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March 26, 2023
Having an elliptical trainer in your home enables you to get a great cardio workout without stepping out your back door. Many ellipticals, however, run into thousands of dollars and are out of reach for most people. Of course, there are budget ellipticals on the market, but many of them are lacking in quality. In this article, we discover the 7 best ellipticals under $1000.
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The Horizon AE 7.0 sits represents the budget end of the Horizon Fitness line of elliptical trainers. But that doesn't mean that it's lacking in performance and features.
It's got a heavy-duty frame that gives you a secure, stable workout. Even when you're doing HIIT training at maximum resistance levels, the AE 7.0 won't wobble or slide around (a common problem with budget-priced ellipticals).
We've used many ellipticals in our fitness journey from the super expensive commercial options to the cheapest ones on Amazon and in our experience the Horizon AE 7.0 was the best of both worlds. Using the AE 7.0 we found it to be a solid machine that provided a smooth resistance even when going at near max effort.
The Horizon AE 7.0 is fitted with a 23-pound flywheel. This is a very good weight for a budget machine, powering a decent amount of resistance and allowing for a smooth, natural stride motion. It also helps to make the AE 7.0 one of the quietest operating budget ellipticals on the market.
The stride length on this elliptical is 20 inches. Again this is very impressive for a budget-priced machine and will allow people as tall as 6'5" to stride out completely.
The maximum user weight is 325 pounds. Once again, that is impressive for the price point. This relatively high max user weight attests to the durability of the frame on this machine.
The Ae 7.0 is Bluetooth enabled, allowing users to connect to their favorite training app. You can also watch your favorite streaming entertainment platform by placing your tablet on the secure device holder attached to the monitor. You get 20 resistance levels and 20 inbuilt programs on this elliptical trainer.
The Schwinn 430 is a solid machine that is capable of supporting a maximum user weight of 300 lb.
The 20-inch precision drive stride allows the majority of users to get a full, natural stride length. This machine provides you with 22 workout programs, a front flywheel that weighs 13.2 inches, and two user profiles.
The Schwinn 430 Elliptical machine comes equipped with 22 workouts built into the monitor. These include a quick start program so you can get straight into the workout.
There are also 8 heart rate specific programs, 9 profiles, a couple of fitness tests and two user-specific workouts. The heart rate specific training programs are linked to handlebar pulse sensors. These, however, are not overly reliable. There is no provision for more advanced heart rate monitoring, such as a wireless chest strap, on this elliptical machine.
For an elliptical machine that is priced at less than $800, you get an impressive range of workout programs that should more than meet your training requirements.
The Schwinn 430 comes with a front-drive, 13.2-pound flywheel. While not overly large, the fact that this flywheel is a high inertia, and precision perimeter weight means that you get a very smooth, jerk-free elliptical motion.
The Schwinn 430 provides you with six levels of incline adjustment. As you would expect with an elliptical that is priced under $800, however, you do not get an auto incline with this machine. That means that you will have to get off the machine in order to make the incline angle adjustment.
The monitor on the Schwinn 430 is impressive. You get a large LCD display screen, that displays a number of training diagnostics at the same time. The interface is intuitive and attractive with quick start buttons. However, the Schwinn 430 does not come with backlighting on the screen or Bluetooth connectivity. The monitor display shows your time, distance, speed, heart rate, calories burned, and intensity level
The Sole E20 has a max user weight of 325 lb and a 21 lb flywheel to provide a solid, smooth workout. It is powered by ECB magnetic resistance, ensuring that the stride movement is jerk free and quiet.
This is a compact elliptical that comes with transport wheels. That makes it a good option for home gyms with limited workout space.
You get 16 resistance levels and 10 inbuilt training programs on this machine, which is plenty for most users. It has a stride length of 18 inches, which will allow most people to get a full range of movement.
At just 5.5 inches in diameter, the monitor display size is the biggest letdown of the Sole E20. There is also no rack for you to safely position your tablet.
The Sunny Fitness E3865 is among the sturdiest budget-priced ellipticals you will find anywhere. It's got a 44 lb flywheel that delivers an ultra-smooth, quiet, and jerk-free stride motion. It also gives you a very stable workout experience.
The max user weight on the E3865 is 265 lb, which is pretty standard for this price range. The stride length is 20 inches, being enough for those as tall as 6'5" to train with full lower body movement. There are 16 levels of resistance and 12 inbuilt workout programs.
The E3865 comes with transportation wheels, allowing you to easily store it away after use. The monitor on this machine is functional, and easy to read, providing readouts of all of your important training data. The LCD screen is backlit for ease of viewing.
There is, though, no online connectivity or sound system available on this machine.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 has a look that was inspired by modern sports cars, motorcycles, and aerospace technology.
