Elliptical Exercise Machine vs Treadmill: Which is Better?

Elliptical Exercise Machine vs Treadmill: Which is Better?

Ellipticals and treadmills are among the most common and popular cardio machines seen in gyms and at personal home gyms.

Each is a fantastic method of warming up and burning calories while training leg muscles, but which one is actually better? Is one either better than the other, or are they intended for different uses?

We’ll help you figure that out with the pros and cons of treadmills and ellipticals to help you decide for yourself what is better for your personal needs.

Treadmills and Their Pros

Variety of workouts.

Treadmills often come with a wonderful variety of settings to change up your workout to

break up the monotony and to find a new and hard way to work out and train yourself.

Treadmills benefit from motorized speeds, incline and often a variety of programmed-in training programs that you can start out with one or two button presses.

Natural Movements.

It is easy to get on a treadmill and get into a good jog or run since the machine is intended for using our natural walking, jogging or running motion.

The Horizon Fitness Elite T9 Treadmill is one of the best examples of this feature. The machine has a Johnson Digital Drive that recalibrates with every step or speed change.

You don’t have to learn any fancy ways to utilize the machine outside of pressing what button you need to start your favorite workout.

High Workload.

Propelling and keeping your running form on a treadmill will burn more calories than most other cardio machines.

By not supporting your weight, you are immediately starting out moving the weight of your body which can use a whole lot of energy.

Weight Bearing.

While many people are wary about stress and impact on bones and joints, this stress is actually good for healthy bodies to develop and maintain strong bones and muscular support.

This means treadmills are excellent for maintaining posture and healthy bones and joints as we age.

Well Researched.

Treadmills have been around for a long time and exist as one of the oldest options for a cardio machine with over a century of research and development making these some of the most developed options available.

Treadmill Cons

Stress on Joints.

It is a well-known point that treadmills cause a lot of stress on the body and especially the joints.

If you don’t regularly stretch or warm up before hopping onto a treadmill you are often in for a future of joint pain from your feet to your neck.


Treadmills are relatively unsafe for the inexperienced as it’s not hard to misplace a foot and fall off the machine while in a clumsy stride.

Or injure yourself during HIIT training on a high incline. Treadmills are still relatively safe for experienced runners.


The size of the treadmill belts can have an impact on how we walk or run.

This can especially be the case in especially narrow belts that limit how we can move safely and can lead to long term posture problems when you move off the machine.


Treadmills are relatively hard to get into compared to hopping on a bike or elliptical. It can be awfully discouraging feeling just the raw difficulty of using a treadmill on a steep incline and typically people will gravitate towards machines that feel easier.

How Elliptical Machines Stack Up

Non-Impact Conditioning.

Ellipticals are a great way to get into the motion of running without causing a lot of stress on the joints and bones making them a popular alternative to treadmills.

In fact, this is the main draw that gets people to use ellipticals instead however they have even more in their favor.


Most ellipticals including moving handles to grab onto that can have various amounts of resistance put onto them allowing the user to train both their upper and lower body in cardio.

Try the Precor EFX427 Precision Elliptical to jumpstart your cross-training exercise sessions.

Reverse Stride.

While ellipticals don’t have the full range of options that treadmills do, they do have one major option that is unique to them.

The reverse stride can be a little hard to get into the motion of, but it’s unfamiliarity also means that it is great for stretching and strengthening different muscle groups.

Lower Perceived Exertion.

The final big draw of ellipticals is that they feel easy once you get used to them.

In fact, when using the elliptical you will often burn more calories than you think you are as the machine works wonders in reducing the perceived effort on behalf of the user while still working the muscles often just as hard.

Where Ellipticals Fall Short

Less Dynamic.

As mentioned previously, the main fault of elliptical machines is that they offer less variety than treadmills.

Less Weight Bearing.

Ellipticals are comfortable because they reduce the impact and stress on our joints and bones and focus all the work onto our muscles. This also isn’t exactly ideal as normal running and jogging caused stress is actually good for developing bone strength.


When using an elliptical on lower difficulty levels it’s often possible to utilize momentum in the machine to carry your strides through.

This often feels natural and easy but will reduce how many calories burned over the workout.


If you plan on owning an elliptical, the cost can be a bit of a deterrent.

Ellipticals usually will cost more than your typical treadmill. This isn’t a problem if you plan on using the machine through a gym membership, but is definitely a consideration for your own personal home gyms.

It’s advisable that you purchase an elliptical if it has a better set of perks for your fitness plans as your health should take priority over other costs.

The Tossup

Both have their own perks and drawbacks. Often times an elliptical is the better machine for people with leg or back injuries if you want an easier workout, or for HIIT exercises as they are significantly cheaper.

Treadmills are wonderful for developing strong legs in both muscle and bone.

Get quality elliptical machines and treadmills at Fitness Expo. Drop by our Shreveport store today!