Ellipticals are versatile fitness equipment that can be used by all age group. They are softer and low impact on your joints, knees, and back. They provide complete exercise for your body and especially for your heart it prove to be very beneficial.
Having an elliptical trainer at home can boost your cardiovascular health effects. Thus, have a look at these top 10 best elliptical under $500.
What are the features of an ideal elliptical machine?
- 1 What are the features of an ideal elliptical machine?
- 2 Best Elliptical Under 500
- 3 Elliptical buying guide
- 4 Elliptical versus treadmill, which one is better?
- 5 What are the categories or types of ellipticals available?
- 6 Does the location of flywheel effect the workout and other features?
- 7 Front Drive
- 8 Rear Drive
- 9 Centre Drive
- 10 What is the difference between ellipticals and cross-trainers?
- 11 So, how does it affect your training?
- 12 What are the important things to consider before you go to buy an elliptical machine?
- 13 Can you judge the quality of elliptical machine just by looking at it?
- 14 Is it necessary to have a heart rate monitor?
- 15 What common mistake you should avoid while working on an elliptical machine?
A heavier flywheel:
As a rule of thumb, heavier the flywheel, smoother is the operation. Thus, you should always go to higher weight and never below 25 Pounds.
In fact, heavier the machine better is the stability. This is because at higher resistance the magnitude of force you apply increases very much.
For a quieter machine, you should always go for the one with magnetic braking. It helps in smooth shifting between different resistance level without any bumps or jerks.
A variable inclination allows you to give best-suited position for the best result. It’s an important factor that helps you to customize the machine for ergonomic body posture.
Variable resistance level:
A variable resistance allows you to vary the intensity of force and effort required while working out on an elliptical machine. You need to vary the resistance level with the passing time in your workout plans. Mostly, you begin with easy level and as the months’ pass, you have to increase the difficulty or what is said as the resistance levels.
When buying any complex gym instruments like elliptical trainers, you should always look for the warranty. These mechanical systems have probability( lesser or higher) to fail. Also, the warranty is the sign of trust and confidence the manufacturer have in its product. You should check for warranty on frames and brake system especially.
While on the elliptical machine, your feet and hands are in contact with the machine all the time. You have to hold the handlebars to stay securely on the machine, it thus, holds an important place. The handlebars should be positioned rightly. It should not be far enough to over stretch your hand or close enough to cook your hand.
Also, it should have fine and soft finishing preferably with the gripping material. Otherwise, any harsh or rough surface can sooner harm our palm badly.
Best Elliptical Under 500
Schwinn 430 Elliptical Machine
Schwinn 430 Elliptical is a high duty elliptical trainer with massive built. It features twenty level eddy current resistance wheel that works smoothly without creating any noise. It is preloaded with twenty-two exercise regimes for you. Unlike other ellipticals, it has dual large sized LCD monitors that give all the important statistics to you.
Not just that, it has an inbuilt speaker that lets you play music and a USB connection to charge your mobile phone. The foot pedals have a considerable width that lets you do low-impact exercise. In terms of warranty, you get a long ten years warranty on frame, two years warranty on mechanical and one year on electrical components.
Universal E40 Elliptical Trainer
This easy-to-install elliptical trainer is sturdy inbuilt and compact in design. Its intuitive LCD screen gives useful information like speed, distance, calories burnt and time. You can readily shift between the eight-level magnetic resistance to choose your suitable difficulty level. There are seven pre-loaded workout profiles. The handles are fitted with heart rate monitor to track your pulse. It can support weight up to 275 lbs. It comes with clean and fine finishing.
Body Power 3-in-1 Trio-Trainer
With its patent three-in-one design this intelligent trainer can transform into an upright bike, recumbent trainer and elliptical trainer. You don’t need to have any adjustments as you switch from one style to other. You can easily vary its seating arrangement.
It is preloaded with over seventeen training profiles. The front monitor on it gives you the essential info. And its handles are equipped with pulse sensor.
Cubii: Smart Under-Desk Elliptical (Chrome)
It’s ultra portable and compact elliptical that can be placed under your table. You can use it in our office while you are doing your work. It supports eight-level magnetic resistance. It connects with your phone’s Bluetooth and shows every detail on its dedicated mobile app.
The elliptical is designed by considering present lifestyle habit where busy work schedule leaves no time for your exercise. You can use it anytime while you are working on your laptop, studying, reading or sitting leisurely.
Exerpeutic 5000 Magnetic Elliptical
This magnetic elliptical trainer features twenty-four-grade magnetic tension system. The machine pairs wirelessly with your smartphone to share the workout data for analysis to you. It has a sleek and compact built.The hand pulse sensor on it continuously records your heart beat rate.
The machine uses two-belt and double flywheel system that helps to provide smoother and silent operation.The complete set-up comes with a one year warranty.
