Invest in Your Health: Understanding the Cost of an Elliptical Trainer

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Julien Raby

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As the world becomes increasingly health-conscious, many people are looking for ways to incorporate regular exercise into their daily routines. Among the myriad cardio equipment available, the elliptical trainer has gained significant popularity for its low-impact, full-body workout benefits.

These machines are incredibly versatile, providing variable resistance, incline options, and preset workouts to suit any fitness level or goal. However, when it comes to buying, it’s essential to understand what the cost of an elliptical is, well beyond the price tag.

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In this blog post, we’ll delve into the different factors that impact the cost of buying an elliptical trainer, including upfront cost, long-term cost, and other considerations. So, let’s break a sweat and talk about numbers and important buying factors.

Why You Should Trust BoxLife?

When it comes to understanding the true cost of an elliptical, you need a source you can trust. And that’s where our expert team at BoxLife comes in! We’re not just another run-of-the-mill fitness blog; we’re your reliable fitness confidante, your knowledgeable workout buddy, and your trusty guide to all things fitness.

We’ve got the experience and expertise to make understanding the true cost of buying an elliptical trainer a breeze. Trust us, we’ve got your back – or should we say, your elliptical!

Our Top Pick
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical
Based on our testing, this is the best budget Elliptical for beginners. For less than 475$, it has most essential features that you've come to expect. It's compact and sturdy, frankly it offers great value for money. It's also backed with an 3 years warranty.

Who Is This Guide For?

Whether you’re a fitness enthusiast looking to upgrade your home gym, a newbie exploring options for starting your fitness routine, or someone who wants to make an informed buying decision, our guide is for you!

This is the perfect piece to read for the budget-conscious shopper, the tech-savvy fitness guru, or anyone who wants to avoid any surprises when it comes to the true cost of an elliptical. So, buckle up and keep on reading to arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make the best decision for your fitness goals and your wallet!

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Factors to Consider When Buying an Elliptical Trainer

If you’re in the market for a new elliptical trainer, congratulations on taking the first step toward investing in your fitness journey! But before you hit that “Add to Cart” button or make a beeline to the nearest fitness equipment store, there are several factors you should consider to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

Budget vs. Features: Finding the Sweet Spot

When it comes to buying an elliptical trainer, it’s important to strike a balance between your budget and the features you’re looking for. While it’s tempting to go for the most feature-packed, high-end ellipticals on the market, it may not always be the best option if it doesn’t fit within your budget. On the other hand, opting for cheap ellipticals may not provide you with the durability and features you need for a long-term investment.

So, how do you find the sweet spot? Research and compare different elliptical models based on their features, durability, and customer reviews. Make a list of “must-have” features that are important to you, such as resistance levels, workout programs, stride length, and touchscreen console options. Consider your fitness goals and the intended usage of the elliptical trainer.

If you’re a serious fitness enthusiast or plan to use the elliptical trainer frequently, investing in a high-end machine with more advanced features may be worth the extra cost. However, if you’re a beginner or have a limited budget, looking for a basic and budget elliptical with fewer features may be a better option.

Quality and Durability: Sweat-Proof Your Investment

When it comes to exercise equipment, it’s crucial to consider durable and quality models. Flimsy and cheap ellipticals may seem like a bargain initially, but they may not last long or provide a comfortable, effective workout experience. Investing in a high-quality, durable elliptical trainer can save you money in the long run and ensure a safe and effective workout.

Look for elliptical trainers made from sturdy materials such as steel, with a stable and robust frame that can withstand regular use. Check customer reviews and ratings to get an idea of the durability and build quality of the model you’re interested in. Consider the maximum weight capacity of the elliptical trainer, as a higher max weight limit usually indicates a sturdier and more durable machine.

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Size and Space Requirements: Measure Twice, Buy Once

Elliptical trainers come in various sizes and shapes, and it’s essential to consider the dimensions of the machine and the available space in your home before buying. Measure the area where you plan to place the elliptical trainer, taking into account the length, width, and height of the machine, as well as the additional space needed for safe and comfortable usage.

