Budget dishwashers, Exercise Bikes
Updates: Dishwasher and Exercise Bike Guides
We recently updated our buying guides for cheap dishwashers and exercise bikes. We scoped out new products and checked out what users and experts say about them. Read our reviews if you're considering one of these major purchases this fall.
Photo by David Locke
As most frugal consumers know, a dishwasher is a saving grace for busy families that barely have time to get dinner on the table, let alone clean up afterwards. That means you want a model that's reliable, leaves dishes and utensils spotless, and doesn't decimate your budget. You may have to forgo a few frills, like near silent operation and less flexible loading options, to keep the tab under $500. But our research found that the sacrifices are relatively minor. Even the lowest-cost appliances come with some perks, such as adjustable racks and multiple wash settings. Better yet, they clean dishes just as well as their pricier cousins. The best budget dishwashers have at least two spray/wash arms to attack grime from under each of the racks and water that shoots out from different levels.
We also found that dishwasher manufacturers are increasingly responding to environmental concerns when designing new models. The best dishwashers on our list, the Bosch Ascenta SHE5ALO2UC and Whirlpool DU1301XTV, come with an electronic soil sensor that controls the cleaning action based on how dirty the load is. All the dishwashers we like are Energy Star qualified, meaning they meet or exceed the standards for consumption of water and electricity set by the federal government. For more information on how to save this fall -- monetarily and environmentally -- read the complete dishwasher guide.We also updated our guide to cheap exercise bikes, which will help you save this fall if you decide to transfer your workout regimen to your living room from the pricey gym. We found several good budget exercise bikes costing less than $400 bearing labels from Schwinn, Marcy, ProForm, and NordicTrack. Note, though, that these exercise bikes are built for pedaling up to about five miles a day; more committed exercisers should probably consider more upscale models.
That said, you can still get a challenging workout with the exercise bikes on our list. There are three types of exercise bikes: recumbent, upright, and spinner. The best budget exercise bikes let you adjust the resistance and some come with preset workouts and keep track of vital statistics, like distance traveled and calories burned. Whichever you choose, make sure it's the right size for your body and the seat is comfortable. If something is off -- the seat is too hard, the pedals too far away, the handlebars bump your knees -- you'll have one more excuse to put off using it. Sure, you'll save this fall by buying a budget exercise bike, but where's the return on your investment if it just sits there?