15 / Mar / 2022Elliptical vs Stationary Bike vs Treadmill: A Comparison of Cardio MachinesTreadmills, Ellipticals, and exercise bikes are all very common pieces of cardio fitness equipment that can be found in the home, and they each have their own unique benefits and price points. If you are planning a home gym set up, there is a good chance you may want to look into a fitness machine to help boost your cardio.However, purchasing a quality cardio machine that is built to last can be a hefty investment. Unless you are running a commercial gym, you may only be able to afford one type of large cardio equipment. Treadmills, Ellipticals, and exercise bikes are all very common pieces of cardio fitness equipment that can be found in the home, and they each have their own unique benefits and price points. So you may ask yourself, which one of these machines is right for me? Well, the answer depends on multiple variables, especially your unique fitness needs and goals. Since 1989, Akfit has operated as a Canadian specialty fitness store working closely with our clients to help them select the proper fitness equipment. . Determining the perfect equipment for you is our expertise. In this article we overview all three of these pieces of cardio equipment. It’s important to understand what each type of fitness machine has to offer so you can choose the equipment that is right for you. In this article:What is an Exercise Bike?Pros & Cons of an Exercise BikeCost of Exercise BikesWhat is an Elliptical?Pros & Cons of an EllipticalCost of Ellipticals What is a Treadmill?Pros & Cons of a TreadmillCost of a TreadmillPurchasing Your Gym Equipment at Akfit What is an Exercise Bike?An exercise bike, also known as a stationary bike, is a type of fitness equipment that allows the user to mimic the motion of cycling while being able to conveniently workout indoors.These bikes typically include pedals, a seat, handlebars, adjustable resistance levels, and many also have a monitor to help you track your progress and heart rate while you work out.There are multiple styles of exercise bikes with varying purposes, including:Spin BikesUpright BikesRecumbent BikesDual Action BikesFor a more detailed breakdown on the different types of stationary bikes, check out ourexercise bike comparison article. Pros & Cons of an Exercise BikeEach type of exercise bike has their own different pros and cons, however for the purpose of this article, we will overview the general benefits that all types of stationary exercise bikes share. Pros (Benefits) of an Exercise BikeLow-Impact WorkoutStationary exercise bikes provide a low-impact workout just like elliptical trainers can. This is because your feet don’t leave the pedals which causes less impact on your joints, muscles, and bones.However, when it comes to injury, make sure to consult your doctor before working out on an exercise bike, as each bike requires you to sit in a different position,, and hence putting more strain on some specific areas of your body compared to others. Convenient & Safer Than Cycling OutdoorsExercise bikes are meant to simulate the motion of cycling, the most common comparison (for most models) would be to ride a bicycle outdoors. These stationary bikes are fantastic cycling alternatives when the outdoors doesn’t present safe or enjoyable weather conditions to cycle in. Budget Friendly The average price of new exercise bikes (depending on the type of bike) is generally cheaper than the average price of an elliptical or treadmill. Stationary bikes tend to be made up of fewer parts and electronics. Those who don’t need too much technology incorporated into their workout but still want a quality exercise bike can purchase one for as low as $700.Moreover, any form of used equipment will usually be cheaper than a fitness machine that is brand new. Check out our article on Used vs. New Gym Equipment to dive further into this comparison.Large Inventory to Choose FromWhen it comes to picking an exercise bike, you have a lot of options to choose from. As previously mentioned, there are four different types of stationary exercise bikes. They all all built slightly differently for users with different fitness goals, levels, and purposes in mind, therefore each offering their own unique benefits.. Size and Portability For the most part, exercise bikes are lighter and easier to move around compared to a treadmill or an elliptical. Recumbent bikes can be a little bulky, but spin, upright, and air bikes tend to take up less space, making them ideal for home gym setup. Strengthens Your Lower Body MusclesWorking out on a stationary exercise bike can help strengthen muscles in your lower-body, especially when engaging with higher-resistance levels. The motion created from pedaling will help strengthen your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Depending on the type of exercise bike model you have, you also have the ability to work your glutes, back, and your core.Additionally if you utilize your handles on a spin, upright, or air bike, you can also workout your biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Cons of Exercise BikesLess Significant Improvements in Bone Mineral Density While exercising on a stationary bike may strengthen your leg muscles and improve your bone mineral density more than using a treadmill or an elliptical might, it doesn’t hold up to the benefits of weight lifting. While the increased resistance may help, weight lifting exercises such as leg presses, bench presses, and squats will build up your bone mineral density a lot more. So it’s important to support your cycling with resistance by incorporating weight lifting