The M3 is a great way to benefit from the famous Bowflex 14-minute max interval workout at an affordable price. The M3 comes with an LCD display featuring a full readout of your workout progress, including time, speed, calories, and distance. You get 8 levels of adjustable resistance to keep you going strong.
Ergonomically designed handlebars allow for three different hand positions to maximize upper body activation.
The compact size of the M3 means that it can fit in almost any space in your home. Two workout programs provide you with professional structure to your training. The console includes target zone and burn rate indicators so you can closely monitor your workout progress.
A media shelf/tablet holder allows you to securely position your entertainment device while training.
The Teeter Freestep is a recumbent cross-trainer. That means that you are able to perform a recumbent lower body action while seated as if you were sitting on a recumbent exercise bike. It provides a low-impact full-body workout for people with lower back issues who have trouble exercising in an upright position.
Teeter, who is well known for its lumbar support products, has introduced a patented stride technology that maintains a smooth, linear stride path that minimizes joint stress on the knees. The key to this technology is the inclusion of ultra-glide steel ball bearings to ensure a very smooth action.
With a maximum user weight of 300 lb, 13 levels of smooth, magnetic resistance, and fully adjustable seat and handle heights the Teeter Freestep is an excellent option for people who need extra back support while working out.
The Schwinn 411 is the budget elliptical offering from this well-respected manufacturer.
It is available on the Schwinn website for $599. For that price, you get an 18-inch stride length, 13 workout programs, and 16 levels of resistance. The max user weight is 300 lb, which is very respectable for a budget elliptical.
The Schwinn 411 is a very compact unit, with dimensions of 53.5 inches long x 24 inches wide x 62.5 inches high. It has a product weight of 45.4 lb and comes with transport wheels. The stride length of 18 inches is about three inches longer than the standard for an elliptical priced at $600. That three inches make a huge difference to your ability to stride freely.
The flywheel weight is not listed on the specs for this machine. However, based on the fact that Schwinn uses a 13 lb flywheel on their bikes, it's pretty safe to assume that the flywheel used on the 411 will be the same. That's relatively low but pretty standard for the price point.
The LifePro Flexstride Underdesk elliptical consists of a pair of foot pedals connected to a base. It has a resistance dial that is centrally located on the base and a small display monitor. There are no handles so you are not able to get a complete elliptical experience with upper body training.
The LifePro Flexstride Underdesk elliptical weighs 26.5 lb and measures 22.7 inches long, 18.5 inches tall, and 12.9 inches wide. That makes it very portable, allowing you to carry it to and from work as needed.
The max user weight of this device is 110 lb per pedal, for a total of 220 lb. That limits its use to people who are under that weight. It features long, wide slip-resistant foot pedals. The two-inch display on this unit is too small to see from a tested position. You also need to bend down to adjust the resistance level.
The LifePro Flexstride Underdesk elliptical allows for a minimal intensity workout. That's because you cannot get a full enough range of motion. The device is also prone to sliding around on the carpet.
Using an elliptical machine can provide you with a good workout that will result in a number of healthy benefits, some of which we covered below.
Here's a look at even more elliptical benefits.
Elliptical trainers provide a safe, low-impact cardio workout. This is an example of a closed chain exercise where your feet do not lift off their platform. That contrasts sharply with such open-chain cardio fitness equipment as a treadmill or stair stepper. As a result, working out on an elliptical machine will not produce joint impact stress on your ankles, knees, and hips.1
The specific number of calories that a person will burn on an elliptical machine will vary according to their gender, weight, age, and training intensity. However, an average calorie burn of between 250-400 calories for a 30-minute session is typical. 2 Overall, elliptical machines can be a great solution if you're looking for a good weight loss workout.
When discussing elliptical muscles worked, we've got good news! Training on an elliptical machine works both the upper and lower body. That's because your arms are pushing and pulling the movable handles at the same time that you are striding out with your legs. That makes it quite unique among cardio machines, that usually neglect working the upper body.
Working out on an elliptical machine will improve your balance and mobility. It is especially beneficial for people with limited hip mobility as a result of ACL surgery. Many hospitals and rehab centers include elliptical machines as part of their rehab program.
A 2010 study looked at the impact of elliptical training on the ability of stroke victims to improve their functional walking capacity. All participants made significant improvements on the Berg Balance Scale. 3
An elliptical machine provides you with a low-impact way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Because it works both the upper and lower body, it will get the blood flowing to the muscles of both your legs and your arms. Your heart will have to work harder to meet the oxygen demands of your muscle cells. As a result, the heart will get stronger, enabling it to pump more blood around your body. This will lower your resting pulse rate and blood pressure and improve your cardio fitness. 4
When you're shopping for the best elliptical under 1000 dollars you need to put special attention to the specs and features of the machines you're considering.
Here are the seven main things to check.
The build quality will determine the durability and functionality of your elliptical. Look for a frame that is made from low-gauge steel and that doesn't have any low-grade plastic components attached to it.
