.

2. Life Fitness Platinum Club Series Elliptical Cross-Trainer: Featuring a whisper-quiet drive system, 26 resistance levels, and an adjustable stride length (18-24 inches), this commercial-grade elliptical delivers a superior low-impact workout. The Discover SE3 HD console offers an array of interactive workouts and connectivity options. The elliptical also includes the unique FlexPedal shock absorption system, reducing stress on joints and providing a comfortable workout experience.

3. Octane Fitness Pro4700 Commercial Elliptical: This center-drive elliptical provides a natural, smooth motion with its patented MultiGrip and Converging Path handlebars. The 20-inch stride length, 30 resistance levels, and advanced cross-circuit training programs make it a versatile choice for any gym. The Pro4700 also features a large LCD display with SmartLight technology, guiding users through workouts with color-coded intensity indicators.

happily training together

4. Matrix Fitness E50 XIR Elliptical: With a 21-inch stride length, 25 resistance levels, and a compact front-drive design, this elliptical is ideal for space-conscious facilities. The 16-inch HD touchscreen, WiFi connectivity, and Virtual Active programming deliver an immersive workout experience. The E50 XIR also incorporates Matrix’s exclusive Suspension Elliptical Technology, providing a smooth, natural motion with reduced noise and friction.

5. Cybex 770A Arc Trainer: This innovative cross-trainer combines the motions of an elliptical, stepper, and arc trainer for a unique, low-impact workout. The 21-inch stride length, 100 resistance levels, and 10 incline settings provide unparalleled customization and challenge. The 770A Arc Trainer also features an intuitive touchscreen display with built-in workout programs and entertainment options, keeping users motivated and engaged.


Selecting the perfect elliptical trainer for your fitness business requires careful consideration of factors such as drive type, stride length, resistance levels, durability, console features, and ergonomics. By understanding the latest market trends and evaluating the top models for 2024, you can make an informed decision that elevates your clients’ cardio workouts and sets your facility apart from the competition. Invest in a high-quality, commercial-grade elliptical that aligns with your business goals and clientele’s needs to ensure long-term success and satisfaction.

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