Gazelle exercise equipment and many elliptical machines promise a no-impact cardio and full body exercise for maximum efficiency. Gazelle is an actual brand name, while the elliptical includes a style of exercise equipment offered by several brands.
Gazelle models all include an upper body workout, and fold up for easy storage, but they don't have an adjustable resistance. Most ellipticals include the upper body workout and adjustable resistance, but can not be folded and stowed away. The more serious the workouts, the more important the adjustable resistance becomes.
Check the weight limits; the Gazelle models range from 250 to 300 pounds maximum, while some elliptical brands are able to tolerate a 350-pound person.
Heart rate monitors of varying complexity are usually standard with all machines, as are feedback units of speed, distance and calories burned. However, that is the limit of sophistication for the Gazelle. For higher priced ellipticals, models include an iPod docking station, fan, and even an LCD TV.
Look for overall ergonomic comfort, sturdiness, and noise level when operating. Try out as many machines as possible; each will feel different for different people.
As of November 2009, the price for Gazelles range from $100 to $220. The elliptical machines range from under $1,000 to well over $4,000.