Exercise Machine

Elliptical vs Bike: Which Cardio Equipment Should You Get?

Both the elliptical and exercise bikes have been cardio staples for years. Exercising in one of these exercise equipment can go a long way to a healthier lifestyle.

Ellipticals and exercise bikes are good additions to any home gym, as both can tone down lower muscles and improve overall cardio, whichever you choose.

The only problem for most people trying to take on a healthier lifestyle is choosing the right cardio equipment.

Worry not, as we’ve already settled the elliptical vs bike debate to know which equipment is right for you! Check it out down below.

Elliptical: An Overview

Elliptical Overview


  • Elliptical engages different upper body muscle groups
  • Amazing fat-burning exercise machine with lots of fitness benefits
  • It has features that get your upper body involved
  • It offers a great cardio workout at home
  • It puts less stress on your joints
  • Burns more calories if you want to lose weight fast


  • Low-impact cardio workout
  • Significantly expensive than other cardio machines
  • It requires more space and is quite heavy
  • It can take a while before you get used to the machine
  • It may result in hip and back pain if used incorrectly

An elliptical machine is a cardio equipment commonly referred to as a cross-trainer. If you’re interested in buying the best elliptical machine, you can click here for more information!

It is meant to replicate stair-climbing, walking, and running movements without being too strenuous on the joints.

Although an elliptical machine is considered low-impact cardio workout equipment, it’s a perfect tool for burning calories while putting less pressure on the joints.

In addition, most elliptical works by placing your feet on the pedals and putting your hands on the handles while using these body parts to move simultaneously, creating a full-body workout.

An elliptical trainer has a significantly pricier cost than your traditional recumbent bike. Most users often prefer stationary bikes for their fitness goals because it’s cheaper and they can start immediately.

Elliptical machines can also be adjusted depending on the user’s fitness level, which is great if you want to achieve your fitness goals fast.Lastly, elliptical trainers take up more space than stationary bikes, usually around 50 to 80 inches long.

Bike: An Overview

Bike Overview


  • Targets core muscles and different muscle groups
  • Burn calories more than an elliptical machine
  • Great when combined with high-intensity interval training programs
  • It doesn’t take too long to learn using this type of machine
  • Exercise bikes are affordable and come in different designs and features


  • It doesn’t target upper body muscles
  • Users should have improved strength around the leg muscles to achieve fitness goals
  • It may trigger knee, should, and back problems if used incorrectly
  • It puts too much stress on the joint areas

A stationary bike, often known as an exercise bike, is a type of fitness equipment that mimics the movements of your traditional moving bike.

Using this fitness equipment works the same way as a bike; you will lock your feet onto the pedals, grab the handle, and make a pedaling motion where it feels like you are riding a bicycle outdoors.

One argument about the elliptical versus bike debate is that stationary bikes are significantly cheaper than elliptical machines.

A stationary bike offers varied workouts great for targeting lower body muscles.

In addition, there are different types of stationary bikes, such as air, upright, recumbent, and foldable.

In addition, you can also adjust a stationary bike depending on your need.

You can adjust the bike seat height, wear padded bike shorts for added comfort, or increase resistance levels for greater workout intensity.A stationary bike is a great addition to your exercise routine as it targets the lower body muscle groups while boosting cardiovascular endurance.

Elliptical vs Bike: Head-to-Head Comparison

Elliptical vs Bike

Along with the pros and cons of the elliptical vs bike, it is important to consider a few things that may influence your decision to choose one machine over the other.

Elliptical vs Bike: Calories Burned

If you want to know which exercise machine burns more calories, below is an explanation of calories burned between an elliptical and a bike.

If a 170-pound person uses an elliptical trainer off the pedals, they can burn around 390 to 410 calories in half an hour.

On the other hand, if the same 170-pound person uses an exercise bike for 30-mins while maintaining speeds of 13 to 15 miles per hour, that 170-pound person will only burn 300 calories.

As a result, using an elliptical machine to burn fat is a superior choice to an exercise bike. However, these numbers will not mean a thing if the intensity varies from your workout.

WINNER: Elliptical Machine

Elliptical vs Bike: Ease of Use

If you are new to fitness and are trying to figure out which cardio machine is the best for you, it would be best to try a cardio machine that would be easier for you to use.

That’s because if you are having a hard time exercising with exercise equipment, chances are, you will struggle for the first few weeks and will ultimately give up on your fitness goals.

A certified personal trainer will often tell you to go for exercise equipment that will make your life easier, and it’s why they would often recommend using a stationary bike or exercise bike.

Most users will find an exercise bike easy to use as it mimics the cycling movement, which most people have done in their lives, especially in their youth.

On the other hand, using elliptical machines may take some time before users can get used to the motion.

If you are new to these exercise machines, I recommend using a stationary bike rather than an elliptical machine. It will give you something to settle for until you are ready to take on an elliptical.

WINNER: Stationary Bike

Elliptical vs Bike: Price

Stationary bikes and elliptical machines are priced competitively, and you will most likely spend a few hundred dollars trying to buy one.

Exercise equipment will mostly be priced around $500 to $3,000, depending on the features, brand, quality, and many more.

However, we don’t recommend buying cheap machines as they don’t provide the best possible experience in your fitness journey.

Exercise bikes cost you around $80 to $400, while most elliptical machines cost around $200 to $2,000.

The only problem with a cheap elliptical is it will only take you a few months or years if you’re lucky to use it before it deteriorates.

Most trainers recommend investing more in this machine, not below $1,000, to get the best possible experience from an elliptical.

On the other hand, a $400 stationary bike is already a better investment than a $400 elliptical machine. If we were to choose, for personal preference, we recommend buying an exercise bike if you’re just a beginner.