Fitness Reality E5500XL Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
You get more that than twenty workout profiles. It offers twenty-four level magnetic resistance setting. Its large LCD screen gives all the vital information like PRM, time, distance, speed, pulse and calories burnt.
The machine is protected with a one year warranty.
The stride pedals on it are large sized to balance you well and there is ample space between the two so that you don’t incur any strain.
At the bottom, there is transportation wheel that facilitates you to move the machine conveniently.
ProForm Hybrid Trainer
ProForm brings to you a compact built sturdy elliptical trainer. It is sleek and occupies very minimal space at your home. A large LCD screen sits on it front that gives you all the info You can choose from wide fourteen resistance levels.
The seating section on it is wide enough with backside support to give you a comfortable and snug sitting. You get a five-years long warranty on its frame. The trainer is very silent in working.
The inertial flywheel on it makes it smoother in operation. It comes with a convenient transportation wheel that allows to move it from one place to other with much effort.
With all these features, it’s one of the most affordable elliptical trainers to buy.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Trainer
This compact elliptical trainer comes with powerful features packed at very competitive price. It supports eight-level magnetic resistance. The LCD monitor on it gives various important info like pulse, calories, time and speed. The handles are lined with heart rate sensors.
It sports a movable wheel on the base that allows you to move the elliptical without much effort. It is very quiet in operation.
Body Rider BRD2000 Elliptical Trainer with Seat
If you are looking for a low-duty elliptical at the most affordable price, you can go for this basic elliptical trainer. It’s two-in-one machine that can also be used as an exercise bike. You cab easily vary the tension intensity with its tension knob. Its seat is also adjustable in height and orientation.
The machine very intelligently transforms some of your work to run its fan that provides cool air while you workout. The electronic display on it give all the important data like heart rate, distance traveled and calories burnt.
Stamina In-Motion Elliptical Trainer
This is another lightweight under table elliptical trainer that can be used anywhere at home or office. You can use it in either of sitting or standing position. So, use it while you are watching TV, sitting idle or working on a desk. You can readily decrease an increase and decrease its tension just by moving a small knob on it.
The machine very silent and creates no noise while you workout. It’s pedal is wide and texture that gives you right balance and grip. A small display on it keeps you updated with the time spent and calories burnt.
Elliptical buying guide
Elliptical versus treadmill, which one is better?
I often hear people asking this question. If you ask my unbiased verdict, then, for sure ellipticals are better than treadmills. And here are some facts that prove the point.
In the case of treadmills, the rebound jerk is very large. It’s almost five to six times greater than the normal jerk when you are running on the normal ground. The reason being on a treadmill there is hard steel surface beneath your feet. It rebounds back with much greater force than what you apply( as high as five to six times).
This is going to be disastrous in a long run, hurting your knee joints and caps badly. There is no such jerk in the case of elliptical that also copies the running motion.
Another benefit of ellipticals over treadmills is that ellipticals help you to work even on the upper parts of your body. It helps you to tone up your back muscle, shoulder, and arms. I am talking about those with movable handles( also knowns as cross trainers).
Ellipticals are much safer than treadmills.
If you are new on treadmills, it’s really hard to get on and off on it. It’s a very common cause of injury on treadmills. Sometimes even while running, people lose their balance as there is a mismatch of their pace and the speed of the treadmill.
While elliptical trainer runs on your power, automatically matching your pace.
An elliptical is less likely to get damaged. They don’t have vulnerable parts like a belt of treadmills that gets damaged often and needs replacements.
One downside, ellipticals need more space as you are elevated from the ground. Thus, there should not be any vertical restriction.
What are the categories or types of ellipticals available?
Broadly speaking, based on the location of placement of the flywheel ellipticals are classified into three types. These are as followings:
- Front Drive
- Rear Drive
- Centre Drive
Does the location of flywheel effect the workout and other features?
Yes, the location of flywheel has various effects. Based on that parameter front drive, rear drive and center drive have different attributes.
The location of flywheel affects various features like:
- Type of motion you get
- Moving parts involved
- Maintenance required
- Smoothness of motion
- Portability and folding features
- Magnitude of jerk
- Distance between your foot
Let’s discuss each of the drive systems in detail on by one and also see how it performs differently on the above features.
The older elliptical machines came with the front drive system. The design still persists due to some of its advantages. Also, they are the least expensive ones.
These are a little inclined to the front side. You slightly bend forward while working out it as if you are trying to climb a mountain or stairs.
On the downside, it has more moving parts. Thus, it needs maintenance, otherwise, the machine may stop working. You need to clean up the wheel and track regularly.
Also, front drive ellipticals are a little noisy in operation.
A rear drive elliptical houses the flywheel at the back side of the machine. These are costlier when compared with other drive systems.
Unlike front drive, it has a horizontal pathway. You get a more comfortable motion like your real walking or running style.
You can even adjust inclination to some extent.