Keep in mind that elliptical trainers require some clearance around them for safe operation, so make sure you have enough space for the pedals to move freely without hitting walls or furniture. Also, consider the ceiling height if you have a low ceiling in your home. Many elliptical trainers have height limitations, and you wouldn’t want to bump your head during a vigorous workout!

Noise Level: Silent Sweat Sessions or Disturbing the Peace?

If you’re planning to use the elliptical trainer at home, especially in an apartment or a shared living space, the noise level of the machine is an important factor to consider. While some elliptical trainers operate quietly, others can create a significant amount of noise, which may disturb your neighbors or family members, or even disrupt your own peaceful workout session.

Look for models that have quiet and smooth action. Elliptical trainers that use magnetic resistance tend to be quieter compared to those that use air or friction resistance. Additionally, models with a heavier flywheel often produce less noise as they provide a smoother and more consistent motion.

Reading customer reviews and ratings can also give you insights into the noise level of the machine. Look for feedback from users who have used the elliptical in a home setting, and pay attention to comments about noise levels. If possible, try out the machine in person before making a purchase to get a firsthand experience of how loud or quiet it is during operation.

Stride Length and Comfort: Stride into Fitness with Ease

The stride length of an elliptical trainer refers to the length of the pedal’s travel path. It plays a significant role in the comfort and effectiveness of your workout. Too short or too long of a stride length can result in an uncomfortable and inefficient workout experience.

Ideally, the stride length of the elliptical trainer should match your natural stride length for a smooth and natural movement pattern. Most elliptical trainers have a fixed stride length, while some higher-end models offer adjustable stride lengths to accommodate users of different heights and preferences.

Consider your height and the height of other potential users when choosing this feature. As a general guideline, a stride length of 18-20 inches is suitable for users who are shorter than 5’3″, while a stride length of 20-22 inches is suitable for users who are between 5’3″ and 5’7″. Taller people may require one of 22 inches or more for a comfortable workout experience.

Furthermore, consider the overall comfort of the elliptical trainer. Look for models with ergonomic handlebars that provide a comfortable grip and allow for different hand positions. Also, check for cushioning or padding on the pedals and handlebars to reduce the risk of discomfort or soreness during longer workout sessions.

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Workout Programs and Resistance Levels: Keep the Motivation Going

Elliptical trainers come with various built-in workout programs and resistance levels to add variety and challenge to your workouts. These features can help you stay motivated and engaged in your fitness routine, making your elliptical workouts more enjoyable and effective.

Consider the number and variety of workout programs the trainer you’re looking at comes with. Look for affordable models that offer a good range of pre-programmed workouts, including options for different fitness levels, goals, and preferences. Some elliptical trainers also offer customizable programs that allow you to create your own workouts based on your needs.

Resistance levels are another important factor to consider. The resistance level determines how challenging your workouts will be, and a good range of resistance levels can help you progressively increase the intensity of your workouts over time. Look for models that offer multiple resistance levels, with a wide range from easy to challenging, to cater to different fitness levels and goals.

Console and Technology Features: High-Tech or Basic?

Elliptical trainers come with different console and technology features, ranging from basic to high-tech options. Consider your preferences and needs when it comes to console features, as they can greatly impact your workout experience and convenience.

Basic console features may include essentials such as a basic display for tracking your time, distance, speed, and calories burned, as well as simple controls for adjusting resistance levels. On the other hand, higher-end ellipticals may include features such as LCD screens, Bluetooth connectivity for syncing with fitness apps, and built-in speakers for listening to music.

While these high-tech features can be enticing, they may also come with a higher price difference when compared to base models. Consider your budget and whether these advanced features are necessary for your fitness goals.

If you’re someone who enjoys using technology to track your workouts, listen to music, or engage in virtual reality workouts, then a model with advanced console features may be worth the investment. However, if you prefer a more basic approach and are not interested in additional technology features, a budget elliptical with a simpler console may be best for you.

