Let me take a wild guess and say that you are most likely a tall person standing at 6 foot or above. Am I right?
You and me alike. I am 6'2" and although I am not a super freak when it comes to height I am tall enough that normal stride length ellipticals are just not comfortable for me to use.
They are awkward and give me the worse back pumps.
It's ironic too because there really is not that much out there when it comes to helping us tall guys find an elliptical that will you know... be comfortable.
I had this same issue when I was looking for a recumbent bike that was suitable for tall users like myself.
For me the only machines that were comfortable were 20 inch stride length ellipticals.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Through researching I was able to put together this guide for you so that you can see not only which 20 inch stride elliptical is best, but also which one I ended up buying for myself.
Here's a Quick Breakdown For those who want the Fast Facts
- My Personal Favorite Bang for Buck Pick - Schwinn Compact Elliptical - This is the one that I bought for my home - See it here
- Best Option for Taller Users Who are Over 275 lbs - Nautilus E618 - You can check it out here
- All Around Best & Highest Quality - For the Tallest users over 6'6 - Sole Fitness E35 - You can check it out here
- Excellent Cheaper Option for those on a tight budget - SHF Stride Zone Elliptical - You can check it out here
- For Commercial Use - EFX 835 Commercial Elliptical - You can check it out here
- For Dual Use and Cross-training - The 2-in-1 TeeterFreestep - You can check it out here
Choosing the Best Stride Length for Your Elliptical
Stride length is the distance between your feet (pedals) when they are farthest away from each other. A person taller or with longer legs will have a longer stride length vs a shorter person with shorter legs.
Now that I explained what a stride length is, let’s talk about the different stride lengths available and what’s the best option for your height.
Keep in mind, ideally you’d want to test out the elliptical before buying it to make sure the stride length is comfortable for you.
You will be fine if you pick from my list but as I have tested all of these personally. Took me about 3 weeks... but I did. If you pick one that is not in my list I highly recommend testing it out yourself in person.
Under 18 Inch Stride Length
Ellipticals that have stride lengths under 18 inches are best for those of you who are 5’7 or shorter. If you’re taller than 5’7, you should look into ellipticals with higher stride lengths.
If you’re a short person say anything around 5’ tall, you should look into ellipticals with 14 inches stride length or lower.
18 Inch Stride
The 18 inch elliptical is the most popular length and is suited for users who are 5'10 and under. Thing is with this stride length, even though if you are 5'10" or shorter, it is still more comfortable to use a 20 inch stride length elliptical. At least it is for me.
20 Inch Stride Length
This is the most common stride length you’ll see in most public gyms. For the average height, this will work for the majority of elliptical users and will be suitable for tall users as well. This stride length is best for those of you who are between 5’7”-6’4.
Over 20 Inch Stride Length
Anything above 20 inch stride length is good for those of you who are taller than 6’4, mostly the ideal one here is the 22 inch elliptical.
Anything less than 20 inches and it will probably be very uncomfortable for you. You’ll need enough room to stretch out your legs and not feel like you’re cramped into the elliptical.
Adjustable Stride Length
Ellipticals with adjustable stride lengths are great for households with multiple users. You might be 6’ tall while your spouse might be 5’5.
Your son or daughter might want to use the elliptical as well.
This option is best for you instead of buying two separate ellipticals with different stride lengths. This is perfect for households that will have multiple users on the elliptical.
If this is the option that best fits your needs, check out the Teeter FreeStep Cross Trainer I mentioned towards the end of the article.
Best 20 Inch Stripe Ellipticals
Now I’ll be reviewing the best 20 inch stride elliptical and explaining their best features, tech specs, etc.
Let’s get started..
1. Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine - Editors choice
Best Bang for your Buck
Best Features - Why I bought it For Myself
- Cheap, simple, and easy to use.
- 29 workout programs: comes with 12 profile, 2 fitness tests, 9 heart rate control, 4 custom, 1 recovery test, and 1 quick start
- Bluetooth connectivity
- DualTrack Blue Blacklit LCD window system
- Adjustable fan
- Easy to use for beginners
- Smooth and quiet
- Durable and sturdy
Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine Review
First one I’ll be showing you today is the Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine.
