how to choose a cross trainer

How to choose a good cross trainer?

In USA terminology, elliptical and elliptical trainers are the same. They were invented by Precor, as cardio machines for the gym. Exercise on the orbitress proved to be very safe and effective, and Precor’s invention was a hit, which is currently being developed and copied by other companies. The ellipticalists from the beginning of production cost 3000 USD to 5000 USD.

 Currently, the fitness machines market is dominated by cheap trainers for home use, which we call orbitrekami, but largely is an orbitrek-like product, as in grocery stores, cheese-like products on cheese shelves, and on “chocolate” shelves, “similar” products have content chocolate less than 10%.

Let’s watch a video about how to choose an elliptical training


Price / quality of the elliptical cross trainer:

USD  10,000 and more – sensational home equipment, usually meeting absolutely all expectations, with a multitude of options that I am not able to take full advantage of. I recommend Technogym, Precor, Life.

 7000 – USD  10,000 – perfect home equipment, designed for intensive training, safe, comfortable, with good service and extended warranty. I recommend Spirit, Kettler, and Sole.

 4000 – 7000 USD  – high middle class, reliable, comfortable equipment, with good service, good looks, a large number of options and definitely the best price-quality ratio. Orbitreks of this class are a cheaper, home-made equivalent of Precor elliptical cross trainers from the beginning of production and fulfill a similar function at home. I recommend Spirit, Kettler, and Sole.

 2000 – USD  4000 – low middle class. In this price range, there are no universally good machines. Orbitreks at this price are either solid, comfortable or good for some people, for example light and low, or high and light, but they are not universally good for everyone. At this price you can still buy good equipment, but you need to do some insight. Investigate if the orbitrek can withstand the user’s weight, his workouts and he will be reasonably comfortable. I recommend Spirit, Xterra, Kettler.

 1000 – USD  2000 – budget class and pseudo orbitreks. How much does the cross trainer have for one thousand. usd 10,000 for this USD , about which I wrote at the beginning? Almost nothing. Size, weight, workmanship and, above all, a completely different type and safety of movement. In addition, a different warranty, service, availability of spare parts, etc. Finding a new half-decent orbitrek up to 2000 USD  is difficult. It is easier to use good equipment.

 The new “cross trainer” up to usd 1000 is a dummy, which has nothing to do with a machine that has more to do than cause problems. Several times in my life I managed to buy a good orbitrek used below usd 1000, but never a new one. It is also unfortunately, the best-selling product in Poland, whose market is worth tens of millions of zlotys a year, and I get the most questions for such a confection – the choice between discopathy and hemorrhoids! I recommend investing in better equipment, but I’m open to questions and if you think you’ve found something interesting, I’d like to take a look at it.

Going further shortcuts, you can look at the Ranking of Orbitreks. I have distinguished those that are currently in the promotion and their purchase is particularly attractive. I described ellipticals that I know best both as a user, service technician and trader. I do not describe poor orbiters, because there is enough hate and spilling bile on the internet. In addition, I have business relations with all fitness companies and I admit that my hard work with machines is my source of income.

 All reviews on the internet, forums, blogs, comments, videos on Youtube, opinions on Allegro, Opineo, Ceneo, etc. are a marketing operation and the result of the work of online trolls and unfortunately something like “independent opinions” does not exist. If you do not believe me, I encourage you to follow the mental exercise: look around your surroundings, choose everyday objects, how many of them you have described on the internet, expressed your opinion on Opineo, Ceneo and did you make a movie on YouTube? One thing? Maybe two? This blog exists since 2011. In the meantime, about 15 real users have spoken here. In the Forum section there are 5000 questions and answers, plus the second one transferred to the archive. At Ceneo, under the orbitress sold for several months, there are several dozens of positive, anonymous opinions,

Buying the cross trainer in a shorter form.

The most important factors determining the choice of the cross trainer are:

  • adjustment to the user’s physical conditions
  • solidity and frame
  • price
  •  training aspirations

Matching the machine to your construction is one of the key elements of the whole puzzle. You must feel like a fish in the water, like a foot in a sock, on your orbiter. For a high-quality person there will be a big orbitrek, and for a low, small or low step.

  • A low user on a large orbiter = an injury.
  • High on a small machine = poor training.
  • Heavy user on a delicate machine = broken, rickety equipment.
  • A suitably matched cross trainer = a few years of happy use 🙂

Work comfort and user convenience. The more comfortable we are, the more often we train and the more we draw from the machine of joy and benefits. Low-incentive cross-trainer will demotivate us and we will not use it. Comfort is very much related to the safety of training, which is why it is most important when choosing a machine!

A lot of convenience comes from the right fit of the orbitrek to our physical parameters and factor Q.

