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Best Ellipticals Under $1000

Keep within your budget and get the best home workout possible with these cardio trainers.

Staying fit and healthy is a challenging task in and of itself, but even more so when you have a limited budget to do it on. Long working schedules and time-consuming commutes make it even harder to commit to a gym membership, which is why the idea of working out from the comfort of your own home is so appealing.

Ellipticals for your cardio needs

Ellipticals are a popular choice for fitness enthusiasts, and for a good reason. They can provide you with an intense workout session, while also being much easier on your back and knees than actual running. Cardio exercises are essential when it comes to keeping your heart and lungs in peak condition and they also help you build endurance to sustained effort.

 In terms of budget, an elliptical normally sets up back around $1000 - $1500, depending on the brand and the selection of features you are after. However, it’s also possible to find an elliptical for under $1000 that still comes with many of the same benefits, without trading quality or reliability in the process

Ellipticals can provide you with an intense workout session, while also being much easier on your back and knees than actual running.

What can you expect from an elliptical for less than $1000?

A trainer for less than $1000 should provide you with basic features like automatic resistance and a selection of pre-programmed workouts, but it’s also not unreasonable to expect things like adjustable incline or a decent weight capacity. Furthermore, a satisfactory warranty period should be part of the deal as well, together with an appropriate stride length that doesn’t put too much stress on your joints.

Above all else, it’s important not to focus solely on the price tag, because a poorly designed elliptical can do more harm than good in many cases, especially if it reinforces bad posture or lacks certain features. In addition, even a budget machine should last for many years, especially if the materials are up to quality standards.

With all this in mind, here are some of the most feature-rich ellipticals you can get for under $1000.

1) Schwinn 470 available for $919 on Amazon

Key features
  • Dual LCD monitor
  • Charging and data exchange USB port
  • Acoustic Chamber spearkers
  • 25 resistance levels

The Schwinn 470 is a feature-packed elliptical that provides you with a great mix of high-tech options and reliability, thanks to its premium build quality and state-of-the-art gadgets. Although it all but matches the $1000 budget, this trainer incorporates everything from automatic incline adjustment to four different user profiles, making it a great elliptical for the entire family.

Sporting a 20-inch stride and 25 resistance levels, The Schwinn 470 is also quite good at tracking your performance during your sessions. Thanks to its generous backlit LCD screen, you can keep an eye on distance, heart rate and timing, as well as transfer your metrics via Bluetooth to various devices and popular apps.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about it?

The 29 programmed workout programs and and the user profile software are arguably the best features in this machine. You can input your own custom settings - incline, resistance, your favourite workout programs, your weight, height and fitness goals - and the elliptical will not only save them for you, but automatically pre-select your options even after another person has used the machine.

The build quality is impressive as well. The frame itself comes with ten years of warranty, which means that you can safely train for a long time without worrying about damaging the trainer in the process.

On top of that, it supports a maximum user weight of 300 lbs and it also comes with transport wheels and two integrated levelers to make the setup process a bit easier. It’s significant weight and sturdy frame keeps it steady even during high-intensity training sessions, so you can go as hard as you want without putting your safety at risk in the process.

What's not so good about it?

In terms of downsides, the Schwinn 470 comes with a couple of annoyances. The assembly process can be lengthy and demanding, especially if you don’t have the right tools available. In addition, the some features tend to wear out faster than others, most notably, the incline function (this is expected - moving parts tend to wear down faster than say, the frame of the machine).

Furthermore, the telemetry data can be incorrect or dodgy in certain cases, making it difficult to track your sessions properly. This can lead to problems if you want to examine your sessions and keep track of your progress over time. It is advisable to use a fitness tracker or a chest belt in addition to the elliptical telemetrics, if you want fully accurate heart rate measurements. But if you just want a general approximation, then the elliptical on its own should be just fine for you.

