Best Budget Ellipticals, Chosen By Our Team

So, you think you want to buy an elliptical for your home gym. Congrats! Whether you’re trying to add some cardio to your weekly split or you want to get moving for the first time in a while, this is step one toward reaping the many magical benefits of cardio exercise. The only downside? Purchasing home gym equipment gives your wallet a workout, too. Take a look at the best ellipticals out there, and you’ll notice that many come in well over $1,000 — meaning, it’s not a purchase to be taken lightly. 

If you’re looking to buy a home elliptical that doesn’t break the bank, the good news is that there are plenty of budget-friendly options out there. Our team of expert testers hopped on more than 20 models, and singled out these six machines as the best budget ellipticals, so you can shop without worrying about your bank account breaking a sweat.  

The Best Budget Ellipticals of 2024

Best Budget Elliptical Overall: Horizon EX-59

Best Budget Elliptical with iFIT: ProForm Carbon EL

Best Budget Elliptical for Beginners: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical

Best Budget Elliptical with Incline: Schwinn 430 Elliptical

Best Budget Under-Desk Elliptical: DeskCycle2

Best Budget Elliptical Under $500: Gazelle Sprinter

About Our Expert

This article has been reviewed by Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC, a certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level-1 instructor. She’s reviewed the research we cite and budget ellipticals we listed to help ensure we’re providing helpful, accurate descriptions and recommendations.

How We Tested and Chose the Best Budget Ellipticals

Our expert team of testers (including certified personal trainers, CrossFit coaches, and gym owners) have personally put more than 20 ellipticals to the test. Using BarBend’s equipment testing methodology, they rated each piece of equipment on a scale of 1 (disappointing) to 5 (stellar) on 13 different categories, including ergonomics, tech capabilities, and workout experience. Here are a few of the key factors we kept in mind while selecting these six best budget ellipticals:

Price: It goes without saying, but in rounding up the best budget ellipticals, our first priority was the price. These machines range from $200 to $999, max. 

Durability: Budget doesn’t mean breakable. When testing these machines and combing through reviews, we carefully judged their durability — looking at flywheel weight (16lbs is ideal), frame construction, weight capacity (300lbs is the norm), and drive type — so you can feel safe working out on these ellipticals for hours and years.

Footprint: Ellipticals are some of the clunkiest pieces of cardio equipment, but limiting the budget does help limit the size. We carefully examined the footprint of each pick to make sure they won’t take up too much space but will also comfortably fit most athletes.

Features: With budget machines, you won’t get luxe features like an HD touchscreen display, but you should get standard ones, like adjustable resistance, basic workout stats, a water bottle holder, device shelf, and perhaps even Bluetooth connectivity.

Best Budget Elliptical Overall: Horizon EX-59

Horizon EX-59 Elliptical

Horizon EX-59 Elliptical

The Horizon EX-59 Elliptical can be a great starter machine thanks to its approachable price tag, intuitive controls, and dual-handlebar design. Its 18-inch stride length and 300-pound weight capacity can also make it accessible for many athletes.

Shop Horizon Fitness


Price: $699

Resistance Levels: 10

Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Product Dimensions: 74″ L x 25” W x 64.5″ H

Display Size: 4.5”

Warranty: Lifetime frame, 1-year brake, 1-year parts, 1-year labor


Sturdy, smooth, comfortable stride

Large foot pedals and 18-inch stride length 

Bluetooth compatible

Lots of storage for water, headphones, and a device


14lb flywheel is lighter than ideal

Basic, unintuitive display

Limited resistance levels

This elliptical has all the essential features you need while still sitting at an affordable price point. It’s a well-rounded machine that our tester, a certified personal trainer, says is a great budget option. “Though there’s nothing special about it, it’s a solid beginner elliptical and good for anyone wanting to build out their home gym,” they said, giving the overall workout experience a 3 out of 5 and value a 4 out of 5. “At just about $700, it’s a really good price for what you’re getting.”

