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Elliptical trainers have become a popular alternative to traditional cardio exercise such as running and treadmill use.
While comparable to a treadmill in its leg and cardio workout, the body moves differently with an elliptical. The best elliptical machines are designed to create a gliding, rhythmic motion that is gentler on joints.
Another difference is the elliptical’s ability to incorporate an upper body workout, whereas the treadmill works exclusively on the lower body.
Best Budget Elliptical Machines
|Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical||Schwinn 410 Elliptical Machine||MaxKare Magnetic Elliptical Machine|
|Resistance:||Magnetic resistance with flywheel||Magnetic resistance with flywheel||Magnetic resistance with flywheel|
|Max Weight:||330 lbs||N/A||265 lbs|
|Other:||Media shelf||Explore the World App||Media shelf|
Quick Answer: The 7 Best Rated Cheap Elliptical Machines
- Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical Trainer Machine
- Schwinn Elliptical Machine
- MaxKare Magnetic Elliptical Machine
- ANCHEER Elliptical Trainer Machine
- elifine Magnetic Elliptical Machine
- EFITMENT Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer
- Gazelle Folding Cardio Workout Elliptical Trainer
Budget Elliptical Machine Reviews
- Resistance: Magnetic
- Display: Large backlit display
- Connectivity: No
- Portable: No
Sunny Health & Fitness is one of the favorite brands on Amazon due to consistently delivering fully featured products at a great price.
Their Magnetic Elliptical Trainer Machine is the perfect example of this, coming with everything you could ever want in workout equipment!
With the built in transportation wheels, it’s portable making the perfect cornerstone piece of any home gym. Keep in mind that it can be moved it does not fold up and can be a bit awkward to move around.
Offering up a selection of 24 unique workouts modes, such as body fat, heart rate, manual and so on, you can dial it in to exactly what your goals are.
To track them, you’ll see a beautifully backlit, large screen display. This display shows your speed, time, distance, calories burned, RPM, watt generations and magnetic resistance levels.
Speaking of magnetic resistance, this allows for smooth strides and near-silent operation perfect for working out in the early mornings or late nights without disturbing anyone.
The 330-pound weight capacity works with most users, and the floor stabilizers and textured footplates will allow you to work out at higher speeds without wobbling around.
To keep you entertained during the process, you will find a built-in tablet holder to keep your smartphone, iPad, tablet, or book handy.
- Resistance: Magnetic
- Display: Dual LCD displays
- Connectivity: Bluetooth Connectivity
- Portable: No
Schwinn is another legendary brand, known for their bikes. However, they’ve kept consistent with the exercise world and offered us one of the best elliptical machines on the market today.
While it does come with a slightly higher price tag than many others on our guide, it’s more than worth it when you experience it in action!
With magnetic resistance, you get 25 different intensity levels to choose from, ensuring you never hit any plateaus in your physical goals.
Thanks to the addition of Bluetooth technology, your options are extensive in terms of operational modes. Syncing with the Schwinn Trainer App, among various others, you can easily track your goals not only while working out, but from anywhere.
We personally love to use it with the free downloadable Run Social App, which lets you “run” through 19 different locations and 27 different routes along strangers around the world or with friends and family. This brings your workouts to a whole new level, immersing you in an experience few ellipticals provide.
While that is entertaining on its own, you’ll also get a media shelf to place your books, smartphone, tablet, etc., in console speakers with an MP3 input, and a USB media charging port so you never have to run out of battery.
To keep you cool, you’ll get an adjustable fan, too. Control everything with the Dual Track LCD displays, which are large enough to easily read while exercising.
- 8 Levels of Magnetic Resistance
- More natural movement with low-impact
- LCD console
- Forward and backward capability
The MaxKare Magnetic Elliptical Machine is designed to give you everything you need in an elliptical but in a small enough package that you can easily move it if necessary. Even if you don’t want to move it, it takes up very little floor space.
With a full-featured LCD display that can communicate the time you’ve been on the machine, the calories you’ve burned, the distance you’ve “traveled” and even your heart rate, you’ll be able to better track your fitness progress.
With a heavy-duty frame, this elliptical machine has a weight capacity of up to 264 pounds even with some pretty intense workouts.
It’s got an LCD display that’s generous in size and a device tray you can use for your reading material or your tablet.
The Sole Fitness E35 tracks your distance, time, calories burned, stride, and rate. A pulse grip allows the machine to capture your heart rate.
You can tailor the magnetic resistance level to your level of fitness. This is true for beginners as well as for fitness buffs.
