The best stair climbers for your home gym will take your cardio game to a whole new level. These often underappreciated pieces of gym equipment can also improve foot speed and coordination, in turn, delivering a better quality of life as we grow older. A study from the National Institute of Health found a correlation between stair climbing and avoiding Metabolic Syndrome. In our opinion stair climbers are the most underutilized pieces of gym equipment. Maybe that’s why they often get stored in the far-off corners of many gyms.
If you’re worried about stair climbing taking up a large portion of your home gym, we have some great news. Today’s stair climbers and hybrid steppers come in smaller shapes and sizes than the old Stairmasters we’re used to seeing in commercial gym settings.
For our list, we’ve included several different types of climbers that range from more traditional stair-based options to the full-body workout of the Jacob’s Ladder and the multi-movement options of the NordicTrack FS10i.
We’ve also included stair climbers that offer connectivity options, budget pricing, and other features that may appeal to different types of home gym owners.
Whether you’re looking to push your heart rate to new levels or you want to work on your foot speed and coordination, these are the best stair climbers for a home gym.
Table of Contents
Jacobs Ladder Step Climber: The Best Stair Climber Ladder System
The Jacobs Ladder offers a high-intensity, low-impact exercise. It’s so good that tests conducted by researchers in the School of Kinesiology at Louisiana State University found that Jacobs Ladder users burned calories at a much higher pace with a lower perceived exertion rate when compared with treadmills.
The Jacobs Ladder provides a challenging and effective fitness experience. Designed with a distinctive ladder-like structure, it provides a full-body workout that engages various muscle groups and boosts cardiovascular fitness.
One of the key advantages of Jacobs Ladder is its low-impact nature, which makes it suitable for individuals of all fitness levels and ages. Unlike traditional treadmills or stair climbers, Jacobs Ladder’s design places minimal stress on the joints, reducing the risk of injury.
As users climb the ladder-like rungs, they engage their legs, core, and upper body simultaneously. This integrated movement helps to improve strength, endurance, and coordination, making it an efficient choice for those looking to maximize their workout time.
Our favorite aspect is that the Jacobs Ladder features a self-paced design. Users control the intensity of their workout simply by adjusting their climbing speed. This makes it suitable for both beginners and advanced athletes, allowing each individual to tailor their workout to their specific fitness goals and capabilities.
In addition to its fitness benefits, Jacobs Ladder also offers a unique workout experience. The climbing motion provides a natural and functional movement pattern, making it more engaging and enjoyable for users. This can help motivate individuals to stick to their fitness routines and achieve their health and wellness goals.
It’s not a traditional option but it’s among the best stair climbers we’ve used in both commercial and home gyms.
Jacob’s Ladder Main Features
- Continuous Climbing: Jacobs Ladder provides a continuous climbing motion, simulating a never-ending ladder climb.
- Low Impact: It offers a low-impact workout, reducing stress on joints and minimizing the risk of injury.
- Full Body Workout: Jacobs Ladder engages both the upper and lower body, working arms, legs, and core simultaneously.
- Adjustable Resistance: Users can control the climbing speed and resistance, making it suitable for various fitness levels.
- Self-Paced: The machine adjusts to the user’s pace, encouraging personalized workouts.
- Compact Design: Jacobs Ladder is designed to be compact, making it suitable for home gyms or limited space.
- Commercial-Grade: Often found in commercial gyms, it’s built to withstand heavy use and is durable.
- No Electricity Needed: Jacobs Ladder is manually powered, so it doesn’t require electricity.
- Safety Features: It typically includes safety handles and foot placements for stability during workouts.
- Variety of Exercises: In addition to climbing, users can perform a range of exercises like lunges and squats on the machine.
- Data Tracking: Some models offer data tracking features to record workout progress and performance metrics.
- Adjustable Incline: Users can adjust the incline to target different muscle groups and intensity levels.
Jacobs Ladder Dimensions
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||76 x 31.25 x 65.5 inches|
|Item weight||260 lb.|
|Maximum weight capacity||300 lb.|
Jacobs Ladder Pros And Cons
- Low impact on the lower back.
- Burns calories faster and more efficiently than a treadmill.
- Adds lower body strength training to your cardio routine.
- Higher effort creates a more challenging workout session.
- Takes up a lot of space and it’s heavy.
- There’s no connectivity.
- It comes with a commercial gym-level price tag.
|Jacobs Ladder Step Machine – Step Climber Exercise Machine for A Great Climbing Exercise and Workout…||$5,999.00||Buy on Amazon|
The team at Stepr+ has created a next-generation stair climber for home gym users. The smaller design means it won’t take up a ton of space in your home gym and the devices connectivity provides for a ton of workouts and even access to watch your favorite streaming TV services s you climb flights of stairs.
