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      September 28, 2020

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NordicTrack Review

Best Stair Climbers

To help you find the Best Stair Climbers, provides you with an in-depth NordicTrack Review.

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Originally created in 1983, the stair climber is one of the oldest pieces of cardio equipment on the market. Using a stair climber - also known as a stair stepper - can be a great way to add a low-impact, calorie-burning workout to your fitness routine. On average, you can expect to burn up to 1,000 calories in a 60-minute session, depending on your weight, your overall fitness level, and the intensity level you set for your workout.

There are several kinds of stair climbers on the market. First, you may have seen the machine known as a “stairmill” at your local health club. It gives the impression of walking on an escalator, as the workout is delivered by a rotating staircase rather than pedals that you push up and down, and the intensity is changed by the speed of the stairs’ rotation. However, most stair climbers for home use do use those pedals; the intensity of the workout changes as you increase or decrease the resistance of the pedals themselves.

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Stair Climbers

4.5 stars


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From $1,884 to $2,783

You might picture skiing-type machines when you think of NordicTrack. After those machines became popular in the 1980s, NordicTrack expanded its product line to include many types of fitness equipment, including strength machines, treadmills, rowing machines, and more.

NordicTrack offers three models of stair climbers: the Stride Trainer FS7i, FS5i, and FS9i. At the time of our review, the FS5i was out of stock.

Equipment overview:

  • Price Range: $1,884-$2,783
  • Different Models: 3
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Variable Motion: Yes
  • Adjustable Stride: Yes, up to 38”
  • Resistance Levels: 24-26, depending on model
  • Maximum User Weight: 350-400 lbs., depending on model
  • Return Policy: 30 days, restocking fee of 10%
  • Warranty: Frame - Lifetime, Parts - 5 years, Labor - 2 years
  • Shipping: Free

What we think most customers will love about the NordicTrack steppers is the wide range of motion possible while using the machine. If you feel like stepping one day, getting an elliptical workout the next day, and having a more treadmill-style routine on the third day, the FreeStride Trainers can do that with an adjustable stride that allows for up-and-down steps or 38” long strides. Although the NordicTrack machines are slightly higher on the price spectrum, the versatility offered makes it worth the investment.

NordicTrack stair climbers also offer technology that isn’t found in most of their competitors’ equipment, particularly in the console. If you want to work out with a friend or even imagine yourself covering your favorite neighborhood walking route, the iFit-enabled FreeStride machines allow you to do just that - just be aware that you’ll need a separate iFit membership to access the most advanced features.

Your NordicTrack machine also comes with a wireless chest strap, to track your heart rate and provide that information directly to the console. Most fitness equipment, such as treadmills and exercise bikes, do not include the chest strap.

When comparing the three FreeStride models available, there are a few differences you should keep in mind in order to determine which one is the best fit for your needs. For example, the FS5i includes a tablet holder but not the 10% power-adjustable incline that the other two models have. If you want the ability to perform a workout using a decline, only the FS9i has that ability. The weight capacity also varies from 350-400 lbs., and the available resistance levels and pre-programmed workouts differ slightly across the models too.

With respect to their return policy and warranty coverage, NordicTrack’s offerings are relatively standard: within 30 days of purchase for a full refund (minus a 10% restocking fee), lifetime warranty on the frame, five years on parts, and two years for labor. As with most retailers of stair climbers, NordicTrack gives free shipping, and financing is available with a Fortiva retail credit account. You’ll have to go through the process of putting a stair climber in your online shopping cart and entering your information until you reach the payment page, in order to get to the screen that allows you to apply for that line of credit. Your rates will depend on your credit history; the sample interest rate given on that page was nearly 27%, and monthly payments were under $100.

Although it isn’t the least expensive stair climber available, the FreeStrider - in all of its varieties - is a great choice for your home gym or office. Because of its versatility in terms of range of motion and the advanced technology that keeps workouts from ever getting dull, the FreeStride Trainer by NordicTrack is an excellent stair climber.

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Also, you may find equipment that combines the motion of a stair climber with the stride patterns of an elliptical machine. These types of stair steppers tend to provide a more full-body workout, if you’re looking to combine upper- and lower-body toning while getting your cardio exercise.

As you use a stair climber, it’s important to remember a few tips in order to exercise safely and get the best possible workout. If your fitness level allows, you should try not to use the handrails as you step. This will help you burn more calories and improve your balance. Next, make sure that you are using your whole foot on the step/push, not just the balls of your feet - otherwise, it’ll mostly be your calves that get a workout. And, as with any exercise session, be sure that your shoes are firmly tied! Getting your laces tangled up in the machine is definitely a recipe for injuries!

When deciding which brand and style of stair climber to purchase, there are several factors to keep in mind:

  • Cost. What is the price range for the stair climbers offered by this retailer? Are the prices competitive with other stores?
  • Resistance Levels. Does the machine offer a wide range of resistance levels, to allow you to push yourself as your fitness improves?
  • Range of Motion. Do you prefer a traditional up-and-down stepping motion, or would you rather have a machine that allows for different foot patterns (up-and-down step as well as front-to-back elliptical)?
  • Return Policy. If your stair climber doesn’t measure up to your expectations, will the store allow you to return it for a refund? If so, will there be a restocking fee?
  • Warranty. If the motor fails or parts break, what will the retailer cover and for what length of time?

TopConsumerReviews has reviewed and ranked the best stair climbers available today. We hope these reviews help you choose the best stair climber for your home gym or office!

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