Best Ellipticals Under $1,000

The best elliptical machines priced from $500 to $999 serve well for light to moderate exercise. They aren't ultra-smooth performers like health club ellipticals, but they’re a big step up from the budget class. Here we show three top-scoring choices in this price class. We also list many other ellipticals under $1,000 and share some guidelines for machine quality in this price category.

Top Elliptical Trainers Under $1,000

Using the scores from our elliptical review articles, we identified three top elliptical machines priced from $500 to $999. These are overall winners when judged for durability, display, features and the manufacturer’s customer service.

 Buying Guide to Elliptical Trainers Under $1,000

Compared with very low-budget ellipticals, those priced from $500 to just under $1,000 tend to have significantly better ergonomics, resistance and durability. Here's a quick guide to typical ellipticals in this price class.


Elliptical machine performance is shaped primarily by resistance and the stride or elliptical path. On machines priced around $999 and up, performance is sometimes enhanced with automated inclines.

Resistance: Most elliptical machines produced today use magnetic resistance, which is quieter and more durable than mechanical resistance. The amount of resistance on elliptical machines tends to increase with price. On very cheap ellipticals the resistance might be 12.5 pounds, which is too light for many trainees. On the best $999 trainers you can expect the equivalent of about 18 to 20 pounds of resistance. That’s suitable for beginners and intermediate athletes. Many of the highest quality elliptical trainers for home gyms and clubs provide 25 to 35 pounds of force.

Stride Length: A key to comfortable elliptical training is using a natural-feeling stride. While cheaper ellipticals tend to have very short strides, the best options under $1,000 have at least 18" strides -- an ideal length for shorter trainees -- or the industry-standard 20". In higher price categories you can see elliptical trainers with adjustable stride to fit multiple users and provide workout variety.

Incline: Some of the best $999 ellipticals have automated inclines. An automated incline gives an instant metabolic boost and makes the machine even more effective for muscle sculpting. With each slight change in angle, different muscle fibers are recruited.


The best elliptical trainers under $1,000 are designed to deliver at least two years of exercise before requiring significant maintenance. Compared with ultra cheap ellipticals, these models are more durable partly because they feature metal components instead of plastic. Their electronics also tend to be higher quality. Here are some details to look for in elliptical reviews and sale pages for help judging durability.

Maximum User Weight: An elliptical machine's maximum user weight capacity is a clue about how well the unit will perform over time. Look for a machine that can hold at least 250 pounds and has at least a 50-pound higher capacity than your own weight.
Warranty: An elliptical's warranty package is usually the best indicator of its durability. With the best elliptical trainers under $1,000 you can expect two-year parts warranties and one-year labor warranties. This is a big jump up from the under-$500 price class in which parts and labor are often free for just 90 days to six months.
Brand Reputation: Some fitness brands are hit or miss, but most are known for a certain quality level across their lineups. See our elliptical brand ratings for fitness industry leaders.


The best ellipticals under $1,000 go beyond the basics. With enough resources available for reasonably good biomechanics and challenge, manufacturers can invest a bit more in electronics and other special features. Here are a few examples.

Heart Rate Monitor: The best cardio trainers under $1,000 have wireless heart rate receivers.

These receivers are more accurate than the contact grips provided on $500-and-under machines. They're also more convenient to use. With a constant readout of heart rate, a trainee can be sure to exercise within a target heart rate zone and have the most efficient training sessions possible.

Console Displays: A common screen size in this price category is about 5" x 7", which is much larger than what's found on very cheap ellipticals. Generally these screens don't have the full color, video and touch technology found on higher-priced models. However, on some units these benefits are available through connected smartphones or tablet computers.
Workout Programs: Built-in workout variety on the best $999 ellipticals helps keep trainees motivated and engaged. Newer ellipticals in this price class have Bluetooth connections to integrate mobile devices too. This supports new program downloads and lets tablet computers work as machine controllers and workout displays.

List of Elliptical Trainers Under $1,000

The best ellipticals under $1,000 are rather basic but make the average user happy. Top options have good ergonomics with 18" to 20" strides and maximum resistance of about 18 to 20 pounds. Some have special features such as automated inclines and mobile app integration. The following list shows ellipticals under $1,000 with a variety of ratings. For comparison, you might be interested in the top ellipticals under $1,500.

Best Ellipticals Under $1,000

ModelRatingFlywheelResistancePriceLowest Price
Bowflex Max Trainer M34-starsN/A8 Levels Under $1,000See best price »
Sole E25 4-stars19 LBSECBUnder $1,000See best price »
NordicTrack C 9.5 4-stars25 LBS22 Digital LevelsUnder $2,000See best price »