This elliptical machine is also lightweight and easily portable. Move it out of your way when it’s not needed or when you need the room for something else. Your elliptical doesn’t need to be the center of attention when you have visitors.
This machine is quiet, creating a soft humming noise but nothing loud enough to disturb someone else in the room. As long as you keep it well-lubricated and clean, noise shouldn’t become a problem.
Thanks to resistance handlebars, this elliptical trainer can provide a full-body workout. It has both resistance handles for when you’re in the mood for full-body and a set of stationary ones if you just need to keep your balance.
Regardless, whether you choose to include the upper body during your elliptical session or not, those resistance bars are going to continue moving. There’s no way to stop them. For me, that’s a little annoying. This doesn’t seem to be unique to this machine. I’ve never seen a machine where they can be disengaged.
- Resistance: Magnetic
- Display: LCD monitor
- Connectivity: No
- Portable: Yes
While ANCHEER may not be the most globally recognized brand out there, it has certainly earned a spot in many athletes’ homes due to how affordable and high-quality their machines are.
Their elliptical machine is the perfect option if you’re trying to find a top-notch model while remaining on a tight budget. If you’re also limited on space in your home, then you’ll love how easy it is to transport along with its small footprint.
As one of the most lightweight models, it’s not difficult to move around with the convenient transport wheels.
However, it’s relatively compact size also gives you the option to keep it in place without needing to stow it away when you’re done.
The Dual Power motion allows you to effectively workout your entire body, addressing both the upper and lower body at the same time. However, you always have the option to isolate one or the other, depending on your fitness goals. No matter what you choose, you can rest assured it will always operate smoothly and quietly.
With 13-inch reverse-motion and non-slip pedals, you can comfortably and confidently take your strides without worrying about losing your stability or comfort. Capable of supporting up to 330 pounds, it also works with a wide array of users.
While it does only come with 8 levels of magnetic resistance, you will get more features in the LCD digital monitor which tracks your time, speed, distance traveled, calories, pulse rate, and scan.
On the handlebars you’ll also find conveniently located pulse pads to keep track of your heartrate the whole time. If you are looking the best cheap elliptical trainer on Amazon, look no further!
- 8 Resistance levels
- LCD Screen for fitness tracking
- Transport wheels
- Smooth magnetic resistance
When you look at the ratio of features and functions to price, the elifine Elliptical really packs a punch and might be the best budget elliptical trainer on Amazon.
So, where to start? First, this is a flywheel-driven elliptical that’s incorporated the latest technology for an enjoyable and effective elliptical workout.
This machine has 8 resistance levels so it has a level for you whether you are just starting out or looking to maintain a high fitness level.
The LED screens display calories burned, time, distance and heart rate, everything you would expect to track to see how you are progressing.
We like the resistance handles. They are designed a bit differently from most ellipticals. They are curved upward which keeps them completely outside of your lower body zone, meaning there’s not chance your lower body will collide with them.
If you want to give your arms a break, there and fixed handles as well to hold onto to keep your balance while working out your lower body.
In terms of sturdiness, the elifine Elliptical stays in place firmly when mounting and dismounting. You don’t feel like the pedals could slip out from under you.
The frame isn’t wobbly and it stays put while in use. It can hold up to 265 lbs, according to the manufacturer’s specs.
Movements on this machine feel like gliding. They are smooth, rhythmic, and quiet. This elliptical can be used in a regular forward motion or pedaled in reverse.
It doesn’t take up as much floor space as the behemoths you use at the gym, but it’s still sizeable, measuring approximately 41 x 19 x 63 inches. With wheels built into the front and a handle on the back, it’s portable so can be propped up and pushed into place.
- Pulse Rate Monitor
- Digital Display
- Variable Resistance Levels
The EFITMENT Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer is a non-electric elliptical trainer that relies on a belt driven flywheel to provide resistance.
This is a plus for women who don’t feel like dealing with tangled cords or don’t want their workout to be dictated by the nearest electrical outlet.
It has 8 levels of resistance that provide a nice range depending on where you are on the fitness spectrum. The resistance controls are easily-accessible for altering while the machine is in use.
While it offers variable resistance, this machine does not change speeds. The speed of your workout will depend all on you. Unlike the electric-powered elliptical trainers, this one doesn’t have an incline feature.
The pedals are textured for slip-resistance and have a lip to ensure your feet don’t slip off the front. It’s worth noting that while the pedals do move in backward motion, the manufacturer doesn’t recommend it for backward use.
