Andrew Parker

Best Elliptical under 500 – Buyer’s Guide

Best Elliptical under 500Exercise is a necessary component of maintaining your health and keeping your body trim and looking good. Of course, not everyone has the ability to go to a gym three or four times a week, and the weather does not always permit a regular exercise schedule. That is why manufacturers have come out with a whole line of at-home fitness equipment.

For those looking to lose weight or maintain a trim form, running is by far one of the best exercises. While treadmills can allow you to run in the comfort of your own home, the Best Elliptical under 500 will do so as well as protect your joints from the strain of hard impacts.

Best Elliptical under 500 of 2018

That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best ellipticals under $500, highlighting what each one does best. Then we provide a helpful buyer’s guide, so you know what features are important and can find the Best Elliptical under 500 to suit your needs.

Product
TypeSize

Drive
Resistance 
Stamina
(People’s Choice)
Stepper24” x 20” x 12”
24 lbs
CenterInfinite
Body Xtreme Fitness
(Editor’s Choice)
Hybrid43.4" x 19.7’’ x 61’’
78 lbs
RearInfinite
Stepper16.5” x 12.5” x 8”
14.5 lbs
HydraulicInfinite
Standard34.5” x 24.5” x 61”
63 lbs
Rear8 Levels
Stepper20” x 13” x 3.5”
14 lbs
HydraulicInfinite

1. Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer – Best Elliptical Machine under 500 (People’s Choice)

Stamina In-Motion Elliptical TrainerStamina is a brand founded in 1987 when the at-home exercise industry first started to become available to the market at-large. Initially specializing in “As-Seen-on-TV” exercise equipment, the brand quickly expanded to include a full lineup of at-home exercise equipment for various different markets including commercial lineups. Recently, they have expanded into boutique workout equipment that brings us to this elliptical.

Design

This is not your standard type of elliptical where you must stand and either hold onto handles or swing bars. Though neither is this like some of the other products we reviewed which are better understood as steppers or stair masters. Instead, this elliptical sits somewhere in between the two.

Like a stepper, this elliptical is a small and self-contained piece of equipment. Still, it does feature a central drive, which definitively identifies it as an elliptical of sorts.

Versatility

Arguably one of the best things about this elliptical is that it can be used when sitting down. When you combine this sit-down functioning with its incredibly small profile, you have an elliptical that is great to use while at work in the office at least, it has one nagging issue.

This is by far the loudest elliptical on our list, though that is not necessarily a given. Essentially, the wheel is noted for coming loose from the track. While this will not often prevent it from functioning, it does cause the Stamina to make a loud grinding noise, which would otherwise disrupt an office setting.

Size

People cardio workout in gymOf course, its size is easily one of the better aspects of the Stamina as well. At 24” by 20”, you can fit this elliptical pretty much anywhere including under a desk. While it is not as light as some of the steppers on our list, it is still one of the lighter elliptical we reviewed at only 24 pounds. Even better, this is one of the few elliptical under $500 we saw that could also function in reverse.

Function

This is important because part of the reason people generally use elliptical is to prevent the stress on their joints from running. However, elliptical has a tendency to cause repetitive motion injuries to ligaments and tendons instead depending on the size of the stride. While the Stamina indeed has a shorter stride, its ability to be used in a reverse motion also ensures that you can prevent a repetitive motion injury from occurring.

Drawbacks

Still, there are a handful of issues with this elliptical that are worth noting. For one, this elliptical is not known for its durability. While we have already mentioned the wheel’s propensity for slipping off the track, the pedals have also been reported breaking more often than we saw with other elliptical reviews.

This is also one of the few elliptical we reviewed that does not come with any sort of upper body support which can make using this product in a standing position a bit difficult especially if you already have issues with balancing to begin with.

Another concern, though more of an annoyance than anything, has to do with the display. For starters, the display is really small and not that impressive. It does not feature any backlighting and is set far enough away from you such that it might be difficult to see. Beyond that display itself, the tracking functions are not that accurate and have a tendency to overestimate the calories burned as well as other more standardized measurements like distance pedaled.

