Stair Stepper Machines: 2019 Buyers Guide

Since Rocky’s training montage in the titular 1976 film, stair climbing has been a widely popular form of cardio and interval training. And since stadium staircases aren’t available everywhere, stair stepper machines are a popular alternative for this kind of workout.

However, with so many options available, it’s not always easy to find the best stair stepper machine for your needs. So we’ve scoured the market and analyzed hundreds of reviews, specs, features, promotional materials, and more to help you find the best stair stepper machine for your own specifications.

In this guide, you’ll find:

Quick Glance: 5 of 9
ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical TrainerProForm HIIT Stair Stepper Machine

“Both the professional and home versions of the ProForm stair stepper trainer are excellent choices for fleshing out your gym.”
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Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster, Polished AlloyXiser Mini Stair Stepper Machine

“This compact stair stepper is made with an aircraft-grade alloy, withstanding user weight in excess of 400 pounds despite weighing only 13.5 pounds itself.”
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StairMaster SM3 StepMillStairMaster SM3 StepMill Stair Stepper Machine

“This stair stepper machine delivers that traditional moving stair experience for maximum burn in the buns and thighs.”
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Sunny Health & Fitness Stair Stepper Exercise Equipment Step Machine for Exercise - SF-1115Sunny Health & Fitness Stair Stepper Machine

“This sturdy, lightweight stair stepper machine is a great pick for home gyms.”
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Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper - NO. 045Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stair Stepper Machine

“With its sturdy construction and included resistance bands, this budget-friendly stair stepper machine is an easy pick.”
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Top 9 Stair Stepper Machines

Top Pick: ProForm HIIT Stair Stepper Machine

This top-notch stair stepper machine comes in two flavors: one intended for home gyms and one that’s more commercial-grade.

Comparison: ProForm Stair Stepper Machines
ProForm HOME Stair Stepper Machine

ProForm PRO Stair Stepper Machine
ProForm HOME Stair Stepper MachineProForm PRO Stair Stepper Machine
Frame Warranty: LifetimeFrame Warranty: Lifetime
Parts Warranty: 3 yearsParts Warranty: 5 years
Labor Warranty: 1 yearLabor Warranty: 2 years
Max Weight: 350 lb / 159 kgMax Weight: 350 lb / 159 kg
Unit Weight: 180 lb / 81.6 kgUnit Weight: 225 lb / 102 kg
Frame: Less Steel (Lightweight)Frame: More Steel (Sturdier)
Flywheel Weight: 28 lb / 12.7 kgFlywheel Weight: 30 lb / 13.6 kg
Console: LED Backlit DisplayConsole: Smart HD Touchscreen
Screen Size: 7″Screen Size: 10″
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Both of these stair stepper machines feature sturdy steel frames, inertia-enhanced flywheels, adjustable resistance levels, and more. However, the pro version has a few extra features that make it more suitable for heavier use.

Notably, the pro version of this stair climber has a heavier steel frame, giving it additional stability and balance. It also boasts a heavier flywheel with a total of 26 different levels, supplying a surprising amount of additional resistance and smoothness. And, of course, the pro version boasts a large touchscreen for monitoring stats, following guided workouts, or streaming something like Netflix or YouTube.

Both of these stair climbers feature elliptical steps with 10 inches of vertical travel and 5 inches horizontal, allowing for full stair climbing motion. They’re absolutely fantastic for working the legs and glutes.

And if you want to work your upper body as well, you’re in luck. Both of these stair stepper machines feature travelling resistance handles for upper body work. Each arm has multiple grip points, allowing you to adjust your positioning to target different muscle groups.

BOTTOM LINE

Both the professional and home versions of the ProForm stair stepper trainer are excellent choices for fleshing out your gym.

  • Pros
    • Sturdy construction
    • Smooth, adjustable flywheel resistance
    • Upper and lower body workout
    • Built-in workout programs
    • EKG heart rate grips
    • High maximum user weight
  • Cons

    • A little tricky to set up
    • On pro version, the optional iFit subscription is pushed heavily
    • Pro version is a little spendy

    Bowflex Max Trainer M7 Stair Stepper Machine

    Good For: Home gyms

    Max Weight: 300 lb / 136 kg

    Warranty: 3 years

    Product Weight: 148 lb / 67 kg

    If you want a stair stepper machine that’s focused on helping you achieve your fitness goals, the Bowflex Max Trainer M7 is a great option. It’s built with performance targeted programming that learns each user’s fitness capabilities and sets adaptable targets. Simply put, it’s like a workout partner.

    You can also download the Max Trainer app and connect your phone to the stair stepper machine via Bluetooth. This lets you track your fitness goals, stream guided workout sessions, and more.

    Of course, the Bowflex Max Trainer M7 comes with all the accouterments you would expect from a stair climber of this level. The resistance can be adjusted to any of 20 different levels. Two resistance bars can be used to work the upper body alongside the lower. And, as expected, the built-in LCD and LED displays can be used to monitor time, workout intensity, heart rate, and more.

    BOTTOM LINE

    The Bowflex M7 stair stepper machine is tailored to help you reach customized fitness goals.

