Whether you don’t have time for a daily drive to a gym or just need an accessible way to get your body moving, a stair stepper machine can take your workout routine to the next level. Using a stair stepper is an excellent workout for your calves, thighs, and core while not causing unwanted strain to your joints.
Why buy a stair stepper?
Whether you seek to burn calories or tone your lower body, a high-quality stair stepper will help get the job done. Stair steppers are typically quite compact, making them an ideal addition to home workout areas that are short on available space. Additionally, those with stiff joints who need a knee brace before attempting a workout will find that stair steppers are a great low-impact workout that minimizes strain in your joints and tendons.
What should you look for in a stair stepper?
- Stability: Often, the most budget-friendly and space-saving design won’t come with tall handles for you to grasp onto during your workout. If you struggle with balance and are still developing core strength, opting for a stair stepper with handles might be worth the splurge so you can avoid injuries. Also, be sure to check a stair stepper’s weight capacity to ensure it’s a great option for you.
- Features: You can really customize your workout with added features, such as levels of resistance, pre-set workout programs, and hydraulic cylinders. Assess your body’s needs and adjust your purchase requirements accordingly. Its also important to note that added features will likely result in a higher price, so be prepared for the hefty price tag if you desire more advanced functionality.
- Space: While it’s convenient to be able to exercise at home, it does require you to have the floor space for the machine. Compact steppers are a great option for those who are pressed for space and allow you to take the device almost anywhere. If you go for a larger machine with handles, consider a model with adjustable height or a foldable design so that it can be easily stored.
What are the different types of stair steppers?
“Stair stepper” is a term that can apply to several different types of home gym equipment and features both motorized and manual products. Conventional stair steppers are fairly similar to elliptical machines but focus more on vertical rather than horizontal movement. These devices often feature handles to help you keep your balance while stepping.
Mini steppers are quite similar but feature a compact design that can be used almost anywhere. These tend to be less expensive than conventional stair steppers but are also less durable and multifunctional. However, they are the best option for frequent travelers and those who are short on space.
You will also find some elliptical stepper hybrids on the market. These implement more vertical motion than your standard elliptical machine, making them great for a low-impact workout option.
Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper with Resistance Bands
This mini stepper features adjustable step height and resistance bands for a killer workout.
Pros: Featuring a compact design that can be stored nearly anywhere, the Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper is a great choice for home workouts. This device sports hydraulic cylinders for ultra-smooth transitions between your steps and a knob for adjusting the height of your steps. To sweeten the deal, this product arrives mostly assembled and even includes a couple of resistance bands so that your arms can get a workout while you’re stepping.
Cons: This stair stepper requires the user to bring their own balance. While this does encourage you to fully engage your core while stepping, those with poor balance may benefit from a model that offers them something to hold on to during their workout. Additionally, this model requires occasional lubrication, so be sure to keep a bottle of WD-40 handy for when things get squeaky.
Bottom Line: Those with limited space and decent balance will really appreciate what this stair stepper has to offer. That being said, while this is one of the more reliable stair steppers you can buy, its 220-pound weight capacity won’t be a great fit for everyone. If you’re seeking a simple product that can help get you moving, this stair stepper is well worth the price.
Sunny Health & Fitness Twisting Stair Stepper
Featuring a sturdy design and an adjustable handlebar, this stair stepper makes it easy to find your balance.
Pros: The Sunny Health & Fitness Twisting Stair Stepper is a great option for those who require the added stability of built-in handlebars. This sturdy stair stepper encourages a natural twisting motion that helps activate your obliques as you work your glutes and legs with each step. It also makes it easy to adjust your resistance level and impresses in terms of its 250-pound weight capacity, making it an attractive option for many.
Cons: This product’s range of motion is somewhat limited, so those seeking the performance of an elliptical stepper will likely be disappointed. That being said, it’s still a great choice for those looking for a cardio-centric stepper that will have you feeling the burn on its higher resistance settings.
Bottom Line: Using a stair stepper can be pretty dangerous if you lack the balance to stay on it, but this product has plenty to offer aside from its sturdy handlebars. If you activate your core while using this model, you’ll probably be surprised by how much its unique twisting design works out your obliques. Also, this stair stepper takes up much less space than similar designs that sport handlebars, ensuring it’s easy to store when not in use.
Sportsroyals Stair Stepper
This rugged stair stepper impresses in terms of its next-level weight capacity and oversized pedals.
Pros: Featuring a durable design that can accommodate up to 330-pounds, the Sportsroyals Stair Stepper is definitely one of the more rugged mini steppers on the market. This stair stepper distinguishes itself thanks to its extra-large pedals, which sport additional length and width compared to similar models. Thanks to its subtle twisting action and included resistance bands, it’s also a great choice for those who want to activate muscle groups other than just their legs.
Cons: Like most budget-friendly stair steppers, this one probably won’t impress you in terms of its basic LCD display or workout metrics. Since this device doesn’t allow you to input your weight, its calorie calculations should probably be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, a great fitness tracker or smartwatch should work just fine with this product.
Bottom Line: Many people use stair steppers to lose weight at home, so this device’s next-level weight capacity and rock-solid construction make it an ideal pick for those who are a little too heavy for less durable models. While this one is a bit pricier than similar stair steppers, it also provides one of the smoothest and quietest workouts, even when compared to other top picks. This alone makes it well worth a buy for those who value durability over added bells and whistles.
BalanceFrom Adjustable Stepper
This affordable stair stepper sports a surprisingly durable design given its budget-friendly price tag.
Pros: The BalanceFrom Adjustable Stepper really impresses in terms of build quality for its low price tag. It sports a durable design that’s on par with much pricier stair steppers. Like other mini steppers, this product is compact enough to travel with and provides a great workout, albeit with a lesser range of motion than larger models. While this product requires a little routine maintenance to function at its best, it actually includes a kit with lubricant and wrenches, making it a superb value for the asking price.
Cons: Perhaps unsurprisingly, this budget-friendly mini stepper is a little more high maintenance than other products out there. Thus, it’s incredibly important to lubricate it regularly in order to enjoy a smooth and squeak-free experience. Those who ignore the squeaking sounds and continue to use this product without lubricating it will be forced to replace it sooner rather than later.
Bottom Line: While this isn’t the best mini stepper you will ever use, it’s good enough to get a great workout at a fraction of the price of other top models. That being said, those who aren’t interested in showing some love and care to their new mini stepper are better off spending a little extra on a model that doesn’t require as much routine maintenance to function at its best.
body power 2-in-1 Trainer
This hybrid combines the best aspects of stair steppers and elliptical machines for a great full-body workout.
Pros: If the average stair stepper isn’t challenging enough for you, check out this unique option from body power. It combines the circular movement of an elliptical trainer with the vertical movement of a stair stepper for a challenging low-impact workout. This two-in-one trainer outperforms most mini steppers in terms of smooth and quiet operation, and its eight resistant levels are great for beginners to diehard gym junkies.
Cons: While this machine offers a workout that is beyond the scope of mini steppers on the market, its high price tag and large size will ensure that it’s not an ideal purchase for everyone. However, those with plenty of space in their home gym and money to spend on fitness equipment should be very satisfied with what they get for their investment.
Bottom Line: If you love using the stair stepper and elliptical machine at the gym, this product from body power is the best way to deliver the best of both worlds to the comfort of your home. That being said, as illustrated by the various mini steppers featured here, there are plenty of other options for the budget-conscious among us to get a killer workout.
While all the stair steppers features here are excellent choices, be sure to factor in your budget, available floor space, and unique needs in order to find the best product for you.