Our tester working out atop the Horizon EX-59 elliptical

The machine has a 14.3lb flywheel — lighter than the industry-standard 16lbs — but our tester notes it feels sturdy nonetheless. “Unless you’re really jostling it side to side, this machine feels stable and stays in place,” they said. The 10 levels of magnetic resistance are also more limited than competitor machines on this list, but should be plenty challenging enough (and maybe even too challenging); many reviewers, including experienced exercisers, note that they aren’t able to progress past level three. The stride length measures 18 inches, which is in the golden range for ellipticals, and excellent for a budget pick.

It has plenty of other little conveniences that make for a comfy workout experience, including cushioned handles, multiple water bottle holders, storage areas for headphones or other small items, a USB port, a headphone output, and even Bluetooth connectivity. “The Bluetooth works great and when you’re not using it, the sound coming out of the speakers is quite clear,” our expert tester said. The machine can’t connect to other fitness apps like iFIT, but there’s a device shelf so you can stream workouts or watch TV. Also notable are the double handles; there’s a set of moving handlebars that give you an upper-body workout, as well as a fixed pair, so you can occasionally give your arms a rest.

To boot, our expert tester was impressed with the customer service (easily accessible via online chat) and warranty (lifetime for the fame, and one year for parts, brake, and labor), both of which they rated 4.5 out of 5.

Read our full Horizon EX-59 Elliptical Review.

Best Budget Elliptical with iFIT: ProForm Carbon EL

ProForm Carbon EL

ProForm Carbon EL

Once you purchase this elliptical, you’ll have everything you need for an awesome workout. You just need to bring two things — yourself and your tablet or smartphone. The ProForm Carbon EL keeps the price down by not having a large screen but still includes premium features like power adjusting resistance, incline, and stride length.

Shop ProForm


Price: $799

Resistance Levels: 18

Weight Capacity: 275lbs

Product Dimensions: 68.5’’ L x 25’’ W x 67.75’’ H

Warranty: 10-year frame, 1-year parts, 1-year labor


iFIT connectivity with SmartAdjust resistance

19-inch adjustable stride and 0 to 20° adjustable incline

18 levels of silent magnetic resistance


Large, non-folding, and heavy to move

Incline is adjusted manually

Difficult assembly

If all you want is to do iFIT workouts, you’ve probably checked out pricier machines like the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 Elliptical or NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i — but before you hit “buy,” consider this budget elliptical option. Not only will you save money on the machine (going for $1,000 and $500 cheaper than the aforementioned models), but because the machine doesn’t have an integrated screen to display the iFIT content, you’ll be paying $15 per month for a subscription instead of $39 per month — saving you way more money in the long run. The iFIT capability is why our expert tester, a CrossFit Level-1 trainer, gave the machine 5 out of 5 for dynamic programming: “iFIT is excellent if you want challenging, diverse, and interactive workout programming,” they said.

Though you won’t be able to stream iFIT on the ProForm Carbon EL screen, you’ll still get one of the platform’s coolest connected-equipment features: SmartAdjust. The elliptical will automatically change the magnetic resistance to match the instructor’s cueing or the virtual terrain you’re striding through. (As for resistance, by the way, there are 18 levels — above the industry standard of 12.) 

It’s like buying one of ProForm’s fancier models, just saving money by bringing your own screen. Considering you probably already own plenty of those, it’s a great way to save money while still getting to stream iFIT workouts via your phone, tablet, or TV. The machine’s display is pretty basic, with Bluetooth compatibility and dual speakers, though it shows only basic stats like the time and distance.

As for the hardware? “It’s a sturdy machine. I didn’t notice any shifting while working out,” our tester said, giving the Carbon EL a 4 out of 5 for durability. It gets extra points for having an adjustable stride length and ramp, too. There are two different sets of handlebars — one fixed and one moving — plus, a water bottle holder and device shelf.   