The rear drive has much lesser moving parts, lowering its maintenance work and cost. Many of the rear drives are fold-able, thus easy to store in a limited space condition.
The center drives are the latest introduction to the world of elliptical machines. The flywheels are located on left and right side of the machine. These are the costliest among the three.
These varieties of ellipticals are very quiet and smooth in operation. They are less stressful as the foot pedals are much closer to each other. Also, these are much stable as the weights are more evenly distributed.
In this case, you get no option for inclination variation.
What is the difference between ellipticals and cross-trainers?
That’s a commonly asked question related to ellipticals. Well, cross-trainers are basically a type of elliptical that have movable arm handles. Thus, while in a normal elliptical the arm handles are static while it’s non-static in the case of cross-trainers.
So, how does it affect your training?
Since the arms are also moving in cross-trainers, the upper portion of your body also tons up with its forward and backward motion. Thus, you get somewhat complete body workout in the case of cross-trainers.
It’s good for your shoulder strength, elbow flexibility and strengthening the muscles of your hand.
On the downside, cross trainers are a little difficult to balance. The reason is simple, every part of your body (i.e. both hands and legs) that are in contact with the machine are moving. As you move your left hand forward, your left foot moves backward( and vice-versa). While the movement is very convenient and easy in ellipticals and gliders where you hold a stationary handlebar. The elderlies and those with some physical problems mostly prefer ellipticals to cross trainers.
What are the important things to consider before you go to buy an elliptical machine?
You should physically try the machine yourself if you can. For that, you can visit your friends who are already having the machine, or you can also go to nearby gyms. There you can look if you can find a similar machine( or may be the same machine if you are lucky).
Here are the certain things to consider when you inspect a machine physically:
- When you move back and forth by holding the stationary handle with the machine, your hands or legs should not be interfering with each other or any other body parts. It’s not a good thing, you should pay attention to it.
- When you hold the transitioning handlebar, its motion should be within the reach of your body. It should not overstrain or over stress your body. Your spine should be in vertical position. This the most comfortable position for you.
- Your knees should not be striking the frame of the machine in any case. That’s an another important the thing that you should always check out when you are trying out a new machine that you want to buy.
- Some machines have adjustable striding that helps you to change the shape of elliptical motion. It helps people to change the different elliptical shape and size. It’s a useful feature to look into the machine you are going to buy.
Can you judge the quality of elliptical machine just by looking at it?
It’s hard to judge the inner working quality of the machine just by looking at it. But, you can infer many things just by looking at the machine or by visual inspection.
Overall appearance whether it has good fittings and finishing is the indication of its good quality.
Another thing that you would never want your machine to do is constantly producing creaking, shuttering or other noise because it’s not going to stop and you have to bear it every time and all time.
Thus, it should feel good, sound good, to the best it should be silent.
One of the another primary thing that you must inspect is the stability of the machine. As you increase the resistance setting of the machine, it increases the force required to move the hand-bars and pedal. When you are applying more force, the poor stability machine shows vibrations and may tip over. A big and heavy machine has good stability and they don’t lose their balance in such cases.
Another thing you should inspect is the food pedals. The foot pedals should be large enough to fully support your feet. And its surface should be lined with non-slip high grip material and there should be a texture for good grip. This is very important to protect your feet from slipping when you pedal hard.
In case of monitor, it should have controls that are easy to read and understand without any complexity.
Is it necessary to have a heart rate monitor?
No, it’s not a necessary thing. Most of the machine have heart rate monitor and many of the heart rate sensors are located on the stationary handle bars. In that case, It may be difficult to monitor your heart rates, as your hands may or may not be on the stationary handles.
What common mistake you should avoid while working on an elliptical machine?
I see people committing some common mistakes over and again as they work out on elliptical machines. Here is the mistake to avoid:
Working out on zero resistance for most of the time
You may feel that you are working a lot and improving a lot, but unless you increase the resistance level, you are not helping out your muscles to have enough hard regime. Thus, in spite of getting happy with the fake feel good feelings, increase up the resistance level and burn some real calories.
Forgetting to change direction
If you are not changing the direction of elliptical, you are not putting different muscle groups to work. For the best results, you should combine the mix of forwarding and backward strokes.
Becoming too much obsessed with the ellipticals
Yes, ellipticals are a great trainer machines. But, I have seen many people coming to the gym just and just for elliptical. See, once you start doing the same exercise on the same machine over and over for a long time you body become accustomed to it. That’s not a great thing. You should be offering some change time and again for an overall better workout.
Lifting up heels while stepping
I see many of the people lifting up the back portion of their feet and putting a load on front toes. You should not do that, the reason being very obvious, it puts lots of pressure on the balls of your feet. In this way, you end up with pain in your feet. So, you should stick your heels down as you paddle the elliptical. Coming up on heels like that you also often increase the risk of the stress factor.