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The Best Stair Climbers

Where Can You Buy the Best Stair Climbers?

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.

Tuesday, May 30th

2023 Stair Climber Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Bowflex Review 5 Star Rating


5 Star Rating
  • Cost: From $1,699 to $1,999
  • Affordably priced
  • Good warranty coverage
  • Built-in touchscreen or bring-your-own device
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 6-week return policy
  • 6-month JRNY membership included
  • Free shipping
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Bowflex isn't just for strength training. You may remember their commercials for all-in-one resistance-based home machines, but the company has grown to include much more over the last 30+ years. They offer two different Max Trainer stair climbers that will get your heart pumping and make you stronger.

Worth the money to upgrade

So, what's the difference between the M6 (priced at $1699) and the M9 (priced at $1999)? There are several that are worth noting. First, the M9 comes with a 10" touchscreen, while the M6 has a regular LCD display. You get a 6-month subscription to Bowflex's on-demand and live workout platform, JRNY, with both machines - but you'll have to use your own phone or tablet to follow along if you buy the M6. Your equipment can also be set up for multiple users: just two with the M6 but unlimited with the M9. Other features with the M9 include a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate armband, 4 extra resistance levels, Bluetooth speakers, and an extra year on the warranty coverage. Worth the extra $300? We think so!

Free shipping, 6-week return policy

Shipping is free no matter which model you buy. You'll also get a better satisfaction guarantee and return period than most stair climbers: 6 weeks to decide, and no restocking fees.

Best Stair Climbers

Equipment overview:

  • Price Range: $1,699 - $1,999
  • Different Models: 2
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 16-20, depending on model
  • Maximum User Weight: 300 lbs.
  • Live/on-demand classes available: Yes
  • Return Policy: 6 weeks, no restocking fees
  • Warranty: 2-3 years, depending on model
  • Shipping: Free

Worth the money to upgrade

So, what's the difference between the M6 (priced at $1,699) and the M9 (priced at $1,999)? There are several that are worth noting. First, the M9 comes with a 10" touchscreen, while the M6 has a regular LCD display. You get a 6-month subscription to Bowflex's on-demand and live workout platform, JRNY, with both machines - but you'll have to use your own phone or tablet to follow along if you buy the M6. Your equipment can also be set up for multiple users: just two with the M6 but unlimited with the M9. Other features with the M9 include a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate armband, 4 extra resistance levels, Bluetooth speakers, and an extra year on the warranty coverage. Worth the extra $300? We think so!

Free shipping, 6-week return policy

Shipping is free no matter which model you buy. You'll also get a better satisfaction guarantee and return period than most stair climbers: 6 weeks to decide, and no restocking fees.

Company has good reputation

Bowflex's parent company, Nautilus, has a decent "A-" rating from the Better Business Bureau. There were more than 150 complaints filed with the BBB in the year leading up to this review, but they're spread out over the entire brand family. That includes not just Bowflex and Nautilus, but also Schwinn, Universal, and Direct Focus. Most commonly, the negative reviews refer to problems with delivery, which is often a third-party service not controlled by Nautilus.

Great feedback on Max Trainers

What's more important is the customer feedback specifically on the Max Trainers. Over 87 reviews on the M9, 100% would recommend the stair climber to a friend and 74 of them were a perfect 5-star rating. It's always reassuring to read comments from people who have used the machine for a month or more - and to see active responses from Bowflex reps. Users say that both Max Trainers are fairly easy to assemble, and they're quiet while in operation (unless you're cheering yourself on or cursing as you climb a really high incline). The most popular features are the live workouts and the adaptive nature of the machines, learning your stats as you progress and recommending routines suited to your current fitness level.

Fantastic value for the money

Bowflex's stair climbers are the best all-around value among the competition. There's no other option out there that gives you access to live coached workouts on reliable, fully-featured machines - for under $2,000. Bowflex's Max Trainers easily earn our first-place ranking.

NordicTrack Review 4.5 Star Rating


4.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: From $2,499 to $3,299
  • Foot path can be like a treadmill, elliptical or stepper
  • Lots of on-demand and live workouts
  • Live incline and resistance control
  • 1 model with incline and decline capabilities
  • 1 year complimentary iFit membership
  • "A+ rated by the BBB

NordicTrack is one of the top names in home fitness equipment, from treadmills to exercise bikes and beyond. Their stair climbers include two models, both of which give you a full-body workout (if you want!). NordicTrack's FreeStride options let you choose your foot motion - treadmill, elliptical, or stepper - offering the most versatility found in a stair climber machine.

