Adam holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Linguistics, and creative writing has always been his greatest passion. For more than 25 years he's been working for several well-known automobile and travel magazines as an editor and expert consultant, but when Adam started his writing path here, at WisePick, it turned out that he's capable of writing practically anything about everything.
Initially being an engineering specialist, Tom has never stopped learning and acquiring other knowledge and skills. Now he’s involved in technical support for a well-known household appliances manufacturer, so no wonder he knows everything about almost everything you buy for your home.
Last updated: July 08, 2021
Wise Pick is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Perhaps you don’t have enough time to head to the gym, not enough money in your budget to afford a membership every month or you simply just cannot go. Not being able to go to the gym shouldn’t be an excuse to not be able to work out. An elliptical trainer is a great at-home cardio machine that can fit right into the any-sized home and can help you fit a workout into any schedule, not to mention the best elliptical under $500 can easily fit into your budget. This stationary exercise machine is not only great for weight loss but can help simulate stair climbing, walking or running without causing excessive pressure to the joints. This can help if you are already injured or are trying to avoid injury.
In this guide, we’re going to go through not only the top ellipticals out there on the market for your budget but we’re going to also highlight the features that you’ll need to consider when buying this exercise machine. Some features described in our guide will be size, resistance level, stride length, weight limitation, and warranty.
Through hundreds of hours of research looking through various sources, online stores, and reading customer reviews, we’ve gotten all the important information together and laid it out in one helpful guide. For helping you to choose the best elliptical under $500, you can look through our comparison table, in-detail reviews of each product, and our buying guide.
The ProForm 150i is our best rated elliptical under 500. We really just can’t get enough of this machine. It has the best of all the different features in a small package.
With its front drive design, 17-inch stride length, soft grips upper-body workout arms, oversized pedals, and Inertia-Enhanced flywheel, the ProForm 150i is a great add to your home gym.
However, that’s not even the best part. The ProForm 150i comes with the choice of 12 different resistance levels for the optimum workout, is iPod-compatible, where your music can easily be plugged in, has a 5-year warranty, which really sets it apart from other elliptical machines and has transport wheels, adjust leveling feet, and a water bottle holder!
The ProForm 150i can hold up to 250 lbs., as well, which makes it pretty sturdy. The LCD display also shows an EKG heart rate monitor, which can help you control your workout and keep yourself in your target range for the best workout.
You also don’t have to worry about noise, with its smooth-action and resistance, it runs quietly. It also has padded handles for your upper body workout.
What are our favorite features?
Can hold up to 250 lbs
Wheels for transportation
A 5-year warranty
Also has 12 different workout applications
What could be better?
Needs a mat underneath to prevent damaging the floors
The Cubii Jr: Desk Elliptical is one of the best elliptical machines under $500. The best thing about this product is that it is COMPLETELY transportable—you can even workout at your office.
Some of its greatest features are that that it is whisper-quiet. If disturbing others is what’s holding you back from working out in the early hours of the morning, the Cubii Jr: Desk Elliptical is a great solution to discreetly get your workout in whenever you can—without worrying about waking up others.
This product also boasts durability and sturdiness, straight from the foundation up. Although there are not handlebars for an upper body workout, the Cubii is built-to-last with its quality material, parts, and better construction. It can also hold up to 250 lbs per workout session.
With a 1-year limited warranty, the Cubii Jr: Desk Elliptical is a great investment in your health. It is designed for comfort, with a 12-inch stride length and patented ergonomic angles, you can expect a smooth elliptical exercise. Especially for those who are injured, the Cubii Jr: Desk Elliptical is a great solution for a low-impact workout—even at the office!
Even though it’s small, it still has 8 different resistance levels, and a display monitor that tracks real time, calories, RPM, strides and distance. You can also assemble it in less than 5 minutes out of the box.
Exercising at home can become a lot more earier and effective with this Body Rider. You save yourself some extra funds and space in your house with it’s 2 in 1 exercise modes. You can use it as either an exercise bike or a regular elliptical.
