Elliptical machines are popular at gyms.One user explains, "It's easy on my knees, and it's just easy to work out with."
Ellipticals imitate the motion of running without the hard impact. Consumer Reports tested more than a dozen designed for home use. They cost anywhere from $800 to more than $3,000.
Testers designed this apparatus to measure how much force you need to move the pedals at various resistance levels.
Peter Anzalone with Consumer Reports says, "That's important because if a machine has a wide range of resistance levels, you can modify the intensity of your workout."
Testers also assess the structural integrity of each machine. With a jack, they increase the force on the elliptical's pedal.
And trained panelists evaluate the machines.
The $2,200 Endurance E400 was the lowest rated elliptical tested.
Tester Linda Greene says, "It just doesn't give a smooth ride."
The top-rated elliptical is the $3,100 Octane Fitness.
Peter explains, "This machine performed well in all our tests. It's built well, and it has a nice display that's easy to read."
For far less, the Vision X30 Premier came in second. It costs $1,800.
Peter says, "It's really easy to access and program your exercise sessions."
But no matter which machine you buy, it's important to always try it out first.
Consumer Reports cautions that elliptical machines are dangerous for children. So it's important to keep children away from them.