More money = more features

The FS10i is priced at $2,499, and theFS14i comes in at $3,499. How are the two machines different? You'll get a slightly larger touchscreen on the more expensive model (10" vs. 14" ), digital resistance levels increase from 24 to 26, and you get the option of moving on a decline as well as an incline. Whether or not that's worth the extra $1,000 is a matter of preference.

Tons of workout options - including live

One of the most attractive features of NordicTrack stair steppers is the iFit membership, complimentary for the first year after purchase. Not only can you access a huge variety of both on-demand and live coached workouts, but the live sessions let your trainer automatically adjust your incline and resistance to simulate real-world terrain. That should make it a lot harder to get bored with your exercise routine! And, if that's not enough, your iFit subscription also lets you stream yoga, cross-training, strength training, and plenty of other non-stepper workouts.

Best Stair Climbers

Equipment overview:

  • Price Range: $2,499 - $3,299
  • Different Models: 2
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 24-26, depending on model
  • Maximum User Weight: 375 lbs.
  • Live/on-demand classes available: Yes
  • Return Policy: 30 days, $250 return shipping charge
  • Warranty: 10 year frame, 2 year parts, 1 year labor
  • Shipping: $199

Costly delivery, look for discount

Both machines come with a delivery fee of $199. You might be able to offset those shipping costs with a promotional discount. As we browsed the site, we got a pop-up offer of $25 off an order of at least $399 if we signed up for NordicTrack's mailing list.

"A+" with the BBB

NordicTrack has a really solid track record for customer service. Owned by Icon Health and Fitness, who has an "A+" from the Better Business Bureau, the company does a praiseworthy job of responding to customer problems. We've always been impressed with how quickly we can reach live help using NordicTrack's online chat when we have questions about their products.

Praise from customers on machines and workouts

Better yet, customer feedback post-purchase is impressive on both stair climber models at NordicTrack. We encourage you to read them for yourself: the reviews on the machines and on the iFit workouts. People say that the quality of the equipment is fantastic and well-engineered; our favorite heading is "perfect for even a perfectionist" . Workout reviews describe them as having great intervals, motivating coaches, and "a great climb for the backside" .

You can't go wrong with a NordicTrack stair climber

The only reason NordicTrack didn't capture our first-place finish in the stair climber category is their price point. While we think these two steppers offer a lot of value for the money, our top pick has many of the same features for significantly less cash. Other than that, you can buy either of the NordicTrack FreeStride trainers with confidence. You're going to get an amazing workout - and probably have a ton of fun doing it! NordicTrack is one of our most recommended brands for stair climbers.

XTERRA Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating
  • Cost: $1,099.99
  • Unique recumbent stepper design
  • Free shipping
  • Lifetime frame/brake warranty

If you want the seated style of a recumbent exercise bike with the motion of a stair climber, XTERRA has you covered. Their RSX1500 is the only equipment we found that gives you that kind of workout.

Good all-body workout for every user

Almost everyone can use the RSX1500: it's got a height range up to 6'2" and a user weight capacity up to 300 lbs. It's also a great option if you want to get an upper body workout at the same time: the machine has hand grips with machine arms that you push back and forth at the same time as your feet.

Low-tech display

While the console isn't the fanciest you'll ever see, it gives you a decent range of workouts to choose from on a 5.6" display besides the regular manual setting. You can choose among 13 preset programs and have up to 4 user profiles, and because the machine has a heart rate transmitter and hand pulse sensors, you can also use several heart rate-focused programs for your exercise. There aren't any live or on-demand fitness classes that come with the RSX1500, but the accessory tray makes it easy to prop up your own tablet or phone and watch anything you like.

Best Stair Climbers

Equipment overview:

  • Price: $1,099.99
  • Different Models: 1
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 24
  • Maximum User Weight: 300 lbs.
  • Live/on-demand classes available: No
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame/brake, 3 years on parts, 1 year on labor
  • Shipping: Free

Excellent warranty, free shipping

This machine comes with one of the best warranties in the industry: lifetime on the frame and brake, three years on parts, and a year on labor. It comes with free shipping, as well as a 30-day return policy.

