Top 5 Best Budget Ellipticals [2020 Reviews]

Ellipticals are a fan favorite at the gym because they’re one of the few cardio machines that provide both an upper and lower-body workout. That’s right, not only do they work your quads, but the core muscles and biceps benefit, as well.

If you’re tired of sitting in traffic and paying gym fees to get in your workout, why not buy an elliptical for home? They don’t have to bust your budget, plus, you’ll save on scheduling matters this way.

Are you in a rush? Get in your aerobic workout, anytime you want, with the best budget elliptical. We had to choose the Schwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer for our number one spot, but that’s not all.

Our top 5 choices starting with our favorite include:

Quick Answer – The Best Budget Ellipticals

  1. Schwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer (Editor’s Choice)
  2. ProForm 150i
  3. Snode Elliptical Machine
  4. ProForm Hybrid Trainer 
  5. Body Champ Trio Trainer

Reviews – The Best Budget Ellipticals

The best budget elliptical doesn’t have to mean low quality. We’ve scoured the internet to find the top 5 picks, including a few unique options. There’s bound to be something for everyone:

1. Schwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer (Editor’s Choice)

Our Rating: 4/5

Schwinn is a popular name in the world of workout equipment and this machine offers you a variety of options, depending on your fitness level.

There’s a basic LCD screen where you choose your programs and track your stats, with seven preset routines. One is a “quick start” variety for when you just want to jump on the machine and get going.

You have eight resistance levels, as well, that you’ll also access from the screen. This is a wonderful feature as you progress over time. You can challenge yourself at each stage you’re at and avoid hitting a plateau. 

Keep tabs on your workouts with stats including distance, calories burned, and speed, among others. If keeping up with your heart rate is essential, you’ll appreciate the ergonomic handlebars that have integrated sensors for this. You have the option to keep them in a fixed or moving position.

The machine’s weighted flywheel makes for a smooth and quiet workout, so you shouldn’t get annoyed by that typical sound ellipticals make. 

For those with longer strides, this elliptical has one of the longer ones on our list at 17.5 inches. Last but not least, the media rack and built-in speakers add to this machine’s overall appeal so you can enjoy your entertainment as you work out.

Tech Specifications

  • Dimensions: 59 inches by 23 inches by 64 inches
  • Weight capacity: N/A
  • Resistance levels: 8
  • Workout programs: 7

Pros

  • Trusted name.
  • Quiet flywheel.
  • Speakers and media rack.
  • Longer stride than most budget options.

Cons

  • Medium amount of programming.
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2. ProForm 150i 

Our Rating: 4/5

This stylish and sleek machine features 12 workout programs that engage your upper and lower body. To match that, you also get the same number of resistance levels, which is impressive for a budget-friendly elliptical.

Like many others, you can track your vital statistics including distance and time. The LCD screen is on the small side, though, which might annoy those with poor eyesight. There’s a backlight that could help with this issue.

Furthermore, there’s the option for Bluetooth connectivity and the iFit program. This is a cool addition because it’s powered by Google Maps and allows you to run through various streets throughout the world. You’ll simply choose “street view” on the panel. 

Other extras include a water bottle holder and adjustable feet. Choose whether you want to move forward or backward, according to the targeted muscles you’re looking to work. The pedals are oversized by design.

It comes with stabilizers along the bottom to keep it securely in place and there are also wheels when you want to fold it up and store it away. Although it weighs in at nearly 130 pounds, users comment that one person should be able to move it with ease.

Tech Specifications

  • Dimensions: 46 inches by 26 inches by 18 inches
  • Weight capacity: 250 pounds
  • Resistance levels: 12
  • Workout programs: 12

Pros 

  • Wheels for transport.
  • Oversized pedals.
  • Bluetooth compatibility.
  • Reverse or forward options.

Cons

  • The iFit program costs extra.
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3. Snode Elliptical Machine

Our Rating: 4/5

This option from Snode provides a slew of specifications that are hard to beat, making it the best in value for this price range.

The unique cross-crank system of the machine offers a stable ride, even though it weighs just 88 pounds. It uses magnetic control for smooth operation and it shouldn’t be loud during your workout, either.

Ridges on the large pedals should keep your feet in place and help you avoid slipping during the process. You’ll have to set your resistance levels manually, though, increasing in difficulty from one to eight. The company recommends warming up at the lower end and taking it up a notch or two when you feel confident.