  • Pros
    • Adaptable performance targets
    • Companion app connect via Bluetooth
    • 20 levels of resistance
    • Upper and lower body workout
    • 11 built-in workout programs
    • EKG heart rate grips
    • High maximum user weight
    • Small footprint
  • Cons

    • A little pricey

    Xiser Mini Stair Stepper Machine

    Good For: Home & commercial gyms

    Max Weight: 400 lb / 181 kg

    Warranty: Up to 5 years

    Product Weight: 13.5 lb / 6.1 kg

    If you want a sturdy, commercial-grade stair stepper with the smallest footprint possible, this Xiser Mini Stairmaster is a great option. The aircraft-grade alloy structure is able to support an astonishing 400 pounds of bodyweight, yet the whole unit takes up only 1.8 square feet of space. And at a total of 13.5 pounds, it’s easy to tote around.

    And the patented silicone fluid hydraulic cylinders provide super smooth motion. In fact, Xiser claims this mini stepper was designed by PhDs with a focus on natural, ergonomic movement. Simply stand on the pedals and start your stair stepper workout. No setup or assembly required.

    BOTTOM LINE

    This compact stair stepper is made with an aircraft-grade alloy, withstanding user weight in excess of 400 pounds despite weighing only 13.5 pounds itself.

  • Pros
    • Very small footprint
    • Only 4 inches tall when folded
    • Super lightweight
    • Incredibly sturdy
    • Very high maximum user weight of 400 pounds
    • Patented silicone fluid hydraulic system
  • Cons

    • A little spendy

    StairMaster SM3 StepMill Stair Stepper Machine

    Good For: Home & commercial gyms

    Max Weight: 275 lb / 124.7 kg

    Warranty: Lifetime frame, 5 year mechanical

    Product Weight: 223 lb / 101 kg

    The StairMaster SM3 StepMill is a true stair stepper machine in the most literal sense of the term. The traveling steps provide a true stair climbing experience, ideal for mimicking stadium stairs workouts.

    However, there’s a reason most stair climbers don’t deliver the same mobile stair experience that this one does. They’re expensive to make.

    While this is one of the few stair stepper machines on Amazon that follows the traditional stair stepper form, it’s pretty expensive. It’s a very high-quality machine, but if you’re on a budget, one of the other stair steppers on this list might be better for you.

    BOTTOM LINE

    This stair stepper machine delivers that traditional moving stair experience for maximum burn in the buns and thighs.

  • Pros
    • Traditional-style stair stepper
    • Lifetime warranty on frame
    • Heart rate pulse grip
    • Up to 162 steps per minute
    • 10 built-in workout programs
    • Backlit LCD for tracking time, intensity, floors, heart rate, and more
  • Cons

    • Pretty pricey
    • Tricky to assemble

    Jacobs Ladder Stair Stepper Machine

    Good For: Home & commercial gyms

    Max Weight: 450 lb / 204 kg

    Warranty: Up to 4 years

    Product Weight: 260 lb / 118 kg

    Time for something a little more unique.

    The Jacobs Ladder Step Machine is a very distinctive stair climber with a focus on both upper and lower body work. It’s designed such that you “crawl” with both your arms and legs, similar to climbing a ladder at an angle.

    The rungs move around the machine, similar to a treadmill. This allows you to continually “climb” the ladder with both your arms and legs for intense cardio work or interval training.

    Of course, with nothing else like it, this kind of machine demands a high price tag. It’s best fit for commercial settings or home gyms for enthusiast athletes. You may even be able to find a used one for a bargain from a local gym.

    BOTTOM LINE

    Jacobs Ladder is a great tool for whole body cardio work and interval training, although it’s quite expensive.

  • Pros
    • Sturdy build
    • Unique ladder climbing design
    • Upper and lower body workout
    • Great for both cardio and interval training
    • Supports up to 450 pounds
  • Cons

    • Quite expensive
    • Limited warranty

    Budget Picks

    Sunny Health & Fitness Stair Stepper Machine

    Good For: Home gyms

    Max Weight: 220 lb / 100 kg

    Warranty: 3-year frame, 180-day parts

    Product Weight: 28.7 lb / 13 kg

    If you’re on a tighter budget, this stair step machine by Sunny Health & Fitness is a great choice. It’s a lightweight, foldable stair stepper with a heavy-duty steel frame that can support up to 220 pounds of user weight.

    This stair climber features a small console in the middle to track time, step count, and estimated calories burned. And, of course, the two hydraulic cylinders can be adjusted to 12 different resistance levels, allowing you to switch up the level of intensity for your workout.

    BOTTOM LINE

    This sturdy, lightweight stair stepper machine is a great pick for home gyms.

  • Pros
    • Lightweight
    • Foldable
    • Budget-friendly
    • Adjustable
  • Cons

    • Only supports up to 220 lb

    Relife Vertical Climber / Stair Stepper Machine

    Good For: Home gyms

    Max Weight: 260 lb / 118 kg

    Warranty: Optional 4-year add-on

    Product Weight: 43 lb / 19.5 kg

    Vertical climbers are another popular type of stair stepper machines. They’re a great way to work your arms, legs, and core simultaneously, and Relife offers a great budget-friendly option. And despite the lower price tag, the four guide rails deliver the kind of smooth, stable experience you’d expect in a commercial gym.

