Elliptical machines have become increasingly popular for home gym use, providing a comfortable and affordable workout experience. However, with the availability of different types of ellipticals, choosing the right one can be daunting. Two types of ellipticals are available based on the location of the flywheel – front drive and rear drive, with a less common center drive option. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between rear drive and front drive ellipticals and help you choose the best option for your needs.
Rear Drive vs Front Drive Elliptical Machines
The location of the flywheel is the main difference between rear drive and front drive ellipticals. Rear drive ellipticals feature the flywheel at the back of the machine, while front drive ellipticals have the flywheel in front. The center drive elliptical has the flywheel in the middle of the machine, which is less common.
The rear drive system was patented by Precor, and front drive machines were created by other brands to differentiate themselves. Center drive ellipticals have smaller footprints and longer stride lengths but are less common.
Comparison Table: Rear Drive vs Front Drive Elliptical Machines
|Factors||Rear Drive Elliptical||Front Drive Elliptical|
|Flywheel Location||Flywheel located at the back||Flywheel located at the front|
|Incline||Fewer incline options||More incline options, can be harder on joints|
|Stride Length||Longer stride length||Shorter stride length|
|Noise||Quieter operation||Can be noisier|
|Floor Space||Larger footprint||More compact|
|Maintenance||Requires less maintenance||May require more maintenance|
|Muscle Activation||Activates muscles across the entire body||Effective in activating many muscle groups|
|Joint Stress||Easier on joints than jogging||Can be tougher on joints|
|Resistance Levels||May lack resistance levels||Offers more variety in resistance and incline levels|
|Durability||More durable||May lack long-term durability|
|Posture||Provides a more natural posture||May force an unnatural posture when in use|
|Price||Generally more expensive||May cost less upfront|
|Recommended Option||Niceday Elliptical Machine||N/A|
Incline is an important factor to consider when choosing between front and rear drive ellipticals. Front drive ellipticals tend to feel like walking uphill and have more incline possibilities. They are better for those who want a lot of incline to play with. On the other hand, rear drive ellipticals tend to feel flatter and have a more natural feel, providing a smoother, flatter workout experience. They are better for those who want a lower exertion exercise option at a base level with less incline options.
Joint Stress and Muscle Activation
Ellipticals are good for cardiovascular health and activate multiple muscle groups without joint stress. However, front drive ellipticals have higher incline capabilities, which can be harder on joints. Rear drive ellipticals provide a lower exertion exercise option at a base level with less incline options. Rear drive ellipticals activate muscles across the entire body and make less noise when in operation. Front drive ellipticals have a natural incline, multiple incline levels and are effective in activating many muscle groups.
Noise and Maintenance
Front drive ellipticals may require more maintenance and can be noisier than rear drive options. Rear drive ellipticals tend to require less maintenance and take up more floor space but make less noise when in operation.
Portability and Durability
Front drive ellipticals usually offer more compact options due to their machine design and may cost less upfront. They are more portable but may lack long-term durability and force an unnatural posture when in use. Rear drive ellipticals tend to be larger, quieter, and more durable than front drive ellipticals. However, they may lack incline and resistance levels and workout intensity.
The Niceday Elliptical Machine
The Niceday Elliptical Machine is a recommended sturdy and quiet rear drive elliptical with 16 resistance levels and a digital display. It is suitable for individuals who want a natural, smooth exercise experience with lower joint impact.
Both rear drive and front drive ellipticals have their advantages and disadvantages. Rear drive ellipticals tend to provide a smoother, flatter workout experience with less maintenance and quieter operation, but take up more floor space and can be more expensive. Front drive ellipticals tend to feel like walking uphill, have more incline possibilities, and are more compact, but may require more maintenance and can be noisier. Incline is an important factor to consider when choosing between front and rear drive ellipticals. Ultimately, the best elliptical machine for you will depend on your personal preferences, workout goals, and budget.