Why are elliptical trainers making headlines?
As a coach, who has been in the fitness industry for years, I can say that the elliptical can be a game changer if used correctly.
You don’t need to wait for the weekend or a gym membership to try out many physical activities. The elliptical is the go-to for a comprehensive fitness and cardio workout for most fitness fanatics who enjoy working out at home.
After all, you get the benefits of walking, running, and stair climbing in a single package. And you don’t have to be a dedicated gym rat to try out these.
After testing a range of different models, I’ve compiled some of the best ellipticals under 500 dollars.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Schwinn 411 Elliptical Machine - The Best Elliptical Under 500 Bucks
- Low-impact cardio workouts at a fraction of the...
- Explore the world and discover more than 50 global...
- Space saving design with 18” stride length
- Streamlined console displays time, speed,...
- 16 levels of variable resistance allows you to...
The Schwinn 411 Elliptical machine is a high-end product, considering its design and overall function. Schwinn has been ruling the market for ages (the company was founded in 1895), with strong and well-built products.
This elliptical machine is equipped with user-friendly mechanisms, which include – Bluetooth connectivity, 13 pre-programmed workouts, 16 levels of motorized magnetic resistance system, and RunSocial compatibility.
It’s a compact elliptical that not only manages to track your workout routine but also improves your performance. This elliptical is sturdy enough to support users of up to 136 kg (300 lbs), which is pretty impressive for a machine that is designed for home use.
The unit’s elliptical path is placed in a horizontal position. This further provides a natural motion and eliminates the feeling of moving up or downhill. Another vital feature that I need to mention here is that this elliptical machine doesn’t feature an incline system. Thus, you cannot change the angle of the fixed elliptical path.
It’s one of the best ellipticals under $500 that offers outstanding quality for its price tag. Overall, this well-designed machine is suitable for light to higher intensity cardio workout, stamina development, interval training, and weight loss.
- 13 workout programs
- Bluetooth connectivity
- 16 levels of eddy resistance system
- Fixed and mobile handlebars
- Quiet operation
- Does not feature a backlit console
- Lacks a chest strap for pulse monitoring
Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer - Best Budget Elliptical Machine
- 24 levels of smooth Magnetic Tension resistance....
- 3 Computer goal workout settings: distance, time...
- Backlit LCD Computer displays distance, time, RPM,...
- A Double Transmission system results in increased...
- An 18 inch smooth elliptical stride length...
When it comes to finding a quality mid-range elliptical machine, the Fitness Reality E5500XL makes for an ideal choice. It has a set of neat features that supports its smooth operation. This is mainly due to the 21 levels of magnetic resistance and easily adjustable backlit LCD.
The resistance that it provides is pretty smooth because it comes with a double transmission system rather than a single one. Something that makes this unit up to the mark is the brilliant construction. Sure, at 270 lbs, its maximum supported weight is a tad lower than the Schwinn 411; but, that’s still plenty for most users.
This elliptical machine also uses an extremely rugged three-piece crank system that provides the required amount of support. It features three computer goal programs and 21 different preset workout programs, so you can easily find the right settings to achieve what you’re looking for.
Yet another aspect that I appreciate about this unit is its extreme versatility. Since it comes with two pairs of handlebars, one set that moves and the other static, working out the upper body is also an option.
Besides that, the double transmission system allows for a narrow stride path that feels quite natural. And the compact size of this unit makes it convenient for a smaller space. In the end, comfort and user-friendliness are what make this elliptical machine suitable for all.
- Fluid stride motion and 21 built-in workouts
- Features dual transmission system to retain momentum during workouts
- Sturdy build quality
- 24 levels of magnetic resistance for easy adjustments
- No incline options
Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine - The Best Entry Level Machine
- 7 preset programs: 6 profile, 1 quick start
- High speed, high inertia perimeter weighted...
- 8 levels of resistance to keep you on your toes
- Large LCD console tracks speed, time, RPM,...
- Comfortable handles with ergonomically placed grip...
