Table of Contents
- 1 Budget-Friendly Ellipticals: 2018 Review
- 2 Best Elliptical Under 500 Dollars: A Review of the Market
- 3 Compact Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer by EFITMENT
- 4 Body Max BRM3671 Body Champ 2 in 1 Cardio Dual Trainer
- 5 FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical
- 6 ProForm 295 CSE Elliptical
- 7 Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
- 8 Body Power Elliptical Cross Trainer with Monitor
- 9 Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
- 10 Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical
- 11 Exerpeutic Aero Air Elliptical
- 12 Body Rider BRD2000 Elliptical Trainer and Exercise Bike
- 13 Benefits of Elliptical Trainers
- 14 Who Should Buy an Elliptical Trainer?
- 15 Types of Elliptical Trainers
- 16 Best Exercise Programs for Beginners
- 17 Elliptical Trainer Buying Guide: What to Consider
- 18 Winner: Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
Budget-Friendly Ellipticals: 2018 Review
Do you love cardio workouts but often find your plans thwarted by circumstances beyond your control? You know the drill: a “life happens” scenario arises to ruin your best fitness intentions. We’ve all been there, and we share your frustration. Good news: there is a feasible solution. Cardio equipment can be purchased for in-home use, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. To maximize the health benefits of this investment, an elliptical trainer is the best option. For those on a strict budget, we’ll help you identify the best elliptical under 500 dollars.
We’ve done the research so you don’t have to, but before we get into the details of budget friendly ellipticals, there are a few considerations to keep in mind that will assist you in making an informed decision as to which elliptical will work the best to suit your needs. We will be considering the following questions: why are ellipticals a better choice than other types of home cardio equipment? Who can benefit from owning an elliptical? Are there different types of ellipticals? What about people who have never used an elliptical before, or even those that are not accustomed to working out at all? What types of features should I look for in an elliptical? We understand making a purchasing decision of this scale can be overwhelming… Fear not, we’ve got it covered! So let’s get right down to business.
Best Elliptical Under 500 Dollars: A Review of the Market
Okay, so now that you know everything (ahem) that there is to possibly know about ellipticals, the time has come to take a look at the best budget-friendly elliptical trainers on the market today. Without further ado, we proudly present to you our review of elliptical trainers:
|Compact Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer by EFITMENT||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Body Max BRM3671 Body Champ 2 in 1 Cardio Dual Trainer||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|ProForm 295 CSE Elliptical||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Body Power Elliptical Cross Trainer with Monitor||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Exerpeutic Aero Air Elliptical||VIEW ON AMAZON|
|Body Rider BRD2000 Elliptical Trainer and Exercise Bike||VIEW ON AMAZON|
Compact Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer by EFITMENT
Body Max BRM3671 Body Champ 2 in 1 Cardio Dual Trainer
This patented 2 in 1 Cardio Dual Trainer from Body Champ is a hybrid elliptical cross trainer and exercise bike that allows for cardio workouts in both standing and seated positions. This is a great choice for anybody that is seeking versatility, and it doesn’t occupy much space.
FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical
The FitDesk Under Desk Elliptical is exactly as it sounds: an elliptical that fits under your desk and allows for working out while maintaining productivity. The simple pedal-only design creates a smooth motion for legs the low pedal rotation prevents knees from hitting the bottom of the desktop.
ProForm 295 CSE Elliptical
The ProForm 295 CSE Elliptical features onboard weight loss and intensity workouts that combine with iFit coach to provide workout variety in helping users get started and progress toward fitness goals.
Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
The Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer is another under desk type elliptical trainer that allows for working out while multitasking. This elliptical offers versatility by allowing for operation while sitting or standing, and both forward and reverse pedal operation.
Body Power Elliptical Cross Trainer with Monitor
Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
The E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer from Fitness Reality features a smooth 18 inch stride and a smart target control computer that can “provide any exercise challenge desired,” according to the manufacturer.
Cubii Pro Under Desk Elliptical
Another under the desk type elliptical trainer, the Cubii Pro is enabled with Bluetooth® wireless technology, allowing users to connect to the Cubii smartphone app, which is available for iOS and Android. App users can set personalized goals and compete with other users.
