Battle Between Treadmill vs elliptical vs bike: Which one’s better?

People today are primarily focused on health; therefore, there is a growing demand for indoor equipment for exercising. Sometimes, it can be confusing as there are a lot of available options. As the number of people choosing to work out at home is growing, there is also a constraint regarding space and budget. If you are looking forward to working out indoors, you might be trying to decide treadmill vs elliptical vs bike.

There isn’t really any bad choice as health is paramount for a satisfying life now. While having a wide variety of choices is always a great thing, having too many choices wastes a lot of our time. 

Therefore, choosing the right piece of equipment depends solely on your goals and where you are on your health journey. It is essential to understand the features, advantages, and disadvantages of each exercise equipment before deciding which one to buy. 

You need to also understand your health before jumping into a decision. To get an insight, we have listed all the essential information pertaining to each piece of equipment.

Treadmill vs elliptical vs bike : Comparison Chart

EquipmentCalories burnt in one-hourMuscles workedBudgetReliability
Treadmill600Glutes, hip flexors, hamstring250 $-650$Good for marathon training and experiencing different terrains.
Elliptical Machine780Glutes, hamstrings, quads, chest, back, biceps, and triceps200$-700$Good for burning calories without a lot of exertion. 
Exercise Bike300Hamstring, quadriceps, abdomen110$-450 $Good for people with knee and joint injuries


A treadmill is a cardio machine and home exercise equipment that is perfect for a full-body workout. Treadmills are the perfect choice for weight loss regardless of fitness level and back conditions. This fitness equipment can be used to meet fitness goals, jogging, and high-intensity interval training.

There are various features of a treadmill that makes it stand out when compared to other exercise equipment. With a good treadmill, you can easily have high-intensity workouts, burn calories, and have defined leg muscles. There are practical features that help in burning calories and give you a good workout.

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Battle Between Treadmill vs elliptical vs bike: Which one’s better?

Features of Treadmill

Automated Incline: Treadmills with incline have a lot of practical benefits. It is easier on people with bad knees, burn calories faster, and supports you in building defined leg muscles and hip flexors. Home treadmills have a maximum incline of 20% while your gym treadmill may have a maximum incline of 40%.

Workout Programs: There are many built-in workout programs that control the speed and incline. The programs come with additional workout guidance that burn calories and offers personalized workouts. You can also witness a change in terrain from your own home on a treadmill.

Extra Features: If you go beyond your price point, you can get Bluetooth speakers, tablet holders, and TVs to make calorie-burning fun and motivate you to lose the most calories.

Treadmill Pros:

  1. Relatively simple equipment to burn calories.
  2. Predictable surface to reduce the risk of tripping and any injuries.
  3. The speed, incline, cool-down period, and warm-up period can be controlled through the buttons.
  4. Customized options for natural movement through terrains and sidewalks for an exciting workout.
  5. Multiple people can use the same treadmill machine with the same settings.
  6. Treadmills also come with heart rate monitors and step counters along with fitness programs for a complete workout.
  7. Running on a treadmill machine will enable you to spend more energy when compared to other forms of home exercises like a stationary bike.

Treadmill Cons:

  1. Treadmills can sometimes burn a hole in the pocket as they tend to be expensive.
  2. The cushioned surface can be bad for people with joint pain, knee pain, and stressed hip. It is recommended to stop treadmill running to avoid joint pain.
  3. A treadmill can take up a lot of space and it cannot be folded.
  4. The loud motors in a treadmill can disturb other people and it needs regular maintenance.

Elliptical trainers: Great For Upper Body

Elliptical trainers are a very popular cardio machine in a gym and you will seldom find an elliptical machine empty. An elliptical trainer burns more fat without causing joint issues or causing knee injuries. Therefore, elliptical machines are perfect for people with joint problems or body aches. Half an hour on an elliptical trainer can burn more fat than a treadmill.

Elliptical trainers are a weight-bearing exercise that works the lower body as well as the upper body. There are various models available where the user needs to adopt a comfortable standing position in a neutral position. The body is aligned with the machine and the weight is distributed evenly. The movement pattern is in a forward or a reverse motion to tone the core muscles.

Battle Between Treadmill vs elliptical vs bike: Which one's better?
Battle Between Treadmill vs elliptical vs bike: Which one’s better?

Features of an Elliptical trainer

Adjustable Incline: An elliptical machine with an adjustable incline focuses on various muscle groups to add variety to a workout. This feature can enhance motivation along with adding resistance to your body.

Smooth elliptical motion: One machine should provide the closest simulation to walking and running to your workout while focusing on burning fat.

The natural movement of the body:  An Elliptical machine does not provide stress to your knees or cause joint problems. The neutral position also does not provide the same stress to your body as a treadmill or an exercise bike.

Adjustable resistance: The resistance level can be adjusted electronically during body workout sessions.

Quiet operation: Unlike a treadmill, an elliptical trainer is smooth and quiet. At all intensity levels, there is no sound leaking out from the device.

