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Best Rear Drive Ellipticals of 2016

Rear drive ellipticals are the gold standard for elliptical trainers. Their general design was first patented by Precor, the first company to build ellipticals, and has been adopted by less expensive brands. To help you find the best combination of price and performance, our website provides free elliptical reviews and comparison charts. Below we share a chart of the five best rear drive ellipticals according to customers and our in-house experts.

Prices for these five favorites range from $1,299 to about $6,500. Each rear drive elliptical on the comparison chart supports total body training; the arm bars are movable and have adjustable resistance. Each of these cross trainers also supports smooth joint-friendly motion, has preset workouts and carries a good warranty.

For details about any model, click an in-chart link to see the sales page or to read our complete rear drive elliptical review.

Top 5 Best Rated Rear Drive Ellipticals

1 2 3 4 5
Model precor efx 245

Precor
EFX 245

precor efx 222

Precor
EFX 222

Yowza Islamorada Elliptical Machine

Yowza
Islamorada

precor efx 221

Precor
EFX 221

Life Fitness Platinum Club Series Elliptical Cross-Trainer

Life Fitness
Platinum Club

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: 93.2 %
Rating: 92.9 %
Rating: 92.9 %
Rating: 92.5 %
Rating: 92.4 %
Resistance

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

16 Levels 16 Levels 75 Levels 16 Levels 26 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).

n/a n/a 19" - 30" n/a Fixed at 20"
Programs

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

24 10 21 10 42
Flywheel

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

Undisclosed Undisclosed Standard Undisclosed Undisclosed
MSRP

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

$4,399 $2,899 $2,999 $2,199 $7,999
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

Rear Drive Ellipticals Buying Guide

Stride length is the most obvious difference among the ellipticals on our chart. The shortest stride is found on the Yowza Pompano rear drive elliptical. At 18″ it’s ideal for shorter trainees but could feel choppy to taller users. Other models shown on the elliptical comparison chart have variable strides. The adjustability is of course useful in households with exercisers of different heights. Another advantage of choosing an adjustable stride elliptical is targeted muscle toning: Depending on the stride length you set, you can focus on your hamstrings, calves or other muscles.

Rear Drive Ellipticals Buying Guide

The first question to answer when shopping for an elliptical machine is “Do I want a front, center or rear drive elliptical trainer?” Some exercise enthusiasts are unwavering devotees to rear drive machines. Years ago this was especially wise — the alternatives all had important shortcomings — but today you can buy high quality ellipticals with front drives and center drives too. The three types of ellipticals all have good selling points when well-engineered. Here we compare rear drive ellipticals with front drive and center drive alternatives.

Rear drive ellipticals were the first kind to hit the market. When developing the world’s first elliptical trainers, the company Precor discovered that the rear drive design most easily supports a natural-feeling stride. Precor patented this setup. Consequently, competitors have to pay for the rights to create their own rear drive ellipticals — or else devise alternatives. Thus front drive and center drive ellipticals are created.

Many front drive elliptical trainers support motion that’s more similar to stair climbing than the flat striding offered by Precors and other rear drive trainers. Whether that’s “good” or “bad” is a matter of personal preference. Some people aren’t as comfortable on these cross trainers because they tend to encourage you to lean forward; feeling balanced is often easier with the rear drive design. However, some manufacturers — particularly Sole Fitness — produce front drive ellipticals that have the same flat and smooth motion as rear drive trainers. This is possible thanks to innovative pedal designs, heavier flywheels and other smart modifications. Center drive ellipticals also make it easy to stay upright and not lean into the console.

Another advantage of rear drive ellipticals is that fewer parts are involved in the design. The simpler the system, the less likely something will go wrong. Rear drive ellipticals on average require less maintenance.

Why choose a front drive or center drive elliptical? One advantage is price. All things being equal (such as flywheel weight and programming), these types of machines cost less than their rear drive counterparts. Another advantage is size. Rear drive ellipticals require the most floor space. Still, some can be made compact for storage after workout time.

In sum, rear drive ellipticals have earned bragging rights but they shouldn’t discourage you from considering alternatives, especially if paying a lower price and saving space are among your priorities. Just be sure to read honest elliptical reviews (not just the sales pages) before making your choice.

More Rear Drive Ellipticals

The following products aren’t on our “Five Best Rear Drive Ellipticals” chart, but they are still worth checking out:

So many choices! We’re here to help. Feel free to contact FitRated for advice about choosing the best rear drive elliptical for your budget and skill level.

More Rear Drive Ellipticals

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

6 precor efx 833

Precor EFX 833

Rating: 92.1%
Price: $6,495 - Best Price: $6,495

The Precor EFX 833 is one of the most diverse ellipticals on the market. Presenting a smooth and natural stride, the Precor EFX 833 is surprisingly comfortable despite challenging specific muscles with CrossRamp technology. Read Review »

7 Yowza Captiva Elliptical Machine

Yowza Captiva

Rating: 91.7%
Price: $2,299 - Best Price: $1,899

The Yowza Captiva is one of the highest rated elliptical trainers on the website. Its balance of high-end luxury features, solid specs, 50% incline and Cardio Core motion technology for toning all the ab muscles makes it a tough elliptical to beat. Read Review »

8 precor efx 225

Precor EFX 225

Rating: 90.9%
Price: $3,599 - Best Price: $2,999

The Precor EFX 225 is an extremely well built elliptical machine with beautiful biomechanics and hassle-free ownership. It has a great warranty on parts and electronics and is extremely comfortable and effective any fitness level. Read Review »

9 precor efx 423

Precor EFX 423

Rating: 89.9%
Price: $4,599 - Best Price: $3,999

The EFX 423 is a great elliptical machine with stationary handlebars. This highly rated machine is only built for lower body training, and it does this job well for all fitness levels. It offers a 10-year parts warranty, 20 resistance levels as well as 10 workout programs. Read Review »

