The Sole E35 Elliptical is a powerful machine with some incredible features, but is it worth its fat price tag? We’re reviewing the E35 from in-home fitness equipment manufacturer Sole to determine who should and who shouldn’t purchase this model.
Plus, you can take full advantage of our buyer’s guide below to help you find the perfect elliptical for you.
- 1 Coupons and Discounts
- 2 Why Ellipticals?
- 2.1 Why an Elliptical and Not a Bike or a Treadmill?
- 2.2 The Pros of a Stationary Bike vs. Elliptical
- 2.3 Who Should Buy an Elliptical?
- 2.4 The Buyer’s Guide
- 2.5 Warranty, Customer Service, and Brand
- 2.6 Price, Delivery, and Installation
- 2.7 Flywheel
- 2.8 Stride
- 2.9 Footprint and Weight
- 2.10 Handles
- 2.11 The Extras
- 3 Is the Sole E35 Elliptical Right for Me?
- 4 The Pros
- 5 What Do Other People Say?
- 6 How it Compares
- 7 The Cons
- 8 What We Think
Coupons and Discounts
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We’re starting with the good news first since there’s no reason to pay MSRP right now. Sole is currently running online sales, so you should be able to find the E35 for less than $$ (make sure you’re getting free shipping, too).
That said, we’re reviewing this elliptical at its full price, so if it’s a good buy at $$, it will be a terrific value at anything less than that.
Finally, keep in mind that you can expect to get 30-50% of the machine’s retail if you decide to sell it, depending on its age, the brand, and the condition.
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably already familiar with ellipticals. Something of a cross between a stair climber and the skiing machine of the 90s, ellipticals create an in-home cardio experience that’s super easy on the joints. It’s not completely impact-free, but if you’ve got joint problems, this is a great machine.
But why work out in your home and not, say, by jogging around your block? Well, for starters, if you live in anything but a happily temperate climate, you’re at the mercy of the weather. With an elliptical, you can roll out of bed and hop on, saving you time and energy.
Plus, gym memberships are so pricey these days that it won’t take long for the elliptical to pay for itself, and getting there can be such a headache. Frankly, the more obstacles you can remove between you and working out, the more likely you’ll be to reach your fitness goals.
Why an Elliptical and Not a Bike or a Treadmill?
So, you’ve decided you want a piece of exercise equipment in your home. Why an elliptical and not a stationary bike or a treadmill? This decision is a deeply personal one and should be made carefully, especially since fitness equipment is heavy and not easy to move!
Treadmills are great because most people can hop onto a machine and walk (or run), and a decent treadmill will usually include a variety of inclines and workout programs. Running and walking, however, are tough on your joints--especially if you’re already heavy and trying to lose some weight. It would be a shame to lose a bunch of weight, only to end up needing a knee replacement.
Stationary bikes, like ellipticals, are much less wear on your joints. Plus, they’re super popular right now thanks to fitness classes like Flywheel and SoulCycle; there are even memberships available so you can take classes live from home!
The Pros of a Stationary Bike vs. Elliptical
If you’re interested in replicating that “classroom” feel, a bike would be a great option, but keep in mind that you’ll pay quite a bit for this kind of bike and the classroom membership. In the end, it might make more sense to skip the in-home equipment and visit a class. Also, some people find bikes extremely uncomfortable to ride and balance on (though you can alleviate this with a recumbent bike).
Ellipticals, however, combine a soothing gliding motion that can be adjusted to light exercise or to get your heart rate pumping. They provide more interest for most people than a treadmill (don’t underestimate the importance of being interested in your exercise!), and a good one will help you work your arms, as well--something you won’t get with a bike or treadmill.
Who Should Buy an Elliptical?
Here are the people who tend to have long-term love affairs with ellipticals:
The Buyer’s Guide
Ellipticals are a tremendous cardio workout and will help you work all the major muscle groups in your body. Here’s what you need to know when choosing an elliptical:
Warranty, Customer Service, and Brand
Warranties can vary wildly from brand to brand (and dealer to dealer). Whatever you purchase should have the warranty in writing. Some last for two years and some are lifetime; some cover parts while some also cover labor.
You should also be confident that you’re getting good customer service, but don’t make the mistake of equating a well-known brand with good service. Some brands (Schwinn, for example), offer little in the way of support, and you’ll know this because online reviews are littered with complaints from people who aren’t getting their concerns addressed.
