In most gyms, you’ll notice that elliptical machines are very popular.
They are great cardio machines that can burn calories, improve your balance, and strengthen your muscles with an easy low impact workout.
If you are ready for a full-body workout, ellipticals are a good choice but before starting, you should know that not all ellipticals are the same.
Elliptical machines are offered with different stride lengths and if you use one that doesn’t fit your body’s needs, you may not be receiving the full benefits of your workout.
The ideal stride length differs from person to person and if you are 5’3″ or under, you’ll be interested in ellipticals that have a stride length of 16 to 18 inches.
In this article, we provide our recommended approach for purchasing the best 16-inch ellipticals when you’re looking for a new machine.
- The Best 16-inch Elliptical Machine for the Money: XTERRA Fitness FS3.0
- Best Mid-Range 16-inch Elliptical: Fitness Reality E5500XL
- Top Rated 16-inch Elliptical: ProForm 150i
Below we will take a closer look at these ellipticals and go over their specs, pros, cons, and much more.
Since there aren’t as many elliptical machines available at this stride length, these are pretty much the best options and should work well for most people who need these sizes.
- 1 How to Measure Your Stride Length for an Elliptical
- 2 The Best 16-inch Stride Elliptical Machines for a Short Person (or Short Stride)
- 3 The Best Budget-Friendly 16-inch Home Elliptical Machine for the Money: XTERRA Fitness FS3.0
- 4 The Best Mid-Range 16-inch Elliptical Machine: Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical
- 5 The Top-Rated 16-inch Elliptical Machine: Proform 150l Elliptical
How to Measure Your Stride Length for an Elliptical
Stride length is typically measured in two primary ways:
The first measurement is when you are using the elliptical. When using the machine, your stride length is the distance between your feet and the machine’s pedals at full stride. This is when the elliptical is at its full range of motion.
The next measurement is when you are off the machine. When not in use, stride length is based on the measurement of your own height and leg size.
Making sure to find an elliptical with the correct stride length is important for an overall complete workout. Having the appropriate sized machine will keep your rhythm more in sync which makes the workout more comfortable.
More importantly, having the right size is better for your health and safety.
If the strides are too short, you won’t receive the full benefits of the machine. If the strides are too long, you could actually get hurt by straining or pulling muscles which can be damaging to your body.
These guidelines can help with figuring out your ideal stride length.
- 16-18 inches: This stride length is best for individuals who are 5’3″ or under. Even if you are taller than the suggested height but have shorter legs, this can still be a good option for you. (This size is the one being reviewed below).
- 20 inches: The 20-inch stride length can accommodate many people as it is the most common size for ellipticals. It is great for people who are 5’4” all the way up to 6’5″.
- 22 inches and over: This stride length works well for people who are very tall or have a very long stride. There are machines that go up to 26″ but the 22-24″ ellipticals can usually fit the needs of individuals who are very tall.
- Adjustable: These ellipticals are great if you have many different people using one machine. Adjustable ellipticals can be made to fit many different stride lengths so it is easy and comfortable for everyone. These can also aid in helping you find your perfect setting so you can get the most out of your workout. Another idea in finding your stride is to go to your local gym and try different machines to see what you like best.
The Best 16-inch Stride Elliptical Machines for a Short Person (or Short Stride)
Here are my reviews (i.e., my favorites) of the best 16-inch stride elliptical machines.
The Best Budget-Friendly 16-inch Home Elliptical Machine for the Money: XTERRA Fitness FS3.0
Overview: This is one of the few true 16-inch stride ellipticals and is perfect for home gyms, especially apartments or small areas. It doesn’t come with a lot of extra features but it’s easy to use and great for your budget. This option is best for shorter riders and small spaces.
- Stride Length: 16″ (40.64 cm)
- Height: 63.2″ (160.53 cm)
- Width: 24″ (60.96 cm)
- Length: 54″ (137.16 cm)
Why It Is Recommended: The XTERRA is comparable to other ellipticals with a lower price tag making it a great affordable option. It also comes with features such as preset heart rate programs, a sturdy 22-pound flywheel system, and 20 adjustable resistance settings.
