Life Fitness Active Series Elliptical Review

Life Fitness is one of those brands that are instantly recognizable thanks to their widespread use in gyms all over the place. However, since the COVID pandemic has shut down or limited access to many of those gyms, it means that such machines have become less common. Fortunately, there are models that you can search out for at-home use that will act just as well. But which model should you choose?

Today we’re going to be looking at the Life Fitness Activate Series Elliptical. This is one of the more mid-tier ellipticals that Life Fitness offer, but that doesn’t mean the quality (or price) have dropped that much. What we’re going to do is look through the individual elements that make up this elliptical and see if it is worth that price. Whether that’s the monitor, resistance or actual build of Activate Series, we’ll look at it all. Then we’ll finish with our final verdict on whether or not we think that this elliptical is worth the cost. So, with all of that out of the way, let’s hop right into our review of the Life Fitness Activate Series Elliptical!

Life Fitness Activate Elliptical Machine Review:

Active Cross Trainer Specifications:

It only makes sense that we start with the technical information of the Life Fitness Activate Series cross-trainer. After all, this tells everyone how large the footprint of the elliptical is, how much it weighs and the amount of weight that it can carry. As for how much space it takes up, the Activate Series measures out to be 83.5 inches (212 cm) long, 28 inches (71 cm) wide and 60.2 inches (153 cm) tall. It’s a pretty sizable elliptical, so you’ll have to keep that in mind when planning out where it will go. There are a small pair of wheels on the rear of the elliptical, but this doesn’t help with mobility that much. What also doesn’t help that much is the 240 lbs (109 kg) that the Activate elliptical weighs. While this might not be as much as some of the other ellipticals that Life Fitness offers, it still is a decent amount. It can also hold 400 lbs (181.4 kg), which is a good amount.

Whereas other Life Fitness series ellipticals have different colour options, the Activate Series does not. You get the plain black and silver look, which isn’t a bad one. It just would be nice if there were some other choice that you could pick from. Then again, the other options for these Life Fitness machines often boil down to silver, black or gray, so we probably shouldn’t expect too much. Regardless, you won’t find too much to complain about with the technical aspects of this machine. They do the job and feel commercial and professional.

Life Fitness Activate Series Elliptical Monitor:

Up next, we’re going to look at the monitor that comes with the Activate Series cross-trainer. Unlike other Life Fitness ellipticals, you won’t find the most advanced technology here in the console. It still does a good job, but it most certainly doesn’t stand up to some of the others available. You also don’t appear to have the same sort of options between difference consoles that you have with some of the other Life Fitness ellipticals. The console is self-powered, so you don’t have to worry about any sort of batteries or anything.

You do still get some benefits from this monitor. There are different preset workouts available like Hills, Cardio, Fat Burn, Random and a Fitness Test. Of course, there’s also a manual mode that allows you to set whatever settings you want. As for the statistics that this monitor shows, you get a fairly straightforward choice of distance, time, speed and resistance level.

Finally, as a last little bonus feature, there is a “Cool Down” button available to get a nice ending to your workouts. As you can find in the Activate series elliptical description, this console “isn’t designed to be complex”. This is about as accurate a summation as we could come up with. It is simple, but does the job well enough.

Life Fitness Activate Drivetrain and Resistance:

The Life Fitness Activate Series resistance system is not entirely clarified. There is some information, but we don’t exactly have the sorts of information that we could go on about for days. So we’ll keep it nice and simple. There are 25 different resistance levels available for anyone who hops onboard the Activate elliptical. The upper levels of these resistance levels certainly will provide a good challenge for anyone, while the lower ones offer a nice break in between rounds. All of these resistance levels are selected and controlled from the Activate console, so there are no manual controls here.

The resistance system itself is described as a “belt/alternator”. Clearly the drivetrain is a belt, which is a positive. That means that the elliptical makes significantly less noise and will require less maintenance over time. Otherwise, there isn’t that much to specify about the resistance.

Even veterans of the elliptical game will find a good amount of challenge in the Activate elliptical. It might not have all the customization or specific elements that those same veterans would want, but it will at least provide a decent challenge for them on the higher levels.

Handlebars, Stride Length and Pedals:

Now we get to the elements that you’ll be physically interacting with the most. The handlebars, pedals and stride length are all parts of the experience that you’ll need to be the most comfortable on elliptical.

The handlebars are fairly straightforward. You’ve got one pair on the outside that will move with the pedals and a pair that are stationary on the inside of them. While some of the other handlebars on other machines might have fancy features like resistance control, there are no such features on here. The closest you get are some heart rate monitors on the stationary pair. They are just grips that you can hold onto and get some upper-body fitness in alongside that lower body workout.

