The 10 Best Stair Stepper Machines

Updated May 25, 2017 by Ben G

10 Best Stair Stepper Machines
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 47 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. We know what you're thinking. You could just walk up and down the stairs at the office or at home. Right? The question is, how often do you do that now? These stair stepper machines not only provide a low-impact aerobic workout at a relatively low cost, but let you do it while standing at your desk or in front of the TV. Some even work while you are seated. That's much better. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best stair stepper machine on Amazon.

10. Wagan Mini Master

The Wagan Mini Master can get you on track to a healthier lifestyle with just 15 minutes of daily use. It hardly takes up any floor space in your room, and gives you a workout equivalent to machines that are many times its size.
  • good for low-intensity exercises
  • sturdy tubular steel frame
  • becomes noisy over time
Brand Wagan
Model EL2273
Weight 27.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

9. Stamina InStride Pro Electronic

The Stamina InStride Pro Electronic offers a great cardiovascular workout when you're on a budget. It comes with 2 rubber resistance bands to train your upper body. Plus, it can easily be thrown into a bag when you're on the go.
  • versatile and functional model
  • convenient timer
  • pedals are at an awkward angle
Brand Stamina
Model 40-0048
Weight 17.1 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

8. Sunny Twister

Trust the Sunny Twister to help you meet your fitness goals. You can use it to strengthen and tone your buttocks and thighs, while the built-in handlebar and deluxe, nonslip footplates make sure that the time you spend with it will be safe and secure.
  • adjustable stepping height
  • easy to read lcd display
  • resistance isn't adjustable enough
Brand Sunny Health & Fitness
Model 059
Weight 26.5 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Stamina SpaceMate

The Stamina SpaceMate uses dual adjustable-resistance hydraulic cylinders to make every step as smooth as possible. It allows you to easily track your strides, time, and calories burned with the battery-operated electronic monitor.
  • folds flat for easy storage
  • floor protectors prevent damage
  • gets hot with vigorous use
Brand Stamina
Model 40-0069
Weight 43.9 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

6. Loctek FP1 Mini

The size of your machine does matter. The Loctek FP1 Mini won't provide you with the longest stride, but it more than makes up for that shortcoming by being extraordinarily lightweight, making it useful just about anywhere.
  • arrives preassembled
  • fits nicely under most coffee tables
  • can't adjust the resistance
Brand Loctek
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Stamina InMotion

The Stamina InMotion is constructed of sturdy steel, so you don't have to worry about it getting damaged with extensive use. Plus, the foot pedals can be worked in reverse, allowing you to target specific parts of your lower body.
  • available in 3 colors
  • low impact design prevents injuries
  • fluid movements
Brand Stamina
Model 55-1602
Weight 29.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Stamina Strider

The Stamina Strider is an ideal solution when you're pressed for time or space. It's inconspicuous enough to use in the home or the office, and works whether you are sitting or standing to tone your calves, thighs, and glutes.
  • heavy-duty wheels roll smoothly
  • adjustable tension
  • carrying handle for transportation
Brand Stamina
Model 55-1618
Weight 30.7 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

3. Maxi Climber MXC

The Maxi Climber MXC imitates the movements of rock climbing to burn calories, while strengthening and toning muscles. It is ergonomically designed for all body types and can be easily adjusted to accommodate people of any height.
  • setup is quick and easy
  • foldable for painless storage
  • isometric nonstick grips
Brand Maxi Climber
Model MXC
Weight 34 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Sunny Health & Fitness Twister

The Sunny Health & Fitness Twister provides a challenging full body workout with an up and down twisting motion that works your muscles without over-stressing bones and joints. Plus, it is affordable for the average consumer.
  • comfortable oversized footplates
  • should provide years of reliable use
  • works your muscles hard
Brand Sunny Health & Fitness
Model NO. 045
Weight 21.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Xiser XM-C

Designed for commercial gym use, the Xiser XM-C is engineered to perfection with an aluminum aircraft-alloy frame. The unique interactive hydraulic cylinder system sets it apart from the rest by allowing it to respond to your effort and ability.
  • 400-pound weight capacity
  • 5-year consumer warranty
  • nearly silent operation
Brand Xiser
Model XM-C
Weight 15.4 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

The Long Climb Toward Fitness

When I was offered a job working one summer in Chgnik Bay, Alaska, I figured I'd have the run of the place, climbing up little mountains, running all over the land, and generally keeping in great shape. Unfortunately, a few brown bears had other ideas about the ownership of that space, and anyone who didn't walk around up there with a gun walked around with a fat can of bear mace. I wasn't much interested in either prospect, so, I didn't get a lot of running in.

