Stairmaster Vs Elliptical: Which One To Choose?

Cardio is an essential component of any training program. According to fitness experts, 45 minutes of cardio exercise four times a week will enhance muscle size and is vital for good health. In addition, it strengthens your heart, sharpens your mind, increases your stamina, and protects you against several fatal diseases.

There are plethoras of ways to get in a cardio workout. The most common types of equipment used for cardio are StairMaster and elliptical. Both machines are great for cardio and have a lot of health benefits.

The elliptical machine allows you to walk or run while putting little strain on your joints. It’s perfect for those who have had an injury or are suffering from joint pain.

However, the StairMaster is an excellent way to burn many calories in a short period. But to do so, you must be in good health, without any injuries or joint problems. 

In this article, we have compared both StairMaster and Elliptical so that you can choose the one according to your fitness goals.

Stairmaster Vs Elliptical: Comparison Table

  Stairmaster Elliptical
Number of calories burned in 30 minutes 220+ calories 330+ calories
Risk of injury Low Low
Building Muscle Legs Mostly legs, Upper body a bit
Budget Required Medium/High unless you use actual stairs Medium
Level of complexity Easy Easy
Ease of Use Yes Yes
Intensity High-intensity Moderate Intensity

StairMaster – How it Works?


Climbing stairs is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories quickly. A machine usually used for this purpose is called a StairMaster or stair climber.

It has rotating steps that allow users to climb stairs while staying in one position and adjusting their speed for more strenuous workouts.

People who train in high-intensity sports such as cycling and triathlon are particularly fond of it. Also, you can do the same exercise on the elliptical, but the Stairmaster provides superior benefits because it was designed expressly for this type of workout.

This type of cardio equipment has numerous advantages for cardiovascular health and muscular toning. It is excellent for strengthening your leg muscles, especially your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps. It also provides low-impact training and toning, particularly for the lower body.

So overall, if you want firm buttocks or toned legs, the Stairmaster is an excellent alternative.

  • The StairMaster may burn a large number of calories in a short period.
  • By adjusting the speed of the StairMaster, you may customise each session for your specific fitness needs.
  • It’s wonderful for toning the lower body.
  • It is great for a regular cardio workout
  • It exerts less strain on the joints than most other cardio exercises.
  • It’s the most effective way to increase your heart rate.
  • It has the potential to enhance posture and alleviate back discomfort after long-term use.
  • There is no option to work on your upper body.
  • Expensive to buy
  • It may take some time to get used to the stair-climbing motion
  • A size issue might arise for people who are both tall and short.
  • It does not affect the ability to articulate.

Elliptical – How it Works?


An elliptical machine is one of the most popular forms of workout equipment in the market today. This machine simulates running and provides you with the benefits of running in the comfort of your own home or at the gym. Foot paddles and arm handles allow you to take steps on the elliptical machine as it works your entire body simultaneously.

The central concept behind an elliptical is that it gives you a cardio exercise similar to jogging without stress or pressure on your joints and muscles.

It improves your core while providing low-impact cardio and aerobic exercise. Most people favor it because of its little impact on the joints. This exercise machine can help you lose weight, tone your upper body, and provide back pain relief for those using it regularly.

Overall, the elliptical machine is an excellent option for a low-impact cardio workout, but there are some drawbacks, as with any gym equipment.

  • Elliptical training is low impact and easy on the joints.
  • It’s perfect for people of all fitness levels, but especially for those who have joint problems.
  • It strengthens both the lower and upper bodies.
  • You may target different muscle groups with reverse stride and varied workout settings.
  • It can also help you lose weight by burning calories.
  • You won’t get as much muscle growth as with more intense forms of cardio.
  • Initially, the movement may appear strange.

Stairmaster Vs Elliptical: Which Machine is Better?

