Runners love getting out of the house and into the fresh air to get a workout. Sometimes, though, we need an alternate form of exercise that includes some resistance to supplement our running.
An elliptical is a great choice, and we’ve chosen the Horizon 7.0 AE as our best elliptical machine under $1000. It provides a challenging workout for the muscles while being easy on the joints, has 20 different resistance levels, and can sync to a variety of third-party fitness apps.
Getting a good workout from the comfort of your own home doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive! If you’re looking for an effective and affordable workout, have a look through our list of ellipticals to find one that suits you.
Top 3 Best and Favorites
Horizon 7.0 AE
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3862 Circuit Zone Elliptical
Schwinn 411 Elliptical
1. Horizon 7.0 AE
If you’re looking for a challenging workout, the Horizon 7.0 AE will give you one. The flywheel weighs 23 pounds and with a choice from 20 different resistance levels and incline levels, you’ll be burning calories in just a few minutes.
The pedals have a low step-on height, which makes it easy to get on and off the elliptical, which is great if you’re recovering from an injury or if you have any stiffness in the joints. You’ll have full range of motion as it has a 20-inch stride length that follows a natural footpath.
It comes with multiple preset workouts, which include settings for a 5k run or walk, calorie-burning, fat-burning, or reaching your maximum heart rate. If you download the AFG app, you can sync your exercise data with MyFitnessPal, Google Fit and others.
The main console has a 7-inch LCD screen that allows you to track your workout progress, and one-touch buttons make it easy to adjust the incline quickly. If you’re used to using exercise equipment that has a bigger screen, you may find this screen to be a tad too small for comfortable viewing.
You’ll be able to stream workouts or your favorite TV show while working out, as this elliptical uses Bluetooth technology to pair with your device and has built-in speakers.
A lifetime frame and brake warranty with a 3 year part warranty are included.
- 20 levels of both resistance and incline
- Low step-on height
- 20-inch stride length
- Follows a natural stride
- Lifetime frame and brake warranty
- Some may find the screen to be too small
2. Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3862 Circuit Zone Elliptical
This elliptical machine can be used manually, which is great if the power goes out and you don’t want to miss a workout. You won’t have to worry about the resistance setting, as if you have no power as it will use the setting from the last workout.
You can choose from 16 levels of magnetic resistance and if you’re using one of the preset workouts, then it will automatically adjust the resistance throughout your workout. The handles have pulse sensors that make it easy to track your metrics and get into your target heart zone.
If you’re about 6’3” you’ll find that you’ll be able to use the machine comfortably as it has a 19.5-inch stride with a complete range of motion. If you want to make your workout a bit more challenging, then you’ll be able to go in reverse on the elliptical, as it’s bi-directional.
The console features a 6-inch backlit LCD screen. This makes it easy track workout metrics such as distance covered, speed, heart rate, target heart rate, and time. It does have a deck for you to place your tablet or cellphone on, but you’d have to use your earphones as there are no speakers on this machine.
- 16 levels of magnetic resistance
- Can be used as a manual elliptical
- Integrated pulse sensors
- Non-slip pedals
- Minimalist console panel
- Doesn’t have built-in speakers
Best Elliptical with Speakers
3. Horizon EX-59
The Horizon Ex-59 was designed to eliminate stress on the knees, hips, and back, as the pedals have very little distance between them. This mimics the natural movement of the body and is a great feature for people who spend a lot of their day sitting behind a desk.
The pedals are low to the ground, which makes getting on and off easier. The frame is designed to keep your body upright and hold a good posture while working out. Even if you’re tall, you’ll find that handlebar spacing will be comfortable. And at 18 inches, the stride length gives the feeling of running.
It does have 10 built-in workout programs to choose from as well as 16 levels of resistance, to provide a challenging workout. However, it doesn’t have an incline option. There’s a 4.5-inch data screen that will help you keep track of your workout.
To keep you entertained while working out you can place your tablet on the rack and connect your device via Bluetooth to the Sonic Surround speakers.
