When it comes to home fitness equipment, nothing beats having your own elliptical. Ellipticals are incredibly effective in helping you burn calories while offering a great low-impact method of keeping active.
Whether you’re looking to tone up, boost your fitness, or simply keep mobile, an elliptical machine will do the job as well or better than any other home fitness equipment. Unlike so many other machines out there, they provide full-body stimulation, so you can use just the one machine to get a total workout!
If you don’t have a lot of cash to spend, there’s no need to worry. In this guide, we’ll show you the best elliptical machines for under $500. All you have to do is make sure you choose the perfect model to suit your needs and available space at home!
Top Ellipticals Under $500 At a Glance
Best Elliptical Under $500 Overall
The compact design of the 411 allows for natural movement without taking up too much space. Both fixed and moving handlebars allow for versatility and the cushioned, pivoting footplates help with comfort. Bluetooth tracking and a large display let you track and map your workouts through numerous entertaining courses designed to keep you motivated during a workout. Simply put, you’ll find all the best features of the higher-end models in a more compact design, at a significantly lower price.
Next Best Sub-$500 Elliptical Trainer
With 16 levels of magnetic resistance and 24 workout programs, you don’t have to worry about running out of options with the FS2.5 Elliptical Trainer. An integrated receiver allows you to use a chest strap heart rate monitor or stationary heart rate grips for the best results possible. Despite being so affordable, you’ll receive a sturdy steel frame and a 22-pound, rear-mounted flywheel for smooth and consistent motion.
The Best Ellipticals Under $500
|Schwinn 411 Elliptical||
|Xterra FS2.5 Elliptical Trainer||
|ProForm 150I Elliptical||
|MaxKare Magnetic Elliptical Machine||
|Schwinn 411 Elliptical|
|Xterra FS2.5 Elliptical Trainer|
|ProForm 150I Elliptical|
|MaxKare Magnetic Elliptical Machine|
To start things off, we have the Schwinn 411 Elliptical. Schwinn is one of the most popular names in the sports world, due to their consistently high-quality products. The 411 may be easy on the budget, but it comes packed with an array of features typically found in models twice the price.
It comes as no surprise that Nautilus is their parent company, since the 411 features a similar small footprint as many of their successful models. If your home is tight on space, you’ll love how this streamlined design allows for a complete workout without taking up much room. The only downside to the compact size is that you only have an 18” stride, which isn’t ideal for particularly tall users (though still great for most).
No matter what your current fitness level is, you’ll be able to find a program that works for you. 13 built-in workout programs let you choose between HIIT, heart rate, personalized goals, and much more. Along with that, you get 16 resistance levels, allowing you to fine-tune the workout to your specific needs.
Wireless heart rate capability tracks HR hands-free in a more accurate and convenient manner, while Bluetooth workout tracking offers a more immersive experience – “running” around the world. What more could you want?
- Compact size is great for small spaces
- Wireless HR capability
- Bluetooth workout tracking
- Nice selection of workout programs/resistance
The Not So Good
- 18” stride may be a bit short for very tall users
The Xterra FS2.5 Elliptical Trainer is another cross-trainer machine that’s listed at such a low price for what you get in return. For example, it comes with 16 levels of digital magnetic resistance, along with another 24 workout programs! To change up the level of difficulty, you have one-touch adjustments for quickness and convenience.
Much like the previous model on this guide, the FS2.5 also allows for a chest strap heart rate monitor to be incorporated for increased accuracy. You’ll find a large, 5-inch color LCD display to track your stats, as well. To keep yourself immersed and entertained, the display also comes with built-in speakers for you to listen to your tunes out loud.
Made with durability in mind, the frame is comprised of heavy-duty steel for long-lasting use. On top of that, a 22-pound flywheel ensures smooth and consistent movement. You can pedal forward or in reverse, depending on the muscle groups you’d like to work on.
To further add to the high level of quality, you’ll get handy extras such as oversized foot pedals to prevent slipping, and leveler adjustments that work on any surface to ensure your equipment is level and sturdy.
- Can pedal forward or reverse
- 22-pound flywheel for smooth, consistent motion
- Leveler adjustments for stability
- Strong steel construction
- Large color, backlit display with built-in speakers
The Not So Good
- Doesn’t include Bluetooth connectivity options
If you’re on the hunt for a great elliptical for under $500 but are really tight on space, then look no further! The Cubii Pro is the perfect elliptical for those who want to get a workout in while they’re watching TV or using the computer.
The easy-to-assemble machine looks sleek and modern in either Noir or Chrome. Quiet and compact, it’s perfect to use in environments where you don’t want to be a disturbance to others.
Connecting with an app via Bluetooth, you can track your calories burned, distance, duration, and strides. Also, it connects to the Fitbit app, tracking your stats across various devices seamlessly. You can even set it up to have it remind you to work out!
Weighing 28 pounds and coming with chair wheel stoppers, it’s incredibly sturdy. However, this relatively heavy weight does make it a bit challenging to move around freely, although it does include a handle between the pedals to make it easier.
Finally, you’ll be able to move between 8 different resistance levels. Admittedly, this isn’t as much as the others on this guide, though it’s more than enough for a great workout.
- Very compact and perfect for use at desks/couches/chairs
- Syncs to various apps
- Looks and feels high-quality
The Not So Good
- Somewhat heavy
- Only 8 levels of resistance
The ProForm 150I Elliptical features everything you need and more to get in a good workout. Whether you’re looking for a new piece of equipment to incorporate into your home gym, or a standalone unit, you’re sure to be happy with this machine.
