Merit Fitness elliptical trainers easily catch the eyes of frugal consumers. After all, these machines cost less than $400 and look prettier than other low-priced elliptical trainers. However, customer reviews indicate that buyers are often disappointed by Merit’s very lightweight products. Some reasons include the short strides, light flywheels and easily broken components. We recommend exploring other budget fitness brands like Horizon and Schwinn instead.
About the Merit Fitness Company
Merit Fitness is owned by Johnson Health Tech of Madison, Wisconsin. Johnson is a major player in the fitness equipment industry. Its cheapest brands are Merit and Tempo Fitness. Johnson also produces three mid-range brands: AFG, Horizon and LiveStrong. Its high-end commercial fitness brands are Matrix and Vision.
Merit equipment is designed in the US but manufactured in China. Ten percent of the trainers are randomly inspected for quality control, which involves breakdown and reassembly.
Features of Merit Fitness Elliptical Machines
The Merit Fitness elliptical series includes just two trainers, the 715E and the 725E. Their small footprints measure about 59” x 24”. Both have 16” strides, pivoting pedals and 10-pound front drives. The 715E weighs 103 pounds and the 725E weighs 110 pounds.
Both the 725E and 715E feature eight preset workouts: manual, random, cardio burn, fat blast, intervals, rolling hills, tempo and weight loss.
These models are typically priced at $349 and $399, respectively. The main difference between them is the 725E’s slight incline and two additional resistance levels. Also, the 715E uses AA batteries but the 725E has a rechargeable power pack.
Merit elliptical trainers have limited 90-day warranties for wear parts and labor. Their brakes are covered for three years and their frames are protected for five years.
Interpreting the Specs
With the exception of their eight preset workouts, Merit’s current trainers are substandard even for cheap elliptical machines. The 16” strides are choppy and the pivoting pedals do little to improve comfort.
Since these are
front drive machines that weight little to begin with, they need extra weight up front. Their slight ten-pound flywheels can hardly be considered effective anchors. The 715E and 725E are likely to wobble for many trainees – even those weighing less than the nominal 275-pound max user weight.
Customer Comments about Merit Cross Trainers
While some customers are pleased, more agree that Merits are built of too-cheap components. Many even report trainers being damaged upon arrival because of cheap packing material.
Customers reporting the most satisfaction are lightweight people who use their trainers with moderation. They say that the Merit ellipticals are easy to assemble and support light exercise well. On the other hand, heavy individuals and people getting vigorous workouts sometimes break these machines within months.
Our Overall Review
This brand’s biggest appeal comes from good looks and low prices. Unfortunately, beauty here is only plastic-deep. Merit Fitness has seen improvement over the past few years but still isn’t worthy of recommendation. Check out our elliptical trainer comparison charts for some better options.