Best Center Drive Ellipticals of 2021
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
Rating: 94.5 %
Rating: 92.3 %
Rating: 92 %
Rating: 91 %
Rating: 90.8 %
|Resistance||24 Levels||Up to 900 Watts||24 Levels||26||n/a|
|Stride Length||0" - 38"||24"||0" - 32"||32”||58"|
|Flywheel||20 lbs.||n/a||20 lbs.||20 lbs.||n/a|
|Pricing||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: