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How Do I Choose the Best Compact Elliptical?

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  • Written By: Kelly Ferguson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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A compact elliptical can be a great solution for an individual seeking a way to fit the popular exercise machine into a small house or apartment. Compact ellipticals, however, often provide a different experience than their larger counterparts. Be sure to test out different sizes and brands in the store before you buy, and keep an eye out for the stride length and base stability that will make your exercise session more enjoyable. Also, beware of cheaper models that may not be as durable or long-lasting as they need to be.

Many compact ellipticals are very durable, reliable machines that can be used heavily by multiple users with no problems. Others, have cheaper parts and are not as well constructed, and may break under heavy use. Find an elliptical with a warranty, if possible, and examine the parts of the machine for yourself before you purchase one. Also keep in mind the weight of all of the people who may be using it, because if even one user exceeds the weight limit of the machine, it may break. If you know someone will be using the elliptical who may be over the weight limit, it might be a good idea to look for a more solid machine with a higher weight limit.

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Some of the drawbacks of a compact elliptical that may affect the workout experience are a lack of stability and a shortened stride. Due to the smaller size of the machine, the base of a compact elliptical will likely not be as wide or long as that of a regular elliptical. This can cause the machine to wobble during the workout, and may be dangerous if the machine is so unsteady that it might tip over. Also, most compact ellipticals are likely to have the stride shortened to save space, but that can have the negative consequence of making the machine feel awkward and uncomfortable after a period of use. Many users find that it is worth it to find a slightly larger machine with a longer stride, sacrificing a little space for the comfort of the more natural striding motion that the longer ellipticals provide.

Popular brands of workout equipment sometimes offer a line of folding ellipticals. Rather than a regular compact elliptical that cannot fold and must be made smaller to accommodate for a lack of storage and usage space, folding ellipticals can be unfolded to a larger size and then folded back up for storage, allowing the stride to be longer and wider so that it feels more comfortable and stable. While storing these folding ellipticals is typically easy, they are really only a good option for individuals with enough open space that the larger machine can be used safely.

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