Transitioning between standing and sitting positions can be done easily without hassle in between workouts. Asides this, the body rider comes with stationary foam seats that give you comfort when you have to workout for longer hours as well as 3 different height options for full body handlebars.
The weight of the body rider itself is 60 pounds. It is made of metal material and can accommodate weights up to 250lbs. The height of the seats are also adjustable to 7 different heights. Suiting people of different age range and height levels and providing optimum experience.
In the construction of this body rider, the safety of the customers and users was very well put into consideration. Such that, it has 4 integrated handle bars, it is sweat resistant and has a covered fan flywheel for protection.
You can keep track of your exercises and calorie burn with the simple, smart easy to use digital computer that takes measurements of basic matrics and calories.
The rider has inbuilt wheels that make it easy to move about for easy storage. The dimensions of the body rider are 40 x 20 x 58 inches.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3988 is one of the best elliptical trainers under $500.
Not only does this elliptical machine have removable, quick-release and padded handlebars, it also has large, non-slip footplates to make working out much safer and easier.
With its low-low-impact elliptical motion, you can get a full workout while sitting or standing. Take advantage of the eight different levels of smooth, quiet magnetic resistance, which can be adjusted simply by a dial tension.
You’ll never get bored, either, since you can switch up your workouts with reverse-motion pedals to work different muscle groups.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E3988 is the best elliptical for saving space—you can even use it and store in your office. The smooth, magnetic resistant rollers emit virtually no sound, making it a quiet ride, so you don‘t have to worry about disturbing others while you’re working out.
You can also expect to get a full body workout, with just the release of the handlebars, you can target your lower body and core.
Although it’s not LCD, there is a one-touch monitor that shows your workout time, distance, calories burned, total distance on machine, and rotations per minute.
What are its best features?
Has 8 different levels of resistance
Holds up to 220 lbs
A 1-year warranty
Goes in reverse
Handlebars can be removed
What could be improved?
No LCD display
The arms, although attachable, do not work with the push-pull motion providing virtually no upper body workout
As one of our best elliptical under $500 for home use, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 really meets everyone’s budgets!
Even though it is easy on the wallet, it still gives you a tough aerobic workout. You can enjoy walking, running, cross-country, skiing, and aerobic dancing with this product.
The Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902 is also relatively safe, no matter what movement your engaging in. This elliptical comes with non-slip pedals that help simulate a slow walk or work up to a full run while still maintaining good form—quietly.
The maximum weight capacity is, unfortunately, a little bit on the lower side, though, so you need to pay attention if you weigh more than 220 Ibs.
However, if you qualify for working out on the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902, you can enjoy a full body workout, burning all your major muscles groups—even your core.
When not using the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E902, it easily folds up to half its length and can be stored away.
The Gazelle Edge is one of our ranked, best home elliptical under $500. It is a high-high-performance exercise machine that can help maintain and increase your cardiovascular performance—all in the comfort of your own home.
The Gazelle Edge boasts fluid motion performance, which means that you can go from your warm-up walk to your run in no time, without skipping a beat. While you’re running, you can then fiddle with the easy-to-use, 5-function workout computer.
Not only does the display let you choose the workout program, it also tracks speed, distance, time, and more. The Gazelle Edge is also a great choice when you’re looking for one machine for the whole family. It has padded, foam handlebars, contains a maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs., and has extra wide, non-skid foot platforms. This means that your entire family can use it with ease.
You can get a great workout for this budgeted elliptical machine. You also get patented, dual-action split suspension, which means that you can really reach that complete range of motion and freedom of movement that you experience outdoors while running.
Not only will your whole family be able to use it, they won’t get annoyed with it, since you can easily fold it up quickly and store it away when not in use.
Why are we impressed?
Foldable and portable when not in use
Hold up to 250 lbs weight limit
Extremely fluid motion when running
What negatives must you be aware of?