For the $800 price, I’m impressed; however, if you want a touchscreen or all the extras, you won’t find those on this (or any budget) machine,” our tester said.

Best Budget Elliptical for Beginners: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical

Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical

This basic machine is great for beginners. It comes at a reasonable cost for those who are just starting out, and nixes the technological frills for a simple and reliable machine. 

Shop Sunny Health & Fitness


Price: $699.99

Resistance Levels: 16

Weight Capacity: 330lbs

Product Dimensions: 55″ L x 23” W x 64.5’’ H 

Warranty: 3-year structural frame, 180-days other parts and components


16 levels of electro-magnetic resistance

330lb weight capacity well above the industry norm

Often on sale for under $500 — a great starting athlete price

Weighs 105lbs, making it easy to move


15.5” stride length is shorter than ideal

Lighter-than-standard 13.2lb flywheel 

Customers complain about broken parts or durability issues

The ​​Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical isn’t fancy, but it gets the job done — and pretty well — making it a great option for beginner exercisers who want to try using an elliptical at home without spending anywhere near $1,000. “Honestly, I liked this a lot more than I expected,” said our expert tester and certified personal trainer, who gave it a 4 out of 5 for workout experience. “Overall, I’d say it excels in the basics… just don’t expect fancy extras.

Those basics include 16 levels of electronic magnetic resistance, two sets of handlebars (one moving, one fixed), a media shelf, a water bottle holder, and a digital monitor that displays basic stats like calories, distance, time, and speed. 

Areas where it surpasses other budget ellipticals include the offering of 24 programmed workouts, heart rate sensors in the handles, and a 330lb weight capacity. “The industry standard is 300 pounds. Budget-friendly ellipticals are likely to have a lower weight capacity, while luxury options may have a weight capacity of 350 to 400 pounds,” says Amanda Capritto, certified personal trainer and our expert reviewer. This makes it one of the best ellipticals for heavy people on a budget.

On the flip side, this elliptical falls short of ideal for its lightweight 13.2lb flywheel (16+ is best) and 15.5” stride length (18-20” is recommended). The latter can make the machine somewhat uncomfortable for taller users, which is why our tester scored it 3.5 out of 5 for adjustability and ergonomics. 

Our tester found it to be quite durable — “I could stride forward, backward, and pick up the pace without too much movement from the machine. There were no weird noises or shaking,” our tester said —  though some reviewers on the Sunny Health & Fitness site report having issues with the assembly squeaking, or parts arriving broken. The machine comes with a 3-year structural frame warranty but only 180 days for parts and components, which is sub-standard, even for a budget machine, earning it a 2.5 out of 5 for that element.

Best Budget Elliptical with Incline: Schwinn 430 Elliptical

Schwinn 430 Elliptical

Schwinn 430 Elliptical

This affordable elliptical features 26 resistance levels and six levels of incline. A whopping 22 preset workout programs can add some structure to your training. The 20-inch stride length is on par with more expensive machines.

Shop Schwinn


Price: $999

Resistance Levels: 20

Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Product Dimensions: 70.1” L x 29.2” W x 63.2” H

Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year mechanical, 1-year electrical, 90-day labor


20 resistance levels and 6 incline settings

Spacious 20” stride length

22 preset exercise programs and 2 user profiles

Cushioned footpads for lower-impact workouts

Above-standard 20lb flywheel


Incline must be adjusted manually

Most expensive machine on this list

Large footprint

Incline may be common on commercial ellipticals or more expensive options, but it’s hard to find in a budget model. Somehow, this affordable Schwinn elliptical offers 10 degrees of manual incline plus a comprehensive 20 levels of magnetic resistance. “You have to change the incline manually, so you can’t adjust it while working out, but it’s rare for ellipticals at this price point to have any incline at all,” said our tester. It’s at the top of the price category, ringing up at just about $1,000, but if you want one of the best ellipticals with incline, it’s your best budget-friendly option.

