ProForm Ellipticals Review: Our Take on ProForm’s Best Ellipticals - SI Showcase - Sports Illustrated

2022-12-07 16:32:51 By : Ms. King Ding

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Ellipticals are one of the most solid cardio machines you can buy. They provide a low-impact, effective workout and are suitable for all fitness levels. Of course, as with all other pieces of fitness equipment, there are a lot of options out there.

ProForm, one of the most recognizable names in fitness, makes an entire line of ellipticals that includes five options that are vastly different. Some are full-size ellipticals that require a significant amount of floor space, while others have a vertical design that saves space without sacrificing workout quality. One of the models from ProForm even combines an elliptical with a recumbent bike, so you get two exercise machines in one.

In this ProForm elliptical machines review, we’ll give you an overview of each of the brand’s ellipticals and provide a comprehensive guide on how to decide which one is best for you. We’ll also compare ProForm’s lineup with some of the most popular models from other well-known fitness brands like NordicTrack and Bowflex, in case those are a better fit.

ProForm has three elliptical series—Carbon, HIIT trainers and Hybrids—and they’re all distinctively different pieces of gym equipment.

The ProForm Carbon series, which includes the Carbon EL and the Carbon E10, are traditional ellipticals. They both utilize a flywheel and operate on a front-drive system, which means that the flywheel is in front of the pedals instead of behind them. These ellipticals have a standard elliptical stride pattern, and are on the larger side compared to the others.

The HIIT trainers, which include the Pro HIIT H14 and the Carbon HIIT H10, are elliptical and stair stepper combos. These machines have a unique stride pattern (partly horizontal and partly vertical), and are designed to fit into smaller spaces. They also have a flywheel, but have a vertical design that minimizes their footprint while still providing an effective workout. These trainers help optimize your workout time by activating all the major muscle groups.

The Hybrid trainer is a specialized model that’s a recumbent bike and elliptical in one. It converts into each machine as needed, and is ideal for those who want multiple pieces of equipment, but don’t have the space for two separate machines. It has a front-drive system like the Carbon series, but because this machine is more compact, it has a shorter stride length. This makes it a better fit for those five feet, eight inches or under.

The right machine for you depends on the space of your home gym and your specific fitness goals. Let’s break them all down.

The ProForm Carbon EL is the brand’s entry level model, but it’s still equipped with more features than other ellipticals at this price point. It has 18 resistance levels and a five-inch multicolor display that lets you track basic metrics, like time, distance and calories.

It doesn’t have a lot of extra tech features, but that’s intentional to keep the price down. If you want to turn it into a smart trainer, you can connect your tablet via Bluetooth (there’s a tablet holder on the console) and follow along with iFit or any other fitness app that’s compatible with the machine. If you do connect to iFit (which requires WiFi), the elliptical has automatic trainer control. This allows your virtual coach to adjust the resistance level in real time as you move through your workout.

The ProForm Carbon EL isn’t a compact elliptical, but it has a fairly small footprint with front-mounted transport wheels that make it easy to stash in a corner when you’re not using it. It also has oversized, ergonomic pedals and a 19-inch adjustable stride length that works for most people.

Purchase ProForm Carbon EL Elliptical

The Carbon E10 Elliptical is the next step up from the EL. It has the same traditional elliptical design, with a front-drive flywheel and 19-inch adjustable stride length, but it offers more tech for those who want an all-in-one exercise machine. The Carbon E10 comes with a 10-inch HD touchscreen that lets you follow along with iFit and track your metrics simultaneously. A control panel sits right below the screen, giving you easy access to the 24 resistance levels, fan and volume. Unlike the Carbon EL, the E10 has an adjustable ramp that lets you control the incline from zero to 20 degrees.

When connected to iFit, your trainer can also access the resistance and the ramp to make adjustments in real time during your live workouts. If you buy the Carbon E10 directly from ProForm’s site, it technically comes free with a three-year iFit Family membership; you commit to the three years, and the elliptical is included in the cost.

Purchase ProForm Carbon E10 Elliptical

The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 isn’t a traditional elliptical; it’s more of a hybrid between an elliptical trainer and a stair stepper. It has a unique stride path—it moves 10 inches vertically and five inches horizontally—to activate more muscle groups and optimize your cardio workout. It also has movable handlebars that mimic the movement of boxing to engage your upper body, essentially providing a total body workout.