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Size and Space Requirements: Fit in Your Home

Before making a purchase, it’s crucial to consider the size and space requirements of the elliptical trainer, especially if you plan to use it at home. Elliptical trainers come in various sizes and shapes, and you’ll need to ensure that it fits comfortably in your designated workout space.

Our Top Pick
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical
Based on our testing, this is the best budget Elliptical for beginners. For less than 475$, it has most essential features that you've come to expect. It's compact and sturdy, frankly it offers great value for money. It's also backed with an 3 years warranty.

Measure the available space in your home where you plan to place the elliptical trainer, including the height, width, and length of the area. Compare these measurements with the dimensions of the elliptical trainer you’re considering to ensure that it will fit comfortably without obstructing walkways or other furniture.

Keep in mind that some elliptical trainers have a longer footprint due to their design, but you can always choose a more compact elliptical if space is a concern. You can also opt for a folding elliptical trainer, which can be a great solution if you have limited space and need to store the machine when not in use.

Durability and Warranty: Invest in Longevity

An elliptical trainer is an investment in your health and fitness, and you’ll want to ensure that it’s built to last. Look for models that are made of high-quality materials, such as steel or aluminum, which are known for their durability and sturdiness. Avoid models with flimsy plastic parts or frames that may wear out quickly over time.

It’s also important to check the warranty offered by the manufacturer. A longer warranty period is generally an indication of the manufacturer’s confidence in the quality and durability of their product. Look for models that come with a warranty of at least one year or more on parts and labor to protect your investment.

The Upfront Cost of Buying an Elliptical: There’s More Than Meets the Eye

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When it comes to buying an elliptical trainer, the first thing that comes to mind is the upfront cost. The price tag of the elliptical machine is an important consideration, and it varies greatly depending on the brand, features, and quality. You can find elliptical trainers at a wide range of price points, from budget-friendly options to high-end, premium models. Still, to make the best choice, it’s crucial to set a budget and do thorough research to find a model that fits your needs and preferences.

However, the upfront cost of an elliptical trainer is not the only expense you’ll encounter. Many elliptical trainers come with additional costs such as assembly fees, shipping fees, and extended warranties. Assembly fees can range from a few dollars to over a hundred dollars, depending on whether you choose to assemble the machine yourself or hire a professional.

Shipping fees can also add up, especially if you’re purchasing an elliptical trainer online and need it delivered to your home. Additionally, extended warranties, while optional, can provide added protection for your investment but may come with an extra cost. In order to make an informed decision, when buying an elliptical trainer, it’s crucial to consider the total upfront cost, including any additional fees. 

As of 2023, the cost of an elliptical machine can vary widely, depending on the brand, features, and quality of the machine. On average, you can expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $3000 on a high-quality elliptical. Of course, there are outliers on both ends of this spectrum, with some basic models costing less than $200 and top-of-the-line models costing upwards of $5000.

So, what can you expect to get for your money when shopping for an elliptical in 2023? Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect at different price points.


At this price range, you can expect to find basic models with simple LCD displays and a limited range of resistance levels. While these machines may not have all the bells and whistles of higher-end models, they can still provide a decent workout for those on a budget. 

Our top pick within this price range is the Sunny Health & Fitness Essential Series Cross Trainer which ticks all the boxes and it’s an excellent choice for people who want an affordable elliptical with smart features. It offers magnetic resistance with multiple levels of intensity, comfortable footpads, and a smooth elliptical motion for effective workouts. 

Its compact design, easy-to-read LCD display, and convenient transportation wheels make it a practical choice for home use, providing excellent value for the price and making it a top pick for budget-conscious shoppers.

Furthermore, the Sunny Health & Fitness SF-E905 Elliptical is another great elliptical under $500 and it’s ideal for those who prefer lighter workouts or are beginners in their fitness journey. Its magnetic resistance levels and comfortable footpads make it a suitable choice for individuals with joint pain who wish to minimize stress on their bodies while staying active.