Pros:
  • A wide variety of workout programs to choose from, including two fitness tests
  • Very sturdy build quality
  • Long warranty on the frame
  • Great connectivity and compatibility with a wide variety of devices and apps, such as Google Fit and Apple Health compatibility
  • 4 customisable user profiles
Cons:
  • Troublesome assembly process
  • Low-quality speakers (though if you use headphones, this won’t matter)
  • Electronics are prone to wearing out after some time

2) Schwinn 430 available for $899 on Amazon

Key features
  • Dual LCD monitor
  • Charging and data exhange USB port
  • 20 resistance levels
  • 2 user settings

The Schwinn 430 is Schwinn 470’s smaller brother, which means that you get a more limited selection of features but at a more affordable price. However, the build quality is the same, so you are not missing out when it comes to longevity and warranty. Unlike the more expensive version, the Schwinn 430 provides you with only 22 preset exercise programs, unlike the 29 you get with the Schwinn 470.

The two separate user profiles are great if you want to use the trainer with a friend or a family member, but keep in mind that the 470 version comes with four user profiles (which makes it better for a family or for a group of roommates sharing the machine). Another major difference is the manually adjustable ramp for incline exercises, meaning that you will have to pause your workout to change the incline difficulty.

Other than that, you get the same stride length to work with, the same weight capacity and resistance features, as well as USB connectivity.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about it?

Although you lose a few of the more advanced features if you opt for the Schwinn 430 instead of the Schwinn 470, many of the same benefits are part of the deal as well. For example, the LCD screen might be monochrome in this version, but it displays a comparable amount of data, and it’s designed to be as easy-to-read as possible, in spite of the fact that it is not backlit.

The preset exercises are not as numerous, but the selection is still pretty strong, and they also include two separate fitness tests and the possibility to create two custom profiles. The 10-year frame warranty is available for this model as well, which means that the materials are largely the same.

What's not so good about it?

As with the Schwinn 470, the Schwinn 430 can pose a few difficulties when it comes to putting the machine together once you get it out of the box. You might run into similar issues when it comes to the quality of the data measured by the onboard computer, but again, if you just want a general approximation, it will suit you just fine.

Furthermore, the incline is not automatically adjustable, which means that you need to manually increase the angle in the middle of your workout if you want a tougher challenge, or if you want to target specific muscle groups. Manual incline is actually more likely to break than automatic incline, because of the higher likelihood of human error when operating it.

Pros:
  • Plenty of workout programs to choose from
  • Quiet drive system that keeps noise to a minimum
  • Sturdy frame and high weight capacity, as compared to the 470
  • Two customisable user profiles
  • Decent device connectivity and MP3 input
Cons:
  • The incline cannot be adjusted automatically
  • The LCD screen is not backlit

3) Proform Hybrid Trainer Pro available for $608 on Amazon

Key features
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Integrated cup and tablet holder
  • Oversized LCD display
  • 2o resistance levels

The ProForm Hybrid Trainer Pro is a machine that can double as a recumbent elliptical, making it a great solution for those of you suffering from back problems, knee problems or other musculo-skeletal conditions. Its mid-range price is great if your budget is particularly tight, and you also get plenty of features for your money. Thanks to the 16 workout apps and the 20 resistance levels, you should be able to customize your sessions as efficiently as possible to get the most out of them.

Although you can use the built-in seat for a more comfortable position, it’s also perfectly possible to use the ProForm Hybrid Trainer Pro like a regular elliptical. Moreover, the adjustable incline can range between 3 and 20 degrees, which allows you to go as easy or as hard as you want during your training.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about it?

One of the most alluring features of this trainer is the lifetime frame warranty, so you can be sure that the machine will last for a long time if you take care of it. The seat is also adjustable to fit your height and posture, which means that you can exercise in comfort at all times. Lastly, the ProForm Hybrid Trainer Pro has a weight capacity of 350 lbs, allowing it to accommodate almost everyone without problems.

