ProForm 225 CSE Elliptical Cross Trainer Review

With doubt one of the most trusted and well-known manufacturers of quality home fitness equipment, Proform Fitness has a solid track record of producing fitness machines that deliver results. From large, gym-style machines to compact space-savers their range is comprehensive and there’s a price point for everyone from the casual jogger to the hardcore fitness fan. The ProForm 225 CSE elliptical falls into the space-saving category and with a footprint of just 102cm x 54cm (40.1″ x 21.2”) it is most certainly compact but how do its other vital statistics stack up? We got one in to check it out – here’s what we found…

As with practically all ellipticals, the 225 CSE comes flat packed and requires assembly. 18 steps from start to finish might sound like a lot but in practice it’s really something that most people won’t struggle with. The steps are small, simple (accompanied with clear diagrams) and can, for the most part, be completed by one person. That being said, it’s definitely an easier task for two people rather than one as there are a couple of steps where having someone to hold things in place while you screw everything together does make life easier. All in all, the assembly is a fairly simple and hassle-free process that takes about 40 minutes and is something that even non-DIY’ers should be able to manage without any major problems. Once the assembly is complete you just need to make sure that the unit is stable by adjusting the rear leg levelers until it sits solidly without a wobble on the floor and it’s ready to go.

Looks-wise the 225 CSE, while hardly setting the world alight and sending tingles down the spine, isn’t a bad looking machine. While it sticks dutifully to ‘fitness equipment grey’ which can be a little dull, it does actually manage to pull it off pretty well and the result is a sturdy-looking bit of kit that has a functional and practical look about it. In short, it’s not a show-stopping looker, but it’s not ugly either and will sit at ease in most settings.

Stepping onto the machine for the first time it immediately becomes clear that the 225 CSE is solid, and more so that we’d expect for such a compact elliptical. The leg levelers do help, of course, but it’s more than that. The 7kg flywheel combines with the newly tweaked gear ratios to produce a smooth and steady pedal rotation of the kind that we’ve become accustomed to seeing on modern models. The action is almost silent too with no unwanted squeaks or creaks and all of these elements come together to deliver a surprisingly pleasant experience. The 225 CSE, despite its relatively modest 14″ (36cm) stride, feels good to use and even when pushed hard stands up to the punishment being dished out (especially by a reviewer still carrying a bit of holiday weight!). This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the manufacturer, but it is still good to see given both the small size and low cost of the machine.

In terms of workout options, there’s a manual mode and 8 preset modes. The manual mode has 12 levels of electronically controlled magnetic resistance, the top setting of which should be plenty to satisfy most users, even if already quite fit. It’s tough enough for most to be sure, though if you’re a 7 -days-a-week gym bunny then you will probably want to look at a higher spec model. Using the manual mode is pretty much as simple as it’s possible to get – step 1 turn machine on, step 2 mount, step 3 start pedaling and from there you can adjust the difficulty by pressing the big red  +/-  resistance buttons on the console, which really is simplicity itself. There are also 8 preset workouts built into the console which differ in intensity and duration and target either cardio fitness improvement or weight loss depending on the programme. Once you’ve started your selected workout the console display clearly shows you your target speed/RPM which is a really important factor in the effectiveness of your workout. The speed in mph/km is theoretical of course and not intended to simulate reality. It’s there as an indicator so you can gauge your effort levels rather than to tell you how fast you’d be moving in the real world. Essentially, do as you’re told by the machine and you’ll be getting the most effective workout possible. Easy. That being said, if it’s pushing you too hard the console allows you to drop the resistance manually while in the middle of the workout so you can keep the speed/RPM up while making things a bit easier. It’s a good approach to ensuring that you’re working hard enough to get the most out of your workout while keeping you in control of things at all times so you don’t push yourself too hard. It’s a system that works well and delivers an effective workout that also keeps you safe at the same time and that’s definitely a thumbs up.

The console display is simple and easy to read providing essential data such as pedaling speed in RPM and your power output in watts, current resistance level, heart rate in beats per minute, theoretical distance pedaled in miles or kilometers  (units can be changed in the settings which is always nice), elapsed time of your workout or time remaining depending on the workout mode you’re using, and theoretical speed and calorie burn rate. The console also has a pause feature so you can dismount in the middle of your workout and then get back on again, start pedaling and continue your session without having to mess around with buttons which is a really nice feature if you’re in the middle of your routine and have to stop to answer the door or the phone. It’s all very easy to get your head around and the way that the buttons on the console are set up it’s easy to operate while you’re in full flow.