And for those looking for a compact elliptical that they can easily transport, the Cubii JR1 Under Desk Elliptical is just the right option for busy office bees and couch potatoes alike! Not only does it help you activate your body and spend some sneaky calories while sitting, but it’s also a game-changer for boosting blood circulation, kicking back and neck pain to the curb, and leveling up your health and wellness game.


This is where you’ll start to see more mid-range models with more advanced features like adjustable incline levels and preset workout programs. These machines will typically have a sturdier frame and a longer warranty than lower-end models.

The Sole E20 Elliptical Trainer is our top pick for many reasons but mainly for its durable build, smooth and quiet operation, and comfortable stride length. With its adjustable resistance levels, user-friendly console, and built-in speakers for entertainment, the Sole E20 offers an effective and enjoyable workout experience, making it a favorite among fitness enthusiasts looking for a high-quality elliptical trainer.

The Horizon Fitness EX-59 elliptical is a great option for beginners within this price range due to its user-friendly features and ease of use. It offers a simple and straightforward console with intuitive controls, making it easy for beginners to navigate and customize their workouts. The EX-59 also provides a smooth and low-impact workout experience with its 18-inch stride length and magnetic resistance system, which is gentle on joints and muscles.

The Horizon Fitness 7.0 AE Elliptical is considered the best elliptical for performance under $1000 due to its impressive features and value for money. It offers a long 20-inch stride length, smooth and natural elliptical motion, and a robust magnetic resistance system for challenging workouts. 

The 7.0 AE also includes advanced features like Bluetooth connectivity, built-in speakers, and a variety of workout programs for personalized training. Its durable build, ergonomic design, and generous weight capacity make it a top choice for fitness enthusiasts looking for high-performance elliptical workouts on a budget.


At this price range, you can expect to find high-quality ellipticals with a range of advanced features like touch screens, interactive workout programs, and adjustable resistance levels. These machines will typically have a longer warranty and better build quality than lower-priced models.

The Sole E95 elliptical is renowned for its exceptional quality, performance, and durability. It features a long 20-22 inch adjustable stride length, robust resistance levels, and a heavy-duty frame for a challenging and effective workout. Its advanced console offers a wide range of features, including Bluetooth connectivity, customizable programs, and a large LCD display. 

The Sole E95’s superior construction, smooth motion, and comprehensive features make it a top choice for fitness enthusiasts who value performance and durability in their elliptical trainers.

The NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 elliptical is an excellent alternative in the $1000-$2000 price range due to its impressive features and capabilities. It offers a generous 19-inch adjustable stride length, a robust flywheel for smooth and quiet operation, and a wide range of resistance levels for challenging workouts.

The Commercial 14.9 also includes a full-color touchscreen console with access to interactive training programs, incline and decline capabilities, and Bluetooth connectivity for tracking and sharing workout data.

The Pro HIIT H14 elliptical offers a combination of elliptical, stepper, and climber motions, providing a highly effective and engaging full-body workout. With its 26 resistance levels, adjustable stride length, and interactive training programs, it’s ideal for those who want a challenging and varied workout experience. Its durable build, advanced features, and innovative design make it a great choice for fitness enthusiasts looking for a dynamic and effective elliptical trainer.

$2000 and up

If you’re willing to invest in a top-of-the-line elliptical, you can expect to get a machine with all the bells and whistles, including interactive displays, adjustable incline levels, and a range of workout programs. These machines will typically have the best build quality and the longest warranties.

The Sole E98 elliptical stands out for its exceptional quality and performance. Some of its special features include a long 20-22 inch adjustable stride length, robust resistance levels, and a sturdy frame for a smooth and challenging workout experience. Additionally, the E98 comes with a comprehensive console that offers advanced features like Bluetooth connectivity, multiple workout programs, and a large LCD display. 

Its combination of durability, performance, and advanced features make it a top choice for fitness enthusiasts who are looking for a high-quality elliptical trainer.