- 10 built-in workout options
- 16 Levels of Resistance
- Pedals are closer together to mimic natural movement
- Integrated speakers
- Doesn’t have an incline option
Top Elliptical with Fitness App
4. Reebok SL8 Elliptical
To take your workouts up a notch, you can connect to the Reebok app. It stores your workout data, and lets you run virtually on any street, in any country, using Google Street View.
The SL8 comes with 4 different incline levels so that you can increase the intensity of your workout. Or you can choose from one of the 12 preset workouts or 4 target programs.
The screen has 6 LED window displays that show your workout stats and highlights. You’re also able to monitor your heart rate, which will help you to get into your target heart zone, if you’re looking to lose weight.
To ensure that your workout is smooth and comfortable, the SL8 has cushioned footplates, which also provide superior grip for getting and off. This elliptical comes with a limited 2-year warranty on the frame, console, brake and labor.
- 12 preset workouts and 4 target programs
- Connect to the Reebok Fitness app
- 4 manual incline levels
- Cushioned footplates
- Only has a limited 2-year warranty
Best Elliptical with Adjustable Arms
5. Go-Elliptical V-450X
The V-450X allows you to adjust the arms to 3 different positions, as well as adjusting the foot pedals into 8 different positions. No matter your height, the machine can be set into an ideal position for your workout. It has an 18-inch stride that will let you get a full range of motion.
You’re also able to program as many workouts as you require on the V-450X, or you can do one of the built-in programs. With 24 resistance levels to choose from, you’ll be able to get an excellent workout even if you’re a beginner.
This exercise machine also features built-in speakers, so that you can live stream or listen to music while you exercise. One drawback? It’s heavy. At 139 pounds, you may find it a bit heavy to wheel out of the way.
- 44-pound flywheel
- 24 levels of magnetic resistance
- Pedals and swing arms are adjustable
- 24 Pre-set workout programs
- At 139 pounds, some individuals may find it a bit heavy to wheel away after exercising
Top Elliptical Warranty
6. Schwinn 411 Elliptical
If you’re worried that an elliptical is going to take up a lot of floor space, then the Schwinn 411 elliptical could be the machine you’re looking for. It may have a compact design, but you’ll still be able to get a full stride in at 18 inches.
It comes with 13 preset workouts and you can connect to the Explore the World app, where the elliptical will sync and adjust the intensity to the route you’re running. Unfortunately, this machine doesn’t have an incline, which means you won’t feel like you’re running up and down the hills.
The console is easy to use and the 5.5-inch screen keeps track of your heart rate, speed, distance, time, and calories. The biometric sensors on the handles will keep track of your heart rate, and these sensors are on both the fixed and moving handlebars.
It does come with a 10-year warranty on the frame, a 2-year warranty on mechanical parts, 1-year warranty on electrical parts and labor for 90 days.
- 13 built-in workout programs
- 18-inch stride
- Explore the World fitness app
- Excellent warranty
- There’s no incline available
Most resistance levels
7. ProForm HIIT Trainer Elliptical
The ProForm elliptical offers you a 2-in-1 experience, as you get a stair climber and elliptical movement, with all the benefits of the exercise being low-impact. You can choose to subscribe to iFit for interactive, trainer-led workouts after your 30-day free trial.
You can also decide to use the preset workouts. To access those without iFit, you’d have to hold the Bluetooth button down for 30 seconds. You’ll be able to choose from 32 preset workouts and 24 resistance settings that will help you get the best HIIT workout on an elliptical.
The design of the handlebars helps you target specific muscle groups, and each requires slightly different hand positions. It comes with an integrated tablet holder, so that you can stay in touch with friends or catch up on your favorite TV show while working out. It also has a fan that will help to keep you cool during your interval training.
The handlebars come with pulse sensors that will help you keep track of your heart rate, which is displayed on the 7-inch LCD monitor. It’ll also keep track of your speed, distance, and time.
