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Ellipticals

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What's behind our elliptical Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 22 models in ellipticals to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    Overall Score is based on ergonomics, exercise range, ease of use, construction, heart-rate monitoring and user safety.
  • Ergonomics
    Ergonomics considers how well an elliptical accommodates people of various sizes and aspects of the pedaling motion.
  • Exercise range
    Exercise range considers aspects of exercise intensity and measures incline and the effort to pedal the machine through the resistance level settings.
  • Ease of use
    Ease of use considers ease of use aspects of controls, display and using the programs.
  • Construction
    Construction considers aspects that indicate good construction methods, design choices and our perception of quality based on noise, feel and ride.
  • Heart rate features
    Heart-rate features considers features like heart-rate sensor type and heart-rate programs but does not evaluate their performance.
  • User safety
    User safety considers aspects of safety including pinch points, non-slip materials, stability and static loading strength.

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Recommended ellipticals

Recommended ellipticals are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
Elliptical exercisers are part stair-climber, part cross-country-ski machine. Your feet move in flattened circles—an elliptical pattern. The workout value comes from resistance that slows the ellipticals' flywheel as you try to turn it. If you have the space to devote to an indoor exercise machine, make sure you first try the elliptical exerciser at the store. If you're looking for information about elliptical exercisers, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ elliptical exerciser reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our elliptical exerciser buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased Ratings and elliptical exerciser reviews to help you choose the best elliptical exerciser for your needs.

Elliptical buying guide

Ellipticals mimic the motion of running but without the impact. And the moving hand grips and adjustable resistance allow you to turn a cardiovascular workout into a full-body workout. A good elliptical is sturdy, easy to use, and aligns with your natural running motion. We tested 31 models, and recommend 12 of them, including three CR Best Buys.

The devices can be a major investment. The most expensive elliptical we tested cost $3,600. But our top-scoring model went for $2,200, and you can get a good machine for less than half that price.

Pricier ellipticals tended to be larger and sturdier, and their parts come with longer warranties. The top-rated model is solidly built, comes with a chest-strap heart-rate monitor, has 20 resistance levels, has a lifetime warranty on its frame, and earned top scores for heart rate features, ease of use, and user safety.

We divided our Ratings for ellipticals into two groups this year: those with heart-rate monitoring programs and, for the first time, those without them. Our most expensive model is actually one without a heart-rate monitor.

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