Top 5 Best Ellipticals Under $500
Ellipticals under $500 are very popular cardio exercise machines, offering good value for the money spent.
Although these units lack features found in more expensive ellipticals, they are stronger and sturdier than cheaper, under $300 units. Ellipticals under $500 offer sturdy construction, a large number of exercise programs, can accommodate heavier users, have better warranty conditions, etc.
Updated: September 7, 2022.
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Ellipticals under $500 - What to Expect?
Regardless if you are interested in ellipticals in order to equip your home gym, or you need one to increase your strength and stamina and stay in shape while working out at the privacy of your home, ellipticals under $500 have plenty to offer.
Maximum User Weight Supported is maximum allowed user weight that should use a certain exercise machine, in this case, elliptical exercise machine. Maximum user weight of these units is in 300-330 pounds (~136-150 kg) range, which is more than enough in most cases.
Smooth and Quiet Operation: magnetic break systems combined with relatively large flywheels and sturdy, steel construction, ensure smooth motion without making much noise during exercise. Since there are not strong electric motors (required by, for example, treadmills), ellipticals may be surprisingly quiet during exercise - thus, many people even keep them in their living rooms and exercise (low to moderate pace) while watching TV for example, burning large amount of calories.
Gentle on the joints: smooth operation with no impacts also means that ellipticals are very gentle on the joints, especially ankles, knees and hips. While treadmills use different cushioning systems to protect the runners' joints, ellipticals support the users feet the whole time reducing the stress.
Full Body Workout: most ellipticals in this category feature two sets of handlebars - one pair is fixed, while another pair may be used for upper body cardio workout. The more muscles are used, the more calories is being burned, increasing the effect of the workouts.
Stride Length varies depending on the elliptical construction and is usually between 14 and 18 inches (~36 - 46 cm). Taller people should go for stride length of at least 17-20 inches - author of this article is 6'2" (188 cm) and ellipticals under 17" stride length feel little bit awkward to work with (it is easily doable, but it just simply feels awkward ...).
Number of workout programs varies between 5-8 and 24 or even more exercise programs. The more programs elliptical exercise machine has, there is more chance of avoiding the boredom. Since some units feature Bluetooth connectivity, it is possible to connect them to various fitness applications, offering practically endless number of workout programs - for example, you can 'run' through the streets of New York, while actually working out at your home.
Heart Rate Sensors are positioned on the handlebars (usually fixed ones), allowing the user to monitor the heart rate while exercising - 'zone' workouts. Since users often use ellipticals using mobile handlebars, some models feature support for chest strap heart rate monitors, allowing the users to monitor heart rate without the use of contact sensors.
There are also other features that one should look for, for example, water bottle holder, media rack, speakers, cooling fans, number of user profiles, USB/MP3 ports, etc. All these features are great to have, but they also increase the price of the units.
Here is the price comparison of the top 5 ellipticals under $500:
As one can see, prices differs, but also their features and specifications.
Note: at the writing of this article, all 5 models were between $300 and $500. But, over time price may change without previous note ...
Here are the short reviews and recommendations of what we believe are the best 5 ellipticals in this price range.
1. Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine
As it name suggests, Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine is rather compact elliptical trainer, featuring rather small footprint. Schwinn 411 features front flywheel with magnetic brake system, offering smooth and quiet ride and 16 levels of resistance.
Despite its compact dimensions, Schwinn 411 comes with 18 inches long stride and two types of handlebars - fixed and moving handlebars, ensuring full body cardio workout.
5.5" high contrast LCD display is easy to read (time, speed, distance, calorie, heart rate etc) even during the exercise.
Schwinn 411 comes with 13 builtin exercise programs.
Heart rate monitors are on the handlebars, but Schwinn 411 also support the use of chest strap heart rate monitors (which is not included).
RunSocial App offers workouts through 19 locations with 27 routes, while tracking pace and distance.
Maximum allowed user weight is 300 pounds - even heavier people can have impact-free cardio exercise at home. When assembled, its physical dimensions are (LXWxH) 53.8 x 24 x 62.5 inches. It weighs ~100 pounds and if required, it can be moved around using its transport wheels.
Schwinn 411 warranty includes frame 10 years, parts 2 years, electronics 1 year and labor 90 days.
Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine may be found usually under $500 mark, although in some shops and stores it costs slightly more than $500.
Despite its compact dimensions, Schwinn 411 offers decent stride (decent - when compared with mostly $500+ models), compact design, plenty of exercise and other features that more than justify its price.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Schwinn 411 Compact Elliptical Machine Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
2. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3912
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3912 is not as compact as Schwinn 411, but it features 330 pounds (~150 kg) user weight limit, and 24 workout programs.
