6 Best Ellipticals Under $500 (Ultimate Buyer’s Guide)

If you’re in the market to purchase the best elliptical for your home, you’ve come to the right place. These top elliptical machines will help you get a great full-body workout and are handpicked for home use. We highly recommend the Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical as the best elliptical under $500. With this elliptical, you can hit your health and wellness goals without blowing your wallet! If you’re interested in other home workout products we also have guides on magnetic spin bikes, indoor cycling bikes, and slim tread treadmills! Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below!

Best Overall

Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine

Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
  • 18″ Stride Length
  • 16 Resistance Levels
  • 28.1″ Width
Best Step Elliptical

Sunny Health & Fitness Cardio Climber

Sunny Health & Fitness Cardio Climber
  • 9″ Horizontal & 7″ Vertical Stride
  • 8 Resistance Levels
  • 25″ Width
Best Budget

SNODE Magnetic Elliptical Machine

SNODE Magnetic Elliptical Machine
  • 15″ Stride Length
  • 8 Resistance Levels
  • 21.3″ Width

How To Choose An Elliptical

You have a lot to consider when purchasing an elliptical. Among the important factors are stride length, weight, stability, resistance levels, LCD screen displays, and additional accessory features. Price is certainly an important factor. You may consider bumping your price point up a few hundred dollars to get a better quality product. We have a great article on ellipticals under $1000 to help you compare. On the other hand, maybe magnetic resistance spin bikes can hit that spot. And, if you are a fan of stretching and dancing, maybe take a look at the best ballet barres for home.

We go into great detail on many important features in our buyer’s guide below. But first, check out these fantastic ellipticals.

The Best Elliptical Reviews

Best Overall
Best Elliptical for Weight Loss - Schwinn 411 Compact

Best Elliptical for Weight Loss – Schwinn 411 Compact

This is one of the best home elliptical machines on the market! It offers 16 resistance levels to maximize your cardio. It includes a variety of elliptical workout programs, including high-intensity interval training to really change up your daily workout.  If you’re looking for the best elliptical for weight loss, this is our recommendation.

The console not only displays time, distance, speed, calories, and heart rate but is also compatible with the signature Explore the World App. This app allows the user to traverse different scenery from around the globe which really enhances the user experience. The media tray is a great feature.  It gives you a nice place to put your iPad, tablet, or other devices.

The Schwinn 411 features both fixed and dual-action dynamic hand grips to give the user multiple options for the upper body. The fixed grips have pulse sensors that project your heart rate onto the console for easy tracking. It can also connect via Bluetooth with wearable fitness trackers. For these reasons, we think the Schwinn 411 is the best elliptical under $500.

Product Specifications:

Footprint:  70.1” L x 28.1” W x 63.1” H

User Weight Capacity:  300lbs

Stride Length:  18”

Machine Weight:  120lbs

Best Budget
Best Budget Elliptical - SNODE E16 Magnetic

Best Budget Elliptical – SNODE E16 Magnetic

The SNODE E16 home elliptical is a great buy for the money. It is not the top of the line, but if you’re looking for the best cheap elliptical – this is it! It has a variety of features to help you get an efficient workout in the comfort of your home.  We certainly deem it the best elliptical machine under $300!

This is a quiet, belt-driven elliptical machine with 8 resistance levels for a highly varied workout. You can increase or decrease the resistance as many times as desired during the workout. The digital display tracks your speed, distance, time, calories, and pulse.

You have the option to hold on to the fixed grips or the moving handlebars, depending on your workout goals. The fixed grips feature heart rate sensors that will display your heart rate on the monitor for easy tracking. The moveable arms allow you to integrate an upper body workout into your cardio routine.

Key Product Specifications:

Footprint:  41.7” L x 21.3” W x 64.2” H

User Weight Capacity:  265lbs

Stride Length:  15”

Machine Weight:  75lbs

Best Step Elliptical
Sunny Health & Fitness Premium Cardio Climber

Sunny Health & Fitness Premium Cardio Climber

This is an excellent multi-functional home elliptical if you’re looking for a variation in your cardio workout. It moves in an elliptical motion but has a much shorter stride length because of its vertical torque. In other words, it gives you the benefits of both an elliptical and a stair climber all in one smooth movement.

