Have you ever envied stair-climbing athletes who can climb to the top floor of a skyscraper in one workout session? They have killer bodies, toned leg muscles, and exceptional endurance to climb all the way to the top! These stair climber athletes have trained in stadiums and on commercial stair steppers at the gym. You, too, can shed the weight and get toned legs via a personal stair stepper that fits your lifestyle!

Why are stair climbers beneficial to my workout?

The stair climber machine has been very popular for decades because of its intense cardio workout that simultaneously works your major leg muscles. Stair stepper machines complement dynamic workouts since they activate your muscles for higher intensity activity later on. Dynamic exercises offer a slew of benefits like improved immune function and activation of secondary muscles. Secondary muscles are often forgotten in exercises that work one muscle group at a time.

The muscles you will work when using a stair climber include:

  • Glutes
  • Abs
  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Hip flexors

You will also strengthen the muscles in your back and that surround your spine. The motion of moving side to side when using a stair climber engages those muscles from the low back up to the neck.

Stair steppers can also help to improve balance, coordination, flexibility, and step length. Click here to read how stair climbers are used for intense rehabilitation in stroke patients whose coordination can be severely disabled.

There are so many brands and types of stair stepper machines out there, but which is the right choice? In this article, you will learn about the best stair climber brands, different stair stepper features, how to prioritize your needs with an at-home stair climber machine, as well as how to pick a good-quality stair stepper that will complement your home and lifestyle for years to come.

Why should I invest in a stair climber for my home?

Woman Using A Stair Climber At HomeYou may wonder if investing in a stair climber is worth it. There is such a wide array of at-home exercise equipment available for purchase like treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes, so what makes a stair stepper so essential for a good workout? Are there really differences in the workouts on a stair climber versus an elliptical, for example?

Comparing Cardio Machines

Unlike an elliptical or stationary bike, stair climber machines use your gluteal muscles and lack rotational momentum, forcing you to keep pushing the pedals up and down as you become fatigued during the workout. This ensures a constant calorie burn and kicks up the workout’s intensity exponentially. Ever find yourself on an elliptical, mindlessly scrolling through your phone, only to look up and see that you’ve become so distracted that you’ve dropped your speed? Have you ever gone super fast on an elliptical and realized that the machine’s rotational momentum is really the main component of your speed and you’re barely using your legs? That won’t happen on a stair climber, because the force you put into the stepper is the workout you get out of it! That’s why exercise equipment like a stair stepper can push you more to continue with your higher intensity workout!

Using a stair climber is the perfect example of progressive overload. This is when each step or movement is tougher than the last. This differs from using a treadmill where the stride intensity stays the same. With a stair climber, each step gets progressively tougher, and this is what improves cardiovascular function and boosts strength.

Aside from the convenience of not having to climb the stairs of a local football stadium or not having to run up and down your staircase at home two hundred times, a good quality stair stepper can challenge you and grow with you as your cardio endurance improves and your muscles get more toned. That’s the goal, right? Workouts on an at-home stair climber are the best way to reach your weight loss and toning goals. What better way to overcome your obstacles to losing weight than to face it head-on in an uphill climb on your personal stair stepper?

Purchasing Your Own Stair Climber

Owning a stair climber will help you exercise, but you also have to take care of and clean your machine. Check out our “Tips” section below for more information about how to care for your stair climber machine effectively.

Types of Stair Steppers: How to Know Which is Right for You

Understanding the personalized stair stepper benefits is easy. The hardest part: Choosing the best stair climber that is right for you. As with most exercise equipment, different stair climber machines offer different exercise benefits at various price points and can have significant space requirements. As you shop around for stair climbers, think about your needs, your current fitness level, the various stair climber benefits you prefer, and your fitness goals for the future.

Here is a breakdown of popular personal stair climbers and our tips on how to choose the best stair climber for you:

Best Stair Stepper for Avid Stair Climbing Professionals and Athletes

MaxiClimber Vertical Climber by Maxi Climber

This stair climber machine offers a full-body workout and would be optimal for avid stair climbing professionals, elite athletes, and those training to make substantial gains in their arms, abs, and legs.