Since it’s built vertically, it has a compact footprint and takes up about half the space of a full-size elliptical, but it still comes loaded with features. It has a 14-inch HD touchscreen and automatic trainer control that lets iFit coaches take over the resistance during workouts. There are 26 resistance levels and a 30-pound flywheel that makes for a smooth workout even at top speeds. And it’s Bluetooth compatible, so you can connect your headphones if you don’t want to rely on the integrated speakers. It also has basic comfort features like a water bottle holder, workout fan and cushioned pedals.

Purchase ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical

The ProForm Carbon HIIT H10 has a similar build as the Carbon HIIT 14, but with some slight downgrades to make it more budget-friendly. If you like the unique stride length of these cross trainers, but don’t want to spend extra money for large screens, this is a good option for you. The HIIT H10 still has an immersive touchscreen; it’s just a bit smaller at seven inches.

It operates on the same silent magnetic resistance with a 30-pound flywheel, and has 24 resistance levels that can be virtually controlled by your trainer during live iFit workouts. The unique stride pattern is the same as the HIIT 14, with a 10-inch vertical stride and a five-inch horizontal one that challenges your muscles while still providing a low-impact workout. There’s a heart rate monitor integrated into the handlebars, plus a fan and an audio auxiliary port with two Bluetooth speakers. If you purchase the Carbon HIIT H10 directly from ProForm’s site, you’ll get the machine free with a three-year iFit membership. Note that this initial membership is required.

Purchase ProForm Carbon HIIT H10 Elliptical

The ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT Elliptical combines an elliptical and a recumbent bike into one piece of fitness equipment. If you want to use it as a bike, you pull the console and handlebars down to meet the seat. For elliptical training, the handlebars stand straight up. To accommodate this hybrid design, it operates on a rear-drive system—meaning the flywheel is in the back. Normally, this makes for a larger, more cumbersome piece of exercise equipment, but it actually has a smaller footprint than ProForm’s other ellipticals. To compensate, the stride length is a bit shorter at 15 inches, which makes this a good option for those around five feet, eight inches or below. If you’re taller than this, you’ll likely need a longer stride length to feel comfortable.

The specs stay the same whether you’re using it as an elliptical or a bike. There are 16 digital resistance levels and a five-inch basic display that shows time, distance and calories. It’s compatible with iFit, but you’ll have to bring your own tablet (there’s a tablet holder for security). It also has a water bottle holder, but no fan.

Purchase ProForm Hybrid Trainer XT Elliptical

ProForm is one of the most popular fitness brands on the market, but it does have some major competitors, including NordicTrack and Bowflex.

NordicTrack and ProForm are owned by the same company—ICON Health and Fitness—so the machines are fairly similar. NordicTrack has a more extensive line, with five traditional ellipticals and two striders (incline trainer/elliptical combos) to choose from. The NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 Elliptical, which is one of the most popular options, is almost identical to the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical. Both machines have a 14-inch display, 20-degree incline, 26 digital resistance levels and front-drive flywheel at the same price point.

ProForm’s Carbon HIIT trainers rival the Max Trainers from Bowflex. While ProForm has two trainers in its line, Bowflex has three: the M6, the M9 and the Max Total 16. The Bowflex Max Trainer M6 Elliptical, which is the brand’s entry level model, is most similar to the Carbon HIIT H7, but ProForm’s model is a more advanced piece of cardio equipment. It has 24 resistance levels and a seven-inch HD touchscreen, while the M6 has 16 levels of resistance and a basic digital display for about the same price.

ProForm ellipticals use silent magnetic resistance, which makes them less noisy than other machines. While they do generate some noise, they’re one of the quietest in the category.

A ProForm elliptical typically lasts about 10 years with proper maintenance and care, but the exact lifetime depends on usage. Most of the ellipticals are covered by a 10-year frame, two-year parts and one-year labor warranty, but you can purchase extended coverage that protects against mechanical or electrical failures for up to five years.

You don’t need a subscription to use a ProForm elliptical. Without one, you can use the machine in manual mode and access a handful of preprogrammed workouts. However, if you want full access to the iFit library, you’ll need a monthly or annual subscription.

ProForm offers five elliptical trainers with notable differences. Whether you’re looking for a full-size, traditional machine or a more compact (yet still effective) option, you’ll likely find one in the line that will work for you. Keep in mind that while all of these machines can be used manually, full functionality requires an iFit subscription.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.

Lindsay Boyers is a functional nutritionist, writer, and editor with over a decade of experience in online media and product testing, mostly in the nutrition, fitness, sleep, and lifestyle spaces.