Console features a multi-window LCD display in order to show all workout parameters at the same time - the console tracks time, distance, total distance, speed, pulse, RPM, watts and calories burned with the goal functions for workout time, distance, calories, and heart rate.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3912 is sturdy and stable elliptical exercise machine with adjustable stabilizers on the rear base and transport wheels on the front one. It also features fixed and mobile handlebars and large, non-slip pedals.
Flywheel weighs 13.2 pounds (~6 kg) and in combination with strong construction offers stable exercise platform and smooth and quiet operation.
Assembled dimensions of the Sunny SF-E3912 (L x W x H) are 59 x 23.5 x 64 inches (150 x 60 x 163 cm) and it weighs 104.8 lbs (47.5 kg).
Its stride length is 'only' 14 inches (35.5 cm) - its stride length could be longer, since taller people may find it little bit odd/short, at least in the beginning.
Warranty conditions include 3 years warranty on the frame and 180 days on the parts - warranty conditions might be better.
The Sunny SF-E3912 doesn't feature online connectivity - but it comes with 24 programs, which is more than enough for most fitness enthusiasts that want good cardio session at home for rather acceptable price.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3912 Elliptical Machine Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
3. Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine
Schwinn A40 elliptical machine assembled dimensions are (L x W x H) 59 x 23 x 64 inches (~150 x 59 x 163 cm) and it weighs 90.4 pounds (~41 kg). Unit is not the lightest on the market, but it is sturdy and offers stable workout platform.
Its maximum allowed user weight is 275 pounds (~124.5 kg) which is enough for most people. Also, it features stride length of 17.5 inches (~44.5 cm), which is just a little bit shorter of Schwinn 411 (18 inches) and longer than Sunny SF-E3912 (14 inches).
Schwinn A40 also features magnetic break system with 8 adjustable levels and 7 workout programs.
During operation, Schwinn A40 is rather quiet elliptical, with smooth and gentle motion.
Its warranty conditions include: frame 10 years, mechanical 1 year, electrical 1 year, labor 60 days and wear items 60 days.
Schwinn A40 lacks online connectivity, it doesn't offer large number of programs, number of resistance levels could be larger etc. But, this is strong and sturdy workout platform, built to last, with minimum maintenance, highly recommended for people not requiring 'fancy' features.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
4. Body Champ BRT9789 3-in-1 Trio Trainer
Body Champ BRT9789 3-in-1 Trio Trainer is hybrid cardio exercise machine that may be used as an elliptical trainer and as versatile exercise bike (upright bike, recumbent bike, seated road bike, sprint road bike - for short, a versatile exercise bike machine).
Body Champ BRT9789 3-in-1 Trio Trainer comes with three sets of handlebars: fixed front handlebars with heart rate monitors, mobile handlebars for full body exercise in elliptical 'mode' and seated handlebars for use in recumbent bike mode.
Note: none of these exercise modes require any modification of the unit itself, allowing the user to change cardio workout by simply taking another position during exercise.
Maximum user limit is 250 pounds (~113 kg) and this might be a limitation factor for many heavier users.
Unit comes with 21 built-in exercise programs, which is more than enough to avoid boredom and to help burn more calories and build strength and stamina.
Body Champ BRT9789 3-in-1 Trio Trainer features 1-year frame warranty and 90 days on other parts - warranty is OK, but IMHO, it could be better.
If you are lighter person that needs a versatile exercise machine (not just elliptical) and wants to save on number of exercise machines, consider this unit.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Body Champ 3-in-1 Trio Trainer Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
5. Marcy ME-1017E Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
Marcy ME-1017E is simple, affordable, but also sturdy and stable elliptical trainer, offering most required features at great price.
When assembled, Marcy ME-1017E physical dimensions are (L x W x H) 53 x 24 x 64 inches (~135 x 61 x 163 cm) and it weighs 92 pounds (~41.7 kg).
Maximum supported user weight is 250 pounds (~113 kg) and stride length is 14 inches (~35.6 cm).
The Marcy ME-1017E features a battery-powered computer LCD display showing time elapsed, distance traveled, heart rate and calories burned.
Heart rate sensors are placed on the fixed handlebars, with mobile handlebars offering full body workouts.
Marcy ME-1017E is powered with 2 AA batteries which are not included.
During operation, this elliptical is rather quiet.
Transport wheels help the user move the elliptical on required position, although this (or any other) elliptical should be placed on the permanent position, preferably on the good home gym protective mat and used frequently.
Marcy ME-1017E is simple to use and maintain elliptical, recommended to lighter people not requiring any advanced features (online connectivity and similar).
For more reviews and recommendations, check Marcy ME-1017E Elliptical Trainer Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Long Story Short: Best ellipticals under $500 have plenty to offer and their prices differ, according to their features and specifications.
When picking 'ideal' elliptical for your own needs, don't forget that it is YOU who has to workout, not the exercise machine :) So, choose according to your own needs and preferences.
Of course, there are other great ellipticals on the market in this price category ($300-$500) offering similar features, but these 5 are our top 5 picks.