When you’re serious about getting a consistent, quality workout at home, it’s time to start shopping for an elliptical. This popular training device allows you to work the muscles of your butt and legs more precisely than anything you can do on a treadmill. Two of the most popular medium-priced ellipticals on the current market are the ProForm 520 and the Schwinn 430 Elliptical. In this article, we put these two machines head to head so you can decide which one deserves to be the centerpiece of your home cardio gym.
At A Glance
The ProForm 520 and the Schwinn 430 are both front-drive ellipticals with many similar features. The ProForm is newer, and so has more in terms of extra features. These include a backlit console, a more intuitive layout, and a tablet holder. The Schwinn 430 provides you with a slighter longer stride length. However, the incline on the ProForm 520 can reach a max of 20 degrees, which is double the capability of the Schwinn 430. You also get a better warranty with the ProForm 520, which makes it the clear choice.
68.5″ x 25.7”
70.1″ x 28.2
The footprint of the Schwinn 430 is 70.1″ x 28.2”. This compares with dimensions of 68.5″ x 25.7”, for the ProForm 520. From this, we see that the Schwinn 430 is a little larger but that difference is not really significant.
The console on the Schwinn 430 is pretty basic. It provides you with a dual-track non-backlit LCD screen which provides you feedback on your basic training parameters. You also get a built-in iPod dock with speakers, along with a 3-speed fan. You also get a tablet holder, but when your device is in place, it obscures the readout of your training data.
The ProForm 520 has a backlit LCD screen. The layout of this monitor is also more intuitive, with a tablet holder that sits above the main screen so as not to obscure anything.
The ProForm 520 displays the following workout metrics;
- Calories burned
- Total number of strides
Here are the metrics that are shown on the Schwinn 430;
- Revolutions per Minute
The max weight capacity of both of these machines is 300 pounds. As a general rule, you should allow for a variance of 50 pounds between the actual and the stated weight, so if you are more than 250 pounds, you may have problems on both the Schwinn 430 and the ProForm 530.
Included workout programs
The Schwinn 430 provides you a total of 22 pre-programmed workout programs. These include two user settings, along with gold tracking to monitor your progress. On the ProForm 530, you don’t get quite as many programs (18). However, there are enough programs on both machines to meet the fitness requirements of the vast majority of users. Also, the ProForm 530 provides you with access to many more programs through iFit (though you will have to pay $9.99 per month to subscribe to this service).
The Schwinn 430 provides limited connectivity. You can track your workouts and then transfer them to the Schwinn Connect App by way of a USB device, but this is a rather cumbersome process. You also get an iPod dock.
The ProForm 520 is set up ready to go with the iFit app. This will open your world of training with unlimited workouts available online. You will also be able to closely monitor your workout progress, set new goals, and get nutritional advice. As mentioned, there is a $9.99 monthly subscription fee for iFit.
It is pretty standard for ellipticals priced under a thousand dollars to have no incline capability at all. So, the fact that both of these machines do provide an incline is a good thing. The Schwinn 430 provides you with six incline adjustments for a max incline of 10 percent, which is pretty impressive. However, the ProForm 520 blows it out of the water with the same six incline adjustments but a max incline of 20 percent – double what you get on the Schwinn 430. That means that you can get a more intense workout on the 520.
Neither machine has decline capability.
The Stride length on the Schwinn 430 is 20 inches, which is very good for an elliptical in this price range. The majority of people will be able to get a natural, smooth, and full elliptical motion with this stride distance. The ProForm 520 has a slightly smaller stride length at 19 inches. That difference will only matter for taller people who are over 6’2” in height.
Both of these ellipticals provide the most basic level of heart rate monitoring by way of handheld pulse sensors. This is a rather inaccurate method of monitoring your heart rate. However, neither machine is enabled for a wireless heart strap, so that is the best you will get!
The ProForm 520 provides you with the following warranty protection:
- Lifetime frame; 1-year parts and labor
- This compares with the following conditions for the Schwinn 430;
- 10 years Frame; 2 years Mechanical; 1-year Electrical; 90 days Labor
We can see two big differences here; the Schwinn only provides 10 years on the frame (compared to lifetime for the ProForm), and it only offers 90 days on labor, compared to a year. With labor costs being pretty expensive, this is an important difference.
Both of these ellipticals are constructed with a sturdy frame and rigid, heavy-duty components.
Both the ProForm 520 and the Schwinn 430 retail for around a thousand dollars. However, both can be purchased for considerably less than that if you look for specials. A number of retailers offer free shipping on both products.
What others are saying
Both ellipticals have a lot of online reviews. The majority of Schwinn 430 reviewers liked the large stride length and 20 workout programs. A highlight for many reviewers of the ProForm is the large incline capability and the very generous warranty provided.
The main differences between the ProForm 520 and the Schwinn 430 are the better console, greater incline capacity, and more generous warranty on the ProForm. With most other features being comparable, these elements lead us to rate the ProForm 520 as a better buy than the Schwinn 430.