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Today we’re going to be talking about the best ellipticals you can find under $500. Some of the models we will cover below are easily among the best ellipticals you can get.
After we cover our top ten picks, we are going dig into what makes this particular price range so attractive. Lets get right down to it and start off this guide with a list.
Exerpeutic is one of those brands who are dedicated to delivering consistency as well as reliability on a budget. Their Exerpeutic 1318 5000 represents one of the best bang for the buck values you can find at the moment. The whole thing sits firmly on a very robust H patter frame that features built in transport wheels as well as leveling pegs in the back.
With that said, the entire machine is fairly simple thus giving off a rather compact vibe. When it comes to the hardware, Exerpeutic went with a rear mounted flywheel and a length of stride of 18 inches. Even though 18 inches is at the lower range of acceptable, this particular elliptical makes up for it in a number of different ways. One of them is definitely the built in control module that packs a simple yet functional display.
You’re looking at 12 preset workout programs as well as 21 levels of manual retention. The entertainment has been dealt with by installing a large media shelf which allows you to use even some of the larger tablets. Overall, this addition from Exerpeutic definitely makes a strong case for mid range ellipticals which won’t break the bank.
Even though the current market for elliptical machines is quite developed, you still won’t often see a performance oriented machine in the lower mid range segment. Fitness Reality 2366 X-Class 710 is an exception.
This brand has decided to build a workhorse elliptical from the flywheel up, thus making sure that you are getting the best possible exercise for your money. The whole thing sits on a hybrid frame which works just fine, although it may look a bit odd to some users. The core of the X-Class 710 comes in form of a 44lb flywheel. There is enough mass in this thing to really give you a run for your money, literally. Combined with 20 preset workout programs, you are looking at a very challenging machine.
On top of that, we have a 20 inch length of stride which puts this elliptical among the very best on the market. When it comes to the built in control module, things are pretty interesting. With a large backlit LCD, the module is easy to read and use. Overall, this is one of the absolute best bang for the buck solutions you can run into at the moment. Definitely worth checking out.
One thing that we can all appreciate about Exerpeutic is their ability to recognize weak points in their designs and fix them with the next iteration. Exerpeutic GOLD 2000XLST represents one such model. It is a culmination of several upgrade cycles making it into one very well balanced machine. Exerpeutic has gone and utilized a much heavier flywheel than with the 1000X, which was the predecessor to the 2000XLST.
However, that is not the only upgrade. We also have a much better length of stride, better ergonomics, a new and improved 3 piece cranking system and more. From a performance point of view, all of these improvements have led to a much more consistent and smoother experience. The built in computer module also deserves a mention as it is seamlessly integrated into the machine.
Its large backlit display makes using the machine very easy, as well as tracking your progress. Exerpeutic GOLD 2000XLST comes with 21 preset workout programs, 3 different goal oriented settings and much more. It is fair to say that this elliptical is more than capable of delivering that daily challenging workout. If you are looking for a serious fitness trainer on a budget, this is it.
If you have been doing any amount of market research on ellipticals, you have probably heard of Schwinn. This brand has proven to be quite capable when it comes to delivering functional designs which don’t break the bank. Schwinn A40 is definitely among their more simple ellipticals but it perfectly represents what this brand is all about.
You are looking at a spartan setup which isn’t cluttered with unnecessary bells and whistles. Instead, it brings a great balance of performance and functionality. The flywheel is pretty large and perimeter weighted which makes it a very smooth ride. As a matter of fact, it is probably one of the best flywheels in this particular segment of the market. Having such a solid unit is great considering that A40 features only 8 levels of resistance.
With that said, you do get 7 preset programs, a large display control module and a number of other goodies. All things considered it is quite apparent that Schwinn has wanted to roll out something functional but mobile enough for easy storage. In our opinion, Schwinn A40 fits this role almost perfectly. Those who want a straightforward and simple elliptical machine should definitely check this one out.