Exerpeutic Aero Air Elliptical
Body Rider BRD2000 Elliptical Trainer and Exercise Bike
The Body Rider BRD2000 Elliptical Trainer is a distinctive piece of fitness equipment as it combines two machines in one, greatly expanding your workout potential. This dual trainer allows you to use it as a regular elliptical, or as an exercise bike with the attached adjustable seat.
Benefits of Elliptical Trainers
Why are ellipticals a better choice than other types of home cardio equipment? Aside from the fact that an owning an elliptical trainer allows us to workout whenever we want from the convenience of our own homes, there are many reasons why ellipticals are a better choice than other types of home cardio equipment such as treadmills. Consider the following:
Ellipticals offer low impact workouts and feature a relatively easy motion. Because of this, they are a good choice for people of a wide range of ages and for people of varying degrees of fitness. By comparison, jogging on a treadmill is high impact, meaning that it can be hard on the hips, knees, ankles, feet, and spine.
Working out on an elliptical cross trainer type of machine benefits the entire body. In addition to the heart-healthy benefits of cardio, working out on this type of elliptical works most of the muscles in both the upper and lower body. When working the whole body, more calories are burned than in exercises that focus on one area (such as jogging on a treadmill).
Ellipticals allow for multitasking during workouts. One can read a book (or listen to an audio book), watch videos, listen to music, or surf the internet while using an elliptical. This allows us to be productive without neglecting our health. Walking on a treadmill may offer these same benefits, but we have found that it is much harder to read, surf the web, or focus on a video when we’re running on a treadmill.
Ellipticals can make it easy and convenient to keep tabs on our heart rate during our workouts compared to jogging on a treadmill. As long as the elliptical in use features heart rate monitoring hardware installed in the handles, they are held for the duration of a workout and allows you to see your current heart rate at any time. Many treadmills also feature heart rate hardware installed on handles, but using them disrupts both the running motion and posture when running.
Ellipticals can help to improve balance and mobility. Many hospitals now use ellipticals in physical therapy in order to help patients gradually regain motion in their hips after undergoing procedures such as ACL surgery.
Ellipticals occupy minimal space. Many ellipticals can easily fit in the corner of a living room, bedroom, or office. Some are even designed to fold to a more compact size for easy storage, but more on that later.
Who Should Buy an Elliptical Trainer?
Who can benefit from owning an elliptical? As we previously mentioned, ellipticals are a good choice for people of a wide variety of ages and fitness levels. The truth is that most of us can benefit from investing in an elliptical as long as we make use of it!
Do you own a gym membership that you never have time (or motivation) to use? If so, consider an elliptical for your home; they are ideal for people that are continually pinched for time. For what it’s worth, the money that you are spending on an unused gym membership would be better spent on equipment you can use at home, at your convenience, every day if you want, and can do so while multitasking.
Do you want to lose weight? Weight loss is best addressed by diet and keeping tabs on the calories you consume. But hang on a minute! Cardio workouts can help you win the calorie battle by helping you to burn more calories than you take in, and even better, cardio workouts are effective fat burners. Ellipticals are excellent choices for burning both calories and fat as they allow you to change intensity levels for maximum effect.
Do you lose motivation easily during, or even before workouts? Why is this so? Frankly, workouts are repetitive. To get the maximum impact, you have to develop a routine. The simple truth is that routine is boring. By using an elliptical, it’s easier than you think to break up the monotony. For instance, you can start a TV series workout routine by watching one episode of a series you’ve never seen while you workout. If TV series aren’t your cup of tea, you can watch the news, comedians on YouTube, or catch up on your favorite radio programs while working out. The trick is to keep your mind engaged while you exercise and you will be done before you know it.
Odds are that if you are reading this, you would probably benefit from owning an elliptical trainer. The primary people that should not consider using an elliptical are those with physical or medical conditions that could potentially be negatively impacted by the use of one.
Types of Elliptical Trainers
Are there different types of ellipticals? You bet! There are an abundance of products available. Let’s begin with a high-level overview of the main types of ellipticals, and we’ll get into some of the subtypes thereafter:
Elliptical trainer: of all of the elliptical types, this is the most basic. These ellipticals focus on the lower body. There are pedals that are operated with the feet and legs, and any handlebars that are present are in a fixed position.