The monitor on this machine is pretty high-tech compared to those of other home models. It tracks the basics, including time, distance, speed, calories, and heart rate. But it also has additional features such as a calendar, thermometer, BMI calculator, and a body fat calculator. It offers 8 levels of resistance to increase or decrease intensity as needed. If you love data, this is an excellent console for you.

As with most elliptical machines, you have the option to either hold the fixed handgrips or activate your upper body muscles by holding the moving grips. The fixed grips have embedded heart rate sensors that will display your heart rate on the console. The moveable grips do not.

Key Product Specifications:

Footprint:  44” L x 25” W x 64” H

User Weight Capacity:  260lbs

Stride Length:  Horizontal: 9″, Vertical: 7”

Machine Weight:  95lbs

Premium Choice
Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine

Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine

The Schwinn A40 is a mid-grade elliptical.  Just to warn you, it might be slightly higher than $500 depending on when you buy.  It has 8 levels of resistance for you to mix-up your workout as you go. If you prefer to use embedded exercise features, it has 6 pre-programmed workouts with different areas of focus to keep your routine fresh.

The A40 features a nice size LCD monitor. It displays time, distance, speed, calories, and heart rate. It also has a media tray to hold your tablet or smartphone for entertainment while you exercise.

This machine features both fixed and moveable handgrips to fit your preference. The unique part of the Schwinn A40 is the placement of the grips. They are ergonomically fixed below the console, rather than on the sides like most other elliptical machines. This allows more comfort during use. BONUS: it even has a built-in cup holder!

Key Product Specifications:

Footprint:  59” L x 23” W x 64” H

User Weight Capacity:  250lbs

Stride Length:  17.5”

Machine Weight:  105lbs

Best for Small Space
Best Compact Elliptical - Exerpeutic 4318 Heavy Duty Magnetic

Best Compact Elliptical – Exerpeutic 4318 Heavy Duty Magnetic

The Exerpeutic 4318 compact elliptical trainer is an excellent choice if you have a really small space to work with. It offers 8 levels of magnetic resistance so you can vary the intensity and speed of your cardio workout. The LCD screen is small but functional, with the ability to monitor your calories, distance, time, and pulse.  Bluetooth connectivity is a great optional add on.

This machine features both fixed and moveable hand grips. You can hold the fixed handgrips with metal sensors to allow the computer to monitor your heart rate during your workout. If you prefer to get an upper-body workout along with the lower body, you can hold the dual-action handles, which move in tandem with your feet.

This small elliptical is belt-driven which makes it very quiet, so you don’t have to worry about annoying your neighbors or interfering with television or radio. It does not include any personal entertainment features, but the MyCloudFitness App is a great option with the Bluetooth add on.

Key Product Specifications:

Footprint:  54” L x 23” W x 76” H

User Weight Capacity:  300lbs

Stride Length:  13”

Machine Weight:  75lbs

Best Elliptical & Bike Combo
DouFit Elliptical Machine with Seat

DouFit Elliptical Machine with Seat

The DuoFit EM-02 is a really interesting elliptical & bike combo.  This is the only one of its kind in our review but we thought it was worth a good look. Although it is not necessarily the best product in this lineup, it certainly has benefits for people who may not be able to stand for long periods of time. 

With the option to go back and forth between a seated and standing position, this machine can offer the versatility needed for people who are overcoming injuries, have a lot of weight to lose, or are extremely deconditioned. If any of these descriptions fit your current situation, you should definitely consider this machine or one like it. Not only will you feel more comfortable while exercising, but you will also be able to progress at your own speed from sitting to standing.

This elliptical offers 8 different levels of resistance to help you increase or decrease your intensity as needed. It has both fixed and adjustable grips so you can choose whether or not to engage your upper body during your sessions. The console measures important metrics such as speed, distance, time, calories, and resistance. To top it off, it has a very small footprint and fits nicely in any room.