US-based customer service

XTERRA doesn't have as much feedback as some of the other stair climber brands we evaluated. There's no listing at the BBB, most likely because XTERRA is part of a larger brand family owned by Dyaco International. Other brands in their portfolio include Spirit Fitness and SOLE, who you'll also see in our reviews. The good news is that, despite being headquartered in Taiwan, Dyaco offers XTERRA shoppers a US-based customer service experience out of Arkansas with help available during typical business hours.

Good but limited user feedback

Also, the customer reviews for the recumbent stair stepper are somewhat limited but almost universally positive. A few customers have had challenges with the assembly or with parts making noise, but the majority say that the RSX1500 delivers the workout it promises and is especially good for people with back, knee, or balance issues.

Great for recumbent stepping

XTERRA's seated stepper is a good mid-range option among stair climbers: not the most or the least expensive, and with just enough features to keep you on track with your fitness goals. And, for those who need a seated workout, the RSX1500 may be the only option among stair machines! You'll find a wider range of options with some of XTERRA's rivals, but you shouldn't have any qualms about this particular machine if you like the way that it works.

StairMaster Review 4 Star Rating


4 Star Rating
  • Cost: From $3,799 to $12,999
  • Many models to choose from
  • Longer-than-average warranty coverage
  • Higher-than-average user weight capacity on some models
  • Most recognized brand in the industry

StairMaster is the original stair climber brand. When the fitness craze exploded in the 1980s, StairMaster made its debut as the ultimate workout - first with the rotating stair design and then with push pedals. Every other stair machine you see got its origins in this brand!

Old favorite with new tricks

Have StairMaster stair climbers withstood the test of time? For the most part, absolutely. You still get a lot to choose from, including their traditional stepmills and steppers. Plus, StairMaster continues to innovate, introducing new ways of working out. Their appropriately-named Gauntlet models have OverDrive Training Mode that lets you simulate a sled push or farmer's carry, as well as a Landmark Challenge program for ascending famous places like the Taj Mahal and the Statue of Liberty.

Sturdy, large machines

StairMaster stair climbers are extremely sturdy, just like what you'd use at a fitness center near you. They also have a fairly large footprint: you'll need a decent amount of floor space and ceiling clearance to use these machines at home. That sturdiness also gives you a higher user weight limit than most stair climbers: depending on the machine, the capacity is anywhere from 300 to 400 lbs.

Best Stair Climbers

Equipment overview:

  • Price Range: $3,799 - $12,999
  • Different Models: 12
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 20-25, depending on model
  • Maximum User Weight: 300-400 lbs., depending on model
  • Live/on-demand classes available: No
  • Return Policy: 31 days, customer pays return shipping
  • Warranty: 10-15 years frame/parts, 1-5 years labor, depending on model
  • Shipping: Depends on delivery zip code (approx. $120-$160)

Generous warranty coverage

You also get a more generous warranty with StairMaster steppers. While there are some slight differences between models, you can expect around 10-15 years of coverage on the frame and parts and 1-5 years on labor costs.

Offered by "A+" company

These StairMasters are sold by Fitness Factory. It's a store you can trust: they're accredited and "A+" rated by the Better Business Bureau, with over three decades in operation. The company offers a 31-day return policy (but you're on the hook for return shipping fees on your Stairmaster), and there's no free shipping here. Expect to pay around $120-$160, depending on where you're having your equipment delivered.

Not the best value for the money

What's the downside? StairMaster stair climbers are expensive: a lot more so than many of their rivals' machines. Their lowest-priced model, the StepMill 3, comes in at $3,799. It has a pretty basic LCD monitor, doesn't connect with your phone or fitness tracker (though you can wear a Polar chest strap for heart rate monitoring), and you have to weigh at least 125 to use it. For that money, you could get a much more tech-loaded machine from several competitor stair climber brands.

The highest end machine

And that's not even talking about StairMaster's highest-end machine, the 10G Gauntlet with 15" embedded touchscreen. Sure, it's commercial-rated and can take a lot of abuse, it comes with Bluetooth connectivity and HDMI streaming with an HDMI cable, plus those connections to Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch you might want. But, with the $12,999 you'd spend on this machine, you could buy a stair climber AND a treadmill AND a weight set somewhere else.

