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This essential piece of cardio equipment has been around for almost 40 years. Sometimes referred to as a "stair stepper" , these machines are a refreshing alternative to treadmills and exercise bikes while still delivering an excellent workout. Depending on your current level of fitness, your age and weight, and the resistance level you choose, you could burn a whopping 500 calories in just 30 minutes!
What kind of stair climber or stepper is right for you? There are several equipment styles to choose from. The one you see most often at fitness centers is called a "stairmill" : picture a rotating staircase that you climb almost like an escalator at the mall. The intensity of your workout is determined by the speed you set. These machines tend to be very large and can take up a lot of space in your home, but they offer the advantage of being extremely sturdy and often have a higher user weight capacity than other types of stair climbers.
Sunday, January 23rd
Bowflex gives you a great stair workout, access to live coaching, and an impressive selection of features in their two climber models - for less than $2,000. You'll have a generous 6-week return policy to decide if you love it as much as everyone else does. These stair climbers have all of the features to make this the first place you shop for your gym equipment. Bowflex is our winner among stair steppers.
NordicTrack gives you stair steppers with maximum versatility: their two models can be used with a foot path like a treadmill, elliptical, or climber, and one of them even gives you options for decline and incline. You'll also get a 1-year free membership to iFit, with live trainer-led and on-demand workouts to keep you progressing. Although NordicTrack machines have a higher price tag than our top company, they're still one of our favorite choices for stair climbers.
XTERRA only carries one style of stair climber, but it's unique: it's seated like a recumbent bike, while incorporating upper body handles like an elliptical machine! This is the perfect option if you need to exercise while sitting down or if you have problems with your knees, back, or balance. XTERRA offers the RSX1500 with free shipping and generous warranty coverage, and we encourage you to give this equipment a look if you need a slightly different approach to stair stepping.
You're practically guaranteed an amazing workout if you use a StairMaster. The original name in stairmills and stair steppers, this brand still has a lot to offer, from better-than-average warranty coverage to sturdy machines that will last you a very long time. They have a price tag to match, though, and if you're looking for all of the latest tech you might find more of it elsewhere - for less money.
Technogym brings a touch of European class to the stair climber arena with its fully-featured Artis Climb. It boasts some attractive features, from the footrests and no-pinch steps to ample tech capabilities. Worth the $13k price tag? Maybe, but the company gets mixed reviews and there's not a lot of customer feedback on the Climb.
Sunny sells a lot of super-small stair steppers: compact enough to keep under your desk or bed, and only a few with upper handles to grasp while exercising. You won't find anything here for more than $170 - if the one you want is actually in stock. The company gets an "A+" from the BBB and their exercise equipment earns 5-star reviews from customers, but their selection might not be as hardcore as some people need for their home gyms.
MaxiClimber offers an all-body workout system for under $400. These low-tech, space-saving machines are a good option and get lots of positive customer reviews. On the downside, the company has a not-so-great rating from the BBB, and repair requests are slow to be fulfilled during the limited one-year warranty period. Buyer beware as always, but MaxiClimber might be an option if you're on a budget.
SOLE Fitness' CC81 Cardio Climber gives you an all-body workout with adjustable handlebars to pull or push while you step. This machine is pretty low-tech despite a $1,600 price tag, and there's not much feedback on its performance. The company itself has a low rating from the BBB and doesn't do a good job delivering on the promised warranty coverage, putting SOLE towards the bottom of our rankings.
The stair steppers you'll find most commonly in home use have pedals that you push up and down. As you increase the resistance in the pedals, your workout gets more challenging. There's a lot of variety within this type of stair machine too: you'll see full-body options that make it feel more like mountain climbing or using an elliptical machine, as well as super-compact designs that can be stored under a desk or bed.
Because stair climbers use a different motion pattern than walking or biking, there can be an adjustment period as you get comfortable with your new equipment. You can hang onto the handrails at first, to get your balance and become familiar with the machine, but eventually try to climb without them. You'll get a better workout! Also, remember to push with your whole foot and not just the ball of the foot, unless you want a calf-focused session. Finally, make sure that your shoes are firmly tied: you don't want your laces to get wrapped around the pedals or caught in the stairmill!
Which stair climber is right for you? There are so many options that it might be easy to feel overwhelmed. Keep these criteria in mind as you shop, and you'll soon find the one that's the best fit:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the top stair climbers on the market today. We're confident that this information will help you narrow down the options until you find the perfect addition to your home gym!
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