ProForm Carbon EL EllipticalProForm Carbon EL

Web Price: $999 | Sale Price: $799

One of the newest ellipticals in the lineup, the Carbon EL replaces the previous 520E with a new look and upgraded technology, while retaining the affordable price that makes it a great choice for the home gym.

Overall Rating From Elliptical Review Guru: 4.0 / 5.0

300 lbs
Stride Length:
68.5″L x 25″W x 67.75″H

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ProForm Carbon EL – Overview

The Carbon EL is the base model in the company’s new Carbon Series, joining the mid-level EX and top of the line E7 ellipticals. Together they form the beginner lineup, replacing the previous Endurance Series with upgraded technology and performance features. Despite it’s competitive price, the Carbon EL has just about everything you need for an effective, enjoyable workout and is definitely worth considering for your home gym.

Let’s get into our review, starting with the standout features and moving on to our test drive….

Best Features

Tons of Workout Programs

One of the highlights of all of the ProForm ellipticals these days is the iFit program, an immersive workout experience that gives you unlimited on-demand workouts with professional trainers in and out of the studio. You can choose from beginner, intermediate and advanced programs, and work out on the elliptical or off, so you can literally choose a different workout every single day.

It also has Google map integration, so you can pick any destination worldwide, and it’s as if you are actually training there. The iFit program automatically adjusts the resistance levels to match the workout. It’s very cool and keeps you motivated to reach your goals.

Incline Training Capability

We were surprised to learn that the Carbon EL has 20 degrees of power adjustable incline, something you don’t find on many ellipticals these days, even the higher priced ones. This gives you the ability to ramp up your cardio and target lower body muscles that you’re not able to without the incline. With the touch of a button you can make your workout harder or easier and challenge yourself with different elevations.

Digital Resistance Levels

The Carbon EL elliptical comes with 18 levels of SMR (silent magnetic resistance), so you can make your strides as easy or difficult as you’d like. Change from one to the other smoothly and quietly without having to stop your workout. Combining different resistance levels with different incline levels really takes your workouts to the next level.

(Note that you get 20 levels of resistance on the mid-level Carbon EX and 24 levels on the higher end Carbon E7.)

Upper Body Workout

As expected you have both stationary and moving upper body arms so you can work the whole body together or just focus on your lower legs. You get soft touch grips for comfort as well as pulse heart rate monitoring to keep yourself in the ideal zone.

Other Great Features

In addition to all of the incline and resistance levels, iFit workout options and upper body workout, you’ll find a bright 5″ high contrast display with all of the relevant workout data, 15 lb. flywheel, oversized pedals for enhanced comfort, audio port with 2″ speakers, tablet holder, water bottle and front-mounted transport wheels so you can move the Carbon EL easily around your workout area.

ProForm Carbon EL Elliptical – Test Drive

We looked forward to trying out the new Carbon Series ellipticals as we always liked the previous Endurance Series models that they replaced, and were curious to see what improvements ProForm made. The company strives to pack as much as they can into their ellipticals while keeping the price relatively competitive, which is why they have been so popular for many years.

As we mentioned the Carbon Series includes the EL, EX and E7 elliptical trainers. All three are very similar as far as features and capabilities…you just get a bit more of everything as you move up in the lineup, namely resistance levels, weight capacity, flywheel weight and display size.

The Carbon EL feels a lot like the 520E it replaced, which is definitely a good thing. It has a 19″ power adjustable stride so you can get the right fit. The pedals are large sized so they can accommodate any size user. The console is intuitive and you can easily make changes to your resistance levels and incline during your workout. It’s relatively quiet which is appreciated during the workout so you’re not distracted.

Speaking of workouts, there’s nothing quite like iFit, which requires a monthly or yearly membership and gives you tons of workout options on and off the elliptical. Some ProForm ellipticals come with a free year, others do not, so the Carbon EL may or may not include the one free year depending on whatever promotions are going on. Even if you do have to pay for it, it’s well worth it as it keeps things interesting for you.

You can tap into everything on your tablet or smart phone…there’s a nice built in tablet holder so you can rest an iPad or Android tablet right on the elliptical. Note that the upper level Carbon E7 has a 7″ Smart HD touch screen built in so you can access iFit workouts right on the machine rather than via your tablet or phone.

You’re able to choose a trainer or a class or a destination that you like, and pick the ideal workout to help you reach your fitness goals. It also keeps track of your workouts so you can monitor your progress and share your results with friends and family. You can work out in a studio setting, up on a mountain or out in the jungle with Google maps, which makes you forget that you’re inside your home. You can also do yoga or stretching or other off-machine workouts to complement your elliptical routine.

Besides the endless workouts you have plenty of resistance and incline levels to choose from if you just want to get on and work out without choosing a particular program. The motion is smooth and comfortable and transitions are relatively seamless.

Note that the Carbon EL, and the other Carbon Series ellipticals for that matter, is more of an entry level machine for light workouts. If you’re a more serious user, or if multiple people will be using the elliptical on a regular basis, you might want to consider one of the more durable Pro Series models.

But for everyone else, the Carbon Series ellipticals are great options with a lot of capability. We enjoyed our workout on the Carbon EL and look forward to testing out the mid-level EX and top end E7 models.

Carbon EL Review – Final Thoughts

Overall we like the Carbon EL as it gives you some really nice features and capabilities without the high price tag. You get unlimited iFit workouts, 18 resistance levels, 20 degrees of inline, speakers for music, tablet holder, transport wheels, quick touch buttons and lots of other comforts you don’t typically find on similarly priced ellipticals.

Take a look at the Carbon EX as well, which gives you more resistance levels, a heavier flywheel and higher weight capacity. Also look at the Carbon E7, which adds an awesome 7″ Smart HD touch screen as well as even more resistance levels and a Cool Aire workout fan that both the EL and EX are lacking.

If you’re in the market for something more serious, also consider the ProForm Pro Series ellipticals, which are more advanced than the Carbon Series and built stronger.

Either way, you can’t really go wrong with a ProForm elliptical…there’s a reason why they are so popular these days.

Get more information, specs and special sale pricing on this new elliptical trainer here