I’ll be first to admit that a stair climber isn’t an absolute necessity in a Home Gym. I do not have one at home, but we have them at all the firehouses and they are always the first choice for cardio workouts.
If you have the space in your home gym for cardio equipment, there is no doubt that a stair climber machine is one of the best cardio machines for a home gym. It combines a cardio workout with a killer lower-body workout.
This article covers all the most important aspects of a stair climber machine, so you know what to look for. After that, we’ll review seven of our favorite stair climber machines, each with its own unique features.
Let’s dive in!
A Quick Look
What To Look For in a Stair Climber Machine
Stair climber machines come in different styles, including steppers and revolving-style stair climbers. Some stair climbers incorporate arm movements, while others rely solely on lower-body movements.
Regardless of the style, there are several qualities that any climber has which will affect whether or not it is right for you. Let’s take a look at these specifications now.
One of the most crucial aspects of any piece of home gym equipment is its size. Just like home treadmills, power racks, or other workout equipment, you must dedicate a space to your stair climber.
On the plus side, there’s a wide selection of stair climber machines in a range of sizes. If you are working in a small room, purchasing a stair climber machine with a small footprint can be a fantastic way to save on space.
It would help if you also considered the height of your home gym. Some stair climbers sit low on the ground but others, such as some vertical climbers, require as much as seven or more feet of vertical space.
A stair climber machine’s weight capacity, or maximum training load, refers to how much weight the equipment can support.
Large stair climber machines can handle several hundred pounds, but if you buy an ultra-compact model, it might not be suitable for as much weight.
If you are considering a stair climber, double-check its weight capacity. Also, remember to consider the extra weight you might use with the machine. These weights could be anything, such as dumbbells, weighted vests, or similar equipment.
Many stair climber manufacturers offer machines with variable resistance levels. With resistance level adjustments, you can increase or decrease the difficulty of your workout.
Depending on the individual stair climber machine, you can expect to find anywhere between 0 and 24 resistance levels.
A stair climber without many resistance levels might be a good idea if you’re on a tight budget. But, we recommend investing in a machine that will grow with you if you can afford it.
Even if you think you’re going to work out with a zero-level resistance setting, the option to increase the resistance as you grow stronger can be a fantastic option.
Stair climber machines can be a considerable investment depending on the model you choose. One important way to protect your investment is to buy a stair climber machine that has a comprehensive warranty.
A long-term warranty is a reliable marker of a quality product. Manufacturers don’t offer a warranty on a machine they know is likely to break.
A multi-year or lifetime warranty indicates that the manufacturer expects their product to function well and last for a long time.
Stair climber machines usually have a combination of three warranties: parts, frame, and labor.
The parts warranty covers all the hardware other than the frame. It usually lasts anywhere from a year to 10 years.
The frame warranty covers the frame of the stair climber. It is usually the longest-lasting warranty and should run anywhere from 10 years to a lifetime.
Labor covers the cost of any repairs your stair climber might need. A labor warranty always has a short-term limit, such as one or two years.
A stair climber machine can come with a variety of different special features. If you are shopping on a tight budget, find a stair climber that doesn’t have a lot of extra special features. It can be a fantastic way to save on the cost.
However, many special features can add fantastic value and convenience. Consider what your home gym needs, how you want to use your stair climber, and what features are essential for you.
Here are a few special features you’ll find on many of the top brands of stair climber machines.
Many home stair climbers are capable of being folded up when not in use. This feature can be helpful if you need to move or store your stair climber. It’s also useful to fold up your stair climber if you use your home workout space for other activities.
Many high-tech stair climbers come with a display screen or touchscreen. If the stair climber offers functions for tracking heart rate, following workouts, or changing the resistance level, you can control them on the display screen.
Many modern stair climbers come with functions beyond stair climbing. Most brands typically market their machines as 2-in-1 or even 3-in-1 machines.
The options for these hybrid machines include using them as some combination of a stepper, elliptical, and treadmill.
The Best Stair Climber Machines for Your Home Gym
Now that you’ve established a solid understanding of what a stair climber machine offers, here are several options for you to review.
StairMaster StepMill 3 – Best Overall Stair Climber Machine
Dimensions: 29″ W x 46″ L x 73″ H
Weight Capacity: Min 125 lbs, Max 350 lbs
Resistance Levels: None
Warranty: Limited 10-Year on Structural Frame, 3-Year Parts, 3-Years Labor
StairMaster is a legendary name in the stepmill game. They have been around since the 80s and introduced the stepmill to the public.
