The 8 Best Stair Climbers of 2020

It’s time to step up your game

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer at Amazon

"Enjoy all your favorite features of your gym’s stair climber in the comfort of your home for a reasonable price."

Best Portable: Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper at staples.com

"Shuffle your workout from your work desk to your living room to your porch with ease with this convenient stepper machine."

Best High-Tech: Bowflex Max M8 Trainer at bowflex.com

"Utilizes the Bowflex JRNY app that offers custom and dynamic coaching assistance for each workout to help you reach your goals."

Best for Beginners: Avari Programmable Stepper at Amazon

"A straightforward, user-friendly design that is the opposite of intimidating, perfect for a low-impact cardiovascular workout."

Best Advanced: Jacob’s Ladder Gronk Edition Step Machine at gronkfitnessproducts.com

"it provides the benefits of a stair climber, treadmill, exercise bike, and elliptical all in one piece of equipment for your home gym."

Best Quiet: Kettler Montana Stair Stepper at gophersport.com

"Easily choose between resistance settings and adjust for the varying bodyweight of different users without creating excess noise."

Best Budget: MaxiClimber Classic at maxiclimber.com

"The design is simple yet effective, providing a total body workout that combines aerobic training and muscle toning."

Best Space-Saving: Stamina SpaceMate Folding Stepper at Target

"A trifold design with rolling wheels lets you easily slide it under a bed, in a closet, or next to a bookcase when not in use."

When you can’t go to the gym, bring the gym to you, right? That’s what countless fitness-minded folks are doing right now—dusting off old stationary bikes, adding to free weight collections, and investing in bigger pieces of cardio equipment. On this list lies the stair climber.

Stair climbers offer a multitude of physical fitness benefits. They elevate your heart rate quickly, maximizing your cardiovascular efforts and burning a significant number of calories. They strengthen and tone every major muscle in your lower body while also engaging each component of your core. Stair climbers are a safe, efficient, and effective addition to any home gym setup.

With that said, the traditional revolving-stairs style of stair climber tends to be incredibly heavy, rather large for most home gym layouts, and wildly expensive. So our experts have stepped in to review the best stair climbers with independent stepping action designs for your garage, bonus room, or empty apartment nook.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer

proform cardio hiit trainer

 Courtesy of Proform

Enjoy all your favorite features of your gym’s stair climber in the comfort of your home for a reasonable price. This model fits comfortably in smaller home gym spaces while maintaining an impressive weight capacity of 350 pounds. The individual, oversized and cushioned pedals carry your feet along a 10-inch vertical, 5-inch horizontal elliptical path, helping to build strength and burn calories while keeping the impact on your joints to a minimum.

It integrates 26 quiet resistance levels and iFit custom fitness programming to keep you motivated for every workout without disrupting the rest of your home. In addition to the 10-inch touchscreen that helps control your workouts, the HIIT Trainer includes in-handlebar heart rate monitor sensors and a chest strap, multifunction handlebars to keep your arms moving, a cooling fan, and a cup and tablet holder.

Best Portable: Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper

Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper

Amazon

If you want to shuffle your favorite fitness equipment from your work desk to your living room to your porch with ease, consider this convenient stepper machine. It forgoes a center console and handlebars and focuses primarily on the stepping mechanism, making it easy to relocate and store.

Instead of creating a larger vertical step, this equipment uses a small inward-stepping motion that encourages slight hip rotation, activating the inner and outer thighs and firing up the core muscles as you move. It also helps to tone the calves and glutes.

This stepper may be small, but it’s made with sturdy steel that supports a weight capacity of 250 pounds. It also has oversized, non-slip pedals that make you feel safe and confident in working out more intensely without overstressing your joints. Plus, the little LCD monitor tracks your steps per minute, calories burned, time spent stepping, and total steps you take during each session.

Best High-Tech: Bowflex Max M8 Trainer

Bowflex Max M8 Trainer

 Courtesy of Amazon

This stair climber from Bowflex was made for the exerciser who likes a lot of bells and whistles. It features 20 resistance levels, multi-grip handles, and heart rate monitoring capabilities. However, the technology components are what make this model particularly buzzworthy.

A burn rate display sets exercise targets for each user (up to four can be programmed) to help them achieve their fitness goals more efficiently. The stair climber also utilizes the Bowflex JRNY app that offers custom and dynamic coaching assistance for each workout.

The extremely sturdy design supports a weight capacity of 300 pounds while still remaining surprisingly compact for home gym use. It comes equipped with a USB charging port and a magnetic media rack for your tablet or smartphone.

Best for Beginners: Avari Programmable Stepper

Avari Programmable Stepper

 Houzz

The sleek and straightforward design of this Avari stair climber makes it user-friendly and the opposite of intimidating to try. (The price tag isn’t scary, either.) The motor provides smooth, comfortable resistance for the ideal low-impact cardiovascular workout, and the wide, self-leveling foot pedals make stepping easy, comfortable and stable.

Users can manually adjust the resistance to create a customized workout or choose from one of 12 pre-set workouts on the display screen. The monitor also displays statistics like rotations per minute, total exercise time, calories burned, pulse (the stepper features a built-in heart rate monitor), room temperature, and more. 