The handle bars include sensors for tracking pulse and heart rate; and the LCD monitor displays pulse along with time active, calories burned, and speed. The console has a ledge for propping reading material, tablet or phone.
The EFITMENT Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer is portable which is a key consideration if you plan on storing your machine when not in use. It comes with wheel on the front which allows you to roll it back into storage. Simply tilt and roll out for use or away for storage. This elliptical is good for tight spaces for those who don’t have much room to spare.
You have to assemble this elliptical, but it’s doable. While it may look intimidating at first, with good concentration and taking it step-by-step, you should be able to assemble the entire thing within 45 minutes or so.
This machine provides a low impact workout which is gentle on your joints while still giving a hearty cardio workout. The workout is smooth and steady, but if you’re used to the elliptical at your local gym, don’t expect it to feel as sturdy as one of those heavy models which run can run up to $4,000.
The EFITMENT Magnetic Elliptical Machine Trainer full-sized trainer, so it’s good to be realistic about this before making a choice on the style that’s best for you.
The manufacturer claims the weight limit is 220 lbs, but we wouldn’t recommend it for anyone over 190 lbs. or so.
Overall, this seems to be a sturdy, reliable machine at an affordable price. Per the manufacturer it weighs approximately 80 lbs and measures 2” x 3”.
If you’re concerned about space, this model is worthy of consideration, especially if you plan to use it in a room with a low ceiling because this machine doesn’t elevate you above the floor as high as most other ellipticals. If your on a budget, the is the best inexpensive elliptical on our list.
- Workout computer
- Tracks speed, distance, time, pulse, and heart rate
- Thumb pulse monitor
- Cup holder
The Gazelle Freestyle is a popular model, in part, because it’s fully portable. It folds, rolls, and stores away in small spaces like under a bed, in closet, or behind a door. It’s pretty easy to maneuver thanks to its relatively lightweight build.
The pedals are good size and designed to be non-skid, though I must point out it seems your foot could slip off these foot platforms easier than on some other ellipticals.
The traction doesn’t feel as secure. You should use caution when mounting or dismounting because it’s a bit more wobbly than its competitors.
The Gazelle Freestyle has a built-in computer which tracks your speed, distance, time, and heart rate. It also monitors your heart rate via a thumb pulse feature which displays on the screen. This display requires use of batteries. There’s also a cup holder so you can keep well-hydrated during your workout.
This is machine is cord-free, relying simply on your own momentum to get it going and keep it moving. It’s easy to use but may feel awkward at first.
You’ve got to get a rhythm started, but after you get the knack of it, it’s a cinch. It glides along easily once you get the hang of it; and this is where the Gazelle might be problematic for some.
Unlike the other models, the Gazelle Freestyle does not have incline or resistance mechanisms, so resistance must be adjusted by using your own stance. Leaning forward requires more effort, thus seemed to create more resistance for a more challenging workout.
Given that this machine doesn’t have variable resistance or incline, it is less challenging to use and so wouldn’t be a good choice for someone who is in great shape or for someone who is looking to push themselves really hard.
The Gazelle Freestyle model would be more appropriate for someone who is just starting a workout program or someone a little older. Compared to a gym-quality elliptical or a treadmill, you just won’t be able to work up the same level of cardio on this model.
We found this machine to be quiet, without any noticeable squeaks, though some customers pointed out it began to get noisier with continued use. If you lubricate it regularly we feel that shouldn’t be an issue.
The Gazelle Freestyle is an ideal choice for the woman who wants to add some activity in her life or for someone who lives in a small place and needs to store her machine when not in use. This lightweight elliptical weighs only 46 lbs and measures approximately 54 x 34 x 44 inches.
Gazelle also includes a DVD with ideas on how to the get the most out of one of the elliptical trainer.
Budget Elliptical Comparison Table
|Elliptical Trainer||Resistance||Display||Max Weight||Rating|
|Sunny Health & Fitness Elliptical||Magnetic||Yes||330 lbs||4.2 / 5.0|
|Schwinn Elliptical Machine||Magnetic||Yes||375 lbs||3.7 / 5.0|
|ANCHEER Elliptical Machine||Magnetic||Yes||330 lbs||5.0 / 5.0|
|MaxKare Magnetic Elliptical Machine||Magnetic||Yes||264 lbs||4.4 / 5.0|
|elifine Magnetic Elliptical Machine||Magnetic Flywheel||Yes||265 lbs||4.9 / 5.0|
|ANCHEER Elliptical Machine||Magnetic||Yes||350 lbs||4.8 / 5.0|
|Gazelle Folding Cardio Workout Elliptical||Body Weight||No||250 lbs||3.6 / 5.0|
How To Choose The Best Budget Elliptical Machine For Home Use
There are a multitude of considerations to take into account before selecting an elliptical trainer that will meet your needs.
