The elliptical machine is a fantastic add on for any home gym, as it offers an interesting endurance exercise alternative to standard exercise trainers like rowing machines or treadmills. But what if your on a budget and still want to get the most out of elliptical training?
Today we’re going to look at the budget options on the market to help you find the best elliptical under 300 dollars while still getting the most out of your cardio workout! Whether you’re putting it in a home gym or using it in front of the TV, we’re going to make sure you choose the best elliptical for your money!
Lets dive right in.
- Body Max
- Sunny Health & Fitness (A)
- Body Rider
- Sunny Health & Fitness (B)
- Sunny Health & Fitness (C)
Our Top Pick, And Why!
Reviewing The Best Ellipticals Under $300
Air-Resisted Exercise Bike
While it’s called an exercise bike – and has some similarities to a stationary bike – this is closer to an elliptical than many other options on the market. It provides a full-body workout, produces great resistance, and comes at a great low cost for the quality!
Rather than using magnetic resistance, it uses a fan driven mechanism that offers upper and lower body exercise at the same time while reducing joint impact. While it’s still an economy product, the Marcy Exercise bike is more durable than many steppers and ellipticals for a comparable price point.
The size is much bigger than a stepper, but roughly comparable to an elliptical machine, with similar functionality including calories burned, speed, distance, and time. It also includes a seat, which isn’t necessary all the time but offers another way of exercising.
This captures many of the best features of an elliptical machine, though it does come with some convenience and stride length differences. We found this to be the best elliptical for heavier weight types thanks to the design of this exercise bike. Its simply a great choice for the best benefits of an elliptical, with great durability.
Body Rider Elliptical Trainer Exercise Bike 2-in-1
This is a bike/elliptical duo which makes for a good set of options in training – though it does somewhat limit stride for shorter individuals. This also comes with a smaller space-demand, which can be useful for smaller homes and home gyms.
The resistance is adjustable but tends to be a little low, so it’s more of a spin session than a high-resistance workout. There are some concerns over stability, but that’s one of the challenges of a smaller elliptical trainer since it is lighter and has a smaller “footprint” on the floor.
As with some other products on the market, durability can be a concern – the price of a spending less! The problems with this elliptical machine tend to show up in the cranks or pedals. These are pretty fundamental issues, so we are glad Body Rider’s customer service is up to par when it comes to replacing parts.
So, if your going with this trainer, remember to tighten everything every 30 days or 10-15 hours of use to keep the elliptical in good shape.
This is another decent economy elliptical machine that offers more features with a 2-in-1 design and is the best option for heavier individuals, supporting up to 250lbs. However, it does stumble over some quality assurance and durability issues that are somewhat ‘part and parcel’ with cheaper workout machines.
Magnetic Elliptical Machine
This is a minimalist take on the bike/elliptical, and we like the design philosophy. It’s simple and effective, with a good price point and focus on basic features. It supports a weight capacity of up to 240lbs which is impressive for an elliptical under 300 and also includes a LCD monitor for tracking heart rate, calories burned, distance, and time.
What we loved most about this machine was its quiet operation with a combination of bike and elliptical packaged into one, making it versatile for performing different workouts. The mag-drive offering 8 levels of magnetic resistance which is the reason why its quiet and smooth. However, the resistance can be hit-and-miss, and the stride length suits a shorter user.
Shaking and looseness in the design are common complaints, with some models requiring tightening between workouts, which can be a concern for those looking to push their limits. Quality assurance and small, moving parts, could really do with an overhaul!
This is a great option for those looking for a simple elliptical trainer. It has some significant flaws, but offers the core experience of an elliptical machine at home with a compact and quiet package!
Sunny Health & Fitness
Twist Stepper Step Machine w/Handle Bar
Another entry from Sunny Health and Fitness, the twist stepper is an upright stepper with hand-support. This helps reduce impact and makes it more suitable for beginners, but still lacks the rotation and full-body workout of the traditional elliptical.
The price of this product is good, especially considering it shows better durability than most regular steppers/striders. The range is also slightly longer, and the overall volume is lower, allowing for strong basic exercises.
This is a good example of the pros and cons of the stepper/band combo: size, cost, and simplicity pay off. However, it does have a limited appeal compared to the elliptical or aero bike but could be for you if you’re looking for something small and easy to use in your own home.
