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Best Center Drive Ellipticals of 2016

Center drive elliptical machines are the third type of elliptical trainer to hit the market. Why are they competing so well against rear drive and front drive alternatives? Here we share a chart that highlights the impressive specs for five favorites. We also look at benefits of center drive ellipticals in general and link to in-depth reviews for a wide range of models.

The best center drive ellipticals for home use have the appeal of being compact without cutting corners. Most impressive is that they support full natural strides; their pedal motions aren’t choppy. As shown on this elliptical comparison chart, some have super-long stride potential too! When the max stride is especially long, the machine can serve as both an elliptical trainer and a joint-friendly treadmill alternative.

Top 5 Best Rated Center Drive Ellipticals

1 2 3 4 5
Model NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS7i

NordicTrack
FS7i

octane zero runner zr8

Octane Fitness
ZeroRunner ZR8

octane zero runner zr7

Octane Fitness
ZeroRunner ZR7

NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS9i

NordicTrack FS9i

NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial 10 Elliptical Machine

NordicTrack
A.C.T. Commercial 10

Rating

Our custom rating considers all of the elliptical's features, specs, warranties, and 100's of user & expert reviews, to save you time!

Rating: 93.6 %
Rating: 93.5 %
Rating: 93.0 %
Rating: 92.1 %
Rating: 90.8 %
Resistance

Resistance is what determines calories burned per stride. The more levels, the more precisely you can control the difficulty.

24 Levels n/a n/a 26 Levels 24 Levels
Stride Length

Stride Length is important for comfort and smooth strides. A stride length of 18-21 inches is ideal for most heights (5'3 - 6'7).

0" - 38" 58" 58" 0" - 38" 18-22 inches
Programs

Elliptical Programs allow you to complete a workout with changing speeds and inclines, without changing anything manually.

35 35 35 38 35 Programs
Flywheel

The flywheel controls the smoothness and resistance of your workout. In general, the higher the better.

20 lbs. n/a n/a 20 lbs. 25 lbs
MSRP

Suggested retail price, typically higher than the price you'll pay with our recommended retailers.

$2,999 $4,299 $3,299 $3,999 $2,999
Pricing

After carefully evaluating each online retailer that offers this Elliptical, this is the website we recommend purchasing from.

See Best Price See Best Price See Best Price See Best Price See Best Price

Center Drive Ellipticals Buying Guide

When comparing elliptical trainers, three key aspects to consider are stride length, resistance, and upper body training support.

Stride is a great starting point when you’re comparing center drive ellipticals or any others. To earn a top review on our website, an elliptical trainer needs to have a stride length of at least 18″. Shorter lengths tend to produce a choppy stairclimbing motion, not a smooth and flat walking path. An 18-inch stride tends to feel comfortable for people 5’3″ and shorter. For taller adults a stride of 19″, 20″ or longer could be a better biomechanical fit.

Adjustable stride elliptical trainers can fit the needs of a whole family. Besides that, they offer exceptional workout variety: Stride length can be varied to isolate hamstrings, calves or other muscle groups. Some ellipticals with adjustable stride have settings from 18″ to 22″. Others have narrower or wider ranges.

As for resistance, ideally you’ll compare Watts ranges… but few home elliptical manufacturers publish this info on their websites. The best guide then is flywheel weight. A standard home elliptical for novices and intermediate trainees has a 20-pound flywheel and 20 resistance settings. More advanced trainees and people who carry more weight are advised to choose machines with 25-pound drives. Luxury home ellipticals and commercial ellipticals often have flywheels weighing 30 pounds or more.

Finally, do you want a trainer only for the lower body, or one that supports upper body exercise too? Most elliptical trainers have movable arm bars. Some only have stationary grips. The brand Octane Fitness is unique for supporting elliptical cross training not only with movable arm bars, but also with resistance bands, free weights and special workout guides.