Although it may come across as pretty dull, this all-black piece of equipment hides a very formidable set of features and hardware. XTERRA Fitness FS1.5 features a standard H pattern frame with a rear positioned flywheel assembly. The flywheel is a fairly massive 17.6lb unit which has proven to work quite well.
It is far from being the heaviest unit in this segment of the market, but in this particular case that’s a good thing. Combined with a length of stride which is set at 14 inches, it becomes apparent that XTERRA Fitness FS1.5 was meant for users with a smaller frame and constitution. When put into that context, the whole machine starts to make sense. Aside from everything mentioned, you also get a very elaborate computer module which packs 13 preset programs, 2 heart rate programs and 16 levels or manual resistance.
The display unit is pretty sizable, thus allowing you to easily read the information and track your stats. When it comes to comfort and consistency, FS1.5 rates pretty well. The motion is very fluid and it makes very little noise, if any. At this price, XTERRA Fitness FS1.5 is a great choice.
Compared to your standard ellipticals, Body Power Elliptical Cross Trainer definitely looks a bit on the weird side. Its massive frame appears to be from a static bike, however that’s a necessity considering the front flywheel layout and the nature of the flywheel. Where most other brands turn to some sort of complex designs, Body Power has decided to take a more direct route.
The flywheel on this thing is a solid steel disk. This means a couple of things. For starters, the flywheel is pretty large. On the other hand, having such a massive flywheel does ensure plenty of momentum and a relatively smooth ride. This particular model features a manual resistance control while the console is meant only for data and progress tracking. It’s arguable that Body Power Elliptical Cross Trainer’s main benefit is its spartan nature.
This machine is relatively easy to put together and light enough to move around. When it comes to comfort, it scores fairly high all things considered. Those users who are looking for a simple, no nonsense machine will find a good fit with this model. On the other hand, if you need more advanced features, this isn’t the elliptical for you.
Finding a reliable, simple but also visually appealing elliptical isn’t as easy as it sounds. Especially if you are operating on a tight budget. Best Fitness Cross Trainer is one of those rare machines which can get you all of the things we have mentioned above. However, good looks are just the start.
The frame this elliptical is sitting on is a standard H pattern unit built out of properly thick tubing. Flywheel is mounted in the rear and comes across as fairly smooth. It isn’t the most massive unit out there but it is definitely good enough to give you a proper challenge. On top of that, it runs silently which matters when you are spending an hour or so every day on a fitness machine.
The control module is a simple unit that isn’t tasked with resistance control but is there to show you your stats. Best Fitness Cross Trainer comes with two sets of handlebars, one pair of active and a set of passive ones. Latter are also where you will find your heart rate sensors. Overall, this elliptical is a pretty decent choice for beginners who want something that will keep up as you get fit.
When it comes to affordable and reliable fitness equipment, Marcy is one of the few names in the business you can trust. Marcy ME-704 features a simplistic but ultimately functional approach to home fitness. One look at its design reveals that Marcy wanted to make something that would be efficient but also somewhat compact. Its small footprint does come with some drawbacks.
To be more specific, the frame it is sitting on isn’t the best solution on the market, but it works sufficiently well. The flywheel is a relatively average unit and it offers fairly decent performance. The ride is smooth and silent for the most part. However, it’s always good to know that some noise is a given with lower mid range ellipticals, especially after a longer period of use.
Much like its direct competition, Marcy ME-704 features a built in control module. Unlike most of its competition, ME-704 packs 23 preset workout programs and a very clear backlit LCD display. In fact, this screen is probably one of the best in this particular class. Last but not least, it’s worth mentioning all of ME-704’s power needs are met by user input. In other words, no cables are necessary.
Portable ellipticals are an often subjected to a lot of unwarranted criticism. There are few models out there which can successfully answer those critics and Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical is definitely one of them. What Cubii did was figure out a whole new take on this type of ellipticals, moving away from the standard plate design.