Reliable machines, but get more elsewhere

There's no question that StairMaster makes high-quality, reliable stair climbers; it's practically a given. Their warranty coverage is terrific, their performance is solid, and you get access to some amazing workout programs. Is it the best value for your money? Only you can determine that, but it's worth recognizing how much further your dollars might go with another brand.

Technogym Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: $13,340
  • Courtesy step for easy start/finish
  • Lateral footrests
  • ToeSmart design
  • Video instruction
  • Built-in wireless charger
  • Smartwatch-ready
  • Free shipping

Technogym equipment is a whole mood. They've been an official supplier to the Olympics from Sydney 2000 to Tokyo 2021, created and manufactured Italy, and offer comprehensive interior design services to make sure your stair climber melds perfectly with your decor. (Fancy!)

3 steps always available

In the stair climber realm, Technogym has one model: the Artis Climb. Designed to be easy for beginners and challenging for advanced athletes, this machine has some advanced features we didn't see anywhere else. To start, there are always three steps on the climber at any moment, so if your drill requires you to skip a step or do some other exercise, you've got the ability to do that safely.

Extra safety features

Speaking of safety, the Climb also has lateral footrests. Need a quick break and don't want to hit the stop button? Working a single leg exercise? Want to fiddle with the console? You got it. Technogym also gives you a "courtesy step" : at start and finish, the step goes as low as 10" from the floor for easy on and off. And, for even more protection, the Climb's "ToeSmart" design lets you use the whole surface of the steps without the possibility of pinching your toes between steps - no matter how big or small your shoes are.

Best Stair Climbers

Equipment overview:

  • Price: $13,340
  • Different Models: 1
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 24-165 steps per minute
  • Maximum User Weight: 180kg (397 lbs.)
  • Live/on-demand classes available: No
  • Return Policy: 15 days, customer pays return shipping costs plus 25% restocking fee
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Shipping: Free

All the tech you'd want for $13k

There's no shortage of tech features with the Artis Climb either. How about a built-in wireless charger for your phone and smartwatch capabilities for syncing up with your Galaxy or Apple Watch? The Climb also has a generously-sized screen to display workout videos, virtual trails that let you "climb" Mont Blanc or Norwegian fjords, or binge your favorite Hulu series to distract yourself from all the hard work you're doing. This machine has the extras you would expect (or even require) when you're paying over $13,000 to get it.

Return period and warranty not long enough

If the price tag alone were our only hesitation, the Artis Climb would have gotten a higher ranking: it's an amazing machine, with some features that you won't get with another stair climber on the market, and if money isn't an issue then why not have the best of the best? But, for such an expensive piece of equipment, the warranty coverage is way too short at just two years. The return policy is abbreviated too: you have just 15 days, plus you pay all of the return shipping expenses and a 25% restocking fee to boot.

Mixed reviews on company's reputation

Technogym's reputation is another factor. On the one hand, the Better Business Bureau gives the company a perfect "A+" and there were no complaints registered there. Pretty solid so far, right? Unfortunately, we found negative customer reviews in other places that said customer service wasn't very good after the sale, and that the quality of Technogym machines wasn't what they expected given the price paid.

Need more positive feedback before spending big

Those comments rarely relate to the Artis Climb, though - and it's worth pointing out that Technogym gets effusive praise from happy customers too. "Delivered as promised" , "excellent quality" , and "best decision" are just a few compliments received by the company. We'd love to see verified customer reviews on the Climb itself, right on the product page: it would go a long way towards demonstrating that the machine is worth the investment of over $13k. We hope to see that in the future, so that Technogym can move higher in our rankings.

Sunny Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: From $59.99 to $169
  • Space-saving models
  • Very budget-friendly
  • Positive customer feedback
  • "A+" rated by the BBB
  • Free shipping over $99

Sunny Health & Fitness distributes and imports wellness products around the world. Their inventory includes treadmills and exercise bikes in addition to stair climbers.

Steppers you can store under your bed

Sunny sells 11 different models of stair steppers, but only three with handles you grip while exercising. All of the rest simply have pedals that you push: they're so small that you could easily slip the steppers under your desk or bed for storage. A few of their designs have resistance bands built in, to give you the option for upper body exercises as well. These are the least expensive stair steppers in our review, with prices between $60 and $169.

