Which is Better: Treadmill or Exercise Bike?

The treadmill and exercise bike are the most common and popular cardiovascular exercise equipment. Both are excellent ways to get aerobic training in fitness studios, commercial gyms, and home workouts. This makes them ideal for indoor exercises when outdoor exercises seem inconvenient.

However, depending on your fitness level, goals, and lifestyle, one of these machines may suit your needs better than the other. Here’s everything you need to know about treadmills and exercise bikes to help you decide which one suits your fitness routine the best.

What is a treadmill?

A treadmill is a stationary cardio machine on which you can jog, walk, or run indoors. Some treadmills come with adjustable inclines and speeds to vary your workout and simulate a hill with a simple button press. Whether you’re a runner or a fitness enthusiast, a treadmill offers tons of benefits that increase your workout efficiency.

Treadmills usually come with handles on both sides of the running deck. Although most treadmills are motorized, manual options are gaining popularity daily. Nonmotorized treadmills generally have a slightly curved surface that needs you to move the running belt yourself to achieve the desired speed.

Both manual and motorized treadmills allow you to train the gait patterns of running and walking.

What is an exercise bike?

An exercise bike comes with pedals and a seat that mimics a cycling activity. This machine helps you find different types of workouts that target specific training goals. The popularity of these bikes has grown over the last few years, driven in part by the aging population looking for lower-impact exercises.

For instance, spin bikes resemble standard road bikes, making it easier to improve your skills from indoor training to actual road cycling. A reclining exercise bike has a wide and comfortable seat with the pedals positioned more forward. This shifts your weight more on the seat and less on the pedals.

Which is better

For weight loss

A treadmill is good for belly fat loss, muscle toning, heart-strengthening, and muscle toning. Running on a treadmill is a high-impact exercise that works best on your lower body.

Conversely, the exercise bike provides more workouts for the calves, glutes, and thighs. This exercise equipment is good for weight loss, muscle toning, increasing lung capacity, and strengthening the heart. Therefore, an exercise bike will help you lose weight easily.

For tracking progress

A treadmill is a great option for tracking your workout progress. The main advantage of exercising on a treadmill is that it’s easy to use and has tons of programs to enhance your workouts. Since modern treadmills come with the latest workout features, they’re great machines for monitoring your progress and storing your data. A treadmill allows you to track the distance covered, pace, time, and calories burned.

For the budget

The cost of an exercise bike varies widely and depends on the features it comes with. Although you can find some models for around $200, higher-end models can cost up to 1000 dollars. Some exercise bikes come with a monthly subscription fee that allows you to unlock classes and features that the machine offers.

However, treadmills are more expensive than exercise bikes. Bikes can cost around 200 to 800 dollars, while treadmills can cost you $200 to $2,500. Additionally, a treadmill is more likely to demand more servicing than an exercise bike. Therefore, keeping up with the maintenance may cost you additional money in the long run.

For race training

A treadmill is probably a worthy investment if you’re training for a race. If you’re into triathlon, both machines are good. However, if you just want to stay fit without stressing your knees and feet, an exercise bike is a better option.

To strengthen your legs

Riding a stationary bike can help strengthen your lower body and legs, especially when using a higher resistance. The pedaling action helps strengthen your hamstrings, calves, and quadriceps. On the other hand, running or walking on a treadmill can strengthen your leg muscles using the incline range. Running on various inclines will also engage your quads, calves, glutes, and core.

For full-body workout

A treadmill is undeniably a great cardio workout equipment that helps strengthen your bones, lose belly fat, tone your body, and strengthen heart muscles. Although it primarily works on your knees and other joints, it has good upper body benefits.

Which is Better: Treadmill or Exercise Bike?

On the other hand, a stationary bike works on your calves, glutes, and thighs. It is good for losing weight, toning muscles, increasing lung capacity, and strengthening heart muscles. However, an exercise bike doesn’t have many upper-body benefits. For a full-body workout, the treadmill carries the day.

For burning more calories

Burning calories is the main reason why most people do cardio. When comparing calories burn between the two machines, you need to consider the duration and intensity of your training. Treadmills burn more calories compared to exercise bikes. HIIT training will burn more calories than cycling or steady-pace running.


Ultimately, the machine you choose depends on your goals or injuries. Although a treadmill or exercise bike are great fitness equipments, they won’t have much effect if you don’t use it regularly. However, always choose the easiest, most convenient device that will suit your fitness level and goals