When It comes to indoor workouts, elliptical machines and treadmill machines are the two most ideal trainers. They can help you boost your cardio fitness and improve your aerobic capacity. This is why they are the most popular aerobic machines that can help you burn a significant amount of calories. Both of these trainers are decent and reliable equipment, but still, each has its benefits and drawbacks. So, to figure out which one is the beat, we will have to compare elliptical vs treadmill for weight loss or calories burned, and also their pros and cons.

Both elliptical and treadmill work in a manner that simulates natural walking or running motion. What makes them different is how each works to achieve these motions. If you choose a treadmill, you will be able to exercise by either running or walking on a moving belt. But with an elliptical, you will have to use pedals that move in an elongated circle or ellipses.

To determine their effectiveness and differences between them isn’t easy. Yes, they both have their similarities and differences, but defining which one is the best between these two will depend on several factors. These factors can be your physical health, workout goals, and other factors. So to compare them, we will have to look at their benefits, drawback, toning ability, calorie-burning, and how they work.

That said, let’s start the comparison.

calories burned elliptical vs treadmill

Elliptical vs Treadmill Benefits and Drawbacks

Which one is best at burning calories? To clearly understand this, you will need to start by elliptical vs treadmill benefits and drawbacks, then to calories burned elliptical vs treadmill. So, in this article, we will begin by checking on their benefits and drawbacks.

elliptical vs treadmill benefits

Elliptical Benefits :

It is a low-impact machine

The design if this machine allows you to emulate either running or working motion without straining your joints. This machine, therefore, can be used by any person regardless of their fitness levels. So, if you can’t tolerate jolting motion, then this law-impact machine is an ideal choice of a trainer to go for. Keep in mind that despite elliptical being a low-impact machine, it still delivers an excellent aerobic workout.  And with this machine, you can improve your physical fitness, body composition, and cardiovascular fitness.

Full body workout

Apart from low impact exercises that elliptical machine offer, another incredible feature of this trainer is a full-body workout. Nowadays, most elliptical trainers come with movable handles that allow you to do a cross-training workout. This means you can do both upper and lower body workouts simultaneously, thus maximizing its benefits with in a single training session.

Allows you to maintain your fitness during recovery time

Most people who get injured tend to avoid working out to prevent further injuries. But waiting until you are fully fit may affect your physical and cardio fitness. Therefore, the remedy for this is using a low-impact elliptical machine. So, if you are in a recovery stage after an injury, you can use this machine to keep yourself fit. Note that it may be a low-impact, but trust me, you will still get a high-intensity workout, which will help you stay fit. This is according to a 2010 study published in NCBI.

Ability to work different groups of muscles at once

With the elliptical machine, you can achieve a lot, and one of them is working on different types of muscles. This is made possible by several features situated in the elliptical machine. These features include:

  • Handles for upper body muscles workouts
  • Back and forward strides for lower body muscles workout

Lower perceived exertion during an elliptical workout

One study showed that most people who exercise on the elliptical machine underestimate its actual output. But the reality is you can burn a similar amount of calories in the elliptical machine but with less effort. Therefore, when operating the elliptical machine, be assured that you are burning a significant amount of calories.

treadmill vs elliptical for toning

Elliptical drawbacks:

It has a less weight-bearing effect

Keep in mind that weight-bearing workouts play a significant role when it comes to muscles and bones strengthening. So despite the less-impact benefits it offers, its major drawback has a less weight-bearing effect. This is because of the design of the pedals, that means you will not have an actual running or walking exercises.

Less muscles development

If you are planning to gain significant muscles and strengthen your muscles and bones, then elliptical isn’t an ideal machine for that. This is simply because it is a low-impact machine with less weight-bearing effect, thus will have less impact on your muscles and bones.

elliptical vs treadmill for weight loss

Treadmill Benefits:

Higher weight-bearing effect

The major disadvantage in the elliptical machine is a greater advantage when it comes to treadmill trainer. This Is because treadmill gives you the ability to build up your leg’s strength–which mainly relies on actual walking or running. Therefore, the strengthening of your hamstring, quadriceps, and calves can be an easy task, unlike in the elliptical machine.