Make sure to review various elliptical models, taking into account features that are must-haves and preferences versus ones that are less important. Consider what your usual use of the elliptical will be like.
For example, if you already have a tracker like a FitBit, the elliptical tracker may not be a priority for you. If working certain muscle groups is crucial, getting a machine with incline settings would be key.
The console on a unit can have lots of bells and whistles or can be bare bones. Most include some kind of display that will provide at least basic feedback about your workout– such as calories burned, distance, and time.
How much detail about your workout and progress do you like? Checking out what other customers have to say about the reliability of a particular model is time well-spent.
If you like to have your drink at arms-reach, keep your eyes peeled for a model that includes a cup holder. If you enjoy passing the time on your elliptical by listening to music, built in speakers is a nice accessory. If you plan to read or watch videos on your tablet, ensuring the console includes a shelf/ledge would be wise.
Ellipticals by nature work the lower body muscles, however if you want to focus more on one area than another or if you want to mix it up sometimes, you should make sure your model includes an incline feature. By varying the incline of the machine you focus on different muscle groups.
For example, placing the elliptical trainer on a significant incline works the glutes more than when you have no incline. Imagine walking uphill and how the glutes work harder to get you up the hill. This is also true for the calves and hamstrings. They will get a better workout when the machine is set to an incline position.
Variable Resistance Settings
While the majority of ellipticals come with the ability to change resistance level, this isn’t true for all models. For example, the Gazelle FreeStyle doesn’t have this feature. Your workout relies entirely on your own effort. If you want to break a sweat and get a real cardio experience, built-in resistance settings is essential.
Lower vs. Full Body
Perhaps you already routinely lift free weights or hit weight machines at the gym for your upper body. If that’s the case, the resistance bars on an elliptical won’t offer you much benefit.
You should really consider your fitness goals when deciding on essential features. Or if toning isn’t of concern to you, the incline function may not be worth investing in. In that case, if your focus is to simply get a good cardio workout, choosing an elliptical that offers variable resistance would be a must.
Other Considerations For Ellipticals
Some ellipticals offer Bluetooth technology. If you don’t want to deal with a bunch of random cords that may get in your way, selecting a machine that is Bluetooth enabled makes sense. That way you can stream music to the device’s built-in speakers and link apps in order to track your fitness data.
When we speak of portability, we aren’t talking about schlepping your elliptical on a road trip. None of them is that portable, however some machines are so large and heavy they must be planted in one area of your home and they ain’t moving.
If you have a small place and choose to store your elliptical when not in use, portability is something to take into account. Or perhaps you’d like to transport an under-the-desk elliptical between office and home, it’s got to be light enough to reasonable move it.
The machine’s height is something to take into account when shopping for an elliptical. Some suspend you a good distance above the ground, while others have you practically grazing it. You must consider your height, and if family member plan to use the elliptical, theirs as well.
Also keep in mind the height of the ceiling where you’ll be using the trainer. For example, many people set up their equipment in the basement where ceilings are generally lower. You don’t want to knock your head in the throes of an enthusiastic workout.
Frequency of Use
Do you plan to make elliptical training your primary mode of workout, or is an activity you plan to do as a way of adding variety to your usual routine? If elliptical training is primary, it’s important to invest in a durable, sturdy model that’s likely to last.
FAQs For Budget Elliptical Machines
Q: What Muscle Groups Do Ellipticals Work?
A: With the exception of the under-the-desk models, ellipticals come with built-in resistance handlebars. For this reason, an elliptical is able to tone and strengthen the entire body. If using the resistance handlebars, you will work the chest, back, shoulder and arm muscles.
The action of pedaling on an elliptical works the glutes, core, thighs and calves. When working out on a stand-up elliptical trainer, it’s important to maintain good posture to maximize the effect on your core muscles. No slouching allowed!
Q: Are Ellipticals Good for Cardio?
A: Yes. A workout on an elliptical is excellent for cardio fitness. Most models allow you to adjust the resistance, so as your fitness level improves, you can continue to challenge yourself by selecting a higher resistance. This is true of the incline function as well. A higher resistance and incline level requires much more effort from the user, thus challenging your heart to work harder.