Overall, this machine can help people accomplish their fitness goals. With the many features mentioned above and an impressive 300-pound weight limit, the XTERRA is a top option for many users that won’t break the bank.
Drawbacks: The elliptical has many great benefits, however, there are a few issues that have been noted. Even though the machine is smaller, a frequent critique is that it can be challenging to set up. It is also said that it is difficult to smoothly transition from the forward to backward motion as the machine was designed to do.
The Best Mid-Range 16-inch Elliptical Machine: Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical
Overview: The Fitness Reality elliptical is a portable machine that can accommodate up to 270 pounds. This elliptical has a maximum stride length of 18-inches but can still be used effectively for people needing a 16-inch option. The E5500XL also offers a limited warranty which is another bonus feature. Being that this elliptical has a stride length of 18-inches, it can be adjusted for people under 5’4″ making it a good option for many individuals.
- Stride Length: 16-18″ (40.64-45.72 cm) (It should be noted on the actual specs of the machine, it states that it can accommodate 16″ riders.)
- Length: 57.5″ (146.05 cm)
- Width: 24″ (60.96 cm)
- Height: 66″ (167.64 cm)
Why It Is Recommended: The E5500XL has many great perks that make this machine stand out. Some of its features include customizable workout programs with 20+ pre-sets, accurate heart rate monitor using hand pulse sensors, drink holder and it’s fairly easy to assemble (although it potentially requires more than one person).
Drawbacks: According to others, some found inaccuracies within the calorie counter and fitness tracker. Also, as mentioned above, the assembly was pretty simple but definitely was a two-person job.
The Top-Rated 16-inch Elliptical Machine: Proform 150l Elliptical
Overview: Being one of the top names in the business, Proform’s ellipticals are usually very high quality and don’t disappoint. The stride length of this machine sits right in the middle at 17 inches making it a great choice for many people. The elliptical can hold a weight of up to 250 pounds and has an amazing warranty that covers the frame, parts, and labor.
- Stride Length: 17″ (43.18 cm)
- Length: 26″ (66.04 cm)
- Width: 18″ (45.72 cm)
- Height: 46″ (116.84 cm)
Why It Is Recommended: Even though the Proform elliptical is considered “high-end” it is only priced slightly higher than the other options. This machine comes with many great features like resistance levels for you to customize the difficulty of your workouts, an accurate EKG heart rate monitor, an LCD screen that’s built-in with compatibilities with multiple apps like iFit and it’s truly easy to assemble (which is impressive). Unlike most other elliptical machines, the Proform can be set up in a few hours, even if you do it on your own.
It also offers programs that you can customize for your specific needs to ensure you are receiving great workouts every time you use the elliptical.
Drawbacks: Some people have noted that the machine was heavier than expected weighing around 150-200 pounds. This makes it more difficult to move for one person and can affect the assembly time slightly. Although it is advertised as being compatible with apps like iFit, it is not included. So individuals would need to pay extra to use specific apps.
Some Final Considerations
Out of the three ellipticals reviewed above, our recommendation is the Fitness Reality Magnetic Elliptical. This machine meets all of our requirements since it’s appropriately sized for most people, it comes with great features, and it is very reasonably priced.
With a 16-18 inch adjustable range, most people can comfortably use the machine safely and effectively. The Fitness Reality elliptical has several positive reviews across the internet proving that it’s truly one of the best on the market.
Don’t forget, you can check all the stats and specs of this elliptical on Amazon.
Finding the right-sized elliptical for your personal stride is important for a complete workout. Making sure that you are using elliptical machines in the most efficient way possible will ensure you are getting the most out of your equipment.
Ellipticals are a great choice for anyone looking for amazing cardio workouts that are gentle on your body, so you can lead a long healthy lifestyle. These machines, like treadmills, are great for home gyms and can safely deliver a workout for anyone’s fitness needs.
Note: It is always important to check with a medical professional before starting any new workout program. To avoid injury on ellipticals or any other piece of workout equipment, make sure to always follow the rules and guidelines properly. Many machines come with user guides that can give tips and instructions on how to use the equipment properly.