Elliptical Vs Stairmaster

The answer depends on your current fitness level, health, and workout goals. The StairMaster is the greatest machine for you if you don’t have any injuries and want to burn a lot of calories in a short period. However, if you have joint issues or a lower-body ailment, the elliptical is probably the best option for you.

Thus, if you’re trying to decide between the two, it’s critical to weigh your options in terms of your fitness goals. So, without any further delay, let’s look at which is better for weight loss, cardio fitness, muscle toning, and more.

Weight Loss

Cardiovascular exercise is without a doubt the most effective method of losing weight. Both machines help you lose weight by burning a lot of calories. The elliptical can burn more calories than the StairMaster, exceptionally if you choose high-intensity settings.

However, a StairMaster moves your legs, whereas an elliptical machine engages your arms and legs in an upper-body workout.

Thus, depending on your weight, gender, and effort level, 30 minutes on the StairMaster will burn roughly 200 calories, whereas 30 minutes on the elliptical would burn 350+ calories.

Remember: The rate of burning calories is directly proportional to your heart rate. You’ll burn more calories if you work out with a quicker heart rate.


Stairmasters and ellipticals are considered to be the best cardio workout equipment.

Both machines are suitable for maintaining aerobic and cardiovascular health by burning calories, boosting our oxygen intake, and keeping us active.

However, if you have to choose between the two, the elliptical is considered the better option for cardio workouts because it raises your heart rate faster than the StairMaster.

That doesn’t mean a StairMaster isn’t beneficial for cardio; it just means that an elliptical has a better ability to target your heart rate. Almost all elliptical machines today offer built-in cardio and heart rate routines, as well as Bluetooth heart rate monitoring.

Toning Muscles

A StairMaster, without a doubt, will help you grow more muscle mass than an elliptical machine. The stepping motion is excellent for glutes, calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Even your core will be activated while using a StairMaster machine.

On the other hand, an elliptical machine can help you tone your muscles. If you want to work your upper and lower bodies simultaneously, an elliptical trainer is a great choice. However, the StairMaster comes out on top in terms of strength and toning.

Stairmaster Vs. Elliptical for Bodybuilders?

In addition to lifting heavy weights and strength training, bodybuilders also need proper cardio workouts. Bodybuilders prefer the StairMaster over elliptical because of its higher capacity to develop and tone the glutes, quadriceps, hamstring, and calves.

Final Thoughts

No one can deny the importance of cardio workouts. Both StairMasters and ellipticals are good ways to get in shape. Both types of equipment aim to tone your body by strengthening your core and lower body muscles.

As a result, it can be concluded that no single machine is superior to the others. Each offers various benefits based on where you are in your fitness journey and your fitness objectives.

So, instead of getting attached to just one machine, use both of them. Ultimately, you’ll have the best of both worlds!

Hopefully, you found this article interesting and informative. However, if you have any further queries or suggestions, please feel free to comment on them in the section provided below.

Thank you for reading!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the main difference between the Elliptical Vs Stairmaster?

The main difference between an elliptical and a StairMaster is that a StairMaster uses a stair-climbing motion, whereas an elliptical simulates running.

As a result, the Elliptical allows you to burn more calories in less time than a StairMaster does. In addition, the Stairmaster does not feature moving arms as in the elliptical.

What are the levels on a StairMaster?

The majority of machines permit you to select a level between 1 and 20, with each level corresponding to a different pace. At the slowest speed, you take around 24 steps per minute. You’ll be climbing at around 162 steps per minute at maximum speed. At the midpoint of 10, you’re climbing at a rate of around 89 steps per minute. Thus, as the levels progress, the speed increases by 7 to 8 steps per minute.

What muscles does an elliptical tone?

An elliptical machine can help you target your hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, biceps, triceps, and abdominal muscles when appropriately utilised.

Does the StairMaster burn belly fat?

It’s essential to keep in mind that weight loss is influenced by various factors, including your diet and exercise intensity. The StairMaster can assist you in losing fat throughout your body, not just in the abdomen area. 

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