WINNER: Stationary Bike

Elliptical vs Bike: Space Required

An elliptical machine may take up more space than an exercise bike.

For comparison, an elliptical requires a space of around 5 to 9 feet on most models, whereas an exercise bike will require only 4 to 7 feet.

Also, elliptical machines are wider and bulkier, so users who don’t have the space for their home gym might find an exercise bike an ideal choice.

WINNER: Stationary Bike

Elliptical vs. Bike: Comfort

You want something comfortable when you are working out, and it’s been the calling card of most elliptical machines; it provides comfort during your lower body workout or even in your intense workout.

The glides are smooth, the gliding encourages a comfortable motion, and the handles relieve your upper body.

On the other hand, working out on a stationary bike is too strenuous; burning calories in the process puts too much stress on the joints and back areas of the body.

If comfort is your main priority while working out, we highly recommend using ellipticals rather than exercise bikes.

WINNER: Elliptical Machine

What Are Alternatives to the Elliptical Machine and Exercise Bike?

Alternative Machines

Both the elliptical and exercise bike are great tools to add to your cardiovascular exercise routines.

However, there are still alternatives if you are not sold on choosing between the two.


Regarding elliptical and exercise bike alternatives, treadmills easily come to mind. It’s effective, easy to use, and is often found in most gyms.

While an elliptical only targets a few lower body muscles, it’s by far one of the best HIIT machines around, and you can use several of its features to make your workout even more entertaining.

A treadmill is one of the better alternatives if you don’t like exercise bikes or ellipticals.

However, they are relatively pricier than most exercise bikes but share the same price point as most ellipticals.

Rowing Machine

Another fantastic alternative of the two is a rowing machine. While rowing machines provide a low-impact workout, like what most ellipticals target, it’s a great machine to add to your home gym as it greatly saves space.

It’s also a comfortable cardio machine to work out that also burns calories, as most ellipticals do.

One great feature about rowing machines is they are HIIT compatible, which means you can adjust the pace and resistance and row harder.

Adjusting the resistance level means turning your low-intensity workout into a high-intensity workout with just a few pushes of a button.

Stair Climber

Stair climbers are another great alternative to ellipticals and exercise bikes. You might find this machine dedicated to the job if you mainly target your quads.

After a few minutes on the stair climber, you’ll feel that intensity burning in your quadriceps and gluteus maximus.

This machine focuses more on your quads and glutes, which makes it a great alternative to both machines. The only downside of this particular machine is that your upper body is left out.

Also, this cardio machine puts too much stress on your knees. So, if you are starting, we highly advise opting out of this one for good measure and safety.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have additional questions regarding elliptical and stationary bike comparisons, you might find them below.

What Burns More Belly Fat, Elliptical or Bike?

As we’ve mentioned, a 170-pound person will burn calories more efficiently using an elliptical than a stationary bike, which burns more body fat.

Cardio machines such as exercise bikes and ellipticals are great tools for trimming body weight. But if your primary goal is weight loss, ellipticals are the best choice.

Why Do My Knees Hurt When I Use the Elliptical?

Besides the elliptical motion, the stride length also determines why your knees hurt when using the elliptical trainer.

The stride length is the distance between the pedals when they are the farthest from each other.

If you put in an incorrect stride length, it can be an uncomfortable experience working out because the position of your legs will throw you off, making unnatural strides.

As a result, it puts more stress on your knees and hips as you stride. To address this issue, you should always refer to the manual to know the appropriate stride length for your height.

Why Is the Elliptical So Tiring?

One of the reasons why an elliptical is so tiring is because it’s an intense full-body workout.

Unlike running on different machines, an elliptical machine works by involving your upper and lower bodies, which means you burn more calories as you expend more energy.

The handles on most elliptical trainers add in upper body work when trying to sync with the legs, whereas stationary bikes will only require you to grab the handles with no motions or movements.

Is an Elliptical Better Exercise than a Stationary Bike?

It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. However, an elliptical trainer is a great choice for burning more calories and reducing weight.

On the other hand, a stationary bike would be a good exercise if you are targeting your lower body section, as this type of machine engages it more.

The only downside of a stationary bike is it gets boring, which means your exercise won’t give you the excitement and motivation to do your daily routines.

How to Choose the Right Type of Exercise Bike?

There are three types of exercise bikes, namely, recumbent bikes, upright bikes, and dual-action bikes.

To know which exercise bike is best fitted, we recommend trying different seats and saddle heights to know which ones are comfortable.

To know whether it suits your home space, you must also take down its dimensions and size. If you have issues regarding your back, an air bike is not a good option as it doesn’t feature any backrest.

Pick something with a backrest so your back has something to lie on.

Another feature you would want in your exercise bike is an adjustable handlebar and resistance levels to give you added variations in your workout that will depend on the intensity of your workout.

What Are Some Safety Tips I Should Consider When Using These Cardio Machines?

Using either the exercise or elliptical machines can be grueling and exhausting from the start. Using these machines will also require you to have proper posture.

If you feel fatigued in your muscles or hip areas, we highly recommend resting for a few days to avoid re-aggravating the muscle strain or injury.

It’s better to rest a couple of days than push yourself to the limit and injure yourself. Lastly, stretch before using these machines to prepare your body for the workout.

Final Verdict: Which One Is Better for You?

There’s no denying both elliptical machines and exercise bikes are great for cardiovascular health.

However, if you want to trim down your options on which ones to choose, here are scenarios in which one is better than the other.

Choose a Stationary Bike If:

  • You want to target your lower muscles
  • You don’t have the budget for ellipticals
  • You want to start your fitness journey right away
  • You don’t have enough space for an elliptical machine

Choose an Elliptical Machine If:

  • You have the space and money for it
  • Your primary goal is weight loss, and you want to burn calories efficiently
  • You want to target your upper and lower body muscles