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Treadmills vs Ellipticals

Treadmills and Ellipticals are easily the two most popular pieces of home fitness equipment and can be easily mistaken for the other. They are both excellent fitness sources, but it is important that you learn their differences so you can make the appropriate choice for your own home. If you are in excellent financial standing and have a large enough home, you may be able to afford to buy one of each. However, a lot of us may only be able to select one or other for the time being so check out our informative guide…


A treadmill is an exercise machine for running and/or walking while staying in one place. The machine provides a moving platform with a wide conveyor belt and is powered via an electric motor or flywheel. The belt moves to the rear allowing a person to walk or run an equal, and necessarily opposite, velocity. The speed and incline are controlled by the user.


An elliptical trainer (also sometimes referred to as a cross-trainer) is a stationary exercise machine used to simulate stair climbing, walking or running without causing excessive pressure to the joints. The user is in control of the resistance the machine offers while exercising.


While several sites on the World Wide Web are dedicated to proving that one of these types of fitness equipment is better than the other, when it comes to calorie burning the reality is that both treadmills and ellipticals are nearly equal. It’s sort of a ridiculous question when you think about it, because any individual could purchase the best treadmill on the market while another individual purchased a low-end elliptical, but if the elliptical owner exercises more frequently and at a higher intensity he or she is ultimately burning more calories.

Additionally, when it comes to cost neither piece of exercise equipment is more affordable. Treadmills vary widely in price range and the same is the case with ellipticals. Budget friendly treadmills and ellipticals can start at $200 and exceed prices of $4,000. A slight advantage may go to ellipticals because you can probably find a pretty solid machine at under $1,000 while most treadmills priced lower than this are questionable at best.


When it comes to the primary differences with treadmills vs. ellipticals an importance should be placed on longevity, space requirements, resale value and safety.

Treadmills have really come a long way in the safety department but unfortunately, ever now and then, you hear a case about someone getting seriously injured on a treadmill. Truthfully, if you use common sense when operating a treadmill (along with built-in safety features) the chance of getting seriously injured on a treadmill is close to zero. Responsible parents should exercise (no pun intended) correct judgment when guests and/or children are using the machine and as always supervision while on the treadmill should be considered.

Additionally, both pieces of exercise equipment do pose a chance of injury although treadmills have a slightly higher chance of minor injury for the fact that it’s a higher impact activity to begin with. Again, using common sense on the equipment and warming up properly (before and after) using a treadmill or elliptical will narrow the risk substantially.

Despite the often non-existent fear of using a treadmill, the piece of exercise equipment is still far superior to ellipticals when it comes to saving space and the overall value of the machine.

Due to the fact that some treadmills fold, home owners can prop the machine up and thus save a ton of floor space. Such is not the case with an elliptical which is impossible to fold for extra storage. We should also note that generally the resale value of a treadmill is higher than a elliptical because it has that long-running tradition as the ultimate piece of home exercise equipment.

Treadmills vs. Ellipticals

Hopefully, if anything, you have been able to conclude from this article that treadmills vs. ellipticals is not a “black and white” debate. There are a lot of aspects to love about both pieces of exercise equipment and ideally, every exercise enthusiast would absolutely love to own both.

Consider the primary purpose of both machines and then compare and contrast to your own individual needs. Do you enjoy the simulation of walking/jogging up steps? Do you have health related issues? If so, ellipticals will supplement those needs. Or do you want a more versatile machine with the possibility of doing a little of everything? Then, the treadmill probably makes sense.

Whatever the individual needs, make sure you enjoy your shopping experience and take the time to learn about a variety of products and models before making that ultimate, final decision.

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