An elliptical trainer, often just called an elliptical, a cross-trainer or an X-trainer, is basically just any kind of stationary walking or climbing machine that simulated natural movement and exercise without requiring the user to actually go anywhere. They've become much more common recently, and are just as popular among casual users as they were with committed gym-goers. Unfortunately, their popularity also means that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of the best elliptical types on the market, all of which have their own benefits and drawbacks. Knowing what to look for isn't easy, and it can feel overwhelming to try and find a decent cross-trainer from under so many designs.
Below are ten of the best elliptical trainer machines we could find for under $500, as well as all of the features that make them the best under $500 choice for certain users.
10 Best Ellipticals Under $500
- Exerpeutic Heavy Duty Magnetic Elliptical
- Body-Solid Best Fitness Crosstrainer Elliptical
- Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical Machine
- Schwinn Elliptical Machine
- Body Max Champ 2 in 1 Trainer/Elliptical
- ProForm Hybrid Trainer
- Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer
- Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical
- EFITMENT Magnetic Elliptical
- Gazelle Supreme elliptical
Exerpeutic Heavy Duty Magnetic Elliptical
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance.
- Simple, easy-to-use design.
- Provides both upper-body and lower-body workouts.
- Monitors your heart rate.
- Tracks speed, distance, time and calories burned.
This magnetic elliptical uses a super-quiet design to reduce the amount of noise made while you're using it, letting you simulate walking and arm movements from the comfort of your elliptical machine. The design incorporates special pulse pads that can be used to monitor your heart rate, as well as 8 levels of magnetism to let you adjust the kind of workout and weight you'll be up against. Not only does it work out your lower body, but the handlebars give you an upper-body workout too, and you can use the display to create a spontaneous cardio workout if you're feeling like you want to challenge yourself. The mechanical design helps you keep your normal stride length without getting in your way or artificially slowing you down.
Body-Solid Best Fitness Crosstrainer Elliptical
- Multi-functional digital display.
- Offers a workout on your entire body.
- Small frame with wheels for easy storage.
- Combines upper body motions with lower body walking.
- Perfect for burning excess calories.
This elliptical machine is designed to help you burn calories, combining 8 levels of magnetic resistance with synchronized movements to give your entire body a full workout. the built-in transport wheels make it easy to move around the room if it's normally kept in storage or out of the way. The LED console built into the front tracks all of your vital information and performance data, letting you compare your day-to-day performance and get an idea of how well your body is holding up during a cardio workout. Despite all this, it's still relatively light and small, and doesn't take up that much space in your home, making it a very space-efficient choice of body workout gear.
Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical Machine
- Perfect for custom workout programs.
- Tracks your pulse and performance.
- Offers multiple resistance levels.
- Ideal for a full-body workout.
- Uses magnetic resistance for better exercise.
This bike-style elliptical trainer uses magnetic resistance, along with anti-slip arms and footholds, to help you perform full-body workouts while still using smooth movements that don't harm your muscles. The pulse pads help monitor your heart rate, which is displayed on the LED screen along with your current speed, the simulated distance traveled, the amount of time you've been exercising and the estimated amount of calories you've burned. It can support up to 100 kilograms of weight at any one time, making it suitable for heavier people that want to lose weight, and the handholds are sweat-resistance to make slipping far less likely. If you want a harder exercise routine, you can increase the levels of resistance, allowing for up to eight different settings.
Schwinn Elliptical Machine
- Sixteen resistance levels.
- Woks with a companion app.
- Shows your pulse, time and performance.
- Compact, but still offers a full stride length.
- Great for use in a smaller home.
This compact elliptical machine uses a mixed-realty system, combining with the RunSocial app to offer social features and 'high score'-type performance tracking. Despite it's smaller frame, it offers the full stride length of a regular elliptical design, and has a whole eighteen levels of resistance to give you much greater precision with now granular your settings are. Thanks to the digital display, along with the handlebar pulse sensors, your heart rate and current performance information are displayed to you directly, letting you compare workouts and see how you've improved. The extra 'feet' on the body keeps it far more stable, making it less likely that you'll slip over or slide along the ground after long-term use.