LCD display doesn’t give opportunity to choose different levels or programs
Before you go out and purchase the best elliptical trainer money can buy—well, at least with a budget of under $500, you should know how to best compare one trainer with another. Not only should an elliptical machine comply with your budget, it should also be right for your specific needs.
What to expect for the price
You have to make sure you’re being realistic in the expectations you set for the price you’re going to be paying. Although you are on a budget and can only spend so much, you should also not lower your standards for a really bad machine. As you can see through the products listed here, it’s so very possible to get enough bang for your buck—no matter how small your buck is. You might be getting better quality parts or a longer warranty on an elliptical if you were going to be spending more—however, there are so many great elliptical machine choices under $500.
Tone yourself for the day with elliptical
When you’re on the elliptical, you should get ready for a great workout! As we mentioned before, an elliptical is a great machine that works a lot of muscle groups—all at once. It is an at-home cardio machine that can really target your whole body and really get it working and moving, not only for a cardiovascular exercise but also for toning and working your muscles.
Muscle groups you use on your elliptical
Since you’ll be hitting a bunch of muscles during your workout, you might not know what part of you is the sorest the next day. However, just to give you an idea of what to expect to be working from a full-blown elliptical workout—you’ll be working on your:
Triceps and Chest
Biceps and Back
Deep Core Muscles
These muscles are stationed at the back of your legs and are one of the biggest muscle groups in your lower body. They help with flexing movements. When you’re on the elliptical, you’ll be simulating a climbing or running movement. If you really want to target your hamstrings, increase the incline on your machine or move in reverse.
These muscles are stationed at the front of your thighs and are also one of the biggest muscle groups in your body. They help with extending movements. Although you might not be as sore the next day in your quads than in your hamstrings, you’re still working them!
An elliptical is a fantastic machine for working your butt. Since there is a lot of extension, targeting the hamstrings and the glutes, then you know you’ll feel the burn during your workout. The more you incline, the more you’ll feel it.
Triceps and Chest
The great thing about the elliptical is that it works the entire body out—including your upper body. These upper body levers target your triceps when you have to push the levers away from you. The chest and triceps work together to push it away. But of course, in spite of all the advantages of ellipticals, power towers are more effective in working through chest and triceps muscles.
Biceps and Back
You’ll be working your biceps and back when pulling the levers back towards you. If you are going in reverse mode, you’ll activate them even more! However, if you really want to have a broad back, you should choose a rowing machine instead, especially when we compiled a list of great budget-friendly variants.
If you attempt—after a little while (not as a beginner) to work on the elliptical machine without the use of your arms, you’ll be working on your balance! Your core will be kicked into high gear by trying to keep you upright.
Since the elliptical promotes cardiovascular and aerobic exercise, you’ll be definitely working your heart—one of the most important muscles.
Features to consider while choosing an elliptical trainer
Since there are so, so many different kinds of elliptical trainers out there, we understand that it can be a bit difficult when trying to choose which one is the best—not only for you but possibly your entire family!
To help you compare one elliptical trainer with another, we think it’s important that you take a look at each feature and make sure that it has the ones that best suit you, your training, and your lifestyle. Especially since it’s a home trainer, it needs to first and foremost—fit in your home!
As we just mentioned, the size of an elliptical trainer is extremely important. If you can’t get it in your home, then how can you jump on it and work out?
Not only should you pay special attention to the size because it’s important, but you should also make sure it is the right one because the dimensions of the elliptical trainers across the board vary so much—one from another. The Cubii Jr: Desk Elliptical is the optimal travel elliptical that can be stored easily.
Normally, you’ll be looking at elliptical trainers that are from 4 feet to 6 feet in length, and 4 feet to 5 feet in height. If you’re going to be moving them before and after your workout, you’ll also want to make sure they have transport wheels or are easy to move.
We recommend measuring out the space you have set for your elliptical and compare with the measurements of the product.