Center Drive Ellipticals Benefits

Three perks of center drive home ellipticals are their compact frames, easy-to-balance design, and healthy footpaths.

First, center drive elliptical machines are especially space-efficient. They have square footprints with less area than the rectangular footprints of rear drive and front drive ellipticals.

A second benefit of center drive elliptical trainers relative to certain front drive alternatives is body positioning. On some front drive elliptical trainers, the user tends to lean into the handlebars in order to feel balanced. The center drive elliptical design more naturally supports an upright posture. One benefit is comfort. Another is more efficient calorie burn.

A third highlight of center drive trainers is the ergonomic pedal spacing. Narrow spacing makes the elliptical path especially natural and less likely to cause discomfort in the hips. You can also find narrow pedal spacing on rear drive and front drive trainers, but on center drive machines it’s pretty much guaranteed.

More Center Drive Ellipticals

The following did not make the Top 5 Center Drive Ellipticals, but are still worth a look:

6 Cybex 625AT Total Body Arc Trainer

Cybex 625AT

Rating: 89.7%
Price: $7,845 - Best Price: $7,845

If it fits your gym budget, the Cybex 625AT is highly recommended. This total body trainer makes it possible to sculpt and strengthen the whole body, manage weight, exercise the heart and avoid joint pain. Read Review »

7 Cybex Total Access Arc Trainer

Cybex Total Access Arc Trainer

Rating: 88.6%
Price: $8,000 - Best Price: $8,000

The Total Access Arc Trainer is a highly recommended cardio trainer when inclusive gym equipment is desired. It is a great elliptical trainers in terms of efficient calorie burn and muscle sculpting. Read Review »

8 Cybex 625A Lower Body Arc Trainer

Cybex 625A

Rating: 88.5%
Price: $7,795 - Best Price: $7,795

The Cybex 625A is a top-quality cardio trainer for body sculpting and weight management. It's popular at elite health clubs and is sized reasonably for home use. Its only drawback for most shoppers is price. Read Review »

9 770AT Arc Trainer Elliptical Machine

Cybex 770AT

Rating: 88.1%
Price: $8,645 - Best Price: $8,645

The Cybex 770AT is a great alternative to traditional elliptical machines. It is an arc trainer that enables an even lower impact workout than ellipticals can, plus it supports rapid calorie burn and targeted muscle toning. Read Review »

10 precor amt 835

Precor AMT 835

Rating: 86.9%
Price: $9,395 - Best Price: $8,895

The Precor AMT 835 is a popular trainer among people of all ability levels. This center drive elliptical machine comes with 20 resistance levels, a large LED Display and an adaptive stride length up to 36 inches. Read Review »

11 NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial

NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial

Rating: 86.8%
Price: $1,499 - Best Price: $999

The Nordictrack A.C.T. Commercial Elliptical is a space saving elliptical machine that offers a healthy mix of features and workouts. Read Review »

12 Cybex 525AT Elliptical Machine

Cybex 525AT

Rating: 86.6%
Price: $5,845 - Best Price: $5,845

Cybex Arc Trainers impress trainees because they're fun to use, deliver rapid results and don't bring joint pain. The Cybex 525AT offers 21 levels of incline, upper body resistance with a small footprint. Read Review »

13 Cybex 770A Arc Trainer

Cybex 770A

Rating: 86.6%
Price: $8,245 - Best Price: $8,245

The Cybex 770A is an appealing alternative to elliptical machines. Using an arc shape instead of an elliptical shape, it delivers superior muscle toning and calorie burn while being lower impact than ellipticals too. Read Review »

14 Stamina inMotion E1000 Elliptical Thumbnail

Stamina InMotion E1000

Rating: 50.8%
Price: $200 - Best Price: $89

The Stamina InMotion E1000 is an innovative new elliptical trainer designed to provide means to exercise even at work. Because the Stamina InMotion E1000 is so compact and lightweight, you can practically store it anywhere (yes, even under a work desk). Read Review »