When selecting an elliptical, you'll want something with a comfortable stride length: 18-22". Some brands, like Progression, have ellipticals with an adjustable stride length to fit more than 1 person in your household.
Look also for an adjustable incline or ramp, as this will let you work different muscle groups. At a lower incline you will work more hamstrings and calves and a higher incline targets your quads.
When considering the arms, you'll want something with a comfortable hand position so you're not stretching out too much when you're striding. The pedals should be within 2-3 inches apart so it gives you a more natural stance. Some models have adjustable footplates - the angle is adjustable up and down and flat or angled up, for a more natural feel.
You'll also want to look at these console features when selecting an elliptical, depending on your needs:
- Heart rate interactive - the program will change the speed or inline to keep you within your target heartrate.
- User IDs - these let you store the info about the user and your workout stats, such as calories lost, how many minutes you've worked out etc.
- Some work with apps, and you can download workout stats onto your computer through Bluetooth or USB.
- Heart rate sensor or strap - people can work out too hard or not hard enough, the sensor keeps you in a specific zone if your goal is weight loss or to improve cardiovascular endurance.
- Quick keys on the console: one or 2 touch step to increase or decrease speed/incline.