  • Mobile handlebars provide a full-body workout to burn calories while toning the muscles in your arms, abs, and legs
  • Sliding foot pedals provide a low impact workout
  • Lightweight for transport and storage (33 lbs)
  • Dimensions: 57in x 10in x 6in
Who Makes It:

Maxi Climber prides itself on building effective, fat-blasting equipment that is affordable for consumers who strive for full-body fitness. Most of their products are lightweight, easy to store, and come partially or fully assembled so that consumers can start using the equipment right away to reach their goals. This is a US-based company located in Georgia. Are you a bride trying to lose weight for the wedding? Maxi Climber hosts the “Maxi Climber Bride Challenge” for soon-to-be brides who compete to lose weight while using their fitness equipment. The winning bride wins a free wedding dress!

The Bottom Line:

If you are an avid stair climbing professional, elite athlete, or someone who wants full-body workouts to maximize the fat burn and muscle toning efforts, this stair stepper is a great option for you. It is relatively affordable and great for someone who has other fitness equipment and expenses. With its small horizontal footprint, it can be placed in a corner and folded away when not in use. Keep in mind, however, this is a tall piece of equipment, so make sure you have ample vertical space for when you are both on and off the stair stepper.

Best Mini Stair Stepper for Small Spaces

Twist Stepper Step Machine No. 059 with Handle Bar by Sunny Health & Fitness

Twist Stepper Step Machine No. 059 with Handle Bar by Sunny Health & FitnessThis is perhaps the most well-rounded stair climber on the list for its small footprint, safety features, affordable price, and multi-muscle toning features.

  • Includes an adjustable handlebar for stability and safety
  • Allows for a twisting action to enhance the calorie burn and toning during the workout
  • Basic and straightforward data display for step count, time, and calories
  • Total product weight is 22 lbs. Dimensions: 18in x 19in x 9in
Who Makes It:

Sunny Health & Fitness is a company based out of Los Angeles. A newer company, they source from numerous manufacturers from around the world which helps them keep prices low. Among their offerings, you’ll find bikes, ellipticals, stair climbers, rowers, treadmills and more!

The Bottom Line:

This stair stepper is best suited for people who want to implement the benefits of stair climbing into their fitness routine but who have minimal space to do so. This stair stepper is also a great option for beginner stair climbers with its adjustable handlebar. This machine’s light weight also allows for easy stowing when not in use.

Best Portable Stair Stepper

Adjustable Twist Stepper by Sunny Health & Fitness

Adjustable Twist Stepper by Sunny Health & FitnessSunny Health & Fitness developed this easy to use, portable stair stepper for anyone who wants to bring their fitness equipment with them on the go. This stair stepper is compact, lightweight, effective, and comes in fun colors like pink for the trendy fitness fanatic.

  • Allows for a twisting action to enhance the calorie burn and toning during the workout
  • Contains adjustable resistance settings and step height for added muscle toning and workout intensity
  • Does not have a handlebar, making it completely portable for a suitcase or very small spaces
  • Total product weight is 14.5 lbs. Dimensions: 15in x 16in x 13in
Who Makes It:

Sunny Health & Fitness reappear on this list for affordable pricing and providing customers with a wide variety of machines and products to fit the needs of consumers. When tasked with creating a stair stepper that is portable for travel and easy to use, Sunny Healthy & Fitness rose to the occasion with this stair climber.

The Bottom Line:

This is the best portable treadmill on the list. With its small footprint and compact shape, you do not have to neglect your fitness routine while traveling. Simply add this stair stepper to your travel checklist and pack it easily in your suitcase (checked bag or carry on)! One thing to keep in mind: This exercise machine does not have stability handlebars for safety. Athletes and individuals with good coordination and balance would be best suited for this machine. Those with injuries of the ankles, knees, or hips, instability, and the elderly, should consider investing in a machine that has more safety features.

This can be best used near a railing, countertop, or stable object that you can hold on to.

