Adding one of the best ellipticals under 500 pounds or dollars to your home gym can be a great way of improving your cardio setup for less.
Although not too dissimilar to an exercise bike, an elliptical has the advantage that it can train your entire body by mimicking a motion best described as cross-country skiing. Therefore, you should find you burn a ton of calories in a relatively short space of time using an elliptical despite the movement being a fairly low-impact exercise.
If this sounds like the cardio machine and one of the best pieces of home gym equipment for you, then our list of top picks, based on features, price, and reviews, should be the ideal place to begin your search. From some of the best cross trainers around, like this Schwinn Fitness 411, to ellipticals, like this Stamina 55-1602, built for office use, we've got everything you need right here.
We've also answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding ellipticals to help you come to an informed decision on whether this particular cardio machine is right for you. So, without further delay, here are our best ellipticals under 500...
Best elliptical under 500
- Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3607
- Schwinn Fitness 411
- Exerpeutic 6000 QF
- Gazelle GEDGECAT Edge Glider
- Stamina 55-1602
- Body Power Trio Trainer
1. Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3607
Best elliptical under 500 overall
Max. Weight: 330lbs
Sunny Health & Fitness, as shown by our list of the best exercise bikes under 500 dollars, is one of the best manufacturers of budget fitness gear around, so it may come as no surprise we're featuring the company again here.
Its Magnetic Elliptical comes with a heavy internal flywheel, a belt-driven mechanism, and adjustable resistance which is designed to keep your workouts challenging as you progress toward your fitness goals. Moreover, you get an onboard display that tracks your speed, distance, calories burned, RPM, and watt generation, as well as 24 unique workout modes to keep your workout routines interesting.
Ultimately, we feel this magnetic machine is a great option to consider if you're looking to upgrade your home gym without breaking the bank.
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2. Schwinn Fitness 411
Best compact elliptical under 500
Max. Weight: 300lbs
If you're limited to space and in need of something slightly more compact, then this Schwinn Fitness 411 might be your answer
Even though it features a space-saving design, you still get an 18” stride length which should be more than suitable regardless of height. It also comes with 16 levels of resistance that you can dial up or down depending on how challenging you want your workout to be, which is great as it allows for heaps of progression and, in our opinion, puts this elliptical in and amongst some of the best exercise machines for weight loss around.
It's also worth noting that you get what Schwinn calls a built-in media rack to hold your tablet, so you can watch your favourite TV shows or stream exercise classes to inspire your next workout.
Read More: Best treadmills under 500
3. Exerpeutic 6000 QF
Best smart elliptical under 500
Max. Weight: 270lbs
The Exerpeutic 6000 QF is an outstanding cross trainer, boasting impressive technology and design features. To begin with, it is equipped with an LCD display that allows seamless connectivity to the free MyCloudFitness app, enabling you to effortlessly monitor your workouts using your phone.
In terms of design, Exerpeutic has taken special care to ensure comfort and safety. This is done by reducing the distance between the two pedals (Q Factor) to a mere 6 inches, which significantly minimises strain on the joints during workouts, even with a wide stance. Furthermore, the inclusion of a Double Transmission system not only enhances the machine's efficiency but also helps in reducing its overall length and size, making it a compact and space-saving option.
For these reasons, the Exerpeutic 6000 QF undoubtedly deserves a well-earned place on our list of top cross trainers.
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4. Gazelle GEDGECAT Edge Glider
Best elliptical under 500 for beginners
Max. Weight: 250lbs
If you're just starting your fitness journey or perhaps recovering from injury, then a low-impact machine like this Gazelle GEDGECAT Edge Glider could be most beneficial for you.
It works using a dual-action suspension system that moves with your body through a complete range of motion, so you can speed up or slow down at your own pace. Moreover, it comes with a five-function computer that will keep track of your speed, distance, time, and calories burnt, so you can follow your progression through the statistics.
Ultimately, a manual device could be a great option to consider if you're after something low-stress and impact to kick off your workout regime.
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5. Stamina 55-1602
Best elliptical under 500 for office use
Max. Weight: 250lbs
Stamina produces and manufactures some excellent cardio machines on a budget, with this elliptical being no different.
Its Stamina 55-1602, for example, looks to be a great bit of kit that differs from your typical cross trainer in the sense that it is compact, portable, and features no handlebars. As a result, it's perhaps more akin to some of the best exercise bikes around.
In fact, Stamina markets this machine as a 'mini strider', designed to be taken with you and placed under your feet whilst sitting down to ensure you keep moving throughout the day. With that being said, you can also use this machine standing up, and it even comes with a monitor to display your stats whilst you exercise.
On the whole, if you work in an office or simply find yourself sitting at a desk for extended periods of time, then this Stamina 55-1602 could be the machine for you.
