Precor EFX 221 EllipticalPrecor EFX 221

Web Price: $2,199 | Sale Price: $2,199

Precor’s entry level elliptical offers a solid workout with smooth, quiet motion and variable motion.

Overall Rating From Elliptical Review Guru: 3.5 / 5.0

Stride Length:
3 Stride Lengths
75″ L x 29″ W x 65″ H

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Overview: The EFX 221 elliptical is the base model of Precor’s long-running elliptical line. Precor is a well established brand with a long, successful history in the personal fitness arena. Despite being the base model of the new Energy Series, the EFX 221 has an impressive list of features that are sure to satisfy even the most discerning fitness buff. Currently priced at a little over $2,000, the EFX 221 is a great way to bring the gym home with you and take control of your health.

Here are some of the highlights of our Precor EFX 221 review…

Heart Rate Monitoring

When combined with a Polar 5 KHz heart monitor strap, instant heart rate readings will help keep your workout on track. The SmartRate feature ensures that you stay in your targeted cardio or fat burning zone longer. Heart rate monitoring is a pretty common feature on modern ellipticals, but the addition of the SmartRate feature really helps make each workout more efficient.

Workout Accelerators

Built-in workouts make each workout new and exciting. Whether you’re looking to increase your maximum heart rate or burn massive calories, you’ll be able to find a built in workout that works. Preset workouts are becoming commonplace, but Precor’s Workout Accelerators ensure that each hill climb feels fresh and challenging. The machine suggests new ways to smartly push the intensity of your workouts, meaning you never get bored.


All EFX models come with Precor’s patented CrossRamp technology. The underlying Variable Stride Geometry allows you to adjust your foot’s travel distance or the shape of the elliptical path. These settings combine to give you a great way to target specific lower body muscle groups. This means that you can customize each session beyond the built-in programs and get a balanced, total lower-body workout. Note that CrossRamp is adjusted manually on the EFX 221 and 222, so you’ll have to bump up to the EFX 225 for motorized adjustability.

Multiple User Capability

The Precor EFX 221 elliptical allows for up to two customized users per machine. This will come in handy for households with more than one user. Your user ID will store information specific to you such as your age, height, and weight in order to give you more accurate heart rate and calorie burn readings. In addition, you can retrieve the data for the most recent workout and use it as your default option.

Precor EFX 221 Test Drive

The CrossRamp technology is definitely the 221’s selling point. The option to adjust stride length gives you a ton of flexibility when it comes to customizing your workout. Varying your workout is key to to improving your cardio and muscular health year after year and this is a concept that Precor has really taken to heart. By allowing for the adjustment of the actual path your foot follows, CrossRamp really lets you turn your elliptical into a full, lower-body workout without having to trudge to the gym every day. It also ensures that you can adjust the EFX 221 to your specific stride, cutting down on the possibility of sustained soreness and injury.

The EFX 221 is a well-built machine, as are all of their commercial units you’ll find in most gyms. The screen is bright and comfortably laid out and the buttons feel solid. The simple assembly leaves you with a machine that never rattles or rocks back and forth. The pedals glide through the elliptical path with very little noise, making the EFX 221 a solid choice for apartment living. None of the plastic pieces felt brittle or cheap. A longer trial period is needed to see how the EFX 221 holds up over extended use, but the initial impression inspires confidence. A lifetime warranty on the frame and weldments and five year warranty on the parts and wear items ensure that you’ll be using the EFX 221 for a long time to come.

Precor EFX 221 elliptical screenThe touch screen offers several useful workout metrics such as time elapsed, distance covered, speed, calories burned per minute, and heart rate, and your SmartRate zone.

A feature you’ll enjoy is the ability to save data for two separate users. The EFX 221 will save your biometric data so that you can effectively step up on to the machine and be off and running within a matter of seconds. Your user ID will also store your preferred settings for resistance, distance, and time so that you can make your workouts as efficient as possible.

One downside of the EFX 221 is that it is purely a lower body machine. The handholds are rigid, meaning that if you’d like to mimic a truer running form, you’ll have to let go of the handholds which can be a safety issue. If you want moving handlebars take a look at the up-level EFX 222 model, which is identical otherwise. In addition, you won’t be able to track your heart rate unless you are holding the sensor pads on the handholds or you have a compatible Polar chest strap. However, this might not be a problem for those looking to focus specifically on improving lower body strength and form, where the 221 shines.

Another shortfall of the EFX 221 is a surprising lack of built in workouts. The machine comes with 10 presets, which I found to be a little lacking. Some other similarly priced machines, like the Horizon Fitness Elite E9, which retails for $1,899, come with a whopping 44 workout programs. However, Precor’s Workout Accelerators really help make up for this shortcoming. Though you only have a few workouts to choose from, the Workout Accelerators really helped keep each one fresh and exciting. If you want more workouts, take a look at the EFX 245, which offers 25 presets and 16 personalized workouts, as well as Preva workout tracking which is a great feature.

Precor EFX 221 – Final Thoughts

The EFX 221 is priced a little high for an entry-level elliptical. The rigid handholds and relatively few number of preset workouts stood out. However, it’s hard to argue with the build quality of Precor’s entry level offering. The adjustability of CrossRamp combined with the Workout Accelerators meant that every one of my workouts on the 221 was enjoyable. I never felt like I was lacking for any options in my workout. There are similarly priced ellipticals that offer more workout presets and more nuanced adjustability, but the EFX 221 is still a great choice for anyone who wants to bring their workout home with them. There’s a reason that Precor has been a gym mainstay for so many years…they make great equipment.

If you’re interested in the new Precor EFX 221 elliptical you can check it out and compare it to the other models on the official manufacturer site.