The stride length of the Activate Series elliptical measures out to be 18 inches (46 cm). This is a fine enough length, although the fact that it isn’t adjustable is somewhat irritating. Having such an inflexible stride length means that some people might feel uncomfortable, regardless of how comfortable the pedals themselves actually are. The ramp angle is also not adjustable (nor is the information actually available).

The pedal dimensions are not actually listed, annoyingly enough. They are simply described as “Oversized non-slip Pedals”. This is rather irritating, as it would be nice to know the actual dimensions in order to tell you how big they actually are. Despite this lack of information, it doesn’t seem to be that big of an issue based on user reviews, which is a bit of good news.

There aren’t too many elements to complain about here. Yes, the handles and pedals aren’t complex. Yes, it’s annoying that the stride length is fixed and the pedal dimensions aren’t listed. However, most people should find that these elements do the job required of them, which is what truly matters at the end of the day.

Life Fitness Activate Price and Warranty:

We finally arrive at the point that most are looking for. The pricing and warranties that come with the Life Fitness Activate Series can make the difference between a definite recommend or a skip. The pricing doesn’t seem to be all that consistent, but it generally ranges in between $3,600 and $4,500. This is not all that great of a deal, as you can buy other ellipticals (even from Life Fitness) that offer more for a similar price.

The warranties that come with the Life Fitness Activate Series elliptical share the same issues that many of these Life Fitness ellipticals do. There is only a 2 year limited warranty on the mechanical components and a 2 year limited warranty on the electrical components. Finally, you get a 1 year warranty on the labour. That’s it.

The pricing and warranties make the Activate Series a lot less of an appealing machine. It generally seems to be more expensive than it should be, yet doesn’t make up for that in terms of the guarantees that it comes with.

Active Elliptical Assembly and Shipping:

The assembly of the Life Fitness Activate Series is not a terribly complex process. At least, thanks to the manual that comes with the elliptical. Even those who are not particularly handy with tools should find that this machine is relatively simple to build (so long as those instructions are followed). Of course, this is for those who purchase it with non-installed options.

The Activate Series elliptical comes in a package that measures out to be 76 inches (195 cm) long, 27 inches (69 cm) wide and 46 inches (117 cm) tall. It generally takes about 1-2 weeks to arrive, depending on your location. Life Fitness is based out of the United States and ships from there, so take that into account. Then there are other events that might slow shipping, like global pandemics or human error at the office.

Life Fitness Activate Series Elliptical Pros:

Self-Powered Monitor with Workouts:

The monitor, while not the most advanced, certainly will do a decent job for the vast majority of users. You don’t need any batteries or plugs, and it will show you the basic stats to track along with the workout sessions. It’s clear, it’s simple and it will provide the basic feedback that many would need.

Professional Build:

You’ll find that the Activate Series would not feel out of place in a regular, commercial gym. This is a definite pro, as it’ll make you feel like you are truly getting some progress made from your home. Of course, because of this professional build, it does take up a good amount of space (more on that in a second).

Solid Resistance Options:

The resistance of the Life Fitness Activate Series elliptical should allow most to challenge themselves. With the 25 different levels of resistance, many people should be able to find their preferred workouts in a reasonable amount of time. The resistance also feels smooth and makes a relatively small amount of noise thanks to the belt drivetrain.

Life Fitness Activate Series Elliptical Cons:

This Machine Is Large:

As we mentioned, this is a big machine. Since it wouldn’t look out of place in a gym, it takes up the same amount of space that a gym might have. You’ll want to make sure that your home has the amount of space for it.

Questionable Value:

The fact that the Life Fitness Activate Series has a similar cost to other ellipticals in their own brand, yet with less features, is kind of crazy. If it were half the price, that might be more tempting, but no. It would still cost you around $4,000. The fact that it maintains the poor warranties from Life Fitness’ larger trend certainly doesn’t help.

Few Customizable Options:

Whether it is the colour, monitor or stride length, it would be nice to see some sort of customization on this elliptical. Instead you get none of these options. Even just the monitor would have been nice, for those who want a more advanced experience with the elliptical tech. But no. There’s none of that here.

Our Final Verdict

It’s pretty hard to recommend the Life Fitness Activate Series Cross-Trainer at the current price. If it dropped by half, it looks a heck of a lot more appealing. But considering that there are other options that offer better deals from Life Fitness themselves, it just doesn’t seem to make sense for the Activate to be top of your list. There are certainly good elements to be found here, but they are overshadowed by the pricing and warranties that come with the machine.

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