How to Buy Cardio Equipment

Are you a runner or a rower? Find out which piece of cardio equipment best suits your fitness goals.

December 06, 2015

Sometimes, there’s just no place like home … even when it comes to your cardio. With so many options on the market, it may be hard to choose the right one for you. While every machine will help get your heart rate up, they all have their own benefits.

Are you looking for the best full-body cardio machine? Perhaps you want to strengthen your leg muscles with a lower-body cardio workout. Or maybe you’re trying to find the ideal cardio machine for weight loss. Regardless of your goals, this guide can help you find the best cardio equipment for you.


Treadmills are a gym staple. Featuring a moving platform with a conveyor belt, treadmills allow users to run or walk in place. Treadmills are easy to use and allow you to work out at different inclines or speeds. The ability to set a speed helps to keep your heart rate consistent throughout your workout.

The popularity of treadmills is not without reason. Treadmills can be a great training aid for road races. Their versatility also allows for a variety of workouts to keep things fresh.

Treadmills aren't just a top choice for fitness buffs, either. Seen as the best cardio machine to burn calories, treadmills are also a favorite of those hoping to lose weight.

For more information on treadmills, check out our guide on choosing the right treadmill.


The movement of elliptical machines is somewhere between the circular motion of a bike and the flat motion of a treadmill. They can help you simulate stair climbing, walking and running. Like treadmills, you can customize ellipticals to change speed, resistance and general intensity.

Unlike a treadmill, most ellipticals have an upper-body component. This makes ellipticals suitable for those who would prefer more of a full-body workout.

Ellipticals may not provide as an intense of a workout as some of their cardio counterparts. However, they are a low-impact cardio machine that places less stress on the knees and joints.

Looking to buy an elliptical? Read about the five factors that impact the price of an elliptical.


Exercise bikes feature a wide variety of options. As the name suggests, they mimic outdoor biking with pedals and seats. There are three different styles of exercise bikes: upright, recumbent and indoor cycling. This Pro Tips guide on choosing the right exercise bike can help you understand the differences of each.

Exercise bikes help you work on your endurance and strengthen your lower body. Those who want a low-impact workout will benefit most from an exercise bike. Unlike with other cardio machines, the impact of body weight is not a concern. This makes exercise bikes a good choice for those with joint issues. In particular, recumbent bikes are ideal for back problems or pre-existing injuries.


Indoor rowers simulate watercraft rowing. The rowing motion uses your entire body, making it a full-body workout machine. Because of this, many view rowing machines as one of the most effective cardio options.

Rowing machines use your back and arms more than other types of cardio equipment. They also help with coordination and engage core muscles.

Overall, these machines are a good choice for those who want to build both upper- and lower-body strength.


Taking the stairs instead of the elevator is one simple way to help improve your health. But if you don’t have a set of stairs to climb at home, there are machines that can help simulate the motion.

Stair climbers and steppers are a favorite of those who love a good leg workout. Not only do they let you get in your cardio, they help you strengthen and tone your lower body. The upright position of these machines also helps you work on stabilizing your core.

There’s a perfect piece of cardio equipment for everyone. But before making your big cardio purchase, evaluate your goals to find which one is right for you.