Elliptical exercisers: Best in tests

FRESNO, Calif.

What's the best elliptical exerciser for you? Consumer Reports tested 31, ranging in price from $450.00 to $3,600.00.

Testers designed this machine to measure how much force you need to move the pedals at various resistance levels.

Peter Anzalone with Consumer Reports said, "With a smaller range of resistance settings you just can't mix up your workout as much as with a machine that has a large number of resistance settings."

Testers also measure the position your arms and legs are in as you work out to assess a machine's ergonomics.

Anzalone said, "That's important because we don't want you to be exercising on the elliptical and be pulled out of alignment or extended too far."

Panelists also work out on the ellipticals. It turns out there are big differences.

Mark Yatarola: "I found myself leaning forward on it, so I was very close to the controls and such, so it was not very comfortable for me."

Liza Barth: "The machine was easy to use. The displays were bright, and the buttons were big."

One of the lowest rated - the Best Fitness BFE1.

Linda Greene: "It wasn't smooth. You felt as if you were being pushed forward, and that's a problem."

In the end, top ratings went to the Diamondback 1260EF for $2,200.00. It's well constructed, with very good ergonomics, and you can adjust the incline to get a greater variety of workouts - a real plus.

For far less, Consumer Reports named a $750.00 machine a best buy - the Nautilus E514. While it doesn't have an incline adjustment, it's well constructed, with very good ergonomics.

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