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 Sole E35

Brand Summary
Best Elliptical Machines
Top Elliptical Trainers for 2012
Reports directly from our consumers to you! 
NEW! The Best Elliptical Machines Under $1000 for 2013

Our ChoiceSole E35  Best Value
Close second

Sole E35 Elliptical Before $1999.99 Now $1299.99 - "Best Buy" for quality and value. (Free Shipping no Sales Tax!)

Sole E95 Elliptical (New 2013 Model)       Save $700 on the Sole E25 Elliptical plus FREE Shipping

December 18, 2012 Update: We purchased the Sole E35 on January 9, 2012 with free delivery.  It came in a few days. We had the delivery guys bring it around the back and put it in our exercise room through a sliding door.  Other places charge extra for inside delivery but the guys were very pleased with a $20 (two $10 bills) tip and thanked us over and over. We allowed several hours for assembly while watching sports on TV so we would not be rushed.  It went together without a hitch but we are handy with tools. After eleven months of use about 20 times a month, we could not be happier with our choice. 
    The biggest surprise is how QUIET it is
.  We could barely hear our TV at full volume with our old treadmill while this is nearly silent while in use. You can workout while people sleep in other rooms and not have the machine wake them up.  We also recommend a Pedestal Fan & an Equipment Mat.  The only maintenance we do is dusting and towel cleaning of sweat. Occasionally we wipe it down with Lysol wipes to keep it fresh. 
     If the E35 is unavailable, then we would consider the new for 2013 Sole E25 and Sole E95.

January 8, 2012: We are in the process of reviewing elliptical trainers for our own purchase to replace an aging treadmill. If we were to buy today, we would buy the Sole E35 (List $1,999 now on sale for $1299!!)   If you have any models you want us to review not on the list below, then send your request to us at: EllipticalTrainerReviews@ForBestAdvice(remove).com

We started our search with the February 2011 issue of Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports (CR) rated 31 different elliptical training machines.  CR's top three recommended elliptical trainers were #1 Diamondback 1260Ef at $2,200 , #2
Sole E35 at $1299  and #3 Precor EFX 5.31 at $3,600 with their #8 Nautilus E514 rated at "CR Best Buy" at only $750.  If you are on a budget, then their lowest recommended elliptical was the $600 Schwinn 420 at #17 with a "CR Best Buy."      Our hope was to spend under $1,000 but to get the features we wanted, heart rate monitoring, heavy fly wheel for smoothest operation and variable incline to exercise different muscles, but after some research and testing, it seems wise for us to spend more to get the Sole E35. 
Next we checked several other online sites to see what they recommend, paying particular attention to what they said about the units we were interested in.  A few sites and customer reviews said the Sole E55 and Sole E95 were nice units with added features, but you really didn't need to spend the extra money to get any extra quality.

New 2013 Model

That is the features are worth the extra money if they are what you are looking for but we will be happy enough with the E35.  CostCo has the Xterra brand made by Dyaco which makes Sole.  The models look similar but with slightly different flywheel weights and features at the price points.  We would consider these if we could test them in a store to see if they fit our stride and CR tested one of the higher models.  CR ranked the $600 Schwinn 420 higher than the $900 Xterra FS220e in Feb. 2011. 

Some sites, like the "Treadmill Doctor" accused others of making recommendations for brands that give them large commissions to sell directly.  They seem to only sell their "Treadmill Doctor Elliptical Installation and Assembly" as we couldn't find direct links to buy the treadmills they recommend other than links to Amazon.com similar to ours where you can buy anything Amazon offers.  In the $1,000 to $1299 category, the Treadmill Doctor rated the Sole E35 as a "Best Buy runner up" behind Livestrong LS13.0E "by virtue of customer praise."  In the $1300 to $1400 category, they gave the Sole E55 (not available in 2013) their best buy award. 

Next we visited several stores including SEARS and Sports Authority to try the machines and get a feel of "getting what you pay for." We are used to working out with top notch Precor machines at our health club so anything feeling cheap probably would not be used as much as the 10-year old, worn out treadmill this is replacing.  We want something strong that we will use often and last.  We liked all the units recommended by CR but found you certainly get what you pay for.  For someone weighing 220 pounds, If you want a stable machine similar to what you get at a health club, the Sole E35 seems to be a minimum.  The Sole E55 and E95 offered some nice features but the slightly heavier fly wheels didn't seem to add much to an already very good Sole E35 feel.   The E35 stride length was great for us at 20" but if you need something different, then we'd get the E95.

