Having the ability, money, and space to own a home gym is a luxury that many people see as a necessity. Many people like to use an elliptical to help them reach their fitness goals. Owning a personal elliptical machine is extremely convenient, especially for those who have a busy life. Having your own home gym has many benefits, but the biggest downfall is not having professionals to ask questions to. We are here to answer all your elliptical training questions, beginning with what elliptical machine flywheel weight you should purchase.
When buying an elliptical trainer it’s important to know that the heavier the flywheel, the smoother and quieter the machine runs. Every flywheel is different but as a general rule, a home elliptical should have a flywheel that weighs at least 20 lbs. Machines with heavier flywheels cost more.
Choosing a good flywheel and elliptical combination is an important step for every home gym setup. So what are other tips and tricks you need to know when purchasing an elliptical trainer? Continue reading to stay informed.
What Does the Flywheel Affect?
When purchasing an elliptical trainer for your home gym, it is extremely important that you understand the basics of an elliptical so that you buy one that fits your needs and your budget. The flywheel in an elliptical is a heavy and large revolving wheel located either in the front, the center, or the rear of your elliptical.
The flywheel increases momentum and provides stability while you ride. As previously mentioned, the heavier the flywheel, the better the performance of the elliptical and the higher the cost of the machine.
Fun Fact: The weight of the flywheel is one of the number one determinants for the total cost of ellipticals.
Common elliptical flywheel weights
So what are some weights you can expect the flywheels to be and what you should look for when buying an elliptical trainer.
Most elliptical trainers have flywheels that range from 10 to 40 lbs. For a home elliptical trainer, you want to look for a model that has a flywheel that weighs at least 20 lbs. That will give you a level of smoothness and consistency that allows for a nice workout.
Not all elliptical flywheels are the same
Flywheel weight is an easy way to get an idea of the smoothness of an elliptical trainer. a heavier flywheel is smoother. However, it also makes a difference how that weight is distributed. An elliptical flywheel is usually just a metal disc.
When you have two flywheels that are both 20 lbs. total weight and have the same diameter but on one all the weight is in the middle but on another the weight is mostly on the outside, they are going to feel quite different to use. The further a weight moves to the outside of the disc, the higher moment of inertia is. In this application, the inertia is what keeps the pedals moving after you stop applying force which makes it feel smoother.
That means that two elliptical trainers with the same advertised weight of flywheel can still behave differently. Sometimes a manufacturer will say something like “perimeter weighted” to tell you that the weight of the flywheel is on the outside of the disc, making it smoother for the weight.
Now if you make the flywheel bigger, that’s usually going to move the weight further out from the center making the inertia stronger.
The flywheel’s position on your elliptical can also affect how you will be walking/running on the machine. Continue reading to discover how the position of the flywheel affects your movement.
Machines that are front-drive ellipticals have a flywheel in the front of the machine. The pedals go behind the front wheel. The model tends to come in cheaper options, but there are some professional companies that choose to design their machine as a front-drive elliptical.
Having the flywheel located in the front of the pedals forces the user to lean forward a little, creating a workout that is focussing more on the glutes and the hamstrings while doing so. This creates a slightly more intense workout that becomes similar to walking at an incline. This can be a great option for someone who enjoys hiking and the motion of doing so.
A front-drive elliptical machine also tends to have more fluid pedals to allow the user to adjust them for preference. This can create a more specific or enjoyable workout.
It is important to know that front-drive elliptical training machines often have more moving parts on them. While they are usually cheaper than other options, they may also need more maintenance if not cared for properly compared to other versions.
As you can assume from the name, rear-drive elliptical machines have the flywheel located behind/ rear of the pedals. This machine version is opposite of the front-drive elliptical. The user’s weight will be in front of the flywheel.
Rear-drive elliptical machines are the most common type of elliptical carried in gyms. Common mid-range and professional ellipticals have rear-drive machines, making them an ideal choice for gyms.
Contrary to the front-drive elliptical, these machines do not require the user to lean forward and move at an incline. Depending on your fitness goals, this may be a positive or negative effect. Overall, the slight difference in level that you are moving in should not affect your progress too much.
If you are accustomed to using a front-drive elliptical, switching to a rear-drive machine may take some time to get your body use to it. You will be standing up straighter, and for some, this can be difficult to make the switch in their gym routine. The pedals on a rear-drive elliptical are also less fluid than their counterpart machine. It is important to understand your preference before going into a purchase.
On the other hand, rear-drive machines are usually heavier and more stable machines. This creates a better experience for the user because the flywheel is often heavier than the front-drive ellipticals. Less noise and smoother movements from both the machine and the pedals are benefits of a heavier and more stable elliptical.
Named after the location of the flywheel, center-drive elliptical machines have flywheels located in the center of the machine, directly under the user. These machines are great for those who have a decent budget and do not need an incline on their elliptical.
These machines are the least common by far. It is important to note that this may be due to their recent creation. This type of elliptical is a new technology that has only recently hit the markets. They tend to be on the more expensive side of elliptical machines, but are also of high professional quality.
