What is the Best Cardio Machine to Burn Calories?

With most of us sitting behind a desk all day at work we often don’t get enough time to go out and engage in outdoor physical activities. For this reason, commercial gyms and fitness centers have become quite popular.

Home exercise equipment have also become common since they beat having to go to the gym and pay the membership fees.

The importance of regular cardiovascular exercise has been very well-documented. And if you’re trying to determine what is the best cardio machine, we cover some of the most popular workout equipment used for burning calories and weight loss.

All of the cardio machines certainly have their merits, and people need to take into account the entire experience of using them


An Look at the 5 Exercise Machines for losing weight

1. Stationary Exercise Bike

  • Good fat burner, burns around 300 calories for light intensity, and around 700 calories for vigorous workouts.
  • For people with bad knees or bad backs.
  • Less upper body exercise, focus is on lower body cardio.

spin bike 1

Biking in general burns calories very effectively. You can go buy a road bike or mountain bike and do it outdoors or get a stationary bike and workout indoors. This way you avoid the rain, snow or bad surfaces which pose the risk of injury.

You can burn between 200 and 700 hundred calories per hour biking, depending on their size and the level of intensity.

Using a bike is often better for a person’s knees than running, which makes stationary bikes more practical for some people. People can also read and sit down when they’re using a stationary bike compared to when they’re using a treadmill, which will be a draw for some people.

Individuals will certainly be able to raise their heart rates effectively on their fitness exercise bikes if they pedal hard enough and use an intense enough setting.

Some people will pedal too slowly to really raise their heart rates, which is going to diminish the efficacy of a stationary bike.

To a certain extent, people will need a certain level of discipline in order to get good cardiovascular exercise from their stationary bikes, but that’s a trait that people can develop.


Stationary Bike Options:

  • The main difference between cheap exercise bikes (those priced around $150 to $200) and the higher end bikes ($400 and over) often comes down to size, stability speed settings and functions.
  • Modern exercise bikes often come with their own electronic bike computers that let you monitor calories burned, distance and time. The higher end models have exercise programs and other functions too.
  • You can choose between the traditional stationary bike (upright), the recumbent exercise bike and the spin bikes.
  • Upright exercise bikes are the original models they’re designed specifically for cardio. You’re seated upright and bike like you would a regular bicycle.
  • Recumbent exercise bikes are better for those who have back issues because they come with a back rest. This allows riders to sit back like you’re in a chair and just pedal.
  • Spin bikes were designed to give that road bike feel. They were made for cyclists who wanted to train indoors during the rainy or winter months. They allow you to pedal much faster than regular upright stationary bikes which makes them better for burning calories and weight loss.


2. The Treadmill

  • Burns between 400 to 750 calories per hour, for light and high intensity workouts, respectively.
  • Allows you to walk, run or jog on the treadmill track.
  • A bit noisier compared to the other cardio exercise machines because of the feet pounding.
  • Can be tough on the knees. Not a good idea for those with bad knees.


Probably the most popular of the home and gym cardio machines is the treadmill.

Treadmills will give people good cardiovascular exercise if they use a high enough intensity. People who use the treadmill at the slowest possible setting will barely burn any calories or raise their heart rates however.

But those who run on their treadmills may exceed the maximum recommended heart rate in the process, and they may burn over seven hundred calories in any hour.

Treadmills provide a very nice spectrum when it comes to exercise. People can take brisk walks on treadmills, slow walks, and runs. It often only takes a brisk walk to get people to burn calories and raise their heart rates, and they will easily be able to adjust their treadmills to that setting.

However, treadmills can sometimes feel like several different exercise machines in one, since treadmill workouts can be so different. As with any workouts or exercise equipment it is always important to learn how to do them and use them safely.


Treadmill Options

  • Treadmills can range in price from as low as $200 all the way to way over $1,000. The highest end models run around $3,000 to $5,000.
  • You don’t need a high end treadmill ($800 and above) unless your a serious athlete who wants to use it to train for competition. Though those between $500 to $1,000 are often better for those who want to be able to exercise regularly.
  • Cheaper treadmills are often smaller, lighter and offer a narrower, shorter running track. They are also less stable and come with less programming features.
  • Mid-range models are often the best options for home exercise and those looking to lose weight or maintain weight. Often this means spending around $650 to $850.
  • Higher end units, those costing over $1,000, come with a lot of extra features including more training programs, speed settings and MP3 stations.