Elliptical cross trainer: this type of elliptical allows you to work both upper and lower body. The handles are operated with the hands and arms as the pedals are simultaneously operated with the feet and legs. Think of a cross-country skier in regards to the workout motions featured by of this type of machine.
Elliptical glider: similar to elliptical trainers, elliptical gliders feature fixed handles, but the pedals move up and down instead of in an elliptical motion. Elliptical gliders work the legs, hips, and abdominal muscles.
Now that you’ve got an understanding of the basic types of elliptical machines, let’s look at some other variation you may encounter. One of these variations is fold-ability:
Foldable Ellipticals: these ellipticals are ideal if you have less storage space but still want to reap the benefits of having your own in-home elliptical machine. The drawback is that the ability to fold them generally limits the amount of additional features they come with.
Non-Foldable Ellipticals: these ellipticals are more common. They are sturdier than the foldable varieties, which allows for more features. Availability of space is the major consideration as to whether this is the best choice for your needs.
Lastly, ellipticals come with their drive system positioned in various places. The placement of the drive affects the type of motion featured by the machine. But in what ways?
Front Drive Ellipticals: ellipticals with front drive systems feature more of a stair stepping type motion. Front drive ellipticals are very sturdy and more compact than ellipticals with drive systems placed elsewhere.
Center Drive Ellipticals: ellipticals with center drive systems are more commonly used for a cross-country skiing type of motion.
Rear Drive Ellipticals: ellipticals with rear drive systems feature more jogging and walking type motions. Although these types are popular, they are typically not compact.
The last type of elliptical machine we want to briefly mention are commercial grade ellipticals. These are the types of ellipticals that one would expect to find in a gym. We are not considering any of these types of ellipticals for the purpose of this review, as they cost thousands of dollars. After all, they are designed for continuous use every day, as multiple people will be utilizing them.
Best Exercise Programs for Beginners
What about people who have never used an elliptical before? Or for that matter, what about people that aren’t accustomed to working out at all? To reiterate what we’ve already mentioned, elliptical trainers are a great choice for beginners to ease into starting a workout routine and to avoid the types of hip, knee, ankle, foot, and spine issues that can arise from high impact cardio exercise such as running.
A quick word of caution: it is always the best practice to discuss any potential new workout programs with your doctor before you begin them. This is even more true for people who have been ill, for people who have been injured, or for people who are taking medications (especially medications that may impact the heart, heart rate, and/or blood pressure). Be safe! Remember: exercise is supposed to be for the benefit of our health, it’s not supposed to be to the detriment of it.
Exercise programs will vary by the elliptical machine being used. We could offer you a good elliptical workout routine for newbies. Note: this routine is based on a cross-training type elliptical that features variable resistance and reverse features. Not all ellipticals will have every common feature, so it may be necessary to make some custom interval modifications based on the feature set of the elliptical in use. Here’s a breakdown of this routine:
1. 3 minutes warm up, low resistance (setting 1 – 3), target 130 strides per minute.
2. 2 minutes warm up, medium resistance (setting 4 – 6), target 130 strides per minute.
3. 5-minute speed up, medium resistance (setting 4 – 6), target 140 strides per minute.
4. 5-minute backward direction, high resistance (setting 7 – 10), target 140 strides per minute.
5. 5-minute forward direction, high resistance (setting 7 – 10 ), target 140 strides per minute.
6. 2.5 minutes focus on pushing with arms, high resistance (setting 7 – 10), target 140 strides per minute.
7. 2.5 minutes focus on pulling with arms, high resistance (setting 7 – 10), target 140 strides per minute.
8. 5 minutes of legs only (no hands), high resistance (setting 7 – 10), target 140 strides per minute.
9. 5-minute cool down, low resistance (setting 1 – 3), target 130 strides per minute.
