The elliptical is a compact and high-performing home gym machine highly suitable for cardio and full-body workouts. There are mainly two types of elliptical trainers: front drive and rear drive elliptical machine. Besides this, you also have the center drive trainer, but they aren’t as popular as the other two models.
One of the major differences between front drive and rear drive elliptical is where their flywheel located, apparently.
But the front-drive elliptical machine is more budget than a rear-drive elliptical trainer, meaning that you can get more features (such as adjustable incline or articulating pedals) and a smoother workout experience with less money.
Given below are my top 7 picks of the best front-drive elliptical machines:
- Nautilus E614 Front-Drive Elliptical Trainer
- Proform 150I Front-Drive Elliptical
- Schwinn 470 Elliptical Machine – Front Drive Elliptical
- Sole Fitness E35 Front-Drive Elliptical Machine
- Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Elliptical Machine
- Nautilus E618 Front-Drive Elliptical
- NordicTrack Commercial 12.9 Front-Drive Elliptical
Table of Contents
What Are the Differences Between the Front-Drive and Rear-Drive Elliptical?
The most visible difference comes in the form of the flywheel. In a front-drive elliptical, you notice that the flywheel is placed in front of the pedal.
Whereas a rear-drive elliptical is designed such that the flywheel is at the back of the pedal. The other two major differences come in the form of the elliptical slope and stability.
#1. Elliptical Slope
The front-drive elliptical is designed to mimic a slope—the running pathway here is more like a stepper or just like how you climb your stairs.
Rear-drive ellipticals don’t bring about much slope, and the body movement is just like how you would run on the plains. But, if you are keen on bringing in inclination or ramp to your settings, the difference in elliptical slope design becomes nullified.
Most individuals’ general opinion is that a front-drive elliptical is better stable than a rear-drive elliptical. It might be because of the flywheel placement in the front, making it very close to the machine’s console and the pedals.
This way, the flywheel is like an anchor to the machine, making you feel more stable.
Still, the model’s design, materials used, and flywheel weight could have an equal impact on the machine’s stability.
How to Choose the Best Front-Drive Elliptical Machine?
It is not the price of the machine that determines its worth. Still, many important factors include the stride length, flywheel design, foot pedals, watt levels, and control panel provisions that make any model worthy of purchase.
#1. Flywheel Weight
As we discussed earlier, the flywheel’s placement in the front adds stability to the machine, and hence, its weight is an integral factor that improves/negates its efficiency.
Resistance is an important factor that determines the workout’s efficiency, and the weight of the flywheel has a great impact on the resistance levels experienced.
If your flywheel is heavy, be ready to experience strenuous workouts. On the other hand, low-weighed flywheels have their advantages.
For instance, a low-weighted flywheel helps you reach the machine’s maximum speed rapidly with lesser effort. Choose heavy/light flywheels depending on your fitness needs.
#2. Watt Level
This again is a feature that can determine the maximum resistance that could be reached by your machine. So, the higher the Watt level, the greater the intensity of the elliptical workout.
You needn’t worry about knowing about every machine’s Wattage as manufacturers don’t miss out on denoting this measure. I recommend that you don’t miss out on purchasing an elliptical that comes with a good amount of wattage.
#3. Foot Pedals
We are talking about ellipticals, which primarily function depending on foot pedals to initiate the exercising motion.
Anytime you exercise, you are in direct contact with the foot pedals, and hence, you need to take greater care in choosing a pedal of good quality.
By this, I mean that you need to ensure that the pedal has good length for suiting all of your body physiques and must be made using high-quality material that makes you feel comfortable while using it.
Choose a model that has non-sticky material used for the pedals, and there must be some friction on the pedal surface to assure non-slip grip.
Foot pedals are a mighty determinant of your safety levels, and hence, take care of all these factors before choosing.
#4. Stride Length
Tall or short, your ease of use of the elliptical mainly depends on the stride length offered by it. Purchasing an elliptical with the right stride length also helps you with the right resistance levels based on your workout goals.