The 430 is Schwinn’s mid-tier elliptical, and it does a good job at offering some high-end features while remaining at an accessible price point. It has an excellent 20” stride length, above-standard 20lb flywheel, significantly more resistance levels than the industry standard of 12, a three-speed fan, and an LCD display that’s more interactive than any of the others on this list. That’s why our testers scored it a 4 out of 5 for value and features. The device shelf allows you to stream workout content on your own device without blocking the machine’s two displays, on which you can set up two user profiles, complete 22 programmed workouts, see your heart rate, and track stats like time, distance, and calories.

It’s a bit larger and heavier than other budget ellipticals, coming in at almost 6’ long, 5’3” tall, and nearly 170lbs — which is why it scored a 3 out of 5 for footprint and portability with our tester: “Taller athletes will need to be careful when working out on this machine in rooms with lower ceilings, and you could also have trouble moving it depending on your ceiling clearance,” they said. The cushioned foot pedals and dual handlebars (both moving and fixed) make for a comfortable workout, as does the Precision Path Foot Motion technology, which Schwinn says is designed to simulate running. Overall, it’s a pricier option than others on this list, but you get a lot more with those extra dollars.

Best Budget Under-Desk Elliptical: DeskCycle2

DeskCycle Under Desk Bike

DeskCycle Under Desk Bike

The DeskCycle Under Desk Bike was designed to help you stay active while firing off emails at work. The low-profile pedals are adjustable and compatible with desks as low as 27 inches. Its magnetic resistance, meanwhile, works to provide a whisper-quiet pedal that won’t distract coworkers.

Shop Amazon


Price: $199.99

Resistance Levels: 8

Weight Capacity: 270lbs

Product Dimensions: 10.24” L x 24.02” W x 10” H 

Warranty: 1 year


Fits under desks as low as 27” tall

Silent dual-band resistance system

Easy to move and store, weighing just 23lbs

Cheapest elliptical on this list


Pedaling angle may be uncomfortable

No remote to control resistance

Underwhelming display

The best under-desk ellipticals are genius solutions for anyone who wants to move more without changing their routine. You can pedal while working or watching Netflix, and you’ll reap some of the benefits of exercise without having to schlep to the gym or dedicate time to exercising. Research shows that using a desk elliptical can help increase energy expenditure by about 90 calories per hour compared to being sedentary and doesn’t seem to negatively affect work performance. (1)(2) Because under-desk ellipticals are also much smaller than the kind you stand on, they’re better for small spaces, like apartments, and more affordable, too.

For people on a budget, under-desk [machines] provide a lower-cost option that still allows for great exercise,” says Amanda Capritto, certified personal trainer and our expert reviewer. “The ideal buyer is someone who wants to increase their daily exercise but doesn’t have a lot of time to commit to working out.

Close look at our tester pedaling on the DeskCycle2 Under-Desk Treadmill.

Our expert tester and personal trainer gave this particular model a 4 out of 5 overall. “I was surprised by how much resistance it offered considering the small size. I pedaled on level 4 for 15 minutes and got a decent zone-two workout,” they said. The dual-band resistance system, with eight levels, is quiet while being enough to challenge most users. “The bike is silent. You could use it in a cubicle and no one would know,” our tester said, giving it a 5 out of 5 for noise.

The adjustability and ergonomics, however, are lacking; they earned a 3 out of 5. “You have to use this while sitting on a chair. For me, the pedaling angle was slightly uncomfortable,” our tester said, “though it may be better with a taller chair.” To change the resistance, you have to reach down to the machine, meaning you’ll likely need to pause your workout and remove a foot from a pedal to do so. The small LCD screen shows basic stats like distance and RPM, but there’s no connectivity or way to track your workouts over time.

Best Budget Elliptical Under $500: Gazelle Sprinter

Gazelle Sprinter

Gazelle Sprinter

This glider offers users up to 300 pounds access to glider training with 10 levels of adjustable hydraulic resistance. When the work is done, this unit can fold up almost totally flat, allowing for easier storage.

