Precor EFX 221 Elliptical
- Smooth, Gym-like Feel to the Elliptical Motion
- 3-Position Manual Ramp Helps You Work Different Lower Body Muscles
- 10 Built-in Workouts
- Shelf For Your Tablet on the Console
- iPod Dock With Speakers To Listen To Your Favorite Workout Mix
- No Upper Body Arm Training - Fixed Handlebars
- Ramp is Manual - You Have To Get off the Trainer to Change It
- No Online Tracking Options
Precor EFX 221 Elliptical Review – Highlights:
The Precor EFX 221 Elliptical is a home version of the famous gym-quality elliptical trainers. It uses the same technology adapted from their commercial-grade models to give you a very smooth-feeling, ergonomically correct elliptical ride.
The EFX 221 is currently the most affordable home model and is a bit pared down and simplified compared to the higher end EFX 222 or 225 models
The EFX 221 elliptical has a rear-drive design and includes the famous Precor CrossRamp technology. This is basically a 3-position manual ramp where you can alter the height of the elliptical path your foot travels.
Precor calls it Variable Stride Geometry™, and it allows you to focus on a specific muscle group while training or all major lower-body muscle groups.
In reality it’s just that altering the ramp will change the stride length – and work different lower body muscles.
There are 3 different ramp positions – 15, 20 and 25 degrees. By changing the ramp position, your stride length changes however the average stride length is about 20 inches on this trainer – which is ideal for most people.
Precor EFX 221 Elliptical Review – Console
The console is backlit and easy to read, giving you 12 different feedback metrics including Time Elapsed, Time Remaining, Calories, Calories/Min, Heart Rate, Target Heart Rate, Distance, Resistance and more.
The tap style dome keys are sleek and professional and there’s room for 2 different user ids.
User IDs allow you to quickly retrieve your most recent workout. They also let you select the default workout duration and provides the most accurate calories and target heart rate calculations. This is handy because you don’t have to re-enter all of your workout info every time you go to exercise.
Precor has also moved into the 21st century and added iPod docks with speakers to their consoles (for years they were above adding hokey entertainment features like this. But it seems they’re finally realizing that people actually LIKE these things).
There’s also a handy shelf for your tablet. So you can watch your favorite TV shows and movies as you run.
Precor EFX 221 Elliptical Review – Smooth, Comfortable Feel
Precor designed and introduced the very first elliptical to the market back in 1995 – and you better believe that they’re going to ride that achievement all the way to the bank. They actually patented the original elliptical path and claim it mimics a more natural running stride.
While there doesn’t seem to be a lot of information about how this running stride is in fact “better” than other ellipticals, you can’t argue that these trainers to feel extremely smooth and comfortable when you run on them.
You also get 10 built-in workouts on this trainer to help you stay challenged.
Workouts include Interval, Weight Loss, Aerobic, Hill Climb, Cross Country, Gluteal, Manual and more. There are also built-in “Workout Accelerators” that suggest ways to get more out of your workout.
Track Your Heart Rate 2 Different Ways:
There are 2 different ways to track your heart rate. You can grasp the EKG hand sensors on the sides of the console.
The trainer also works with wireless chest strap heart rate monitors – however you have to provide the wireless chest strap yourself, it’s not included with the trainer.
Precor EFX 221 Elliptical Review – Any Downsides?
While you can’t fault the construction or design of this elliptical there are a few downsides to consider.
First of all, there are no moving arm bars. On an elliptical at this price point that’s pretty shocking (I once had an over-confident Precor exec inform me that one “did not need upper body arm bars to get a good elliptical workout.” Ok then – many people might disagree with that.)
Secondly, the ramp is manual on this trainer. You have to get off the trainer to change it – you can’t change it from the console during your workout.
Again, at this price point (and considering that you can easily get automatic ramp on ellipticals around $1500), you would expect more.
Finally, there’s no online tracking capability like you get with many other brands these days. Even LifeFitness (another commercial brand) is jumping on the bandwagon and offering consoles with online tracking – so Precor is a bit behind the ball here.
At the end of the day however you’re paying for the famous Precor name. If you want the assurance that you’re getting the quality behind that name and you don’t mind shelling out a couple thousand dollars to do so, then you’ll probably love the Precor EFX 221.
Other elliptical trainers you may want to compare it against however include the Matrix A30 Ascent Trainer – which gives you power incline, upper body arms and even a choice of consoles – one with a built-in web browser.
Or consider the Nordictrack Freestrider FS7i which is hundreds less, has power incline, a fully adaptable stride, upper body arm bars and even a full-color console with iFit included (so you can watch HD workout videos as you run).
Where to Buy and Save:
The Precor EFX 221 is part of the newer Energy Series and can be hard to find in stores. However, you can buy it direct online and get Free Shipping here. You can also read the latest user reviews to see how others like it.