Pros:
  • A less expensive elliptical
  • One of the smaller profiles reviewed
  • Much easier to move than others
  • Can step in reverse
  • Can be used while sitting
  • Assembly is easier than others
Cons:
  • Display is a bit subpar
  • Does not provide upper support
  • Not the most durable
  • Strides are fairly short
  • Tracker is not that accurate
  • Is the loudest elliptical reviewed

2. Body Xtreme Fitness 4-in-1 Elliptical Trainer Exercise Bike – Best Elliptical Trainer under $500 (Editor’s Choice)

Body Xtreme Fitness 4-in-1 Elliptical Trainer Exercise BikeOut of all the different elliptical that we reviewed, the Body Xtreme Fitness is by far the one that we recommend the most. While it is not perfect in every respect, it provides a wealth of features and options that no other elliptical on our list even have let alone can match. Even though it is still one of the more expensive elliptical we reviewed, it is also still one of the best all-around values you can find.

Versatility

 

The first thing that should immediately stand out when looking at this elliptical is its design. This is a hybrid style elliptical which means it can be used in a number of ways. Aside from the standard standing function, this elliptical also has a seat so you can use it as a stationary bike as well. Another additional feature that provides versatility are the arm bars. This allows you to choose whether you want to use the Body Xtreme Fitness as a CrossFit elliptical with the handle or to tone your arms at the same time with the arm bars.

If you want to tone your arms while using this hybrid elliptical as a stationary bike, the Body Xtreme Fitness offers versatility in this area as well. It comes with two resistance bands that allow you to pull with your arms while riding giving both a toning workout as well as a point of balance. If you want to work your arms in a different way, the bike also comes with two sets of hand dumbbells in 2 pound and 3-pound weights.

Display

Elliptical machine control panelAnother feature of this elliptical that stands out above many of its competitors is its display. While it is not lighted, the display is positioned at a closer distance than most of the other products on our list. It also features large digits and a different LCD display for every readout.

This means you do not have to press a button to cycle through the different gauges to get your information about your workout. This is also one of the better trackers for a wealth of information, providing more accurate readouts than most other ellipticals.

Drawbacks

Of course, being a hybrid style elliptical, this is also one of the largest products we reviewed. At 43.4″ x 19.7’’ x 61’’, you will definitely need to make sure you have a dedicated space for this elliptical before purchase. It is also one of the heaviest elliptical we saw at 78 pounds.

Combined, these two factors make this elliptical more difficult to move than the others on our list. Also, the hybrid style of this elliptical necessitates a bit more complicated and time-consuming assembly than any other elliptical we reviewed.

Pros:
  • Is a hybrid elliptical
  • Provides a solid display
  • Fairly easy to use
  • Offers moving arm bars
  • Keeps track of information
  • Comes with weights and resistance bands
  • Rear flywheel drive is quiet
  • Provides infinitely variable resistance
Cons:
  • A fairly expensive elliptical
  • The largest elliptical reviewed
  • Not the easiest to move
  • Most difficult assembly we saw
  • Not the most durable

3. Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper with Resistance Bands – Best Rated Elliptical under 500 (Best Price)

Sunny Health & Fitness Mini StepperSunny Health & Fitness is another brand on our list that specializes in at-home exercise equipment. Headquartered in California and founded over 15 years ago, this brand is intimately familiar with the primary factors dictating the consumer exercise equipment market: ease and cost. Still, Sunny Health & Fitness does not produce poor quality products either, and generally finds an excellent balance between cost and quality.

Type

The Sunny Health & Fitness we reviewed is not actually a true elliptical. In fact, it is not even a modified elliptical like other products on our list. Instead, the Sunny Health & Fitness is a stepper. This means that this product does not employ a circular motion of any sort when in use.

Rather than the circular elliptical motion, a stepper merely moves vertically up and down. While this still provides the low-impact function that elliptical do to protect your joints, it can inflame ligaments and tendons through a repetitive motion injury if you are already susceptible.

Function

Another major difference between this stepper and the true elliptical on our list is its mechanism. Whereas the other elliptical function on a drive action, the Sunny Health & Fitness stepper uses hydraulics to provide resistance to your steps. This generally allows for a smoother action.

Even better, the hydraulic resistance is adjusted by a knob that increases the pressure on the fluid. This ultimately allows the Sunny Health & Fitness to technically provide an infinitely variable range of resistance though as a squarely consumer grade stepper, the highest resistance setting is not that intense.

