elliptical vs stair climber

Taking care of one’s fitness and health requires some sheer effort and hard work that’s why when it comes to investing your money and time into a good workout machine that can help you to reach your fitness goals and become more efficient in daily life, you want to be 100% sure about which one to choose.

Elliptical machines and Stair climbers are both excellent choices for low-impact cardiovascular exercise. However, both types of workout equipment differ in some aspects. Knowing those differences elliptical vs stair climber might bring some clarity to your understanding of what kind of workout you desire and which machine will prove to be more comfortable and valuable to you.

We will now discuss both workout machines.

Elliptical Machine

Elliptical machines allow full-body workouts. You get to stand on the pedals, and as your feet remain in constant contact with the footbeds, the pushing and pulling of the pedals with the handlebars suggest the motion of cross-country skiing.

This movement engages all the upper body and lower body muscles in the exercise while also strengthening the core muscles you use to balance yourself on the elliptical trainer. It is a good option for pursuing a low-impact cardiovascular workout and toning your full-body muscles.

Stair Climber

Stair climber offers exercising on stairs that you will typically find in shopping malls quite easily. Yes! I am talking about the escalators. The motion of the stairs in the stair climber is precisely like that of an escalator.

The stairs move upwards while the user follows along and exercises his/her lower body. The stair climber is said to be a great piece of equipment for low-impact cardiovascular exercise. However, it only focuses on the lower body and doesn’t offer upper body workouts.

Our recent review of the best elliptical for low ceilings helps you to find an exercise machine for your compact space. Our recommended machines are ideal to use in homes and apartments with low ceilings.

Elliptical vs Stair Climber the Pros and Cons

elliptical vs stair climber

The comparison between an Elliptical and Stair Climber is made below.

i) Low-Impact Cardiovascular Workout

Young people especially prefer high-intensity workouts as exercising fast and sweating a lot of releases more endorphins quickly, giving a feeling of euphoria and eliminating stress. However, low-impact exercises are just as important and beneficial as high-intensity workouts.

The body feels more in control, whereas the muscles and joints relax quite a bit. Therefore, low-impact cardio is a great way to keep the body in the best shape, especially those with slight injuries which can get the most out of this exercise.

Both of the pieces of equipment offer low-impact cardio exercises. The elliptical doesn’t require the user to shift his feet during the workout like the stair climber because while using an elliptical, the feet remain in the same position. On the other hand, while using a stair climber, the feet have to lift to climb onto the next stair, and this exercise continues in the same fashion.

The final thought is that during the low-impact workout, the elliptical does not put any pressure on the joints, whereas while working on the stair climber, the joints must feel a little impact due to the constant lifting of the feet.

ii) Muscle Toning

Muscle toning is one of the apparent reasons why people do the workout. To remain healthy is one thing, but staying fit and smart is another for which muscle toning matters a lot. When it comes to muscle toning, both machines are pretty good at it.

The elliptical trainer does excellent muscle toning of the chest, biceps, triceps, arms, back muscles, core muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and calves. In a nutshell, it targets full-body muscles because it offers both upper and lower body workouts.

In the case of a stair climber, the lower body muscles like hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quads get well-shaped. The workout on a stair climber also strengthens abdominal muscles. However, the upper body muscles remain neglected in the exercise because stair climbers do not offer a full-body workout.

During this comparison of elliptical vs stair climbers, we learn that elliptical machines provide a full-body workout, whereas stair climbers focus on lower-body muscles. It depends on you, though, whether you find an elliptical or stair climber more suitable to reach your fitness goals.

iii) Calorie Burning

elliptical vs stair climber

One of the reasons one wants to exercise is to lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. Elliptical trainer burns 438kcal per hour when set on the low intensity of a person with 200 lbs according to the mdapp.co. At the same time, the stair climber burns 381 calories per hour at a slow speed of a person with 200 lbs, according to the omnicalculator.com.

The statistics show that the elliptical would burn more calories in an hour than the stair climber. However, other factors like height, weight, intensity level, speed, and time decide your calorie-burning data.

Both machines are considerably good at burning calories, but the elliptical burns more calories because it provides a full-body workout. However, if someone thinks that a stair climber is good for them and invests extra time in its use, they’d burn more calories than on an elliptical.

iv) Injury Risks

Elliptical and Stair climber both bear some risks. However, it could be easier to slip, fall, or get hit in the feet using a stair climber due to the constant feet lifting. In contrast, the feet remain in contact with the pedals on an elliptical, so the chances of slipping or falling are less though both exercise machines have handlebars to support the body.

Unexpected accidents or injuries can occur if one is not careful enough while exercising. Your posture should also always be correct during the workout to protect the body from joint or muscle aches and avoid accidents.

v) Not so Space-Saving Equipment

Elliptical and stair climber both occupy quite a space and are not such space-saving pieces of equipment. However, different models and versions of both machines are available in the market, like foldable elliptical trainers and compact stair climbers that are easy to store.

Elliptical trainers and stair climbers could take up quite a space, but the user gets to decide which one he/she wants to own for a perfect workout despite space and storage issues. One could free up some space in their house for a suitable piece of workout equipment.

vi) Machine System

Elliptical and Stair climbers both have similar systems. Both the machines come with modern features, pre-loaded programs, and display the workout data and progress. You can adjust the speed and intensity according to your desired setting or choose one of the pre-loaded programs and let the equipment do its work as both workout machines provide a good deal of options.

The elliptical and stair climber are both constructed with the latest technology and improved features. Both are available in the market, and you can get them depending on your budget.

vii) Cost:

The elliptical and stair climbers both fall in more or less the same range. Although they are available in almost all price ranges starting from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, it is recommended to avoid super cheap and poorly constructed equipment. You can thoroughly research the best elliptical and stair climber and compare their features, quality, and price, and buy one based on what suits you best.

Elliptical trainers and stair climbers could be bought for less or more money depending on what those machines offer and how well-made they are to support your body. You are free to get the one you want at a reasonable price by comparing the value they both could bring to your life.


Elliptical Trainer Stair Climber
Provides full-body workout Provides only lower-body workout
Burns more calories Burns fewer calories
Provides zero impact on the joints Provides little impact on the joints
Takes considerable space Also occupies quite a lot of space
Comes with modern design and features Also comes with modern design and features
Bears some injury risk but not more than the stair climber Also bears some injury risk
Available in all price ranges Available in all price ranges

Conclusion — Elliptical vs Stair Climber

After comparing elliptical vs stair climber, we can conclude that an elliptical trainer wins over the stair climber in some aspects. However, the only equipment that can win here ultimately depends on your choice because you will invest their time and money in the workout machine and use it regularly on a long-term basis.

You have to identify your goals and take the workout seriously because more than the machine, you need to give proper time to the training and improve the skills to try out increased speed, intensity, and resistance levels.

Studies also show that all the workout benefits become visible when the user spends more time exercising in the proper form. Therefore, you can decide which exercise equipment you want to choose for your workout after considering all these facts and work hard to achieve your fitness goals.

Our comparisons elliptical vs arc trainer and elliptical vs stationary bike help our readers to understand why we recommend most ellipticals for low-impact cardio workouts. 

Scroll to Top