The Schwinn A40 is a decent entry-level elliptical under 500 dollars that’s equipped with several basic features. One of the best aspects of this unit is the six pre-programmed workouts. The resistances are similarly pre-programmed through its challenges, mountain rides, and fun rides.
You’ll be getting two programs to select from in each of the given three settings. Plus, you can manually program this elliptical machine for your workout. Even though it’s relatively lightweight, measuring about 90 lbs, it’s strong enough with its oversized levelers and stabilizers.
For comfort and quick breaks during workouts, it comes with a reading rack and a cooling fan. There is also a bottle holder in place, so you don’t have to stop your workout before the set time. And all of these features are generally not found in other entry-level machines, which is a bonus.
This unit looks as though it’s designed for average build users with a weight capacity of 270 lbs. It also offers a stride length of about 17-inches, which is shorter than most strides that starts from 18-inches. And so, this might not be comfortable if you are taller than 6-feet, because you’ll not be getting a full extension.
After checking out this unit, I can say that it makes for a suitable option for average users in terms of height and weight. This elliptical by Schwinn is durable and strong enough to provide you with enjoyable workouts.
- Wide range of workout programs
- Easy to assemble
- Low price for its build quality
- Stable, smooth operation
- Does not have a backlit display
ProForm 150i Elliptical - The Best For Home Use
- 30-Day iFIT Family Membership Included; Stream...
- Immersive 7-inch interactive HD touchscreen...
- 24 Digital Levels of Resistance; Automatic Trainer...
- 20-Degree Adjustable Power Incline; Train for...
- 325-pound weight capacity; Protected with a...
The ProForm 150i is the ideal elliptical trainer that is designed specifically for home use. This being said, it lacks the sturdiness and size of a gym-grade elliptical. And it’s the maximum supported weight of 113.3 kg (250 lbs) is just about adequate.
Most of the machine’s frames are built with durable steel tubing, while the flywheel covers and pedals are made with ABS material. And it features a 12 level eddy current resistance system, a small motor, and a magnetic brake. When you adjust the resistance, the motor will automatically change the flywheel position.
This, in turn, changes the intensity of the magnetic field and pedal tension by either increasing or decreasing its rate. And one of the things I really like about this elliptical machine is that it generates minimal noise during operation.
Also, the LCD is backlit, making it easier to read the numbers, and for better understanding, the display is divided into three sections. The top region displays three values – resistance level, RPM with a bar representation, and BPM. While the center section shows the distance and elapsed time, the bottom section shows the burned speed and calories.
This unit allows you to set up goals for three important facets – time, distance, and calories. You can accordingly select the countdown value for these selected metrics to complete a more intense workout session. It offers 12 preset workout programs, which is ideal for light to medium-intensity cardio sessions.
- 12 level of resistance
- 12 workout programs
- Transport wheels
- Bottle and tablet holder
- Bluetooth enabled
- Suitable only for home use
Best Fitness Crosstrainer Elliptical Machine - The Best For Full-Body Workout
- Enjoy calorie-burning elliptical workouts from the...
- Synchronized arms combine upper- and lower-body...
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance and 5-function LED...
- Integrated transport wheels for easy portability
- Measures 45 by 26 by 66 inches (L x W x H) and...
This is one of the oldest elliptical trainers that has garnered several positive feedback from most users. It’s designed especially for home use and doesn’t come with any online connectivity features, preset programs, or other amenities. It’s a sturdy unit that offers several functions that are not present in many ellipticals under 500.
The frame is fully assembled; it weighs about 106 lbs (48 kg) that provides a considerable amount of stability. The steel bars that have been used for construction are thicker and heavier than other models within the same price range. It can support users weighing up to 225 lbs (102 kg). Also, the rear base stabilizers feature rotating polygonal caps, which act like levelers.
This unit is equipped with 8-levels manual magnetic resistance system and a console with Recovery functions, BMI, MBR, and goal settings. Since this elliptical machine doesn’t have a digital resistance system, there are no preset programs.