Size

People training in gymIn terms of profile, this is one of the smallest and lightest products we reviewed even when compared to other ellipticals and steppers. At 16.5” x 12.5” x 8” and weighing only 14.5 pounds, you will have no difficulty finding a place to use the Sunny Health & Fitness stepper nor will you have any difficulty finding a place to put it up when you are finished. The stepper is mostly self-contained with very little assembly and lays flat when you are done working out.

Ease of Use

The step height is adjustable, which makes this product much easier to use for taller people. In terms of volume, the hydraulics are whisper quiet, though if you step all the way down with force, the planks will make a clanging sound when they hit the rust-resistance steel frame of the stepper. While it does not feature true standing support, the Sunny Health & Fitness provides resistance bands that will help tone and shape your arms as well as provide a point of leverage to balance.

Display

While this stepper comes with a display, it is nothing to write home about. Like many of the other smaller profiled products on our list, the display is small and placed at your feet. This makes distinguishing the LCD numbers a bit difficult and switching the scan modes will require you to stop working out each time you want to change it. The tracking firmware in the display is also not terribly accurate, though it is not as inaccurate as some.

Pros:
  • The least expensive elliptical reviewed
  • Comes with resistance bands
  • One of the smaller profiles reviewed
  • Much easier to move than others
  • Assembly is easier than others
  • Exceptionally quiet hydraulic system
  • Step height is adjustable
  • Provides infinitely variable resistance
Cons:
  • Display is a bit subpar
  • Highest resistance is not great
  • Not the most durable
  • Can cause repetitive motion issues
  • Will place more stress on knees
  • Tracker is not that accurate

4. EFITMENT Compact Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer – Best Elliptical under 500 for Home Use

EFITMENT Compact Magnetic Elliptical Machine TrainerEFITMENT is one of the few brands on our list that is not actually its own company but is instead a subsidiary of a different company: ZooVaa. Regardless of the corporate structure, both companies were founded earlier this year in California. As such, there is not a great deal of information of the extended reputation of the EFITMENT product lineup. That said, ZooVaa sells many different types of products while EFITMENT specializes exclusively in exercise equipment.

Type

This EFITMENT product is also actually the only standard elliptical on our list. By that, we mean that this elliptical is a standing-only elliptical with a spot for your hands to provide balance while in use. Though this elliptical offers the versatility to cross-train with arm bars to help work and tone your arms while you use the elliptical. Sadly, this elliptical does not have a reverse function, but that is not uncommon in the under $500 price range.

Drawbacks

Training on Elliptical machineStill, it means that the EFITMENT may pose a risk for developing repetitive motion injuries with your tendons and ligaments though the elliptical action still protects your joints. Of course, the EFITMENT does not really do itself any favors in this regard, as the stride is a short 11”. This increases not only the possible chance of developing a repetitive motion injury to soft connective tissue, it also means that this elliptical may feel a bit awkward in use by taller people.

Another potential issue for larger people trying to use the EFITMENT is the relatively small foot planks. Granted, this usually only becomes an issue for people who are tall enough that the short stride is a bigger problem, but at least the planks have an open back so that you can still use the elliptical relatively comfortably. All of these design functions were intended to minimize the EFITMENT’s profile, but it still comes in as one of the larger products we reviewed though it is by far the smallest true elliptical on our list.

Drive

In terms of function, the EFITMENT is a good, but not great, elliptical. The rear drive flywheel is mostly quiet at first, but it requires a regular oiling to keep it so. In fact, this elliptical requires more general maintenance than any other product we reviewed though if you keep the maintenance up, it is noted for being reliable. This elliptical also provides 8 different levels of resistance, which is solid.

Pros:
  • Provides a solid display
  • Easy to use
  • Offers moving arm bars
  • Keeps track of information
  • Relatively easy to move
  • Rear flywheel drive is quiet
  • Provides 8 levels of resistance
  • Features CrossFit bars as well
Cons:
  • A somewhat expensive elliptical
  • One of the larger elliptical
  • Has smaller foot planks
  • The stride is fairly short
  • Not as easy to assemble
  • Require more maintenance than most
  • Is not the most durable

5. Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster – Best Compact Elliptical under 500

Xiser Commercial Mini StairmasterOur final product all comes from the company with the longest and most refined history as well. Xiser was founded 4 decades ago by Juris Terauds, a professor of biomechanics with a Ph.D., in Alberta, Canada. While actually a stepper instead of a true elliptical, it was designed specifically for anaerobic high-intensity training, or HIT. The benefit of this is that your body will turn to fat cells as a source of fuel rather than oxygen, which will, in turn, provide better results for weight management and endurance competition training.

