Guide to the Best Fitness Equipment for Burning Fat

Which Exercise Equipment Will Burn Calories the Fastest?

You can see some counts of calories burned by different forms of exercise equipment in the table below. What I am going to do first is put into writing what many of you will already intuitively know to be true…

It does not matter much if a particular machine burns calories faster than another if you do not enjoy using it!

Yep, the battle with will power to exercise regularly (and you’ll need to for sustained weight loss) is hard enough. If you choose a machine you like less simply to add another 100 calories per hour then you are almost certainly making your task more difficult. This page covers the pros and cons of different types of fat burning home exercise equipment. Below you’ll info on treadmills, cross trainers (elliplicals), exercise bikes, rowers and steppers.

If you need a hand working out which is the best exercise equipment for you, then try my detailed How to Choose Fitness Equipment article here.

The list below gives approximate calorie counts for the main types of exercise machine. Keep in mind that your body weight and the exact intensity of your workout will affect the real number of calories burned.

Average Calorie Burn Rates for Different Types of Exercise Equipment

  • Treadmill – Light 500 – Intensive 1100 / hour
  • Cross Trainer – Light 500 – Intensive 800
  • Exercise Bike – Light 300 – Intensive 500
  • Rowing Machine – Light 400 – Intensive 600
  • Stepper – Light 400 – Intensive 650

Those calories add up. You only need to add 4 intensive sessions each week and you’ll be into the 2000+ calorie burn on most machines… keep this up for a few months and I’m sure you’ll see the difference.

Calorie burning machines

 

Exercise Machines for Weight Loss #1 – Treadmills

Treadmill Calorie Burn RatesSome people find treadmills on the dull side. For others, these are great machines to use while listening to music or an audio-book! The number of calories you burn per hour will depend on 3 things, your speed, the incline and the type of program you follow.

Walking will not burn through too many calories, though is a great option for those just getting started with losing weight and not wanting to overdo things.

Once you get used to using your treadmill you can up the speed to a jog then a run, and increase the incline (slope) which adds more difficulty and calories burned too. Many treadmills have programs which speed you up and slow you down (some along with incline changes) as you go… these can be useful cardio routines – certainly a more realistic option than a whole hour of sprinting for most people.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Treadmills for Fat Burning


Fat Burning: Pros:
  • Burns between 500 and 1100 calories per hour
  • Easy to do longer sessions
  • Start easy, then add incline / sprints later

Cons:
  • Some people find running dull!
  • Can be noisy at the cheaper end


What Types of Treadmill are Best?

Home treadmills range from around £100 to £1000+. The budget ones can be a little noisy, though they do come with screens and count your calories. For me the ‘sweet spot’ is at around £200 to £250. Here you get a comfortable and quiet machine, with the ability to add incline and an on board computer that has set programs and can monitor your heart rate. You can also find models with entertainment systems and the ability to sync with popular apps.

The table below shows the best-selling treadmills in 3 different price categories. These models are the ‘most popular’ (and among the highest rated by buyers) at amazon.co.uk. You’ll find more detail on this in my Treadmill Reviews article (along with examples).

Sunny Fitness Manual Treadmill Review

Best Selling Manual (No Motor) Treadmill

Sunny Fitness produce this compact manual treadmill. This is popular for older users, and those returning to fitness. 8km / hour top speed, console to track you progress and 1000's of happy customers.

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Fit4Home Healthmate Value Running Machines

Lower Mid-Priced - Fit4Home Healthmate

You get a lot of treadmill for a budget price with this Fit4Home model. The spec includes a 10 km / hr top speed, plus manual incline. Positive feedback suggests great value for the price-point!

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SportsTech F10 Budget Treadmill

Electric Treadmill with German Engineering: Sportstech F10

A solid machine with great feedback and multiple features you only get at a higher price range. Sportstech treadmills are app compatible, with 10km / hour top speed. Great value for money!

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Best Home Treadmill - Mid-Range - JLL S300

Mid-Range Pick - JLL S300 Treadmill

Top level spec including auto-incline and amazing console setup + shock-absorbing surface . This has proven a hugely popular model and I recommend you check the buyer feedback as well as the price!

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T350 digital from JLL

Newest Technology in a Big Mid-Budget Model: The JLL T350

This JLL treadmill is the bridge between the budget and gym-style machines. A big, folding body, cushioned running surface, app compatibility, plus the reliable, smooth action you'd expect from JLL. Check the feedback for this machine now!

