Elliptical Vs Stairmaster – Which Home Workout Machine is Better to Buy?

Improving your fitness level and overall health should be a priority for everyone. Fitness experts have stated that exercising for at least two and a half hours per week is necessary for optimal health. This much physical activity helps to keep cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes at bay.

Besides, some amount of exercise helps to keep your muscles active. And while some people prefer to be active by jogging or running, some may instead love going to a gym. Either way, your aim should be to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle.

However, thanks to recent innovations, machines like the elliptical and stairmasters have become the go-to products for improving physical fitness. These fitness equipment are easy to use and will not bore you like the usual treadmill.

If you go to a gym then, you may have noticed the elliptical and the Stairmaster. And if you’ve ever used either of them, you may now be wondering which type is better to help you to lose weight, tone down your muscles, and stay fit?

Elliptical vs Stairmaster Comparison

In this article, we’ll go over the differences between the elliptical vs Stairmaster and tell you which one is better.

The Elliptical

An elliptical is one of the most popular exercise equipment today. This machine imitates running and gives you the benefits of this activity right in the comfort of the gym or your home. The elliptical has paddles for placing your feet and handles that move your arms simultaneously as you take steps.

It offers low impact cardio, aerobic, and strengthens your core. And thanks to its low-impact on the joints, it is the preferred machine for most. With the elliptical, you can lose weight, tone your upper body, and also get relief from back pain.


The Stairmaster is a piece of excellent fitness equipment that imitates the activity of climbing stairs. It is a favorite among athletes such as cyclists and triathlon players who engage in high endurance training.

You can do the same activity as with the elliptical, but the Stairmaster gives better results as it was made specifically for this kind of exercise. This machine works on your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, thus making your legs much stronger. It also offers a low-impact exercise and toning, especially for the lower body. So if you want a firm butt or toned legs, then the Stairmaster would be a perfect choice.

Workout Benefits Comparison

The Elliptical and Stairmaster both work on your glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings. But the elliptical puts more focus on your front thighs and makes your chest, arms, back work out at the same time.

It is a piece of versatile equipment as it allows you to pedal forward, thus working on your glutes and hamstrings. When you pedal backward, it works on your quadriceps.

In some elliptical trainers, you can adjust the stride length, which is suitable for shifting the focus to different muscle groups. It puts less impact on your knees and gives a full-body workout. The Stairmaster, on the other hand, focuses on your quads and calves with the stair climbing movement. It works on your lower body and gives an increased muscular definition as you continuously move forward on the machine. It is an excellent choice for those who want to get a toned lower body. However, if you’re going for a full-body workout, then yo should get the elliptical.

What Burns More Calories Stairmaster or Elliptical?

The elliptical is said to burn more calories than the Stairmaster. A person weighing 155 pounds may burn around 800 calories on the elliptical for a one-hour workout session. But that same person would only burn about 450 calories on the Stairmaster after an hour.

Which One is Better For Aerobic And Cardiovascular Fitness?

Both machines are suitable for maintaining aerobic and cardiovascular health by burning calories, increasing our oxygen intake, and keeping us active. So while the elliptical burns more calories, both are good for cardiovascular fitness.


The Stairmaster and the elliptical are both low-impact cardio machines. But the elliptical puts much less impact on your joints because your feet never leave the paddles while you workout. With the Stairmaster, you need to continuously move your feet to climb the stairs as it moves along with the pace. It demands more strength from your legs, such as your calves and back thighs.

Control and Coordination

In the elliptical, you can have more control over your movements as it operates after you exert effort. You use your weight and controlled movements to add resistance to the workout. So it demands more coordination as you move both your hands and legs. While in the Stairmaster, the steps move automatically at a certain speed just like a treadmill, so you have less control over your movements. You need to adjust yourself to the pace at which the steps move.

So it does not demand much coordination. It is just like walking uphill and follows a natural movement. As such, it makes it less exhausting than working out on an elliptical.


Even though both fitness equipment is suitable for everyone, the elliptical is ideal for people who want to have some low impact workout, especially older people. It is also useful for those who are in the middle of their weight loss journey. Moreover, it is suited best for those who want a full-body workout. In contrast, the Stairmaster is a must-have for athletes as it is a high endurance fitness machine.

It helps to strengthen the lower body, and anyone can use it. However, if you are obese, then it is better to lose some weight before using the Stairmaster. This is because being overweight and working out on Stairmaster may put too much pressure on the knees.


The elliptical is more versatile than the Stairmaster. Elliptical trainers come with pre-equipped workouts where the resistance can be adjusted. Some of them can even incline as you continue exercising.

The pedalling can be done in forward as well as backward motion with different speeds to challenge yourself. With the Stairmaster, the only way you can challenge yourself is to adjust the speed of the pedals or steps beneath your feet.

What The Main Difference Between The Elliptical vs Stairmaster?

The main difference between the elliptical and a stair master is that a Stairmaster uses a stair-climbing motion while an elliptical mimics a running motion. Moreover, with the Stairmaster, you burn fewer calories than you would on an elliptical.

Another difference is that a Stairmaster doesn’t have moving arms like the elliptical so it won’t allow a full-body workout.


Ellipticals and Stairmasters are both reliable options to improve your fitness levels. Both types of equipment work on strengthening your core, your lower body muscles and lets you build a toned body.

Moreover, they imitate natural activities but are more targeted and efficient . s such, any option you’ve decided to choose will provide the required amount of physical activity that your body needs. So ultimately, we recommend that your choice be dependent on the one that matches your fitness goals.

If you want a cheap budget elliptical then our top recommendation is this Schwinn 470.

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