Just by doing that much, Cubii has ensured a decent audience. There are a lot of people who need these machines, but were disgruntled by the more basic and nowhere near as reliable designs. The elliptical itself is built quite well. It comes with manual resistance control and no built in displays. Although that sounds pretty bad, Cubii Pro has another solution for you when it comes to progress and stats tracking.
Instead of forcing you to deal with a small LCD on the device itself, they have built an app that connects to the elliptical and allows you to track your progress via your smart phone. When you combine its extremely silent operation, you have a perfect machine for an office environment or any other workplace. Cubii Pro is a great option for anyone who is riding a desk for a living.
Defining the budget segment of ellipticals is harder than it might seem. The generally accepted standard is that anything below $200 is a budget machine. As you can read in our dedicated guide, there are some pretty awesome models that can be had for that kind of money.
However, for some users that border is much higher and includes machines we are talking about today. No matter how you look at it, ellipticals in this particular price range tend to deliver a rock solid basis with a decent selection of features. Compared to models which cost around $1000, there will be a noticeable lack of hardware solutions, different designs and other.
What you should remember is that every elliptical is built to fulfill a set of requirements. With machines from this price range, you are looking at a number of requirements which ensure good performance on a daily basis. In other words, these ellipticals are good for those who want to get serious about their cardio.
To answer the question from the title, there are numerous things which make a $500 elliptical worth investing in.
Just like it is the case in any other industry, the more money you are able to invest in a product, the more features you are going to get. The difference between the $200 and $500 ellipticals can be quite drastic depending on which model you go with.
In this segment we are going to discuss some of the features you will run into in this particular price range. Some of these may come as a surprise while others are to be expected. Lets get started.
One of the first innovations you will run into are front-wheel and back-wheel designs. In essence, there are very small practical differences between these two designs and brands go for one or the other depending on which works better for them.
You should use the same approach. Find out whether or not whether the front-wheel setup is better for your needs, your designated space and your taste. Saying that one is better than the other would be quite deceiving on anyone’s part.
Length of stride is by far one of the most important aspects of an elliptical as a concept. This is also a factor that has rendered numerous affordable models as borderline useless.
When you step into the $500 territory, the length of stride becomes a non-issue. Almost all of these models are full sized ellipticals with a proper length of stride that will accommodate most users.
As you can probably tell, flywheels are what makes or breaks an elliptical. Cheaper models are usually fitted with lighter flywheels but weight isn’t necessarily all there is to it when it comes to flywheels. Sure, a heavier unit is going to offer much more resistance to work with, which equals to a more challenging workout.
However, the way the flywheel is made and how it was balanced can play an important role in your overall experience. The models listed above are all packing pretty heavy flywheels which show a great level of machining accuracy. The end result is a smooth, silent performer which will keep you engaged for a long time.
Although they were fairly rare a decade or so ago, complex control modules are found on a majority of modern ellipticals. Unless the model you are looking for is a folder or a really cheap one, chances are it will have some sort of a control unit.
With models in our price range you will see more advanced features, better displays, built in creature comforts and more. Naturally, the most important aspect of any control module is whether or not it controls the resistance of the machine you are using.
Fortunately for us, the models in this category come with a variety of programmed exercise routines, manual resistance levels and other tools which are designed to make your workout challenging.
Last but not least lets mention the overall design. Aesthetics may not be all that important to some, but the actual layout of an elliptical can influence how the whole machine is going to behave when used.
We have found that most models in this category feature rugged frames, which in turn means that your experience won’t be affected by wobbling or any other unwanted movement. After all, a stable elliptical is a safe to use elliptical.
We strongly suggest that you don’t settle for less.
At the end of the day, we have found that has performed the best. Even though the competition was fierce, this elliptical has shown a great balance of performance, features and most importantly reliability.
With that said, any of the models on our list are bound to give you a challenging workout for sure. It all comes down to finding the one that best fits your style, needs and tastes. These aren’t professional machines but they are a great way to bridge the gap between entry level and high end models.