The mysterious factor Q is becoming more and more popular. This is the width of the foot spacing expressed in centimeters. The smaller the spacing of legs, the better the smaller the factor Q is, the safer and more comfortable it is. The width of the footstep influences the quality of the training, the elliptical durability, comfort and safety of the exerciser’s joints. Q <20 centimeters is a good result for a rear-wheel elliptical cross trainer. Q> 20cm is a bad result, it causes a big hitch and so-called. duck walk. And here I have to write down to emphasize the importance of the topic.

When we are standing motionless, we naturally have spaced feet to keep our balance well. A foot spacing above 20cm is convenient. Going, we have feet closer to the axis of the body, so as not to swing to the sides when moving. While running, the feet are very close to the axis, so that we can tread on one line. There is even an exercise for sprinters to run on the white line. Thanks to this, we eliminate body rolling from side to side and movements dangerous to joints. In such a system, the runner’s foot, when in contact with the ground, is exactly under his center of gravity and this is exactly how it should work and for which the man is naturally adapted. That is why choosing the orbitrek one should look for one that provides a narrow spacing of platforms for the feet, because we will not only stand on it, but to move forward.

If you want to find out for yourself, I suggest an experience. Set out, in the outdoors or in the gymnasium, two parallel lines, 50 m long, 25 cm apart and run so that the left leg is on the left line and the right leg is on the right. How much will you endure without pain? (I do not recommend it too long, because it’s easy to get injured)

Returning to the machines. The best Qs are guaranteed by pre-drive ELLIPTICAL.

A good understanding of the Internet is useful to determine more or less what machine we want to have. Nevertheless, it is important to try live and tests in the store or, for example, friends. Technical parameters, photos and descriptions are actually helpful, but in real life everything looks different than on photos. Often theoretically everything should be ok, and we still feel uncomfortable on the machine and differently than we expected. That’s why it is worth testing before buying!

 It is wrong to set the budget for the elliptical trainer without any knowledge in the equipment. New machines up to 100 usd are scrap , which is not worth bothering about. Good merchandise is always included.

 The most popular price ranges are:

1.         up to usd 100 – new budget or used

2.         up to usd 2,00 – new budget

3.         up to usd 5,00 – new middle class

4.         500 usd and more – upper class

 The compromise zone. Up to USD  2,000, we can buy a cool orbitrek used, or a new, half-decent, two-year warranty. When deciding on a new one, do not expect fireworks. We can choose in budget or medium-class equipment for low-frequency use: 3 – 4 times a week for 40 minutes for a person weighing up to 90kg. If you plan to exercise a lot, or you have a significant overweight, I recommend buying a permanent stimulant rather than a new machine. In this price range you have to compromise, because every orbitrek will have its drawbacks. The equipment is either out-of-date, either durable or quiet, but never comfortable, durable and quiet. You need usd 2,000 – usd 4,000 for that.

Buying stimulants at this price is still a good option, because for usd 2,000 you can have equipment that has a lot of potential, and it will be quite comfortable and will save the user’s joints. The downside is the failure. Repair by the elliptical cross trainer without a guarantee can cost up to usd 800, depending on the model. I recommend well-known brands, easily accessible for spare parts, eg Kettler, Xterra, Spirit. It is worth remembering that some companies change their range every 2 – 3 years and spare parts for such machines are not available. Hence, very low equipment prices, eg Domyos and NT.

Solid equipment costs usd 2,000 – usd 4,00. Here, with a bit of luck, we will buy equipment that will bring a lot of fun to your workouts and you will not have to constantly repair it. You have a choice among good rear-drive machines that will be solid, but on average comfortable or cheap, comfortable orbitreki with front drive, which will not be the hardest for heavy or unusual people, but will satisfy most standard users.

At this price you can still buy a used elliptical trainer, which once cost twice as much and it is still a good option, eg Kettler Skylon 3 or 5, elliptical trainers Spirit, Sole, Xterra, BH Fitness. It is worth investing in models that are still being manufactured, because it will be easy to access spare parts. In this price range, we will get a good stimulant that is still under warranty.

Solid and comfortable usd 4,00 – usd7,00. Fulfilling most of our requirements, working quietly and smoothly. With a little more space in the apartment and about USD  3000, we can afford a basic crosstrainer with a front drive or connecting wirelessly to the tablet and mobile phone. The upper middle class will satisfy anyone, even the most demanding user. In the price from 3000 to 5000 USD , we can find machines that provide high comfort of work and can be equipped with new technologies to diversify workouts.