exercises if you’re looking to really strengthen your lower-body.Limited ImpactWhile using an exercise bike can exercise some areas of your upper body, as noted above, those muscles won’t get the same exercise as you would when using an elliptical machine. A stationary bike provides a low-impact workout that primarily focuses on the lower-body. The Indoor Setting Isn’t PerfectIf you are a cyclist who is training for an event or competition, cycling indoors may not provide the complete training you require. While resistance levels can be altered on an exercise bike, this doesn’t emulate the unpredictability of bumps, hills, terrain, and the weather that an outdoor cyclist might have to adapt to. Exercise Bike Selection at AkfitAt Akfit, we have a large selection of recumbent, upright, spin, and air bikes. If you are interested specifically in a spin bike, take a look at our 5 Best Selling Spin Bikes at Akfit.Among all four of these styles of stationary bikes, the cost can range anywhere from $600 to $4500. What is an Elliptical? The elliptical (also known as an elliptical trainer) is a stationary cardio machine that allows users to walk, run, or even stair climb on a low-impact workout. These machines are particularly good for those recovering from injuries as they don’t cause the same excessive pressure to your joints, muscles, and bones like running on a treadmill might.When using an elliptical, you move in an elongated circle while your feet are placed on two individual platforms or pedals with the ability to go forwards or backward. These machines also provide the opportunity to work out your upper body by engaging with the mobile arm handles.Many ellipticals also offer incline and resistance adjustments, and some may even feature high-end consoles that are compatible with virtual training software. Pros & Cons of an EllipticalThere are many good reasons to own an elliptical trainer or to use one frequently at your gym. Similarly, there are some downfalls to ellipticals to be aware of. Pros (Benefits) of an EllipticalStay Fit While Recovering from InjurySince engaging on an elliptical is considered a low-impact workout, the user can still engage in a high-intensity cardio session while nursing an injury. This is due to the elongated cycle motion that is designed to be easier on your body.With this being said, always check with your doctor before engaging in working out if you are recovering from an injury. Puts Less Pressure on Your Bones and JointsOf course if you are recovering from an injury to your lower-body, you don’t want that high-impact on your joints and bones like you would receive from running. Instead, using an elliptical not only takes pressure off your joints and bones, but is also helpful if you suffer from lower back or hip pain. Moreover, ellipticals are great machines to provide a quality cardio workout if you suffer from arthritis or osteoporosis. Incorporate an Upper-Body WorkoutEllipticals not only workout the lower body, but you can also workout your shoulders, back, and chest by utilizing the back and forth movement of the arm handles while rotating your feet on the platforms.You Can Also Rotate BackwardsOn an elliptical, you don’t have to stick to the standard forward motion.. In fact, when you rotate the platforms in a backwards motion you actually utilize a range of different muscle groups to strengthen your calves and hamstrings. Cons of EllipticalsAside from the benefits of using an elliptical trainer, there can also be some potential drawbacks that may not be right for your fitness related needs. Some of these potential drawbacks include:Lower Muscle DevelopmentDue to the lack of pressure applied to your muscles, you may not notice the same development in your muscles that are being worked out in comparison to running on a treadmill or exercising on a high-resistance bike. Less Effort is RequiredSimply put, an elliptical workout requires less effort than some other machines because it does a lot of the work for you. This machine is designed to create the majority of motion from your force on the pedals, however this results in this motion being driven largely by momentum. As a result, you may not be able to develop parts of your health or body as quickly compared to other cardio machines.While this may seem like a desirable factor for some, if you want the highest potential for a really intense workout, the elliptical may fall short. This doesn’t mean you can’t achieve a high-intensity workout on this machine, it all depends on what intensity means to you. They Can Be Difficult To Use at FirstIf you’ve never used an elliptical trainer before, you could find yourself having to adapt to an early learning curve. The elongated motion of using an elliptical is fairly different from cycling on an exercise bike or running on a treadmill. While considering these drawbacks, it is also important to consider potential problems that may arise when using an elliptical machine and how to avoid these problems. Check out 5 Common Problems with your Elliptical Trainer & How to Fix Them. Elliptical Selection at AkfitAt Akfit we house a large inventory of elliptical trainers. Each one of these machines all have different benefits and features. The cost of an elliptical machine at Akfit ranges in price from $1,200 to $3,900 before the addition of any consoles. What is a Treadmill?A treadmill is a modern cardio machine that is used for running, jogging, and walking while remaining in the same place on a mobile walking belt. They provide the user the opportunity to keep their cardio workouts safely and conveniently indoors.With these machines, users can adjust