Stairmaster Vs Treadmill: Which is a Better Cardio Workout?

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When it comes to the treadmill and the Stairmaster, many people have a hard time determining which of the two is the best option for their fitness goals.

The truth is, the two elements are not all that different from each other, although they both target different muscles and provide comparable health benefits.

In this Stairmaster vs treadmill article, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a treadmill or Stairmaster.

Both are used for a cardiovascular workout, we will discuss the similarities and differences between them based on their level of impact on the body.

Additionally, we will review the features, buyer’s guide, benefits, similarities, differences, and FAQs for both iterations of the machine.

Today, both Treadmill and Stairmaster have a dedicated presence in many gyms.

Overall, fitness workouts on both machines will effectively strengthen and target the lower body. So it all comes down to preferences.

To start, a short explanation: you are going to climb a lot of stairs with the Stairmaster, whereas a treadmill is just one forward movement.

This means that if you walk on the treadmill, you will burn a lot more calories on the Stairmaster. It is easier to walk than to climb stairs!

But as the race pace increases, the gap closes. We’ll discuss that and other considerations below!


It’s hard to beat running as a cardio workout, and going at a high intensity will give you a better workout on the treadmill compared to the Stairmaster. While it is easier to walk than climb stairs; It is more difficult to run than to climb stairs!

But this makes sense. Many people who walk climb stairs, but there are many people who climb flights of stairs each day to work but never run.

That’s because running is a better cardiovascular exercise, and if you haven’t been running, it will be more difficult than climbing stairs!

One caveat: It should be intuitive that a hard running workout will burn more calories than an easy stair workout.


While the Stairmaster a is a low impact because you are not hitting the treadmill, you must complete a repetitive stair climbing motion, which can be very hard on your knees.

It can also be easier to get injured on a Stairmaster because it is moving vertically rather than horizontally.

You’ll have to fight gravity harder, which can lead to injury.


If you run at a high intensity, you could burn about 700 calories in a typical workout. The same high intensity on the Stairmaster will get you close to 400 calories.

However, if you have a slower running pace or walk on the treadmill, the Stairmaster will be the best option.

The reason is that the treadmill is a pure cardio machine. It’s about nothing but cardio.

In contrast, the Stairmaster combines cardio and resistance training, giving your lower body one more strength workout, but not as much cardio.


Depending on how hard you go and what you are trying to achieve, the treadmill is likely to give you a better workout in the same amount of time.

You will be able to burn more calories and therefore more fat on the treadmill than on the Stairmaster.

But if you’re trying to add some resistance training, the Stairmaster is the best option because you have to walk, which is more difficult than just moving your legs forward and walking/running.

If you want to build strength and endurance in your lower body and do cardio at the same time, you will get more for your money with a Stairmaster.


Most of the time, treadmills are generally more expensive than indoor stair climbers.

But while cost may be a factor, I would always recommend that you buy the tool that will give you the best cardiovascular exercise.

And I think we can all agree that you won’t get a better cardio workout than if you were climbing stairs outside on a hot, sunny day.

You can get the best treadmill for around $500 or less. You will need several thousand dollars for a Stairmaster, so its cost is prohibitive for most people.

However, stair masters are a cardio staple in most gyms. If you have access to a gym, spend a little time over the next several weeks incorporating the Stairmaster into your routine and see what it does for you.

Even if you think it’s not as effective as running, it can be a valuable cross-training tool.


Consider the size of the space you want to allocate for your home computer when choosing the size of your machine.

Fortunately, most vendors provide dimension information for their products online. Check the weight rating of the preferred model to make sure it is compatible with your body size.

The Stairmaster machines are tall.

As such, you need to consider both your height and the machine in relation to the ceiling level. When opting for a large model, you can consider one that has wheels for easy mobility.


Both machines offer built-in fitness tracking software. Both burn calories and have a positive impact on your health. Both offer adjustable operations in terms of intensity.

A Stairmaster is an excellent option if you are recovering from an injury or if you are older. It is low impact, which means it will be easier on your joints. At the same time, you’ll continue to get a great lower-body workout.

You will get a high calorie-burning rate and build lean muscles. Plus, it’s more mentally stimulating than running on a treadmill.

If you are looking to improve your time, you will need to climb higher levels. This is great in theory, but may not be practical for some people as it may not be safe for them to climb higher and higher.

