There isn’t a huge choice of ellipticals under $500. There are around 20 worth considering, and only really a handful I’d be happy to recommend. I’ve been reviewing ellipticals in this price range for many years, and it’s usually the same companies that deliver year after year.

Nothing much has changed since I first wrote this guide over six years ago. This isn’t a bad thing because it shows those few ellipticals have stood the test of time and are still as popular now as there were over half a decade ago.

New Updates and a Winner From Fitness Reality.

Still, these top few companies have updated their ellipticals recently, which is great to see, and there is one new elliptical in this guide thats just had a major update, now with an 18″ stride and costing under $400; it’s just as impressive as anything else out there in this price bracket, and that elliptical is from Fitness Reality, and we’ll look at it later.

So in today’s guide, we’ll take a close look at the best ellipticals under $500, all their pros and drawbacks.

For those in a rush, check my comparison table below for This Year’s Top 3, and for those with more time, please scroll past the comparison table and read the review summaries for each elliptical.

Best Ellipticals Under $500 Reviews

Schwinn 411side view front room of house

1. Schwinn 411 Elliptical (Best Overall)

Schwinn has been around for over a century. These guys have more experience than any other company out there. They make a few ellipticals, and the 411 has always been my favorite, even though it’s one of their low-cost choices. It offers more bang for the buck than any of Schwinn’s higher-end machines as it punches way above its price tag both on quality and features.

What stands out about the 411 is how compact this elliptical is, yet it boasts an 18″ Stride.

There is no other compact elliptical on the market with a stride length this wide. An 18″ stride is as good as it gets in this price range and gives us a max user height of 6’1″, which is impressive for a budget machine.

And it’s stable too, weighing 100lb. There’s enough weight there to keep it planted to the floor.

The weight of the elliptical gives us a good clue to the overall quality of the parts used, and this machine doesn’t feel cheap, it has the high-quality build we expect from Schwinn, even at this price point, and it’s the Schwinn build quality that makes this elliptical that much better than anything else under $500.

Wireless Heart Rate Monitoring

Also, the Schwinn 411 is the only elliptical for under $500 that offers wireless heart rate monitoring, an essential feature for those who love to train in their chosen heart rate zone.

Wireless heart rate monitoring is a much more accurate way to monitor heart rate than the built-in pulse sensors and a feature I always recommend people should look for when choosing an elliptical.

The monitor also includes 16 levels of magnetic resistance, which you can adjust using the large one-touch buttons. You dont have to manually adjust resistance using a knob as you do with so many budget machines.

And you get access to their Explore The World Fitness app that includes over 50 global routes, and if you dont want to use the app, you have 13 built-in workout programs to choose from.

Because this is a magnetic resistance machine and it uses a belt drive system, the elliptical motion is smooth.

The flywheel weight isn’t stated, and it’s not in the manual or on their website, but I know they use the same flywheels with their ellipticals as they do their bikes, and they weigh 13lb, which isn’t super heavy, but it’s heavy enough to help keep things smooth and resistance strong in the upper levels.

Overall the 411 is an excellent choice for beginners and intermediates. It has everything; a compact design, an impressive stride length, an updated monitor that now includes wireless heart rate monitoring, and a large LCD screen. Plus, the 411 boasts an excellent warranty for a budget elliptical that includes two years on parts.

The Good

High quality build – solid, stable

16 levels of whisper quiet magnetic reistance

Advanced monitor for price range

13 workput programs + BlueTooth option to sync with trainer app

Heart rate monitoring – pulse sensors + wireless heart rate capability 

Compact design – great for apartments and people with tight training quatters

Impressive stride length for a compact elliptical and for an elliptical in this price range

Long frame warranty 10 yrs and 2 yr parts

The Bad

No Incline

Non-backlit console

Our Full Review: Schwinn 411 Elliptical


Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer

2. Fitness Reality E5500XL Elliptical (Best Under $400)

I’ve reviewed their weight benches, power racks, and rowers, and I’ve always been impressed by how much these guys offer for the price, and their elliptical seems to be just as impressive.

