Ellipticals at the gym are among the top cardio machines utilized, just behind the treadmill. Ellipticals are also one of the most popular exercise machines to put in a home gym for several reasons.
Aside from the fact that it’s an excellent way to increase cardiovascular endurance and improve heart health, using an elliptical can help you lose weight, improve lower body strength, it is a suitable machine for just about anyone since it provides a good workout while being low impact on the joints. If you’re looking to improve balance and coordination, the elliptical can be the right equipment as well. You can stand upright and decide if you want to utilize the handles that work the upper body.
The benefits of an elliptical are well known. But how do you know which design to get? There are two main types of ellipticals on the market: front drive and rear drive. The elliptical drive is essentially the flywheel or motor that is the power hub of the machine. This can be in the front or the rear of the elliptical and is the machine section that rotates as you pedal. But does it make a difference if the drive is in the front or the rear? And is there a better location?
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of both the front and rear drive ellipticals, and you can determine which one is better for your home gym!
Front Drive Elliptical
With a front-drive elliptical, the flywheel or motor is located in the front of the machine. Because of this forward location, some devices might feel like you are doing more incline work. These ellipticals almost look like an upright bike with a large console in the front and are considered more compact than rear-drive ellipticals.
Because the flywheel is located in the elliptical front, you will tend to have a slight forward lean while exercising, mimicking the same movement you would experience while climbing a hill or walking up a set of stairs. So, if you have a long stride, a front-drive elliptical might not be comfortable. You might find yourself having a challenging time balancing without using the handlebars because the body’s center of gravity is more toward the front of the elliptical.
Front-drive ellipticals can be a bit noisier than rear-drive ellipticals and typically cost less than rear-drive – however, they have more pieces and parts than rear-drive ellipticals to break, so you might pay more in the long run for replacement parts.
In a rear-drive elliptical, the flywheel or motor is located at the back of the machine; due to this location, you might feel like the machine pedals feel more level than those of a front-drive elliptical, almost like you’re walking on flat ground. With the drive being in the machine rear, they take up more space on the floor and are usually more challenging to maneuver if needed.
Rear-drive ellipticals can add incline, but you won’t notice it as steep as a front-drive elliptical. You will also see that since you don’t have to lean forward as much on the pedals to stay upright, you’ll maintain a more neutral posture and have a more significant stride area to work with.
With the flywheel in the rear of the machine, there will be much less noise to deal with and fewer parts to replace if there is any damage or needed repairs. Keep in mind that rear-drive ellipticals cost more than front-drive, but the cost comes with a decrease in maintenance.
Which is Best?
You’ll need to think about space in your home gym, budget, and incline preferences when it comes to deciding what type of elliptical to purchase – once you know these factors, then you can easily choose between the two!