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Commercial Level Home Treadmill

Commercial Gym Level - The Amazing Elite Runner Pro

This is not just 'gym style', you'll find these machines in high-end gyms & health clubs. A big machine, pro-level cushioning, amazing console (with full compatibility) and spec that the budget makers can only aspire to. This investment will last you for years!

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Exercise Machines for Weight Loss #2 – Exercise Bikes

Calory Burn Exercise BikesOne big advantage of exercise bikes is that you are sitting down. This makes it possible to watch TV, read or even try some extra arm exercises if you are really keen – all while you are cycling. Bikes are relatively quiet, though do not generally fold away.

Again the intensity of your workout is the key factor in how many calories you burn. This is controlled by a mix of speed (how fast you peddle) and the resistance level (how hard you have to push to turn the peddles). In the gym setting there are group classes with an instructor which add a fun dimension, these are known as Spinning classes.


Fat Burning: Pros:
  • Burns between 300 and 500 calories per hour
  • Perfect for exercising in front of the TV
  • Quieter than many fitness machines

Cons:
  • Lower hourly burn than running / rowing
  • You’ll need a padded / comfy saddle for longer sessions


Exercise Bike Options

You can pick up a very basic bike for £70, these might be enough to give this a try, though by bumping to the £125 to £175 level you’ll get machine which will last you for the long run. Look for adjustability, comfort and a big ‘flywheel’ to keep the resistance of the peddles smooth. You should get a LED display, preset programs and a heart rate monitor, as well as that all-important calorie count. As you go towards £500 you can get some really nice bikes – make sure you have the space for this as well as the budget.

The table below shows the best selling bikes at amazon.co.uk for smaller / middle and bigger budgets. You can see my detailed page for Exercise Bike Reviews – which covers the details of what to expect, and has a lot more options. If you value comfort, consider a ‘Recumbent’ bike. You sit back while you peddle, rather than upright. Another consideration is a padded gel saddle – these make regular indoor biking much easier on the behind!

Best Exercise Bike - Ultrasport F-Bike

Folding Best Seller - UltraSport F-Bike

Hugely popular model from UltraSport which folds away for easy storage. Console, pulse sensors and even an option for getting a backrest with the seat. Check the positive feedback for this category best-seller - now with welcome options / add-ons.

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Budget Upright Home Bike - JLL JF100

Budget Upright Bike - JLL JF100

A solid upright from the popular JLL. This bike gives you 10 resistance levels, a pulse rate monitor and LCD console for a budget price. This UK based fitness equipment maker have a great range of bikes for all budgets.

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Popular Recumbent Home Bike

Sturdy Recumbent Bike - XS Sports B400R

No need to compromise comfort for calories with the B400R from XS Sport. This recumbent has a great spec, comfy seat and hugely positive feedback.

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Solid Mid Budget Spinner Bike

Nero Sports: Spinner Bike with Bluetooth

Group rides from home with this Nero Sports Spinner. It connects to an app via Bluetooth - you will need to provide your own tablet / iPad. Great design and versatile spec.

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Commercial Level Bike, the SX500 from SportsTech

Commerical Gym Level Home Bike - SX500

The dream bike for many people, the Sportstech SX500 has an amazing spec. With German engineering, stunning looks, electronic control for the resistance and KinoMap app compatibility, this is one hell of a bike!

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Floor standing mini bike

Floor Standing Mini Bike from UltraSport

This box with pedals can sit under your desk or by the sofa. You'll get a decent workout, which you can track via the built in LCD display. Can also stand on a table for use with your arms!

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exercise-bike-reviews

Exercise Machines for Weight Loss #3 – Elliptical Cross-Trainers

Cross Trainers are one of the better machines for fat burning. The key is using both the arms and legs at the same time. Again you’ll need to use your cross trainer intensively to get the best burn rates. This means taking longer strides, and also upping the resistance level while you workout.

For many people, ellipticals work better in shorter bursts. You’ll certainly expect to feel it the first time you try and intensive hour on one!