To find an elliptical that offers an 18″ stride for under $400 is almost unheard of. Most ellipticals in this price range offer lengths of 12-15″, so to find one that accommodates users up to 6’1″ comfortably is excellent.

Also, something else I like about his elliptical is that flywheel is behind you; it’s not a front-drive elliptical like most budget machines. And because the flywheel is behind, you’ll be pulling it to get it spinning rather than pushing, and by pulling, it will naturally keep you in an upright standing position which is exactly what you want.

Burn More Calories With Rear Drive

Plus, pulling rather than pushing the flywheel will work the posterior muscles more, which is a good thing as the hamstrings are three times larger than the quads, and the glutes are the largest muscles in the body, so when these large muscles contract, they have a much higher caloric output demand than the smaller anterior muscles like you quads, so no not only will your form be better pulling the flywheel you’ll burn more calories.

This is a dual-flywheel elliptical, which basically means you get a flywheel for each pedal. Duel flywheels will provide more balance than a single light flywheel; thus, it will help keep the elliptical motion smooth.

And just like the Schwinn elliptical, you have magnetic resistance and a belt drive system, two more features that aid the smoothness of the elliptical motion.

The monitor is pretty basic; there are no advanced features like wireless heart rate monitoring, but you get a whopping 24 resistance levels and 21 built-in workout programs, which is more than anything else with a similar price tag.

Overall, Fitness Reality has done well here. Their E5500XL elliptical has the largest stride of any $400 machine. You also get dual flywheels that provide a smooth elliptical motion and enough resistance levels for both beginners and intermediates. For the price, it’s unbeatable.

The Good

Impressive 18″ stride suitable for users up to 6’1″

Narrow Q factor eliminates stress on the knees

Wide front and rear stabilizers give this low cost elliptical some extra stability

Duel flywheels provide a smooth elliptical motion for price point

Decent monitor with 21 workout programs and 24 resistance levels

Magnetic resistance and belt drive system, makes for a very quiet elliptical. Can watch TV or listen to music without being disturbed by the machine

Built-in transport wheels, bottle and tablet holders

The Bad

Not suitable for serious cardio

If you place a tablet on the tablet holder it will cover the LCD of the elliptical

Can only monitor pulse when using the static pair of hanldes

Our Full Review: Fitness Reality E5500XL


sunny magnetic elliptical trainer in home gym

3. Sunny Health & Fitness  SF-E3912

Sunny Health & Fitness is another company with an excellent reputation for building quality home cardio gear, except these guys specialize in affordable exercise equipment for your home.

The Sunny Health SF-E3912 elliptical is their top of the line entry-level elliptical. But if you take a look at the features of the SF-E3912, you will realize this thing is much better than most entry-level ellipticals even though the price is low.

The Sunny has an impressive build, weighing over 100lb the Sunny is going to be stable.

Perhaps what’s most impressive about the Sunny elliptical is the number of workout programs it offers, 24 in total. Workout programs are excellent for taking the boredom out of long workout sessions, just like the Schwinn, you’ll be able to choose from workouts such as hill climbs, etc.

The backlit monitor tracks all the essentials such as speed, time, distance, calories burned, rotations per minute, watt generations, and magnetic resistance level.

And again just like the Schwinn elliptical, you have 16 levels of smooth magnetic resistance easily enough for most fitness levels, maybe not strong enough for seasoned athletes, but for most people who after burning calories and strengthening lower and upper body muscles, 16 levels of resistance should be enough for years of growth.

With a stride length of only 15.5,” the Sunny is only going to appeal to shorter users I’d reccomend no taller than 5’9″; however, the Sunny would make an excellent walker for taller users but for running taller users will need a longer stride length.

There’s no Bluetooth with this one, so no syncing with trainer apps, etc., not a huge deal, and to be honest, finding an elliptical with excellent build quality lots of resistance levels, workout programs and Bluetooth in this price bracket is a big ask.

Overall, the Sunny Health elliptical delivers in nearly every department; we can’t fault it when it comes to workout programs and build quality with many users saying how well made and solid the elliptical feels.

