This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links it means we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More

Stepper Vs. Treadmill: Where Do They Differ?

If you are looking for more equipment to upgrade your home gym, then a stepper or a treadmill is one of the best choices. Both of them are amazing for cardio and can help you burn calories and improve your health.

Perhaps you are wondering which one of these is better, the stepper or the treadmill? In this article, you will be able to get an answer to this question and more.

Key Takeaways


  • Both the stepper and treadmill train the lower-body muscles, but the stepper puts more pressure on the glutes and quadriceps.
  •  You can burn more calories with the treadmill.
  • The stepper can help you improve balance.
  • Both these machines improve cardiovascular health.
  • Some disadvantages of the stepper are it only trains lower-body muscles and risk of sprains.
  • Some disadvantages of the treadmill are its big size and loudness

Stepper vs treadmill – How do they differ?

Both the stepper and treadmills are similar equipment, but naturally, there are differences between them.

The key differences are in the way they function, the options and variety they provide, how they build muscle, and the number of calories you can burn. For more details, keep on reading.

Also Read: Ceiling Height For Treadmill

Function: Stepper and Treadmill

A stepper is a machine that offers two platforms on which the user can stand and move their legs as if walking upstairs to keep up with the work of the machine.

On the other hand, the treadmill offers a moving belt on which the user can run or walk in place as if walking or running outside.

Both the stepper and treadmill train the muscles in the lower body, but generally the stepper puts more pressure on the quadriceps and glutes than the treadmill which can result in these muscles being stronger and bigger in size.

Calories burn: Stepper and Treadmill

The amount of calories you burn depends mostly on the intensity of the exercise, time spent on the stepper or the treadmill, and other factors such as metabolism, weight, and age.

In general, doing cardio on a stepper can help you burn around 180-250 calories per 30 minutes. This is if you are doing it at a moderate intensity and pace. If you step up the intensity you could get more calories burned and lose weight if that is your goal.

But as the treadmill can help you burn around 130 calories in 10 minutes of running, it is clear that if you want a higher number of calories burned it is easier to achieve this with a treadmill.

Benefits of the stepper: Stepper and Treadmill

For beginners or just anyone, a stepper is a great machine that is very easy to use. You already know how to go up the stairs, and here you are just doing it with a machine.

The stepper is also especially beneficial and helpful for improvements in balance and coordination. You are required to use stabilizer muscles which is the reason why your balance gets better.

If your goal is to build strength in the muscles of your legs and glutes, the stepper is really suitable for that. It works as a cross-training type of exercise as well because it works the same muscles as walking and running but in a different way.

Besides building mass and strength in your leg muscles, the steppers bring benefits to your core muscles as well because to do exercise on the stepper you are in a standing position so you need to keep balance.

The stepper comes as an alternative to running so it is also a good choice for someone who is dealing with various leg injuries. This is due to the fact that it is a low-impact workout and doesn’t cause too much stress on the joints.

But if you are dealing with a knee injury you should be really cautious when using it as it may do some harm and bring pressure to the knees.

Since the stepper is great for cardio, it also strengthens the heart and lungs and improves cardiovascular health and overall well-being.

Benefits of the treadmill: Stepper and Treadmill

As we have already mentioned, the treadmill is amazing and a high-calorie burner so it is really useful if you want to lose weight.

There is a variety of workouts you can do on the treadmill based on your preference and fitness goals. In comparison, the stepper doesn’t offer much variety and resistance adjustment.

A treadmill is a running machine that can help you stay in shape as it is convenient and very easy to use. It is worth knowing that you are in control of the speed, incline, time, and distance.

Basically, you can adjust it based on what you need and what goals you want to achieve. Most treadmills also provide trackers of heart rate and calories burned to keep you informed.

Besides there being benefits to physical health including the cardiovascular system, there are also benefits to mental health as activity can boost your mood.

If you don’t like running outside or the weather conditions are bad, the treadmill is a perfect choice. Also, it puts less stress on the joints than running on concrete because the treadmills offer cushioning and shock absorption. This way they lessen the impact.

As we mentioned, there are a variety of workouts you can do and a lot of treadmills also offer pre-programmed content to improve your experience. You can do HIIT, long-distance running, and if there is a decline option you could even mimic going up and down hills.

Cons of the stepper and treadmill

The stepper can be tough on the knees and if overused it may even lead to injury, which can be a deal breaker for people who have this kind of issue. It is also tough on the back if you use it wrongly and if you don’t have a proper posture. Because of this sprains could occur. That’s why it is important to be cautious.

Also, keep in mind that the stepper only trains the lower-body muscles so the upper body doesn’t get much with this machine unlike with the treadmill where your arms are also used.

When it comes to the treadmill, many people are worried about its size as it is large and requires a good amount of space. But for that reason, there are compact options.

Also, you are required to keep good maintenance of it in terms of repairs and things such as belt-tightening when needed.

Another disadvantage could be the sound that comes from the motor as there are some treadmills that can be loud and are not suitable for shared spaces.

Also Read: Benefits of Running After 50

Final verdict

What your choice should be between the stepper and treadmill depends on your fitness goals and preferences.

A stepper would be better for someone who likes low-impact workouts, cross-training, and strengthening lower-body muscles.

While a treadmill would be the better choice for runners who love to have the option to train at home, or people who want to burn more calories.

Personally, I would go with the treadmill because of its variety, function, and all the benefits it can provide. Choose based on your needs, but don’t be worried as you definitely cannot go wrong no matter what you choose.