Peloton vs Elliptical (Weight loss, performance, and safety)


Choosing between peloton and elliptical is tough because you need to take into consideration many aspects like quality, safety, variety of workouts, price, and support. In this article, I will compare a peloton with an elliptical trainer, and help you decide which one is better.

As a whole, the peloton is better than elliptical because it offers not only cardio workouts but also strength and conditioning on-demand classes, which can be streamed from a bike or mobile. However, the elliptical is more affordable and has a lower injury rate.

Keep reading to learn which machines are better based on your fitness level, personal goals, and safety.

Elliptical vs Peloton for Weight Loss

Overall, the peloton is better than elliptical for weight loss because it comes with thousands of on-demand classes that range from cardio, strength, yoga, and even meditation. It also offers several types of cycling workouts that help to train in both aerobic and anaerobic capacity.

What I like about the peloton is it offers a variety of positions including climb, sprint, as well as seated, or out of the saddle. This not only allows to engage different muscle groups but also helps to do harder work easier.

Did you know that using different muscle groups also helps to burns more calories? The sitting position works more quadriceps and helps to increase the cadence, which is beneficial for any sprint and anaerobic work.

On the other hand, being out of the saddle engages more hamstrings, helps to generate more power output and allows for adding more resistance.

Is an elliptical good for losing weight? In general, the elliptical is good for losing weight because you can burn between 350 to 450 calories per hour at a moderate intensity, depending on your body weight. It also has up to 26 resistance levels that can be used in a variety of cardio workouts.

However, keep in mind that the majority of weight loss results won’t come from exercise alone. The most important factors to lose weight are calorie deficit and consistency in exercise.

Factors that influence weight loss

The bottom line is that if you want to lose weight, you should be choosing the machine that you enjoy using and you can see yourself doing it for a long time.

What About The Performance?

Overall, the peloton is better than the elliptical for performance because it offers a variety of workouts that helps to improve build muscle, improve strength, develop power, and enhance recovery. It also has dedicated programs that help with endurance sports.

What I love about the peloton is it has also a built-in power meter that records your FTP, which then you can use as an intensity metric to track your performance progress.

One thing is for sure: the large variety of workouts on the peloton also keeps it more interesting. This way you can pick and choose any workout that fits your current performance goals.

Some of the classes available on the peloton app include:

  • strength
  • pilates
  • yoga
  • outdoor running
  • cardio
  • meditation
  • bootcamp

Learn more: Click here to read more about “peloton cardio classes“.

The elliptical has less variety than the peloton because it doesn’t offer any additional classes and doesn’t allow tracking the detailed metrics after each class like progression charts, power zones, heart rate, or even position on the leaderboard.

Can elliptical help you run faster? Overall, the elliptical can help you run faster because most ellipticals have built-in workout programs that include HIIT, fartlek, or steady-state training. This helps to improve speed, as well as stamina for long-distance runs because it trains around your lactate threshold.

Overall, the peloton is better than elliptical for people who are looking for a machine that helps train for a certain sports event, build lean body mass, or supplement their existing workout.

The elliptical only allows you to do cardio, and it doesn’t offer any strength classes.

To learn more about the range of peloton weight training classes, check out my article “does peloton build muscle” here.

Peloton vs Elliptical for Calories

Comparing the peloton with the elliptical for calories is tough because you would need to match the intensity and duration of the exercise.

What burns more calories elliptical or peloton? As a whole, both peloton bike and elliptical burn the same amount of calories, as long as the intensity is equal. Both machines use the same power meter to convert watts into the metabolic equivalent (METs), which then calculates the energy expenditure in form of calories.

Below you can see the table with Peloton bike and conversion from watts to METs to calories.

Peloton bikeMETsKcal
30 – 50 watts (light effort)3.5251
51 – 89 watts (light to moderate effort)4.8344
90 – 100 watts (moderate to vigorous effort)6.8487
101 – 160 watts (vigorous effort)8.8630
161 – 200 watts (vigorous effort)11787
201 – 270 watts (very vigorous effort)141002
Calories burned in the peloton (Ainsworth 2011)

The peloton bike always displays the watts and automatically calculates the calories based on how hard you exercise and the output you provide.

In the next table, you can see the same conversion from effort level to calories for the elliptical machine.

