Treadmills For Less

Sales of home exercise equipment blip up in January. The most popular type of equipment is treadmills. Consumer Reports has the lowdown on which work best and which to avoid.

Consumer Reports tested 29 of the latest treadmills, ranging in price from 500 dollars to more than three thousand.

Included were ones that fold and ones that don't.

Some treadmills have fancy features, such as a USB connection that lets you transfer your workout record to your computer and track your progress on the company's website.

Gayle Williams of Consumer Reports says, "We found some very good treadmills for two thousand dollars. But we also found some you should stay away from."

Consumer Reports tested for durability.

"Two of three NordicTrack T9ci folding treadmills failed this test," said Williams.

Consumer Reports rated the NordicTrack T9ci a "don't buy."

Testers also found a problem with the Best Fitness treadmill.

"Even before we did any durability tests, the incline on the first one didn't work at all. So we bought two more," said Williams.

The second one worked. But with the third, when the down incline was pushed, the treadmill screen went blank and the treadmill came to a stop.

Consumer Reports rated the Best Fitness BFT1 a "don't buy" as well.

"However, we did find some treadmills that rated very good and came with a variety of exercise programs," said Williams.

The AFG 13.0 AT is a Best Buy at $1,800. But it doesn't fold and it's about the size of a small couch.

If you prefer a folding machine, Consumer Reports has an even less expensive treadmill to recommend.

It's the Sole F63-A best buy at $1,000.

As for the Nordic Track T9ci that failed Consumer Reports' durability tests-the company says it is being discontinued.

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