Pay attention to shipping fees

Sunny offers free shipping on all orders over $99. If you're buying one of their stair steppers that's under that threshold, expect pretty steep shipping fees: on the lowest-priced model ($59.99), our FedEx Ground delivery fee was $20.16.

Best Stair Climbers

Equipment overview:

  • Price Range: $59.99 - $169
  • Different Models: 11
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 1-12, depending on model
  • Maximum User Weight: 220 to 250 lbs., depending on model
  • Live/on-demand classes available: No
  • Return Policy: 30 days, unused and unopened only
  • Warranty: 1 year frame, 180 days parts
  • Shipping: Free on orders over $99

Popular with customers

Customers have good things to say about their Sunny steppers. Their most popular model is the Twist Stepper with a handlebar and LCD monitor. Out of 54 reviews from buyers, 45 of them gave the equipment a perfect five-star rating. It's described as sturdy, lightweight and effective, giving a great workout.

Too many out-of-stock products

However, availability may be an issue. At the time of our most recent evaluation, there were only four models in stock and ready for shipping. None of the machines with handles were included, limiting us to just the small steppers.

Lower user weight capacity

There are a few other aspects of Sunny stair steppers that keep them from earning a higher place in our rankings. The weight capacity on their equipment is lower than average: depending on the one you select, you could have a maximum of just 220 lbs. That could eliminate many people who are hoping to use a stepper to lose weight.

Limited returns and warranty

Another downside is the very limited return policy and warranty. You can only return your Sunny product in unused condition and with an unopened box: no "try it out for a while and send it back" possible here. Your stepper only comes with a 1-year warranty.

Good rating from the BBB

We're glad that Sunny gets an "A+" from the Better Business Bureau. It's true that there were just over 150 complaints registered there in the year leading up to our evaluation, but Sunny's representatives responded appropriately to each one. Most of them were related to delays in getting replacement parts, and we didn't spot any that specifically referred to the stair steppers sold here.

Decent choice for super-basic stair climbers

Sunny stair steppers are a pretty good option if space or money are limited and you just want a basic way to move your feet. You'll get a decent workout with not many bells and whistles, but that's just the thing for a lot of people - especially beginners.

MaxiClimber Review 3 Star Rating


3 Star Rating
  • Cost: From $199 to $399
  • All-body workout
  • Space-saving design
  • Under $400
  • On-demand workouts via app
  • Free shipping

MaxiClimber is a vertical stair system that integrates weight resistance and aerobic exercise in an all-body workout. There are two models to choose from: the Classic and the XL.

2 steppers under $400

What are the differences between the two models? The Classic is priced at $199 and only offers one level of resistance, while the XL has a 12-level hydraulic resistance system. The Classic has a user weight capacity of just 240 lbs, but the XL goes up to 300 lbs. For those extra features, you'll pay a little more: $399 was the price on the XL at the time of this evaluation.

Not many tech gadgets here

Most stair climbers at this price point have zero tech features. MaxiClimber only offers one: an app that works like a fitness coach on demand. You can access classes on your own device - but you'll probably have to prop it up somewhere else, because we didn't see any room for a tablet holder or accessory rack on either machine. There isn't even an LCD display on the MaxiClimber, no way to track your heart rate or see your current resistance level, and so on. The Classic model has a calorie and step counter, but that's about it.

Best Stair Climbers

Equipment overview:

  • Price Range: $199- $399
  • Different Models: 2
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 1-12, depending on model
  • Maximum User Weight: 240 or 300 lbs., depending on model
  • Live/on-demand classes available: Yes
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Shipping: Free

Poor BBB rating

You're also not going to be impressed by MaxiClimber's reputation: an "F" grade from the Better Business Bureau, largely due to customer complaints about delayed shipping, problems getting repairs and parts covered under warranty, and overall poor service.

Positive feedback from verified buyers

On the other hand, the two stair climbers offered by MaxiClimber do surprisingly well in customer feedback. We were pleasantly surprised to read through verified reviews (complete with in-home candid photos!) that call this "the best machine" , "a real workout" , and "more bang for your buck" . That part is definitely true: you're spending less than $500 no matter which of the two models you choose, giving you a lot for your money if your MaxiClimber works properly.

