When it is time to replace a part or call for service, elliptical trainer warranties can save you a lot of money, or be the beginning of a real headache.
You know already that buying a cheap elliptical in the $300 to $800 range is risky because of poor quality components used, and elliptical trainer warranties on budget machines often don’t cover more than the first 90 days of ownership.
Better machines that cost more are actually more cost effective in the end; they are very reliable and can be expected to last 10 to 15 years.
Whatever type of elliptical you can afford, you want to be fully covered for the brake system (which provides the resistance) for the life of the unit, and have a reasonable guarantee on the parts and console electronics.
When shopping for a new model, use this as a buying guideline: At a minimum, you want an elliptical trainer warranty that gives you lifetime on the frame, 2 years on the parts, and 1-year in-home labor.
These manufacturers offer the best warranties in the business:
And in the “not so good” warranties category are:
As a general rule, it is best to avoid cheap machines that are covered by only a 90-day warranty. It is very difficult to manufacture a trainer to sell for under $600 without using a ton of plastic and cheap parts.
Short elliptical trainer warranties show that the maker does not believe in the machine, so you shouldn’t either. On the other hand, a solid warranty is a good indication of the quality of the unit.
The return policy from the manufacturer should also be clear. Lemons happen. A reputable company wants satisfied customers and won’t leave you stranded with a brand new clothes hanger. Read the return policy before you start unpacking the box.
Here is a case of buyer beware: read over the extended warranty details carefully, as many of them do not cover the wear parts and electronics you suspect will fail, or the part may be shipped at no charge and you will be expected to repair your elliptical trainer yourself.
Treat extended warranties as the 100% profit margin they are: companies love to sell them because often there’s more profit in the extended warranty than in the machine itself.
If you don’t have an extended warranty, you should consider putting in a call for servicing just before the in-home labor coverage runs out. A bit of TLC by a technician can extend the life of your elliptical trainer and will give you peace of mind that it has been inspected, lubed, and recalibrated after its first year of heavy use.
Keep in mind that elliptical machines require fewer repairs than treadmills, and rear-drive elliptical trainers have fewer parts to wear out and break than front-drive ellipticals.
In fact, on many machines, maintenance on the brake and flywheel is a non-issue. If you have a better quality unit with electromagnetic brakes, also called an ECB (Eddy Current Brake) System, it will likely run for 15 years without ever needing attention.
This is why you see Precor, NordicTrack and Yowza offer lifetime brake coverage – there is little financial risk for them to do so. These elliptical trainer warranties are a win-win for the companies and for their customers.
Here are some more interesting articles for you to read:
UPDATE: New Year's Elliptical Sales are going strong!
Here is your chance to rant or rave about the elliptical you use at home or at the fitness center.