What's not so good about it?

The 17” stride length can be a bit too short for tall people, and it can lead to joint problems and discomfort in the long run. 17” is enough for people of average height, though. Even if the frame comes with a lifetime warranty, the rest of the mechanical and electronic components are still prone to damage over time, sometimes in spite of good care on your behalf.

Pros:
  • Generous weight capacity
  • Can be used both sitting and standing upright, putting less pressure on knees and spine
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame
  • Highly-adjustable incline angle
Cons:
  • Relatively short stride length compared to most ellipticals
  • Can be prone to mechanical failures over time
  • Only 16 workout apps at your disposal (most ellipticals in this price range have 20+)

4) Proform Hybrid Trainer available for $371 on Amazon

Key features
  • 16 workout apps
  • Adjustable foot pedals
  • Silent magnetic resistance
  • 350lbs. weight capacity

The Proform Hybrid Trainer is the budget-friendly alternative to Proform Hybrid Trainer Pro, scoring great points in terms of affordability. The differences are obvious when it comes to features and adjustability, on the other hand, so you have to make do with 16 resistance levels instead of 20, as well as a 15” stride length instead of the 17” offered by the Pro model, which was already a bit short to begin with (people over 6’ tall or 182 centimeters are recommended to have a 20” stride length).

Thankfully, the weight capacity is fixed at 350 lbs for this version of the elliptical as well, and you also get to enjoy the recumbent position with an adjustable seat. Unlike with the Proform Hybrid Trainer Pro, however, you only get a 5-year frame warranty, which means that you might not get the same material quality.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about it?

The large LCD screen is available in this version as well, so you do not have to worry about not being able to read the information displayed on it. Furthermore, the trainer is also compatible with iPod devices and other Bluetooth connections, just like with the Pro version. The pedals are adjustable and cushioned, thus providing stable support for your legs and protecting your joints from unnecessary stress.

What's not so good about it?

As mentioned before, the 15-inch stride length can be a deal-breaker for taller individuals, especially when you use the elliptical in the upright position. While the 5-year warranty is not a bad deal per-se, the fact that the Pro version guarantees the frame for life makes it look like this model does not benefit from the same high-quality materials. In addition (like all ellipticals) mechanical failures after heavy use are common without regular maintenance.

Pros:
  • The same weight capacity as the Pro model
    • Bluetooth connectivity and compatible with iPods
    • Integrated speakers
    • Recumbent as well as standing position
Cons:
  • Short stride length that make the elliptical inadequate for tall people
  • Only 16 workout programs available (versus 20 on the Pro version)
  • No incline features for more challenging workouts

5) AFG Sport 5.9AE available for $948 on Amazon

Key features
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Integrated audio system
  • Chest strap for wireless heart rate monitoring
  • USB charging ports

The AFG Sport 5.9AE is a sleek-looking elliptical that is just under the average price of most elliptical trainers, but it certainly packs quite the punch in terms of features.

Thanks to its 43 workout programs (more than twice the typical amount of programs you get at this price!) and 16 different resistance levels, your workout can vary from just breaking a sweat to reeeaaalllly feeling the burn the next day, especially when you also factor in the 20 levels of incline that you can fiddle with to better target your glutes and hamstrings.

The trainer does not lack modern technology support either, given the fact that you can use its USB ports to charge various devices, as well as connect the preferred music player to take advantage of the integrated speakers. Furthermore, you can also create multiple user profiles and keep track of your progress over time.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about it?

Allowing up to 325 lbs in terms of weight capacity, the The AFG Sport 5.9AE is definitely a sturdy machine, and it does not have many limits when it comes to adding bells and whistles to your workout program. By taking advantage of the plethora of resistance and incline levels, along with the 40+ built-in workout programs, it will be able to keep up with you regardless of whether you’re a fitness expert or if you’re a beginner.

What's not so good about it?