The other bad news for the Stairmaster is the climb itself. It’s basically you climbing and climbing and climbing.

The Cons Of the Stairmaster

If you are a bit uncoordinated it can be a challenge to keep up with the Stairmaster even if you are going at normal speed.

Also, it can be difficult on your upper body if you are inclined to slouch. For best results, you must maintain an upright position.

Because it is a less common machine than a treadmill, if you go to a smaller gym or have one in your apartment or condo complex, there may not be a Stairmaster, making it less accessible.

All gyms will have a treadmill, so they are very accessible. All you have to do is jump up and start running.

You don’t have to be particularly coordinated to use a treadmill, and you can probably watch TV while doing it.

You’ll get all the benefits of treadmill exercise – stronger bones and muscles, more endorphins, and better mental and emotional well-being.

Running is also one of the best ways to burn calories and lose weight, so depending on your pace, you are likely to burn more on the treadmill than on the Stairmaster.

However, you should wear the best possible type of footwear when running on the treadmill, giving you perfect traction and foot safety, comfort, and shock absorption with your pair of shoes.

Treadmills can also be a bit more difficult to use to the point of making your workout difficult. This may be due to the heavier and more expensive equipment needed to stabilize.

Some people have arthritis, for example, and the range of motion they get from the treadmill may not be enough for them to exercise beneficially.

You should also take the time to move the machine out of your way when you’re done so you can get the exercise bike out, or worse, exercise in the same spot. These are some of the benefits of exercise bikes.

The Cons Of the Treadmill

We all know that running is very hard on the joints because it is high impact, so it definitely won’t give your body a break.

It can also be difficult to stay stimulated on the treadmill because it is a repetitive action.

Finally, treadmills vary in quality. If your gym is smaller, you probably don’t have a lux treadmill, and if it’s older, it may not give you the best workout possible.

In the end, each machine presents its own advantages and disadvantages.

If you want to get the best of both worlds, you may want to consider incorporating both machines into your workouts. Then you can get the lower body toning benefits of the Stairmaster, as well as the cardiovascular benefits of the treadmill.

Since it is a common accessory in most training facilities, many people forget that it can serve a valuable purpose in the home.

You may want to consider buying a treadmill if you don’t have one or are planning to buy another for your home.

However, before committing to one or the other, it is a good idea to study the pros and cons of treadmills versus Stairmaster machines. This is because everyone has their own vision of offering a good workout.

The treadmill is like a man’s best friend. It is a reliable and time-tested machine that will give you a good workout. It’s basic.

That is a good and a bad thing. Some people would like to have more features, but the simple nature of the treadmill has some benefits.

The treadmill has many benefits. It is a good way to improve your leg muscles. It is a workout for the lower body. However, you will need your upper body muscles to run.

Some treadmills also provide other fitness needs, such as a fan, the ability to play music through an integrated audio system, or a built-in television.

Treadmills have a flat treadmill, while Stairmasters have steps.

Stepper machines allow you to adjust both difficulty and speed, while treadmills can only adjust speed.

If you like to run on the streets, then there is a higher chance of a possible foot injury.

In addition, you will have to overcome motorized traffic, as well as debris and uneven terrain. Staying in shape, within the comfort and safety of your home, is one of the best things you can do for your body.

Treadmills and stepper machines have great potential for making you lose fat. We especially like its minimal space requirements, adjustability, and efficiency.

In addition, for effective shock absorption, these machines have a flat surface, which helps reduce the risk of a sharp fall.

The difference between the Stairmaster and a treadmill is resistance.

You are climbing a residual hill with the StairMaster, but you are “running” down a street with a treadmill.

We have created a table below so you can compare their differences and select the equipment that is best for your fat loss journey.

If you are healthy and looking to increase your fitness level while losing some weight, you should incorporate stair and treadmill work into your exercise routine.

Treadmills and stepper machines will help you realize this dream. We especially like its minimal space requirements, adjustability, and efficiency.

Cross-training reduces the chance of overuse injuries and boredom. It also keeps your body challenged from hitting an exercise plateau. Consider any injury or discomfort to your lower body.

  • If a low-impact workout is better for you, definitely stick with the stairlift.
  • If you don’t have leg injuries or joint problems, the treadmill is a safe bet for you.

But if you can exercise without major pain issues, use both the treadmill and the Stairmaster.

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