Best Non-Mechanical Stair Stepper Platform

Original Aerobic Platform by The Step

Original Aerobic Platform by The Step This product stands out from the rest of the stair climbers on this list since it is the only non-mechanical stair climber. This stair stepper platform could be a great addition to your home fitness routine since it is compact, relatively inexpensive, versatile, and does not have the maintenance, upkeep, and potential mechanical issues of the other exercise machines. This product is included in this list because it offers similar cardio and muscle toning results without all the mechanics.

  • Manufactured in the United States and made of durable, recyclable materials
  • Adjustable risers for various intensity and workout difficulty as your fitness skills improve
  • Platformis grooved and risers have non-skid feet for safety and stability when in use
  • Able to engage in various exercises like forward stepping, backward stepping, sidestepping, and core strengthening and arm toning
Who Makes It:

The Step specializes in everything stair stepper and step platforms from equipment to add-ons like storage racks. They also sell a variety of weighted products like dumbbells, disk-shaped weights, bars, collars, and clamps so that you can feel comfortable adding resistance training to your current step routine.

The Bottom Line:

If you are a beginner to exercise with room to grow in your home gym, this stair climber platform may be the best option for you. This exercise platform can help you build stability in your legs and core and allows for room to grow as your fitness abilities improve. This stair climber is also great for adding variety to your step workout since you can modify the height and direction of your steps (forward, back, side steps). You also have the freedom to move your arms while stepping since there are no handlebars in your way. This is a tried-and-true product that has been in the fitness world for years. Consider adding this versatile stair stepper to your step routine.

For a great full-body workout on a step platform, check out this workout video here.

Best Elliptical Stair Stepper

In-Motion Elliptical Trainer by Stamina

In-Motion Elliptical Trainer by StaminaThis elliptical stair stepper combination offers a multi-faceted workout that differs from the other stair climbers in this list. This elliptical stair climber is low-impact and can be used while sitting or standing, making it a great option for an elite athlete who wants to reduce shock on the joints or for someone who must be seated to exercise like the elderly or those with knee and hip injuries.

For those stuck at a desk for most of the day, this is a great tool to combat the dangers of extended sitting. When you sit for too long, not only are you inactive and more prone to weight gain, but your muscles become smaller and weaker from lack of use. Your posture and spine are affected and you also experience a metabolism drop from sitting for too long. Breaking up long periods of sitting with activity will help you to avoid these conditions.

  • Portable and quiet mechanics which is great for home or office
  • Adjustable stride, direction (forward or reverse), and step height based on fitness level and desired intensity
  • Several color choices to match your home, office, or personal style
  • Total product weight is 24 lbs. Dimensions: 24.5in x 17in x 11.4in
Who Makes It:

Stamina is a boutique studio exercise supplier that was founded in 1987 and had the vision to create innovative, affordable equipment for its customers. Since its beginning, Stamina has created unique exercise machines that offer complex workouts for the user. Some of their most well-known machines include their “AeroPilates” line, gliders, rowers, striders, outdoor fitness equipment, and “Wirk” office exercise machines.

The Bottom Line:

This compact and versatile elliptical stair stepper machine is great for a wide variety of people, needs, and settings. The low-impact, smooth gliding motion of this machine makes it a great option for the elderly and those with compromised joints. This is also the only machine on the list that can be used while sitting or standing, so you can take this to the office and pedal away all day long! With adjustable stride direction, step height and resistance, this product can grow with you as your fitness level increases and your muscles become more toned.

The Keys to Picking the Best Stair Climber for You: Your Checklist Before You Buy

Woman buying a gym equipment onlineNow that you’re familiar with the best stair climbers on the market, you can now make an educated purchase in a product that will be suitable for you years to come. Here’s a checklist of the most important factors in finding the perfect stair climber for you:

Your Budget:

Budget is often the most important factor when choosing exercise equipment for a home gym. Consumers want to balance cost and convenience to make the investment worth it. As identified in this article, most stair climbers cost between $30 and $180. We have found other stair climbers to exceed this range, however, as you can see, more expensive stair climbers do not necessarily mean better ratings from customers and better-selling products. The person who wants to get fit can find high-quality and effective stair climbers between $30 and $200.

