Best elliptical for small spaces and apartments

If you’re thinking about purchasing an elliptical machine for at-home use, you might want to think about more than only the cost of your gym equipment.

On average, a high-end elliptical machine may cost upward of $2,500. But you can easily find machines within the $1,000 price range. What matters is the type of machine you choose.

Elliptical machines have a common basic function throughout the different models from various brands you’ll see in gyms and stores. However, there’s so much more that separates one elliptical machine from the other.

Configuration, types, programs—not to mention the type of machine that suits your fitness goals, there’s plenty that goes into your buying decision.

So, before you hand over your card for the first elliptical machine that catches your eye, let’s go through the basics of elliptical mechanisms and find out which one would suit you.

Before moving forward let’s have a look at our top recommendations of best elliptical under 1000:

  1. SCHWINN 430 Elliptical Machine offers 22 preset programs, you’ll find nine profiles, a quick start high-speed program, heart rate control programs, and high inertia drive systems.
  2. GoElliptical V-450T Cross Trainer features a heart rate program for automatic adjustment, thanks to the fixed handlebars that monitor your EKG. 
  3. Sunny Health & Fitness Electric Elliptical Trainer has a maximum weight limit of 300 lbs. and is very sturdy, structure-wise. 

If you cannot afford to invest 1000$ on an elliptical exercise machine and looking for e inexpensive options then you might like one from the best elliptical under 500, these are cheap machines that are designed for home users. 

How to Choose the Right Elliptical Machine for You

Even if you have the budget available to purchase a high-end elliptical machine, it doesn’t mean you should go ahead and buy the most expensive one.

High-end elliptical machines are typically bought for specialized training and by gyms. These machines cost more because they’re often heavier, beefier, have a greater footprint, and are durable enough that they last longer, even with heavy use.

However, as far as features are concerned, these machines don’t offer any particular features that you won’t find in one that’s half the price or even less. So your task is to find a machine that costs less and gets the job done right.

To start with, you’ll want to get the correct configuration. Elliptical machines have three basic configurations:

  • Front-drive elliptical
  • Center-drive elliptical
  • Rear-drive elliptical

i) Front-Drive Elliptical

A front-drive elliptical houses the wheel at the front, which glides on a track with the help of pedals. Because of its mechanism, the front-drive elliptical creates a lot of sound and vibration. But the noise level also depends on the roller quality. If the elliptical machine is old, it’ll make more noise.

ii) Center-Drive Elliptical

This type of elliptical machine is more compact than the rest. However, the overall system takes up as much space as any other elliptical configuration.

The center-drive mechanism does not use a wheel to pedal. Instead, it uses a crankshaft system. The pedals ride on cylindrical rollers, so there’s nothing to spin. The pedals are connected up to the machine’s arms and require more space to move. So, if you have enough space, this machine would make a good choice.

Because of the simple mechanism, the machine is also more quiet and gentle than the other configurations.

iii) Rear-Drive Elliptical

This type of configuration houses the drive wheel in the back of the machine instead of the front. In addition, this system works with a track-and-roller system, where the pedals connect to the machine’s arms and back to the wheel, which runs on a track.

Depending on how old the machine is, the system is smooth and stays quiet. However, because of the pedal set-up, it does create a sort of incline. Also, the rear-drive ellipticals tend to be longer than most because the arms extend further out as you pedal.

Elliptical Machine Types

Configurations and types are two different things when discussing elliptical machines.

Putting aside the configurations mentioned above, these machines are further divided into two categories: with heart rate programs and without heart rate programs.

A heart rate program may not seem particularly important for the average layman, especially since you have a fitness tracking watch on you. Nevertheless, a heart rate program offers a lot more than just information on your heart health.

Apart from these elliptical and cross trainers under desk ellipticals is another type which allows doing workout during working hours while sitting on the seat. 

Benefits of Ellipticals with Heart Rate Programs

An elliptical with a heart rate program typically comes equipped with two features: a handgrip contact sensor or a chest-strap heart rate sensor. The latter is more accurate and convenient since you don’t have to keep gripping the handles while working out.

In either case, these sensors keep track of your heart rate and help the machine adjust the elliptical’s resistance and incline, so you reach your targeted heart rate. Once you do, the machine slowly decreases the incline and resistance to where you can remain at a consistent pace.

If you’re new to working out, machines with heart rate programs are your best options since they’ll give you a much better idea of your ideal heart rate and what type of fitness program you’ll want to follow.

Best affordable ellipticals are suitable for home users, every person either an adult, senior, or a mom can use these exercise machines to lose weight as well as to tone muscles. 

Benefits of Ellipticals without Heart Rate Programs

Machines without heart rate programs do display your heart rate via the heart rate feature. But that’s about it.

These ellipticals also use the two types of sensors to monitor and display your heart rate. But, it’s up to you to set the intensity and incline of your machine. Such ellipticals work well for athletes and active people who have a program set for their workouts.

