Which is Better for Weight Loss: Stairmaster or Treadmill?

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Regular cardio, weight lifting, and a balanced diet are essential to any weight loss regimen.

Cardiovascular activity is essential for modulating mental and physical health. It can lower blood pressure, increase stamina, strengthen the heart, and prevent many diseases.

Cardio can be easily done at home or in the gym using a stairmaster or treadmill. However, the two devices work differently. In this article, we’ll look at how to choose the best machine based on your fitness goals.

Stairmaster v/s Treadmill: Which is Best for Weight Loss?

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1) For cardio

While the Stairmaster is a great option for cardio, it’s best suited for short, high-intensity workouts. The level of difficulty can also be a bit higher than a treadmill.

The treadmill features a natural movement pattern. So, it’s easy to have longer duration and lower intensity workouts on a treadmill than on a Stairmaster.

Best choice: treadmill

2) Calorie burn

Typical calorie burn for those using a StairMaster is in the range of 180-260 calories for 30 minutes of exercise. The treadmill, on the other hand, burns around 100 to 300 calories for the same duration of activity.

Top Pick: Stairmaster

3) Level of impact

Both machines are great for low-impact cardio workouts. However, a treadmill is a better option for people with knee pain for the following reasons:

  • Adjustable tilt
  • Variable pace

However, a Stairmaster requires more effort around the knee, ankle and hip joint. This is often a tough workout for the elderly or in rehabilitation. It’s also not comfortable for people with back injuries.

Top Pick: Stairmaster

4) For bodybuilding

The treadmill is more focused on general fitness and improving endurance. The Stairmaster, on the other hand, is effective for working the lower body muscles.

Your choice of equipment will depend on your goals. While cutting, treadmills would be the ideal choice for longer, low-impact cardiovascular activity. Meanwhile, while bulking up, the Stairmaster is a superior choice because it can work your lower body and help maintain cardiovascular capacity through interval training.

Best choice for cutting: treadmill

Best choice for bulking: Stairmaster

5) To lose weight

Weight loss is a simple process. If you are in a calorie deficit, the body begins to use up fat stores, which leads to fat loss. You can add to the deficit by doing cardio or increasing your daily activity.

You can speed up the weight loss process by performing HIIT workouts.

See examples of training options for conveyor belt and stair master.

Best choice: The one you use regularly

6) Cost

Treadmills are generally less expensive. Beware of low-quality models, however, as they lack adequate protection for the joints. Although a Stairmaster is more expensive, it is reliable equipment and ideal for more intense workouts.

Top Pick: Stairmaster


While both are good options, as noted above, the best option would be the Stairmaster. It is commonly used by bodybuilders these days when preparing for contests.

Top Pick: Stairmaster


Let’s simplify your choice:

For intense and short workouts: Stairmaster

For longer, quieter workouts: treadmill (can increase intensity if needed)

For the best overall for weight loss: Treadmills

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By Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at