It also doesn’t feature an incline system and comes with a 12-inch stride. Thus, it might not be one of the most suitable options for a user over 6-inches.
The crank system is placed behind the wheels, so the elliptical path comes slightly inclined forward. While working out on the elliptical, you’ll get a feeling as though you’re going gently down a small hill. It might not be one of the most affordable models, but it offers great stability, and the construction is such that it will deliver excellent performance for a long time.
- Eight levels of magnetic resistance
- Adjustable stabilizers on the rear end
- Multi-window console
- Balanced flywheel system
- Goal settings for distance, time, and calories
- No online connectivity
- Relatively short stride (12-inches)
Body Champ 3-in-1 Trio Trainer - Best Hybrid Fitness Machine
- MULTIFUNCTIONAL DESIGN: With a patented 3-in-1...
- PLUS TWO: In addition to its patented 3-in-1...
- HASSLE-FREE TRANSITIONS: The innovative design of...
- FLUIDITY FLYWHEEL SYSTEM: The smooth...
- PERFECT FOR HOME GYM: Because it provides so many...
This is a kind of hybrid fitness machine that offers triple functionality for cardio training. By this, we mean that it’s a complete package with features that include – elliptical trainer, a recumbent bike, an upright bike.
If you generally appreciate versatile products, then you’re going to love this machine because it provides you with the option to try out an array of workouts using a single tool.
First and foremost, it has a 4-way adjustable seat for users with a height between 153 and 196 cm. The seat provides the required lumbar support for your recumbent bike exercises. It has a brilliant steel construction, 24 fitness programs, and an electronic, magnetic resistance system.
You have the option to adjust the resistance as you pedal, which is mainly due to the Manual program that allows you to exercise freely. And each pre-set workout has a different variation of resistance. Thus, when you start exercising, the machine will adjust the resistance according to the current workout program that’s in use.
The display has an interesting multi-panel layout, which means you don’t have to use the scan function or scroll down the range of options. Best of all, the console has four user profiles, which gives you the option to swap between four different workout settings.
Moreover, the control unit can also keep track of your pulse because of the present sensors on the front handlebars. And after trying out this machine, I agree that this is a value-added product, considering its versatile features and excellent comfort factors.
- Offers an array of workout functions
- Features 24 fitness programs
- Balanced flywheel provides continuous momentum
- Sturdy frame construction
- Thick cushioning on the backrest and seat for optimal support
- Pulse sensors are not present on the seat handlebars
- Does not have a backlit console
Sunny SF-E3912 Magnetic Elliptical Machine - Best For Low-Impact Cardio Workout
- DEVICE HOLDER: Keep your favorite media devices...
- RESISTANCE: Challenge yourself with the...
- WEIGHT CAPACITY: Take advantage of the 330 lb...
- PERFORMANCE MONITOR: Use the onboard, backlit...
- POWERFUL WORKOUTS: Take advantage of 24 unique...
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3912 has some of the best functions for an elliptical under $500. And it doesn’t fail to deliver excellent performance even after it’s used for several years on end. To ensure a smooth and quiet operation, the machine comes with a magnetic resistance system with a relatively easier adjustability feature.
It also has an array of 24 built-in different workout programs that cater to all different users. Starting from regular warmups to manual setups, you can use this machine for all your exercise needs. And you don’t have to worry about moving this machine because it’s fitted with wheels that provide mobility convenience.
This unit is also equipped with two sets of handlebars, one fixed, one mobile. Like other elliptical machines, the SF-E3912 comes with a rear-drive feature that follows an elliptical path slightly inclined forward. The pedaling motion on this machine feels more like you’re coming down a very soft ramp, which puts more focus on your glutes.
Then again, the stride length is about 14-inches, which might feel a bit cramped for professional athletes and taller people (more than 6-feet).
It doesn’t feature an incline system, but that doesn’t make much difference when working out on this machine. As long as the weight capacity of 330 lbs (150 kg) is maintained, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of a low impact cardio workout.