- 25 levels of resistance
- Plugs into any outlet on a 110V-120V circuit
- Product weight 164lbs (74.5 kg)
- Dimensions- 70.1”L x 28.2”W x 63.2”H
- Maximum user weight is 300lbs (136 kg)
- 4 different user profiles
- Ability to sync with the Schwinn Trainer App
You’re not going to find an elliptical machine this good for this price. You can get a great workout from the comfort of your own home without having to go to the gym.
What’s not to love? Comes with multiple workout programs, fan, ability to connect bluetooth, usb port to charge your phone or listen to music.
If you’re interested in checking this one out, you can find it here
Best Option for Tall Users Over 275lbs
- Easy to assemble
- Perfect for those of you on the bigger side
- Smooth and quiet
- Comes with 29 different workout programs
- Ability to sync with free Explore the World app
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Comes with wireless heart rate chest strap
- Adjustable tilting console with Blue BlacklitDualTrack screens
Nautilus E618 Elliptical Review
For this section I’ll be showing you the Nautilus E618 Elliptical.
- Maximum user weight is 350lbs (158 kg)
- Product weight is 210lbs (95 kg)
- Dimensions- 73 x 27 x 67 in.
- Warranty is good for 15 years
So, now that you know this elliptical’s best features and specs, why would you not want to get this? If you’re taller than average and over 275 lbs, it can be difficult to use most ellipticals at the gym. They’re not set for your height.
When it comes to working out, comfort should be one of your more important things to consider. You won’t have to worry about your legs cramping anymore. Low-impact so no unnecessary stress added on your joints. You won’t have the extra unwanted stress on your joints.
If this sounds like a good fit for you, check it out here.
3. Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine - Highest Quality
Best for Tall Users 22 Inch Stride
- Comes with a built in fan
- Smooth and quiet
- Sturdy and durable
- Easy to assemble
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Comes with 8 total programs; 6 standard, 2 custom, 2 heart programs
- Ability to monitor heart rate
- Includes an integrated tablet holder
Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine Review
For the next elliptical we’ll be looking at the Sole Fitness E35 Elliptical Machine.
- Maximum user weight is 375lbs (170 kg)
- Adjustable pedals
- USB port; ability to charge your phone/device while working out
- Power incline; offers additional resistance
- Heart rate chest strap included
Okay, now that I listed some of the best features and tech specs.. You have an idea if this is the best option for you. This elliptical is on the higher end in terms of pricing, but you get what you pay for. This elliptical is definitely worth spending an extra couple bucks to get great quality.
The quality is unmatched to its competitors.
If you’re looking for an elliptical that’s going to last you years to come, this one is it. Why buy one that might last you 5-8 years, then you’d have to buy another one? Get this one and it should last a lifetime.
Spend some money on a great elliptical that will last you a lifetime and you’ll never have to get a gym membership again.
Good Budget Option
- Multi-grip handlebars; upper body workout for your back, chest, shoulder, and arms
- Comes with hand pulse sensors
- 44 pound flywheel; allows for a smooth and quiet experience
- Transportation wheels on the front; makes it easy to pick up and move around
- Floor stabilizers; your elliptical will always be stable, whether you’re on carpet or hardwood floors
- Comes with 12 workout programs
- Bottle holder
- Easy to move as the model is lighter compared to its competition
- Easy to assemble
- Best bang for your buck; for less than $1k you can get a great workout at home
- Can be used without being plugged in using the energy saving mode
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3865 Elliptical Review
If you’re tight on a budget, no worries. For the next one we’ll be going over an elliptical that provides one of the best bangs for your buck. The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3865 Stride Zone Elliptical.
- 265lbs weight capacity (120 kg)
- Product weight 144lbs (65 kg)
- Performance monitor includes your speed, distance, rpm, calories, heart rate, level, watt, etc.
