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Best Elliptical Under $500: Low Impact Cardio and Aerobics 

 April 30, 2021

By  Pham

If you are looking into starting a small home gym, an elliptical machine is the best place to start. This low-impact cardio machine allows you to get in the best aerobic workout without putting any strain on your joints. Unfortunately, high-quality gym-level elliptical machines don't come cheap, which is why we have made a point of hunting down the best elliptical under $500 for your home use.

You shouldn't expect anything extraordinary in this price range as most commercial elliptical trainers go well over$1000. However, we have gone and found 5 exceptional elliptical machines under $500 that not only meet the standards of quality we were looking for but also packed with amazing features. Most importantly though, they are made by companies that have decades of experience creating high-quality exercise equipment.

What is the Best Inexpensive Elliptical Machine?

1. Schwinn 411 Elliptical Machine

Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
  • Access the Explore the World app and digitally immerse yourself in a...
  • Compact design offers an 18" stride of large elliptical
  • 16 levels of resistance allow you to dial the challenge up or down
  • Streamlined console displays time, speed, distance, calories, and...
  • Moving and fixed handlebars with contact grip heart rate sensors

The Schwinn 411 Elliptical trainer is hands down the best Elliptical under $500. If you want the quality and the features available in commercial elliptical machines without burning a hole in your pockets, this Schwinn 411 Elliptical Machine is your only option. Fitting snugly just under the $500 budget, the machine has some impressive features to show off. If you are familiar with cardio machines, you have heard about Schwinn since they are simply the best.

The Schwinn 411 is one of a kind elliptical packed full with features like Bluetooth capabilities, 16 levels of magnetic resistance, a heart rate monitor, and 13 workout programs. That however is just the beginning of what you will get from this machine as it also has an impressive 18-inch stride length, which is 4 inches longer than your average elliptical. Not only does a longer stride allow you to intensify your workout, but it's also great for taller people.

On top of the 13 workout programs, the Bluetooth allows you to sync the elliptical with The Schwinn mixed reality app RunSocial so you can race through 19 locations using 27 routes just to take the boredom out of it. What’s more, the Schwinn 411 has two heart monitors; one is a pulse sensor built into the handlebar, and the other is a wireless chest strap usually reserved for more high-end elliptical machines.

The most impressive feature about this elliptical for us was how small it is. If you live in an apartment or space is limited, the Schwinn body workout machine will fit right in as it occupies minimal space.

  • Pros
  • Easy to put together.
  • Comes with a cup holder.
  • Comes with a media shelf.
  • It's small and lightweight.


2. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3912

Cubii Pro Seated Under Desk Elliptical Machine for Home Workout, Pedal...
  • DESK EXERCISE COMPACT ELLIPTICAL - Designed with ultra-smooth gearing...
  • SET & TRACK FITNESS GOALS - The Cubii mobile app syncs with iPhone and...
  • PORTABLE ELLIPTICAL - Workout while you work or rehab while you rest!...
  • MINI EXERCISE BIKE - Move a little more and burn up to 125 calories...
  • WHISPER-QUIET SEATED ELLIPTICAL - This under desk pedal exerciser is...

As far as reputable companies go, Sunny Health & Fitness is a class above the rest for building quality cardio gear, except they specialize in affordable home equipment. The SF-E3912 is their best magnetic elliptical trainer under $300, and we have to admit it's not shabby at all. The first thing you'll notice is the quality build, weighing well over 100lbs, so it's quite stable.

What blew us away, however, was the 24 workout programs you will get with this elliptical. If you find walking or running on an elliptical machine boring, these 24 programs will keep you on your toes as you climb hills, do country walks and explore other beautiful destinations. Like the Schwinn 411, you also get 16 levels of resistance which is enough for years of growth.

Truth be told, The SF-E3912 is not your average home use elliptical as most of its features are fit for commercial use. This machine has a capacity of 330lbs, which is impressive and includes an adjustable stabilizer for uneven floors. From the LCD monitor, you can track your speed, distance, calories burned, and pulse rate, among others.

On the downside, this elliptical trainer has a shorter stride length of 14 inches, but it's still good enough if you are not too tall. You also don't get Bluetooth capabilities which they make up for that with the 24 workout programs.

