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).

Best Home Treadmill - Budget  - HomCom Motorised

Budget Rec - HomCom Motorised Treadmill

Popular model, with an equally huge amazon.co.uk discount bringing it from mid-range to budget - has incline + music compatibility. 10km / hr top speed.

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Best Home Treadmill - Mid-Range - JLL S300

Mid-Range Rec - JLL S300 Home Treadmill

Top level spec including auto-incline and amazing console setup + shock-absorbing surface - another with a big amazon.co.uk discount.

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Best Home Treadmill - Upper End - Nordic Track Elite 2500

Top-End Rec - Nordic Track Elite 2500

Nordic Track are famous for their high-quality, top-end machines. This super stylish 22km / hr commerical treadmill is an excellent example - a beautifully put together machine!

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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 Budget 1 - Ultrasport F-Bike

Budget Top Pick - 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 mode!

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Budget Bike #2 - Olympic Foldable

Budget Rec #2 - Olympic 2000 Foldable

Ideal budget bike for those pushed for space. This folds for easy storage. Even at this low price you'll get a display for speed, calories, distance and time - solid buyer feedback too.

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Mid Price Range York Perform Exercise Bike

Mid-Range Rec #1 - York Perform 210

York Fitness have a very solid reputation and this mid-price range bike is a sturdy and fully featured model. Expect touch-button resistance and ergonomic design.

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Jll IC300 Mid Range Bike #2

Mid-Range Rec #2 - JLL IC300 Spinner

Stunning looks (more of a spinning bike than a regular upright). It is the amazon.co.uk discount which brings this fully-featured bike into the mid-price range - 18kg flywheel for a super-smooth ride

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upper price range #1 - JTX Cyclo 6 Exercise Bike

Upper-End Rec #1- JTX Cyclo 6

An amazing bike with stylish 'spinner' good looks and a true gym spec. Features 22kg flywheel and 'infinite' resistance.

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upper price #2 - the classic Nordic Track U60

Upper-End Rec #2 - Nordic Track U60 Bike

This model is a classic. You get Nordic Track quality, with classic good looks and a spec to match all but the grand+ models. You'll be surprised how affordable Nordic Track can be!

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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 Budget Cross Trainer - VFit MCCT1

Budget Pick - vFit Cross Trainer + Bike

Best of both worlds with this stylish cross trainer which can also be used as an exercise bike - good discount (at the time of writing!) too.

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Best Mid-Range Cross Trainer - BodyMax E60

Mid-Range Pick - BodyMax E60 Elliptical

This is as smooth and robust as many upper-end ellipticals, with a mid-range price tag making it excellent value. Check out the user feedback for this model!

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Upper End Cross Trainer - JTX Strider

Upper-End Pick - JTX Strider

An amazing machine which would not be out of place in a commercial gym, has a big touch screen console with plenty of options too.

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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.

Best Home Rowing Machine - Body Sculpture B1000

Budget Rec - Body Sculpture B1000

Hugely popular model, this is aimed at beginners looking for a simple rower without all the extras. Cheap price, with a BIG discount at the time of writing!!

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Marcy Regatta Rowing Machine Mid Range Red

Mid-Range Rec - Marcy Regatta

Great looking folding model from the gym specialists Marcy, this is robust as you'd expect, though you might not expect such a long list of features!

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BodyMax Infiniti

Upper End Rec - BodyMax Infiniti B100 Rower

Touch button resistance, amazing console and super-smooth. This is gym-spec kit for your home, big discount (at the time of writing) too!

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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.