Not a bad option for the money

Because the company seems to be responding to customer complaints and handling issues better recently, we give them a three-star rating. MaxiClimber stair steppers are some of the more affordably-priced available, making it less risky to give the equipment a try. But, caveat emptor still applies - so don't be overly surprised if you have some challenges with customer service if you need a replacement part or warranty repair.

SOLE Fitness Review 2 Star Rating

SOLE Fitness

2 Star Rating
  • Cost: $1,599.99
  • 20 levels of resistance
  • 30-day return policy
  • Lifetime warranty on frame
  • Free shipping

SOLE Fitness offers one stair climber, the CC81. It provides a full-body workout using not just the step pedals but also adjustable handlebars that can be incorporated into the exercise as desired.

Not enough features for the money

Even though the Cardio Climber is priced at $1,599.99, it doesn't have as many features as we expected. For example, the resistance is controlled through a knob dial, not electronically via the LCD display or on the handlebars. The machine also has the ability to display your heart rate, but you'll have to provide the chest strap to do so - and it doesn't integrate with, well, anything. No Bluetooth connection and speakers for playing music, no pairing with your Apple Watch or Fitbit, nothing. About the only perk is the tablet holder, letting you prop up your device and use it while you work out.

Watch the weight capacity

We found conflicting information on the SOLE site about this machine's user weight capacity: in one place it said up to 400 lbs but in another it was only 330. That's probably not going to be an issue either way for most people purchasing a stair climber, but we encourage prospective customers to reach out to the company for clarification prior to purchase if necessary.

Best Stair Climbers

Equipment overview:

  • Price: $1,599.99
  • Different Models: 1
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 20
  • Maximum User Weight: 330 or 400 lbs.
  • Live/on-demand classes available: No
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: Lifetime on frame, 5 years on electronics/parts, 2 years on labor
  • Shipping: Free

Lots of complaints filed with the BBB

A big downside for us is SOLE Fitness' reputation. The company has an "F" with the Better Business Bureau, which is rarely something we can overlook. There were plenty of customer complaints registered there, and most of them described significant issues with SOLE's customer service post-purchase. While we are glad that this stair climber comes with a decent warranty, that won't do users any good if they can't actually get service when something stops working - and that's what the vast majority of SOLE's complaints say.

Choose a stair climber from a better brand

Our rating might be different if we could find praise specifically for the CC81 Cardio Climber. Unfortunately, SOLE doesn't let shoppers know what buyers think of their home fitness equipment. We found just over a dozen user reviews of this stepper on third-party sites, but that's not enough for us to be able to recommend buying it - especially with such a disappointing pattern of poor customer service from SOLE. We think you'll have a better overall experience with a stair climber from another retailer.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

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:

  • Price. What's your budget? How much will you pay for your stair stepper and any accessories you might want (like a floor mat to go underneath the machine)? Is delivery included?
  • Available Space. Where do you plan on using your stair climber? Do you have enough floor space and ceiling clearance for the machine you're considering?
  • Fitness Goals. The more features your stair stepper has, the greater variety you can incorporate into your workout routines. A simple machine is fine if you just need a basic cardio workout, but you should consider equipment with more resistance levels if you're trying to improve your endurance and strength over time.
  • Return Policy. If you don't love your stair climber once you get it set up, can you send it back? How long do you have to decide? Is there a restocking fee and/or return shipping costs to consider?
  • Reputation. What do people say about the stair climber? Is it durable? Did customers have a good experience with the customer service aspect of their purchase? Has the BBB given the retailer a good rating?

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!

The Best Stair Climbers Compare Stair Climbers Compare Stair Climber Reviews What are the best Stair Climbers Best Stair Climber Reviews