The recommended stride length for a front-drive elliptical is not above 40cm, and anything beyond this might cause strain to your legs. This length is perfect for people of different heights and also helps you experience proper resistance levels.
#5. Control Panel
A control panel helps you customize your workout goals, but a sophisticated control panel in front-drive ellipticals is, however, a luxury that’s available only in the expensive models.
The panel gives you a clear idea of your heart rate, temperature levels, and calories burned that help you monitor that your body doesn’t succumb to greater strains than what you can withstand.
Though manufacturers try creating a user-friendly control panel, not all of them serve the purpose well.
However, the biggest advantage now is that most ellipticals come with Bluetooth or WiFi technology, and hence, you can connect your smartphone and monitor your health statistics.
Still, I would recommend you to wear a chest strap heart rate monitor for accurate results.
Benefits of Using a Front-Drive Elliptical Machine
There are plenty of advantages that make a front-drive elliptical simply the best among the rest. The main advantages include:
A front-drive elliptical is much cheaper than its counterparts, the rear-drive and the center-drive elliptical, which are more expensive.
A front-drive elliptical also offers the money’s worth in terms of performance and features. So, if budget is a concern, do go for a mid-range front-drive trainer that supports your fitness needs.
The resistance levels provided by elliptical trainers are integral to deciding the capability of the machine. Because of the flywheel’s placement in the front, their ergonomic design, and shape, you must apply ample resistance while working out.
Once you start working out, you are bound to become exhausted due to the machine’s intense workout, and hence, achieving your goal must not be difficult.
We exercise to stay fit, and none of us look forward to safety issues while working out. You needn’t have any concerns about safety issues while using a front-drive elliptical as you are guaranteed utmost stability here.
This is mainly because of the flywheel’s placement below the console and in front of the pedal.
The weight of the flywheel also plays a crucial role in determining the stability of the machine. The ergonomic design of the front-drive elliptical is the vertical incline on the pedal.
This way, you can be assured of taking stable steps while pedaling and experiencing an increased center of gravity.
I hope these are encouraging you to purchase a good-model front-drive elliptical for home gym use.
I am sure that most of you are looking to find a piece of compact equipment that could be squeezed into your allocated home gym space, and for those of you, there is some good news. A front-drive elliptical is more compact compared to other types of ellipticals.
A gym is a great place to use various machines, but it is always better to have a versatile piece of equipment within your hand’s reach at home, and, for this, an elliptical is an apt choice. It is compact and could be stored away soon after use.
So, having a front-end elliptical in your home makes the room look more spacious.
Top 7 Best Front-Drive Ellipticals
You might be primarily using the elliptical, but there could be other members in your family who also use it from time to time. So, if you are looking for family home gym equipment, the Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer is the perfect fit for your needs.
Nautilus is a well-reputed company that has established its niche in the exercise equipment manufacturing world. An elliptical from this manufacturer is sure to meet quality standards well and beyond.
You can set goals and track them using the DualTrack LCD multi-display console. This sophisticated console comes with goal tracking abilities besides showing various metric details such as calories burned, time, and distance covered.
Even an app-based tracking tool helps you go closer to your goals as you keep exercising regularly.
There are 22 different workout programs available, all of which are low-impact (as generally seen in ellipticals), but each guarantees high-impact results.
Enjoy doing intense workouts or exercise to stay fit using any of the 20 resistance levels that provide you with numerous workout options.
The 20-inch stride length is comfortable for most individuals to use the elliptical. Coming to the machine’s frame and construction, the elliptical is made using high-quality materials that assure sturdiness and durability.
Start the machine easily and experience smooth movements using the high-speed, high-inertia drive system with a perimeter weighted flywheel.
Above all, the well-cushioned footplates come with 6 different manual ramp adjustments that make it as comfortable as possible for you while working out.
The maximum user weight capacity of the machine is 300 lbs.
- 22 workout programs and 20 levels of resistance
- You can maintain up to two user profiles.
- DualTrack LCD console
- The warranty offered is not great.
- Quite difficult to assemble
Are you crazy about building muscles, toning them, or engaging in intense workouts? If so, the Proform 150I Elliptical must be your best choice as it is an affordable elliptical machine that helps you to run, jog, or walk as hard as you want to do.