Shop Amazon


Price: $299.99

Resistance Levels: 10

Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Product Dimensions: 43” L x 28” W x 53.75” H; (folded) 66” L x 28” W x 8.5” H 

Warranty: 1 year


Costs $400 less than our overall best pick

Folds up to just 8” tall

Allows for forward, backward, and sideways movement


Movement pattern may feel odd

Hydraulic resistance must be adjusted when not in use

No fixed set of handlebars

Glider-style ellipticals come at even lower prices than other budget ellipticals — this one is $400 less than our overall best pick at just $300 — but they put you through a different movement pattern. Instead of mimicking a walking or running motion, you’re kicking your extended legs forward, backward, or even sideways. This alternative movement pattern may be a plus for some people and a downside for others. Some reviewers say it doesn’t feel natural, doesn’t provide a real workout, or is “not as satisfying a motion.” However, another reviewer says, “The movement comes from the hips, not the knees, so it’s great for people [whose] knees might hurt from biking or other repetitive knee bending.” 

Besides the low price point, another big perk of this machine is the fact that it’s foldable. You can collapse the machine down to just 8” tall, so you can slide it under other furniture or store it upright inside a closet when not in use. However, the downside of even the best folding ellipticals is that they aren’t as stable as their non-folding counterparts. Reviewers are split over whether or not the Gazelle feels stable and sturdy. One reviewer says it’s “not stable enough to get to an intensity level that would be beneficial,” while another says “it is well made [and] stable (does not tip or rock).”

The resistance offered by the machine is hydraulic and must be adjusted when the machine isn’t in use — so you have to pause your workout and hop off to turn it up or down. Some customers found the 10 levels to be plenty challenging, while more experienced exercisers say it isn’t difficult enough. Overall, this elliptical may be better suited to people looking for a gentle, low-impact workout that’s easy on the knees, and also very affordable to get started with. People looking for a more intense workout should direct their attention to the other machines on this list — even if it means spending a little more money. 

Benefits of the Best Budget Ellipticals

“People interested in an elliptical for home use will be pleased to find that ellipticals come in a wide range of sizes and styles, with many different options to suit different needs and budgets,” says Amanda Capritto, certified personal trainer and our expert reviewer. 

Our tester lifting and moving the Horizon EX-59-Elliptical.

Budget ellipticals offer many of the same workout benefits as more expensive models but with the added bonus of having less impact on your wallet and also, most likely, your home gym space. Specific perks include:

Low-Impact Cardio Exercise: For those who need low-impact exercise options, ellipticals sit near the top of the list,” Capritto says. “These cardio machines provide a full-body workout without putting undue stress on the joints.” 

Full-Body Workout: Because ellipticals have moving handles, they get your upper body involved in your cardio workout, turning it into a full-body affair. This is a distinct advantage ellipticals have over treadmills and cycling workouts, research shows. (3)

Ideal for Tight Spaces: Budget ellipticals are generally smaller than commercial models, and overall smaller than most of the best treadmills for home. As a result, they can be a better option for those looking to limit the amount of space given up to cardio equipment in their home or home gym.

How Much Do The Best Budget Ellipticals Cost?

Within the umbrella of budget ellipticals, there are some distinct price categories: Under $200 will get you an elliptical-cycle hybrid to use while seated; $300 will get you a glider-style elliptical; and $500 will get you a true elliptical machine that allows for sweatier workouts. From there, the basics are covered, but the more you pay, the more features you get.

What to Consider Before Buying the Best Budget Ellipticals

Unfortunately, returning an elliptical isn’t as easy as sending back a book you bought with Amazon Prime — so you’ll want to carefully consider which machine is best for you before hitting “buy.” The following factors are especially important to mull over when shopping for a budget elliptical.


