Elliptical Trainer Rating Sources
ConsumerReports.org tests nearly 40 ellipticals for ergonomics, exercise range, ease of use, construction, heart rate features and user safety. All of the ellipticals are ranked and rated against each other, and Recommended ellipticals and Best Buy ellipticals are named.
TreadmillDoctor.com editors rigorously test the products they review, including disassembling each elliptical. Grades are assigned for factors such as ergonomics, adjustability, reliability and more, and information about the manufacturer's track record is provided, but the depth of the discussion varies between products. Some ellipticals have both a brief write up and, elsewhere on the site, an older (or newer) more detailed review. Best Buys and runners up are named in several price categories.
The author, a former vice president of marketing for Smooth Fitness, evaluates elliptical trainers based on manufacturer interviews, visits to fitness equipment stores, hands on testing (albeit sometimes brief stints), customer reviews and customer feedback. He reviews more than 100 models overall, selecting a top few for his yearly "Best Buy" list.
The quality and length of Amazon.com's user reviews vary widely; some owners comment on their ellipticals after years of use, while others comment after the first time they put the elliptical together and step aboard. The highest numbers of reviews go to the mid-priced, budget and downright cheap ellipticals. Commercial and gym-quality machines tend to get lower ratings overall.
Walmart.com's selection of ellipticals is heavily weighted to appeal to the budget-conscious. Some models receive just a handful of user reviews, but others are dramatically more popular and have hundreds of ratings.
At DicksSportingGoods.com the focus is on higher-end, more expensive ellipticals, although there are some budget models listed on the site as well. There tend to be fewer reviews overall, although we see better ratings for the high end elliptical trainers than we see elsewhere.
AcademySports+Outdoors.com offers a wide variety of ellipticals on its site, and some get high ratings in quite a few reviews. This is a good source to see feedback for some of the better elliptical machines, from higher-end to mid-priced models.