3. Elliptical Machines

  • Can burn between 300 and 750 calories in an hour, depending on intensity of workout.
  • Low impact cardio machine, easy on joints
  • Low noise
  • Works both arms and lower body

elliptical machines 1

Many people specifically purchase elliptical trainers when they’re trying to lose weight. They are good low impact cardio machines that let you burn calories without putting stress on your knees, ankles and back.

Even using an elliptical trainer at a moderate pace can burn over five hundred calories an hour. Using an elliptical at that same moderate pace will raise a person’s heart rate substantially, which is the goal of exercising.

People can gradually increase the intensity, allowing themselves to experience a truly strenuous workout on their elliptical trainers. Elliptical trainers also have the advantage of exercising more of a person’s muscles than many other exercise machines, toning their arm muscles as well as their leg muscles.


Elliptical Trainer Options

  • Elliptical trainers are similarly priced to treadmills. The low end models can go as low as $150 with the high end running over $1,000.
  • The difference between cheaper ellipticals and more expensive ones comes down to stability, smooth ride and stride length.
  • The better quality elliptical machines allow you to take longer, more natural strides. Often you want to get something between the 16 to 22 inches. The cheapest models offer around 14 inches or sometimes less, while the high end models seen in gyms often are above 20 inches.
  • Better quality ellipticals also have heavier flywheel weights. The heavier the flywheel the smoother the striding motion of the machine. This gives a better, more natural gait.


4. Rowing Machines

  • Burns between 250 calories (at low intensity) to 850 calories (at high intensity) per hour.
  • Provide a full body workout, including the arms, back, core, legs and glutes.
  • Excellent if you want to tone your legs and butt.

rowing machine 1

Rowing machines will almost always deliver a strenuous workout. You can burn close to a thousand calories an hour (850 calories) in many cases while using a rowing machine. That’s of course they’re rowing at high intensity.

Their heart rates will rise almost immediately. Professional athletes get toned, build muscle and build endurance while using rowing machines.

For regular individuals like us who use them in their own homes, we will be able to get into shape quickly since both our upper and lower bodies get a good workout. Like all exercise machines, that is if we can maintain our rowing machine workouts consistently.


Rowing Machine Options:

  • Rowing machines range from the affordable, compact models to the elite professional models. For home use and fitness, the compact models range between $200 to $450 with a number of them able to fold up to fit into storage cabinets or under the bed.
  • If you are an athlete or want a good simulation of rowing in the water or feeling what the crews do, the Concept2 rowing machine is the top choice, which is what most boathouses use. A more quiet alternative to the Concept2 is the Water Rower which uses actual water in a tank.


5. Stair Steppers

  • Burns between 300 to 450 calories in an hour’s workout.
  • Among the simplest machines to use at home.
  • Cheapest among the cardio equipment with many costing under $50.


Step machines let you walk in place anywhere. They are often small, compact stair steppers that you can easily carry and move between locations, which is why they’re called mini steppers also.

Gyms have larger stair steppers, but those cost a lot of money and certainly not worth buying for home exercise. They also take up a lot of room making them inefficient in terms of home space use.

Steppers are less strenuous on the joints compared to treadmills and are low impact cardio devices. They are a simple way to lose belly fat to help show your abs.


Choosing a Cardio Exercise Machine to Buy

Some people prefer doing their cardiovascular exercise outdoors, but many people like the convenience and stability of using an indoor cardio machine.

Most of these cardio machines will deliver a good workout at the right setting. Just as important as the exercise machine you’re using is the intensity you’re doing the workouts. The more vigorous the exercise the more calories burned.

At the end of the day, you need to choose the type of workouts that you can reasonably perform on a regular basis. You need to select the equipment that fits your budget, the free space you have and the workout preference you’re looking including things like existing conditions and noise level.