the speed and incline levels they wish to endure during their walk or run based on their fitness goals. Some treadmills may even feature other tools such as a heart rate monitor, an HD console, and different workout programs. Pros & Cons of a TreadmillSimilar to stationary bikes and ellipticals, treadmills offer a range of pros and cons. It is important to weigh these factors when determining if it the right piece of equipment for you. Pros (Benefits) of a TreadmillThe treadmill is the most common type of cardio equipment you will find at any commercial gym, and they’re also very popular for home gym setups as well. This is because of the simplicity and wide variety of benefits these machines offer such as:Strengthening Your Bones, Muscles, and JointsRunning on a treadmill is considered a high-impact workout because of the pressure that is put on your muscles, bones, and joints while engaging in this physical activity. This promotes stronger muscle development because they are taking on weight with every step you take. Move at Your Own PaceWhile utilizing a treadmill, you adjust your incline levels and speed to move at a pace you are comfortable with and work to achieve your personal fitness goals.Ideal for RunnersThis goes without saying, when compared to an elliptical or an exercise bike, the treadmill is the only one of these cardio machines that emulates the experience of running. Treadmills are the best cardio machines for runners.Developing Your Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Calves, Glutes and AbsThe primary muscles that are worked while exercising on a treadmill include the hamstrings, quadriceps, as well as your calves and glutes depending on how steep the incline is on the treadmill. The abdominals can also be put into work, especially when you run.Many Treadmills are FoldableWith treadmills being such a popular style of cardio equipment, they’ve become large machines that can sometimes feature large HD touchscreen consoles, speakers, dumbbell holders, and tablet holders. Given that treadmills have turned into such versatile machines, many fitness brands have designed their treadmills with the ability to fold up vertically so that they can be easily stored away in a corner or against a wall if you have limited space to workout. Cons of a TreadmillJust like ellipticals and exercise bikes, there are some cons to consider before purchasing your treadmill. These can include: Treadmills Don’t Provide the Same Experience as Running OutdoorsAlthough treadmills were designed to bring your cardio workouts inside when outdoor conditions may not be safe or enjoyable, these machines don’t emulate 100% of the feeling of running outside. While running indoors, you won’t be subjected to the different terrain, varying incline levels, and environmental factors that you may have to adapt to and endure. For example, a treadmill belt is much more comfortable than the experience of running on concrete. If you are a cross-country or marathon runner, you may find running outdoors on different terrain more beneficial for your training purposes. Risk of Injury is HigherWhen running on a treadmill, you are putting more pressure on your muscles, joints, and bones. This can increase your risk of injury compared to other cardio machines if you are not conditioning yourself properly. Treadmills Provide Mostly a Lower-Body WorkoutWhile a lower-body workout may be what you are looking for, utilizing a treadmill won’t work out some muscles in your upper-body like using an elliptical might. In addition to the cons listed above, treadmill machines are susceptible to certain problems. Check out the 5 Common Problems with Treadmills and How to Fix Them. Treadmill Selection at AkfitAt Akfit, we have a wide array of treadmills to choose from, each offering a unique set of features. To narrow down your search, check out our 5 Best Selling Treadmills at Akfit. When it comes to cost, treadmills tend to be more expensive than ellipticals and exercise bikes. While treadmills on average tend to be more expensive, it can vary depending on the treadmill you invest in. At Akfit, the cost of a treadmill ranges anywhere from $1500 to $5000. Purchasing Your Gym Equipment at Akfit After reading this comparison article, we hope that you have the information you need to narrow down your fitness equipment purchasing decisions. All three of these common types of cardio machines, stationary bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills, have their own unique pros and cons, and your choice really depends on your own fitness needs. However, if you are still unsure on which type of cardio equipment is best for you, or if you need help deciding on a specific product, we are here to help you. Over the last three decades, Akfit has worked closely with our clients in northern Ontario, the rest of Canada, and beyond, to help them find the perfect fit for your fitness routine. We highly encourage you to reach out to us with any fitness related questions you may have. Our fitness experts pride themselves on being able to share their expertise with our clients to ensure they are happy and will get the return on their investment they require. You can visit us in-store at our Sudbury location, or if you prefer, you can always book a virtual meeting. If you have already found the fitness product that you are comfortable with and have decided to go ahead with your purchase, you can request a delivery and installation here. Our services don’t stop there either, because not only do our experts offer delivery and installation services, but they can also show you how to properly use your equipment as well.