The StepMill 3 offers a full cardio and strength workout but with a smaller design than StairMaster’s commercial-rated options. This compact design along with front transport wheels makes the machine easy to move around. The 6” step height feels very natural as you climb.
You can choose from over 25 motivating workout combinations, of varying difficulty, to keep things interesting. Tracking your workouts is also straightforward thanks to the Console with a backlit LCD display. It logs duration, speed, floors climbed, and calories burned.
The StepMill 3 is also easy to integrate into your home gym since it only measures 46″ L x 29″ W x 73” H and only requires 8’ ceiling height clearance. The StepMill 3 requires users to weigh a minimum of 125 lbs to use the machine and can support users who weigh up to 350 lbs.
The StairMaster StepMill 3 machine comes with an impressive 10-Year warranty on the frame and a 3-Year warranty on parts and labor.
- Trusted brand name with a great warranty
- Small enough to fit through standard doorways.
- Minimum weight capacity of 125lbs to use the machine
ProForm Pro HIIT H14 – Best Overall Hybrid Stair Climber Machine
Dimensions: 29″ W x 52″ D x 66″ H
Weight Capacity: 325 Lb.
Resistance Levels: 26
Warranty: 10-Year Frame, 2-Year Parts, and 1-Year Labor Warranty
The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 stair climber and elliptical is a fantastic 2-in-1 hybrid machine. It provides a full-body workout and many great features.
It has a footprint of 29″ x 52″. It requires about 66″ of headspace. The H14 supports an impressive 325 lb weight capacity. It has a comfortable range of movement with a 10″ vertical and 5″ horizontal elliptical path that will work for small or large athletes.
The H14 comes with a high-def 14″ touchscreen. You can use it to track your speed, time, distance, heart rate, calories burned, and incline/decline angle.
The H14 can also stream content, including iFit’s trainer-led cardio and strength training workouts. Or, connect your earbuds using this stair climber’s Bluetooth capabilities so you can stream music while you sweat.
The H14 offers 26 resistance levels. It relies on Silent Magnetic Resistance (SMR) for smooth transitions between the levels. However, some users have reported some noise when you move at high speeds.
Another feature of the H14 is its CoolAire workout fan to keep you cool and comfortable during strenuous workouts. It also has a water bottle holder so you can hydrate without stopping your exercise.
And while the machine weighs 224 lb., the front-mounted transport wheels and oversized leveling feet make moving the stair climber a straightforward task.
The ProForm Pro HIIT H14 comes with a 10-year frame warranty, a 2-year parts warranty, and a 1-year labor warranty.
- It comes with a 14″ Smart HD Touchscreen for tracking speed, time, distance, and more
- The Silent Magnetic Resistance technology makes switching between resistance levels smooth and effortless.
- The H14 is a little noisy when you move quickly.
StairMaster 10 Series 10G Gauntlet – Best Premium Stair Climber Machine
Dimensions: 34″ W x 63″ D x 83″ H
Weight Capacity: 400 Lbs.
Resistance Levels: 25
Warranty: Limited 10-Year Frame, 10-Years Parts, and 5-Years Labor
The 10G Gauntlet from StairMaster is a true stair climber with an innovative design. It might be a little overkill for most home gyms, but if you have the room and budget, it’s a great addition. It features OverDrive Training Mode that simulates the farmer’s carry and sled push exercises while moving up a flight of stairs.
StairMaster also built the 10G with broad, deep stairs, ergonomic handrails, and a low step height to support this type of workout.
The 10G also offers users the Landmark Challenge program, a series of programmed climbing workouts featuring famous landmarks like the Taj Mahal and Eiffel Tower. There are also many standard workouts that you can follow along with on the display.
Speaking of the display, you can pick up the 10G Gauntlet with either an LCD, 10″, or 15″ OpenHub display. This stair climber machine also provides functions for tracking telemetry, heart rate, and more.
The StairMaster 10G is a big piece of equipment with a 34″ x 63″ footprint. The company recommends you have at least 10 feet of headspace to use this stair climber safely and effectively.
Get a varied training experience with 24 levels of resistance from 24 to 190 steps per minute. You can also enjoy the easy-to-use HotBar control panel, integrated workout fan, and integrated tablet holder.