- 20 inch stride
- Device holder
So those are the best features and tech specs for the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3865 Stride Zone Elliptical. I understand buying gym equipment can be pricey. If you’re a little tight on cash, this elliptical would be perfect for you.
It’s easy to use, easy to assemble, best price for what you’re getting. What is there not to love about this elliptical? Great price with even greater quality.
If this sounds like it’s the perfect option for you, check it out here:
Best for Commercial Use
- Easy to keep clean with covered ramp
- Easy to move with transportation wheels in the front
- Moving handlebars for full body workout
- Adjustable ramp to target different muscle groups
- Touch screen heart rate monitor
- Comes with 15 workout programs
- Low-impact, smooth and quiet range of motion
- Holder for your accessories
- 20 resistance levels
- Easy to assemble
EFX 835 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer Review
I mean, just take a look at the reviews of this machine - they speak for themselves.
- 21-25 inches stride length
- Equipment weight 338lbs (153 kg)
- Oversized foot pedals; can fit comfortably with anyone
- Maximum user weight 350lbs (159 kg)
Now that you know the best features and tech specs for the EFX 835 Elliptical Fitness Crosstrainer, what do you think?
The quality of this elliptical is unmatched to its competitors. If you need an elliptical for your facility, this is the one to get. It has everything you need for your facility, 15 workout programs, 20 resistance levels, tracks your workout and heart rate to keep you progressing for your desired results.
If you’re ready to commit to an elliptical that will last you years to come, look no further. If this sounds like the best option for your facility, or even at home, check it out here:
Best Cross Trainer - This Thing Rocks!
- Smooth and quiet throughout the full range of motion
- Comes with a cushioned seat for more comfortability
- Handles have a sweat-resistant surface for easy cleaning
- Position of the seat reduces joint pain compared to other cardio machines
- The design allows to modify your workouts by hitting different muscle groups
- Targets quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, back, triceps, and biceps
- Affordable and effective
Teeter FreeStep Cross Trainer Review
This is my personal favorite. I just got this machine recently and I use it almost everyday. I’m able to push myself and still progress on my workouts without any discomfort or pain on my joints.
The reviews for this thing speak for themselves you can read them here if you want or you can just out my review of it here.
- Maximum user weight 300lbs (136 kg)
- Equipment weight 110lbs (49 kg)
- Transport wheels
- Water bottle holder
- Digital console
So these are the best features and tech specs for the Teeter FreeStep Cross Trainer. If you’re looking for a cardio machine that places less stress on your joints, look no further! It’s easy to assemble, high quality product for a reasonable price.
Buying Your First Elliptical?
Here’s What to Look for
When it comes to buying an elliptical, there are a few things you should consider when doing your research. After all, you’re spending a lot of money.
You might as well pick one you’re going to enjoy for years to come.
Buying an elliptical is a big commitment. You don’t want to buy one and regret getting it after a couple of months.
Related Reading; Elliptigo Sub Review – The Most Fun Outdoor Stand Up Bike
I’ll be going over a few things you should consider before purchasing an elliptical.
When it comes to getting an elliptical, the price is going to vary. There’s cheaper models, then there’s more expensive models.
You can find lower-priced models in your local department store. Some cities have a fitness equipment store where they sell anything from smaller apartment sized ellipticals to big professional treadmills to smaller sized weightlifting equipment.
I will say the lower-priced models don’t usually last as long as the higher-end ones.
They may not be as sturdy or durable. If you have a larger frame this may not be the best option for you. It’s going to be unstable and make noise.
Now if you have a smaller frame then a lower-priced model might be good enough for you. If your workouts consist of mostly training in a steady pace, then this would work.
If you prefer more of a high intensity interval training style, you’ll benefit getting a higher-end model. If money is tight at the moment, don’t rush the buy and put some money aside until you have enough.
You want to make sure you’re certain you’ll like your elliptical before pulling the trigger.
Related Reading; StreetStrider Vs ElliptiGO: Which Elliptical Bike is Best For You?
Test the Equipment
I understand this can be tricky if you’re buying the elliptical online.