  • Pros
  • Textured pedals for a good grip.
  • Very affordable.
  • Two sets of pedals.
  • It has a tablet/phone holder as well as a bottle holder.


3. Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine

Sale
Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine
  • 7 preset programs: 6 profile, 1 quick start
  • High speed, high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel for a smooth and...
  • 8 levels of resistance to keep you on your toes
  • Large LCD console tracks speed, time, RPM, distance, calories, results...
  • Ergonomically placed grip heart rate monitors

The Schwinn A40 is Scwhinn’s entry-level elliptical trainer that's not exactly the same level as the 411 but still impressive for that price. As expected from any Schwinn machine, the build is high quality, it's small and lightweight, and of course it comes packed full of features. What we didn't expect for that price though is the stride length of 17.5 inches which is better than 90% of elliptical machines used in homes.

The Schwinn A40 elliptical costs considerably less than the top two machines we have reviewed, so it goes without saying that some features will be lacking. For example, there is no Bluetooth capability or wireless heart rate monitor. What you will get is 8 levels of magnetic resistance, 7 workout programs, and a pulse sensor on the handlebars.

The LCD display screen is ample size and will give you information on speed, distance, RPM, calories burned, and of course your heart rate. It also comes with a media rack and some speakers that you can connect to your phone to amplify your music or podcast sound. As for max user weight capacity, this machine can handle up to 275 lbs, which is quite impressive for something so small.

As a beginner looking for a light to medium cardio workout, this is the machine for you. However, the upper levels of resistance are strong enough for more intense cardio.

  • Pros
  • Solid, stable build.
  • Impressive stride length.
  • LCD display screen.
  • Small footprint.
  • Two sets of very ergonomic handlebars.


4. The ProForm Hybrid Trainer

ProForm Hybrid Trainer Recumbent Bike and Rear Drive Elliptical,...
  • Start Your Complimentary 30-Day iFIT Membership; Stream live &...
  • LCD Window Display; Track distance, cadence, and estimated calorie...
  • 2 Machines in 1; The Hybrid Trainer offers the same benefit as an...
  • 16 Digital Resistance Levels; With iFIT, your trainer will auto-adjust...
  • 350-pound user capacity; Protected with a 5-year frame warranty and...

When setting up a house gym, you can either buy a bunch of equipment or go with one machine with multiple capabilities. This ProForm Hybrid Trainer is the best elliptical if you want something versatile and capable of working out your entire body without killing you with boredom. The 2-in-1 elliptical trainer gives you a choice between the cardio recumbent bike and a total toning elliptical program.

The magnetic elliptical trainer has 16 different programs to choose from so you never have to do the same thing twice. What’s more, you can connect it to your iFit trainer via Bluetooth for a more global training experience. The programs allow you to climb hills, run in the park, and even cross country runs all in the comfort of your house. With its incline matching technology, the machine adjusts automatically to mimic the terrain so your body can experience what your eyes are seeing.

As for resistance, this The ProForm Hybrid Trainer has 16 levels, and you can start off with the lowest as a beginner and work your way up. For a basic machine, the 15-inch stride length is not shabby at all unless you are over 5'8. If you like to listen to some music while working out, the machine is iPod and MP3 compatible, so you can just plug in your device and sing away.

  • Pros
  • Easy to use LCD display monitor with a simple interface.
  • You can work out while sitting down or standing up.
  • High-quality build
    Very versatile.


5. Exerpeutic Elliptical 2000XL

EXERPEUTIC 2000XL Bluetooth Smart Cloud Fitness High Capacity...
  • Your purchase includes One Exerpeutic Heavy Duty Elliptical, 4318...
  • Elliptical dimensions – 23" W x 54" L x 63" H | Item weight – 74.5...
  • 8 Level magnetic tension resistance adjustments can provide the user...
  • An easy to read 3.4" large window LCD display that indicates distance,...
  • Bluetooth Smart Cloud Fitness with free MyCloudFitness app available...

Exerpeutic is yet another reputable company for high-quality, low-impact cardio equipment. Their Exerpeutic Elliptical 2000XL is a top choice for many reasons, one of which is the price tag of $300. Don't let that price fool you though, because this machine has everything you need from a home elliptical machine.