The screen is nothing fancy, but it does offer your regular tracking options including calories burned, speed and more. Take advantage of the digital watch. It’ll keep you motivated when you feel like giving up.

Heart rate sensors in the handles will monitor that vital and display it on the screen. The handlebars are comfortable to hold.

One of the best things about this machine is its compact size. For those that live in a small space, this is an essential factor to keep in mind. The transport wheels on the front side will help you store it after your workout or if guests are coming by.

Tech Specifications

  • Dimensions: 61 inches by 24 inches by 47 inches
  • Weight capacity: 265 pounds
  • Resistance levels: 8
  • Workout programs: N/A

Pros

  • Non-slip pedals.
  • Compact size.
  • Transport wheels.
  • Cross-crank system.

Cons

  • Have to change resistance manually.
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4. ProForm Hybrid Trainer 

Our Rating: 3.5/5

This company brings us another budget-friendly option, but this time it’s not only an elliptical. It also serves as a recumbent (seated) bike for those that want more than one workout option. If you’re limited on space or financial fluidity, this could also fit the bill.

Unfortunately, the elliptical has one of the shortest strides on the list at 15 inches. This is because the machine is compact and there’s not much room otherwise. For taller individuals, this could pose a dilemma, so make sure to give it a good go before committing to your purchase forever.

The large, oversized adjustable pedals should be sufficient in size for those with bigger feet. The bicycle seat offers a comfortable seating area that comes complete with an adjustable backrest and side handles. Either portion can serve an individual who weighs up to 350 pounds.

There’s a whopping 16 resistance levels for both the bike and elliptical, giving you plenty of options, depending on your needs and fitness level. You can adjust this through the screen where you can also tune into the sound system. 

The water bottle holder is placed in the center, right under the screen so this will be out of reach for those on the bike portion.

Last but not least, this hybrid machine comes with a five-year warranty for the frame and a 90-day parts and labor one. Keep your paperwork on hand in case.

Tech Specifications

  • Dimensions: 44 inches by 24 inches by 18 inches
  • Weight capacity: 350 pounds
  • Resistance levels: 16
  • Workout programs: 14

Pros

  • Two-in-one design.
  • Adjustability.
  • Built-in sound system.
  • iFit compatible.
  • Sufficient warranty.

Cons

  • Short stride. 
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5. Body Champ Trio Trainer

Our Rating: 3.5/5

The Body Champ takes versatility to a whole new level here, functioning as a three-in-one machine. There’s an elliptical, upright bike and a recumbent option. The latter is a wonderful choice for those that need some extra support, whether recovering from an injury, are older or out of shape entirely.

This company claims that changing from one module to the next is hassle-free. Even though there are three different machines included, it doesn’t require that you adjust the hardware whatsoever. It’s very convenient in this regard. 

The program console offers the highest number of training programs on our list, coming in at 21 options. Adjustability isn’t lost where your form is concerned, either. Situate the seat and pedals to your preference and stay comfortable during your workout.

There’s a media shelf for your essential devices and an integrated heart rate monitor located within the handlebars.

Body Champ offers a one-year warranty for the frame and 90 days on any parts. 

Unfortunately, like many others on our list, the stride is low here at 12 inches. We suppose this is par for the course when the machine offers three workout options in one. Test it out and make sure it works for you.

Tech Specifications

  • Dimensions: 60 inches by 28 inches by 64 inches
  • Weight capacity: 250 pounds
  • Resistance levels: 8
  • Workout programs: 21

Pros

  • Three-in-one design.
  • High number of workout programs.
  • Sleek console.
  • Portable with wheels.

Cons

  • Short stride length.
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Buyer’s Guide

The best budget ellipticals come with different specifications including weight capacity and more. One of the best things about all of them is that they offer you a full-body workout that’s low-impact and gentle on your joints.

It’s close to impossible that you’ll find one that ticks every single box, so you’ll want to strategize beforehand. Choose your most important features and keep it at that. Let’s go over the main components:

Programming

Are you new to working out? You may not need a wide variety of resistance levels or workout programs, but you’ll want at least a few choices. These should be easy to access on the LCD screen.

For regular workout enthusiasts, having more to choose from offers you the chance to customize according to the day. If you incorporate other forms of exercise into your normal regime or are cross-training for a specific event, this will be convenient.