10 Life Fitness X5 Cross-Trainer Elliptical Machine

Life Fitness X5 Cross-Trainer

Rating: 89.8%
Price: $3,499 - Best Price: $2,799

The Life Fitness X5 Cross-Trainer is a quiet, reliable and rewarding choice for home gyms. It has an adjustable 18 to 24 inch stride and comes with a free Polar wireless chest strap. Read Review »

11 Life Fitness E5 Elliptical Cross-Trainer Machine

Life Fitness E5 Cross-Trainer

Rating: 89.1%
Price: $4,299 - Best Price: $4,299

The E5 is Life Fitness' top-of-the-line cross-trainer. It is a well well-built total body trainer that’s sized ideally for most adults. It has a 18-24-inch electronically adjustable stride, 16 workout programs and comes with a free Polar wireless chest strap. Read Review »

12 Life Fitness E3 Elliptical Cross-Trainer

Life Fitness E3 Cross-Trainer

Rating: 88.6%
Price: $2,999 - Best Price: $2,999

The Life Fitness E3 Cross-Trainer is a well-built total body trainer that’s sized ideally for most adults. It has a 20-inch stride, 16 workout programs and comes with a free Polar wireless chest strap. Read Review »

13 Life Fitness E1 Cross-Trainer Elliptical Machine

Life Fitness E1 Cross-Trainer

Rating: 88.2%
Price: $2,199 - Best Price: $2,199

The Life Fitness E1 Elliptical Cross-Trainer comes equipped with Whisper Stride technology and is the quietest elliptical of its kind on the market. Read Review »

14 precor efx 447

Precor EFX 447

Rating: 87.7%
Price: $5,999 - Best Price: $4,999

The EFX 447 is the top elliptical trainer in the Precision Series, which is Precor's leading line of luxury home elliptical trainers. This elliptical machine comes with 20 resistance levels, 24 preset workouts, 4 separate user ID's, a 7-inch 16:9 color display with backlit capacitive touch buttons as well as a solid warranty. Read Review »

15 Life Fitness X3 Cross-Trainer Elliptical Machine

Life Fitness X3 Cross-Trainer

Rating: 87.2%
Price: $2,699 - Best Price: $2,199

The X3 is a solid and high-end total body trainer. Its CoachZone technology can enhance any workout and is available at different challenge levels to help you avoid fitness plateaus. Read Review »

16 Life Fitness Club Series Cross-Trainer Elliptical Machine

Life Fitness Club Series Elliptical Cross-Trainer

Rating: 87.2%
Price: $4,299 - Best Price: $4,299

When high quality is your priority the Club Series Elliptical is a top choice in its luxury price class. It offers the smooth performance of a club trainer and has workout programming to support anyone’s fitness goals. Read Review »

17 precor efx 425

Precor EFX 425

Rating: 87.2%
Price: $4,999 - Best Price: $4,499

The EFX 425 is a club-quality elliptical that will get you great workouts in your home. This elliptical machine comes with a 20 resistance levels, a high contrast blue-white LCD console, a 10-year warranty on parts and wear items as well as 10 workout programs. Read Review »

18 Life Fitness X1 Cross-Trainer Elliptical Machine

Life Fitness X1 Cross-Trainer

Rating: 86.6%
Price: $2,199 - Best Price: $1,999

The Life Fitness X1 operates very quietly and is built for trouble-free performance. This cardio trainer is a good fit for most households; it 20-inch stride is the industry standard. Read Review »

19 Yowza Pompano Elliptical Machine

Yowza Pompano

Rating: 85.6%
Price: $3,499 - Best Price: $1,599

The Yowza Pompano is well-made elliptical that features an iPod dock, speakers and cooling fans. With its 18 inch stride length you are sure to get the workout you are striving for. This elliptical also features Pulse Grips and a wireless heart strap to keep track of your heart rate. Read Review »

20 NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical Machine

NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i

Rating: 84.4%
Price: $2,499 - Best Price: $1,249

The NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i takes up the smallest footprint on the market when folded up for storage. The elliptical also features a web-enabled 7" display and 30 workout apps. Read Review »

21 nordictrack-spacesaver-se7i-elliptical-machine

NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE7i

Rating: 83.4%
Price: $1,499 - Best Price: $999

The Nordictrack SpaceSaver SE7i is an incredibly compact elliptical at a great price point and is so fast to setup, you'll be working out in no time. Read Review »

22 Yowza Jupiter Pilot Elliptical Machine

Yowza Jupiter Pilot

Rating: 82.0%
Price: $1,299 - Best Price: $999

The Yowza Jupiter Pilot elliptical features 16 levels of resistance with adjustable stride length (18" - 22"). The elliptical also provides a built-in cooling fan and wireless heart rate monitoring. Read Review »

23 proform hybrid trainer pro

ProForm Hybrid Trainer Pro

Rating: 80.5%
Price: $999 - Best Price: $599

The ProForm Hybrid Trainer Pro is a low-priced hybrid elliptical and recumbent bike featuring with more features that it's little sister model. Read Review »

24 proform hybrid trainer

ProForm Hybrid Trainer

Rating: 78.4%
Price: $799 - Best Price: $399

The ProForm Hybrid Trainer is a low-priced hybrid elliptical and recumbent bike featuring 16 levels of Silent Magnetic resistance and 16 workout programs. Read Review »

25 proform-896-cse-elliptical-machine

ProForm Smart Strider 895 CSE

Rating: 72.8%
Price: $1,999 - Best Price: $1,999

The compact Smart Strider 895 CSE is an nice and advanced elliptical trainer with lots of extra gadgets and the ability to fold away. Read Review »