Stair Climber FAQ

A stair climber is a type of exercise equipment that uses either a rotating series of steps or pedals pushed up and down - imitating the motion you'd make when going up a staircase. The "stairmill" option is most commonly found in gyms and health clubs, while the pedal variety can be seen both in fitness centers and in home use.
Stair climbers are low-impact, delivering an intense workout that is gentler on the joints than running on a treadmill. It also doesn't have to be either-or: if you like to mix up your workouts and target different muscle groups, alternating between using a treadmill and a stair climber is a great option.
That will depend on the stair climber you choose. Most models have clearly-listed dimensions for both floor space and ceiling height requirements, so be sure to look at them carefully and map out the space in your home before making your purchase.
You can get a good-quality stair climber for just under $1,000. If you want a high-end model exactly like what you've seen at your local gym, expect a price tag upwards of $10,000.
The more resistance levels your stair climber has, the greater variety you'll be able to get in your workouts. If you have people of multiple heights who will use the machine - for example, maybe you're 4'11" and your roommate is 6'5" - you might want to choose a model with adjustable stride lengths. From there, you should consider how much tech you want it to have, like Bluetooth connectivity with fitness apps or heart rate monitoring through hand grips and/or a chest strap.
Most stair climber manufacturers aren't quite there yet. However, at least one company offers a separate membership to an online platform where you can get live workouts, exercise in real time with a friend, or stream videos to make your workout routine more interesting.
That depends on the manufacturer's policy. Some offer no returns at all, while others may give you 4-6 weeks to try it out. You may also have to pay restocking fees if you return your stair climber.
Yes. Most stair climbers have warranty coverage on the frame and welds, parts, and labor. The timeframes vary: you might get a lifetime warranty on the frame with one manufacturer, while another only covers the frame for three years. Read the warranty coverage and terms carefully before you buy a stair climber.

Are Stair Climbers Good Exercise?

While you can create your own workouts that you do with just your body, embracing exercise machines can make your workouts much more effective. Instead of relying on the staircase in your home, for example, you may want to use a stair climber. Stair climbers have been around for many years and are also known as a stair stepper, step machine, and step mill.

A stair workout machine has revolving steps that allow you to walk in place. The steps rotate at the speed and duration you set. If you're wondering whether incorporating stair climbers into your workout plans is worth the effort, below are a list of several benefits.

Here are 9 good reasons to start using stair climbers today.

1. Burn calories

If you're struggling with weight, climbing up on the stair stepper can be an effective and efficient way to lose those extra pounds and keep them off. Doing this kind of cardiovascular work increases your metabolic rate, torching more calories during activity and at rest.

According to a research study published by the Harvard Medical School, a 30-minute stair-climbing session burns about 180 to 260 calories.

Keep in mind that your weight and exercising intensity affect the number of calories you burn. Stair climbers with a high body weight tend to lose more calories. The quicker you climb, the higher the number of calories you burn.

Counting calories when using a stair climber is a lot easier nowadays, as most modern machines feature a calorie-counting calculator.

2. Improve aerobic capacity

Aerobic exercises like climbing stairs are good for increased cardio endurance. The workouts train your heart and lungs to pump more blood to the muscles and organs more efficiently.

In other words, they improve the maximum amount of oxygen ( VO2Max) delivered to your bloodstream. With more oxygen supply, you're likely to exercise for extended periods, even at high intensity, to burn maximum calories.

Findings from one study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism show that stair-climbing at short intervals can help boost cardio health.

3. Tone lower-body muscles

A stair climber engages the largest muscle groups in the body, including:

  • Core muscles. As you start stair-climbing, maintaining an upright position wouldn't be a challenge. But several minutes into your workout, you may start feeling like slouching over.
    That's because the exercise recruits the muscles in the lower back, pelvis, hips, and abdomen. Strengthening your core muscles helps boost your power, support better posture, improve balance, reduce or prevent back pain, and more.
    So next time you get on the stair stepper machine, make sure you stay upright throughout the workout duration for an effective core engagement.
  • Glutes. Stair climbers also work your glutes (muscles of the buttocks). This group of muscles assist in propulsion when running, walking, and jumping.
    Stronger glutes keep your pelvis properly aligned, creating stability and better support for your lower back. They can also increase your power and athletic performance, even in heavy lifting.
  • Quadriceps. Quads consist of muscles that cover the front of your thigh. They are one of the group muscles that exemplify power and strength. Quads are critical in your everyday movements (walking, running, standing, sitting, or jumping).
    By strengthening and toning them, you will improve your balance and stability to avoid injury. Also, your overall athletic performance will change for the better.
  • Hamstrings. These are muscles in the back of the thigh. Their work is to control the knee flexion, helping the legs, hips, and back function smoothly. They are always involved in any movement that requires the knee to bend. Incorporating stair-climbing into your exercising regime is a great way to ensure these muscles remain strong and flexible.
  • Calves. Calves work in harmony with your hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. The calf muscles get recruited each time you lift or move your leg to take a step on the stair climber.
    Besides playing a critical role in walking, running, and jumping, stronger calves enable you to maintain proper balance whenever you're standing.