Here are the pros and cons when considering an elliptical for burning that excess fat:


Fat Burning: Pros:
  • Burns between 500 and 800 calories per hour
  • Full-body workout, upper and lower body movements combined
  • Low impact on joints

Cons:
  • Can be harder to do long sessions (best in bursts)
  • Not the best for combining exercise and entertainment


Options for Elliptical Cross Trainers

Elliptical Trainers for burning fatOnce again you will find a huge range of models, with the budget end at under £100 and the higher end more than £500. Some of the key things to look out for are stride length (some basic models have 14 inch or 16 inch strides, which may be short for taller people) – and also whether resistance needs to be changed automatically or is done electronically. On-board computers are a standard feature, though their capability varies a lot. Basic models track strides, time and calories only – while the more advanced ones include monitors, app synching, adjustable programs and entertainment compatibility too.

Other options include machines which double up as Cross Trainers and Exercise Bikes. The table below shows the best-sellers for 3 different budget levels. You can read my individual reviews, or check the buyer feedback for each model for yourself at amazon. You can find out more about the price range and variations available in my Elliptical Trainer Reviews page.

Best Sellintg CT300 from JLL

Category Best Seller: The JLL CT300

I'd put this popular elliptical cross trainer in the 'Budget+' category. It ticks all the right boxes, a decent size, LCD console and smooth resistance at a very reasonable price point.

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X-Fit Cross Trainer from Branx Fitness

Mid Priced Marvel - X-Fit from Branx

More quality from the Branx Fitness range. This super-spec'd cross trainer includes a huge 32lb flywheel, app connectivity and even a USB charger - great quality.

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Commerical Cross Training with the Sportstech LCX800 Elliptical

Commerical Level: The Sportstech LCX800

German engineering meets a commercial grade home elliptical. Connect with KinoMap, and enjoy this big, solid, robust cross trainer from the increasingly well-regarded Sportstech brand.

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Air Walker - From Sunny Health and Fitness

Manual: Sunny Fitness Air Walker

No-frills air walking machine from the Sunny Fitness studio. This budget level model is perfect for those returning to fitness / older users looking for a basic, easy to use unit.

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Best Budget Elliptical Trainer - the JLL CT200

Great Value Budget Elliptical: JLL CT200

The popular entry level model from the UK-based JLL. With solid engineering and top-rated service, this is another example of what JLL does brilliantly.

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Exercise Machines for Weight Loss #4 – Rowing Machines

This type of machine hits the sweet spot for many of us trying to lose some weight. You get to sit down and will give yourself a full body and cardio workout that can vary considerably in intensity.

Rowing can be enjoyed steadily for a reasonably long time – in contrast to ellipticals and steppers, which are better suited to short and intensive bursts. Many rowing machines do not fold away, so make sure you have the floor space available before you buy.

Here are the positives and negatives if you are considering burning those calories with a rowing machine:


Fat Burning: Pros:
  • Burns between 400 and 600 calories per hour
  • Full-body workout, upper and lower body movements combined
  • Great mix of cardio and strength training

Cons:
  • Marmite type of machine: People either love rowing or hate it!
  • Takes up a lot of room compared to bikes / steppers


Different Options for Home Rowing Machines

Along with how solidly built each rowing machine is, the key factor to look out for is the resistance method. The very top end machines (£700 to £1200 range) use ‘water resistance’ which gives an authentic as well as uniform resistance when you row. Mid-range models tend to use magnetic resistance, while the budget end use mechanical resistance. Again, the computer and tracking will also get significantly better the more you invest. Expect to pay $120 for a very basic machine, with some quality products coming in at around £200.

The table below again has the best-selling / popular models in different budget calories. If you are interested in the nitty-gritty, check out my guide to the different types of rowing machine available in this article.

Popular Rowing Machine - the JLL R200

Magnetic Best Seller -JLL R200

JLL set the standard for magnetic rowing machines which get the basics just right. This machine has 10 resistance levels, an LCD console and a ton of positive feedback - a great value pick!

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Best selling air rower - the Vfit Tornado

Air Resistance - The vFit Tornado

A popular model with air resistance. The 'Tornado' has more than just unique looks, it is a category best seller, giving you air breaking at a competitive price point.

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App Compatible Pro Style Rowing

Pro Level / App Compatible - Sportstech RSX500

German engineering, app compatible and enough resistance to keep even the fittest users challenged. The RSX500 sets a high standard at a mid-budget price point.

