Life Fitness E3 Elliptical Review

Life Fitness have made a rather good tendency of making commercial-quality ellipticals and offering them to private homes. The E3 elliptical is one such example. Released in 2015, it is the improved version of the Life Fitness E1, and it still holds up today as a very good piece of exercise equipment.

We’re going to go over the Life Fitness E3 elliptical and see what sort of elements make up the elliptical and see if it still holds up today. These will include the monitor, resistance, handlebars and more. Then we’re going to compare it all to the pricing and warranties before giving our final verdict on the machine. So, with all of that out of the way, let’s hop right into our review of the Life Fitness E3 elliptical!

Life Fitness E3 Cross-Trainer Review:

Life Fitness E3 Trainer Specifications:

It makes sense that we start with the technical specs of the Life Fitness E3 elliptical. As with all Life Fitness ellipticals, you’ll find that this one is made extremely well and would fit in with any gym on the planet. Whereas some of the high-end ellipticals come in different colour combinations (which mostly mix gray, silver, white and black), you’ll get no such option here. It is a black and gray look for this machine and that’s the end of it.

You should note that due to the commercial build of this elliptical, it does take up quite a large footprint in the home. The specific measures of the Life Fitness E3 come out to be 82 inches (209 cm) long, 34 inches (87 cm) wide and 61 inches (155 cm) tall. It weighs a decent amount as well, although it isn’t the heaviest that you’ll find. While it weighs 225 lbs (103 kg), it can hold a maximum weight of 400 lbs (181.4 kg).

There’s very little to fault with the build of the Life Fitness E3 elliptical. The closest we can come is that the wheels on the rear aren’t that useful for moving the machine around, so you’ll generally want to keep it in place wherever you initially set it up.

Life Fitness E3 Elliptical Monitor:

Up next, we are looking at one of the elements that make Life Fitness ellipticals so valuable. Whereas many ellipticals only have one monitor (and that’s the one you are stuck with), Life Fitness ellipticals often come with a choice of monitors. The E3 elliptical is no different. You get a choice of the Go Console and the Track + Console.

The Track + Console is the more advanced option of the two, although it does bring the price up about $400. It offers a “Dual-Zone” design, with the top half being for entertainment purposes and the bottom for workout ones. The top half can hold smartphones and tablets, while the bottom offers the statistics and workout programs on the elliptical. The Track + Console also allows for Bluetooth connectivity with a variety of fitness apps, including Nike+, MyFitnessPal, Fitbit and so on. Finally, there are 16 different preset workouts already on board, with the ability to create 16 more custom ones.

On the other hand, you have the Go Console. This is a fairly straightforward console, but will certainly do the job. It offers 13 built-in workout programs, the ability to set up 2 different user profiles (vs the Track + Console’s 4 profiles) and heart rate monitoring via either a wireless chest strap (sold separately) or the grip sensors that are already on the elliptical. There’s also the ability to create 2 custom workouts.

Both of these consoles display the standard statistics that you would want to see. There is the time, distance, level of resistance, heart rate, calories and the speed (in both imperial and metric measurements). Nothing special in this regard, but it does the job.

Overall, these monitors both do a very good job at providing an beneficial experience when working out on the Life Fitness E3 elliptical. You get custom workouts, preset workouts and more, depending on which console you choose. The fact that you get such a choice is quite nice as well.

Life Fitness E3 Drivetrain and Resistance:

The resistance and drivetrain of an elliptical are elements that more casual users might ignore in favour of some of the more flashy components. However, they are just as important, if not moreso, as they are what really provides that challenge that you get from these types of machines. Fortunately, Life Fitness seems to have found a system that works quite well in this department.

You have the choice of 20 different resistance levels by default. The levels are changed by controls in the moving handlebars in order for easier adjustments throughout the workout session. While some other ellipticals have more resistance levels for tighter customization, the upper levels of this resistance will still provide a challenge for even the most experienced veterans. On the flip side, the lowest level of resistance should be easier for everyone.

Regardless of what resistance you are using the Life Fitness E3 elliptical on, the noise should not disturb anyone. This is almost entirely thanks to the “WhisperStride” technology that Life Fitness has implemented in their ellipticals. It’s a belt drive that makes all movements of the elliptical that much quieter and everything runs more smoothly.

You will find that the resistance and drivetrain of the Life Fitness E3 cross-trainer should satisfy all but the most particular elliptical enthusiasts. It’s quiet, it provides a good range of challenge and is generally what you would expect from a professional elliptical.

Handlebars, Stride Length and Pedals:

The elements that you’ll be physically interacting with the most are the handlebars, the pedals and the stride length of the elliptical. These elements are the ones that will determine whether or not your experience on the machine is enjoyable and comfortable.