You wouldn’t have experienced a smooth ride and get in this model as it comes built with an inertia-enhanced flywheel that guarantees the utmost stability.
Pedal design plays a vital role in deciding your workout experience on the elliptical, and this machine comes fitted with oversized pedals that make the pedaling action comfortable and easy.
The stride length is 17 inches, and the trainer comes fitted with soft grips for working your upper body.
You get to choose from 12 different resistance levels, but the machine’s maximum weight limit is only 250 pounds. This is not bad, but you could tell that the numbers are quite lower than other ellipticals available in the market.
Besides exercising, it is also possible to enjoy while riding on this elliptical as it comes integrated with iFit, a technology that takes your workout experience to another great level.
Enjoy music, too, making use of the iPod-compatible audio feature while you choose to work out using any of the 12 workout programs that are integrated with the machine.
The large LCD helps you track important metrics and keeps you updated on your heart rate performance using the EKG heart rate monitor.
This machine comes with a 5-year frame warranty indicates that the manufacturer has built it using good-quality materials.
Additional features such as a water bottle holder that helps you stay hydrated through the workout session and transportation wheels that help you move the machine around easily make this piece of equipment a good model to purchase.
- Compact and suitable for small homes
- Smooth-performing and noiseless
- Water bottle holder and transport wheels
- You might face problems while changing the battery.
- Console functioning is not great.
Schwinn is a brand that’s known to all. Known for their innovative designs and premium-quality machines, the brand hasn’t disappointed us with this model too.
The Schwinn 470 is a great piece of equipment that provides tough competition to other elliptical trainers in the market.
Feel free to exercise any time of the day as the high speed; high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel keeps the machine smooth-performing and quiet through the workout routine.
The 20-inch stride length and the 10-inch manual ramp with 6 positions help you stay comfortable throughout the pedaling motion. The footplates are large and well-articulated.
The machine comes fitted with a DualTrack LCD console that can monitor up to 13 different feedbacks.
Set your goals, track them using the console, and choose any of the 29 workout programs, which include 9 with heart rate controls) to achieve your fitness goals.
The resistance here is limitless, with 25 different resistance levels provided. You needn’t fear stability issues when you work out at the maximum intensity as the manufacturer has provided a 20-pound flywheel for support.
The static handlebars are ergonomically placed with grip heart rate, and there are moving handlebars that help you achieve an upper-body workout.
The equipment is Bluetooth-enabled, and hence, you can share your exercise data with fitness tracking devices and stay motivated.
Besides the main functionalities, there are plenty of additional features that enhance the worthiness of this model. Enjoy music while sweating hard, making use of the acoustic chamber speakers that produce quality sound.
Stay cool even while pedaling at the highest intensity as there is a 3-speed fan provided. There is also a USB charging port to charge your gadgets quickly.
The frame is classy with a center frame and two levelers that establish a solid workout platform. Besides this, there is oversized crossbar tubing, too, for additional stability.
- 10-year frame warranty and 2-year mechanical warranty
- Maximum user weight is 300 pounds
- 4 user profiles
- Ergonomic design and great stability
- Wireless heart rate monitoring
- You need to spend time on maintenance from time to time
- 90-day labor warranty
The Sole Fitness E35 should be the best elliptical machine for a tall person. This front-drive elliptical machine provides you with 20-22 inches of maximum power-adjustable stride length, which also suits best for beginner or an intermediate trainer.
You get to enjoy a comfortable ride as the pedals are adjustable and large, around 15 inches. The backlit blue LCD console offers a 7.5-inch display, which helps you track all important metrics.
The pulse grip and chest strap heart rate monitoring functionality helps you keep track of your heart’s performance while exercising.
Working out on this machine helps you achieve challenging cardio workouts and reap greater health benefits, all of this while staying cool as the manufacturer has provided a built-in fan.
Listen to some peppy musical numbers as the elliptical includes a sound system and keep yourself hydrated, making use of the water bottle holder. There is also a tablet holder, and you also get to sync with mobile apps and track your fitness levels.
