Why Matrix Ellipticals Might Be the Best High End Choice

We’ve had a lot of inquiries lately about Matrix ellipticals, as they recently burst onto the scene after dominating the commercial market for many years. Particularly, visitors have asked us “How does a Matrix elliptical compare to Life Fitness and Precor?” Those are the two brands that have been at the forefront of the higher end home elliptical market, so it only makes sense that people would ask how the Matrix ellipticals stack up.

Let’s take a look at the three brands and see how they compare to each other. Hopefully this will help you decide which one makes the most sense for your home gym…

Matrix vs. Life Fitness vs. Precor Ellipticals – Who Wins?

matrix A50 elliptical

Let’s start out with the newest player, Matrix Fitness, to see what they have to offer. We have full reviews of the brand and the models here, but just to give you an overview you there are four models in all, including two compact ellipticals and two ascent trainers.

These are very similar to their commercial counterparts, but they are built for home use so they are much more affordable.

The first thing you notice about these machines is that they are very sleek and modern looking, compared to some of the ellipticals from Life Fitness and Precor that have been around for quite a while. They are also front drive, as opposed to the typical rear drive design of Life Fitness and Precor ellipticals. something else that makes them unique.

The two compact Matrix models: the E30 and E50, are much more space friendly than other commercial ellipticals, so they can more easily fit into smaller home gym environments. The two Ascent Trainers, the A30 and A50, take up more room, but they also ramp up the stride and give you incredible incline capability.

All four of the machines are commercial grade, sturdy, able to withstand a lot of use and also fun to use. You have three different console options, something that Life Fitness offers only on their expensive Platinum Club Series, and Precor does not offer, and you can customize any machine that you choose.

You also have unique workout programs such as Sprint 8, a patented interval training program that really ramps up the cardio and also ViaFit workout tracking on all four Matrix ellipticals. Note that you can’t track your workouts on many of the Life Fitness and Precor ellipticals.

So Matrix ellipticals give you something different, with a small selection of feature-packed machines with the latest technological advances. Prices range from $2,199 all the way up to $3,199 with the base console.

Now let’s take a closer look at Life Fitness for comparison…

Matrix vs. Life Fitness Ellipticals

Life Fitness X3 Elliptical

Life Fitness offers a much more extensive elliptical collection than Matrix, which can be good or bad depending on whether or not you like more choices. Most of their eleven machines are rear drive, as we mentioned, but they recently added two side drive machines that are more compact: the FS4 and FS6.

You have the more affordable X Series, the E Series with one additional console option, the FS series and the high end Club Series. A touch screen is offered on the new Club +, FS4, FS6 and Platinum.

All of the Life Fitness ellipticals are commercial grade just like Matrix, but again rear and side drive as opposed to front drive. The newer models do offer similar advanced technology to Matrix. Prices range from $1,999 all the way up to $8,999.

Now let’s take a look at Precor to see how they compare to Matrix and Life Fitness.

Matrix vs. Precor Ellipticals

Precor EFX 447 Elliptical

Precor ellipticals are a lot like Life Fitness’, as the two brands have been competing head to head for quite some time. However, Precor only offers rear drive ellipticals currently. They have not ventured into front or side drive design, nor introduced any space friendly machines as both Matrix and Life Fitness have.

Precor currently has the most ellipticals, at a whopping 14 last time we checked. All are well built and commercial grade, like the others, with ergonomic design and patented technologies offering a smooth, natural motion. Touch screens are only offered on the higher end models.

The Precor ellipticals range in price from $1,999 all the way up to $9,700.

Now that you have a basic idea of what each company offers, here is a comparison table so you can see the advantages and disadvantages of each brand….

Life Fitness
Current Models
Drive Location
Rear, Side
Console Options
Three on All
Built in Workouts
Up to 14
Up to 16
Up to 25
Heart Rate Monitoring
Incline Capability
Up to 54% on Ascent
Up to 40% on Some Models
Stride Length
Up to 24"on Some Models
Up to 24"on Some Models
Up to 24"on Some Models
Max Weight
350 lbs.
400 lbs.
350 lbs.
Parts/Labor Warranty
5-7 years parts/2 years labor
5 year parts/1 years labor
5-10 years parts/1 years labor

So as you can see from the above table, there are benefits and drawbacks to each high end brand. Matrix offers a much more focused lineup, with better customization options, more incline capability on their Ascent Trainers and a better overall warranty than both Life Fitness and Precor.

Life Fitness gives you rear and side drive choices and the highest max weight capacities. Precor gives you the most models to choose from, the most workout programs and the longest parts warranty on some of their ellipticals.

Let’s delve a little deeper and look at what you get on the entry level elliptical from Matrix, Life Fitness and Precor. This might give you a clearer picture of which direction you’d like to go in.

How Do All Three Entry Level Ellipticals Compare?

Now that you see how the three companies stack up, let’s take a look at the base model from each company to see how they compare to each other. This will give you a good idea of what exactly you are getting for your money, as we can compare them feature by feature.

Matrix Fitness has the E30, Life Fitness has the X1 and Precor has the EFX 221 elliptical…

Matrix E30
Life Fitness X1
Precor EFX 221
Stride Length
Resistance Levels
58" L x 29" W x 68" H
81" L x 30" W x 59" H
75" L x 29" W x 65" H
Machine Weight
284 lbs.
215 lbs.
193 lbs.
Three Options
Blue LCD
Blue/White LCD
Built in Workouts
Up to 14
Incline Capability
Up to 25 degrees
Workout Tracking
Max Weight
325 lbs.
350 lbs.
275 lbs.
Parts/Labor Warranty
5 years parts/2 years labor
3 year parts/1 years labor
5 years parts/1 years labor
Step Up Height
Passport HD videos, accessory tray, resistance toggles, water bottle holder
Wireless chest strap included, cup holder, accessory tray
Tablet holder, device volume control

Here you can see that Matrix just might be the best choice of them all. For starters, although it’s considerably heavier, The Matrix E30 is much more compact than the other two at just 58″ long. That’s 17″ shorter than the Precor EFX 221 and 23″ shorter than the Life Fitness X1. That’s a big difference, especially for a home gym.

The E30 also comes with console options to customize your elliptical, although you do have to pay more for the advanced touch screen options. You get more workouts, tracking capability that the others are lacking and as we mentioned above, the strongest warranty with an unheard of 2 year labor warranty.

The Life Fitness X1 does come out on top as far as max user weight capacity and the fact that a wireless chest strap is included for free. The Precor EFX 221 is the only machine with incline capability, and it’s also lighter than the other two machines which will help with portability.

So Which High End Elliptical Machine Should You Choose?

All three brands are well regarded, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. We really like the new Matrix lineup here at Run Reviews because they are packed with the features people are looking for: compact design, customization, console options, touch screens, tracking capability and HD workout video applications.

Life Fitness has stepped up to the Matrix challenge with their own compact series, and added touch screen technology to the newest models in their lineup. So it looks like they are willing to get in the ring and fight it out.

Precor hasn’t made this leap, but they do have some newer, more streamlined ellipticals with touch screens. But for now it looks like they are sticking with the rear design that they patented…and why not?

Although we think Matrix has the others beat in various categories, you might just like one of the ellipticals from Life Fitness or Precor better for one reason or another. It might be the higher weight capacity that you need or perhaps you want incline capability that a similarly priced model doesn’t offer.

Whatever the case may me, figure out what your budget is and what exactly you are looking for…then see what each of these three heavyweights has to offer.