Read More: Best multi-gyms under 500
6. Body Power Trio Trainer
Best seated elliptical under 500
Max. Weight: 250lbs
The Body Power Trio Trainer looks to be more of a relaxed option when it comes to upgrading your setup, but that doesn't mean it's not good.
It features a multifunctional design that can be used as a cross trainer, upright bike, or recumbent bike through its various settings and seating positions. Also, with the additional seat, it's the ideal cardio machine if looking to participate in regular low-impact training sessions, for instance, when you're recovering from an injury.
Overall, the Body Power Trio Trainer looks to be an extremely versatile machine that should provide fantastic value for money when it comes to cardio-based training at home.
Read More: Best recumbent bikes
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
When it comes to picking the best elliptical, you may have a few questions. Don't worry though, as we're here to clear up some of the most common queries.
How do you use an elliptical?
Coordination is the key to using an elliptical machine, which may sound daunting, but is actually quite straightforward with a little practice.
Simply place your feet on either side of the stand and take hold of the arms in your hands.
Next, drive your dominant foot forward to begin the movement. If you move your right foot first, for instance, then the right arm will move at the same time as well, hence the coordination. Bring your foot and arm back whilst the other goes forward and you should be good to go.
Make sure you engage your arms as well to avoid allowing your legs to do all the hard work. Also, we'd recommend you make a note of your resistance level after each session so you can keep track of your progress.
Is an elliptical worth it?
Ultimately, this will depend on your budget and what you're looking to get out of the exercise machine, however, this list shows that you don't have to spend loads to get a good quality bit of kit.
Generally speaking though, using an elliptical is a good way of improving your cardio and incorporating your whole body into one workout, which is key for burning calories and improving mobility.
An elliptical is also said to put less strain on your joints compared to other forms of cardio. For instance, a study by Kaplan et al. found elliptical exercises only placed 73% of participants' average body weight on their foot compared to 175% whilst jogging on a treadmill, thus reducing the strain placed on their joints.
If you're looking for a way to build muscle though, even the most intense elliptical workout won't compare to weight training, but, for improving cardio, an elliptical is right up there as one of the best, even when compared to some of the best spin bikes.
Are elliptical exercises as good as running?
We have previously discussed whether a treadmill is better than an elliptical and, in the said guide, we state that both running and using an elliptical are great forms of cardio.
However, an elliptical has the advantage over running in that it's a much lower impact activity which is ideal if you're a beginner, you're recovering from an injury, or you're looking to complete longer sessions regularly.
However, you may be able to efficiently burn more calories running, particularly on a treadmill, compared to using an elliptical.
For example, a 2017 study into the effects of HIIT training found a treadmill to be effective for burning calories, reducing body fat, and improving cardiovascular fitness in a short period of time.
Also, if you're training for a specific goal like a marathon, for example, then regularly running should be a better tool to help you prepare.
Ultimately, we feel both running and using an elliptical are great for their own specific purposes, and choosing which is right for you will come down to personal preference and your fitness goals.
Can you lose weight using an elliptical?
The short answer is yes.
According to Havard Medical School, a 155lbs person will burn 334 calories in 30 minutes on an elliptical, therefore highlighting what can be achieved in a short space of time.
However, it is important to pair your elliptical training with the right nutritious diet.
The key here is to be in a calorie deficit, i.e. burning more calories than you consume throughout the day.
A handy way to track this is by picking up a top smartwatch which should give you a general estimate as to how many calories you burn during your day.
How long should you use an elliptical?
There's no definitive answer to this question as it will vary depending on your type of training.
However, research suggests that at least 15 minutes a day on a cross-trainer can have major health benefits, most notably improving your cardiovascular fitness.
If you're limited to 15 minutes a day though, the American Council on Exercise recommends you use that time as efficiently as possible by doing High-Intensity Interval Training to maximise the health benefits.
As touched on above, you can burn a considerable amount of calories in a short space of time using this method of HIIT training on an elliptical.
Should you use an elliptical every day?
Technically you can use an elliptical every day; however, like with most forms of exercise, it's advised you incorporate at least one rest day a week into your routine for recovery purposes.
Rest days are important as they allow for your muscles to rebuild and grow after intense exercise, thus helping you avoid fatigue and injury.
Also, undergoing the same exercise every day can become repetitive and your muscles will likely adapt to the exercise.
We'd advise incorporating other forms of exercise like walking, rowing, and weightlifting into your schedule to activate different muscle groups for a more balanced routine.
Is an elliptical good for bad knees?
As previously mentioned, an elliptical workout should be a relatively low-impact session.
In general, low-impact exercises are less stressful on your joints, which is why ellipticals are widely considered to be the best machine for people with joint pain or health conditions such as arthritis.
According to the Mayo Clinic, elliptical machines are less stressful for people with bad knees than treadmills, jogging, and running, which are all high-impact exercises.
They also can be extremely useful to maintain and improve your fitness levels when recovering and rehabilitating from an injury.