If you plan on going the online route, then I really really recommend you stick to the ones in my list or if not please make sure that you do your research or are making sure that you trust a value-able source.
Although, I still highly suggest going to your local store (if available) to test out the elliptical.
You can always try your local gym, family & friends, etc.
Get a feel for it and see if you actually like it. Don’t just try it for a minute though.
When have you had a one minute workout? Try it for a good 10 minutes or so.
Is it sturdy?
Is it easy to use?
Is it smooth and quiet?
How’s the display console?
Test a few of the pre-set workouts it comes with.
Check the size. Everything always seems smaller in the store until you bring it home. Make sure you have the measurements and are positive it will fit in your home.
When you’re testing the elliptical, ask yourself, can i see myself using this for years to come in my home? If you’re 100% certain you found the right one, go for it!
Test User Height and Weight
Someone who’s under 5’6 weighing under 125lbs should not be using the same elliptical as someone who’s over 6-feet tall weighing over 215lbs.
When looking to buy one of these machines, make sure the max user weight rating fits your needs.
If you weigh 200lbs, find an elliptical that holds 300lbs max. As for height, taller people generally have longer legs, therefore longer strides.
And while at it, make sure to consider where you'll be putting the unit. If you have a low-ceiling basement gym setup, overhead clearance might be a bit of a challenge.
You don't wanna find out it can't fit once the elliptical is delivered to your front door, do you?
Elliptical Electronic Options
Often neglected, but an important factor when buying an elliptical is the display console and its features.
Ellipticals are no exception.
Different ellipticals come with several options ranging from number of workouts available, Bluetooth connectivity, touchscreens, heart rate monitor, USB, fitness app feedback, and speakers.
All of these features aren’t necessarily needed, but they do add value and convenience. Depending on your goals and needs, you need to see what features are important to you.
If you don’t care about having an elliptical that tracks your heart rate, no point on spending the extra money for that feature.
Generally, the more features the elliptical has, the more money it will cost you. If you’re okay with the bare minimum, you’ll save some money.
All ellipticals have different levels of resistance. When testing out the machine, make sure the lowest setting is easy for you to pedal and it becomes challenging to pedal at around 70%-75% or higher.
You don’t want to have an elliptical where the lowest resistance is already too challenging and the higher settings feel almost impossible.
Air vs Magnetic Resistance Ellipticals
So there’s two types of ellipticals when it comes to the resistance. Air resistance ellipticals and magnetic resistance ellipticals.
Why does it matter and is there even a difference?
For air resistance ellipticals, when you’re pedaling the fan starts to turn and the air itself provides resistance.
For magnetic resistance ellipticals, there’s a flywheel on the back. Pushing a button controls the current to the magnet for more or less resistance, depending on what you’re going for.
It’s important to distinguish the difference between these two because it will affect your workout experience. For air resistance ellipticals, the faster and harder you pedal, the louder it will get.
That could be a small annoyance if you plan on watching TV or listening to music while you workout.
When it comes to magnetic resistance ellipticals, they’re completely silent.
You can pedal faster without the loud noise of the fan turning and enjoy listening to your music or anything else.
Air resistance ellipticals are on the lower-end for pricing, so if budget is an issue, this would be a perfect fit. The cons of getting these is they’re usually not as sturdy and durable.
Not the best quality and the elliptical's user weight limit is usually on the lower side. Be prepared to spend some money maintenance and repairs if you plan on using the elliptical for a long time.
Magnetic resistance ellipticals are on the higher-end for pricing. They’re made with better quality than air resistance ellipticals.
Because of the higher quality, you will be paying a higher amount. The higher-end ones can cost you anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 and up.
Air resistance ellipticals can cost you about $500 depending on which one you go with.
Now that you know some of things to look for when buying an elliptical, you’re in a better position choosing the right one for you.
Find an elliptical you can see yourself using every week, one that fits your budget, and one that best suits your needs. Different ellipticals come with different pre-set workout programs, customization, and comfortability.
Choose what’s right for you.
This is a crucial factor when buying an elliptical, but often overlooked. Some ellipticals will have a 2-5 year warranty, where others have a lifetime warranty.
