elliptical vs Stairmaster

Since the exercise world is flushed with a myriad of exercise machines, it is challenging for a layman to pick up the right choice. The choice becomes even more complicated when the machines of similar construction come forth, with minor technical differences. This blog is dedicated to dissecting the Elliptical and Stairmaster to the bone.

Our experts would define elliptical vs Stairmaster in such a manner that none would be confused in any figment of thought. The user will steer directly to the right option.

Before delving into the comparison, firstly, let’s look at the individual definitions of both exercise machines.

Elliptical Stairmaster
Calories Burn A 30-minute workout can burn 280 to 400 calories normally. It can burn 280 calories maximum in a 30 minutes workout.
Used For Useful to tone core muscles, triceps, chest, biceps, back, quads, glutes, and hamstring Ideal to tone hamstrings, calves, and glutes of buttocks
Heart Friendly Known best for low impact cardio workout Built as low impact cardio exercise machine
Space Saving Ideally ellipticals with long stride take more space. Length of handles also needs ample room. These are compact machines and can be accommodated under bed when not in use.
Flexibility Programable machines, offer multiple resistance levels to choose. Many comes with built-in programs User can choose the resistance level as needs; a single machine is useful for novices and pros.
Variants Comes in three variants (i Elliptical, ii Elliptical Cross Trainer, iii Elliptical Glider) Only available in standard variants
Training Experience It is not too much tiring to work out on this machine, it offers relax workout experience. It takes a lot of energy and workout experience is not quite relaxing.
Maintenance Require periodic maintenance No maintenance free but required less maintenance.
Best For Walking and Running, Recovery, Joint rehab, Weight loss, build stamina, Suitable for all age groups. Not suitable for seniors, can be used to build stamina, great for folks recovering from injuries or with pre-existing joint pain, especially in their knees or hips

Our experts recommend using the best sneakers for elliptical training because a good pair of shoes will cushion and protect your feet in all the right spots, which in turn, can prevent injuries elsewhere, like your ankles, knees, or hips. 


The Elliptical is a stationary exercise machine mainly for low-impact pressure on the joints. Since its inception in the 1990s by Precor, the low-impact notion has raised the popularity streaks of Elliptical to heights, especially among senior citizens. The construction rapidly decreases the risk of injuries. Nevertheless, overall, Elliptical is a soft exercising choice.


Before the 1980s, Generation X must have seen the football athletes jogging up and down during warm-up before the match. StairMaster has incorporated all the goodness of that intended exercise into it in a gentle way – no more risky acrobatics required.

Simply put, StairMaster is a stationary exercise machine that, like a treadmill, rotates steps and jostles the user to climb upward at its set duration and speed. StairMaster provides an average cardio workout, shaping the lower body muscles such as hamstrings, glutes, calves, or quadriceps.

Problems that an Elliptical Could Pan Out

Elliptical VS StairMaster

Let’s find out the five significant ways where an Elliptical could help the user out;

i) Strengthen the Vital Organs

The vital organs such as lungs, muscles, or heart get withered by time. This is the elliptical that provides a constant aerobic boost to keep them in good shape with low impact cardio exercise options. Cardio endurance and stamina boost up through regular exercise sprees.

ii) Calorie’s Crash

Jumping Elliptical is the nicest idea of slashing the calorie count in a jiffy. A 30-minute exercise could burn 280-400 calories, the best idea of shedding the extra pounds.

The calorie-burn format starts at the intense domain but not at the low-impact. This, in turn, prunes up the fat too.

iii) Post-Trauma Helper

The Elliptical foundation was based on relieving the hapless injured persons to relieve them of the hurting joints and overuse injuries. Unlike other cardio masters, Elliptical never allows the feet to lift off from the pedal, hence rolling out a perfect safe scenario for low-impact cardio.

iv) Even Upper-Lower Body Workout

The handlebars of Elliptical allow an even upper-lower workout. If the pumping of arms is aligned with the movement of legs, the target area could be extended as far as core muscles, triceps, chest, biceps, back, quads, glutes, and hamstring.

v) Enhances Balance

It seems odd, but this is true that the regular usage of elliptical improves balance indirectly by strengthening the bones. A handle-free exercise needs to be done for this particular purpose. Nevertheless, the risk factor is involved while using Elliptical without holding handlebars.

Problems a Stairmaster Could Pan Out

The five significant Stairmaster highlights marvels are;

i) Heart Friendly

The StairMaster extends a virtual stair climbing option that compels the lungs to breathe more oxygen and the heart to pump more oxygen-rich blood to the organs. , this term is known as Aerobic Conditioning. The heart’s health is more enhanced by burning all the required calories at the rate of 200-250 calories per half an hour. Usually, the StairMasters are equipped with calorie-burn calculators.

ii) Strength Booster

The StairMaster is far more rigorous than its counterparts, including Elliptical. The content usage improves core muscles’ strength, besides bolstering the quadriceps femoris (a clique of four muscles at the front of thigh), three hamstrings, calves, and glutes of buttocks.