Fan-Resisted Exercise Bike
Another fan-resisted exercise bike, the Body Rider is another strong full-body training machine. It offers some of the same strengths you’d expect from a cross-training exercise bike: resistance, a full-body workout, and decent quality parts.
However, it is also a little less stable than we’d like: it can wobble quite significantly at higher intensities. This is a result of the size and weight but can be annoying if you’re a bigger person or want to do HIIT training.
Overall this magnetic elliptical offers a great workout for an affordable price. You may want to consider getting a seat cushion as it may become somewhat uncomfortable to sit on for long periods of time.
This is another good exercise bike alternative to the elliptical machine under 300 dollars. The instability can be a concern, but the overall profile is a great workout machine with a low price and good durability compared to some of the budget elliptical trainers you’ll find on the market!
Sunny Health & Fitness
SF-e905 Elliptical Machine
This is a mid-level choice that offers a focus on the basics at a low cost. Adjustable resistance is really useful, but be aware that this has a relatively short stride length so it’s not great for taller people.
However, it’s a great choice for smaller spaces, is relatively light, and the digital display is pretty intuitive! It’s got some durability concerns on moving parts, which may be a concern, so make sure you’re careful during the assembly process.
Defective items do happen occasionally so be sure to double-check the product if you’re going with the SF-E905. This elliptical machine is a decent choice for a budget and space-limits, but you may want to purchase the optional warranty to cover yourself.
This isn’t a typical elliptical machine but it offers the same benefits, though with a different core audience. It’s a product for those with specific needs, and less for complete beginners who are looking for ellipticals as an intro to exercise and fitness! Its small, convenient, and good for those who are looking for a low impact workout.
Sunny Health & Fitness
This is an incredibly lightweight take on the elliptical machine, and it’s important to note the differences. It’s a small stepper machine – and not a traditional elliptical – though it does some of the same things at a lower price and smaller size.
The Sunny Health Fitness Machine provides the same full-body workout but with less support and a more difficult learning curve for beginners. The resistance bands require an upright row, which is completely different from a traditional elliptical machine, while the stepper has a much shorter range of motion (ROM).
This is an effective little piece of equipment but made for a different group of people: those with some experience who want a small piece of home gym equipment for endurance workouts. It’s not for the complete beginner and focuses more on a upper body workout than traditional long-stride ellipticals!
This is a very niche-specific product that doesn’t look like the traditional elliptical trainers you’d see at a gym. It’s still effective, but it’s not aimed at the total beginner and trades portability and economy for a better range of motion and ergonomic design of a classic elliptical.
It’s good if you want a little full-body workout at home, however, it doesn’t include tracking features such as heart rate, calories burned, or distance.
Our Top Pick, And Why!
The best elliptical trainer under 300 is the Marcy Fan-Resisted Exercise bike. It offers the same benefits of low-impact, versatile full-body workouts. It’s a durable product and is just as quit as a magnetic elliptical using a fan driven mechanism, while offering the same variety of tracking features such as tracing distance, heart rate, and calories.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Benefits Of Using An Elliptical?
An elliptical machine is a piece of endurance exercise equipment. It offers full-body training with the coordination of the arms and legs, on opposite sides, and engages the core throughout. There are a few key benefits of using an elliptical trainer that separate it from other exercise machines:
Reduced Joint Impact
The impact on the joints associated with running is one of the concerns raised for overtraining. This kind of cyclical impact can easily cause problems when running, especially without proper technique.
The elliptical, on the other hand, reduces impact on the vulnerable joints of the hips, knees, and ankles. These are some of the most commonly-injured joints around and the elliptical spares them tons of unnecessary stress – making it the perfect pick for anyone with joint health concerns.
Whether you’re a beginner, have a history of joint pain, are an older person, or just want a low-stress exercise, the elliptical is a great choice. It’s a fantastic way of training your cardiovascular health without the pavement-stress of running – especially for weight loss.
Easy to use
The elliptical is one of the most intuitive and easy-to-use pieces of equipment you could use. It’s not as easy to get wrong as the treadmill (running technique is more complicated than you might think), and it doesn’t have the same fiddly mechanics of a stationary bike.
It’s hard to get the elliptical machine wrong: if the stride length is right, you just need to mount the machine and follow the tracks. Some features can get more complicated (like resistance), but the elliptical could be the easiest machine to use in any gym setup.
Simply put, the elliptical is easier than many other exercise machines. There’s very little set-up, you can’t do much wrong, and it’s not a huge health risk if you do make mistakes. These are great for beginners and those who just want to get in shape without worrying too much!
