The Pitch: "Get fit with a whole new twist."
April 2009. The CardioTwister is a compact stair-stepping machine with handlebars that swivel horizontally. In high-energy TV infomercials, the manufacturer claims that the CardioTwister will help you shed pounds and inches from your waistline by combining an aerobic workout with an included diet plan.
Reviews, however, say that the CardioTwister exercise machine doesn't live up to the hype. The most common complaint is that the machine feels unstable. Numerous owners complain that the CardioTwister makes a clanking sound during use. According to some reviewers, assembly takes far longer than the 15 minutes promised in the instructional manual, and there are reports of broken digital readout devices and loose handlebars. A major consumer magazine tested this product and found that the CardioTwister burns about as many calories as walking on a treadmill at a relatively leisurely pace, but that traditional exercises are better than the CardioTwister at toning muscles.
A small number of people who buy the CardioTwister exercise machine say it provides a fun workout, but the majority of owners say that they don't intend to keep the machine. We read numerous complaints that the manufacturer, Tristar, is slow to respond requests to return or replace defective units. In some cases, it takes weeks to receive a return label, and reviewers say it's a hassle to disassemble and repackage the 37-pound metal machine. This 48-inch-tall machine, which is not collapsible, comes with a diet plan and 30-minute workout DVD.
The CardioTwister has been included in testing at Consumer Reports, and we read more than 60 user reviews of it at HSN.com, where it's an as-seen-on-TV staple. We also found a handful of reviews at Buzzillions.com and Amazon.com. The CardioTwister is also the subject of a discussion among contributors to SparkPeople, a fitness site.
Consumer Reports tests nine fitness machines marketed via infomercial, including the CardioTwister. Testers compare the number of calories burned and the effectiveness of the exercises as compared to more conventional workout moves. Diet plans that accompany each machine are also rated.
Review: Rating the Infomercial Fitness Machines, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
At HSN.com, the CardioTwister exercise machine earns an average rating of just 1.6 stars out of five in more than 65 reviews. The majority of owners are very unhappy with this machine, particularly with noise and build quality. Numerous owners say that the motion of the handlebars is jerky, and there are some reports of hard-to-push pedals. Reviewers also complain about Tristar's customer service, which is said to be slow.
Review: Reviews of the Brenda DyGraf CardioTwister Pro System with Workout DVD, Contributors to HSN.com
About 10 owner reviews posted at Buzzillions award the CardioTwister exercise machine an average of 3.4 stars out of five -- a more positive result than the generally poor reviews posted at HSN.com. Here, most owners say that the CardioTwister works, is easy to use, gets the blood pumping and targets the legs (if not the abs). However, a couple users complain that it's noisy, and one says that the build quality is poor.
Review: Reviews of the Cardio Twister, Contributors to Buzzillions.com
At Amazon.com, the CardioTwister exercise machine earns an average of 1.5 stars from just a handful of users. One reviewer says that the machine is easy and fun to use, but the build quality is sub-par. Two reviewers say that the machine is jerky -- both note that they have returned it. One notes that the handlebars cannot be adjusted to fit very tall individuals.
Review: Reviews of Cardio Twister, Contributors to Amazon.com
SparkPeople is a site that aims to "inspire millions of people to reach their goals and lead healthier lives." The site offers free nutrition and health trackers and other diet tools. A contributor to the user forums asks for opinions about the Cardio Twister, and contributors describe their experiences with it. One owner says the Carido Twister works to tone the legs and buttocks, but one owner says that the company failed to send a complete machine, and the other says it took "over 2 hours to put together" and does not recommend it.
Review: Has Anyone Tried the Cardio Twister?, Contributors to SparkPeople.com
6. Exercise Equipment Expert.com
The anonymous "expert" behind this blog, which offers reviews of fitness equipment, claims to be independent, but does not provide credentials or explain the methodology behind each review. Although the reviewer describes the Cardio Twister as a "pie in the sky fitness product," there's no evidence that the product was actually tested. However, in the comments section, the reviewer claims to have tested the machine in person and found it unsatisfactory.
Review: Review of the Cardio Twister System, Editors of ExerciseEquipmentExpert.com, Oct. 9, 2008