Whether you’re looking to get in shape on a budget or simply searching for a way to remain active without buying a ton of gear, an elliptical machine can help you out. Contrary to what many may think, a high-quality elliptical doesn’t have to empty out your wallet. In fact, the guide below is full of excellent options: The best budget ellipticals (under $300!)
While treadmills are a popular choice, they simply place too much stress on the joints for many people (particularly ankles, knees and hips). Ellipticals are a low impact alternative which is perfect for long-term use, for those not accustomed to regular exercise, and for those with weak knees or who are recovering from an injury. Offering a natural path of motion, you’re at a greatly reduced risk of injury. Moreover, the pedals in conjunction with the upper handlebars offer dual-action workout so nothing is left out.
However, these machines vary widely in price and quality. In this article, we’ll go through the best budget elliptical machines on the market today, all under $300.
Top Budget Ellipticals At a Glance
Best Budget Elliptical Overall
It may be low on price but it’s heavy in features. The SF-E905 is a straightforward machine that’s easy to use and perfect for all levels of athleticism. Relatively smooth and reliable motion combined with sufficient resistance settings ensure you’ll stay challenged. This comfortable model is nice and compact and perfect for tight spaces.
Best Mini Elliptical Under $300
You really can get fit while you sit with the Cubii Jr. Perfect for extremely limited spaces or for staying active while working, the ergonomic design comes with 8 levels of resistance to keep you burning calories. Quiet and smooth operation won’t interrupt anyone around you and a built-in monitor tracks all stats to help you reach your goals.
The Best Budget Ellipticals
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine||
|Cubii Jr. Seated Elliptical||
|Xterra Fitness EU100 Hybrid Elliptical||
|MaxKare Elliptical Machine||
|Body Rider Fan Elliptical Trainer||
|Stamina InMotion E1000 Compact Strider||
|Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical Machine|
|Cubii Jr. Seated Elliptical|
|Xterra Fitness EU100 Hybrid Elliptical|
|MaxKare Elliptical Machine|
|Body Rider Fan Elliptical Trainer|
|Stamina InMotion E1000 Compact Strider|
Known for delivering straightforward yet high-quality exercise machines at an affordable price, you’ll find Sunny Health & Fitness products at the top of many lists. And for those who value simplicity, quality, and low cost the SF-E905 is the best choice in bargain elliptical machines.
If you’re just getting into a fitness routine, you’ll appreciate the low-impact, full-body workout this budget cross-trainer offers. If you’re already fit, then you’ll be able to advance into the higher of the 8 different magnetic resistance levels, all of which can be easily adjusted with the twist of the micro-controller.
Being limited on space doesn’t have to hinder your progress, and the SF-E905 shows you why. The compact frame is designed to fit into smaller home gyms, while still offering a long enough stride for the majority of users.
While it offers a smooth stride (relatively speaking), there may be moments while transitioning between speeds where it is a bit “delayed” or slow. However, it gets the job done and comes with onboard stabilizers, large anti-slip footplates, aerodynamic moving arms, and smaller stationary arms for added comfort and versatility. The one-piece frame is made of tough steel and in this price range, is easily one of the most durable.
Tracking real data is important in making real changes, so Sunny have also added in a digital monitor which displays time traveled, speed, distance, calories, and pulse. All-in-all, this elliptical is a great pick at a very attractive price point.
- Digital monitor displays important stats
- Non-slip handlebars and large foot pads
- One-piece steel frame
- Compact design
The Not So Good
- Not 100% smooth motion
- Digital monitor isn’t particularly advanced
The Cubii Jr. is a one-of-a-kind, “meet-in-the-middle” design, offering a solid array of features and performance but at a significantly lower price than other ellipticals.
You can choose from either Silver or Turquoise colorways – both are trendy and look great, even if you decide to leave it out in the living room or office. The scratch-resistant model looks and operates like new, even with daily, heavy use.
While it doesn’t come with the Bluetooth connectivity that the more advanced Cubii Pro does, it has just about everything else you could want in an under-desk elliptical. The ergonomic design ensures your joints are moving naturally, lowering the risk of injury while maximizing efficacy. With 8 levels of resistance, you get just as much versatility as you would with some of its full-sized counterparts.
Whisper-quiet operation along with a smooth gliding motion make it excellent for use when you need quiet time. If you’re developing back or neck pain from sitting all day, you’ll appreciate how the Cubii Jr. helps to improve posture and encourage proper spinal alignment.
The built-in, user-friendly display monitor tracks your calories burned, distance, RPM, and stride, even if it is on the small side. Overall, the Cubii Jr. is the perfect tool for multitasking and getting that workout in!
