Treadmill Vs Stair Master – A brief explanation !

Whether you have a plan to start dieting or to lose weight by burning some calories; you may end up in a gym confused about which cardio machine is better treadmill or stair master, Or you are confused about making a buying decision, since you may want to do cardio at home. Whatever the case may be today in this brief guide I’ll explain which cardio machine is better for burning calories fast.

What is a treadmill?

A moving walkway-like device or machine used for walking or running to burn calories. It consists of a belt and motors which rotate the belt on different speed levels (which you can select from the control panel according to your likings). Advanced treadmills also come with an option to show you other things like how many calories you have burned etc.


What is a Stair Master?

Stair Master

A stair master is something slightly different from a treadmill however, the concept is similar. Instead of a moving walkway, the surface of the stair master is an escalator. It has belts that rotate the stairs, just like an escalator. Also has different speed adjustments and other options similar to the treadmills.

Which is better Treadmill or Stair Master?

When we talk about different gym equipment and machines, each one is different from the other. In this case, it is also the similarity between the treadmill and the stair master. The purpose of both is likewise, however, both the stair master and the treadmill owns their benefits.

When we talk about cardio and fat burning, there is not a lot of research on these topics. This is because machines are not the only thing that will make you lose weight. You’ll have to have a strict balanced diet that matches the fitness goal you are aiming for. However, machines increase the caloric burn rate and also helps in increasing metabolism.

Which one is Better Machine?

Well, both machines help us doing cardio so they don’t have much difference among them but here are some points in which we can differentiate which one is better for that specific type of exercise.

Pick Your Favorite

As I have told you earlier that the functions of both machines are the same. It doesn’t matter whether you are using a treadmill or stair master for your cardio, both will help you in burning fat and calories.

An important thing to remember (most of the trainers also recommend this) is that always pick an exercise (machine) which suits you more.

In case you find it difficult to exercises then choose the one which you find tiring the most. This is because if you go for the exercise that you are comfortable with will not affect you in that way.

How to become a pro?

  • This is all about your brain. All you have to do is train your mind as well. The most important thing is to keep on saying to yourself that you have to do it. Find the workout that you will find a bit difficult. 
  • If you are ready for an exercise of that you have selected then, your mind will train itself and make you more focused on the exercise.
  • This will provide you the desired results and work the same way as you are studying something with full focus and studying something with a lack of focus.

Cardio at Low Intensity

If you are doing a low-intensity workout or cardio then, the stair master is the most suitable option for that. In case the person weighs 160 pounds runs at 3MPH for 10 minutes on a treadmill then he/she will burn 45 calories.

However, if the same person is running at the same speed for 10 minutes on a stair master, then he/she will burn 70 calories. Thus, here the stair master; if you prefer doing cardio at low intensity, it is best to use a stair master because it is better than a treadmill under such circumstances.

cardio workout

Cardio at High Intensity

For working hard with full intensity then the treadmill definitely is going to be better for you. Running on a treadmill at 10Mph burns 687 calories of your body while the stair master will only burn 387 calories of your body.

It is a very huge difference, why is that? So, when you are running fast on the treadmill your whole body is moving from the legs to the arms and the rest of your body parts.

While in the case of stair masters at high speeds, most work is done by your knees due to which creates stress on your knees which might be unfit for you. Thus, fewer calories are burned during high speed in the stair master.

Disadvantages of Stair Master and Treadmill

Stair Master

Stair Master is an amazing cardio machine but it also has some cons. If you possibly have a bad knee then it will be hard for you to exercise on the stair master as it mostly requires your knee in the exercise.

You will also start to have hip and back pain, so avoid using it if any of your lower body is injured. If you are using a staircase for a long period of time at a high speed then, it will affect your knees as well.


Treadmill simply involves running perhaps, running indoors and it is much easier to run on the treadmill as compared to real life. Because there is not much resistance while running on the treadmill.

So, basically, there is not that much harm using the treadmill but if you run on them continuously having a knee or a lower-body injury, you may end up damaging it more.

Shaping Your Body

Many people think that running on a treadmill or on the stair master will help losing fat around the legs but this is not true, it is just a myth. Working out trims and tones the whole body whether you are exercising on machines or without them.

treadmill work out

While using the treadmill and stair master it is recommended to start lifting weights as well so that your full body can work and then you should be able to burn fat around your body.

Try to Use Both

If you really want to lose body fat then I will recommend you to use both of the machines, of course with the proper diet otherwise all of your work will go in vain.

Cross-training among different types of machines and exercise reduces the chances of injuries (as the excess of one exercise can cause injury) and It will keep your body motivated due to differences in exercises.

Results according to the search

A study that was published in the “Journal of American Medical Association” compares 6 different cardio machines. heart rate and the total calories that were burned during the test. They had these six cardio machines.

Treadmill                                                  Air Dine Bike                                    Cycling Bike

Cross-Country Simulator                 Rowing Machine                              Stair Master

The rating was point-based on RPE (Rating of Precise Exertion) which means that the difficulty level was from 11 – 15. 11 was fairly light, 13 was medium and 15 was hard. 

By using this method, they were able to compare all of the intensity levels across the six machines.

The treadmill was on the top of the chart which burns the most calories, then followed by the stair master with a little less calorie burnt.

The cross-country simulator and the rowing machine came at third and at the cycling bike and air dine bike came at the bottom of the chart coming at number four which burnt the least amount of the calories.

So, keeping the above stats in view you can clearly see that the treadmill is more efficient than all of the other six machines in the test.

When you directly compare the treadmill with the cycling machine there is 40% more energy expenditure that means it burns 40% more calories as compared to the cycling machine.


I have briefly explained the benefits, negatives and the working of both the treadmill and stair master. I have also explained the caloric burn rate of both machines. According to the stats, the good quality treadmill is a clear winner for burning calories. 



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This is William Parker, an RV lover, and an adventurer - in short, Beaver Instincts. I am also a professional content creator who knows fairly well how to compare different products, services, and sites. Announcement: Invest in Our Blog to get up to $20K per month in passive income. Email