Consumer Reports’ ratings for top exercise equipment just came out, and the LA Times helpfully summarized the findings. I’ve subscribed to CR for years, and like the analysis: they are careful, test thoroughly on quality not price, and rate objectively.
In my opinion, the best machine is the one you’ll use. You can burn more calories on a treadmill if you take a full stride, and use your arms! Don’t hold on to the handrails.
Expect to pay $900 up to $3k+ for something that will last.
On ellipiticals, use your arms! Try interval training: fast for a minute, slow for a minute. High intensity workouts burn calories faster and more efficiently. And with a lower impact exercise comes lower risk of injury and the ability to prevent injury.
Happy cross training!