Q: Are Ellipticals Good for Weight Loss?
A: Yes. By selecting a challenging resistance level and incorporating the resistance handlebars, you can burn up to 800 calories per hour.
Q: Which is better, an elliptical machine or a treadmill?
A: That depends! If you are training for a run or another type of sport, a treadmill may be best. A treadmill mimics the activity of running whether you are doing it indoors or out.
An elliptical is designed for low-impact exercise that helps improve overall health. It does this by getting you moving, even if you are doing it in one general area of your home. The ellipticals that we’ve reviewed are perfect for regular or even daily exercise that can help you lose weight and improve mobility.
If you feel a treadmill is better suited for your needs, we’ve reviewed many treadmills here. You should check those out!
Q: What are the Benefits of Using an Elliptical?
The design of an elliptical and the body movements used to propel it create an exercise that is less likely to put strain on your knees and other joints.
Unlike running or other high impact cardio activities, there is no pounding on hard surfaces. Your feet stay planted in one place, so there’s less likelihood of losing your balance and spraining an ankle. This low impact motion of an elliptical is a plus for those with joint-related ailments.
For those machines that include variable incline, you can select the level to focus more on certain muscle groups – thighs, calves, or rear end. For those with resistance handle bars, you can choose to engage them or simply use the stabilizing handles. When you use the resistance bars, the elliptical offers a full body workout. You can choose your own preference depending on your fitness goals.
Because an elliptical trainer is stationary it requires no more than moving your body in place. Many fans of ellipticals enjoy binge watching their favorite Netflix series. By being immersed in your favorite show, your workout will fly by.
Most models track stats like calories, time, heart rate, distance, and speed; so if you want to monitor your workout or track progress, an elliptical provides an easy, built-in way to do that.
Inclement weather and safety
Because an elliptical trainer is used exclusively inside, bad weather won’t interrupt your fitness routine. It also provides women with a safe way to exercise because it can be used night or day and you don’t have to worry about being alone at night.
Q: What are the Drawbacks of Using an Elliptical?
Compared to other fitness equipment, elliptical trainers can be quite pricey reaching over $4,000 for a gym-grade model. Still, there are reasonable options for in-home use that start in the $80’s. Of course there’s the saying “you get what you pay for”, so trying to balance quality with price is a wise idea before choosing.
Using an elliptical exclusively for your fitness program can become boring. It’s important to vary your workout in order to keep your interest engaged and stay motivated. Remaining stationary, with nothing to look at but the four walls can get old. That’s why many elliptical users opt to find entertainment on their tablets, listen to music, or watch TV.
Most elliptical trainers include resistance bars; or at least, if you want a full-body workout you should select one that does. In spite of this feature which allows you to incorporate upper body work, there is no way it can compete with lifting weights. Using an elliptical will help to strengthen your entire body, but you won’t’ get the same results as incorporating weights into your routine.
For people who are unnaturally uncoordinated, using an elliptical (at least, at first) may prove challenging Should be few people. Good quality machines are expensive.
User’s weight and height
High-end ellipticals can support quite a heavy load. These are the more expensive and bulky models. When you get into moderately priced trainers, their weight tolerance is lower.. For this reason, people with a lot of extra weight to lose may find it hard to locate a moderate-range elliptical that provides sufficient,
One size fits all machines can be uncomfortable for extremely tall or short users due to the elliptical’s set stride distance. Those who must overreach to keep stride can hyperextend the knees. Taller folks may find the set stride to be ineffective or awkward to use machine.
In summary, deciding which elliptical is best for you is a personal decision based on how you plan to use it, areas of the body you want to focus on, fitness goals, and features you prefer. We hope that our thorough reviews of these 5 elliptical trainers will support your efforts in finding the perfect fit for you.
How We Researched
To come up with the top budget ellipticals, we researched a variety of sources for reviews such as Best Buy, Walmart, Target and Sears along with our own personal experience.
The authors consulted sources such as online magazines for research and reviews unbiased information.
By using Fakespot.com we tried to eliminate fake reviews and use only genuine ones.
With so many options available, the authors narrowed down the selections by using products they felt were the best value for the money.
The staff authors have a wide and varied background as fitness trainers, yoga instructors and runners. The authors have decades of experience and are eager to share their knowledge with readers.
In order to narrow down the options, we used personal experiences plus recommendations from other trainers and instructors.
I hope this guide was helpful for finding a good budget elliptical trainer to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend an elliptical I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.