EllipticalMETsKcal
Resistance level 2 (light effort)4.6329
Resistance level 5 (moderate effort)4.9351
Resistance level 8 (vigorous effort)5.7408
Calories burned in elliptical (Ainsworth 2011)

As you can see, the number also corresponds with power output.

In other words, if your power output is around 100 watts, regardless if you’re on the elliptical or bike, you will burn the same amount of calories.

So both machines work and they both can significantly add to your energy expenditure.

Are elliptical calories burned accurate? As a whole, the elliptical calories burned aren’t accurate. Most ellipticals use the built-in calorie formula based on the watts output, body weight, age, and gender. However, this formula doesn’t take into consideration the lean body mass which influences the metabolic rate during the exercise.

Please remember that using METs and watts as a way to estimate calories comes with many limitations and is not accurate. To learn more about how this works, check out my article “are peloton calories accurate” here.

Peloton vs Elliptical for Convenience

The difference between peloton bike and elliptical is that elliptical is more intuitive and easier to use. The elliptical has a larger pedal platform area which gives better stability and support. Also, there is no need for adjustments and you don’t have to wear any specialized footwear.

On the other hand, the peloton bike requires adjustment in seat height and depth to ensure a comfortable ride. This can be problematic, especially if more than one person is gonna use the machine.

Also, adjusting your peloton seat is important to prevent any pressure on the knees and to reduce excessive lumbar flexion.

What I love about the elliptical is that you don’t have any of those issues. You can hop on and start training immediately. You can also get off the machine anytime, without the need to unclip from the pedals.

What About Safety?

In general, the elliptical is safer to use than the peloton bike because it doesn’t require any additional changes in the seat and handlebar position. It is also a low-impact exercise, which is good for people with mobility problems, lower back pain, or back knees.

Elliptical has vertical handlebars that can be used for additional support, as well as moving vertical handlebars that add resistance to the workout.

I also find that many people complain about an uncomfortable seat on the peloton bike, which requires shopping for additional accessories like seat cushions.

Which is better for seniors peloton or elliptical? As a whole, the elliptical is better than the peloton for seniors because it has a large footprint, is easier to set up, and doesn’t require any changes in position. It also provides a low-impact full-body workout with multiple handle positions.

Peloton Quality vs Elliptical

When looking at the quality machine you want something in between the price and durability. You don’t want to spend a fortune on the gym equipment, but you also don’t want anything that feels cheap and mediocre.

Is peloton better quality than elliptical? As a whole, the peloton does have better quality than most of the ellipticals because it’s made of steel, rather than plastic. It has a well-designed frame that offers quiet and fluid pedal motion with magnetic and digital resistance.

However, many elliptical brands like Precor, TechnoGym, or LifeFitness also offer high-end equipment that is not only durable but also offers great customer service.

I think the quality of ellipticals comes with the price. You can indeed find some brands that sell ellipticals for under $200, but those machines don’t have the best durability and quality.

What About Price?

As a whole, the price for peloton and elliptical is similar, which is in the range between $2,000 to $3,000. However, the peloton also comes with a monthly subscription for access to on-demand and live-stream classes, as well as leaderboard and metrics.

Here you can have a look at the price comparison between the peloton and some popular elliptical machines.

MachinePrice
Peloton Bike$1,495
Peloton Bike Plus$2,495
NordicTrack FS10i FreeStride Trainer $2,499
Sole E35 Elliptical$2,799
Cybex Arc Trainer$7,995
Matrix E30 Elliptical$2,099
Precor EFX222$2,799
ProForm Carbon EX Elliptical$999
Peloton vs elliptical price

What If You Already Have an Elliptical?

If you already own an elliptical trainer you can combine it with the peloton digital app. Many ellipticals have a built-in tablet holder, which allows you to mount your tablet and stream any of the peloton classes.

To learn more about the “best peloton rides for elliptical“, check out my article here.

Conclusion

As you can see, both peloton and elliptical are effective cardio machines that help to burn calories and improve fitness. I think that peloton gives more value for money, thanks to the extra features like FTP, power motor, and selection of thousands of classes.

However, for people who have mobility problems and just want to train at a low-impact pace, I think that the elliptical is a better choice.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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