In summary, a stair climber workout forces the four muscles to fire at the same time, actively engaging and stabilizing your lower body. By repeatedly recruiting these muscles to support your body weight, you facilitate their sculpting and toning.

4. Keep your bones strong and healthy

When you take steps on a stair stepper, you're essentially forcing your body to work against the force of gravity and rise vertically. This type of weight-bearing exercise subjects you to patterns of motion that can increase your bone density.

Having strong and healthy bones helps reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis as your bones undergo normal aging changes. If you are already diagnosed with osteoporosis, this low-impact knee strengthening exercise can also help manage the pain.

5. Less strain on your joints

With a stair climber, you only need to climb. Someone using a staircase to exercise is a little disadvantaged because they have to walk down. Unfortunately, moving down the stairs usually puts more significant weight and stress on the knee joints.

6. A versatile piece of workout equipment

Everyone can reap benefits, regardless of their level of fitness. That's because stair climbers allow you to adjust settings as needed to get the most out of your training. Exercising on a stair climber is not all about playing with the speed and workout duration. Otherwise, that would prove somewhat boring after some time.

The good news is that most stair stepper machines come with built-in programs to help you make your workouts more creative. For example, you'll find stair climbers with computer screens, enabling you to select from several well-known landmarks. Such a feature makes exercising appear like you're moving up actual structures.

Even without the additional programs, there are several ways to make your stair-climbing workout more challenging and rewarding, including:

  • Wearing a weighted vest
  • Performing side steps
  • Skipping steps
  • Doing sumo steps
  • Adding leg kicks

What's more, you can combine stair climbing with other workouts for a killer exercising regime. In line with that, you may consider switching up your climb with a circuit workout and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

7. User-friendly

While you'll find many variations of the stair climber, there's nothing technical for you to learn or master before you start using them. Anyone who has climbed stairs before can use the machine without supervision, except those experiencing mobility problems.

Operating the machine is very intuitive. It functions the same way as the real staircase, only that you're required to set the speed at which you want it to move. A stair stepper produces natural movements. So, expect it to be impact-free.

First-time stair climber users are advised to start slow to avoid exhausting muscles so quickly. You can begin with 5 to 10 minutes at a moderate pace. Then, adjust the speed, workout time, and intervals depending on how your body responds.

8. Release endorphins

Stair climbers are a good exercise because they make your pituitary gland and central nervous system release endorphins. These are feel-good chemicals or mood boosters.

Endorphins trigger a positive feeling, resulting in overall reduced stress levels. Of course, you'll feel exhausted once you've completed your workouts. But the high endorphin levels will make you feel so good afterward.

9. Improve your overall health and live longer

Any workout plan that includes aerobic exercise and strength training is good for your overall health. Regular steps on stair climbers can help reduce the risk of life-threatening health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

The 2019 Harvard Alumni Health Study, which involved 8,874 senior men, highlighted a lower risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in men that climbed stairs.

In a similar study where researchers analyzed medical reports of 13,500 men, it was concluded that climbing at least 100 stairs a day helped the men reduce the mortality rate by 20 percent

As you can see, spending a few minutes on a stair climber machine can make a difference in your lifespan.

Wrapping Up

Are stair climbers good exercise? Absolutely. Stair steppers are one of the most effective gym equipment you need for the best cardio workouts and lower-body toning benefits. You enjoy all that without necessarily pounding on your joints.

While stair climbers are simple to use, it's imperative to familiarize yourself with the equipment safety aspect.

Proper form is critical when working out using any exercising machine, not necessarily a stair stepper. Well, this promotes more efficient movements and improves performance while avoiding or preventing injuries.

When exercising on a stair climber, you'll need to observe proper posture. Resist the temptation to lean on the handrails. Otherwise, you'll strain the back muscles. Warming up is also recommended to prevent back injuries. Always give the back and gluteus muscles a good stretch before you get on the machine.

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