Durability

Regardless, as long as you are okay with a stepper instead of a true elliptical, this is by far one of the best products we reviewed. The frame of the Xiser is made from cast aircraft grade aluminum alloy. This allows the Xiser to remain incredibly durable both to force and to water as well as exceptionally light. In fact, this is the lightest product on our list at only 14 pounds. Also, while not strictly the smallest product we reviewed, it still comes in at a compact 20” x 13” x 3.5”.

Versatility

The fact that it was designed for anaerobic HIT also carries with it a couple other benefits. For one, this stepper has by far the largest weight capacity at 400 pounds though it can support up to 600 pounds, but the action may not sustain under that weight. Aside from the ability to be used by medically obese consumers, this is also the only stepper available that is rated for sprint training. Ultimately, this allows the Xiser to remain a viable product for every level of training whether you are just starting out or looking to push yourself to the limit.

Pros:
  • Extremely durable construction
  • One of the smaller profiles reviewed
  • Much easier to move than others
  • Rated for sprint training
  • Assembly is easier than others
  • Exceptionally quiet hydraulic system
  • One of the largest weight capacities
  • Provides infinitely variable resistance
Cons:
  • The most expensive elliptical reviewed
  • Does not provide upper support
  • Does not come with a display
  • Can cause repetitive motion issues
  • Foot planks are a bit small
  • Will place more stress on knees
  • Strides are exceedingly short

Best Elliptical Review – Buyer’s Guide

Type:

Best Elliptical Review - TypeThe type of the elliptical will probably depend more on where you intend to use it and how much you are willing to invest. Regardless, there are 3 general types of elliptical on our list: steppers, standard, and hybrids.

Steppers

Steppers are not actually elliptical at all but are instead a piece of equipment that allows you to step in place. While they do not offer the same range of motion as an elliptical and can potentially cause repetitive motion injuries, they are also much smaller than either standard or hybrid elliptical.

Standard

The standard elliptical is the one most likely to come to mind. This type of elliptical is a standing piece of equipment that provides either handles or swinging arm bars. While much larger than steppers, it is generally smaller than hybrids. This type of elliptical prevents the stress on your joints associated with running as well as mitigates the risk of repetitive motion injuries.

Hybrid

Hybrid elliptical are a piece of equipment that blends the stationary bike with a standard elliptical. This provides plenty of versatility for your workout and helps prevent the risk of repetitive motion injuries even more than a standard elliptical. However, this type of elliptical is the largest and often requires far more assembly than either of the other two types.

Drive:

Best Elliptical Review - DriveThe drive is how the elliptical or stepper performs its action and applies resistance. For elliptical, the three types of drive are front, center, and rear. For steppers, the most common type of mechanism is hydraulics.

Drives

A front drive is the lowest grade drive for an elliptical. The flywheel is in front of the user. Because the user will ultimately push against the flywheel, the front drive is also the least durable. The center drive is the next best in terms of durability but may suffer from more noise issues. The rear drive is generally seen as the most durable and the quietest as well.

Hydraulics

For a stepper, the hydraulic system provides a solid resistance that is also often whisper-quiet. That said, some brands may not properly gauge the hydraulics or may use low-quality pumps or tubes, which can potentially result in the hydraulic system leaking hydraulic fluid.

Conclusion:

At the gymThe Best Elliptical under 500 will often hinge on what you need to get out of your workout and where you intend to use it. If you do not have a great deal of open space for a standard elliptical, your best bet may be to go with a stepper.

As a bridge between these two styles, the Stamina In-Motion Elliptical provides the best of both worlds. The center drive flywheel still gives you the smooth motion of an elliptical while its small profile allows you to use it standing or sitting you can even use it under your desk at work.

Of course, if a true elliptical is more your style, the Body Xtreme Fitness is by far your best option. This hybrid elliptical can be used as a stationary bike as well as an elliptical. Moreover, you can work out your arms with either gliding arm bars, resistance bands, or hand dumbbells.

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