You’ll pay a lot of money to get top-tier features on an elliptical, just like you will for any other big piece of cardio equipment,” says Amanda Capritto, certified personal trainer and our expert reviewer. “While there are plenty of budget-friendly ellipticals available, they won’t check all of the boxes for a lot of people.” 

Velcro pedal strap on the DeskCycle2 Under-Desk Elliptical.

If you’re looking to really challenge yourself, stream workouts directly on a device, or use motorized incline, it may be better to spring for a more advanced model instead of buying a budget elliptical that doesn’t do what you want.

Frequency of Use 

Consumer-grade ellipticals don’t get anywhere near as much use as the best commercial ellipticals, but they can still wear down over time — especially if they’re not properly cared for. How often will you use this elliptical, and how long do you hope it will last? Depending on your answer, you may come to realize you should invest in a pricier product versus trying to shop for one of the cheapest on the market.

Your Training Preferences 

Be honest. How hard are you looking to exercise on this machine? If this is your only source of cardio and you want to be able to push your limits, you’ll need to invest in an elliptical that has adequate resistance, stability, and perhaps incline adjustments. 

Our tester gripping the handles on the Horizon EX-59.

Under-desk ellipticals, glider-style ellipticals, or cheaper budget ellipticals will be a better choice for those looking to work out at a chiller pace.

Available Space

Budget ellipticals tend to be smaller than commercial models, but they still run about six feet long, two feet wide, and another six feet tall. That’s some serious space and significantly more than you’d need for, say, a stationary bike. Be sure you have enough vertical space not only for the elliptical but also for you to stand on top of it; unlike other workout machines, you’ll likely need to check your ceiling height before buying one of these. 

Best Budget Ellipticals FAQs

What is the best budget elliptical?

Our pick for the best budget elliptical is the Horizon EX-59. This is thanks to its affordable price point, solid hardware, and a few snazzy features that impress for a machine under $1,000, like Bluetooth connectivity. If you’re looking for a folding elliptical or one to go under a desk, however, we’d recommend the Gazelle Sprinter and DeskCycle2, respectively.

How much should I pay for a budget elliptical?

Well, it depends on what you want: You can pay around $200 for an under-desk elliptical, but you’ll need to spend around $300 for a glider elliptical, and at least $500 for a standard one. Generally, for every $100 more you spend, you’ll get fancier features, a longer warranty, and more flexibility with your workouts, in terms of resistance, incline, data, and streaming.

Is it better to use an elliptical or treadmill?

One is not objectively better than the other; both ellipticals and treadmills can help you improve your cardiovascular fitness, and each one offers distinct benefits that makes them more suitable for different people. (4) Ellipticals are low-impact, thus better for beginners, seniors, or people with injuries, and also get your upper body involved. Meanwhile, treadmills offer a higher-intensity and higher-impact workout which may be more challenging for advanced exercisers.


Rovniak, L. S., Denlinger, L., Duveneck, E., Sciamanna, C. N., Kong, L., Freivalds, A., & Ray, C. A. (2014). Feasibility of using a compact elliptical device to increase energy expenditure during sedentary activities. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 17(4), 376–380.

Rovniak, L. S., Cho, J., Freivalds, A., Kong, L., DE Araujo-Greecher, M., Bopp, M., Sciamanna, C. N., & Rothrock, L. (2023). Effects of Desk Pedaling Work Rate on Concurrent Work Performance among Physically Inactive Adults: A Randomized Experiment. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 55(1), 20–31.

Sözen, H. (2010). Comparison of muscle activation during elliptical trainer, treadmill and bike exercise. Biology of Sport, 27(3). 

Brown, G. A., Cook, C. M., Krueger, R. D., & Heelan, K. A. (2010). Comparison of energy expenditure on a treadmill vs. an elliptical device at a self-selected exercise intensity. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 24(6), 1643–1649. 

The post Best Budget Ellipticals, Chosen By Our Team appeared first on BarBend.


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