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Skandia Water Resistance with a unique 45-degree style

A Unique Twist on Water - Skandika Nemo iV

A unique angled water tank allows this water rower to have a smaller profile. You will love the technology, build quality and realistic resistance (complete with water sounds!).

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Best of the Best - Concept 2 Rower

Best of the Best - Concept 2 D with PM5

This is the dream rowing machine for most of us. Concept2 set the standard for clubs / commercial gyms. Their PM5 tech connects with all the popular rowing apps too. An amazing machine which will last for years.

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Super Cheap Alternative from HOMCOM

Cheap Hydraulic Rower - From Homcom

You will get the job done without breaking the bank with this hydraulic model from Homcom. It has a basic monitor to track your strokes, and is easy to move / store.

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Elastic Cord Resistance from Sunny Fitness

Perfect for Older Users - Sunny Elastic

A comfy, stable seat combined with elastic resistance. This budget rower is from Sunny Fitness, who specalise in equipment for older people and those returning to fitness.

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example rowing machine (from Marcy) for calorie burn article

Exercise Machines for Weight Loss #5 – Stepping Machines

I’m going to include both variations of stair climbing exercise machines into one category here. Steppers can be very small. Some floor standing units are only 30cm high and are little more than a frame with a couple of paddles which are your steps. At completely the other end of the spectrum, you will find Stairmills. These are like mini-escalators, which staircases which keep going up for ever!  The price range is huge between these items. With basic steppers £30 and up, and a top-end Stairmill at £10,000+!

In between there are a lot of different models, with many that include arm exercises too. Calorie burn rates of up to 650 per hour can be achieved. What you should keep in mind is that an hour of intensive stepping is a tough ask for many people. These type of machines are much better suited to small and intensive sessions which get your heart rate going. This could be in addition to whatever else you are doing to ensure that you are burning the maximum possible fat.

Here are the pros and cons – this is based on a regular small stepper unit.


Fat Burning: Pros:
  • Burns between 400 and 650 calories per hour
  • Intensive cardio workout, can include bands for arms
  • Smaller machines, easy to store between uses

Cons:
  • Hard to do longer sessions (best in short, sharp bursts)
  • You’ll need to warm up, first few times very hard on the leg muscles


One more table is below, showing the popular options for steppers. As usual you can read all about the different types of stepper and Stairmill in this detailed article.

Best Home Stepper - Budget  - Confidence Twist N Step

Popular Pick - Confidence Fitness Twist N Step

Straight from the best-sellers list. This stepper has elasticated ropes and twists too. Versatile, lightweight and easy to use

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Aerobic Stepper - HomCom

Aerobic Stepper - HomCom 3 Level Step

For use in aerobics classes, this solid step from HomCom has 3 levels and a robust enough build to last and last.

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UltraSport Up Down Stepper

Regular Up-Down Mini-Stepper - UltraSport

No-Frills, no gimmicks, this stepper will simply burn the calories day after day. Another one from the best seller list at amazon.co.uk

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Other Options for Weight Loss

Of course, your exercise machine does not have to be the only way you burn through those calories. In fact some variation is recommended. This can be anything from using a skipping rope (which can be very intensive), running outdoors, swimming, cardio gym workout sessions, weight / strength training or even just walking to the shops or office instead of taking the car more regularly.

Abs belts are always an option. These are best suited to the ‘final mile’, when you have burned the excess fat and would like to see those stomach muscles shining through. You can find out about the science behind these belts, and the different options in my page on do abs toning belts work?

Exercise Machines for Weight Loss – Other Resources

Burning those calories and improving your cardio performance / stimulating your metabolism is only part of the equation when it comes to losing weight. The other important factor is the type of an amount of food that you consume.

If you want to find out more about the different fitness diet options, then check out the Food and Diet section here at Fitness Review. This is not about diet plans or fads, being more focused on general information and guides to help you make informed choices.

To recap: The most important factor in buying exercise equipment to lose weight is to buy those machines you enjoy using the most (or, depending on your outlook dislike the least!). While intensity of use and different calorie counts will go into your decision making process – having a machine that you are happy to use regularly will make a much bigger difference over time.

Update: There is a lot of enthusiasm around for vibration plate exercisers at the moment, with many users reporting fast results for burning fat. This page is already a bit long, so I’ll direct you to the page which compares vibration plate trainers instead.