There has been much discussion over whether an elliptical or a treadmill delivers a better workout. People tend to argue strongly for one or the other, but in reality, neither is really better, it is just that they are different. Which is right for you depends on your individual workout goals and preferences.

Let's take a look at the differences.


For many people, the non-impact aspect of an elliptical workout is one of its most attractive features. For those with injuries or who are prone to joint pain, treadmills may not be an option, while the fluid motion of an elliptical machine provides exercise that is safe.

Another reason some people prefer elliptical machines is due to the fact that they deliver a full-body workout, which has the potential to burn many more calories than running on a treadmill.

One complaint some people level against elliptical machines is that they can be difficult to get used to because they can put limits on your range of motion. This is why it is important to use an elliptical that is designed with biomechanics in mind.


Treadmills will always remain a classic piece of workout equipment due to the fact that they are so straightforward—just jump on and go. Walking and running are motions that come very naturally to our bodies, and for many it is the most comfortable form of exercise.

Another benefit to owning a treadmill is that compared to an elliptical, a treadmill can be much easier to store. The majority of home-treadmills fold up making them easy to keep out of the way.

Many people enjoy treadmills due to the fact that the continual belt motion forces you to keep up your pace, unlike an elliptical which requires that the user stays motivated.

As previously mentioned, one downside to a treadmill involves joint impact.

Conclusion: It's All Up to You

When it comes right down to it, both pieces of equipment provide outstanding cardiovascular exercise. It is up to you to decide which suits your needs best. If you are concerned about joint pain or you don't do any upper body exercises off the machine, then an elliptical may be right for you. If you enjoy the freedom of motion offered by running, or have limited space in your home, then purchase a treadmill.

Whether you end up buying an elliptical or a treadmill, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to find a piece of equipment that is built to last, preferably with a good warranty. Exercise equipment can be quite an investment, and it is important to make it an investment that will last.