    Despite the whole unit weighing just over 40 pounds, the sturdy steel tubing frame is able to support up to 260 pounds. And with 5 different adjustable levels for the pedal and handle height, you don’t have to worry about being too tall or too short to ride. It’s also foldable for easier storage!

    BOTTOM LINE

    If you want more of a full-body workout, this vertical climber-style stair stepper is a great pick.

  • Pros
    • Works arms, legs, and core
    • Adjustable to 5 levels
    • Quadruple guide rails
    • Sturdy steel frame
    • Foldable and portable
  • Cons

    • No option to use only legs

    Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stair Stepper Machine

    Good For: Home gyms

    Max Weight: 250 lb / 113.4 kg

    Warranty: 3 months

    Product Weight: 20 lb / 9.1 kg

    If you want something really light on the wallet, the Sunny Health and Fitness twist stepper machine is a great pick. Despite the low price, this stair climber is built with heavy-duty steel, capable of supporting up to 250 pounds of user weight.

    The adjustable pedals travel in a slight twisting motion, providing a continuous workout for the legs and glutes. And with the included resistance bands, you can work your arms at the same time!

    BOTTOM LINE

    With its sturdy construction and included resistance bands, this budget-friendly stair stepper machine is an easy pick.

  • Pros
    • Sturdy build
    • Adjustable pedals
    • Includes resistance bands
    • LCD display with step count, time, and estimated calories burned
  • Cons

    • No handles for support

    Stamina SpaceMate Folding Stepper Machine

    Good For: Home gyms

    Max Weight: 250 lb / 113.4 kg

    Warranty: 1 year frame, 90 day parts

    Product Weight: 41 lb / 18.6 kg

    Low price? Check. Full size? Check. Lightweight and foldable? Check.

    This super portable stair stepper machine is an easy pick if you want portability on a budget. When folded, this stair climber is under 10 inches tall, giving it a small profile that can be easily tucked out of sight when not in use.

    And that’s without sacrificing any of the features you would expect from a home gym stair step machine. It features foam-covered handles for support, adjustable hydraulic resistance, and an LCD monitor for tracking stats. It’s a great pick for home gyms.

    BOTTOM LINE

    This compact, foldable stair stepper is a great choice for home gyms with limited space.

  • Pros
    • Compact and foldable
    • Sturdy steel frame
    • Adjustable hydraulic resistance
    • Built-in rollers
    • LCD display with step count, time, and estimated calories burned
  • Cons

    • Some users complain of higher resistance than expected

    Summary

    Stair climbers are excellent tools for cardiovascular work and interval training. And with so many options on the market, there’s sure to be something for you.

    Equipped with the information from this buyers guide, you should be able to pick the best stair stepper machine for your needs.

    Overview: Best Stair Stepper Machines
    ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical TrainerProForm HIIT Stair Stepper Machine

    “Both the professional and home versions of the ProForm stair stepper trainer are excellent choices for fleshing out your gym.”
    Check Price
    Bowflex Max Trainer M7Bowflex Max Trainer M7 Stair Stepper Machine

    “The Bowflex M7 stair stepper machine is tailored to help you reach customized fitness goals.”
    Check Price
    Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster, Polished AlloyXiser Mini Stair Stepper Machine

    “This compact stair stepper is made with an aircraft-grade alloy, withstanding user weight in excess of 400 pounds despite weighing only 13.5 pounds itself.”
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    StairMaster SM3 StepMillStairMaster SM3 StepMill Stair Stepper Machine

    “This stair stepper machine delivers that traditional moving stair experience for maximum burn in the buns and thighs.”
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    Jacobs Ladder Step Machine - Step Climber Exercise Machine for A Great Climbing Exercise and Workout - Vertical Climber and Stair Stepper - Perfect Climbing Exercise Equipment for Gym Or HomeJacobs Ladder Stair Stepper Machine

    “Jacobs Ladder is a great tool for whole body cardio work and interval training, although it’s quite expensive.”
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    Sunny Health & Fitness Stair Stepper Exercise Equipment Step Machine for Exercise - SF-1115Sunny Health & Fitness Stair Stepper Machine

    “This sturdy, lightweight stair stepper machine is a great pick for home gyms.”
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    RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Vertical Climber for Home Gym Folding Exercise Cardio Workout Machine Stair Stepper Newer VersionRelife Vertical Climber / Stair Stepper Machine

    “If you want more of a full-body workout, this vertical climber-style stair stepper is a great pick.”
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    Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper - NO. 045Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stair Stepper Machine

    “With its sturdy construction and included resistance bands, this budget-friendly stair stepper machine is an easy pick.”
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    Stamina 40-0069 SpaceMate Folding StepperStamina SpaceMate Folding Stepper Machine

    “This compact, foldable stair stepper is a great choice for home gyms with limited space.”
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