Body Max Champ 2 in 1 Trainer/Elliptical
- Programmable trainer console for creating workout programs.
- Acts as an elliptical bike and an elliptical trainer.
- Offers a good level of resistance.
- Comfortable, padded seat for the bike mode.
- Easy to start using with minimal prep time.
This two-in-one elliptical trainer acts as both a regular walking elliptical and an exercise bike, letting you choose to use either (or both) with only a tiny amount of adjustments between them. The built-in padded seat is designed to maximize your movement while still keeping you comfortable and supported, and the two pairs of handlebars let you easily swap between them to use whichever are most comfortable for a particular workout. The foot pedals allow for easy movement and a long stride while still keeping out of your way, so you can dismount the trainer at any moment without getting snagged on something. Not only that, but you get a programmable console for creating your own custom workouts.
ProForm Hybrid Trainer
- Hybrid design for more varied workout programs.
- Built-in bottle holder and adjustable screen.
- Offers a trainer mode and bike mode.
- Designed for a full body workout.
- Easy to move when not in use.
This hybrid trainer uses a dual-purpose design that can act as both a bike-style motion machine and a regular elliptical trainer, giving you two different workout styles and letting you monitor both on the large LCD display. The fifteen inch stride length and adjustable pedals mean that you have plenty of room to choose the exact kind of support and exercise you need, and the design also includes a bottle holder so that you don't need to take breaks if you're getting hot or thirsty. Thanks to the transport wheels, you can move the elliptical trainer around quickly, and you can even adjust the angle of the console to suit your posture, height and exercise style.
Nautilus E614 Elliptical Trainer
- Wide stride length for more varied movements.
- Two displays to track more workout information.
- Twenty resistance settings.
- Built-in fan and speakers.
- Great as home exercise equipment.
This modern-looking elliptical trainer boasts a dual-track display that can help you keep track of up to thirteen different sets of information, letting you get a full report on your workout progress and improvements. It can even monitor your heart rate through the pulse grips, and contains acoustic speakers to let you play audio directly out of the trainer. Even better, it was twenty-two pre-made workout programs, twenty different levels of resistance, and a three-speed fan to help you stay cool if you're starting to swear or doing a workout in warm weather. The wide twenty inch stride length also means that you have plenty of space to move around, and aren't limited to moving your legs in a small area.
Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical
- Prevents strain on your ankles and feet.
- Boasts a massive range of magnetic resistance levels.
- Far more open and comfortable than many elliptical machines.
- Versatile display screen.
- Three built-in workouts.
The twenty four different magnetic resistance options ensure that you can easily adjust your workout programs to suit your needs, giving you far more control over the performance of your magnetic elliptical machine. The wide stride and full range of motion offered by the open design give you far more chances to adjust and customize your exercise routine, and the double transmission system helps you retain momentum and move smoothly so that you don't damage your muscles. The front display shows not only the distance you've traveled, but the time it's taken, the calories you've burned, your RPM, your pulse and even the amount of watts you've generated.
EFITMENT Magnetic EllipticalCheck Price on Amazon ➞
This magnetic elliptical machine uses a very compact body to save on space while keeping all of the parts in excellent conditions, letting you exercise in your own home without taking up too much room. The smooth movement and flow of the pedals make it perfect for avoiding damage to your knees, back and upper body muscles. It also comes with a full LCD screen that shows you basic stats about your performance and uses a quiet, high quality flywheel design that avoids making too much noise but still helps you get the best out of your sessions on the trainer. The bottom also has a transportation wheel set to help you move and store the product without needing to lift it by hand.
Gazelle Supreme elliptical
- Designed to prevent joint stress and pain.
- Works best as a home elliptical trainer.
- Allows for open movement and long stride length.
- Easy to use around the home.
- Optional power pistons for extra resistance.
This home elliptical machine uses a simple yet reliable design that's supposed to help tone up every important muscle group in your body, letting you instantly switch between running and walking with no issues or chances of stumbling. The split suspension provides greater freedom of movement without reducing the effectiveness of the elliptical, and it uses special 'Soft Glide' technology to reduce the stress it can place on your joints. Thanks to its versatile construction, it can be used for dozens of different workout styles, and it can even help track your performance between sessions. Unlike many elliptical machines, the resistance also comes as separate power pistons that can be enabled or disabled at any time, rather than being a button or digital setting.