Elliptical Pros

  1. Low impact workout: As it does not cause stress to your knees, you can handle the exercise while recovering from any injury.
  2. Upper body workout: If you hold the handles correctly, your upper body along with your lower body can match your standards of fitness.
  3. Reverse stride: This is a unique feature in an elliptical trainer as you can stride backward during strength training. You can reverse the pedals and add extra exercise to your workout.
  4. Lower RPE: As you are suspended in the air, your exhaustion is less when compared to a treadmill. Therefore, you will be working out harder than you think.

Elliptical Cons

  1. Low impact exercise: Although it is an advantage, it can act as a disadvantage to people who are used to high-intensity workouts. Unless you are recovering from an injury, you need to include weights in your workout.
  2. No incline: A treadmill with this feature has a significant advantage over an elliptical machine. Inclined movements are great for weight loss and provide a huge cardiovascular push.
  3. Less accurate statistics: Unlike treadmills, an elliptical trainer does not accurately show your calorie burn.

Stationary bikes

A stationary bike is used for indoor cycling and it includes a saddle, pedals, and handlebars. It is a special-purpose exercise machine that is great for general health, losing weight, and training for cycling marathons. The low-impact workout does not put additional stress on joints and muscles as it does not involve sporadic motions.

Stationary cycles offer low-intensity physical activities without injuring the person. It can also help moderate blood sugar levels, provide gentle toning, and improve blood circulation. Therefore, it is great for people who have muscular injuries and want to continue working out. It is great for rehabilitation purposes

Battle Between Treadmill vs elliptical vs bike: Which one's better?
Battle Between Treadmill vs elliptical vs bike: Which one’s better?

Stationary bike pros:

  1. You can train on an exercise bike whenever you wish as you are safe from weather anomalies.
  2. A stationary bike is cheaper when compared to a treadmill or an elliptical trainer. You can get similar workouts and fitness at a lower cost.
  3. Unlike treadmills or elliptical trainers, stationary bikes are completely safe. You do not have to worry about injuring yourself during an exercise session.
  4. You can easily rest or control your speed whenever you face exertion or injury.
  5. A modern stationary bike contains a lot of fitness programs to give you the ultimate workout fit for the outdoors.

Stationary Bike Cons:

A stationary bike burns fewer calories when compared to treadmill pros or elliptical pros. You can hardly burn an average of 150 calories in 30 minutes.

  1. A stationary bike is also not fit for training in any race as you miss the different temperatures, difficult terrains, and wind resistance.
  2. Stationary bikes only focus on your lower body and produce a low impact on your body along with burning fewer calories.
  3. Training only indoors can become boring after a point as it will produce a low impact on your body.

Should I buy an elliptical, treadmill, or stationary bike?

It depends on what you want your fitness and workout to look like. Whichever machine you choose, your first focus needs to be on weight loss.

However, there are certain advantages of each exercise equipment. If you wish to track your progress, a treadmill is your best option. If you are recovering from an injury, you need to go for an elliptical trainer or a stationary bike. As these machines have a lower impact on your body, they are perfect for weight loss after an injury.

If you are looking for a full-body workout, look no further than an elliptical trainer. With a combination of the lower body and upper body workouts, you can gain strength while training. However, if you are only concerned about your leg muscles, a treadmill is your best option. A treadmill will also get rid of fat. Both the treadmill and elliptical machine can aid your weight loss and training simultaneously. However, a stationary bike is cheaper than both machines.

There is no right answer for treadmill vs elliptical vs bike. Therefore, it ultimately depends on your body and your goals. You need to choose a workout mode you will enjoy doing every day.

FAQ: Get A Full Body Workout

Which is better for weight loss elliptical or treadmill or bike?

An elliptical machine is better for losing weight as it works both the upper and lower parts of the body. Exercise bikes create low impact and it is difficult to lose weight in the long run.

Does a stationary bike burn more calories or a rowing machine?

A rowing machine is more suitable for burning your kilocalories when compared to stationary bikes. Rowing machines are great for upper body workouts and they will also help you lose fat.

Which is better bike treadmill or elliptical?

It depends on your fitness goals and your reason for working out. It is difficult to compare exercise bikes vs treadmills vs cross-trainers as all are equally good for muscle tone.

What burns more fat elliptical or bike?

Both machines are great for burning fat. It depends on your goals and your need for calorie burning. It is recommended to properly research your requirements before buying any equipment.

Is riding an exercise bike as good as walking?

When performed at a moderate pace, riding a stationary bike and walking burns a similar amount of calories within a definite period. However, riding a bike will help you lose a tad more fat when compared to walking. Therefore, hopping on a bike will help you burn more fat in the long run.

Which cardio equipment helps you burn more calories?

Elliptical machines are great for burning fat as it is a weight-bearing exercise. Therefore, if your sole focus is on reducing weight, you should either get an elliptical machine or a treadmill to help you reduce weight in the long run.

Which machine is least intense and has a minimum or no impact on joints?

Exercise bikes have a minimum or no impact on joints. If you are suffering from any injury and want to continue working out, it is recommended to get a bike for a full-body workout.

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Medha Das

Medha believes in nihilism and believes in " Dogs should rule the Earth " :) She is an ardent writer who believes in contributing health and food-related articles and opinion pieces for HealthAmrit