Are you looking for a cross-trainer that works smoothly and quietly? If yes, then you need to know more about elliptical flywheel weight.

An elliptical flywheel that weighs 9 kg is ideal for home users. But flywheels can be heavier than this, especially those for commercial gym use. Machines with heavier flywheels generally perform better but are more expensive.

There’s more to flywheels than their actual weight, though.

Specifically, weight distribution and flywheel position also affect your overall workout experience.

Read on to learn more about this essential feature and its importance when choosing your elliptical trainer.

What is a Flywheel?

The flywheel is the large and heavy wheel you’ll find at the front, centre or rear of an elliptical trainer.

Its primary role is to make the pedals and handlebars move. This drive system also works with your machine’s adjustable resistance levels.

As it allows your elliptical to move, a flywheel determines how smooth and loud your exercise equipment will be. It’s also a good indicator of the elliptical lifespan.

What are the Common Elliptical Flywheel Weights?

One of the most crucial aspects of a flywheel is its weight. And it could be anywhere between 5 and 18 kg.

A heavy flywheel offers a more consistent or predictable movement. Because of its heft, the moving parts are also more stable, creating minimal noise.

However, this type is harder to set in motion or stop. On the other hand, lighter flywheels are easier on the legs.

But they can be a bit jerky, making them less predictable and stable. The ride is also noticeably noisier as parts tend to rattle more.

High-quality ellipticals typically have flywheel weights ranging from 8 to 10 kg.

So, look within this range if you want a reasonably priced machine and a quiet, smooth ride.

Front drive elliptical machine in a corner of the living room

Are There Other Factors Affecting the Elliptical Flywheel Weight?

The weight of your flywheel directly impacts your elliptical workout experience for sure.

But there are other factors to consider when choosing your exercise machine based on its flywheel.

Inner and outer weight 

Flywheels are metal discs. But two 9 kg flywheels with the same diameter may behave differently, depending on their weight distribution.

For instance, some flywheels have their weight concentrated in the middle.

But others are heavier on the outside. Manufacturers call these perimeter-weighted flywheels.

How are they different? Well, putting more weight on the outer edge generates more inertia.

I know it sounds a bit nerdy, but inertia on an elliptical is what keeps your pedals moving even without force applied.

To put it simply, higher inertia results in a smoother ride.

Flywheel positioning 

The placement of the flywheel is yet another factor affecting how your elliptical cross trainer works.

Specifically, it has a direct effect on flywheel size and machine function.

Front-drive elliptical

This machine has its flywheel in front with the pedals behind it. The NordicTrack 9.9 Elliptical is one excellent example.

Generally, front-drive ellipticals have smaller flywheels. And so, most models are cheaper and more compact.

Also, their pedals are more fluid. When you’re on this elliptical type, you tend to lean forward a bit. Using this type of elliptical machine allows you to concentrate on your glutes and hamstrings.

This machine somewhat gives the feeling of hiking or walking at an incline.

Rear-drive elliptical

This machine has its flywheel behind the pedals. Rear-drive ellipticals typically have large flywheels, making them heavier but quieter and more stable.

Their pedals are less fluid, though. Your form is also more upright when you’re on this elliptical type.

So, switching from front to rear-drive machines might take some practice.

Centre-drive elliptical

This type has its flywheel in the centre, right under the user or trainee. It’s a relatively new design, and I see it as a cross between the front and rear-drive models.

With the flywheel at the centre, these ellipticals are compact, making them ideal for small home gyms.

Their flywheel position also encourages a more upright form of training that feels like jogging.

However, one downside is its lack of incline setting. Also, while it is professional quality, it is more expensive than the other two elliptical types.

A pair of legs pedalling a rear drive elliptical cross trainer

Is a Heavier Elliptical Flywheel Weight Better?

In general, heavy flywheels are better. The more weight your flywheel has, the better the momentum and stability. Machine noise is minimal, too.

But remember, flywheel weight also determines the price and longevity of your elliptical cross trainer.

Weight also affects flywheel positioning, exercise form and fluidness of the pedals.

In that case, it’s not best to always go for the heaviest flywheel when choosing an elliptical. Budget, comfort and fitness goals are also equally important.

So, the best advice would be to trim down your elliptical options based on flywheel weight and then test them out.

Make sure you feel comfortable while riding. Look for signs of instability or rattling, too.

Now that you know how crucial flywheel weight is, I’m sure it will be easier for you to make the right decision.

Check out my top elliptical picks and reviews to start your shortlist!

1. How much does an elliptical weigh?

Home elliptical machines weigh between 30 and 90 kg. Their weight depends on several factors like machine size, construction, flywheel weight and additional features. In general, those with more complex electronics are naturally heavier. On the other hand, simple models with primary functions do not weigh as much.

2. What is the average weight limit on elliptical machines?

An elliptical for home use can support up to 133 kg on average. But maximum user weight can vary from 100 to 170 kg. Ellipticals for commercial gym use tend to have higher load capacities. For optimum performance and safety, use an elliptical that can support 23 kg (50 lb) more than your actual body weight.