Here’s how we approach online customer reviews: if a few people share bad reviews, that might be a problem but might be outweighed by scores of good customer experiences. If, however, we start seeing a pattern in the reviews, we feel like that’s a good sign that we might experience those issues, as well.
Price, Delivery, and Installation
You’ll often find ellipticals in the mid-hundreds range (about $-$), in the thousands to the mid-thousands range (approximately $$-$$), and then in the almost-two-thousands to the mid-two-thousand range.
Ellipticals in the low price-range are typically best for light use. For example, you might want to purchase a more expensive machine, but you’re not even sure if you’ll like using an elliptical. This is an instance where purchasing a low-end machine is a great opportunity to try it out without jamming up cash flow.
We tend to like machines in the mid-range since it’s fairly easy to find solid warranties, quality construction, and good customer service in this bracket. Plus, clever shoppers can often find machines that retail for more than $$ (such as the Sole E35 elliptical) in this price range.
Make sure, when you’re purchasing your machine, that you consider the cost of delivery, and that you consider the installation. Will installation be difficult? Can you get help if you have problems?
The flywheel is the most pivotal part of the machine, and the heavier and better engineered the better as it will impact the smoothness and quietness of your ride.
The length of the stride is also extremely important. If you’re average height, most strides should fit you well. However, if you are especially tall or short, you will probably need an elliptical with an adjustable stride.
Footprint and Weight
Ellipticals are not small machines, so you need to carefully consider the lateral and vertical footprint. How much room on your floor will the elliptical take up, how difficult will it be to move, and how tall does your ceiling need to be? For example, a tall person, plus a tall elliptical, plus a low ceiling would be a bad combination!
If you don’t have a lot of space, it doesn’t mean you can’t get an elliptical; many now come in smaller sizes, and some can even be folded away.
The handles on an elliptical aren’t simply for support; well-designed handles mean you’ll get a workout in for your arms and your core, as well. Handles that are too long or difficult to reach can make balancing very difficult, however.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that extras are superfluous. In fact, the right features can make all the difference in wanting to use your elliptical! A good heart rate monitor, for example, might be located in a chest strap or on the handles and may even be connected to programs that will keep your heart rate in a specified range.
You might also enjoy things like cupholders, a charging station, and workout programs.
Is the Sole E35 Elliptical Right for Me?
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Sole is a well-known brand in the fitness equipment space and has a reputation for high-quality equipment that works like a breeze and isn’t exorbitantly priced. We’ll tell you right out of the gate that we like the Sole E35 elliptical and think it will be a great fit for a lot of people.
Who shouldn’t purchase it? Keep reading, and we’ll break it down for you!
The E35 from Sole has a 25lb. flywheel and a 20” stride--both are about average for ellipticals in this category--but we especially love the 20+ incline settings and the extremely smooth, quiet ride.
The handles are extremely well designed; we especially love the multiple grip options so that no matter your height or arm length, you’ll find a place on the handles that suits you. The other things we love? Here’s a quick list:
What Do Other People Say?
78% of the Sole E35 Elliptical’s online reviews (there are over two hundred on this particular model) are four-star and above. In fact, the average rating is 4.3 stars, which is one of the highest you can find in this market.
Customers rave about Sole’s customer service and how great the installation instructions are. Reviewers also love that the product is made in Taiwan, not China.
The biggest complaints are about how large and heavy the machine is. It doesn’t fold and has a large footprint. This is part of what makes it so enjoyable to use, but you might find yourself needing two people to move it and if you don’t have a high ceiling clearance (at least seven feet if not eight), this is not the elliptical for you.
Overall, however, many reviewers report a gym-like experience, meaning their own personal machine with all the bells and whistles you’d expect to find at a high-end gym!
How it Compares
The Sole E35 elliptical compares very favorably with mid-priced and luxury-priced ellipticals. It has most of the features you’d expect to find on a high-end machine (including Bluetooth connectivity and heart rate programs) with a price tag that (on sale) makes it competitive with mid-priced machines.
There are, however, a few downsides to this elliptical. These include:
- It’s large and heavy; if you don’t have a supportive floor and lots of room, this isn’t a good choice for you
- The stride tops out at 20”, so if you have a long stride or are especially tall, you’ll need something that adjusts further
What We Think
Other than those two cons, the Sole is one terrific machine at an exceptional sale price. If you’re sold on an elliptical, we feel that you’ll appreciate the smooth, quiet ride of this machine, as well as all its extra, well thought out features. Our verdict? The Sole E35 is a great buy for most people.