Key Product Specifications:

Footprint:  50” L x 20.5” W x 62” H

User Weight Capacity:  220

Stride Length:  12”

Machine Weight:  62lbs

Where To Shop For Ellipticals Under $500

We are confident in our recommendations. But every once in a while you can find a steal of a deal on an overstocked model. So check out the top-rated ellipticals on Overstock.com. It’s definitely worth a look. Now, let’s get into everything you should consider when buying an elliptical machine.

Buyer’s Guide

Best Home Ellipticals - Buyer's Guide

In this section, we will walk through the key features you should look for to get the best possible elliptical workout. After this, you will be more than informed to make a great decision.

Stride Length

Stride length is often overlooked when consumers are purchasing an elliptical machine, but it’s quite possibly the most important piece of the whole puzzle! Choosing a machine with a stride length that doesn’t fit your body can cause all sorts of problems. In the best case, it will decrease the effectiveness of your daily workout. In the worst case, you could injure your knees, ankles, or hips.

If you want to know how to protect your knees on the elliptical, start by choosing the right stride length. Your height is the driving factor. Elliptical stride lengths are generally categorized by three different tiers. This is how they break down:

  • Individuals 5’3” and shorter
    • 16” – 18” stride length
  • Individuals 5’4” – 6’ tall
    • 19” – 20” stride length
  • Individuals 6’ and taller
    • 20” or longer stride length

Choosing a stride length is not an exact science, but this gives you a really good indication of where you should start. When purchasing an elliptical machine online, you should be able to find stride lengths in the “specs” or “specifications” section quite easily. Some exceptions will apply based on your particular situation, so be sure to consider those, as well.

What are those exceptions? Great question!

  • Deconditioned or out of shape individuals may find that a shorter stride length is more comfortable, regardless of their height. If you’re just starting out with exercise, have a lot of weight to lose, or are just generally uncomfortable on a piece of fitness equipment, opt for an elliptical that is a little shorter.
  • Individuals with knee or hip injuries will likely fare better with a shorter stride length, as well. Particularly if you’re trying to overcome an injury, surgery, or another ailment in your lower extremities. This will help protect your joints from hyperextension.  Hyperextension could occur when stretching too far based on a longer than appropriate stride length.
  • Short individuals with long legs will often find that the recommended 16”-18” stride is actually too short. Consider a longer stride length if you have long legs for your height.

In an ideal world, you should test machines of different stride lengths before making your decision.

Consider getting a free pass to local gyms in your area. Many gyms offer this type of incentive. Try out a few different ellipticals and test out the specifications that work best for you. Be sure to take note of the manufacturer and the model number so you can research the specs when you get home. Testing during a complete workout will deliver the best results.

What to look for in an elliptical

Stability

Stability is super important. The last thing you want to do is to purchase a machine online, only to find upon delivery that it wobbles when you try to use it. That’s not only annoying but also unsafe.

So how do you know if something is durable when you’re looking at the specs?

The machine weight and footprint width are two important factors. Both of these specifications can have a huge impact on the stability and therefore the safety and comfort of the elliptical. Consider the following:

How Much Does An Elliptical Weigh?

Ellipticals can weigh anywhere from 50 lbs to hundreds of pounds. In general, lean towards a heavier elliptical if you’re a heavier person. It seems counter-intuitive, especially if you think you might need to move it around within your home from time to time. But the heavier it is, the more stable it will be.

For example, if you have a 250-pound person using a light elliptical trainer, chances are that it will bounce around during use. If the machine is a little heavier, it will be more stable and won’t move as much during your workout. The lighter you are, the lighter the model you can purchase.

Most of the ellipticals under $500 will be on the lighter side. If you need something beefier, consider upping your price point.

Footprint

The width of the footprint will also be a factor in the overall stability of the elliptical machine. The footprint refers to how much floor space the machine takes up. Many home ellipticals have a long, narrow footprint which is great for space purposes, but not so much for safety and stability.