- Perfect for small spaces/use under desks
- Ergonomic, natural feel
- 8 resistance levels
- Whisper-quiet, smooth operation
The Not So Good
- Display is fairly small and difficult to read during operation
- Doesn’t work the upper body
Staying on the path of non-typical elliptical trainers, let’s take a look at our next model: The Xterra Fitness EU100 Hybrid Elliptical. As you can probably deduce from the name, it combines two fitness machines – an elliptical of course, and an upright bike. This offers you the option to either sit down and pedal or stand and incorporate your upper body.
As it addresses every muscle group, you’ll be able to maximize your results and reach your goals in a shorter amount of time. The steel frame is tough for its low price point and includes wide footplates and comfortable moving arms. Made with high-density foam, the adjustable seat is fairly flexible and contoured for extended use and minimized hot spots.
Just like the others we’ve covered so far, this highly-rated budget elliptical machine comes with 8 resistance levels, and because it uses manual magnetic resistance, no power is required! Unfortunately, this also means the console doesn’t come with built-in programs to adjust the resistance automatically. It does, however, monitor the main workout stats like time, distance, speed, calories, pulse, etc.
Overall, the EU100 Hybrid Elliptical is a straightforward, effective machine perfect for those who are serious about results but could do without the frills.
- Double functionality
- Sturdy frame
- Large, comfortable seat and footplates
- Quiet belt drive system – no power required
The Not So Good
- Display screen is basic
- No automatic control of resistance
This cross-trainer from MaxKare is a surprisingly good elliptical, despite its seriously affordable price. In this category, you can expect it to be one of the smoothest and most stable machines, meaning you’ll have complete confidence while using it. The sleek black body with blue accents will look great in any home gym or as a standalone piece in, say, your living room.
The compact footprint makes it perfect if you don’t have a lot of free space, but also means the stride length is shorter than many others, at just 13.5”. The short length makes it great for shorter users, but if you’re taller you’ll be better off with another model on our guide.
Just like the others, the MaxKare elliptical also comes with 8 resistance settings. The dual-track pedals are oversized to accommodate any size of foot, with a non-slip surface to keep you stable even during intense workouts.
For a full-body workout, take advantage of the dual-action handlebars. The LCD monitor is large, tracking your exercise stats with timely data feedback to keep you motivated. On top of that, you can use the iPad holder to enjoy some entertainment while you’re sweating!
If you need to move the machine to stow away when you’re finished, simply use the transportation wheels to roll it wherever you need it to go.
- Full-body workout
- Compact size
- iPad holder
- Large LCD display
The Not So Good
- Not ideal for taller users
Both extremely compact and affordable, the Body Rider Fan Elliptical Trainer is easily one of the best ellipticals you can get for under $300. Using an air resistance system, you’ll find a fan wheel that operates quietly so as not to disturb anyone else in your home. You’ll further save money by not having to use electricity to operate it, too!
The digital display is located right above the tension knob, displaying your workout time, calories burnt, and distance covered. It does not monitor heart rate, however.
To adjust the resistance level, you have a convenient knob located in the center to quickly change up the intensity. This makes it great for hills and even intervals. Despite being so affordable, you can still count on it being a reliable piece of equipment, with a solid steel frame. On top of that, if you’re a beginner and don’t know where to begin, they’ve even tossed in a video workout guide which proved to be helpful.
As you can probably see, this model isn’t the most technologically advanced out there, but if you’re someone who appreciates simplicity and just wants to get in a good workout, then we highly recommend giving this unique fan elliptical trainer a good look.
- Sturdy steel construction
- Electricity-free operation
- Adjustable fan resistance
- Dual action handlebars
The Not So Good
- Very basic
- Uses friction resistance, which is noisier and less robust than magnetic
If you want a good elliptical machine under $300 and like the look of the Cubii Jr but don’t want to spend that extra cash, the Stamina InMotion E1000 Compact Strider may be the option for you. Another excellent alternative to your typical elliptical, it’s incredibly portable and perfect for the office or studio.
Weighing just 24 lbs, you can transport it with ease. While it may spend the majority of time under a desk or table, you’ll still appreciate its good looks. Coming in Silver, Green, or Orange, it’ll even look great in shared spaces like the living room. While it may be small and relatively lightweight, its steel frame construction makes it very tough.
It’s also one of the most versatile under desk ellipticals, providing various possibilities; use it sitting, standing, forward, or reverse. This helps to target different muscle groups for a more complete workout. The notably quiet machine is great for all kinds of environments, noisy or otherwise. With textured pedals, you can pedal as hard and fast as you’d like without worrying about your feet slipping and sliding around too.
