Finding the time to fit exercise into your daily routine is tough. It can often seem as though your personal health comes second to your work.

If this sounds like you, then having an elliptical at home might be the way to go. They are a great way to work out your entire body, toning all of your muscles as you exercise. As there are a few different types of ellipticals, each with space-saving options, it’s now easier than ever to keep one at home.

Simply pack it away in a closet, or store it discretely in an empty corner of the house. If this seems like a great idea, and you want to learn more about the benefits of an elliptical, read on. I’ll let you in on my top five ellipticals for your home, or your office!

Quick Product Roundup

Best elliptical
The Best Elliptical Under $500 33

What is an Elliptical?

An elliptical is like a treadmill, except you get a full-body workout, using your arms and as well as your legs. Instead of actually picking up your feet, they simply remain on the footrests, and the machine moves with your motion.

There are always risks with exercising—especially if your body is prone to failure under high impact situations. There are times when I have problems with my knees if I use a treadmill. An elliptical is ideal for anyone in this situation, as it’s easier on the joints, and you still burn just as many calories as a treadmill!

If you’re interested to know a little more about the benefits of using an elliptical, here is a video to help.

Girl smile while training
The Best Elliptical Under $500 34

What to Look for in the Best Elliptical?

It’s essential to know what you want before spending your hard-earned cash. Below I have listed some of the key factors I think you should check out before making your decision.


A number of the options I’ve listed below are designed to optimize space-saving. Some of them are built with a smaller footprint, whereas others fold up to be stored away completely. There are even models, as we will see later, that just sit under your desk.

If you’re looking to get fitter at home, then this is ideal—especially if you don’t have a spare room in the house to set up a gym space.

Non-Slip Foot Pads

This is super important, not only to keep you safe on the machine but to keep you focused as well. If your feet are constantly sliding around, you’ll be more concerned about this than actually working out.

Seated Elliptical

If you’re that person who always says, “I have no time to get fit,” then this is the sort of elliptical you should be looking for. These require minimal space in the home or office and actually fit under your desk. This means you can keep your body moving, even if you’re sat working.

This is perfect to keep you active and helps to reduce boredom while at your desk. It’s also a great way to reduce potential blood clots—sitting at a desk is known to increase your chances of this. By keeping active at your desk, blood clots are less likely to form.

The Five Best Ellipticals Under $500

Now you know some of the benefits of using an elliptical, here are my top five choices and why I think you might like them.

Our Overview

If you’re looking for a compact elliptical to fit into a small corner of your home gym, this one is ideal. It’s specifically designed to take up minimal space on the ground, so you could even keep it in your living area.

If you don’t want this small machine on display, it can easily be wheeled into the nearest closet. Simply slide it out from its place, use it in front of the TV, and wheel it back into the hiding spot afterward.

With the belt-driven flywheel mechanism, this machine is quiet enough to ensure your neighbors remain happy. Also, if you fancy listening to music or watching your favorite program while exercising, you can! Just place your smartphone or tablet in the designated holder, and you’re good to go.

Non-slip foot pads and eight levels of resistance make it easy to reach your personal best, without injury. You also have an LCD monitor, measuring all the relevant stats on a scanning display to keep track of your progress.

  • Non-slip footpads.
  • Eight levels of magnetic resistance.
  • Portable.
  • Small.
  • Phone/tablet holder.
  • LCD scanning monitor, with all your credentials.
  • Quiet.
  • Holds 220 pounds of weight.
  • Ensure the belt is checked regularly so it doesn’t shred.
  • Not as durable as others on the list.
Our Overview

This elliptical makes for a more permanent addition to your home as it’s large, so not easily stowed away. However, the wheels do still make it a portable machine, so you can move it from room to room if necessary.

With eight levels of magnetic tension, you can personalize the workouts to fit you. You can also keep track of how you’re doing, using the handy LCD display. This monitors your calories burned, distance run, pulse rate, time, and speed, on a scanning rotation.

Non-slip pedals keep your rhythm going, so you can remain focused. The flywheel mechanism also optimizes your focus by providing a natural movement while remaining quiet and smooth.

  • Can support a 250-pound frame.
  • Quiet.
  • Non-slip pedals.
  • Eight levels of magnetic tension.
  • LCD monitor, showing all your stats.
  • Larger than some of the others available.
Our Overview

The Stamina elliptical is one of two we have on our list which you can use while sitting at your desk. If you’re someone who is super busy and has no time to work out, this one is ideal. Simply pop it under your desk and work out as you work!

It comes in three colors, so you can match it to your office furniture. It’s also very discrete, portable, lightweight, and quiet—so if you want to take it to your office you can and it won’t disturb anyone. You can also use it standing up, so it works just as well as any other larger elliptical.

The textured pedals ensure a non-slip motion, so whether you’re sitting or standing, your focus and safety remain intact. You have the option to adjust the tension, so you can decide how much you want to push yourself. Finally, the display monitor with a scan function shows you how you’re getting on.

  • Efficient exercising tool.
  • Non-slip pedals.
  • Quiet.
  • Can be used standing or sitting.
  • Display monitor.
  • Three colors available.
  • Multiple resistance levels.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • If under a desk, will are unable to see the display monitor.
  • Less stable when being used standing up, as you cannot grip onto handles.
  • No pulse monitor.
Our Overview

This one is a little different to what you might normally see on the market. It’s used as an air walk trainer, offering you a workout by using the cushioned pad to lean your abdomen on. This way, you can remain in a continuous motion without interruption.

The non-slip footpads also help to maintain focus, by removing distractions and keeping your rhythm going. It takes up minimal space, and stores away easily in a closet, by folding in half. This is great for anyone who wants to stay active but doesn’t have a spare room for a gym.

This product provides you with the typical LCD monitor which displays the time, distance, and the number of calories burned in a scanning mode. Generally, it’s a very smooth and quiet machine, so is great for home use.

  • 220-pound capacity.
  • The LCD display gives you all your stats.
  • The abdominal pad is comfortable, supportive and helps you to maintain continuous, uninterrupted motion.
  • Quiet and smooth.
  • Non-slip footpads.
  • Small and storable.
  • Can reach a run, but this machine is more for walking than running.
  • Doesn’t monitor your pulse.
  • No wheels, so not easily portable when moving it to a storage space.
Our Overview

Finally, this is another of our under-desk ellipticals, perfect for anyone who is always busy. It has eight resistance levels, allowing you to adjust and control the intensity of your workout. Also, the built-in display monitor tracks everything you would need to keep an eye on your progress.

The easy assembly makes this one a great option for anyone with minimal time on their hands. You can set it up within minutes, and get using it while you go about your day’s work.

  • Eight resistance levels.
  • 3-5 minute assembly time.
  • Display monitor.
  • Easy height adjustment for a standing desk.
  • Cannot view display monitor if using under your desk.
  • Cannot use while standing up.

My Choice

My elliptical of choice would have to be the EFITMENT compact magnetic elliptical machine. It does everything we would expect from an elliptical, with a quiet flywheel mechanism and pulse measurement.

It also has the additional benefits of being portable—it stores away easily—and has a holder for your tablet or phone. This is ideal to personalize your workout, as you can watch your favorite TV show, and go to your favorite spot in the house to workout. Then, just pop it in a hiding place until next time!

Generally, an elliptical is a great way to burn calories without impacting your body too much. In the end, it all depends on what you’re looking for, so trying one out before purchase is the best way to go.


Johnny Gallagher

Johnny Gallagher is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist.

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