Although the AFG Sport 5.9AE is built to last, given its lifetime warranty on the frame, there’s a chance you might run into trouble if you ever have to deal with customer service for whatever reason. It’s also a particularly heavy and bulky machine, which is great if you need something very sturdy, but less so if you do not have a lot of space or if you need to move it out of sight after use.

Pros:
  • A huge array of workout apps at your disposal
  • Very versatile incline adjustments
  • Great connectivity with all sorts of devices
  • Integrated audio system and speakers
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame
Cons:
  • Customer service leaves something to be desired
  • Certain components can develop squeaking or annoying noises - maintenance is key
  • Heavy and difficult to move

6) Proform Smart Strider 895 CSE available for $675 on Amazon

Key features
  • Cool workout fan
  • Built-in audio system
  • Full color touchscreen display
  • Cushioned pedals

If you are willing to go all out in terms of budget, the Proform Smart Strider 895 CSE is a great choice in terms of space-friendly ellipticals. Although it is designed with space economy in mind, this trainer comes with all the advantages you would expect given its price. The 18-inch stride length more than sufficient for all but the tallest users, but the elliptical makes up for it wth 24 resistance levels, 32 workout programs and an integrated sound system.

Like most modern cardio machines, you can also make use of the tablet holder in order to watch a movie or read an ebook. iFit compatibility means that you can keep track of your performance and progress over time. The actual screen is fairly impressive, 7 inches from corner to corner. And, unlike other screens, this one is in full-color and also touch operated!

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about it?

While its features are pretty standard for an elliptical in this price range, what makes the Smart Strider 895 CSE so unique is the fact that it incorporates a foldable design. This allows you to neatly store the machine in a corner or a closet after you are done using it, making it a great solution if you do not have a designated workout room or you have a small apartment. Furthermore, the frame also comes with a lifetime warranty, which means that it’s built to last.

What's not so good about it?

Although it supports up to 325 lbs in terms of weight capacity, the portability of the Proform Smart Strider 895 CSE means that it sacrifices some sturdiness - if you are heavier and using the elliptical vigorously, it makes shake with each step. In addition, you might also run into issues with replacing some mechanical parts, which is often the case with foldable machines. The warranty usually takes care of such issues, but you still have to wait for it to be fixed, which can be a huge annoyance.

Pros:
  • Plenty of workout apps and resistance levels to work your way through
  • Foldable design that allows you to store it out of sight when not in use
  • Great connectivity with the usual devices and apps
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame
Cons:
  • Can shake if a heavier person is using it vigorously
  • Certain moving parts can be prone to damage
  • Stride length may not be long enough for very tall users

7) Proform Smart Strider 735

Key features
  • iFit compatible
  • iPod compatible
  • 300lbs. weight capacity
  • 20 resistance levels

If your budget cannot accommodate the more expensive Proform Smart Strider 895 CSE, the Proform Smart Strider 735 is a pretty good alternative. It features the same foldable desgin as its pricier older brother, and a lot of the same features.

The main differences are that you only have 20 resistance levels to work with as opposed to 24, and the number of workout apps is limited to 22 instead of 32. Furthermore, the weight limit of the Smart Strider 735 is reduced to 300 lbs, 25 lbs less than the 895. Another important difference lies in the fact that the LCD screen is only 5” for this version, although it is still backlit.

Other than that, you get similar connectivity to iPods and Bluetooth, as well as compatibility with apps like iFit.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about it?

Naturally, the Proform Smart Strider 735’s strength lies in the factthat it can be folded and stored away in a corner after your workout iscomplete. Although it has less resistance and incline levels than the SmartStrider 895, it still has enough variation to allow you to focus on differentmuscle groups, which is great for high-intensity training programs.Thanks to this, it’s possible to achieve your desired fitness levels even ifyou are struggling with space in your apartment.

What's not so good about it?