There are 2 pairs of handlebars of the Life Fitness E3. As we’ve mentioned previously, the resistance controls are on the outer pair of handlebars, giving you a more fluid way of changing the resistance of the elliptical. This outer pair is also the one that moves with the pedals. You also have a stationary pair that sit right beneath the console. These handlebars give you a place to rest your hands, as well as a spot to track your heart rate if you don’t have a separate wireless chest strap.

The stride length of the Life Fitness E3 elliptical is fixed right at 20 inches (51 cm). While this isn’t necessarily surprising, it would have been nice to see some sort of adjustment in the stride length akin to that of the E5 elliptical. The 20 inches should work for the majority of people, but it still might feel out of place for some.

The pedals of the Life Fitness E3 elliptical unfortunately aren’t anything to write home about. They are oversized and non-slip, but that’s about all they’ve got going for them. You won’t find any fancy straps or adjustment features here. There’s nothing wrong with this, as the important part about pedals is that they fit the user regardless of how big their feet might be. These pedals should fulfill that duty without any sort of struggle.

If you want a highlight of this section, it would most likely be the handlebars of the Life Fitness E3 elliptical. The ability to change resistance on the fly and track your heart rate both are prime features. The pedals and stride length, on the other hand, do the job and won’t trouble most people.

Life Fitness E3 Price and Warranty:

We finally arrive at the section that makes or breaks the purchase for most people. The pricing and warranties that come with the Life Fitness E3 aren’t exactly the best, but they are far from being the worst as well. That’s partly why this elliptical is considered “mid-tier” by many.

The cost of the E3 elliptical with the Go Console sits right around $3000, while that price rises up to about $3400 with the Track + Console. These prices aren’t actually that bad. It is still a decent amount to spend for the average person, but one also has to keep in mind that they are looking at an elliptical that would not be out of place in a regular gym.

The warranties of Life Fitness have been an issue in some of our other reviews, but we’re glad to report that that isn’t necessarily the case here. There is a lifetime warranty that comes on the frame of the E3 cross-trainer, a 5 year warranty that comes on the parts, 3 years on the console and 1 year on the labour.

While the warranty on the labour could be better, there isn’t actually a whole lot to complain about here. Yes, paying up to $3400 is a lot for a piece of exercise equipment. However, doing so without good warranties would be madness. And we can at least say that these are good (although not great) warranties.

Life Fitness E3 Assembly and Shipping:

The assembly process for the Life Fitness E3 elliptical (assuming you don’t order it preassembled) is similar to most of the other machines in this series. Even for those who are not particularly skilled at such a process, the instructions should be clear enough to follow along. It might take an hour or so, but it will not be so complex and unclear that you’ll give up.

As for the shipping, we can’t be as sure about that. Life Fitness is based out of the United States, so it should generally take 1-2 weeks to arrive. Of course, this can be affected by a number of different factors, so that number could rise or fall quite significantly.

Life Fitness E3 Elliptical Pros:

Quality Monitor Choices:

The fact that you get to choose which monitor you want on the Life Fitness E3 elliptical is already a positive. The fact that both choices happen to be quality pieces of technology is an even greater advantage. Regardless of which one you pick, you’ll get a very good console that will give you plenty of choices in terms of the preset workouts, statistics tracked and design.

Good Warranties For Price:

After looking at some of the other Life Fitness ellipticals and seeing how poor the warranties can be, it is nice to see another machine in the E-series of ellipticals have a good set of warranties attached. As we’ve mentioned multiple times now, if you are going to be spending a lot on a piece of exercise equipment, you’ll want guarantees that it will work for a good amount of time.

Plenty of Workout Variety:

With the preset workouts available through the consoles, the 20 different levels of workout variety and the ability to create custom workouts for yourself, you really shouldn’t run out of things to do on this machine. The fact that those equipped with the Track Console have even more options simply adds to this.

Life Fitness E3 Elliptical Cons:

The E3 Is Large:

If you’ve got a small living space, you might want to skip over this elliptical. As with most of Life Fitness’ supply, the professional design of the E3 means that it takes up a lot of space. While it might not be as heavy as some others, it’s still not exactly maneuverable either.

Lacks Adjustable Features

The fact that you don’t get any stride length adjustments, handlebars adjustments or other elements that could add to the customization of the elliptical is unfortunate. Is it a deal breaker? Probably not. But it is an area of the elliptical that could be improved.

Our Final Verdict

The Life Fitness E3 cross-trainer is a good machine. It might cost a decent amount, but it takes that money and uses it well. You get a professional build that will offer plenty of challenges, regardless of which console you choose. The fact that the price is also backed up with good warranties also means that you can feel comfortable knowing that your machine is backed up for a good few years. The E3 might not be perfect, but it is certainly a good elliptical.

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