Be cautious of ellipticals that don’t have a lifetime warranty on the frame and resistance system.
You should be cautious about companies where the warranty isn’t a lifetime for the frame.
If you’re planning on using your elliptical everyday, at some point some type of maintenance or repair will be required.
You need to look at who’s going to provide you the best service, so down the line you won’t have any problems. Buying from a big department store will usually be a hassle as you’ll have to call the manufacturer which can take a while.
Your best bet would be to find a company who has their own service department. Also, make sure the service provider can come to your home instead of you having to carry your elliptical to a different location.
This company has been around for a while. It was founded by a mechanical engineer in Chicago in 1895. They produce different types of exercise bikes... from space saving exercise bike models like the Schwinn 170 to the likes of Schwinn IC2 & IC3. And their ellipticals are just as diverse and robust.
They’ve been around for over a century now, so they’re a well trusted and reliable company.
This company was founded in 1986 in Vancouver, Washington. They develop fitness equipment from weight machines to treadmills, exercise bikes and ellipticals.
In case you're wondering, to check out just the sort of spin bikes Nautilus and the Schwinn above offers, check out our head-to-head comparison of the Schwinn 170 and Nautilus U616.
Nautilus is the parent fitness company of Universal, Bowflex, Schwinn, and Octane Fitness. They’re known for their high quality products and never cut corners.
This company was founded in 2001. They started out as a company selling fitness equipment to hotels, but have now grown.
They develop treadmills at affordable prices with great quality.
People like this brand when looking for a great treadmill that will last without having to spend a whole chunk of money.
FAQ Most Buyers have when Buying an Elliptical
Listed below are the most commonly asked questions that most tall elliptical users have when buying their first elliptical.
Are 20 Inch Stride Length Ellipticals Usable for Shorter People Too?
They’re usable for shorter people, but it may not be the best option for you depending on how short you are. It may feel like you’re making a strenuous effort trying to make long strides. The ideal stride length for shorter to average elliptical users is around 18 inches.
Does the Weight of the Flywheel Matter for Magnetic Resistance Ellipticals?
The weight of the flywheel does affect smoothness and quietness of the elliptical. Generally, the heavier the flywheel is, the smoother the pedaling will be.
Should I go with Front drive or Rear drive?
Rear drive ellipticals have the drive axle located in the back. This will deliver a smooth and quiet pedaling experience. While this sounds great, it will cost you more money. Front drive ellipticals have a rougher feel to pedaling, but most users don’t seem to have an issue with it. They both get the job done, it’s just a matter of personal preference.
What is an Elliptical CrossTrainer?
These ellipticals include the upper body handlebars... pretty much like an arm bike does. Using these upper body handlebars work the chest, shoulders, arm, and back.
How high should your ceiling be for an elliptical?
Generally, an 8-foot ceiling should be enough to use if you’re 6-feet tall or shorter. If you’re taller than 6-feet, measure the height of your elliptical to make sure you have enough space.
If you are worried about the height of the ceiling or that it may be too tall, you may want to look into buying a low profile elliptical instead.
Random Tip for Ellipticals
Ellipticals are a great alternative for cardiovascular exercise and toning your muscles.
We all know you need to push yourself in your workouts to see changes, but don’t forget the importance of recovery.
It’s important to rest our bodies from any strenuous exercise. Using the elliptical everyday for 20-30 minutes at a moderate pace is fine, but be sure to give yourself a rest day once a week or every two weeks.
It's actually advisable to do full-body workout every other day.
Thankfully, elliptical training isn't as intense as it gets with some other full-body workout machines, so yeah, you may bend the rules ever so slightly.
But don't get carried away...
Train smart, not hard.
I hope after reading this article, you have a better understanding on what you need to know for ellipticals. Before buying an elliptical be sure on all features you want for yours. Be sure about the quality of the product and make sure it meets up to your standards.
I wish you luck on finding the best elliptical for your goals, your height, and your needs.
Let’s go burn those calories!
Stay safe and healthy.
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Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward.
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