It is important for future owners to know that, because center-drive ellipticals are fairly new, it is difficult to predict how durable they will be over time. Predicting what maintenance they may require in the future will also be difficult.
If you are interested in purchasing a center-drive elliptical machine, you should fully understand the warranty and what they offer. It is always a good idea to be fully informed about the purchase you are making. If you are worried about a particular aspect of the machine, you should call customer support and have them explain in detail. This can prevent many problems the future may hold.
One of the greatest benefits of these machines is their size. Due to the central location of the flywheel, the machine is significantly smaller than its counterparts. This can be extremely beneficial for those who want to have a home gym but do not have a lot of space to transform.
This is a great type of elliptical for those who looking for a smooth-riding machine with a small or nonexistent incline. The pedals on the machine are also noticeably closer, allowing the user to mimic a jogging position while working out. This is great for users who need to be extra careful with their joints and the way their bodies move during workouts. The central-drive ellipticals offer users a more natural way of running.
How Much Do Ellipticals Cost?
Now that we have looked into the three different types of ellipticals and how they affect your overall workout, let’s compare their prices.
|Type of Elliptical Machine||Common Price When Flywheel’s Weight is in the 10s||Common Price When Flywheel’s Weight is in the 20s||Common Price When Flywheel’s Weight is in the 30s|
*Note* The information found in the above chart is based on comparisons of popular elliptical brands. There are outliers on both ends of the spectrum, but this is a good average to expect.
When looking into purchasing an elliptical machine, knowing exactly what you are looking for can help you find an elliptical machine that fits your needs and is within your budget.
How to Make Your Elliptical Machine Last Longer
After spending so much money on your home gym, you’ll want to make sure that your equipment lasts as long as possible. While the machine is getting you in better physical shape, make sure you are keeping your elliptical in the best shape it can be in. Below are some tips to follow to care for your gym equipment to make it last longer.
Unplugging Your Machine After Each Use
While this may seem like an unnecessary extra task to do before and after you work out, unplugging your machine after each use can prolong the life of your machine. When you leave your machine plugged in all the time, there is electricity constantly flowing through your machine.
Even when you turn off your machine, you cannot “turn off” the electricity coming from the wall outlet going into your machine. While there will not be as much electricity going through as when the machine is on, this constant flow can permanently damage your machine over time. This can wear down the electrical mechanics of your machine and will wear it down. Leaving your elliptical plugged in can kill the electrics which make the machine work and will lower its life.
There are power strips that were created to prevent this from happening to plugged-in electronics, but for such an expensive and large machine, it is better to stay on the safe side by simply unplugging your cord from the wall.
Along with the benefits of prolonging the life of your machine, unplugging your machine is a safety precaution you should be taking especially if you have little ones in your home. You can never be too safe with heavy-moving machines.
Wiping Off Sweat After Each Use
When you work out in a public gym, you wipe off your machines as a courtesy for others. No one wants to get on a machine only to realize they are now touching someone else’s sweat! When you have your own home gym, you should continue this practice of wiping off sweat, even if it is only for your own use.
Sweat left on the machine over time has the possibility of damaging electrics in the machine. Similar to if you spilled water over the electric buttons, sweat can do just as much damage. Simply wiping off sweat with a towel after each use will protect your machine.
Lubricating Your Machine
Similar to any machine with moving parts, an elliptical needs lubricant over time. Having a regular routine of lubricating your machine can help to prolong the life of your machine and help it to move smoother.
Before you go lubricating with any oil you have or use on other machines, it is important for you to know that some oils can actually damage the plastic parts of your machine. Using only the oil they have given you or advice you use is the best way to protect your machine. Most machines only need to be lubricated about once a year, but you should read your machine’s manual to see what they advise you to do.
Cleaning You Should Be Doing Once a Month
Once a month, you should do a semi-deep clean on your machine. This should begin by taking a lint-free towel to wipe down the entire machine. After you have removed the lint, you can then take a cleaning solution (nothing harsh like ammonia or bleach) and wipe down the whole machine. Before you do this, you should check the machine’s manual to see if it has any instructions for cleaning. If there are specific instructions, follow those.
This will remove any germs from sweat and common use. This will also remove dust which can over time harm the machine. Keeping your machine clean will greatly improve its lifespan.
Cleaning You Should Be Doing Once a Year
About once a year, you should do a deep clean on your machine. This should include following the instructions for the “Cleaning you should be doing once a month” to begin with. After you have completed the semi-deep clean, move the machine over and vacuum the area under the machine as well as any dust which has collected throughout and under the machine.
This can be successfully accomplished by removing the plastic and vacuuming the internal mechanics of your elliptical. This is to prevent dust build up inside your machine that can damage it.
If your machine only needs to be lubricated once a year, this is also a great time to do it. Read through “Lubricating Your Machine” above to ensure you are not damaging your machine by accident.
If this is your first year of owning your elliptical, this is also a good time to check the warranty to see when it expires. Most expire after one year. Before it expires, you should read through it and make sure that your machine is working to the best it can. If it is not, now is the time to get assistance.