The elliptical’s design is compact, yet the 25-pound flywheel guarantees optimal stability and noiseless operation of the elliptical. So, you could exercise at any time of the day at your convenience.
- 16 challenging levels
- Ideal machine for beginners and intermediates
- Ergonomic design that guarantees maximum stability
- Lifetime warranty on frame and five years on parts/electronics
- Stride length is non-adjustable
- Though compact, the machine cannot be folded
Here is an all-in-one folding elliptical that should satisfy most of your needs—this machine comes fully loaded with multiple features, and guarantees high performance.
Unlike most ellipticals, the Evolve 3 comes with a folding frame that works on the hydraulic FeatherLight system that neatly does the job for you. Even otherwise, this machine is compact still guarantees a smooth and natural motion.
The manufacturer has done a tremendous job in bringing the most versatile exercising options to your home gym by equipping this model with more than 30 preset workout programs and 20 different magnetic resistance levels.
So, be sure to tone your muscles, gain overall body fitness, and burn ample calories pedaling on the elliptical every day.
The machine comes with a certified Six-Star Frame that helps you maintain ideal body positioning, bringing about efficient body workouts.
The LCD console is clear, comes integrated with speakers, and has a media shelf to keep you entertained throughout the workout session.
The machine’s frame and construction are classy as the model comes fitted with an 18-inch flywheel and an advanced pulley system that assures a smooth and noiseless performance.
- Lifetime frame warranty
- Easy to fold and comes fitted with a patented rear-folding design
- Equipped with 30+ workout programs and 20 different resistance levels
- Entertainment guaranteed alongside exercising benefits owing to the presence of a media shelf and speakers.
- The 20-inch stride length might be uncomfortable for shorter trainers.
This is a robust elliptical exercise trainer that should fit serious trainers’ requirements as it comes fitted with 29 training programs, including preset programs for heart and interval training.
The handlebars are ergonomically designed to offer multi-position ability, and you even get to control incline and resistance controls using them.
So, whatever might be your intensity of the workout, adjust the handlebar position, and feel comfortable throughout the workout session.
Don’t worry about the stability, sturdiness, and durability of the Nautilus 618 trainer as it comes fitted with a high drive, high inertia drive system with a perimeter weighted flywheel.
The stride length offered here is 22 inches. There are 25 different resistance levels to help you choose your preferred workout intensity. The manufacturer has even provided a motorized incline option from 0-10 degrees to help you experience greater challenging routines.
The footplate angle can be changed from 0-10 degrees with customized heel support in the pedals, and you can monitor your performance using the DualTrack LCD console.
Enjoy additional features, including Bluetooth connectivity, track metrics in the Explore the World App (free), and feel safe by monitoring your heart using the wireless heart rate chest strap.
- 15 years warranty on the frame and 5 years on the parts and electronics
- Maximum user weight is 350lbs
- Good secondary features
- 25 resistance levels and 29 preset workout programs
- The stride length might not be convenient for short individuals
Be it in terms of performance or additional features, you can safely choose the NordicTrack Commercial 12.9. It is one of the best quiet ellipticals in the market, especially when a renowned gym equipment brand manufactures it.
The 30-pound flywheel boasts of offering 24 different resistance levels, which help you exercise as per your training level.
The SMR (silent magnetic resistance) helps in operating the elliptical as smoothly and quietly as possible.
The pedals are worth mentioning here as they are oversized and help you stay comfortable through any workout duration.
You could be working out with any goal in mind and, if so, track your progress using the 7-inch HD interactive touchscreen display.
Moreover, you get a one-year iFit membership included, which adds versatility to your exercise routine.
This NordicTrack machine is an apt purchase if you are looking for a home gym for your entire family as you can create up to 5 exercise profiles and achieve a total-body workout using the upper body grips.
- 350-pound maximum user weight capacity
- iFit membership included which helps you access worldwide workouts
- 19-inch adjustable stride length
- Quiet, smooth, and durable
- Shorter stride length comparatively
- iFit subscription, if not done, can be frustrating