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Wednesday, December 7th
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.
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.
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.
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!
Select any 2 Stair Climbers to compare them head to head
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