In addition to the onboard workouts, the 225 CSE is also iFit compatible so you can connect a tablet to the elliptical via Bluetooth and get access to customised training programmes, automated workout statistics tracking, Google Maps routes and a new daily workout every day. A subscription is required if you want to use iFit and the full details of what’s available are worth checking out at if you’re looking for a fully integrated long-term workout programme. iFit will add an extra dimension to your training though it’s certainly not a necessity here as the 225 CSE offers plenty of workout options built right into the console and more than enough to get you fit.

The console is battery powered so you can place this elliptical in your preferred location without the need to consider how to run cables to a socket and it doesn’t appear to be battery intensive. Our test model has been through several hours of testing by different members of the team and the batteries (not included) are still going strong. It also features a tablet holder, built-in Bluetooth wireless heart rate receiver for better performance than standard heart rate receivers and a water bottle holder.

So what’s the verdict? Well, other than it looks a touch dull and clearly isn’t aimed at seasoned gym users, this elliptical has a lot going for it. It’s compact, quiet and smooth, easy to use and has a good range of workout options. It also provides an option to add additional features via iFit, is well manufactured, is comfortable to use and comes in at an affordable price. It also comes with a 2 year, on-site, parts and labour warranty (registration required).

Best Price

The ProForm 225 CSE is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Review Summary - In Brief

With a selection of workout options, iFit and compact footprint, the 225 CSE is a good elliptical that does a decent job. All in all, if you're looking for a day-to-day elliptical that won't gobble up all your available space and won't break the bank then this is not a bad choice at all. It's a good effort from Proform and a machine that represents good value for money. The only real issue here is the competition in the form of the Viavito Sina elliptical which offers a heavier flywheel, longer stride, around double the number of onboard workouts, 32 levels of resistance as opposed to 12 on the 225CS and a higher max user weight. And, the Sina will save you some cash in the process. There's a reason why the Sina is one of our top ellipticals of the month.

ProForm 225 CSE Specifications

  • 7kg (15.4lbs) flywheel weight
  • 14″ (36cm) stride length
  • 12 levels of Silent Magnetic Resistance
  • Easy-to-read silver-tinted LCD display
  • Feedback: Speed, time, distance, rpm, calories, Watts, resistance and heart rate
  • 9 Programmes (1 manual, 8 pre-set workout apps)
  • iFit Bluetooth Compatible and comes included with a 30-day Family membership (WiFi connection required)
  • iFit workouts: Thousands of on-demand video workouts streamed via iFit (subscription required).
  • Heart Rate Measurement via hand pulse sensors + Bluetooth Smart wireless receiver. Chest strap optional.
  • Conveniences: Intermix Acoustics™ 2.0, Water bottle holder, tablet holder, adjustable levelling feet
  • Pedals: Large and grooved
  • Handlebars: Soft Touch upper-body workout arms
  • Transport Wheels
  • Size in use (L x W x H): 102cm (40.1″), 54cm (21.2”), 162cm (63.7″)
  • Size folded (L x W x H): 98.5cm (38.8″), 32 cm(12.6”), 64 cm (25.2″)
  • Maximum user weight: 115kg (253.5lbs)
  • Weight:39kg (86lbs)
  • Warranty: 2 years frame, parts and labour (must register within 28 days for 2nd year)

ProForm 225 CSE Elliptical Cross Trainer - Console / Display Unit

ProForm 225 CSE Elliptical Cross Trainer - User Reviews

The Pros

  • Compact
  • Smooth and quiet
  • Easy to use

The Cons

  • Looks a little bit dull
  • You have to pay to keep using iFit after the first 30 days
ProForm 225 CSE Elliptical Cross Trainer Reviewer Ratings

Ease Of Installation - 8
Appearance - 7.5
Smoothness - 8
Comfort - 8
Reliability - 8
Noise - 9
Ease Of Use - 9
Controls - 8.5
Warranty - 8
Value for Money - 5.5
Best Price

The ProForm 225 CSE is not currently available from any retailers we're aware of in the UK.
It may be worth looking for a used machine on ebay

Also see our Elliptical Cross Trainer Comparison Table

Whilst every effort is made to give you accurate information we cannot guarantee the technical specification. Models change on a regular basis and may differ slightly from the above review. We recommend you contact the retailer if you have a question regarding technical data. Please read our Legal Disclaimer

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