The Sunny’s only downfall is the stride length. Short stride lengths, sadly, plague most ellipticals in this price range but, if your 5’9″ and under the Sunny is a great choice, its certainly an elliptical worthy of some serious consideration.

The Good

Excellent build quality for price point

Impressive 24 workout programs

330lb max capacity

16 levels of magnetic reistance

Pulse sensors

Two sets of handle bars (one fixed, one moving)

Stable machine – Includes adkustabe stabilizers for uneven floors

Built in transport wheels, simply tilt and roll to move the machine

The Bad

The calories reading isn’t too accurate

No online connectivity

Our Full Review: Sunny E3912 Elliptical


woman pedaling on Schwinn a40 elliptical at home

4. Schwinn A40 Elliptical Machine

The Schwinn A40 elliptical is Scwhinn’s entry-level machine; it’s a step down from the 411 but still provides a few impressive features. Including an excellent build as you would aspect from any Schwinn product and a decent monitor. For an entry-level machine, it’s surprisingly good.

What makes this A40 stand out from any other ellipticals in the entry-level range ($400 and under) is the machine’s stride length.

The A40 boasts a 17.5″ stride length that’s better than a lot of ellipticals I’ve seen costing nearly twice as much as the A40. Ok, it’s not huge, but when we consider this elliptical costs 150 bucks less than the Sunny Health E3912, it feels impressive.

The A40 is part of Schwinns compact range, so thankfully, this is another elliptical from the guys at Schwinn with a smaller footprint than most, making it easier to store and push to a corner of a room when not in use.

And as the Schwinn A40 costs considerably less than the Schwinn 411, it will, of course, have to cut back on a few features, and usually, this is where we start to see the more basic monitors.

So, you won’t be surprised there is no Bluetooth option with this one, nor is there any wireless heart rate monitoring. What you do get is eight levels of magnetic resistance, seven workout programs, and pulse sensors in the handlebars. Not bad at all, considering this is Schwinn’s budget elliptical.

Who’s this one for? In general, any elliptical with eight levels of resistance is typically targeted at people looking for a machine for light to medium cardio workouts. Still, because this is a Schwinn build, I’m sure the upper levels of resistance will be strong enough for more intense calorie-burning workouts.

An excellent entry-level cardio machine with an impressive stride length for the price. If you don’t need Bluetooth and are happy with fewer workout programs and resistance levels, the A40 shouldn’t disappoint!

The Good

Solid, stable build

Decent monitor- heart rate monitoring – 8 levels of smooth magnetic resistance and 7 workout programs

Impressive stride length for an entry-level elliptical 17.5″

Small footprint – compact design

High speed, high inertia perimeter weighted flywheel

Two sets of handlebars (one set moving – one fixed)

The Bad

Placement of pulse grips is not as convenient as it could have been

AC adapter is not included

Our Full Review: Schwinn A40


side view jeekee elliptical trainer

5. JEEKEE Elliptical Machine

What I love about this new elliptical from JeeKee is its fuss-free design. There’s nothing complicated about this machine, it’s easy to assemble there are no subscription apps to deal with. It’s just your basic elliptical that’s well-made and does the job.

And it has a few impressive features for a $350 elliptical, such as its 15.5lb flywheel, that’s a heavy flywheel for an elliptical with a  price tag this low. Considering some of NordicTrack’s $1k + ellipticals that can only boast 17lb flywheels, you realize you are getting a lot for your money with this machine.

A 15lb flywheel, when coupled with the magnetic resistance system, will ensure a smooth elliptical motion, smoother than most in this price bracket.

So the build quality and flywheel weight shine with the JeeKee elliptical, but there are a few drawbacks. You have to manually adjust the resistance system by turning the resistance knob, and the stride length is just 14″, which is still good for the price point, but it does limit user height to 5’10”

And lastly, there are no workout programs which is a shame. However, there is a tablet holder so you can watch Netflix while you work out, and because this is a magnetic elliptical, it’s super quiet. Actually, this is one of the quietest ellipticals out there, making just 20DB when in operation; that’s whisper quiet.

Overall an excellent budget elliptical; yeah, there’s no bells and whistles with this one, but it does get the essentials right, and that’s what’s most important.

