Merit 710E Elliptical – The Best Buy Under $500

The Treadmill Sensei is still recovering from the madness of the recent 2006-2007 Ichi-Ban Awards for the best buy treadmills and ellipticals. Now, I’m taking a couple of days off from the DOJO in order to get all of the detailed reviews done and up here on the Treadmill Sensei website.

The Merit 710E Elliptical was awarded the best buy under $500 award this year. Merit is a fairly new brand, but is coming from one of the biggest and best players in the industry, Johnson Tech. If you’re not familiar with that name, Johnson Tech is the parent company for the top rated Horizon, Vision and Matrix lines of equipment.

They do high quality work and it is nice to see them offering that quality in the lowest end price points.

The Merit 710E comes in at around $399 and is the cheapest elliptical you’ll find anywhere that will still give you a decent workout. The 710E is very much based on the design of Horizon’s old E51 but has the great, under $400 price to go with it.

In spite of it’s low price and 100 pound weight, the Merit 710E comes with a beefy-for-the-price 12 pound flywheel. The corporate literature on the Merit 710E says the unit can support up to 250 pounds of user weight, but I don’t think I’d push it quite that far. If you’re under 200 then it will be a great machine. Over 250 and you’ll want to step up in weight class to a $600+ machine.

For woman or smaller men, and definitely for kids, the 16 inch stride length on the 710E should be more than enough. The machine is really build for light workouts, but should hold up to 45 minutes three to four times a week.

In a price range with a lot of crap and wasted money, the Merit 710E stands head and shoulders above the competition. Don’t expect a commercial quality workout for $399, but if you’re looking for something lightweight for light workouts then you’re looking at the right unit.

For putting out quality at a great budget price, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Merit 710E Elliptical 4 out of 5 Golden Buddahs.

You won’t find a better elliptical for $399 than the Merit 710E.

Merit 710E Elliptical Specifications
Flywheel: 4.5kg
Resistance Levels: 8
Max User Weight: 250 lbs.
Stride Length: 16″
Console: LCD
Monitors: time, calories burned, speed, and distance
Heart Rate Monitor: Pulse Grip
Weight: 110lbs