The multi-function monitor makes it easy to track your workout stats, and even comes with a scan function so you can check out your past results as you please. It may not be the most advanced, but it’s large enough to read clearly, even while standing up.
- Very portable and convenient
- Trendy colorways
- Sturdy steel construction
- Versatile possibilities
The Not So Good
- Doesn’t offer upper-body workout
Should You Get an Elliptical Trainer for Under $300?
If you’re serious about your health and wellness, then the answer is “yes”. Elliptical machines can be excellent tools for improving your cardiovascular fitness no matter your current activity level or experience. You can burn fat, increase mobility, boost mood and energy, speed up recovery, and so much more. Designed to be low-impact, they’re easy on the joints yet still very effective. Aside from that, they’re comfortable and very quiet, as your feet constantly maintain contact with the footplates.
It can be difficult to find quality machines in this price category, but those on our guide above are well worth it. As there are so many different types, you’re sure to find at least one which suits your lifestyle. From full-body workouts to pedaling as you work at the computer or play games, they’re meant to get you moving and yield real results. Elliptical trainers are durable, quiet to operate, and easily track your stats so you can see how you’ve progressed.
You get full control over the intensity, which will allow you to avoid plateauing and constantly keep your body guessing for the most effective fitness plans.
With all of that said, as with most fitness equipment you get what you pay for. Budget machines are necessarily basic, and they’re often made with lower quality materials and parts than their more expensive counterparts. Indeed, you’re unlikely to get the same durability, versatility or functionality as you will from a high-end elliptical. But it’s not a case of having to choose between the very top of the range or bottom of the range; the market has a broad spectrum of models. If you don’t like to compromise too much on quality and have a little extra money to spend, check out the range of ellipticals under $500. If you have a little more cash on hand again, take a look at the top cross-trainers for under $1000.
Choosing the Best Budget Elliptical
When it comes to purchasing a low-cost elliptical, the key factors to consider to ensure you make a good purchase are size, versatility, durability, technology, and type.
Where will you be using your best budget elliptical machine? Think about and measure the available space you have for this purpose. Make sure the machine you have your eye on will work with the available space in your home but also allow for a long enough stride for your height and personal preferences.
No matter where you are in your fitness journey, versatility is important if you want to gain and continue seeing results. What may work wonders for you the first month may not be a challenge at all the second. To avoid plateaus, you need ample resistance setting options. Eight settings is the standard in this price range, though if you have more, that’s even better.
While ellipticals at this price point are often poorly made, the models on our guide are here for a reason. They’ve demonstrated they were built for durability, often made with steel frames that can support at least 200-250 pounds. With these kinds of materials, you can expect to have the machine around and operating well for 5-10 years. Also look over the warranty and make sure you know how long it is and what it covers.
When we’re discussing the best ellipticals under 300 dollars, cutting-edge technology is not usually the standard. Regardless, we recommend selecting a model that comes with a solid display that will clearly monitor vital statistics of your workout and how you performed. If simplicity is your thing, then you may enjoy the models that don’t even need to be plugged into a power outlet. These are usually the least expensive and will save you even more money on your power bill!
As you can see, there are different sub-types of ellipticals. You have the smaller under-desk types like the Cubii Jr. and the InMotion, the dual-function elliptical like the EU100 Hybrid, and the standards. The standard models are great, but the dual function provides more flexibility and can address different muscle groups. If you’re really tight on space or just want to pedal (don’t need handlebars), then the under-desks are great.
Frequently Asked Questions About Budget Ellipticals
Are ellipticals effective?
Yes, they are. They are low impact so they’re great on the joints, which will make you feel better over time or if you’re recovering from an injury/surgery. On top of that, they provide a full-body workout that targets both the upper and lower muscle groups. Thanks to the display monitors, you’ll also be able to track your stats for improved goal-reaching.
What size elliptical do I need?
If you’re 5’3” or shorter, you’ll need a stride length of 16-18 inches. If you’re between 5’3” and 5’7” an 18-20” stride length is perfect. If you’re taller than 5’7”, then look at 22-inch strides.
Now, having said all of the above, you’ll be hard pressed to find a budget elliptical with a stride length greater than about 14″. What this means, is that it may feel a little cramped while using it and is something you’ll have to get used to. In fact, it’s probably going to feel a bit like you’re walking down stairs at first.
What is the best elliptical machine for the money?
There are many great options out there, like the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 and the Cubii Jr. The Cubii Jr. is a revolutionary product designed to help you burn calories while you’re multitasking and is very durable and smooth. The SF-E905 is also quiet and smooth but comes with features commonly seen in much more expensive models.
Well, there you have it: The Best Budget Ellipticals