If the footprint is a little bit wider, it will take up more space, but won’t wobble side to side during use. A wider footprint gives you a wider and potentially lower center of gravity, which will keep the machine stable.

It’s wise to consider your space and choose accordingly. If you require a narrow elliptical, then choose one that is also shorter in height. This will keep the center of gravity low while still adhering to your space needs, making the machine more stable.

Warranty

You should certainly consider purchasing an elliptical with a warranty. Different manufacturers will offer different types of warranties, so be sure to read the fine print before making a purchase.

Consider not only the length of the warranty but also the scope of coverage. Many warranties will cover parts but not labor. On the other hand, some warranties might cover both parts and labor, but only last for thirty days.

How to Get a Good Workout on an Elliptical

Incline

The ability to adjust the incline on your machine can have a major impact on the effectiveness of your workout. Unlike treadmills, not all elliptical trainers have the option to increase or decrease their incline. However, if you find one that fits your stride length, footprint and other needs, an elliptical with incline adjustability is a huge bonus!

The incline of the machine can be adjusted to target different muscle groups. An elliptical without an incline feature will most likely offer a very flat range of movement and will focus only on one set of muscles every time you workout. With a variable incline, you will be able to change it up with each workout and avoid hitting a plateau.

When you increase the incline on an elliptical, you are increasing the intensity of the workout. It is basically the difference between walking on a flat trail or hiking up the side of a mountain or a steep hill. Your cardiovascular workout intensity will increase and your quads and glutes will have to work harder.

Programming

One of the most important factors to many elliptical buyers is the availability of programs and digital connectivity within the console. If you want to know how to get a good workout on an elliptical, consider buying one with workouts already built-in. Different machines will offer different features as it pertains to workout modes, fitness trackers and personal entertainment.

Workout Modes are settings within the machine that offer pre-designed workouts. These often include things like “fat burn”, “weight loss” and “HIIT” workouts. These programs will increase and decrease the resistance and incline for you during your workout. If you want the machine to do all the thinking for you so you don’t have to, this is a great feature to look for when purchasing an elliptical for your home.

Fitness Trackers are often programmed into the console of some of the top ellipticals. These trackers can do a variety of things from checking your pulse to setting goals and tracking your progress. Some even have the ability to connect wirelessly to personal fitness trackers like smartwatches and heart rate monitors. If you thrive on keep track of data, you definitely want to look for an elliptical with these features

Personal entertainment features are also a huge consideration when looking at the console of your machine. If you want to be able to watch TV, connect to the internet, or have on-demand videos at your fingertips while working out, be sure to look for those features. If you prefer to use your own iPad, tablet, or another device, make sure the console has the appropriate holding space.

Conclusion

If you’re in the market for the best elliptical under $500, we highly encourage you to check out these products. They all deliver a great full body workout for a very reasonable price, in the convenience of your home! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of an elliptical trainer?

An elliptical trainer offers a variable, full-body, cardiovascular workout. You can make it as high or low intensity as you choose by changing your speed and resistance. An elliptical trainer allows you to get a great workout with minimal impact on your joints. This is particularly beneficial if you have arthritis in your knees, hips, or ankles. It is also helpful if you’re overcoming an injury or just beginning to exercise.

What are the different types of ellipticals?

Ellipticals can be categorized as rear-drive, front-drive, or center drive.  Rear-drive machines have the axis of movement in the back of the machine. You typically have to step over the foot pedals to get on the machine and it will feel like a normal walking or running motion. Front-drive machines will have the axis in the front. They will be easier to step onto and will feel more like a hill climb or a stair stepper.  Center drive machines have the axis in the center.  This is the most recent elliptical design. 

About the author

Jenny Beadle

Jenny is a fitness enthusiast and home product guru. She has more than 20 years of experience in the health & fitness industry. Having a Master's Degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition, she's provided services to clients in both exercise and healthy meal prep.

As a real estate investor with tremendous exposure to different homes and home products, Jenny brings a wealth of knowledge to this space. She is passionate about recommending her great finds right here on The Home Dweller.

You can contact Jenny via e-mail at jenny@thehomedweller.com.

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