Exercise machines with varied, adjustable, or responsive resistance is amazing for controlling the difficulty of your workouts! Look for these if you can find them!
The beauty of the elliptical is how it can use the arms, legs, and core. This covers many of the key functions you need to train for health and longevity. It can be a great way of conditioning movement in the whole body, whether that’s for fat loss or to develop endurance and strength for the future.
This means you’re getting both a upper body and lower body exercise with a single exercise machine, unlike a treadmill or stationary bike, for example. The fan-resisted aerodyne-style bikes we’ve discussed above are a great example of this!
Aside from ellipticals targeting both your lower and upper body, they make an effective cardio machine by raising your heart rate while allowing your to control the intensity to your desired resistance level.
Which Is Better For Weight Loss, An Elliptical Or Treadmill?
The difference between an elliptical and treadmill is difficult to compare when trying to figure out which one is better. Treadmills are harder on the joints and more difficult to use than an elliptical, but they do burn more calories per hour, on average.
The difference is made up in the reduced joint-injury risk that ellipticals pose. They massively reduce the impact on vulnerable joints – the knee, hip, and ankle – and ensure that you’re not over-stressing yourself while also burning calories.
Ellipticals are therefore better for people who are concerned by joints: those with less than 6 months of experience, the elderly, or anyone with experience of joint pain. The benefits are to long-term, sustainable, effective fat loss through good training. Ellipticals are also great for targeting your upper body since they demand movement from your arms, shoulders, and back.
Treadmills are more effective in the short-term but ellipticals are better for many of the general population who don’t want to get good at running. For general health and fitness, the elliptical is a better place to start!
Factors To Consider When Choosing An Elliptical Under $300
Stride Length and Personal Needs
You’re only going to get the most out of an elliptical trainer if it matches the length of your own stride. There are adjustable elliptical machines, but you need to be aware of your own stride length – and the length of your legs – before buying.
This is mostly true for taller or shorter people, where standard stride lengths might not be sufficient. A good elliptical machine is great if it matches your stride length, but it can be terrible if it’s not suitable for you. Prioritize this kind of basic information when buying!
Features and Additions
Additional features can be useful, but they must be well justified and fit the function of the exercise machine. More features are better if they don’t cost the basic functions, and if they make the experience better.
Other key features to look out for is the ability to track your progress such as distance, heart rate, calories burned, and time. These features can be a great way to challenge yourself and adjust your workouts to your current fitness level.
Weight, Size, and Movement
If you’re trying to use an elliptical in your own home, you may want the ability to tuck it away. Equally, if you’re moving , it’s important that you can take this piece of equipment with you. For these reasons, weight is an important factor if you’re looking for a good, economical elliptical!
The elliptical machines on this list tend to weigh around 200lbs, and this is a tolerable amount for most purposes. Be sure to get an elliptical that suits your ability to move it, and ideally one with wheels on the base for easier storage/movement.
Anything over 300lbs starts to be a bit much for a home elliptical machine, so be sure to watch out for the weight of any product you might consider buying.
Elliptical Machine Noise at Home: Keeping it Convenient!
Even if you’re not concerned with waking the neighbors or the kids, a noisy elliptical is going to be less pleasant to use. Silence isn’t always possible, especially with the moving parts, but a better elliptical is one you can use without feeling the grating of repeated squeaky or movements.
A magnetic elliptical will often times be much quieter than a fan driven trainer and is a better choice for your workout experience. It will allow you to exercise with or without background noise so that you don’t disturb anyone at home or cause any distraction.
Does your Elliptical Come With a Warranty?
A good elliptical trainer won’t break, but a good brand offers a warranty on your purchase. If you’re buying a piece of training equipment this big, you want to know it’s going to survive the test of time.
A no-questions-asked warranty is great, and the more years the better. You ideally want something well into the 3+ year range, as any faults are always likely to show up over time. Higher warranty periods can also be a reflection of a good quality product because it can indicate that the brand is confident about the longevity of its parts.
The elliptical machine is hard to get at great prices, but the exercise bike and some of the simple options on this list show what’s possible to get the core experience without breaking the bank.
Elliptical machines are great to use but the budget options are limited: the items we’ve reviewed today show some of the limitations, but also how you can get a great exercise machine at a great price if you’re willing to get creative with your search!