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 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.
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 table 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 day 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.
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.
Below I have covered the main machines for weight loss in more detail, with information about the different models available in various price brackets.
Exercise Machines for Weight Loss #1 – Treadmills
Some 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.
Treadmill Types: You’ll find more detail on this in my Treadmill Reviews article (along with examples). 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 Homcom model below is one of the most popular at the moment, and for good reasons:
The huge amazon discount (at the time of writing) puts this model into the budget category. Great feedback for this popular basic+ treadmill
Exercise Machines for Weight Loss #2 – Exercise Bikes
One 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.
Exercise Bike Types: 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.
You can see my detailed page for Exercise Bike Reviews, I recommend the York 210, which not only comes from a respected manufacturer – it hits the sweet spot between price and functions perfectly!
York Fitness has a reputation for solid and effective equipment. This attractive mid-range bike hits the sweet spot between price and features.
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!
You can find out more about the price range and variations available in my Elliptical Trainer Reviews page.
Cross Trainer Types: Once 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. Onboard 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.
Mark’s Tip: Save some cash, and vary your workouts at the same time – get yourself a combination cross-trainer / bike – a great (budget) example below:
Budget model with top rated feedback, great for those deciding between a bike and a cross trainer!
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.
You can find out more on the different types of rowing machine available in this article – I have quickly summarized below.
Rowing Machine Types: 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 $100 for a very basic machine, with some quality products coming in at around £200.
Here is a model which will give you the full-body benefits of rowing, at a budget price:
Best selling rower at Amazon and some solid feedback. Combines rowing with other gym functions. Check out the big discount too!
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.
You can read all about the different types of stepper and Stairmill in this detailed article.
Here is the best selling stepper at amazon.co.uk – a very good value way of burning those calories!
Compact floor standing stepper which includes elasticated arm bands. Most popular in its class and great value too.l
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. I’m compiling more information on these at the moment for a full article soon. In the meantime, check out the Crazy Fit Vibration Plate Exerciser review, this one has been getting some excellent buyer feedback.