When the ProForm elliptical arrives, you may want to get someone to help you assemble it, as it can be a bit tricky.
- 24 resistance settings
- Comes with 32 preset workouts
- Stepper and elliptical movements
- Multigrip handlebars
- Some individuals may find assembling the machine to be challenging
Best 2-in-1 Elliptical
8. ProForm Hybrid Trainer
If you want more than just an elliptical, the ProForm Hybrid features both an elliptical and a recumbent bicycle in one machine.
This is helpful if you get bored easily or simply enjoy some variation in your exercises, but also if you’re recovering from injury and need to exercise but need a more manageable type of exercise. Just adjust the pedals and you can do a full-body elliptical workout or a lower-body blitz on the bike.
It can incline up to 16% and has 16 programs built-in. Other well-designed features include a built-in water bottle holder, an onboard sound system, and a trial membership to iFit.
Wheels on its underside allow for ease of movement and storage, although it’s important to note that it doesn’t fold, which could make it difficult for one person to move on their own.
- 2-in-1 exercise machine
- Inclines up to 16 percent
- Comes with 16 built-in workout programs
- Silent magnetic resistance
- Only has a 90-day warranty on parts and labor
- iFit coach is an additional cost after a 30-day free trial
Best glider-style Elliptical
9. Gazelle Edge
The Gazelle Edge is an exercise glider with a wide range of motion that will help to add resistance to your workout without any impact. The only power that it requires is from the momentum that you create, which will get your heart rate up.
The padded handlebars make for a more comfortable workout, especially when you’re at an angle, to target either specific upper body or lower body muscles. The textured foot pedals are extra-wide and offer a very good grip. This will allow you to go from sprinting to a slow walk in a few seconds.
It has a 5-function console that tracks speed, distance, time, and calories burned.
- Foldable for easy storage
- Extra-wide foot pedals
- Patented gliding suspension
- A wider range of motion
- No resistance settings
What is an elliptical machine and how does it work?
The elliptical is a stationary cardiovascular exercise machine. Its design allows you to work both your upper and lower body, and you can use it to walk or run with minimal impact to your joints.
This versatile machine mimics the movement of running without placing any pressure on the joints, which significantly reduces the risk of injury. You can increase the intensity of your workout by changing either the incline or the resistance on the elliptical, which will give you a fantastic HIIT or LISS (low-intensity steady-state) workout.
When you’re on the elliptical, you’ll activate your core for balance and stability as well as get a fantastic full-body workout. Pumping your arms while holding the handles gives your biceps, triceps, chest and shoulder muscles a good workout, while your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves also get activated.
The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, which you can do on the elliptical from the comfort of your own home.
What are the benefits of the elliptical?
There are a number of benefits of using an elliptical machine, especially if you’re looking to improve your overall fitness levels while protecting your joints. Here are some of the benefits of using an elliptical machine:
- Improves mobility and balance.
- Low-impact on joints.
- Aids in weight-loss.
- Strengthens muscles in the lower and upper body.
- Increases stamina.
- Improves cardiovascular health.
- Burns calories.
- Decreases inflammation and improves blood circulation.
- Allows you to work through a full range of motion, even after an injury.
What is a good 20-minute elliptical workout?
There is a range of 20-minute workouts that you can do on an elliptical. You can include HIIT or you can incorporate Tabata into your workout. But a good 20-minute workout could also be something less intense.
Here’s an example of a 20-minute elliptical workout that will burn calories and work muscles effectively.
Start with a good warm-up, starting at a low resistance of 3 and a mild incline of 3% for the first 5 minutes, at a medium pace. Once the 5 minute warm-up is over, you can increase the resistance to 8, staying on an incline of 3%. Go as fast as you can for 1 min and then slow down for the next minute, with 5 minutes for each round.
Do that twice. If you want to make it more challenging, increase the resistance and the incline for each 5 minute round.
Once you have completed your 2 rounds, you can go into your cool down, where you can reduce the resistance, incline and pace for the last five minutes.