This stair climber fits comfortably in most home gyms and supports a weight capacity of 300 pounds. Wheels fastened to the front of the machine make it easy to roll to the ideal location in your space.

Best Advanced: Jacob’s Ladder Gronk Edition Step Machine

Jacob’s Ladder Gronk Edition Step Machine

Courtesy of BHG

 

This pick comes with the highest price tag on our list, but it provides the benefits of a stair climber, treadmill, exercise bike, and elliptical all in one piece of equipment for your home gym. Basically, you “climb” on ladder-style rungs on a non-motorized continuous treadmill, self-pacing your workout to be as intense as you’d like.

It activates the upper body, core, and lower body, building strength and endurance with every use. Meanwhile, it remains a low-impact machine that is gentle on the joints. This equipment is larger and much heavier than the others on the list as well, but it is still compact enough to fit in most home gyms and is solidly constructed with high-quality materials.

It’s a surprisingly quiet climber, too, and despite the analog design, it still comes equipped with a battery-powered digital tracker that activates when you start stepping and shares elapsed time, feet climbed, climbing rate, calories burn, and heart rate.

Best Quiet: Kettler Montana Stair Stepper

Kettler Montana Stair Stepper

Courtesy of Amazon 

The silent secret of the Kettler Montana Stair Stepper is its dual 12-position hydraulic resistance cylinders. They make it easy to navigate between a dozen resistance settings and adjust for the varying bodyweight of different users without creating excess noise.

This feature also maintains the low-impact nature of the stair climber, which can help protect joints during your workout. What’s more, it uses zero electricity, generating energy from your movement on the pedals instead.

The design is compact yet strong, constructed with heavy-duty steel that can support a weight capacity of 300 pounds. The ergonomically shaped handlebars provide extra stability as you climb, working your calves, thighs, hamstrings, and glutes, and the pedals have a non-slip grip surface to provide additional support. It’s equipped with an LCD display that shows workout time, stepping frequency, steps per session, calories burned, total height climbed, and more.

Best Budget: MaxiClimber Classic

MaxiClimber Classic

Courtesy of Walmart

If you’re looking for a workout that will give you the best bang for your buck every time, consider this “as seen on TV” vertical stair climber. The design is simple yet effective, providing a total body workout that combines aerobic training, weight resistance, and muscle toning. The quicker you climb, the more intense the workout will be. And when you’re done with your sweat session, the Maxi Climber folds easily for storage in a space as limited as a closet.  

Despite its sleek design, this stair climber is made with durable steel and supports a weight capacity of 240 pounds. It also comes pre-assembled without excessive accessories, making it easier to use. The height is adjustable to suit almost any exerciser, and the sliding pedals protect joints from unwanted impact. While not high-tech, the Maxi Climber does include a digital display of steps taken and calories burned, which starts and stops with your movement on the machine.

Best Space-Saving: Stamina SpaceMate Folding Stepper

Stamina SpaceMate Folding Stepper

Courtesy of Target

This pick from Stamina utilizes a trifold design with rolling wheels so the machine can easily slide under a bed, in a closet, or next to a bookcase when not in use. The machine is also stable and quiet. Its rubber floor protectors are skid-resistant, the heavy-duty steel frame supports a weight capacity of 250 pounds, and the adjustable hydraulic cylinders provide a smooth, low-impact stepping motion.

This stair climber’s arm mechanisms are less dynamic than other models, so expect to feel most of the burn in your calves, thighs, hamstrings, and glutes. With that said, it still makes it much easier to enjoy a calorie-burning cardiovascular workout in your own home without annoying potential downstairs neighbors. It also includes a battery-operated monitor that tracks your number of steps per minute, your total number of steps during your workout, your total workout time, and your total calories burned.

What to Look for in a Stair Climber

Overall footprint

Many stair climbers are quite cumbersome pieces of equipment, so it’s important to consider how much space you’re willing to dedicate to this component of your home gym and your ability to move it from one side of the room to the other. For instance, if you live in a third-floor apartment, a lightweight and foldable stair climber is probably a better fit than a revolving-step style stair climber that weighs more than 400 pounds.

Weight capacity

When you opt for a more compact stair climber, you often sacrifice some of its weight-bearing ability. However, plenty of models can safely support a person weighing up to 240 pounds, making them excellent options for both men and women looking to take their training to the next level. 

Stability

When shopping for a piece of cardio equipment, safety needs to be a top priority. Even foldable stair climbers and portable, step-only stair climbers should be made with durable materials, like heavy-duty steel, to ensure that they can withstand frequent and aggressive use.

Workout statistics display

For many exercisers, having the ability to see effort translated into numbers—steps taken, calories burned, flights of stairs climbed—is an important motivator that keeps them on track with their fitness goals. Be sure to consider how “smart” or simple a stair climber’s workout statistics display is before committing to a particular model.

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

As a former personal trainer, seasoned health writer, and avid exerciser, Alena Hall understands how important it is to pick the right home gym equipment for you. She is always exploring the latest and greatest wellness tools, machines, and gadgets, but more importantly, Alena carefully considers the quality and various features that make these fitness products worthwhile investments.

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