XTERRA Fitness FS3.5 EllipticalXTERRA FS3.5 Elliptical

Web Price: $699 | Sale Price: $499

One of the most popular ellipticals in XTERRA’s lineup, this is a great entry level choice with lots of unique features and capabilities.

Overall Rating From Elliptical Review Guru: 4.0 / 5.0

300 lbs.
Stride Length:
57″L x 20.5W x 63″H

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XTERRA FS3.5 Elliptical – Overview

The XTERRA FS3.5 is a budget friendly model at just under $500, yet it has features and capabilities not typically found at this price level. As such, it is one of the best selling machines in the lineup, and a great compact choice for the home gym.

Let’s take a look at some of the best features and then dive into our expert review…

Best Features

Dual Color LCD Console

The FS3.5 comes with a bright, easily readable 5” x 2.5” blue and yellow backlit LCD console, a much nicer display than most similarly priced ellipticals come with. It makes it easy to track all of your important information, including time, speed, distance, calories, target heart rate, pulse and resistance level at a glance and also has an integrated audio jack and speakers so you can work out to your favorite tunes.

Pre-set Programs and 24 Levels of Resistance

With 24 pre-set programs and 4 heart rate programs you can easily tailor your workout to meet your individual needs. The 24 levels of resistance give the Xterra FS3.5 a surprising amount of flexibility for a basic model, providing a challenge for users of all fitness levels.

15 Lb. Flywheel

The belt drive system and friction-free magnetic resistance make for smooth and quiet operation. That makes it easy to use even for beginners and not distracting, so you can use it even in confined spaces without disturbing everyone around you. The smooth operation also makes it maintenance free, letting it stand up to years of use.

Patented Front-Drive Design

The patented front-drive design makes for a smaller overall footprint, which lets you maximize your use of space. This makes it ideal for apartment dwellers and other users with a limited amount of space. At the same time, the front-drive provides movement that is both effective and biomechanically correct, which makes working out both safer and healthier.

Other features: Heart rate hand pulse grips, 17” stride length, oversized foot pedals

XTERRA FS3.5 Test Drive

With a price tag of under $500, we were eager to see how this model stood up to regular use while bearing in mind that it is a relatively basic machine with limited features and capabilities. After a few uses, it seems that the Xterra FS3.5 is sturdy enough, with a small foot print that keeps it from overtaking an entire room.
Along with its other features, the Xterra FS3.5 comes with a 5 year warranty on the frame, 1 year warranty on the brake and 1 year warranty on parts, all particularly important with a lower end model like this, as they are more prone to breaking down and needing regular maintenance in comparison to the pricier models for home and commercial gyms.

Right out of the box, I noticed that while this is a solid machine with considerable weight, it is clearly not as sturdy as pricier models and moves around a little during use. It was relatively easy to put together, though it did require more than one set of hands and once set up it isn’t particularly mobile, so you’ll probably want to set it up in the space where you’ll be using it. That said, it does have a small footprint which makes it more unobtrusive than most bulky pieces of gym equipment.

While it isn’t as technologically advanced as some of the displays on pricier models, the LCD backlit dual color display is easy to read and easy to use. There are heart rate monitors built into the hand grips so you can keep track of your heart rate, but generally speaking hand grip monitors are somewhat unreliable.

For a basic level model, the Xterra FS3.5 has a surprising amount of flexibility when it comes to programming. There are 24 pre-set and 4 heart rate programs as well as 24 levels of resistance, which is more than many of the pricier non-commercial models. The ability to tailor your workout really stood out; I love the idea that I can get a more challenging workout, yet beginners can use it comfortably as well.

With a max user weight of 300 lbs. and a 17” stride length, this model should be comfortable for users of small or medium stature. Taller and heavier users might find it a little less stable, but it should still stand up to regular use. I did love the synchronized upper and lower body movement that is biomechanically correct, giving it a much more natural feel than many other sub $500 models I’ve tried.

In terms of comfort, the 15 lb. flywheel makes it whisper quiet so you can easily listen to music or watch TV while working out or use it without disturbing anyone else in the room. The oversized foot pedals add another level of comfort and provide plenty of room for small or large feet, with a secure, non-slip surface that helped keep me steady on the machine.

Bearing in mind that this is a basic model, I was pleased with the Xterra FS3.5 elliptical overall. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the pricier models and feels a little less solid, but it was easy to use and gave me a great workout. It would be a particularly good choice for the elderly or those going through rehab who want a more standard workout without the extras they don’t need.

The company has added a number of new models to the XTERRA Fitness elliptical lineup, so take a look at their other offerings as well. There are a few models that are even less expensive, as well as a number of more advanced trainers.

XTERRA FS3.5 Elliptical Review – Conclusion

If you’re looking for a good elliptical workout without paying top of the line prices, then the Xterra FS3.5 Elliptical is as good a choice as any. It offers a wider range of pre-set programs and resistance levels than most of the other models under $500 and has a patented front-drive design that makes it both smooth to use and whisper quiet. What it lacks in features, it makes up for with a compact, easy to use design that accommodates users of all sizes and experience levels.

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