The NordicTrack FS10i FreeStride Elliptical is known for its unique and innovative design, making it stand out among other elliptical trainers. Some of its special features include the FreeStride technology, which allows users to adjust the stride length on the fly, providing a versatile and customizable workout experience. 

The FS10i also offers a 10-inch touchscreen display with iFit Coach integration, providing access to interactive workouts and personalized training programs. Additionally, it includes a power-adjustable incline and resistance, dual resistance controls, and a commercial-grade construction for durability. Its combination of versatility, interactive training, and advanced features make it a top choice for those seeking a premium elliptical experience.

The LifeFitness E3 elliptical is known for its premium quality, durability, and advanced features. Some of its special features include a sleek and modern design, WhisperStride technology that provides smooth and quiet operation, and a durable frame that can withstand heavy use. The E3 also offers adjustable stride length, customizable resistance levels, and multiple workout programs for a challenging and versatile workout experience. Additionally, it includes a sophisticated console with a variety of fitness-tracking features and wireless connectivity.

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The Long-Term Cost: Sweat Equity Pays Off

While the upfront cost of an elliptical trainer is an important consideration, it’s equally crucial to think about the long-term cost of owning and maintaining the machine. When you invest in an elliptical trainer, you’re not just buying a piece of exercise equipment, but you’re also making an investment in your health and fitness journey. It’s essential to understand the long-term costs associated with owning an elliptical trainer to make an informed decision.

One of the significant long-term costs associated with owning an elliptical trainer is the cost of electricity. Many modern elliptical trainers come with built-in displays, entertainment systems, and other features that require electricity to operate. If you plan to use your elliptical trainer regularly and for extended periods, the electricity costs can add up over time, especially if you live in an area with high electricity rates.

Another long-term cost to consider is maintenance and repairs. Like any other piece of exercise equipment, elliptical trainers require regular maintenance to keep them in optimal condition. This may include lubricating the moving parts, tightening bolts, and periodically checking for wear and tear.

Additionally, over time, elliptical trainers may require repairs or replacement of parts, which can add to the long-term cost of owning the machine. Some manufacturers offer extended warranties or maintenance plans that can help mitigate these costs, so it’s worth considering these options when making your purchase.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Are ellipticals worth the money?

Absolutely! They’re like a one-stop shop for an epic full-body workout without having to leave the comfort of your home. Think about it – you get to engage your arms, legs, and core all at once while burning those calories and boosting your cardiovascular fitness. Plus, with the convenience of being able to exercise whenever you want, regardless of the weather, an elliptical machine is an investment in your health and well-being that’s worth every penny.

Are ellipticals good for losing weight?

Yes! Ellipticals are a fantastic tool for shedding those extra pounds. With their ability to provide a high-intensity, low-impact workout, ellipticals can help you burn a significant amount of calories while being gentle on your joints. Plus, most ellipticals come with adjustable resistance levels, allowing you to increase the intensity of your workout as you progress, making it an effective option for weight loss goals. So, hop on that elliptical, crank up the resistance, and watch those pounds melt away!

Are elliptical trainers better than walking?

Both walking and using an elliptical machine have their own unique benefits. Walking is a natural, weight-bearing exercise that can be done anywhere, and it’s great for improving bone density and joint health. On the other hand, ellipticals offer a low-impact workout that engages multiple muscle groups, making it a great option for cardiovascular fitness and toning.

Plus, with adjustable resistance levels, you can customize the intensity of your workout on an elliptical. So, whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or an intense elliptical session, it really depends on your personal preference and fitness goals!

Is 20 minutes of elliptical per day enough?

While it may not be a marathon session, 20 minutes of elliptical can still pack a punch if you go all out and push yourself. It’s a great option for a quick, efficient workout that gets your heart pumping and muscles working. So, if time is of the essence, hop on that elliptical, crank up the resistance, and make those 20 minutes count! Remember, even a short workout is better than no workout, and consistency is key to seeing results.

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Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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