This is also an important feature because you need to be challenged while you work out! When looking at ellipticals, we recommend choosing one that has variable magnetic resistance or an eddy current brake system. You can easily adjust this type—even while in motion!
Especially if you have a history of falling off the wagon when it comes to your fitness regimen, having a variety of different programs will help you stick to your workouts. Each program set usually focuses on a specific goal, like fat-burning, weight loss, heart, hill climbing, and fitness tests.
This can be a difficult situation if you’re a bit on the heavier side and are looking for an elliptical machine. It’s best to go for a higher maximum weight—to be on the safe side (even if you plan on losing the weight quickly). Having a close-call with the weight limit can lead to vibrations, balance issues, and breakdowns while you’re working out. Most of the ones featured here, like the Stamina InMotion Compact Strider have a limit of 250 lbs.
To not only make each workout different but to work different muscles, you should get an elliptical that has a reverse mode.
Condition monitoring systems
One of the most important and sought-out monitoring with an elliptical machine is the heart rate monitor. Some machines even have a wireless one with a chest strap while others have the normal, handgrip pulse sensors. It is important to keep an eye on your heart rate for health reasons and staying in your target training zone.
Especially if you’re planning on working out in the early morning, you’ll need an elliptical that stays quiet while in motion. Also, normally, a low sound level means better quality.
It’s important to have the proper stride length in your elliptical trainer for you. Normally, you should get one with a length measuring between 19″ and 21″. If you’re on the shorter side, aim for the 14-inch stride. If you’re taller, get over 21 inches instead.
As we mentioned before with activating the hamstrings, an adjustable incline ramp can, overall, increase the difficulty of your workout.
Comfort is also important while you’re working out! Oversized pedals on an elliptical can help you avoid numbing in your toes and feet. You should also aim to get adjustable pedals to help accommodate all the members of your family. You can also get angle adjustable pedals, that help adapt to the cycle of your stride. This will make your workout the most comfortable.
At the same time, if you want to look through more durable options, and you are sure you can afford it, try looking through a little bit more expensive ellipticals with a wider range of features.
Who doesn’t love technology? However, some machines can be really difficult to use when all you’re looking to do is work out—especially if you just want to find the “quick start” button. Make sure you know a little about the display before buying the machine so you won’t be overwhelmed by it all. The Cubii Jr: Desk Elliptical has a great, easy-to-use display.
Just like with every electronic machine, you need a warranty to back it up. For example, the ProForm 150i has a 5-year warranty that can last through every single one of your New Year’s Resolution fitness binges.
Before you buy, here are some of the answers to customers’ most frequently asked questions:
Yes, depending on any medical issues you may have—injuries or conditions—you need to check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe. Even though an elliptical is actually great for the injured because it is low-impact, it can still be troublesome for some medical ailments.
For people, you just have to make sure that the stride length is agreeable with your height and that if it has upper body levers, that the person can reach it. For the machine, an 8-foot ceiling is a sufficient height for a 6-foot-tall user.
Here, you just have to be aware of the weight of the machine. If it doesn’t have rubber gripper pads on the base, you might want to invest in a mat to help safeguard your flooring. A mat can also help with making the elliptical more stable.
Even though you have so many great ellipticals to choose from, we’ve summed up our favorite three:
The Cubii Jr: Desk Elliptical is definitely the most portable elliptical to help kick a workout into high gear—no matter where you are. As the best under-desk elliptical machine, this one is small but mighty with eight different resistance levels, a 12-inch stride length, weight limitation of 250 lbs, and a built-in display monitor.
The Sunny Health & Fitness has a whopping 36-inch range of motion and can move around as much as you please. You can move around with its 180-degree range and take advantage of its dual-action arms for total body movement.
But our top choice must have been the ProForm 150i – the best elliptical for even the tightest budget. This is almost a fitness instructor motivating you to work out more since it has an amazing 5-year warranty and all the modern features you could just dream of.
We hope that this guide has helped you choose the best elliptical under $500 for your budget and for you.