The STEPR fitness program offers more than just your typical workouts. In addition to their signature STEPR workouts, they provide a diverse range of classes such as boot camp, yoga, and resistance training, catering to individuals of all fitness levels. Whether you’re a beginner looking to kickstart your fitness journey or an advanced athlete seeking a challenge, STEPR offers instructor-led workout options that suit your needs.
What sets STEPR apart is its versatility. Designed to fit into almost any indoor space, their equipment features a compact 27″ 360º swivel and pivot touchscreen, ensuring a convenient and engaging workout experience. Regular app updates keep the fitness content fresh and exciting which is also a big plus since walking on steps for long periods of time can become boring very quickly.
Moreover, STEPR prioritizes efficiency, enabling you to burn over 400 calories in just 30 minutes. With the STEPR all-access membership profiles, you can easily track your fitness progress and stay motivated on your path to a healthier lifestyle. It’s a comprehensive fitness solution that adapts to your needs and goals.
We’re big fans of our Peloton equipment at Garage Gym Products and Stepr+ offers a similar feel to the classes and other services that Peloton offers.
We expect the Stepr+ to be among the first in a long line of the best stair climber options as the connected gym products market continues to grow. It may already be the best home stair climber thanks to its small size and tons of connectivity options that should keep you entertained as you step off the pounds.
Stepr+ Main Features
- 360° Swivel & Pivor Touchscreen with a big 27″ display.
- Burn 400+ calories in as little as 30 minutes.
- Track your fitness with the STEPR all-access membership pass.
- Space-saving footprint: Specifically designed to accommodate home ceilings, making it ideal for spare rooms, basements, and garage spaces.
- On-Demand classes: Join quality, high-intensity workouts led by real STEPR coaches who’ll keep you reaching new heights every session.
- Automatic Safety Features: STEPR has built-in safety features that will automatically stop the unit, with a manual safety stop for added peace of mind.
- Water bottle & cell phone holder.
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||42 x 27.6 x 82 inches|
|Item weight||286 lb.|
|Maximum weight capacity||Not rated|
|Display||27″ HD touchscreen|
- A huge display that’s easy on the eyes
- A surprisingly compact stair climber
- A larger library trainer-led classes
- Access to your favorite streaming services
- It’s expensive for a home gym product
- There are smaller non-traditional options
- It’s still a rather new and less tested product.
StairMaster 8 Series 8G Gauntlet Stepmill
StairMaster 8 Series 8G Gauntlet Stepmill
StairMaster has become a mainstay in many commercial gyms. While it’s often hidden in the corner of the gym, it’s our go-to cardio workout in-between reps and it’s a wonderful cardio workout for people of all activity levels. The StairMaster 8 Series 8G Gauntlet provides the standard StairMaster feel with a huge 10-year warranty. It’s expensive but it’s also built like a tank.
StairMaster has long been synonymous with stair climbers, and their Gauntlet StepMill has remained a classic for over three decades. Its unmistakable design, though admittedly quite massive, is a fixture in gyms everywhere. While it’s rare to spot one of these machines in a home setting, if you have both the budget and the space to spare, it’s a top-tier choice.
This powerhouse features a set of revolving 8-inch stairs that closely mimic the experience of stair climbing, outperforming many other stair climbers and elliptical models. It offers step rates ranging from a modest 26 to a staggering 162 steps per minute, making it suitable for a wide range of fitness levels.
Constructed with a sturdy, rust-free polypropylene step surface, this cardio machine is built to withstand the test of time while maintaining its aesthetics. The inclusion of a 10-inch touchscreen display adds a touch of sophistication, providing essential metrics and pre-loaded workout programs. Moreover, with seamless connectivity to Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch, sharing real-time data between the machine and your wearable devices is effortless.
The StairMaster helped usher in the market for this type of product and it’s still among the best commercial stair climber series on the market. It’s very expensive but it’s among the best stair climbers in terms of build quality and traditional stair climbing mechanics.
StairMaster 8 Series 8G Gauntlet Stepmill Key Features
- The machine boasts a spacious, durable, rust-free polypropylene step surface.
- The LCD display offers comprehensive functionality in a sleek, modern design.
- It comes with standard Bluetooth connectivity, VA glass, and a USB charging port.
- Warranty: Consumer – A limited 10-year warranty covers the structural frame (excluding coatings), while all other components are warranted for 10 years for parts and 3 years for labor.
