The Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3912 is hard to beat if you’re after a mid-level cross-trainer at an entry-level price. With a solid reputation for producing quality cardio machines, the SF-E3912 is one of the best elliptical machines (opens in new tab) under $500, and comes packed with an impressive array of features, including 24 built-in programs and 16 resistance levels.
It isn’t a cheaply built machine either, despite that smaller price tag. Weighing in at 105lbs and designed to accommodate user weights of up to 330lbs, the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3912 is a sturdy machine that would make a great addition to your home gym (opens in new tab).
For other home exercise equipment to help you get in a range of workouts at home, take a look at our guide to the best treadmills (opens in new tab) for indoor running and walking, as well as the best exercise bikes (opens in new tab) for spin class workouts at home.
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3912 review: Overview
The Sunny SF-E3912 is a well-built, high-quality elliptical machine that offers you a low-impact workout at a price that won’t break the bank. With one of the most advanced monitors in its price range, a motorized resistance system, and a double set of fixed and mobile handlebars, not to mention all those workout programs, this is an excellent cross trainer for interval training, recovery training, weight loss, and increasing your endurance levels.
If you’re new to using an elliptical machine and want to set yourself some health and fitness goals to work towards, we’d recommend buying one of the best fitness trackers (opens in new tab) to go alongside the SF-E3912 so that you can see how effective your workouts are.
The only downside with the Sunny Health machine is that it doesn't come with access to an online fitness program (opens in new tab), so you'll have to look elsewhere for workout videos and exercise inspiration.
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3912 review: Design
Featuring a steel frame construction, the SF-E3912 has a solid and sturdy build that provides excellent stability. You also won’t need to worry about this machine doing any damage to wooden floors, with the front base resting on rubber pads and the back fitted with rubberized stabilizers. While not foldable, the footprint is relatively compact measuring 55” L x 23” W x 64.5” H inches and the transport wheels make this a breeze to move around.
With a motorized-magnetic resistance system, the SF-E3912 requires an external power source to automatically adjust the resistance level depending on the program you’ve chosen. An adaptor is included so simply plug the elliptical in and you have access to both automatic and manual incline and decline adjustment.
The double set of handlebars is a nice touch, especially if you’re a beginner or prefer to focus on strengthening your lower body. The fixed set provides excellent stability while the moving set is great for giving you a full-body workout. The fixed set also comes with built-in pulse sensors so by holding onto them you can get a rough idea of where your heart rate is at.
We love that this elliptical trainer comes with one of the most advanced consoles in its price range. It’s user-friendly and the large screen makes reading your workout data super-easy.
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3912 review: Features
Given the Sunny SF-E3912 comes in at under $500, we’re impressed by the number of features it manages to cram in. There are 16 different levels of resistance available with the first few being gentle enough for those returning to exercise from injury or for elderly users. The latter levels are perfect if you’re after a more challenging workout.
The performance monitor allows you to track all the usual workout data from calories burned and distance traveled to rotations per minute and watt generations. There are also 24 built-in programs to choose from including ones that focus on body fat and heart rate. While Bluetooth isn’t on offer here, if you want to monitor your heart rate and other data more accurately then a good fitness tracker or smartwatch will do the job nicely.
There’s a conveniently placed bottle holder, great for ensuring you stay hydrated during your workout, and if you want to get lost in a film or podcast while you’re exercising the tablet holder is a nice touch and doesn’t obstruct the console so you can keep an eye on your data at the same time.
With floor stabilizers to prevent tipping or rocking on uneven surfaces and textured non-slip foot pedals that keep your foot safely gripped in place, this is a machine you can feel safe using.
Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3912 review: Performance
The Sunny SF-E3912 offers a solid performance overall but the short 14-inch stride length means it’s best suited for walking and those under 6ft-tall. While it can still be used for running and those over 6ft, if you fall into either of those two categories you may find it harder to achieve a natural stride.
Being a rear-drive machine, you will find you are slightly inclined forward when using this elliptical, which is great for strengthening your glutes but it can also aggravate any pre-existing hip issues so if you’ve had injuries in that area in the past then you may find a center-drive machine to be a better fit.
At 13lbs, the flywheel is at the lightest end of the spectrum but the overall stability is good and the pedaling motion is smooth and quiet. There’s little doubt though that the SF-E3912 is the best performing elliptical machine in its price range and an impressive alternative to some of the more pricer models when it comes to getting plenty of bang for your buck.
Should you buy the Sunny Health and Fitness SF-E3912?
Investing in a piece of fitness equipment is always a big decision and while affordability is a key concern for many of us, we also don’t want to sacrifice quality. TheSunny Health and Fitness SF-E3912 Elliptical Trainer is the perfect compromise, offering the equivalent of a mid-level cross trainer at an entry-level price.
If you’re after a cross-trainer that will go the distance and give you a great all-round workout with a generous amount of features, this is an investment well worth making.