The Good

15lb flywheel impressive for price point

Magnetic resistance system  and belt drive – just 20DB

Rear drive design helps you keep correct form and burn more calories

16 levels of resistance

Built in pulse sensors

Transport wheels, just tilt and roll to move

Fuss-Free design easy to use

The Bad

Only suitable for users up to 5’10”

LCD isn’t backlit making hard to read in low light conditions

No workout programs

Our Full Review: JeeKee Elliptical


woman pedaling on exerpeutic 2000 elliptical

6. Exerpeutic Elliptical 2000XL (Best Under $300)

Exerpeutic is another well-known company, known for building quality low impact cardio gear for your home.

Their 2000XL elliptical is one of the most popular choices out there right now, and there’s good reason why. For under $300, you are getting hold of a machine built by a reputable company, and its one of the only machines in this price bracket to include Bluetooth!

Although the 2000XL doesn’t include any workout programs, you can use the Bluetooth feature to access the FREE MyClouditness app, which works well on both android and iOS. The free app offers you three workout goal settings, which include time, distance traveled, and calories burned.

Just like the Schwinn A40, the Exerpeutic 2000 can only provide eight levels of magnetic resistance, not a deal killer. Still, it means the machine is more suitable for beginners or people searching for a light to medium cardio machine.

Cheaper machines are also great for weight trainers as they function well as a full-body warm-up machine.

So far, we have a thumbs up for a durable quality build, and another thumbs up for the smooth almost silent magnetic resistance system, but as you may have guessed because we are in the lowest-price bracket we again see a short stride length, and this time it’s only 12″.

A 12-inch stride length is going to limit the appeal somewhat, but if your under say 5’6,” you shouldn’t have too many issues with the stride length. For anyone above that height, unless you are looking for a walker or a very light cardio workout, Id recommend not purchasing an elliptical with a stride length this short.

On the positive side, this machine has proven to be a reliable, well-built machine for the price, with the majority of users giving the Exerpeitic 200XL 4 out of 5 and praising the company’s excellent customer service.

The Good

Good Build quality/stable build

8 levels of smooth whisper quiet magnetic resistance

Bluetooth function and compatibility with the free MyCloudFitness app for iOS and Android

Easy to assemble 


Bi-directional flywheel –  forward & reverse

Impressive 300lb max capacity

The Bad

HR chest belt not included

No bottle holder

No backlight on the console display


woman pedaling on sunny sf-e905 elliptical

7. Sunny Health SF-E905 

I wouldn’t usually recommend buying an elliptical in the under $200 bracket because they typically suffer from very weak resistance and poor build quality; however, there are a couple of exceptions, and the Sunny Health SF-905 is one of them.

Yes, this machine is basic, but in the least, it is sturdily built, the reason we know it’s been made well is that users are still complimenting the machine two years later after purchase, which is surprising for a budget elliptical.

Theres no Bluetooth or workout programs, but this basic elliptical does include grip pulse sensors on the handlebars, which will let you monitor your heart rate while working out.

Sunnys elliptical, just like the other ellipticals in our review, features two sets of handlebars one set of fixed and one set of moving.

The fixed set of handlebars are great for beginners who are not used to the elliptical motion; It gives you the option to get used to the machine before moving on to a full-body workout using the moving handlebars. 

Again a short stride length of 13,” which isn’t too bad considering the price.

If budget is tight at the moment, the Sunny Health SF-905 is the best choice under $200 a capable, compact elliptical trainer that offers you a low impact full-body workout. An excellent choice of machine to introduce beginners into the world of elliptical exercising.

The Good

Built by a reputable company 

8 levels of magnetic reistance

Easy to assemeble

Built in pulse sensors

Large anti-slip foot pedals

Easy to read monitor

The Bad

Short stride length

No workout programs


Buying Tips

While there are numerous design varieties out there, ellipticals can generally be divided into three categories. These categories are defined by the placement of the flywheel or drive system. The drive system is the core component that facilitates the elliptical motion.

The placement of the flywheel is important as it can affect stride length, smoothness of elliptical motion, and the level of noise made by the machine when in action.