To start with, the Exerpeutic Elliptical 2000XL has Bluetooth capabilities, and it's the only one in its price range to have Bluetooth. This comes in handy because the machine itself doesn't come with any workout programs to use. With Bluetooth, all you have to do is connect the machine to the free MyClouditness app and get all the workout settings you need.

The 2000xl provides 8 levels of magnetic resistance, which is ample for any fitness journey. The resistance system gets our thumbs up for being so smooth and silent, and the entire build looks quite strong and stable. For that price, a stride length of 12 inches seems good enough, so this is not the elliptical machine for tall people.

If you are looking for a high-quality beginner-friendly elliptical machine that's easy on your pockets, this Exerpeutic Elliptical 2000XL is perfect. It’s also good for warming up before a weight lifting challenge or running a marathon.

  • Pros
  • Easy to assemble.
  • Very compact.
  • Bi-directional flywheel.
  • 300 lbs capacity.


Choosing the Best Elliptical under $500

Before we get into features you should look out for when buying an elliptical under $500, it’s important to know that elliptical trainers are divided into 3 categories. The categories are defined by where the flywheel or the drive system is placed. The placement of the flywheel matters because it affects the stride length, the noise level, and the smoothness of the elliptical machine. These three categories are;

  • Front-drive elliptical. These are mostly budget machines with a large wheel housing at the front. With this elliptical, you will notice you are leaning forward when exercising as you do with a stair climber. It is slightly noisy but nothing too annoying.
  • Centre drive elliptical. The center drive machines are fairly new in the market, but they are gaining popularity rapidly. The machine is designed to work like a treadmill, so you will be upright, which allows a gentle workout. These are usually compact and come with a short stride.
  • Rear-drive elliptical. Rear-drive elliptical machines have a small wheel housing behind the pedals, making them the longest in stride length. The rear placement also allows for a smoother and more circular pedaling motion. These are mostly high-end ellipticals suitable for all sizes.

Features to Consider When Buying an Elliptical Trainer

1. Stride length

This is the length between the toe of the front pedal and the heel of the rear pedal. The length determines how naturally you will stride depending on your height and speed. People who are over 5'5 should go for an elliptical whose stride length is at least 15 inches. This also applies if you want a machine for intense workouts. Short people looking for slow and relaxed workouts however, can do with a shorter stride length.

2. levels of Resistance

The best elliptical machines use air or magnetic resistance systems. For home use, we recommend magnetic resistance because it’s much quieter. Another advantage of magnetic resistance is that the level of resistance remains the same unless you adjust it to the next level. This is not so with air resistance machines that increase resistance if you increase intensity.

Speaking of resistance, choose a machine with more resistance levels. For example, the Schwinn Elliptical Machine has 16 magnetic resistance levels, making it suitable for any fitness level.

3. Your workout space

Unless you have a dedicated room or house gym, you must consider the space you have available for putting in the elliptical. In reality, a magnetic elliptical machine is not small, and they can range between 4 and 7 feet without pedals moving. Choose the machine depending on the space you have and consider how far the pedals will go when you are working out.

4. Extra features

When buying an elliptical machine, you must also consider the electronic and technological features you want to enjoy. Do you need Bluetooth connectivity? Do you want inbuilt workout programs? How about a heart rate monitor? The best elliptical will even get you a water bottle holder, a media rack, and ports to plug in your phone.

Conclusion

Finding the best elliptical under $500 is not easy, but it's possible. If you know the features to look for and companies that sell high-quality ellipticals, you are bound to find something good that fits your budget. Once you find it, look for someone to give you a hand with the assembly, and you are good to go.

Frequently Asked Questions about Elliptical Machines

1. Are 30 minutes on elliptical enough?

According to the ACSM, you should workout 150-200 minutes weekly. This means that 30 minutes a day on the elliptical is sufficient for general fitness levels.

2. Are 30 minutes a day on the elliptical enough to lose weight?

When working at high intensity, 30 minutes a day on the elliptical can help you burn 270 to 400 calories daily. To achieve this, you need to do 30 seconds of high-intensity workout followed by 60 seconds of slow recovery time until the 30 minutes are over.

Michael Rodriguez


I'm a registered massage therapist out of Vancouver BC. I absolutely hate the information I find on Google about this industry and I started this blog to debunk these myths.

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