stair stepper machine

The 7 Best Stair Stepper Machines

Want to burn some calories in the comfort of your living room? A stair stepper machine is a convenient and beneficial way to get in a great cardio workout at home!

Like other exercise equipment, stair steppers come in a variety of sizes and range from no-frills models to machines with complex features you didn’t even know existed. 

As such, determining which model best fits your needs and your budget can be a little overwhelming. Lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place. 

I’m going to break down the pros and cons of my seven best stair step machines. 

7 Stair Stepper Machines You Should Try

My very favorite and best option out there right now is the Bowflex Max Trainer M6, recently released to replace the now-discontinued M7 model that was extremely popular. Certainly, Bowflex took a good thing and made it even better. 

This is a high-end machine that essentially is a cross between an elliptical and a stair climber. The combination of stair action plus upper body movement allows for high-intensity interval training with low impact on the joints.

In terms of its added features, this thing comes loaded. The most notable upgrade the M6 received is the Bowflex Max Intelligence App

This app functions as an artificial intelligence platform that assesses your fitness level and suggests workouts to help you achieve your goals — much like what a personal trainer would do. 

Pros 

  • It also has 29 instructor-led workouts and 16 levels of resistance which will provide high-intensity workouts fit for your level. 
  • The app supports up to two different profiles, a bonus for households with multiple users. 
  • The integrated heart rate monitor and display tracking burned calories creates a seamless user experience. 
  • It has an onboard USB port for charging tablets or smartphones which can be stored neatly in the magnetic media rack. 
  • It has a relatively compact dimension of 49″ L x 30.5″ W x 65.5″ H make it ideal for home gyms. 

Cons

  • The price of this machine is $1,699, making it a significant investment. 
  • The app requires an additional subscription fee for access to personalized workouts. It will run you $14.95 per month or $149 annually

My second favorite is the ProForm HIIT Stair Stepper Machine. It’s another high-end machine that functions as a stair climber and elliptical hybrid.

At $1,000, it’s one of the more expensive options. But if your budget allows for it, you’ll enjoy an expansive list of features including 24 resistance settings, 32 preset workouts and a 7” display that tracks speed, distance, time and calories burned. 

Pros 

  • This model is iFit enabled and has built-in speakers compatible with smartphones and MP3 players. 
  • Cushioned, oversized pedals let users reposition feet to avoid discomfort and multi-grip handlebars allow for isolating muscles in your back, shoulders, arms, and core. 
  • A two-speed fan, water bottle holder and tablet holder round out the basic conveniences. 
  • All of this technology and calorie-burning power comes with the relatively compact dimensions of 66” H x 29.25” W x 39” L. 

Cons

  • At $1,000, this machine is out of the price range of many home gyms. 
  • The product arrives unassembled and putting it together is a very tedious process. 
  • Most users highly recommend paying the additional fee for on-sight assembly, so you can factor in an additional $60-$100 depending on where you purchase it from.

If you’re looking for a more basic workout experience, the Sunny Health and Fitness Stepper SF-1115 is a budget-friendly option. Clocking in at just over $100, this machine provides a quality home workout at a modest price. 

Pros 

  • It features dual hydraulic piston cylinders with 12 easy-to-adjust settings and built-in handles bars for added stability. 
  • The on-board LCD monitor tracks calories burned, time and step count
  • If space is a concern, you’ll love its compact size and ability to fold down to be stored when not in use.

Cons

  • The cons on this product are the minimalistic LCD display and the lack of a heart rate monitor, but for the price point, it’s a very serviceable no-frills option for getting in a good sweat in the comfort of your own home.

Image result for Stamina 40-0069 Space Mate Folding Stepper
The Stamina 40-0069 is another option for users looking for a home cardio machine that’s both budget-friendly and compact.

This model costs only $90 and features two adjustable hydraulic cylinders and a multi-function monitor to track workout time and calories burned.

Pros 

  • Two foam covered handlebars provide extra stability. 
  • When not in use, this step machine folds down for storage. While not flat enough to fit under most beds, users have successfully stored it under beds with 3-4″ risers, making it ideal for apartments or dorm rooms. 

Cons

  • It’s a very basic product. 
  • It focuses more on the lower body. It does not provide for an upper body workout and the calories burned monitor is largely inaccurate due to the lack of a heart rate monitor.

This step machine is one of the most compact options on the market, making it ideal for home setups with limited space.

Weighing in at just 13.5 pounds and measuring 21” L x 14” W x 4” H when folded, it can easily be tucked away under a piece of furniture when not in use. 

Pros 

  • Despite its small profile, it’s rated to support up to 400 pounds, in comparison to other step machines
  • Its hydraulic cylinder system provides for adjustable resistance. 
  • It has a five-year consumer warranty that provides some peace of mind. 
  • It is shipped fully assembled. 

Cons

  • The price point of $400 is relatively steep given how basic its function is. Most products in that price range boast some electronic components.
  • The lack of handlebars means less stability and the need for additional hand weights in order to achieve a more complete workout. 

With an attractive price tag of just $60, this step machine is the most affordable option on our list.

Weighing just 13.1 pounds with dimensions of 16” W x 13” L x 7” T, it’s one of the most compact step machines making it perfect for your home gym setup. 

Pros 

  • Despite its small footprint, it’s rated for use up to 250 pounds. 
  • Its design allows it to be used either sitting or standing, making it ideal for under-desk applications. 
  • It features a digital electronic monitor to track calories burned, steps taken and time used. 

Cons

  • The resistance is not adjustable. As such, it’s really only suitable for users looking for a light to moderate workout. 
  • Some users have also complained that the item is too noisy for use in office settings. 

The last option is the StairMaster Stepmill 3. This option is essentially a scaled-down version of one of the more traditional moving stair machines you’ve probably seen in a fitness center. 

Unlike its commercial counterparts, this machine is relatively compact and can be used in rooms with a regular ceiling clearance. It weighs in at 227 pounds, making it surprisingly easy to move using its built-in front transport wheels. 

Pros 

  • The model features an LCD console that displays all your important workout information like distance traveled and heart rate
  • It’s loaded with several workout programs. Speeds range from 26 to 162 steps per minute. 

Cons

  • The major con of this item is its price tag of $3,000. While that’s nearly half the price of its moving stair commercial counterparts, it’s not nearly as budget-friendly as some of our other options. 
  • Some users have also noted some durability issues with this machine.

The Takeaway..

woman on the stair stepper machine

As with most fitness equipment purchases, the best things to consider are your fitness goals and your budget. For those who are looking for a serious, long-term workout plan and are willing to make a significant investment, the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 is hands down one of the best step machines. 

The Bowflex Max Intelligence App combined with the superior quality of the machine will provide the best workout experience for years to come. With support for up to two users in the app, it’s ideal for fitness-minded couples. 

For users looking for a good workout at a more affordable price, the Sunny Health and Fitness Stepper SF-1115 is an excellent option. The 12 resistance settings allow for interval training and customized workouts as fitness goals change. Its basic LCD monitor helps you track important stats, and its fold-down design is an added bonus when it comes time to store it. 

But remember, no matter which model you choose, you’ll never regret investing in yourself and your health. All of these models are good options, so find one that works for you and get to stepping!

Picture of DAniel

Article by:

Daniel DeMoss

I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.  

Get in touch: [email protected]