The upper class is a high comfort of work, plus modern design and sometimes emphasizing social status. I used to call it the Premium class. The ellipticals costing over USD  5,000 are to be strong, pleasant in training and attractive. It is worth remembering that they are still work tools, not exclusive gadgets, perfect in every way. And just as there are no mowers, concrete mixers or premium drills, in my opinion even the best elliptical cross trainers can not be included in premium products.

Home use is most often defined as training three times a week for 30 minutes. When planning a more intensive use, look for a solid, large, heavy machine made of high quality materials. The more intense you intend to practice, the more robust you need to have an elliptical trainer. If your training aspirations are not high, you can afford a less durable machine that is less clumsy and more pleasing to the eye, or has a more advanced computer.

Home warranty – does not mean that the service will come home in case of failure. Please note that if you use this orbitress in a club or hotel, he has no guarantee. There are different types of home warranty and some means home service and other shipment via the courier.

Commercial guarantee – intended for public use, usually more intense than home, e.g. gym, hotel, school.

 D2d warranty. The most popular guarantee for a cross trainer is the two-year door 2 door. Remember, however, that d2d in various companies is interpreted differently and most often it is related to the preparation of the orbitress for shipping in a package. It is worth checking the repair conditions. Some companies give a warranty of 3 years, so you do not pay only for brand and design. In turn, five-year warranty on the frame is usually a marketing gimmick, because the frame rarely breaks.

 Extended warranty on parts. Increasingly popular in reliable equipment means that after the expiration of the usual warranty, for example after 2 years, you still have the right to new or repair old parts. In this situation, you pay only for the shipment and parts or repair are free. This type of guarantee I highly recommend, because in times when the equipment is produced “for 2 years”, we can be sure that after the normal warranty period, we will not stay with worthless equipment when one vital part of us breaks down.

 Guaranteed availability of spare parts. This is a new factor that is worth paying attention to and only few companies provide it. It means the amount of time when spare parts are produced for a given product. If it is 2 years, for example Domyos Shape +, after 2 years from the purchase, spare parts for the elliptical cross trainer are unlikely and one fault may make the equipment unrepaired and worthless. This applies to most little-known brands and models. At the other end of the spectrum is, for example, Spirit XE795 with guaranteed parts availability for at least 5 years and the history of the model’s production back 10 years. With ten-year-old Spirita you can still count on the availability of all spare parts!

 Good deals . There are hardly any good opportunities for new orbiters. New, good equipment is almost always expensive, so do not be fooled by the little-known machines, which usually cost 400 usd but today they are 200 usd. Examine the subject well and do not buy an unknown brand.

If you’re looking for a bargain purchase, you’ll have more luck buying a second hand machine.

 The most important part of the ellipticalist, which nobody thinks about – RAMA.

Rama is for the orbiter, which is the foundation for the building and the backbone for the human. Nobody asks about it, it can not be advertised in any way, it can be expressed in numbers or it can be proved that the frame of one machine is better than another. This can not be examined in home conditions. The fact is, the elements embedded in the non-ideal frame will be damaged. The bearings will crumple, the joints creak, and the welds may fly. Most of the elliptical defects result from the imperfection of the frame, but we find it only when it is too late. I will devote more time to this issue, but for now, remember that all type add-ons. bluetooth, adjustments, integrations and other fireworks are usually added to the machine at the expense of frame quality 🙁

 Things less important:

  • Technical parameters – I treat them more as guidelines than realistic data that should be kept.
  • Load capacity – max user’s weight. Here, the producers write what they want. They deliberately overstate or underestimate the user’s maximum weight, never guiding it when selecting the equipment.
  • Flywheel – a non-essential parameter, often untruthful and overrated.
  •  Step length – in practice, a few centimeters do not make a difference.
  •  Step length adjustment – not very useful option.
  • Height step adjustment – as above
  • Transport rollers – standard, every cross trainer has it.
  • Pulse sensor – the pulse sensors in the hands are very distorting, they are practically useless.
  • Training programs – you had to fill the elliptical computer with something, so they are, but in practice you have to control the load yourself.
  • Integration with google maps – time-lapse street view on the tablet.
  •  Program “Fat burn”


The elliptical cross trainer must be comfortable, so you should test it before buying it and compare it to other machines. Test wherever you can: in stores, salons with friends, strangers, anywhere, wherever you can.

Do not have time to read? Just ask in the Questions and Comments forum . Add your height, weight, budget and training aspirations to the question.

What I personally recommend.

For years, the same thing – almost every power-driven orbitrek, starting from those cheap for 2500 USD  for lighter people through more armored front drives for 3000 USD  – 4000 USD . My personal cross trainer changes every few weeks. Currently it is Xterra FS3.5, because it fulfills its task and takes up little space. You can find descriptions of machines in the Tests section .

Do you want to know more? Read about the front drive.


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