Fortunately, there was a room in the trailer dorms I occupied with a few other employees that housed an old stair climber. It wasn't a particularly nice model, even when it was new, and it was far from new. It squeaked and creaked and bore my weight and effort with a great deal of distress until it finally broke just two days before I returned to the contiguous states.

A lot of machines might have been waiting for me in that dark little room, but I'm grateful that it was a stair climber because they provide such a thorough workout. The most obvious muscles that a stair climber works are the quadriceps, those big muscles on the top front of your legs. But stair climbers also work your calves, glutes, hamstrings, and all the muscles of your core, creating a total mid-to-lower body cardiovascular workout while incurring next to no impact on your joints.

Most stair climbers are either spring-loaded or piston-operated. When you step down on a spring-loaded stair climber, your body weight combines with the pressure you exert downward to stretch a spring coiled beneath the step under either foot. These springs provide a small amount of recoil to get your leg positioned for the following step on that side. The piston-operated machines work much the same way, as your weight and exertion push air out of a metal tube through a small opening. The air pressure creates the resistance and the recoil.

A few of the newer stair climbers on the market incorporate wheels into the traditional design. The resistance in these models comes from an internal adjustable belt akin to what you might find in some rowing machines and recumbent bikes, while the rolling motion reduces impact and mimics the movement of an elliptical machine.

Some stair climbers also offer additional workout options to complete the experience, usually targeting one or more of the upper body's muscle groups, since the stair climber itself already does such a good job working your lower half.

Keeping Fit For The Long Haul

The difference between the spring-loaded and piston-operated stair climbers is minimal at most. You may feel a difference in the recoil action of one over the other, but their durability and ease of use are nearly identical. The wheeled models present a more stark comparison of style, and this is where your decision making process ought to begin.

While the wheeled models make for a compelling, low-impact stair climbing experience, they have a more limited range of motion that the older styles of machine. That means you might find yourself frustrated with their ability to really help you burn off excess energy. At the same time, their size and articulation allow you to use them comfortably from a sitting position, so you can put them under your desk while working and keep your heart rate just a little bit elevated. That can literally mean the difference between a life cut short by heart disease and a long, healthy retirement.

If you decide you want to stick to the more traditional builds, your decision will likely come down to size before anything else. Some of the traditional stair climbers on our list boast central columns designed assist you with balance and upper body exercise while you climb. If you're someone without a knack for the balance beam, this might be the safer bet for you.

You might simply not have the space for a full-sized stair climber. In that case, regardless of your balancing prowess, you're going to need a smaller machine. Since we've established that the difference between the springs and the pistons isn't enough for you to base your whole decision around it, you should look at the availability of added exercises among the smaller stair climbers. Some of them have dedicated pegs to which you can attach resistance bands and other upper body workout implements.

A Successful Debut

For 70 years between 1929 and 1999, the National Sporting Goods Association Trade Show attracted innovators, inventors, success stories, and scam artists from around the country to meet, network, promote, and profit in the sports market. It was there in 1985 that three engineers from Oklahoma led by Lanny Potts first introduced the StairMaster 5000.

The first exercise unit of its kind, the StairMaster worked more like a treadmill than the stair climbers of today, but instead of rotating a flat belt around two rollers, the StairMaster rotated an entire set of stairs, appearing three at a time, for consumers to climb. They came to the show loaded with studies about the benefits of stair climbing, and their product exploded in popularity.

Since then, Tri-Tech, the company responsible for the StairMaster, and their legions of imitators have refined the design to include only two steps that don't need to go anywhere for you to get a workout on them. They simply rebound one after the other as you pump away on your little legs, getting healthier and stronger one step at a time.

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Last updated on May 25, 2017 by Ben G

Ben is a writer from California. He mostly dives into film, videogames, and science fiction literature. Also Hello Kitty. He likes Hello Kitty a whole lot.

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