When it comes to fat burning exercise machines, we hear different opinions.

Some people say treadmill is the best, others say exercise cycle and the rest say elliptical machines.

The tie is mostly between these three machines. So, in this article, we shall be doing the comparison of treadmill vs exercise bike vs elliptical trainer, and see which exercise machine is the best for fat burning without any side effects.

Tip: Wear a smart fitness tracker while exercising to track and analyze your results and see whether your efforts are really worth or not.

Treadmill vs Bike vs Elliptical: Best for Weight Loss & Joint Impact

1.Fat BurningHighModerateHigh
2.Joint ImpactLowModerateHigh
3.Muscle StrengthModerateModerateLow
6.Ease of UseLowHighHigh

We’ll be looking at 6 different factors like Fat burn, Joint impact, Muscle strength, Variability, Ease of use and Boredom, in order to find out which is the best exercise machine of all.

Elliptical vs Treadmill vs Stationary Bike for Weight Loss
Best Exercise Equipment in a Gym for Weight Loss without Joint Pains

1.Fat Burning Potential

Well, the first thing that anyone wanted to achieve through an exercise machine is to burn more fat.

So, let us look at the fat burning potential of each machine.

Elliptical Trainer – It works your upper and lower body both at the same time. Since you’re involving more muscle groups at the same time, you’re using more energy to complete each movement. That makes it the best exercise machine for fat burning. 

Treadmill – The second best machine when it comes to calorie burn is the treadmill. If you run at a brisk pace or do HIIT sprints, you’ll be burning a lot of calories on this machine.

Exercise Cycle – When compared with the elliptical and treadmill, the exercise bike will be ranked last since you’ll only be working your lower body, and hence the low calorie burn.

2.Impact on the Joints

Are you satisfied if you lose weight using these machines but your joints get weaken as a result of using them? No, isn’t it?

Well, the next thing you should look after the fat burn is the impact your joints are getting when you exercise on this equipment.

Elliptical Trainer – Yes, this ranks #1 when it comes to joint impact. The elliptical has zero impact on your joints why because your feet stay placed in the foot pads at all times and you aren’t even stepping.

Exercise Bike – The 2nd machine that have less impact on the joints is the cycle. Why we’re ranking it number 2 is because your knees will move from a very straight to very bent position multiple times in a session and it may lead to grinding of joints if you’re not cautious.

Treadmill – This is the worst exercise machine for those who have joint pain issues. So, it is recommended for users with heavyweight not to run on a treadmill as it could cause shin splints, knee pain, ankle pain and sometimes lower back pain.

However, if you’re slightly overweight and like running, then you may go for the treadmill, but with minor precautions like slow running and using good padded footwear to minimize the impact on your joints.

3.Muscle Strength

Even if you do cardio on these machines, you’ll likely to gain some muscles due to the resistance they offer.

Elliptical Machine – It helps you gain strength in both your upper as well as the lower body.

Bike – It helps you gain strength, especially in your lower body. So, if you’re looking to improve your quads or hamstrings, then you can go for the cycle.

Treadmill – Since it offers very little resistance, the treadmill is a let down in terms of muscle building.

Clearly, the elliptical wins here as well. But, if you just wanted build your lower body, then going just for the cycle will suffice.

If you’re a frequent traveler with no time for exercise, then try these resistance bands that you can carry with you anywhere in your bag.

4.Variability & Boredom

If a machine doesn’t offer you variability, you’ll likely to end up ditching it after sometime since you’re not getting anything new from it.

Elliptical – It allows you to go forward, backward and even on a steep or shallow incline for better results. Since you also have the option to increase the resistance level, you’ll be having a chance to create your own workouts based on these options.

Bike – It allows you to pedal faster and increase the resistance.

Treadmill – You can increase the pace or got on an incline for additional resistance.

Clearly, both the bike and treadmill at some point of time will become bored.

5.Ease of Use

When it comes to ease of use, the elliptical loses here as it is a bit tough to use in the initial days, whereas the treadmill and bike are easier to use with minimal settings.

But, you should remember that having more options/settings to choose from is the main reason why the elliptical trainer has become the most favorite of all.


So, after reading our comparison of treadmill vs elliptical vs bike for weight loss, you can clearly see that the elliptical wins the race with the highest marks. Next, you can choose the bike for medium intensive workouts. The treadmill is mainly suggested for runners or sprinters to train better. Hope you get the point.