- 24 workout programs
- Multi-window LCD
- Goal functions for distance, time, calories, and pulse
- LED backlight on the display
- No online connectivity
The Best Fitness Tracker for Running: The Only Buying Guide You’ll Ever Need
If I had to narrow down one of the fastest-growing fitness categories, then elliptical trainers would top the list. This machine delivers various workouts with the best of stair climbing, running in a low impact, and cross country skiing.
But before purchasing an elliptical machine, there’s a list of factors that you need to consider for selecting the best unit. So, let’s check them out in the following sections.
1. Consider your goals
Before you begin your search, you should analyze your goals, and if many people are using the equipment, then consider their opinion. For instance, older users will generally appreciate if the equipment has better fluidity and ease of motion. At the same time, runners will prefer a low-impact movement to complement their running style.
2. Smooth elliptical motion
The elliptical motion provides similar effects compared to walking and running, but it’s available without any impact. However, an essential factor that you need to pay attention to is the feel of the motion.
Some machines might have a ‘bounce’ or ‘kick’ in their motion that tends to move the heel away from the platform; this is a red flag. Instead, you should find a unit that offers a true elliptical movement pattern balanced by both backward and forward directions. This also adds challenge and variety to the workout by reducing the risks of repetitive use injuries.
3. Adjustable incline
When you find this feature in an elliptical, the product can work as a cross-trainer. If you can adjust the incline, it’s an advantage. Because it helps you work on different muscle groups, and it’s a great way to add variety to your workout routine.
4. Adjustable resistance
The good units usually come with a broad range of resistance, which can be adjusted electronically. It would help if you looked for a system that intuitive and straightforward to change the resistance pattern. This allows you to incorporate interval training sessions into your routine.
5. Quiet operation
An elliptical that works smoothly and has a smooth operation is like a hint of a complete package. You’ll find most well-designed elliptical trainers having a relatively silent operation across a range of intensity levels.
6. Electronic features
Ellipticals generally offer you a variety of features, from interactivity and fans to displaying the workout metrics. But it would help if you focused on what’s important to you and how you’ll be using the device.
It’s best to look for features that challenge and motivate you to go the extra mile. Plus, it should help you progress in the fitness field and accommodate the needs of multiple users.
The Best Elliptical Under 500 – Frequently Asked Questions
Do ellipticals help lose belly fat?
Yes, elliptical trainers provide the body with an intense, low impact cardio workout. And the best part, a person weighing about 150 lbs can burn about 140-150 calories by working out for about 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer.
Are ellipticals bad for your back or knees?
Instead, ellipticals are great for people suffering from joint or back pain because they put very little stress on the body. But it’s best if you can incorporate weight-bearing exercises into your workout routine while you’re using an elliptical trainer.
How long should you run on an elliptical for losing weight?
If you’re trying out an elliptical for the first time, start with three separate workout sessions of 10 minutes each. You can gradually increase the duration after a few days. For maximum weight loss, each session should last for about 30 to 60 minutes.
Is elliptical good for buttocks?
When you work out on an elliptical regularly, it will not be challenging to have well-toned thighs and butt. Your legs help supply the right amount of power for the exercise, and if you increase the resistance level, it helps improve your leg muscle tone.
What are elliptical machines good for?
Ellipticals offer the benefits of a low-impact workout that helps you exercise both your lower and upper body. It helps increase the weight loss process by burning off the excess calories. This equipment reduces the strain on your legs by moving it through an elliptical motion.
Is elliptical better than walking?
Well! I can say that both have the same effects, while in ellipticals, you have to minus the natural environment. The shape of the elliptical movement is such that it mimics the natural path of the hip joints, knee, and ankle during jogging, walking or running.
Under $500 Best Elliptical - Final Words
If you haven’t tried out an elliptical trainer, visit a local equipment store and give it a test drive. This will help you make an informed decision. But don’t miss out on the buyer’s guide because finding a unit with the right features is the key to making a good investment.
Now that we’ve come to the end of our guide, we hope it has helped you find an elliptical that fits your needs. So, what was your experience after using this item? Do share your feedback in the comments below!