Check your available space and make sure that every elliptical you check can easily fit into that space. Keep in mind that you should allow at least a foot around the machine for ease of access and maintenance. Some brands will also extend the pedals beyond the frame as you stride out.
Typical elliptical dimensions are six feet in length x two and a half feet in width. When you stand on your elliptical, you will be around 20 inches from the floor, so make sure that you also have sufficient ceiling height.
All ellipticals should include the maximum user weight in the specs for the machine. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend having at least a 50 lb difference between your weight (or that of the heaviest prospective user) and the maximum user weight. You should also not buy an elliptical with a max user weight of fewer than 225 lb.
Elliptical machines come with variable magnetic resistance. At the lowest level, it should be easy to stride out, with the difficulty level becoming challenging at a setting of 7 out of 10. Each resistance level change should provide a noticeable increase in difficulty level.
The effectiveness (and natural comfort) of your workout is significantly influenced by the length of your stride. Naturally, the length of your stride will depend on your height. Low-cost ellipticals will often compromise on stride length with some of them being as limited as 13 inches. The minimum stride length you should consider is 16 inches, though the ideal is 22 inches.
Your elliptical machine should ideally feature a stride length adjustment as well. This will make it accessible to a wide range of people.
Look for an elliptical that provides an adjustable workout incline. This increases the intensity and, therefore, the calorie burn. Elliptical training on an incline will also place more emphasis on the vastus medialis above the knee, calves, and glutes.
The pedals on your elliptical should feature a non-slip surface to prevent lateral foot slippage. Check, too, that the pedals are not too far apart to allow for a natural stride length and ergonomic hip movement. Some ellipticals that place the flywheel at the front of the machine position the pedals too far apart.
The monitor on your elliptical trainer doesn't have to be flashy but it should be functional. The display should be backlit so that it's easy to read, with large, clear LCD digits. There should also be a running display of your key training diagnostics, including speed, time, calories burned, RPM, and heart rate.
A handy feature to look out for is forward/backward motion. This will add training versatility, allowing you to place more emphasis on the hamstrings.
Ellipticals generally come with 3 part warranties that cover:
It is very rare for a frame to break, so manufacturers will provide frame warranties of 10 years or more. A good warranty will provide at least a decade's cover on the frame, three years on parts, and 12 months on labor.
With such a wide range of elliptical price points, the cost of the machine is an important factor. When focusing on the best elliptical under 1000 dollars, you should expect a stride length that allows for free, natural movement, a very stable, secure frame, and a monitor that is loaded with a range of programs and resistance levels.
The only way to find out how an elliptical will perform months, and even years, after your purchase is to check reviews from verified purchasers. Pay special attention to comments regarding the machine's durability, whether it wobbles at high-intensity levels and how the company responds to any customer complaints or issues.
Yes, a home elliptical is worth it. If your goal is to get in an effective cardio workout that will strengthen and define your lower body while also working the major muscles of the upper body, an elliptical is a great way to do it. Elliptical trainers also represent a low-impact form of cardio exercise to improve heart health and burn calories.
The best overall brand for an elliptical machine is NordicTrack. You won't find them on our list above because their quality elliptical machines are priced over the $1000 mark. Some of the best elliptical trainers under $1000 are made by Schwinn, Horizon and Sole Fitness.
A budget-priced elliptical will cost between $150 and $500. Medium-priced elliptical trainers are priced between $500 and $1500. In this range, you will get a solid frame, up to 20 in-built programs, and around 10 resistance levels. High-priced ellipticals will range from $1000 to $5000.
Yes, you can still find durable ellipticals under 1,000. For the price, you will be able to get a very solid frame that won't wobble or slide around when you are doing high-intensity interval training. You can also get an elliptical with a maximum user weight of 300 lb or more for under $1,000.
Yes, you can find high-tech features on ellipticals under 1,000. As you can see from the reviews above, ellipticals under $1,000 provide you with 20 or more workout programs, as many as 10 resistance levels, full-color displays, and easy-to-use, interactive interface monitors.
For under $1000 you can buy an awesome elliptical for your home gym, allowing you to get a low-impact full-body workout every day. The best elliptical under 1000 dollars is the Horizon AE 7.0, featuring a max user weight of 325 lb, maximum stride length of 20-inches, 30 resistance levels, 20 built in programs, and a 23 lb flywheel that provides a smooth, quiet operation.
Our runner-up was the Schwinn 430, providing you with a 20-inch stride length, natural elliptical motion, 22 workout programs, and a very affordable price point.
Finally, the best elliptical trainer under $1000 on Amazon is the Sunny Fitness E3685, with its heavy-duty flywheel, stable frame, 20-inch stride length, and transportation wheels.
Looking for other affordable cardio machines? make sure to check out the Best Rowing Machines Under $500 on the market.
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