StairMaster 8 Series 8G Gauntlet Stepmill Dimensions
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||58 x 34 x 89 inches|
|Item weight||343 lb.|
|Maximum weight capacity||350 lb.|
- A huge 350-pound weight capacity.
- Durable construction that can stand up to repeated use
- Plenty of pre-loaded training routines to follow.
- A huge 10-year warranty on the frame and parts and a 3-year labor warranty.
- It’s very large and heavy.
- It’s missing modern-day connectivity and classes.
- It’s very expensive.
- The unit can be loud.
|StairMaster 8 Series 8G Gauntlet Stepmill Stepper Exercise Machine with LCD Console||$8,699.00||Buy on Amazon|
The NordicTrack FS10i offers a 3-in-one design that targets the type of movements you will typically find on elliptical, treadmill, and stepper-type machines. We love the stride adjustment feature and the inclusion of a 10-inch smart touchscreen.
The NordicTrack FS10i boasts a versatile 3-in-1 design that combines an elliptical, treadmill, and stepper all within a compact footprint. While it leans more toward the elliptical side of the workout spectrum than the StairMaster, it offers a robust low-impact training option for simulating climbing movements.
One standout feature is the automatic stride adjustment, ranging from zero to 32 inches, making it highly user-friendly and suitable for accommodating multiple household members.
This machine doesn’t follow a one-size-fits-all approach; it provides customized resistance and incline settings, allowing users to fine-tune their workouts to their exact preferences. With a choice of 26 resistance levels and an incline capability of up to 10 percent, you have complete control over workout intensity.
The focal point of this equipment is its 10-inch smart touchscreen. It goes beyond merely displaying your progress, serving as your portal to access on-demand workout programs.
For those seeking a space-saving and durable fitness solution at home, this elliptical hybrid is an excellent investment that will serve you well for years to come. However, with a price tag over $2000 and weighing nearly 300 pounds, if your primary goal is intensive climbing training, you might find better value with a VersaClimber.
NordicTrack FS10i Key Features
- Low-impact and delivers high-intensity workouts.
- Combination of a stepper, elliptical, and treadmill.
- 375-pound weight capacity.
- 32-inch auto-adjustable stride.
NordicTrack FS10i Dimensions
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||58.5 x 29.5 x 74 inches|
|Item weight||287 lb.|
|Maximum weight capacity||375 lb.|
|Display||14″ HD touchscreen|
- It’s better on your knees than a traditional stair climber.
- Use it as an elliptical, treadmill, and stair climber.
- Several adjustable stride and resistance levels
- The 10-inch touchscreen provides access to workout sessions and other connected options.
- Bluetooth-capable with dual two-inch speakers
- The movement pattern doesn’t match traditional stair climbing
- The connected screen is less than half the size of other options on the market.
- It’s a great budget option compared to many other Stair Climbers.
|NordicTrack FS14i FreeStride Elliptical with 14” HD Touchscreen and 30-Day iFIT Family Membership||$2,499.00||Buy on Amazon|
VersaClimber H/HP Consumer Model
VersaClimber H/HP Consumer Model
The VersaClimber H/HP Consumer Model is a great option for anyone looking to add an upper-body workout to their step climber routine. It’s very compact, offers excellent grip adjustments, and it’s priced well below some of the best stair climbers on our list.
The VersaClimber H/HP Consumer Model provides a stair climber-type experience alongside an upper-body workout that speeds up the calorie burn and muscle-building process.
We love this product largely due to the three-handle settings that allow for users of all heights to utilize the equipment.
While the onboard computer is rather rudimentary, it does provide a set of pre-loaded training options that can set you on the right path as a first-time user.
It’s easy to step on this product during HiiT sprints and then continue with the rest of your workout, making it an excellent addition for anyone looking to add cardio into regular workout sessions, powerlifting, and more.
This is easily one of the best compact stair climber products on the market.
VersaClimber H/HP Consumer Model Key Features
- Full-Body Step and Climbing Machine
- Stand-alone or Wall-Mount option
- Quality Steel Construction
- Variable Tension Control: 1LB to 500LB
- Step Height & Arm Travel: 1″ to 20″
- Optional Bluetooth
- Max Speed: 350 Vertical Feet per Minute
- 3 Grip Adjustments
- Heart Rate Monitoring Included
- Climb Angle: 75 degrees
VersaClimber H/HP Consumer Model Dimensions
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||36 x 44 x 90 inches|
|Item weight||65 lb.|
|Maximum weight capacity||350 lb.|
- Easier on the knees than traditional step climbers
- Provides for an upper body workout.
- The compact footprint is great for home gyms.
