The EFX 221 is the "entry-level" model in Precor's Energy Series, featuring all of the technology found in their commercial-grade machines in a residential elliptical. Although not cheap, it's well worth the price for the quality and capabilities it offers.
The EFX 221 features a blue and white LCD display with an acrylic overlay, offering relevant workout feedback such as target heart rate, calories, time, distance, strides per minute, resistance level and percent completion. You also get a generous amount of workouts to choose from.
Let's take a closer look at the important specs...
The CrossRamp technology is undoubtedly the most impressive feature of the Precor EFX 221. A look at user reviews shows that people love the combination of adjustable stride length and incline level.
The patented CrossRamp feature allows you to choose from three different stride lengths for a natural, comfortable movement. It also allows you to adjust the ramp angle to target different muscle groups like calves, hamstrings, quads, and glutes.
The machine has 10 preset workout programs, each of which is designed for a specific fitness goal. You get interval training, weight loss, basic heart rate and manual as well as five workout accelerator programs which are designed to increase the intensity of your workouts and help you burn more calories than you normally do.
The SmartRate technology on the EFX 221 allows you to keep track of your heart rate while you work out. Once you input your age and weight, the machine tells you if you are in fat burn, cardio, or peak heart rate zone. This keeps you in the appropriate zone to get the best results. The machine is also compatible with a wireless chest strap, which you have to buy separately. (Note the chest strap is included for free on the uplevel Precision models)
The console displays the workout data in white and light blue colors against a black backdrop, so you can see the stats clearly even in low-light conditions.
It has tap style dome keys to adjust ramp angle and resistance instantly. There are 16 resistance levels and the magnetic resistance system makes sure the shift from one level to another is super silent. You can also connect your tablet, smartphone, or MP3 player to the console and access your files, listen to music, or watch your favorite videos and movies.
The only downside, as pointed out by both expert reviews and those of users, is that the EFX 221 is a lower body machine. The handlebars are fixed, so you cannot work the upper body muscles during your workouts. You'll need to bump up to the EFX 222 if you want moving handlebars.
It is, however, to be expected as it is the base model and also the lowest priced machine in the series. All the other machines in the Energy Series have movable handles for a total body workout.
Users have been happy with the EFX 221 elliptical machine as it gives them a gym quality trainer for a relatively affordable price.
The EFX 221 impresses with its sturdy build and nice suite of features. It is very easy to assemble and use and is backed by an excellent warranty. Precor is known for making high-quality, low-maintenance machines, so you can be sure that the 221 will last you a lifetime and offer great value for your money.
The lack of movable handles for upper body workouts could be a concern for some of you, in which case you can take a look at the next model – the EFX 222 – which comes with movable handlebars for a slightly higher price tag. Otherwise, the EFX 221 is one of the best elliptical machines in its class.
UPDATE: New Year's Elliptical Sales are still on!
Here is your chance to rant or rave about the elliptical you use at home or at the fitness center.