One of the most important downsides you have to consider if you purchase the Proform Smart Strider 735 instead of the 895 CSE is the lower weight capacity. 25 pounds less might not sound like much, but it’s important to respect the manufacturer’s specifications if you want the machine to perform as advertised. In addition, the 18” stride length can be a bit of an issue for people above 180cm (6’) in height.

Pros:
  • A respectable amount of resistance levels and workout apps
  • Easy to store thanks to the foldable design
  • Blueooth and iPod connectivity, as well as access to iFit and other fitness apps
  •  Less expensive than other Proform Smart Strider models
Cons:
  • The LCD screen is a bit smaller (5” vs 7”)
  • 300 lb weight capacity
  • Some squeaking or shaking with vigorous workouts - maintenance is required.

8) NordicTrack SE7i available for $663 on Amazon

Key features
  • 10 degress adjustable incline
  • Adjustable oversized pedals
  • Workout fan
  • Water bottle holder

The NordicTrack SE7i will eat up most of your $1000 budget right away, but it provides you with a few neat benefits in return for your money. It comes with stride length of only 18”, but as long as that’s enough for your height you can adjust the pedals in a variety of ways to maximize comfort. You can make use of 24 preset workouts right out of the box, as well as 22 digital resistance levels, which is on par with most models in this price range.

There’s also a power incline adjustment you can utilize to really push your sessions to the limit, making it easier to concentrate on our glutes, hamstrings, and other muscles that may get neglected in your typical cardio workout. Electronics-wise, the NordicTrack SE7i comes with a grip pulse heart rate monitor, a 5” display for all the relevant information, as well as a fan to keep you cool during your exercise.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about it?

Although it is pretty average in terms of resistance levels or incline angles, the trainer does provide some alternative useful features, such as the foldable design. It can be tucked away whenever you are not using it, and it doesn’t take up that much space even once it’s fully unfolded. In addition, the frame comes with a lifetime warranty as a testament to its solid construction.

What's not so good about it?

The NordicTrack SE7i isn’t especially amazing when it comes to workout presets and resistance levels, especially when you compare it to other ellipticals on this list that fall within the same price range. The display is a smaller as well, but that’s not a huge issue if you have a tablet that you will be using while you work out.

Pros:
  • Relatively small footprint, especially when coupled with the foldable frame
  • Fast and easy assembly, even for complete beginners
  • Lifetime warranty on the frame
  • The fan is a nice touch for hot summer days
Cons:
  • Not as many workout presets as you would expect in this price range
  • Customer service not always pleasant to deal with
  • The display is not very impressive

9) LifeSpan E2i available for $523 on Amazon

Key features
  • Heart rate sensors
  • LifeSpan Active Trac App
  • Audio system
  • 6" backlit LCD

The LifeSpan E2i is a high-priced elliptical considering the budget at hand, but it comes with its fair share of advantages if you decide to go in this direction. To begin with, it features 20 resistance levels and 20 separate incline levels, as well as a heavy 25-pound flywheel that keeps your movements smooth and fluid. On top of that, it also includes 21 training programs, which is pretty average.

The backlit 6” LCD screen provides you with a variety of data regarding speed, stride count and calories burnt, and you can also connect the trainer to a tablet in order to access apps like Apple Health or GoogleFit. Mechanically, the LifeSpan E2i also features a few interesting ideas that help you reduce the risk of injury and work all the muscle groups in an equal manner.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about it?

Coupled with the 25-pound flywheel, the 20” stride length is a great way to build muscle and improve your fitness, especially if you are looking for a more vigorous workout. It also suits heavier users with a 350lb weight limit. 

Furthermore, the trainer features sensors in its pedals to calculate the forces produced by both of your legs, which in turn allows it to compensate in order to improve your balance and distribute your effort evenly. This reduces the amount of pressure on your joints and keeps your motion smooth, no matter how hard you’re pushing the limit.

What's not so good about it?