But if you don’t have much information, you might not even know how you can use your heart rate to your benefit.

Finding the Right Model

As with any investment you make, it helps if you try it first before you buy it. However, if it’s not possible for you to go to the store and check every machine thoroughly, here are some details on the framework, size, and more that should help you make the right decision:

i) Size

The average elliptical machine stands at 6 feet in length to 2–3 feet in width. However, when deciding on a space for your elliptical, add the space in front and behind the machine.

Keep in mind; the pedals extend outback and further. You’ll want to have enough space that you can exercise without worrying about your walls getting damaged. You’ll also want to be sure you have enough headspace. When standing on an elliptical, the gap usually stands at about 5–15 inches above the ground.

But when you start pedaling, the machine can lift you to 25 inches above.

Before deciding on an elliptical, take measurements of the area in your home where you want to keep the machine and make sure there’s enough space around and above you.

ii) Exercise Intensity

The lowest incline and resistance for every machine are typically the same. But you’ll want to be sure it doesn’t get too challenging to push when you increase the numbers.

If possible, you’ll want to bring the incline and resistance up to about 75 percent of the top setting and workout then. If it’s difficult to push but still possible, that machine is good enough. You’ll also want to be sure that the incline and resistance are adjustable. Some machines come with automatic adjustments as well.

iii) Ergonomics

The one most important factor when buying an elliptical is comfort. Although the structure seems similar for all ellipticals, even the most minor changes make a difference. First, you want to be sure the seat is comfortable.

The handgrips and the fixed frame do not wobble or interrupt your overall movement. As a result, your arms, knees, and shoulders should not hit the moving handles whiles exercising, and you should be able to stand in an upright position on the pedals without losing your balance.

Elliptical machines are heavy, so even if you lose balance while getting off, the machine should not move. If the machine wobbles or moves even with the slightest of rough movements, strike that model off your list.

iv) Programs

Every machine comes with a standard list of programs that the manufacturer installs. In addition, you’ll find numerous offerings such as manual, hill climb, random, interval, slow long-distance, as well as target heart rate.

If you have a specific program in mind, it should be easy to program your elliptical. If not, do not be tempted by the added exercise programs on different elliptical machines. Many newer models offer custom options to help you create a specialized resistance profile. If you’re not satisfied with the basic programs, a custom program should be enough.

You’ll get just the workout you need, all without having to pay extra for it.

v) Connectivity

Unlike many older machines, almost all newer workout machines come equipped with connectivity options. For example, some ellipticals offer Bluetooth connectivity, USB ports, wireless connectivity, and even apps you can connect to with your Smartphone.

If you use a fitness tracking app and want to move your workout data to such an app, you’ll have no problem connecting to such features through your phone or laptop.

vi) Safety

The handlebars are not the only thing keeping you safe on an elliptical.

Many manufacturers have now adjusted the design, so the elliptical’s handrails keep your body in line when you work out. Also, when increasing the incline, many machines (especially those with automatic features) now adjust the system as you work out, so you don’t put too much pressure on your ankles. Some brands also offer different seat designs for those who have trouble sitting on the narrow seat or have pelvic pain from sitting for so long.

All ellipticals also come with preset safety features like base stoppers in case your floor slopes, rubber floor mats, and foam handrails, so your hands don’t slip from sweatiness.

Top Three Popular Elliptical Choices on Amazon

Considering all the abovementioned factors, it becomes easier to find an elliptical that matches your specific requirements. However, if you have too many options, there is a better way to narrow down your choices.

Here are our three picks of the best ellipticals under $1,000 that tick all the right boxes:

1. SCHWINN 430 Elliptical Machine

Priced Under $1000, the SCHWINN 430 elliptical machine is, perhaps, one of the most popular machines from the SCHWINN brand.

The front-drive elliptical machine has a straightforward design with several essential functions that puts it in the Goldilocks zone for beginners in the fitness realm.

Starting with its design, this elliptical comes fitted with moving and fixed handlebars, 20 computer-controlled resistance levels so you can choose from a broader range of intensities. The elliptical also features individual exercise goals and offers 22 preset workout programs, so you should have no problem finding one that suits you.

Among the 22 preset programs, you’ll find nine profiles, a quick start high-speed program, heart rate control programs, and high inertia drive systems. The machine also features a Dual Track 2 LED screen that’s big enough to display all the information necessary so that you can keep track of your progress.

The elliptical features a 20″ stride in terms of precision path stride, which is an average length for a natural running stance.

The SCHWINN machine weighs 165 pounds and is fixed with cushioned footplates for a quiet, smooth workout. And while it does have a larger footprint, the machine is big enough to fit in any corner of the house without being a hazard. Like all machines, this one is good for all ages.

However, adult supervision is advised for any persons under eighteen.