With 12 resistance levels, it offers plenty of variation to keep your workouts interesting and challenging. On top of that, with iFit features (membership required) you can participate in interactive sessions, “running” on Google Street View anywhere in the world or racing against friends and family members virtually. The iPod-compatible audio also lets you navigate through your music so you’re never unmotivated.
Track your progress on the large LCD display, where you can also monitor your heart rate with the included EKG monitor. The moving hand grips are well-padded and offer you a full-body workout if you want to maximize your calorie burn and get your upper and lower body working. Oversized pedals combined with the inertia-enhanced flywheel made it a smooth and sturdy experience.
The only real complaint was that assembly was pretty time consuming.
- Space-saving design
- Connects to WiFi/various apps for unique workout experiences
- Padded handlebars, wide foot pads
- EKG monitor
The Not So Good
- Assembly is a bit challenging
This MaxKare Elliptical is another great lower cost and space saving cross-trainer. The smooth and reliable motion is perfect for intervals and for particularly intense workout sessions. The sleek black body with blue accents will look great in any home gym and is made of solid steel capable of supporting up to 330 pounds.
With 8 resistance settings, you get as many as the Cubii Pro, which isn’t all that generous but is still enough to avoid plateauing and more than capable for use in HIIT workouts. The dual-track pedals are oversized to work with any size or shape of foot, and a non-slip surface to ensure safe use, even during more intense workouts.
Dual-action handlebars consist of exterior bars and inner handles. The external set offers a push-pull motion to engage the chest and back, while the internal set features heartrate monitors that transmit your stats to the large LCD monitor in the center console. Also, you can pedal backward or forward, allowing you to better target different muscle groups.
If you would like to move your elliptical for whatever reason when you’re finished, simply use the transportation wheels to roll it wherever you need to stow it away.
- Great mobility features with dual handlebars, reverse pedaling
- Large LCD monitor
- Easy to transport
- Low Noise
The Not So Good
- Relatively few resistance levels
Should You Get a Lower Cost Elliptical?
If you’re on a tight budget and are looking to stay in shape or simply remain mobile, then it’s a resounding “yes”. Elliptical machines provide plenty of benefits, no matter what your current physical shape is.
In our modern-day society, it can sometimes be hard to find time to go to the gym. The best elliptical machines under $500 will burn fat, increase endurance, improve blood flow, improve recovery, and much more.
Ellipticals are perfect to use at home as they’re durable and hold up well with regular use. On top of that, you can get a great workout in without disturbing anyone else as they’re so smooth and quiet.
The only caveat here is that, while there are plenty of great cross-trainers available for less than $500, you typically get what you pay for. If you have the extra cash handy, and are more concerned with quality and durability, then check out the higher priced models. Consider either the best elliptical machines the market has to offer, or models that are at or below $1000.
Choosing the Right Elliptical Under $500
Look for an elliptical machine that will simultaneously suit the available space in your home but also allow for a long enough stride for your height and individual preferences. You don’t want to be bumping into any walls or furniture!
Even if you’re just starting out, versatility is crucial for your results and user experience. Our bodies acclimate quickly, so to continue progressing, we can’t keep working out on the same resistance levels or workout programs. 8 resistance settings should be the minimum at this price point and ideally a few built-in workout programs (the more, the better).
Ellipticals in the $500 price category are often seen as “budget products”, though they don’t have to perform like them. For example, there are plenty with steel frames that will easily last you 10 years or longer. Also look over the warranty and make sure you’re aware of how long it is and what it covers.
In this price range, it’s not common to have top-of-the-line technology, though there are some that do. If it’s important to you, there are some with Bluetooth connectivity, so you can sync your smartphone or tablet and track your stats seamlessly. There are also some that connect to apps which let you “run” through “worlds” with friends and family which can help with motivation! If you really like listening to music while exercising, then look for those with built-in speakers and smartphone connectivity options.
If it’s not comfortable, you’re not going to use it – it’s as simple as that. Padded handlebars and large footplates with anti-slip surfaces can go a long way. This will allow for more intense workouts without you worrying about your feet slipping and sliding around. Additionally, footplates that slightly rotate to allow for more natural movement not only lower the risk of injury but also add to the level of comfort.
Frequently Asked Questions About Affordable Elliptical Machines
Are ellipticals effective?
Yes, they are. Research shows that an elliptical is just as effective as a treadmill when it comes to burning calories. What sets ellipticals apart from other machines is the fact that they are low impact, so they’re easy on the joints. They are also perfect for those just getting back into exercising or recovering from an injury/surgery. Moreover, moving handlebars allows you to work the upper body as well, for a total body workout. Most come with accurate heart rate monitoring so you can track your statistics and train accordingly to reach your goals quicker.
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.
What is the best elliptical machine for the money?
There are many great options out there, such as the Schwinn 411 and the Xterra FS2.5, both of which come with modern technology. These two models are also space-saving, smooth to operate, and come with ample resistance and workout program options.
The frame and flywheel quality, along with the number of resistance levels and sophistication of the console greatly affect the pricing. The most sophisticated ones are more likely to be found amongst the best ellipticals under $1000. However, if you just need something very basic right away and are really trying to save some cash, the best budget elliptical machines also have some great selections.
Well, there you have it: The Best Ellipticals Under $500.
We’ve done our research to show you the top-performing machines at a great price – many of which have features typically found in models two or three times the price! No matter which one you select, you’re sure to be able to enhance your physical fitness and have a great time doing it. However, what’s most important is that you select the elliptical most well-suited to you. We hope this guide has helped you to do just that!