Top-Rated Exercise Equipment for 2012 (Starting at $3)

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Whether you have $3 for a smartphone app, $20 for a pedometer, or $800 for a treadmill, here's a list of the top products at bottom dollar.

If your New Year’s resolutions include trimming your figure and your budget, try Getting in Shape Without the Gym first.

But if you invest any money in your physical fitness this year – whether it’s a $3 smartphone app or a $3,000 elliptical machine – do your homework first.

After all, if money were the only thing standing between Americans and their ideal weight, more of us would have already reached our weight-loss goals – because we spent $61 billion on weight loss products in 2010, according to research firm Marketdata Enterprises.

When it comes to exercise equipment, Consumer Reports has already done your homework for you: They recently tested 35 treadmills, 18 elliptical machines, 10 pedometers, and three smartphone apps. And when it comes to the cost, I’ve already done your homework for you by ferreting out the stores who sell these products for the least.

So here are the best-rated models at the best prices…

Pedometers

Smartphone apps

  • AccuPedo for Android: $4 (there’s also a free version, which the developer suggests testing before paying for the pro version)
  • Pedometer PRO GPS + for iPhone: $3 (there’s also a free version)

Treadmills – nonfolding

Treadmills – folding

Elliptical machines

If you already own a treadmill or elliptical machine, or even if you just use one at the gym, be sure to read Consumer Reports’ tips for getting the most out of your workout. And for more help with your healthy resolutions, check out their Get fit in 2012 guide.

Karla Bowsher runs our Deals page, writes “Today’s Deals” posts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; and covers consumer and retail issues. If you have a comment, suggestion, or question, leave a comment or contact her at [email protected].

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