Elliptical Under $500 Buyers Guide
If you're looking for the best elliptical under $500, you need to know what you're supposed to be looking for. A $500 elliptical is a lot of money, and you want to be sure that you're getting something in your price range you can actually use properly at home. It's not as simple as just looking at the basic statistics, though: you'll need to go slightly deeper and look at some more specific information.
Many home elliptical trainers have electric features or components that either help them run or add some more functionality to the design. This can be something as small as a heart rate monitoring system or magnetic parts that create 8 levels of resistance within the elliptical itself. Not all of the best elliptical machines will have every feature, so you'll want to be aware of what they have and what they don't before you spend $500 on them. If you wanted magnetic resistance but ended up with a regular resistance system instead, then you're not going to get all of the same functionality and effectiveness out of it.
Many people overlook the weight limit of any elliptical trainer they buy for under $500. It won't matter for smaller-framed people, and many home elliptical machines will have a limit of around 300 lbs or over, but that's not always the case. Some dip down to around 200 lbs or even further, making that 300 lbs mark seem much more desirable if you're a heavier person. The more you weight, the higher you'll want this weight limit to be, since you never know exactly how much force it'll take for your body weight to break something. The best elliptical under a certain price range should still be able to support heavy weights.
The length of your stride is a simple feature. Even some of the best ellipticals under $500 offer better stride features than really expensive models simply because some companies struggle to design them properly. This length is simply how far your legs can actually move: too much can be dangerous, but too little restricts you and leaves you stuck, without a way of increasing it. Not only can this make your exercise irrelevant, since you aren't putting your body under enough pressure, but your “best” elliptical trainer might even begin to harm you if you're not moving in a smooth, natural way.
A lot of people prefer to have proper holding systems on their exercise gear -this can anything from a water bottle holder to a tablet holder, but the function is essentially exactly the same. While you could always try to tape something on, it might cover up the screen or get in the way of your exercise, so an official one that's built into (or mounted on) the elliptical can make a huge difference. This seems like a high-end feature, so you'd expect any ellipticals under $500 to ignore it, but it's quite a common sight regardless.
The best elliptical under $500 will be whichever one gives you the most value for your money at home, so finding the best elliptical under $500 as your budget can sometimes come down to one simple feature: the durability. The longer an elliptical lasts at home without needing to be repaired or replaced, the more use you can get out of it. If an elliptical under $500 lasts for several years, you might not even be paying $10 a month to own it. Plus, if it does break down, at least you aren't paying more than $500 to repair it.
There's more than one type of home elliptical, and the best ellipticals aren't always within the same type. In fact, some of the best elliptical reviews even point out that the best models they've found are far better than other elliptical trainer designs of that type. Obviously, there's the physical functions first. Searching for the best cross trainer under $500 will give you more narrowed-down results compared to looking for the best elliptical machine, which is a more general term. However, regardless of the type of under $500 elliptical you want, you'll need to understand the basic types.
Front-drive elliptical machines are the simplest and cheapest, making them the best elliptical under $500 if you want something straightforward and need to make that $500 go further. Center-drive elliptical gear is more compact, so they're the best for small spaces. Rear-drive is the most expensive in many cases, so it can be harder to find a good one under $500. However, they're said to be the best elliptical trainer type for posture and smoothness. Finally, there's hybrids, which act as multiple elliptical machines under a single shell. These are the best elliptical choices for a smaller home, but you might need to search around to find the best one under $500.
Brands can make a big difference with elliptical machines. Many brands have all of their elliptical trainer rights reserved. This means that a particular design of magnetic elliptical trainer might only exist under one brand, and can't be gotten elsewhere. This means that it might be hard to find a particular elliptical design for under $500. However, the best model will be re-created or expanded on by other companies, so sometimes the best elliptical models for under $500 are actually the re-creations or copied designs of the original products.