Although the product as a whole offers a very attractive package, some of the pieces can break without consistent maintenance. To top things off, the LifeSpan E2i also occupies a lot of real estate in your house once it’s fully assembled, not to mention the fact that it’s pretty difficult to move around. If you don’t have the space for a very large elliptical, this is not a good option.

Pros:
  • Supports up to 350 lbs in terms of max weight capacity
  • The 20” stride length is adequate for most people
  • Sturdy frame with great stability even during intense training sessions
  • Great connectivity and app compatibility
Cons:
  • Very heavy, and it occupies quite a bit of space. Not ideal if you want something for a small apartment
  • Requires regular maintenance to work properly (as almost all ellipticals do)

10) Horizon Fitness EX 69 available for $664 on Amazon

Key features
  • Audio system
  • 300lbs. weight capacity
  • 10 program options
  • Magnetic brake resistance

The Horizon Fitness EX69 is an elliptical designed with sturdiness in mind, while also providing a fair number of high-tech features. Unlike most trainers on this list, this one falls short in terms of workout programs, sporting only 11 training options to choose from, yet its price is on par with other expensive models. There are also only 16 resistance levels to shuffle through, which can be a bit disappointing once you consider the rest of the models featured here.

The machine can support up to 300 lbs in terms of max weight, and it also comes with a comfortable 20-inch stride length, enough for people with very long legs. You also gain access to speakers and a built-in headphone output, but there’s not much in terms of compatibility with modern apps or tablets. On the other hand, you can customize the already-existing workout programs in order to add some variety to your fitness routine.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about it?

Since the Horizon Fitness EX69 was built to last. You can expect a lifetime warranty on the frame, as well as wear-resistant components that don’t break down even after many months of intensive training. The manual incline adjustment is also a nice touch, especially since you can easily make a simple workout routine a lot more challenging by simulating a run uphill. Lastly, the main console is nicely designed to make every bit of information as clear as possible.

What's not so good about it?

In terms of downsides, the obvious drawback is that the Horizon Fitness EX69 does not play well with modern tablets or fitness apps, so you are pretty much stuck with the primitive console and the tiny collection of preset programs.

Furthermore, the constrained number of resistance levels can be a hassle as well, mainly because the difficulty increase between the steps can be too high sometimes. This can make it feel like you are not making much progress.

Lastly, the manual incline is a great feature to add a bit of challenge, but if you want to increase the difficulty mid-workout you will have to get off the machine, adjust it, and then bring your heart rate back up again.

Pros:
  • Solid construction, built to last
  • Accommodating stride length
  • MP3 and headphone connectivity
  • Lifetime frame warranty
Cons:
  • Lacks compatibility with most modern fitness apps
  • A very limited number of resistance and incline levels, as well as too few workout apps
  •  Manual incline means pausing your workout

In conclusion...

To put things into perspective, it’s easy to see that even with a budget of $1000 you can still get a decent elliptical with all the features you desire. Whether it’s more resistance levels, a consistent workout app collection or a high weight capacity, these budget trainers punch above their category in many regards.

You should still manage your expectations, on the other hand, because it’s also important to consider the downsides and limitations when going for an elliptical under $1000. A long warranty period is desirable, but most machines only provide lifetime warranties for their frames, while the rest of their components are not so sturdy.

It’s also wise to do some more research around the Internet regarding the specific elliptical you choose, as well as pay special attention to dissatisfied customers who had to deal with poor customer service or faulty equipment.

If your goal is to get fit and take care of your health first and foremost, then you should look for a trainer that’s able to combine both cardio and high-intensity, muscle-focused training sessions. A balanced diet helps with this as well, so don’t go blaming the elliptical first if you forget to keep an eye on your calorie intake.

In the end, it’s should be obvious that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars in order to get the elliptical you need, not when the market is full of budget options designed for a variety of needs. There are many alternatives to compare, depending on what you want to focus on once the elliptical is in your house and ready to be used.