Best Buy Elliptical Exercise Machines That Excel

6:17 PM, Jan 25, 2010   |    comments
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Best Buy Elliptical Exercise Machines That Excel
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  • Consumer Reports
  • WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- Elliptical machines have become as popular as treadmills in recent years. 

    And lots of people like the advantages of using them to workout. 

    Trainer Declan Foley says, "It's weight bearing but no-impact, so it saves their joints, their knees feel good, their hips feel good, it's easier on the back, and it also provides an upper-body workout as well as a lower-body workout."

    Consumer Reports tested more than a dozen elliptical machines designed for home use, ranging in price from $600 to $3,700.

    Testers used a  specially designed device to measure how hard you would have to pedal at various resistance levels.  Some machines require a lot more force than others.  And, they noticed some other differences, too.

    Peter Anzalone says, "The more expensive machines usually come with a sturdier framework and some additional features, although, we did find some bargains.

    Important features are a clear display and easy-to-use controls, as well as a heart monitor.  Testers say chest strap monitors are best.  The strap sends information to the machine wirelessly.

    But realize ellipticals can take up a lot of space.  For instance, with the Stamina Avari you need more than eight feet.

    If you're looking to splurge on a top-of-the-line machine, the Diamondback was a top rated.  It costs $2,600.

    For a lot less, the NordicTrack Audio Strider 990 is a Best Buy at $900.  It's not compatible with a chest-strap heart rate monitor, but it has other nice features like an incline you can adjust electronically.

    Peter says, "Whichever machine you buy, you want to feel comfortable on it.  You want to make sure your knees don't bump into the moving handgrips or the framework. 

    And, you want to make sure that you're not forced into a forward or rearward-leaning position. 

    When you buy an elliptical machine, you're often urged to buy an extended warranty.   But, don't bother.

    Consumer Reports' National Research Center has found the machines are not likely to break during the period covered by the extended warranty.

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