If you are looking to spend some money on cardio equipment, you are probably excited. You get to train in the comfort of your home, and you do not have to worry about transitioning to gym training or wearing a face mask.
The problem is, people usually think about three primary options to pick from treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes. Choosing one over the other three can be challenging. To that end, we have put together this post to help you make the right choice.
Before we start, we need to make this a bit more complicated. There is a fourth option to include rowing machines.
Pros and cons of each
Let us dive into the topic of the top four cardio machines that are good for your home workout:
- Stationary bike
- Rowing machine
Not only will these cardio machines give you heart-pumping and sweat-including workout, but they will also help you burn more calories.
An all-time classic of the cardio machines is the treadmill. It is typically used to walk, jog or run forwards. The device is excellent for those who want to go for a run without having to battle outdoor elements. Because there are so many different options for using a treadmill, the calorie burn can be as intense or minimal as you see fit.
Great for: weight loss, cardiovascular endurance
Low impact? No
- You can walk or run indoors
- You get to exercise upright and work on your posture
- It is easy to get started
- It is great for burning lots of calories
- It is more expensive
- It takes up more space and is more difficult to move
- It is loud
- It is higher impact, which means that it can lead to wear and tear on the joints of the lower body
The stationary bike is a trendy choice and an efficient way to become fitter and healthier. It is very convenient, as you can use it anytime you like, no matter the weather, and they are great for weight loss and because they get you moving and burning calories.
Great for: weight loss, full-body workout, low-impact
Low impact? Yes
- There is no learning curve
- It is low-impact, making it great for beginners and overweight folks
- It burns a modest number of calories
- You can train with a variety of intensities
- It mostly works your lower body
- You have to exercise seated
- It can get a bit monotonous
The elliptical machine is another very common one seen in most of the gyms. It is a great weight loss cardio machine that is also low-impact and places less stress on your joints. This is also an excellent option for those who need to ease back into exercise after injury or surgery.
Great for: weight loss, balance, and coordination
Low impact? Yes
- It trains your whole body
- It burns a lot of calories
- You get many features and training programs
- It is low-impact, similar to stationary bikes
- It can be relatively loud
- It is heavier and takes up more space
- Good models are costly
And here we are with the rowing machine, the wild card. It is actually one of the best cardio machines that are good for weight loss. It works in multiple muscle groups and ensures minimal stress on the body due to the seated position. It is also a great option to use the entire body in a workout as it targets more muscles than just the lower body.
Great for: weight loss, full-body workout
Low impact? Yes
- It trains your entire body
- It is fun and engaging
- It does not take much to learn the basic technique and get started
- It is affordable and takes up less space
- Poor technique can lead to back pain
- They can be noisy
- It can get monotonous to row for long periods
Which of the four wins?
Picking one of the four equipment pieces can be challenging, especially if you plan on using it often. After all, you would not want to pick one piece of equipment only to regret it later.
Perhaps a better way to pick one over the other is to look at yourself: What goals do you have? How much money can you spend? What are your primary fitness goals? Even more importantly, which piece of equipment do you enjoy using most? While overlooked, the factor of enjoyability plays a massive role in our overall investment, how much we push ourselves, and how consistent we are with our training.
For example, if ratings suggest that it is best to buy a treadmill, but you find it dull and uninspiring, do you believe it to be the right choice for you? Or what if you have knee issues?
Here are some recommendations to keep in mind:
- Go for the rowing machine if your primary goals are to develop your upper body and get stronger. A rowing machine is also a budget-friendly option that offers more diverse training.
- Go for the elliptical if you want to train your entire body and enjoy doing high-intensity training. The elliptical is also low-impact, making it an excellent option for overweight folks and those with previous injuries.
- Go for the treadmill if you love walking and running as a means of getting fit and burn calories. Also, keep in mind that the treadmill tends to put a bit more stress on your knees and ankles.
- Go for the bike if you are looking for a budget option, and you do not mind doing rather dull training. You can also do HIIT-style workouts on it or sign-up for a Peloton.
I find it very hard to enjoy a treadmill. I instead go for a run outside. The same applies to the bike, where I find myself focusing more on the TV than my workout. However, I like the treadmill and rowing machines and even consider getting one for my home.