Your Fitness Goals:

Stair steppers are often mistaken for single-exercise machines that lack versatility. As discussed in the article, however, some stair climbers offer more than one type of workout by coupling cardio training with toning exercises. If you are looking for exercise equipment that does primarily cardio training, the stair climbers with handlebars may be the best option to leverage your step speed and step height. If you are looking for both cardio and muscle toning capabilities, stair climbers without handlebars will force you to engage your core and arm muscles for balance.

Those who want full-body workouts and versatility in their workouts should consider the non-mechanical stair climber platform in this article. These platforms give you a full range of motion and freedom to change your workouts every day. Variety is the key to fitness results as you need to keep your body guessing in order for it to respond back with improved fitness. When you do the same workouts day in and day out, your body gets too used to it and improvements to fitness can plateau.

Regardless of your fitness goals, remember to consult your doctor before starting any workout routine, including those on your home fitness equipment. Your doctor may be able to help you create fitness goals and prioritize your needs in an at-home stair climber. 

Space and Footprint:

While stair climbers tend to be smaller than other types of fitness equipment, some stair climbers can be tall! Make sure to measure the area you have available in your home for a stair stepper before buying one. Don’t invest in a stair climber that is not suitable for your home, because that will lead to problems during delivery, installation, and everyday living. The best stair climber for you should complement your home, office, travel needs, and your lifestyle.

What Will Encourage You:

Just like almost everything in life, another important key is to understand which stair climber will encourage you to actually start exercising and keep up with it in the future. If you feel you need a stair climber that can travel with you while at the office or on vacation, choose a portable stair climber that can be easily stowed under your desk or in your suitcase. The first step to developing an exercise routine is having the proper equipment on hand!

The best equipment in the world won’t mean anything if you are not excited to use it. It’s important to choose a stair climber that you will want to continuously use. When it comes to improving your health and fitness, consistency and adherence are the most important things.

Tips for How to Care for Your New Stair Climber

  1. Caution: Some machines in this list today do not have stability handlebars. To avoid damage and injury to yourself, make sure you set your stair stepper in an open area with at least 2 feet clearance around all sides of the machine. This will ensure your safety and prevent damage to furniture as you engage the moving parts of the stair stepper.
  2. If you want your stair climber to last as long as possible, you must stay on top of cleaning and maintenance. Stair climbers require cleaning not only so that they look good, but so they function properly. So, it is important to clean the surface from dirt and surface spots. If you’re wondering what products to clean with, we suggest some of the following:
    • Gym equipment wipes (easily found in commercial gym equipment stores)
    • Disinfectant sprays and wipes. Lysol is a good choice.
    • Polish made for fitness equipment (i.e. Spintech)
    • Homemade equipment cleaner. One recipe you can try is: 1/2 c baking soda, 1 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of hot water. Put it in a spray bottle and spray down your equipment with the mixture. Then wipe it dry with a clean towel.
  3. Here is a tip: Always wear clean shoes on your stair climber. These machines tend to have surface grooves and ridges for stability. Cleaning out dirt from street shoes sounds like a pain!
  4. Have a maintenance question? Review your user manual or call the customer support phone line for help. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations will prolong the life of your machine and ensure your safety.

The Bottom Line on Selecting and Purchasing a Home Stair Climber

Everyone can benefit from a stair climber to lose weight, boost cardio endurance, and tone muscles. Once you find the perfect stair climber, you can overcome your fitness goals one step at a time.

Now that you’ve read this article, the easy part is finding the best stair climber for you. The hardest part: Knowing your particular needs. Use the checklist above to guide you. By following this checklist, you will be able to workout how you want, when you want, and where you want!

Which stair stepper are you most interested in? The portable machines? The step platform? What about the elliptical stair stepper combo? Let us know in the comments below.