Front drive ellipticals – Front-drive ellipticals are usually found in the budget to the mid-level range, they typically have a large wheel housing at the front of the machine.

If you own a front-drive elliptical, you will find yourself leaning slightly forward when exercising, similar to using a stairclimber. A basic but durable design, maybe a little noisier than the center drive machine but nothing too noticeable.

Centre drive ellipticals – Centre drive ellipticals have only been around for a few years, although a reasonably new design they are becoming increasingly popular. Designed to be similar to a treadmill, except the pedals are where the track would usually be. Centre drive designs allow for a gentle workout.

The flywheel center drive elliptical is typically a compact machine and is best suited for those who are exercising in small spaces. Be slightly careful with this compact design as the stride length can be very short.

rear view of woman pedaling on schwinn elliptical

Rear Drive Ellipticals – Most rear-drive ellipticals have a smaller wheel housing located behind the pedals making these the longest in design. Many manufacturers claim the rear-drive machines allow for a smoother, more circular pedal motion.

The pedals can also be on a track, which allows for an incline. Rear drives systems are usually reserved for high-end ellipticals. Some of the widest stride lengths can be found on rear-drive ellipticals.

Hybrid Ellipticals – Hybrid elliptical boast multiple functions, as well as an elliptical they function as an exercise bike.

You can adjust the hybrid machine to move between bike and an elliptical simply by moving pedals and rearranging the seat. Hybrid ellipticals are mostly found in the budget range and are a popular space-saving choice for people wanting to reap the health benefits of both an exercise bike and an elliptical.

Other Key Components To Look Out For

Stride Length – This is the measurement in between the toe of the front pedal to the heel of the rear pedal while the pedals are at their widest stride. This measurement is vitally important as it determines how naturally you will be able to stride.

If your buying an elliptical for intense workouts, the first thing you will want to be able to do is run freely – if your elliptical has a too short stride length, this will not be possible and your machine will not be doing the job it should.

  • If you plan on walking on runny slowly, you can get away with a shorter stride length – Great news if your budget is tight.
  • Taller users 6ft and over will need a machine with at least 20″ stride length for fast-paced running or walking.

Resistance Systems

Another important feature to consider when buying an elliptical is the resistance system. There are two types of resistance systems when we look at ellipticals one is air the other magnetic. Which is better?

For home use, I would have to recommend magnetic resistance for the simple reason it is much quieter in use than air. Air uses a noisy fan to create resistance, whereas magnetic resistance is whisper quiet when in use.

A magnetic cardo machine is always the best choice, especially if you don’t want to disturb others or yourself with the sound of the machine when you exercise.

Another significant advantage of magnetic resistance is that it is a constant resistance, i.e., the strength of resistance stays the same unless you manually change via the resistance knob or monitor.

Constant resistance gives you a choice to pedal at a slow pace on a high resistance level, something that was impossible with air resistance, which only gets stronger when you run-walk faster (dynamic resistance).

Resistance Strength

Budget ellipticals $400 and under typically provide eight levels of resistance. While this isn’t a ton fo resistance levels, it will provide enough resistance for medium to light cardio workouts.

That’s not to say you won’t burn any calories on a cheaper machine; it all depends on your fitness levels. Still, in general, a machine with eight resistance levels is usually best suited for beginners, walkers, seniors, or anyone looking for lighter workouts.

When you spend a few more bucks $400+, we start to see 16-24 resistance levels here; you can expect reasonably strong resistance in the upper levels. the machines are, in general, of higher quality and will provide the user with much more of a challenge and will allow for years of growth. 

$1k+ ellipticals will, of course, come with the most resistance levels and heavier flywheels – Great if you can afford one but sometimes overkill for a home gym

woman selecting resistance level on elliptical monitor

Your Workout Space

Ellipticals are not small these things take up a lot of room, so you need to be sure your home has the space to house one comfortably. Most ellipticals are between 4 and 7 feet long, and you’ll also need to remember to leave room for the pedals while they are in motion.

The pedals of some rear-drive ellipticals can extend a foot behind the mainframe. Also, allow for 20 inches each side of the machine.