It offers flexibility

Flexibility is one of the essential features when doing a workout. With versatility at hand, you can achieve more exceptional results within a single session. The treadmill is, therefore, equipped with several flexibility features that allow different workouts. These features include incline, uphill spring, and other training programs. Another importance of flexibility is that it grants more control.

It has a high workout output

Treadmills are known to burn calories at a higher rate, and this is because of its higher workout output. Remember, to drive your entire body weight while on a workout, then you will need substantial effort.

It simulates natural movements

You may have noticed that most machines nowadays come with some awkward or confusing workouts routines. But one of the workout machines that has retained the natural movement workout routines is the treadmill. This ensures easy usability and higher effectiveness of every workout session.

 treadmill vs elliptical for toning

Treadmill drawbacks:

Tough on joint

If you have a problem with your joints, then using this trainer isn’t recommended. This is because, in treadmill, you can easily stress some of your joints, causing more pains or injuries. Although the treadmill has tried to counter this problem by adding some shock absorbers to the treadmill,it hasn’t brought significant impact. Treadmill lacks the low-impact ability, unlike the elliptical trainer, and that is why it is not suitable for people nursing an injury.

Involves fewer muscle groups

Almost everyone likes to have a balanced workout and to do this; you will need a full-body exercise. But with a treadmill, you will only have an option to work on fewer muscle groups, which are majorly lower body muscles. Therefore, when it comes to full-body workouts, the elliptical machine is better than a treadmill.

calories burned elliptical vs treadmill

Calories burned Elliptical vs Treadmill comparisons

A comparison between elliptical vs treadmill for weight loss always depends on calories burned. This is because the amount of burned calories play an essential role in the degree of weight loss.

So when it comes to the number of calories burned by each of these machines, then the difference is negligible. This is because the amount of calories burned is almost similar. According to several studies, you can burn up to 705 to 866 calories in a one-hour treadmill exercise. This range variance is due to the exercise intensity and other factors. Elliptical, on the other side, can allow you to burn up to 773 calories in a one-hour workout.  Therefore, comparing these two machines, you will realize that the amount of calories shaded isn’t that much different.

Thus when choosing between these two exercise machines, there are a few factors that you should consider. Some of these factors include:

  • Physical state
  • Full or juts lower body workout
  • Strength gaining
  • Impact level
  • Weight-bearing effect
  • And other fitness goals

It is essential to consider these factors and others before investing in any of these pieces of equipment.

Treadmill vs Elliptical for Toning

Treadmill vs Elliptical for Toning

Both treadmill and elliptical machines can help you with muscle toning, but which one does it best? It is hard to define which one is the best. The most important thing is that you can still achieve your muscle toning fitness goal with any of these machines.

The way you achieve muscles toning in each of these workout machines is different, but all rely on intensity levels. To improve the intensity levels in your treadmill, you will have to engage incline in your treadmill. This will mean you will be engaging your lower muscles more, thus producing the results faster.

With an elliptical, there are two ways to increase intensity levels, but one is more effective than the other. These two ways comprise of incline and pedal resistance. The incline will increase intensity but will be less effective when it comes to muscle toning. Increasing the pedal resistance, therefore, will guarantee a higher muscle toning. This is because the harder the pedal, the more your leg muscles get engaged.


Overall, choosing a suitable machine will rely on your fitness goals. Treadmill simulates the natural running movement, such as walking or running outside. So, if you are planning to burn a lot of calories while boosting your leg strength, then we recommend using the elliptical machine. On the other hand, an elliptical is an alternative option that offers low impact exercise. This is why most people doing recovery exercises prefer it since it is gentle to your ankles, hips, and knees problems.

They are also the two best indoor workouts machines that deliver significant results when it comes to weight loss and muscle toning. So, before heading over to a store, you should first understand elliptical vs treadmill for weight loss, toning, and their benefits and drawbacks.