The StairMaster 10 Series 10G Gauntlet comes with three warranties, including a limited 10-year frame warranty, a 10-year parts warranty, and a 5-year labor warranty.
- The OverDrive Training Mode gives you an intense, whole-body training experience.
- The 15″ screen version comes with 16+ pre-programmed workouts.
- The 10G requires a significant, dedicated space to store and use it.
Sunny Health & Fitness Twisting Stair Stepper Machine – Best Budget Stair Climber Machine
Dimensions: 18.5” W x 21.9” D x 49.8” H
Weight Capacity: 250 Lbs.
Resistance Levels: None
Warranty: 1-Year Frame, 180-Day Parts
The Twisting Stair Stepper from Sunny Health and Fitness is a very basic, straightforward, budget stair climber machine that provides a robust workout without breaking the bank.
This stepper machine is also space-efficient. It measures a little under 19″ by 22″ and stands under 50″ tall. The Twisting Stair Stepper has two sweat-resistant handlebars. The handlebar, and the step height, are quickly adjusted using dedicated knobs.
This machine is also stable thanks to Sunny Health and Fitness’s unique stabilizing ring. This stabilizing ring distributes the weight on the device and helps reduce unwanted movement.
The stepper’s two comfortable pedals move in a fluid side-to-side lateral action. It targets a range of muscles other stair climber-style machines don’t hit.
And if you’re interested in tracking workout data, this stair stepper has a useful, if somewhat limited, digital monitor. The monitor displays multiple data points, including time, workout step counts, total step count, calories burned, and scan.
Given that this is a budget-level stair climber, there are no resistance levels, and the warranties are limited. However, if you are looking for an affordable stair climber, or if this is your first time buying a stepper machine, the Sunny Health and Fitness Twisting Stair Stepper is an option to consider.
- Adjusting the handlebar and step heights with dedicated adjustment knobs is easy.
- Even though it’s a budget model, you still get a digital monitor for tracking workout data.
- The short frame and parts warranties are unimpressive.
NordicTrack FS10i Freestyle Trainer – Best Stair Climber Machine for Special Features
Dimensions: 29.5″ W x 58.5″ D x 74″ H
Weight Capacity: 375 Lbs.
Resistance Levels: 24
Warranty: 10-Year Frame, 2-Year Parts, 1-Year Labor
If you are a tech-savvy gym rat, the FS10i Freestyle Trainer from NordicTrack is a feature-rich stair climber machine that offers plenty of extras.
The FS10i is a hybrid 3-in-1 machine that can function as a stair stepper, elliptical, or treadmill. You can easily switch modes simply by adjusting your movement pattern. Additionally, the machine intuitively adapts to your stride length within a range of 32″ for the most comfortable movement possible.
The FS10i features a 10″ Smart HD Touchscreen. It lets you track your stats, including workout duration, calories burned, heart rate, and more. You can also follow along with trainer-led iFit workouts using the crystal-clear display.
There are 24 digitally-controlled resistance levels on the FS10i. The Silent Magnetic Resistance technology and a 20Lbs inertia-enhanced flywheel control the levels. In addition to the resistance, you can also adjust the incline on the FS10i in a range from 0-10%.
Among the additional features of this stair climber are the AutoBreeze workout fan and OneTouch controls. It also has two 2″ digitally amplified speakers and Bluetooth audio capabilities.
The NordicTrack FS10i Freestyle Trainer has fantastic warranties. It comes with a 10-year frame warranty, a 2-year parts warranty, and a 1-year labor warranty.
- With 24 digital resistance levels, the FS10i Freestyle Trainer can grow with you as you get fitter.
- There are a ton of effective adjustments, including stride length, resistance, and incline angle.
- The lack of static handles makes mounting the machine tricky.
MaxiClimber XL-2000 Vertical Climber – Best Vertical-Style Climber Machine
Dimensions: 25.78” W x 41.33” D x 92.88”
Weight Capacity: 300 Lbs.
Resistance Levels: 12
Warranty: Limited 1-Year
The MaxiClimber XL-2000 Vertical Climber is a vertical-style climbing machine. It integrates lower and upper body movement to give you a total body workout.
This vertical climber is foldable and has a compact folded footprint of approximately 14″ x 26″ x 72″. When it’s unfolded, the XL-2000 still only measures 26″ x 41″ with an adjustable height that will work for users who are up to 6.6′ tall.