Lastly, we need to consider the ceiling height, especially important if you’re hoping to use the machine in a basement. Check the elliptical max pedal height plus your hight-the combined height of both will be the maximum height of the chosen elliptical. The last thing you want is to be banging your head!

Bonus Features

This is the fun part of your machine; bonus features can include water bottle holders, tablet holders, fun workout apps, wi-fi, pre-workout programs, and heart rate monitoring. While some are more useful than others, remember not to go too crazy here. The more features you choose, the more money you’ll need to spend.

While still not essential to your cardio fitness, work programs, and heart rate monitoring are two features I feel are worth spending a few extra bucks on.

Workouts programs are excellent for setting new challenges and keeping your interest, especially for long cardio workouts sessions. Heart rate monitoring is extremely useful for those of you who wish to exercise in their target heart rate zones.

Benefits of Ellipticals

1. Boost your stamina and cardio capacity – Aerobic exercise is a vital part of any balanced exercise routine. Aerobic exercise demands your heart and lungs to work harder; thus, in doing so, making them stronger.

Elliptical allows for an excellent aerobic workout ellipticals work both your upper and lower body, strengthening your muscles, heart and lungs continued use will help build your stamina and endurance

2. Low Impact – Elliptical reduce the stress and strain on your legs through an elliptical motion. Your feet never leave the pedals; it is like walking in mid-air. In comparison, when you walk or run on a treadmill, every step causes a jolt to your body.

3. Burn A Lot of Calories – Depending on how much you weigh. An elliptical can burn 230-350 calories in 30 minutes. Burning more calories than you consume can really help you to lose weight. If you want to give a significant boost to your calorie burn, try increasing the intensity of the workout on your elliptical.

4. Dual-action workout – One of the benefits you are going to like about elliptical machines is the combined upper and lower body workout. This is why elliptical are sometimes called cross-trainers! When we use the elliptical properly, the elliptical trainer can strengthen and tone the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, back, triceps, and biceps.

5. Weight Bearing – Unlike an exercise bike, an elliptical provides a weight-bearing exercise. Weight-bearing exercises help slow down and prevent osteoporosis.

6. Improve Balance -We know weight-bearing exercising can help to strengthen our bones, but did you know they can also help you improve your balance. If you stand up straight on an elliptical and let go of the fixed set of handlebars, you not only target your core muscles, but you also improve your balance.

To Sum Up

I think if you’ve got $500 to spend on an elliptical and you want a decent stride length, a smooth elliptical motion, and a monitor with a few advanced features, there really is only one elliptical in this price range that can match those requirements and thats the Schwinn 411, it was impressive for money before its update, and since the update, it offers even more.

For $100 less, the Fitness Reality E5500 is equally impressive when it comes to the essentials, as it boasts the largest stride in its price range and offers a ton of resistance levels and workout programs. It outshines everything in the under $400 price bracket. The build quality isn’t quite as high as the Schwinn, and it doesn’t include BlueTooth, but it’s still an excellent machine and a great choice for beginners on a budget.

Best Ellipticals Under $500 FAQS

What is The Best Elliptical For Under $500?

The best elliptical under $500 is the Schwinn 411. It boasts the best build quality, an impressive stride length of 18″, and a monitor with advanced features.

Can You Lose Weight Using An Elliptical?

Yes, ellipticals are excellent for getting rid of stubborn belly fat. Research suggests that using an elliptical for 30 minutes each day burns more calories than an exercise bike for the same amount of time, and this is because the elliptical provides a full-body workout. To burn even more calories, you could buy an elliptical with an incline. Incline workouts burn twice as many calories because you are using the larger posterior muscles, which have a much higher caloric output demand than the smaller anterior muscles like your quads.

What Company Makes The Best Ellipticals?

For low-cost ellipticals, Sunny Health & Fitness offers the most ellipticals in this price range. However, Schwinn also makes a couple of excellent low-cost ellipticals like the Schwinn 411 and Schwinn A40. If you have more money, Sole Fitness is the company to check out first. These guys make impressive heavy-duty machines with heavy flywheels and large stride lengths, similar to commercial ellipticals.