Why are elliptical trainers making headlines?
Well, as a coach, who has been in the fitness industry for years, I can say that the elliptical can be a gamechanger if used correctly.
To try out a whole lot of physical activities you don’t need to wait for the weekend or a gym membership. For most fitness fanatics who enjoy working out at home, the elliptical is like the go-to for a comprehensive cardio workout.
After all, you get the benefits of walking, running, and stair climbing with a single package. And you don’t have to be a dedicated gym rat to try out these.
Now, that brings us to the question – which elliptical under $500 will be the best for you?
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
The Schwinn 411 Elliptical machine is a high-end product, considering its design and overall function. Schwinn has been ruling the market for ages (company was founded in 1895), with products that are strong and well built.
This 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 the 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.
Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer - Best Budget Elliptical Machine
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, it’s maximum supported weight is a tad lower than the Schwinn 411; but, that’s still plenty for most users.
This 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 that is 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, the comfort and user-friendliness is what makes this elliptical machine suitable for all.
Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine - The Best Entry Level Machine
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 for average users in terms of height and weight, it makes for a suitable option. This elliptical by Schwinn is durable and strong enough to provide you with enjoyable workouts.
ProForm 150i Elliptical - The Best For Home Use
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 maximum supported weight of 113.3 kg (250 lbs) is just about adequate.
Most of the frames in this machine is 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 the machine is that it generates minimal noise during operation.
Also, the LCD is backlit, which makes 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 speed and calories burned.
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. All in all, it offers 12 preset workout programs, which is ideal for light to medium-intensity cardio sessions.
Best Fitness Crosstrainer Elliptical Machine - The Best For Full-Body Workout
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. Irrespective of its functions, it’s a sturdy unit that offers several functions, which is not present in many of the ellipticals under 500.
With the frame 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 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, which is why 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.
Body Champ 3-in-1 Trio Trainer - Best Hybrid Fitness Machine
This is one of a kind 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, 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 that can be adjusted for users with a height between 153 and 196 cm. The seat provides the required lumbar support for your recumbent bike exercises. Also, 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 program of workout that’s in use.
The display has an interesting multi-panel layout, which means that 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 sensors that are present on the front handlebars. And after trying out this machine, I do agree that this is a value-added product, considering its versatile features and excellent comfort factors.
Sunny SF-E3912 Magnetic Elliptical Machine - Best For Low-Impact Cardio Workout
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, which has 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 the convenience of mobility.
This unit is also equipped with two sets of handlebars, one fixed, one mobile. Just like other elliptical machines, the SF-E3912 comes with a rear-drive feature that follows an elliptical path, which is 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 of a 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.
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If I had to narrow down one of the fastest-growing fitness categories, then elliptical trainers would top the list. This machine delivers a variety of 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 being able to select 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 do consider their opinion. For instance, older users will generally appreciate if the equipment has better fluidity along with ease of motion. While runners will prefer if there is a non-impact movement, to complement their running style.
2. Smooth elliptical motion
The elliptical motion provides similar effects when 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, which is 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, it means that 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. You should look for a system that makes it 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 you need to focus 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
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.
No, instead, ellipticals are great for people that are 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.
If you’re trying out an elliptical for the first time, then 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.
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.
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.
Well! I can say that both have the same effects, while in ellipticals, you just 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.
If you haven’t tried out an elliptical trainer, then do 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!
Till next time!