So, now we are down to the Sole E95 and  LiveStrong LS13.0E.  Amazon offered an extra special $100 off for Sole's while LiveStrong was offering a free exercise mat and an added year to the warranty.  The LS13.0 has a bit heavier flywheel and some features to use on the LiveStrong web site while the Sole machines are widely available so finding parts, if needed in years down the road, shouldn't be an issue.  We're still leaning towards buying the E95 but have not made the decision yet.   Also, we checked Consumerreports.org to see updated reviews and the Livestrong LS13.0E didn't get a "best buy" or "recommended" rating with a score of 62 compared to the Smooth CE3.6 score of 72.  (For reference,  The Sole E35 scored 78 in the Feb. 2011 issue.)
What is nice about Amazon.com (note 1) is FREE delivery.  Some of these weigh well over 200 lbs so this saves money and your back!  Some places will deliver to the curb for free, charge $50 to put it inside your house and up to $200 to bring it up stairs.  Make sure you get this figured out BEFORE you order!
  If you have stairs to climb, consider "Treadmill Doctor Elliptical Installation and Assembly" for $199.  It sounds like they will haul it up the stairs and assemble it for you for the same price some places charge to carry the box of parts up the stairs without assembly.

Best Elliptical Trainer for 2012 by category:

Category:  Money is No Object
From the inventors
  • Precor EFX 5.37 Premium $5,799
    All the latest bells & whistles with top quality and warranty.
  • Precor EFX 5.33 Premium $4,795
    *Professional-quality elliptical trainer with variable stride length and adjustable ramp
  • Both offer: *Manufacturer's Warranty: Frame and welds - lifetime, parts and wear items - ten years, labor - one year. 
Category: Best Value
  • Smooth Fitness CE-3.6  - $2,097
  • Sole E25 - $2,000, well built (3yrs parts), 20" stride
  • Sole E35  - $2,300 (now only $1299!) Adds power incline & heart rate telemetry plus 5yr warranty on parts & electronics.  So far, this is what we'll probably buy.
  • Sole E95 All the bells and whistles at a good price.

Best for $1,500 to $2,000 budget
  • Smooth Fitness CE-7.4 Elliptical Trainer
    ellipticaltrainers.com writes: "The CE 7.4 by Smooth Fitness is one of the best ellipticals we've ever used. It's extremely well built, carries an unbelievable warranty, is smooth, quiet, and has a great, natural motion. The CE 7.4 is an elliptical you simply can't go wrong with. This unit used to be well over $2000, and was STILL a great buy at that price. Now, at around $1600, it's a steal!
  • Sole E95 All the bells and whistles at a good price.
  • XTERRA® FS5.5e, FS5.25e, & FS5.7e,
  • Epic® EL 1710 Elliptical
  • Reebok

Best Under $1,000:
  • AFG 3.1AE ,NordicTrack E5.5,E5.7; NordicTrack AudioStrider 990 Pro, A.C.T, Pro-Form 395E
  • Sole E35, Sole E55, Sole E95

Sports Authority

  • Healthrider H50E ($650) & Pro-form 10.0 OCE ($550)

Brands:                                                                         TOP OF PAGE
Icon Health and Fitness:  The original NordicTrack went bankrupt some years ago and Icon bought the name.  You can find NordicTrack at Sears. Icon also builds Epic (sold at Costco to make it appear they are not heavily discounting the Reebok brand) ProForm (Sold at Sears and Sports Authority), Reebok (sold at Costco) and Schwinn elliptical trainers.  Icon products are also found at Wal-Mart and Dicks Sporting Goods.   Most elliptical review sites say they create "innovative products with numerous bells and whistles" but their shortfalls (in both elliptical trainers and treadmills) are quality components.  Buying an extended warranty is a good idea if you plan on heavy use.  The better brands offer 3 to 10 years on parts.  Our top rated Precor EFX 5.33 offers lifetime on frame and welds with 10 years on "parts and wear items" with one year on labor.   If you look closely, some of the Schwinn models (Schwinn 431 and Schwinn 460) only offer 90 days parts for wear on parts.  Your shoes might last longer running on pavement! 

Precor was established in 1980.  It is the most expensive brand but we feel you get what you pay for.  "Precor has distinguished itself as a worldwide industry leader, providing state-of-the-art fitness equipment to health clubs, hotels, spas, fitness centers, and private homes all over the world. The company is proud of their hard-won reputation for producing fitness equipment that's easy for people of all abilities to use and durable enough to withstand years of use. The same experience and commitment to quality that goes into all of their commercial equipment also goes into the creation and manufacture of our home models."

Sole, Xterra and Esprit/Spirit
are all made in China by the same parent company--Dyaco in headquartered in Taiwan with a US office in Jonesboro AR. Sole is mainly sold online and at Sears and Dicks Sporting Goods. Xterra has a different dealer network including some of the warehouse stores like Costco. Esprit and Xterra both have models similar to the Sole E35.

Sole E35 Elliptical Before $1999.99 Now $1299.99 - "Best Buy" for quality and value. (Free Shipping no Sales Tax!)

Note 1: If you find our reviews helpful and decide to buy from Amazon.com, then please use our product links so we get a commission.
Note 2:  We were so impressed with our Sole E35 after almost a year of daily use that we applied to be an affiliate to sell direct with a higher commission that Amazon.com pays us so please use our links if you find our advice helpful.

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