iii) Prevent Osteoporosis

Weight-bearing exercises like stair-climbing naturally lower down the risk of osteoporosis. If developed, then StairMaster has the potential of extinguishing it as bone is a living tissue.

iv) Only Upward Knee-Healthy Direction

As much as upward stair climbing is beneficial, the downward trajectory is as much harmful. The fluid and tissue of knees one used as a “brake” take a heavy toll on the joints with every step. StairMaster is free of such worries with just a single but wholesome upward trajectory. Every pedal is a strengthening one receiving the risk of knee injuries or osteoarthritis that develops owing to high-impact pounding.

v) Feel Good Effect

When one climbs stairs, the body automatically generates a spree of endorphins that are feel-good brain chemicals. The gushing fluid improves the mood and lowers the stress to new depths. The workout might give a fatigue feel, but in the longer run, an aura of positive vibes envelopes the exerciser’s body.

The comparison elliptical vs stepper is published recently to make it clear that the results that are possible with elliptical cannot be attained with a stepper. 

Comparison Between Elliptical and Stairmaster

As both the gym workhorses go head-to-head, it’s challenging to declare the winner. Our experts have done a categorical analysis to make things more clear.

i) Impact On Joints

Both Elliptical and StairMasters have earned the reputation of being low-impact. A coveted scenario for post-trauma survivors, veterans, senior citizens, and persons seeking gentle exercise.

Elliptical never let your feet off the pedal, hence negating any adverse impact on knees and peripheries. While StairMaster, although it upholds the notion of being low-impact, requires the feet to lift a little and set down again. This act slightly decreases the low-impact grade.

Elliptical emerge out as a winner here by the skin of the teeth.

ii) Muscles Strengthening

Both Elliptical and StairMaster specialize in the lower body, especially calves, hamstrings, and glutes. Nonetheless, Elliptical possesses a clear edge thanks to its moving handles that help tone the upper body. This additional feature is nonexistent in StairMaster; the dedicated user could either resort to vigorous exercise or work out through the side rails. Having said that, this is an exceptional case for fitness geeks.

Elliptical conquer the fortress here!

iii) Calories Burning

Again the swinging handlebars have a say here and catalyze the calorie burn rate. According to empirical data narrated by UFit, “a 30-minute workout spree at Elliptical fries around 380 calories as compared to the mere 250 counts by the StairMaster.” Some experts know how to speed up the calorie count at the StairMaster, but this feature is open for a few career-gym-goers.

Elliptical gives a bloody nose to StairMaster!

iv) Functioning

When the buck stops functioning, both machines roll out the tremendous low-impact functions. Similarly, both Elliptical and StairMaster have the adjustable intensities to customize the program. The jury is still out, and we could not decide on a clear winner in this genre.

The competition goes for a tight Tie!

v) Programs

Elliptical and StairMaster both have built-in programs keeping track of the health ledgers. Although the makers also influence the choice of in-built programs, overall, StairMaster has more sophisticated programming controls. However, this edge is just a bit slighter. StairMaster gets an edge.

Sometimes Ellipticals and StairMasters equally get a bad rap for being the scum of the Earth. The fault does not lie in the machines but the usage. Let’s caution our readers about the recurring mistakes.

Elliptical Blunders

  • Working for very long hours runs down the efficiency; a 30-60 seconds break is a must-have after every 5-10 minutes.
  • Don’t be fooled by the calorie-burnt ledger maintained by Elliptical; the reality is different and lower. Elliptical takes note of data for ideal conditions.
  • Slouching over the handlebars could misalign the spine.
  • Never leave the abs idle; punch into the stomach.
  • Some folks never change the resistance and get the run-of-the-mill benefits. The constant change in resistance should be permanent.

StairMaster Blunders

  • Never climb from sideways. This advice looks premature, but some folks would try and lose the front denture.
  • Performing glute kickbacks is a mistake; StairMaster gets the buttocks fatty rather than slim.
  • Do not drape yourself over the Stairmaster like a towel on the clothesline. Use it to strengthen your lower muscles only.
  • Make sure you warm up a bit before stepping into Stairmaster or you will get sore muscles.
  • Never compromise the spine by maintaining a solid core 360° brace.

Wrap Up — Elliptical vs stairmaster

Finally, we land up on a conclusion. Both Elliptical and StairMaster are considered best for low-impact, cardio-specific workouts for the soft exercise lovers or fitness geek trapped in some health complication. Both could do wonders for weak knees.

The Elliptical bumps the StairMaster with a few brownie points in our comparison part, but the winning margin is a bit low, even negligible. Both machines have their very own ugly sides; our experts have separately jotted down when the machine bites back.

A considerable final thought could be that both Elliptical and StairMaster are suitable for lower and a bit upper workout stream. If handled with care, both could do wonders for the aspiring soul on the perch. Hence, the choice is entirely subjective. Enjoy!

People who prefer to work out at home got confused when they see different machines at their relatives and friends’ house. To clear this confusion we recently compare elliptical with other machines in elliptical vs glider vs max trainer. After reading this comparison you can better decide what you need to lose weight and tone your muscles.

Scroll to Top