Best Ellipticals Under $1,000
The best ellipticals priced between $500 and $999 are great for light to moderate exercise. While not as smooth as their pricier health club counterparts, they’re a big step up from the budget class. Compare the three top-scoring models in this price class using our side-by-side analysis. Meanwhile, check out the wide assortment of other ellipticals under $1,000 complete with specs and critical information.
Top Elliptical Trainers Under $1,000
After extensive analysis and review, we’ve selected the three best elliptical trainers priced between $500 to $999. These overall winners were selected based on their durability, display, features and the manufacturer’s customer service.
Sole, NordicTrack and Bowflex all take different approaches to home fitness machines, and each brings something special to the game. Sole elliptical machines are quite often a best-buy for those valuing performance over flash. That said, the Sole E25 shown here does have Bluetooth and iPod-compatible speakers. NordicTrack on the other hand, brings a machine with more features for the finance. The NordicTrack C 9.5 above has a web-enabled touchscreen and iPod-compatible speakers. Sole and NordicTrack both offer water bottle holders, cooling fans, and other comforting amenities. The Bowflex Max Trainer is built especially for high-intensity workouts and those seeking to earn the burn.
Buying Guide to Elliptical Trainers Under $1,000
Compared with the very low-budget ellipticals, those priced from $500 to $999 tend to have much better ergonomics, resistance and durability. Here's a quick guide to the typical elliptical trainer in this price range.
Elliptical Trainer Performance
Elliptical machine performance is determined by resistance and stride length. Quality depends on how much force the pedals can deliver, and how long the steps can be. Some models do offer an incline feature as well.
Resistance: When comparing elliptical machines for resistance, notice the type and amount. Most newer models use magnetic resistance. Quieter and more durable than mechanical resistance, magnetic systems eliminate the problems associated with friction. The amount of resistance offered by a machine tends to increase with price. On the lower end of the pricing range, resistance might be 12.5 pounds, too light for most shoppers. Meanwhile, top $999 cross trainers bring between 18 and 25 pounds, quite respectable for beginners and intermediate trainees. At the higher end of the spectrum, some of the priciest elliptical trainers for home gyms and clubs provide 25 to 35 pounds of force.
Stride Length: A natural stride is key to machine performance. Cheap ellipticals tend to have shorter strides, while the ideal is a minimum of 18 inches, with the industry standard being 20. In higher price categories you can see elliptical trainers with adjustable stride length. In addition to affording use by people of different size, this also provides more workout variety.
Incline: Another key to look for is the automated incline function. An automated incline gives an instant metabolic boost as an uphill workout requires more energy. An incline also makes the machine even more effective for muscle sculpting. With each slight change in angle, different muscle fibers are recruited. The steepest incline you’ll see in our elliptical trainer reviews is 20%.
Elliptical Trainer Durability
The best elliptical trainers under $1,000 are designed to deliver a minimum of two years service before requiring maintenance. Compared with their lower-cost peers, these are more durable due to having higher grades of steel as opposed to plastic. The electronics also tend to have higher quality. Below are some keys to look for in terms of durability.
Maximum User Weight: An elliptical machine's maximum user weight capacity is one clue to how well the unit will perform over time. Look for a machine that can hold at least 250 pounds. Also, choose a machine that has at least a 50-pound higher capacity than your own weight.
Warranty: A good warranty package is one of the best indicators of durability. With the best elliptical trainers under $1,000, you can expect guarantees of at least two years on parts and one year on labor. This is a big jump up from the under-$500 price class in which parts and labor are often free for between 90 days and 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.
Best Ellipticals Under $1,000 for 2022
Your best elliptical under $1,000 is right here and waiting for you. Check out these five favorites on our elliptical trainer comparison chart updated for this year.
Best Ellipticals Under $1,000
|Bowflex Max Trainer M3||4-stars||N/A||8 Levels||Under $1,000||See best price »|
|ProForm Carbon EX||4-stars||20 lbs||20 levels SMR||Under $1,000||See best price »|
|Sole E25||4-stars||20 LBS||ECB||Under $1,000||See best price »|
The best elliptical machine under $1,000 goes 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 cross 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 range is about 5" x 7", which is much larger than what's found on very cheap models. Generally, these screens don't have the full color, video, and touch technology found on higher-priced units. However, on some models, these benefits are available through connected smartphones or tablet computers.
Workout Programs: Built-in workout variety helps keep trainees motivated. Newer ellipticals in this price class also have Bluetooth connections to integrate mobile devices. This supports new program downloads and integrates tablets as machine controllers and workout displays.
The Bottom Line
The best ellipticals under $1,000 are basic but make the average user happy. Top options have good ergonomics with 18- to 20-inch strides and maximum resistance of between 18 and 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 see the top ellipticals under $1,500. Some of the best machines in that category have adjustable stride length and a more challenging max resistance level.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does a good quality elliptical cost?
Elliptical costs can vary from a few hundred dollars up to $2,000. But there's no question one can get a high-quality elliptical for under $1,000.
How long do low-price ellipticals last?
This will depend greatly on the care, maintenance, and overall usage. But as a rule one should get a minimum of three solid years before needing to replace parts. Some users report getting more than 10 years out of a machine.
Are Bowflex ellipticals good?
Yes, there's a reason for the brand's popularity and success. The Bowflex family of equipment provides a good blend of affordability and quality for the average user.
Are lower-priced ellipticals noisy?
Ellipticals should not be noisy as a rule. If the machine is grinding or squeaking it most likely needs lubrication.