Pros

Cons

2. GoElliptical V-450T Cross trainer

The GoElliptical V-450T is probably one of the best machines for at-home workouts, and not only because it’s priced very reasonably Featuring a 17″ stride, the GoElliptical may not have a stride length to compete with the SCHWINN model, but it’s functional enough.
840.

Also, unlike the SCHWINN, the GoElliptical has 24 levels for resistance and random programs, each with unlimited variations. The machine also offers eight positions with adjustable foot pedals and three positions for the swinging arms.

This GoElliptical model also features a heart rate program for automatic adjustment, thanks to the fixed handlebars that monitor your EKG. The elliptical also has a special belt drive, can manage weights of up to 300 pounds. And offers a quiet and smooth cycling experience since it is a rear-drive elliptical.

The elliptical also features a 5.5″ LCD that displays all the basics, i.e., speed, distance, time, heart rate, and calories. In addition, it also displays the heart rate monitoring frame. Structurally speaking, the machine has cushioned upper body handlebars and uses a magnetic resistance system that allows for fluid movement.

Finally, the machine also has a water bottle and storage rack. So, if you want to catch up on your favorite shows while working out, this is the best machine for those days. Due to all of the above-discussed features, we keep it at the second spot on the best elliptical for homes under 1000.

Pros

Cons

3. Sunny Health & Fitness Electric Elliptical Trainer

This front-drive elliptical has a much smaller footprint, but it’s just as valuable.

Priced reasonably, this low-impact elliptical trainer takes advantage of its compact structure by adding a larger footplate to each pedal so you have optimum grip and better balance. In addition, this machine is very durable and is designed to be used in gyms. So, you can expect to use it without a problem in the next many years to come.

This elliptical has a maximum weight limit of 300 lbs. and is very sturdy, structure-wise. Its non-slip foot pedals, transportation wheels, and non-slip, full-motion handlebars are built to aid muscle endurance in your upper body, especially your arms and hands.

What’s also great about the Sunny Health & Fitness elliptical is the variety of programs that keep you up and active. This elliptical comes with 16 levels of automated resistance that you can choose through the on-console control. It also features 24 preset programs, all of which are goal-oriented. These programs are based on custom user values, average heart rate, BMI data, and watt generation.

And if that’s not enough, what pushes this elliptical as the best investment for the whole family is its manual mode. So, if everyone is onboard the healthcare wagon, they can also try the machine on manual mode, i.e., use the machine without having to plug it in. As a result, you save money on a high electricity bill, and everyone gets their share of workout time.

This elliptical has multiple features, including a performance monitor that displays all the essential information, such as wattage production, burned calories, distance, time, speed, heart rate, as well as rotations per minute. So it is one of the best elliptical machine for home.

Pros

Cons

FAQs Regarding Elliptical Machines

Despite all the information given above, you may still have some questions regarding elliptical machines. To round up the most common queries, here are some answers to three of the most frequently asked questions:

If your goal is weight loss, the best way to determine the right time is to estimate how many calories you'll burn at your current weight.

Keep in mind, though, if you want to lose weight the healthy way, you'll want to start with a shorter goal. Then work your way up as your body starts getting used to the movement. Otherwise, you will become susceptible to injuries.

If your goal is to build muscle mass, you'll want to use a higher level of resistance so that your biceps and glutes go through the excess effort. The elliptical machine is not the ideal choice if you want to build muscles quickly. But it's compelling enough that a consistent routine will help build that muscle tone.

Considering that both follow the same pedaling function while crouched in an active position, both burn just about the same amount of calories.

In the instance of burning calories, the elliptical presents more benefits than biking. The elliptical burns calories, but it also offers more movement than a bike and strengthens your joints and muscles, even though it is a low-impact machine.

Biking does work your leg muscles. But if you have chronic pain or joint and back pain, pedaling in the same position for minutes at a time causes more strain. Not to mention that most of us lose our posture whenever we're biking.

Thanks to the elliptical's structure, we have to force our bodies to stand straight, thus preventing pain.

It's actually very easy to get injured using any gym equipment.
With the elliptical machine, you'll want to get used to it before you start a serious workout. First, grip the handlebars tightly, so you don't lose your balance, then step on the pedals. Remember that these pedals are suspended, so they will begin moving. You'll want to keep your foot in the middle of the pedal, then use the main structure to climb on.

Some machines have an automatic system, so it will turn on as you begin pedaling. If not, you'll want to look for the power button before you start your warm-up session.

From the first pedal, you'll want to keep your knees bent slightly and keep your back straight. If your elliptical machine has a seat, use it to readjust your balance. Otherwise, pause your program in the middle so you don't end up twisting an ankle.

Final Thoughts

An elliptical machine is the best investment you can make to maintain your weight while staying at home.

With all the information mentioned above and our recommendations, you should have no problem finding a suitable machine to reach your goal. However, if you cannot afford the ones we’ve listed, that’s no problem either.

You’re informed enough to make the right decision for your health and your budget. Trust your choice and take the first step toward better health and a better life.

Scroll to Top