Total workout time: 35 minutes
As you become more accustomed to working out, you can warm up at a higher resistance and use higher resistance and time intervals through the course of the workout. The key is to start small, and slowly make modifications to the exercise routine over time. It also helps to set fitness goals. We have found that the best results come from identifying milestones and working toward them every day. There are an abundance of fitness apps available that can help in tracking progress toward those goals as well, but that is an entirely different article altogether!
Elliptical Trainer Buying Guide: What to Consider
What types of features should I look for in an elliptical?
There are a number of features that may be implemented into elliptical trainers. From a practical standpoint, features to consider include:
Size: The space available to setup and operate an elliptical will directly impact the purchasing options. Those with limited space may consider one of the foldable type of elliptical.
Ergonomics: Basically, this is a measure of how comfortably an elliptical allows us to workout. The idea here is that comfort leads to maximum efficiency. It is difficult to workout in a productive manner while in a position that compromises posture and puts unnecessary strain on any portion of the body.
Safety features: Ellipticals feature moving parts that potentially pose a hazard to children. People with small children in the home (or that may have them in the home periodically) may want to consider an elliptical with safety features designed to protect children. It may also be advisable to keep ellipticals (and other workout equipment) in an area that is inaccessible to children, such as behind a locked door.
What about usability?
From technological and user experience standpoints, some common features to look for are:
Heart Rate Monitor: Many ellipticals feature heart rate monitors that are typically installed on the handles used during the workout, or sometimes on a separate pair of fixed handles. Heart rate is useful because many workout routines recommend keeping your heart rate in a specific range depending on the goal you are targeting (such as burning fat, burning calories, or increasing stamina). Furthermore, some ellipticals user interfaces include heart rate programs that will automatically adjust resistance higher or lower in order to help you keep your heart rate within the targeted zone.
Workout Programs: Speaking of user interfaces, another common feature are pre-programmed workout routines that can help guide you through the entire workout, from warm up from to cool down. Programmed routine names will vary by manufacturer, but some common types of workout programs are: manual, random, hill climbing, intervals, long distance, and target heart rate.
Display: Another high-tech feature to look for is the inclusion of a digital display. Digital displays allow for easy viewing of workout stats and easy setting of workout programs. This may or may not be essential for everybody, but it certainly simplifies the overall user experience.
Resistance Levels: Variable resistance is pretty much a standard feature on ellipticals these days. Most, if not all, elliptical trainers on the market include this feature. The ability to adjust exercise intensity is important in order to maximize workout efficiency and to be able to progress into more complex workouts as we move along from beginning stages of working out into more advanced stages.
Adjustable Incline: Some ellipticals also allow for adjusting the incline angle to target specific areas of the body. If an elliptical also features workout programs and heart rate programs, angle of incline may be one of the adjustments that occur automatically within the program.
The best elliptical under 500 dollars really depends on the situation of each individual that is considering making a purchase. It’s your decision, and it’s one that you’ll need to make based on your personal circumstances. After all, you know your situation much better than we can! Still, there were a couple of elliptical trainers that stood out from the crowd in our opinion. All in all, we have narrowed the selection down to two items based on our research.
Our first recommendation is the best elliptical cross trainer for those that do not have to consider any space constraints: the Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer is our choice for this category due to the fact that it is loaded with features. This elliptical cross trainer comes equipped with all the extra high tech bells and whistles that we look for in an elliptical. This is also the elliptical that had the longest stride of all of the ellipticals we reviewed (18 inch stride), so it is a more suitable option for a wider range of heights than the rest of the field that feature shorter strides. As such, it provides a more authentic elliptical experience, and a better overall user experience.
For those with limited space available, our recommendation is the Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer. Although this choice certainly has its limitations as we detailed above, we like the fact that it can be easily stored away (under a desk, in a closet, etc.), and of the under desk type elliptical trainers we reviewed, this is the only one that can be used both while standing up or sitting down. This makes it a convenient choice for those that work at standing desks and sitting desks alike, and it can be used both at the office or the home.
Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed our review of the best budget friendly elliptical trainers for 2018. Chances are, you found our review because you need to find a way to prioritize fitness in your busy schedule without breaking the bank. We’ve given you the knowledge along with some solid choices. Now make it happen! Trust us, you’ll be glad you did!