Beyond the preset options and resistance levels, which stats are most important for you? Built-in sensors in the handlebars can monitor your heart rate, for example, whereas calories burned and distance traveled will show up on the LCD.

Most ellipticals offer these stats and some even feature an application for tracking your progress on your other devices. This is a wonderful option when you’re a home workout freak because it offers some motivation and can show you how far you’ve come.

For newbies, we recommend the Schwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer because it keeps things simple and to the point. There’s even a quick-start option, so you can hop on and go.

If you’re looking for a better selection, go with the ProForm 150i. It doesn’t offer the highest amount of resistance or preset programs, but it’s more than the Schwinn and comes with the unique street-view option.

Stride Length

Your average runner or walker will know whether they have a long or short stride. This is the measured distance of both the left and right steps. Those with longer legs will generally have a bigger stride, but that’s not necessarily the case.

One of the main downsides of the best budget ellipticals is that most of them offer a short stride, compared to larger and more expensive machines. Most range between 12 and 17 inches in length.

The Schwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer offers one of the longest on our list at around 17 inches. This won’t affect everyone, of course, but for those concerned about having enough space to exercise at your natural pace, this is essential.

Weight Capacity

For the larger folk among us, it’s crucial to find a machine you can use with confidence and feel stable on it at all times. You don’t want to be demotivated by feeling too heavy on the equipment.

The best budget ellipticals have an average weight capacity ranging from 250 to 350 pounds. Most are on the lower end, though. The ProForm Hybrid Trainer maxes out at the top, which could be a good choice for you.

Size and Storage Options

If you live in a smaller home or want to use your elliptical in a temporary location, like a multipurpose room, the size and portability will matter a great deal. Check the actual dimensions of the elliptical you want to purchase, to be on the safe side.

The most compact unit here is the ProForm Hybrid Trainer, with dimensions of 44 inches by 24 inches by 18 inches. It weighs around 116 pounds and has wheels along the front side to help you store it away.

When measuring your space, make sure to give yourself some room to each side of the machine so you can get on and off with ease. You don’t want to feel cramped.

Additional Features

Sometimes, the bells and whistles can make all the difference in the world. You want to be comfortable when you’re working out and each person will have their preferences.

Is music or other media options important for you? Look for a machine with Bluetooth connectivity, for example, like the ProForm 150i

Others feature accessory holders if you want your phone or iPad nearby. Our top choice, the Schwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer, has a media rack and built-in speakers to boot.

Warranty

A buyer’s experience will only be a positive one if the quality of the item pans out as they expect. We’ve all had a frustrating consumer’s issue to work through from time to time.

These ellipticals are budget-friendly, but that doesn’t mean they should be low quality. To avoid a waste of time and money, we highly recommend getting a machine with a suitable warranty. This won’t be the most crucial feature, of course, but it’s beneficial in case something goes wrong.

Many are limited to one or two years, according to the component the warranty covers. The Schwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer offers a three-part warranty including six months on electrical and mechanical components and two years on the frame.

Don’t discard your paperwork upon purchase or procrastinate if you feel something isn’t quite right. It could mean the difference between a useless and broken machine or an elliptical that helps you get into great shape for months to come.

Final Verdict

The best budget elliptical can offer you a solid workout plan from the comfort of your home and without breaking your bank account. You could be new to an exercise regime or a regular fitness nut looking to take it up a notch. Whatever the case, it’s a guarantee there’s one to fit your needs.

It’s not easy to choose just one favorite because each device has something to offer. However, our research leads us to the Schwinn A40 Elliptical Trainer as the best elliptical overall. The brand’s solid reputation gives us peace of mind.

We like that the LCD screen has a quick-start option when we’re in a rush and don’t want to fumble around the various resistance levels and preset programs. It’s not short on stats either, offering the chance to track calories burned, speed and distance traveled, among others.

The weighted flywheel means a quieter and smoother workout than some of the other devices and it has one of the longest strides on our list.

For second place, we’d opt for the ProForm Hybrid Trainer since you get a lengthy five-year warranty on the frame and 90 days for parts and labor. It’s a bike/elliptical combo in one device.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Brown

Andy Brown

Andy started writing about muscle building and weight loss to document his own journey. In the past, he fell into some very bad habits and knew things had to change. That’s why he began this site!

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