Comparing Treadmill Vs Stairmaster – Calorie Burn

Going to the gym is finding the proper workout and hopefully burning many calories using as little effort as possible. Achieving the most from minimum effort is an achievement for most people when it comes to workouts. 

If this is your thinking, you must try different equipment until you find one that works for you. When it comes to burning calories, people often prefer the treadmill neglecting the Stairmaster perhaps because of familiarity. 

But there's an endless debate among people who have tried both pieces of equipment, and it's time to settle the difference.

What Burns More Calories, Stairmaster or the Treadmill?

The best thing about both machines is they offer brutal cardio workouts, and you will pay for your time on both through sweat and energy. But they are worlds apart in how they operate, hence giving varied results. 

Let's see how in this head-to-head comparison.

As the name Stairmaster implies, it involves climbing lots of stairs compared to the treadmill, which uses forward movement. Here is where the difference lies. 

The Stairmaster burns more calories than the treadmill when you walk on it, but this changes when you run on the treadmill instead of walking.

What Burns More Calories, Stairmaster or the Treadmill

Which Gym Equipment Burns More Calories? 

There is no definitive answer except that the results vary from one individual to another. The dynamics that make the difference are

● Preference

● Weight

● Age

● Gender

● Height 

● Intensity (form and ability) 

Burning calories requires a higher heart rate, the equipment that delivers a massive heart rate within a short burst wins this contest. Which one is it for you? 

Let's consider statistical data.

According to study analysis, the average calories you can burn within a 30-minute session ranges between 175-265. The average calories for a treadmill 30-minute workout are 100-300. 

The treadmill comes out on top only because of the variety of aerobic exercises you can do with the equipment and the intensity of the workout you are willing to endure. 

The treadmill will always give out a high-calorie burn than the Stairmaster if the workout is consistently intensive because it utilizes most body parts that require effort in movement. The Stairmaster has a limited range of workouts and motion. 

The debate doesn't end here. As earlier suggested, the number of calories burned in a single session depends on the user's preference. Some people get more work done on a Stairmaster than a treadmill because of their form and ability on the equipment. 

Another difference between the two pieces of equipment is you can get more calorie burn Stairmastermaster with less intensity (walking). But walking on a treadmill at the same pace and time doesn't get you close to the number of calories a Stairmaster can burn.

Here, the Stairmaster prevails because, unlike the treadmill, it's not only a cardio machine, as it combines resistance and strength training on your lower body.

Which Gym Equipment Burns More Calories


A treadmill is among the best cardio equipment, and a highly intensive workout beats any workout on the Stairmaster. The logic is simple.

Running is more challenging than going up the stairs. But climbing stairs is more challenging than walking. Many people can climb stairs and walk, but not many can run. 


The treadmill wins again because if you put in an intensive effort, you burn more calories than climbing the stairs. Remember, the higher the heart rate, the faster the calorie burn. 

Impact and injuries

The Stairmaster is a low-impact equipment that offers sufficient calorie burn. The treadmill can't compete on this front. But the downside to using a Stairmaster is that the motion is always vertical, pitting you against gravity with every step you climb.

The repetitive action can lead to overuse of your knees, and the propensity to injuries is immense than walking horizontally on a treadmill. 


Given the same time on both pieces of equipment, the treadmill burns more fat and calories if the workout is intensive and the form and ability of the user are expert levels. But the Stairmaster prevails if you want to add resistance training to your workout schedule.

Climbing the stairs meets more resistance than walking on a flat surface. Even though you can argue that treadmills have incline levels to add resistance, it doesn't give impressive results if the workout is low-impact. 

The Stairmaster also gives your lower body endurance and strength, making it the best option for cross-training workouts than the treadmill. 


Purchasing a StairMaster is more costly than getting a treadmill, making it easy for people to acquire the latter. Treadmills have many brands and are available for as little as $500+ for a quality cardio machine.

Stairmasters are available in many gyms, and if you are a member, you can have a go at the equipment and compare yourself to what gets you the most calorie burn.



● HIIT cardio equipment

● It's safer to run indoors than outdoors (traffic, terrain, etc.)

● It comes with safety features (auto-shut-off)

● You can perform various cardio workouts

● It comes with preset workout programs


● Overuse causes pressure on the lower back and joints

● Limited multitasking options




● It offers low-impact, effective cardio exercise

● Wide range of HIIT intensity workout programs and cardio

● Good for bone density and strengthening

● Potential muscle builder, especially on the lower body


● It might be challenging for first-time users

● It doesn't offer upper-body workouts and stimulation

● The steps are the same size (doesn't consider different user dynamics)



There are many differences between the Stairmaster and the treadmill, yet they are the top go-to calorie burn and cardio gym equipment. While they aim at reducing fat loss and calorie burn, they also have other advantages.

Comparatively, what burns more calories between Stairmaster and treadmill breaks down to user preference. 

While the aim is to understand which equipment gives you the best calorie burn, you should consider incorporating both machines into your training schedule. 

The healthy benefit of using various machines for your workouts is that it limits the chances of having injuries through overuse.

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