MaxiClimber built their XL-2000 using high-grade, robust aluminum for the frame and a durable, high-friction roller mechanism. Additionally, you can choose between 12 resistance levels which use bi-directional hydraulic resistance.
This MaxiClimber climber is well-complemented by MaxiClimber’s free fitness app. The app includes the company’s 21-Day Maxi-Challenge interval training program. This workout program helps improve your strength, cardio, and endurance.
The MaxiClimber XL-2000 Vertical Climber comes 90% pre-assembled for added convenience. MaxiClimber also offers a limited 1-Year warranty when you purchase this vertical climber machine.
- This vertical climber works for a wide range of users up to 6.6′ tall and weighing 300 lbs.
- The high-friction roller mechanism and aluminum frame allow for smooth, natural-feeling movements.
- The MaxiClimber XL-2000 Vertical Climber warranty plan leaves a lot to be desired.
Jacobs Ladder The Stairway GTL – Runner-up StepMill Stair Climber Machine
Dimensions: 32” W x 60” D x 80” H
Weight Capacity: 350 Lbs.
Resistance Levels: Up to 160 steps/min
Warranty: 2-Year Parts, 1-Year Labor
Our runner-up stepmill style stair climber is the Jacobs Ladder The Stairway GTL machine. Jacobs Ladder built this stair climber with a welded steel-tube frame, powder-coated steel tube handles, and steel stairs with polyvinyl treads.
The stairs on the machine are about 8″ high and 9″ deep for comfortable, secure stepping. The device itself is relatively large at 32″ x 60″ and requires about 8 feet of ceiling space.
The Stairway GTL uses a closed-loop control system that keeps the speed level consistent with the amount of exertion you put out. And with the digital display, setting the speed is straightforward with two dedicated buttons.
Speaking of the display, you can also use the digital screen to track several vital measurements. The data collected includes elapsed time, steps climbed, steps per minute, calories burned, and heart rate.
Another exciting feature of The Stairway GTL is that it is self-powered, unlike most stair-climbing machines. This design means you can place the GTL anywhere you want without being limited by the need for an accessible wall outlet.
Jacobs Ladder provides a 2-year parts warranty and 1-year labor warranty on their The Stairway GTL stair climber machine.
- The closed-loop control system automatically adjusts to your effort level to keep your workouts challenging.
- The 8″ x 9″ steps feel natural, and the stairs’ treads provide a secure grip.
- The Stairway GTL is more expensive than many other stair climber machines.
Find the Right Stair Climber Machine for You
With the right stair climber machine, you can enjoy the benefits of resistance and cardio training with a single piece of home gym equipment.
After reading this article, you now know the most important aspects of a stair climber machine size, capacity, and resistance level. And with the seven stair climber machines we reviewed, you also have a great list of equipment to start your search.
Our favorite stair climber machine is the StairMaster StepMill 3, so if you are short on time, we highly recommend you check out this machine.
If you are on a budget, try the Sunny Health & Fitness Twisting Stair Stepper Machine. This affordable climber will give you a great workout without emptying your wallet.
Or, if you don’t need to worry about the cost and want to invest in a premium stair climber machine that offers impressive performance and a full complement of special features, research the StairMaster 10 Series 10G Gauntlet.
Regardless of which stair climber you choose, we hope you find the perfect one that will give you a fantastic workout and help you lead a healthier, happier life.
What size Stair Climber Machine do I need?
You need a machine that will fit comfortably in your home, with enough height and width to accommodate your body size. A capacity of at least 300 lbs is also recommended. Look for machines with adjustable resistance or speed levels to ensure that your workouts are always challenging.
How many calories can I burn with a Stair Climber Machine?
On average, you can burn 350-500 calories per hour on a stair climber machine.
What is the difference between a vertical climber and a revolving-style stair climber?
The main difference between a vertical climber and a revolving-style stair climber is that a vertical climber simulates the motion of stair climbing, while a revolving-style stair climber can be thought of as a treadmill, but instead of a revolving belt it has revolving stairs. Vertical climbers are also typically more compact and require less storage space than revolving-style stair climbers.
Do I need to have a lot of space for a Stair Climber Machine?
You don’t need a lot of space for most stair climber machines, but be sure to measure the dimensions of the machine before purchasing to ensure it will fit comfortably in your home. Some climbers, like the Sunny Health & Fitness Twisting Stair Stepper Machine, are small and easily portable enough to move around as needed.