New fitness equipment can help kick-start a healthier lifestyle, and these savings make it even easier to take the plunge
By Samantha B Gordon
If you’re just starting out on a journey to a healthier lifestyle or you want to take your home gym to the next level, you shouldn’t pay full price for the equipment you need if you don’t have to.
Consumer Reports tests everything from ellipticals and treadmills to fitness trackers and smartwatches to e-bikes and adjustable dumbbells—and we’re keeping a close eye on everything that performs well to alert you when things get discounted.
Right now, we’re seeing a decent selection of deals thanks to specials focused on the coming summer season as well as Mother’s Day. Plus, there are always plenty of sales on small kitchen appliances, so you can save on new ways to eat healthier too. We’ll be updating this story regularly, so if you don’t see what you’re looking for now, keep checking back for the latest.
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Fitbit Inspire 2
The Inspire 2 fitness tracker has been on sale since last week, but it just dropped another $10 at Amazon and Walmart. It gets top marks from our testers for step-count and heart-rate accuracy. It earns a spot among the best fitness trackers for its ease of use, pairing, and readability in low light. The Inspire 2 also has a very generous claimed battery life of 10 days (we don’t test that characteristic) and built-in GPS, a feature not found on many other fitness trackers.
CR’s test results: Fitbit Inspire 2
The lightweight and stylish Fitbit Luxe looks more like jewelry than a straight-up fitness tracker, but it performs well on basic functions. The device earns high ratings for both ease of use and step counting, and it includes the stress-tracking features found on the more expensive Sense smartwatch. It isn’t quite as good as other models when it comes to heart-rate tracking, though. And the tiny screen can be tough to read, especially for people who have trouble seeing up close.
CR’s test results: Fitbit Luxe
Garmin Forerunner 35
While technically a fitness tracker, this model offers a watchlike feel. You get a 1.3-inch monochrome display that shows your step count and heart rate. The Forerunner 35 has built-in GPS and a claimed battery life of nine days, and it makes good on its water-resistance claim of 164 feet. In our testing, it receives top marks for heart-rate tracking and step-count accuracy, as well as ease of use.
CR’s test results: Garmin Forerunner 35
Fitbit Versa 2
The Fitbit Versa 2 is a smartwatch with a 1.4-inch touch-screen color AMOLED display. It’s compatible with iOS and Android phones, and includes step counting, sleep tracking, and calories burned. Unlike its predecessor, the Versa, this smartwatch comes with the Amazon Alexa digital assistant built in. It also does a better job than its predecessor at tracking your heart rate. Originally retailing for $180, the price has fallen significantly at a few retailers now that the Versa 3 is available and also on sale (see below).
CR’s test results: Fitbit Versa 2
Fitbit Versa 3
If you’re looking for a versatile smartwatch under $200, Fitbit’s Versa 3 may be a good option. It has built-in GPS, which allows you to go for a run or ride without taking your smartphone along, plus a blood oxygen sensor, which enhances its sleep-tracking capabilities. It also has a mic and a speaker that allow you to take calls via a Bluetooth connection to your smartphone. Our testers found the Versa 3 to be a solid performer when it comes to counting steps and tracking heart rate, and it’s easy to pair with a smartphone. The older Versa 2 is also on sale (see above) if you’d prefer to spend a little less.
CR’s test results: Fitbit Versa 3
1MORE ColorBuds 2
There are lots of great choices if you’re looking for less expensive noise-canceling headphones. One of our top picks is the 1MORE ColorBuds 2, which offers the convenience of true wireless headphones, satisfying sound quality, and superb noise cancellation, all for less than $100, even when they’re not on sale. 1MORE advertises a 6-hour battery life backed by a charging case that holds enough power for two full cycles.
CR’s test results: 1MORE ColorBuds 2
Apple AirPods (3rd generation)
The third-generation AirPods are the latest in Apple’s ever-popular line of headphones, and they feature a number of tweaks and improvements, chief among them a significant bump in sound quality. Just don’t get the model mixed up with the noise-canceling AirPods Pro—like the classic AirPods, this set lets in sound from your environment on purpose. That can make it hard to hear your music in noisy surroundings, but it doesn’t leave you totally cut off from the outside world.
CR’s test results: Apple AirPods (third-generation)
Jabra Elite 85t
Want to stand out from the crowd? Skip the AirPods and try this well-rated model from Jabra. The noise-canceling true wireless earbuds get high marks in our tests, both for sound-blocking and audio quality. They have some handy features, too: adjustable noise cancellation, customizable audio that’s supposed to optimize to your hearing, an ambient sound monitoring mode, and more. Jabra advertises a 5.5-hour battery life bolstered by a charging case with a built-in battery.
CR’s test results: Jabra Elite 85t
This Ninja blender is at the same price it sold for during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It ranks in the middle of CR’s ratings. It earns above-average scores for chopping onions for salsa or almonds for pies but gets only an average score for puréeing soups and scores below average for grating Parmesan cheese. It’s also a bit noisy. The 8-cup-capacity chopper has convenient touch-button controls and three speeds, and comes with accessories such as a dough blade, a blender attachment, and even a recipe book.
CR’s test results: Ninja BL770 Mega Kitchen System
Ninja BN801 Professional Plus Kitchen System with Auto-iQ
Ninja full-sized blenders earned an above-average rating for predicted reliability in our member surveys. The 1,200-watt Ninja BN801 blender combines impressive performance and value pricing. Whether you crave soups or smoothies, this model has you covered: It receives top marks for puréeing, and its score for icy drinks is almost as impressive. It comes with a personal blender attachment, a 24-ounce to-go cup, and a food processor accessory. The blender’s removable blade also makes cleanup a cinch—a big reason it does very well in our convenience tests.
CR’s test results: Ninja BN801 Professional Plus Kitchen System with Auto-iQ
Flybird Adjustable Dumbbell
We liked that this dumbbell has an easy one-handed adjustment by twisting the handles. It also has a good hand grip, and the weights are automatically balanced. But, it can be harder to replace the weight into its cradle on some settings and can be uncomfortable when resting the dumbbell on your thighs during bench exercises. This is the price for a single dumbbell, so if you want two, you’ll have to order two, but considering most of the other dumbbells we tested cost around $400, you’re still saving quite a bit.
CR’s test results: Flybird Adjustable Dumbbell
Horizon Fitness 7.4AT
This CR-recommended treadmill is one of the best we’ve tested. It’s a folding model with a reading shelf and quick control dials to rapidly change speed or incline. It has high ratings in all categories except user safety, where it rates nearly as well. It comes with a heart rate monitor to connect directly to training programs, and has built-in speakers and Bluetooth connectivity.
CR’s test results: Horizon Fitness 7.4AT Treadmill
Therabody Theragun Mini
This ultraportable device was one of the quietest massage guns we evaluated. It has a wedge-shaped handle and was among the best devices for reducing problematic wrist postures. But it doesn’t come with any attachments, and its small size makes it challenging to reach most of the back. For overall portability and quiet, however, this could be a top choice.
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Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2022, Consumer Reports, Inc.
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