Non-folding treadmills tend to be more
stable, a feature that may be important to some runners. Folding treadmills,
including the budget versions, can save space.
CR Best Buy: These treadmills offer the most performance for the
price. All of them are recommended.
Recommended: These high-performing models are all fine choices and
include CR Best Buys.
A1: Precor $4,000
A2: Landice $3,800
A3: True $3,000
All have chest-strap heart-rate monitors
and heart-rate control programs. A1 has the highest maximum incline but the
shortest running track of the group at 57inches. The motor in A2 is equipped
with the most horsepower, but the machine’s deck is shorter, at 58 inches,
than A3, which has a 60-inch running surface. A1 has a 22-inch-wide track,
which may be hard for some users to straddle when standing on the side rails.
Models over $1,000
B1: ProForm $1,300 CR Best Buy
B2: Spirit $2,000
B3: NordicTrack $1,500 CR Best Buy
All have quick incline and speed controls
and come with chest-strap heart-rate monitors, but only B2 is equipped with a heart-rate
control program. B1 has a longer 61-inch running surface and the highest
maximum incline of the bunch.
ProForm pro 2000
for tight budgets
C1: NordicTrack $1,000
C2: AFG $1,000
C3: ProForm $1,000
Budget Folding Models
Only C1 offers a chest-strap heart-rate
monitor, and none have heart-rate control programs. C3 has a significantly
lower maximum incline, but its motor offers the most horsepower. C2 has the
shortest running surface, at 57 inches.
NordicTrack C900 pro
Guide to the Ratings
Overall score is based on ease of use,
ergonomics, construction, exercise range, and safety. Models are grouped as
labeled and are listed in order of precise overall score. Ease of use is how
easy it is to adjust exercise intensity, read the display, and operate monitor
functions. Ergonomics is how well the machine accommodates users of different
sizes. That includes belt size and foot-rail and handgrip design.
Construction is our judgment of quality and
the results of quality and the results of our durability tests. Exercise range
is how well each machine provides an effective workout for users of various
fitness levels. Safety is our assessment of safety and security, including
stop-btton size and location, safety-key operation, the possibility of striking
the motor housing, and the security of the deck when folded. Price is
See how to buy a Treadmill
Use your smart phone to download the
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Ratings Ellipticals recommended models only From 31 tested
A good elliptical is sturdy, easy to use,
and aligns with your natural running motion. None of the models listed in the
Ratings can be folded for storage.
With heart-rate programs
A1: Diamondback $2,200
A2: Octane $3,100
With heart-rate Programs
Both offer chest-strap heart-rate monitors
and the same number of resistance levels, but A1 features significantly more
incline settings. A2 has more versatile handgrips
AFG 3.1 AE
without heart-rate programs
B1: Landice $3,600
B2: Octane $2,000 CR Best Buy
Without heart-rate programs
B1 includes a chest-strap heart-rate
monitor and four stride-length settings; B2 offers one.
Landice E7 Pro Sport
Elliptical cycles: A fun ride, with drawbacks
A new type of fitness equipment lets you
“run” outside without having to pound the pavement. The rider pedals while
standing up, propelling it with the same elliptical motion used with the indoor
exercisers. We tested two three-speed elliptical cycles: the ElliptiGo 3C
($1,800; elliptigo.com) and the StreetStrider Sprinder 3r ($1,600;
streetstrider.com). The StreetStrider comes in a one-speed version, too. Both
also come in an eight-speed version, and the ElliptiGo also offers 11 speeds.
All can be adapted for use as stationary trainers. But there are key
differences between the brands.
The two-wheeled ElliptiGo 3C was the
preferred choice of our 14 panelists, accommodating people of various sizes and
rated easier to ride, turn, and climb. It has a tall bike-like handlebar for
steering and shifting, meaning the cycle doesn’t offer an upper-body workout.
ElliptiGo 3C cycle was the preferred choice among our panelists.
The StreetStrider Sprinter 3r travels on
three wheels and offers a slightly smother ride. Its two handgrips move back
and forth with the motion of the pedals, similar to a traditional elliptical
exerciser. As a result, the cycle must be steered by leaning your body, as if
you were slalom skiing. That proved to be challenging for some testers. Also,
taller riders occasionally hit their knees on the moving handlebars.
If you want the versatility offered by
exercise programs and personalized feedback, stick with a traditional indoor
stationary elliptical. For outdoor enthusiasts, these elliptical cycles seem to
offer a more intense workout than cycling. But overall, almost all of our
panelists preferred a conventional bicycle, which is significantly lighter and
easier to store than either of the tested models.
The ElliptiGo and StreetStrider can be a
fun addition to your fitness or recreation plans, but make sure you use them on
paved trails away from cars, at least until you master the techniques. And
always wear a bike helmet.