- It doesn’t have the exact movement of a traditional stair climber.
BowFlex Max Trainer M9: The Best Stair Climber On A Budget
BowFlex Max Trainer M9
A stair climber and eliptical all-in-one, the BowFlex Max Trainer M9 is combact, offers a connected 10-inch HD touchscreen, and it’s priced far below many of the other products on our list. If you want versatility and you don’t want to drain your bank account, this is an excellent option.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M9 is part of a long line of similar products. The company takes the functionality of an elliptical and adds a stepper option that allows for stair climber-type functionality.
This product is not only one of our most budget-friendly stair climbers to choose from, it’s also one of the most compact.
If you’re into connected workouts, the unit offers a 10-inch HD touchscreen that comes loaded with a library of training videos. You can also stream music or watch Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services during your workout.
Thanks to various handlebar placement options you can also choose how your movements are distributed, offering various workouts for your lower-body and upper-body.
BowFlex Max Trainer M9 Key Features
- 10″ adjustable HD touchscreen (Wi-Fi connection required)
- Built-in JRNY experience2
- 20 resistance levels.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
- 4-grip handlebars.
- Bluetooth®-enabled speakers.
BlowFlex Max Trainer M9 Dimensions
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||49.2 x 30.5 x 65.1 inches|
|Item weight||148.8 lb.|
|Maximum weight capacity||300 lb.|
|Display||10″ HD touchscreen|
- Versatile elliptical-meets-stepper design
- 10″ HD touchscreen display with streaming capabilities
- Streams a wide variety of content
- Easy on the knees
- Movement pattern is slightly different than a true stair climber
CLMBR Connected 02
CLMBR Connected 02
The CLMBR Connected 02 is an excellent step climber with a small footprint, a top-notch 21.5-inch Touch Display, and a versatile set of workout videos that are great for anyone from beginners to pros. It’s also a more low-impact option than some of the best stair climbers on the market.
The CLMBR steps in with a fresh take on climbing steps, one that essentially takes the VersaClimber concept and adds internet connectivity and video programs to keep you engaged. We find working out on this thing to be a pleasant deviation from the usual smart-connected suspects like treadmills and bikes.
It’s built around the concept of harnessing a natural, athletic stance and spinal alignment while climbing, so you won’t feel the same incline as on something like the Jacob’s Ladder. An added perk: it stands upright, meaning it doesn’t gobble up your floor real estate like many other stair climbers do. Sure, accommodating its vertical orientation might require a bit of overhead clearance, but it’s a boon for those of us dealing with limited floor space.
CLMBR Connected 02 Main Features
- Step length: 20 inches
- Resistance: 11 levels of magnetic resistance
- Display: 10.5-inch Touch Screen Display on Base CLMBR or 21.5-inch Touch Display on Plus CLMBR upgraded model.
- Types of workouts offered: Hundreds of on-demand low-impact, high-intensity workouts.
CLMBR Connected 02 Dimensions
|Dimensions (LxWxH)||35 x 32 x 88 inches|
|Item weight||180 lb.|
|Maximum weight capacity||350 lb.|
- Compact footprint
- HD Connected Touchscreen with plenty of included classes.
- Low impact
- The magnetic resistance is smooth
- Warranty is only one-year.
If our list has helped us put you on the fence for the best stair climber for your own needs, here are a few things you might want to consider when buying a Stair Climber, Stepper, or other hybrid form of these machines.
How To Choose The Best Stair Climber For Your Own Needs
Whether you are considering a traditional stair climber, an elliptical-type hybrid, or a connected stair climber, there are a few considerations you might want to keep in mind.
- Machine Type: There are three main types of stair climbers: traditional step machines, elliptical stair climbers, and hybrid steppers. Traditional step machines offer a simple up-and-down motion, mimicking real stair climbing. Elliptical stair climbers provide a more fluid, elliptical path, which can be gentler on the joints and hybrid machines typically offer a mix of the two, along with some of their own unique movements. The type of machine you choose may come down to existing joint issues. As we’ve seen above, there are
- Size and Space: Measure the available space in your home gym before purchasing a stair climber. These machines can vary in size, so ensure it fits comfortably in your designated workout area. Foldable or compact models might be preferable if space is limited.
- Resistance Levels: Look for a stair climber with adjustable resistance levels. This feature allows you to tailor your workout intensity to your fitness level and goals. Machines with a wide range of resistance settings can accommodate both beginners and advanced users.
- Console and Tracking: Consider the console features of the stair climber. A user-friendly, backlit display with essential metrics like time, distance, speed, and calories burned can enhance your workout experience. Some models even come with built-in workout programs and heart rate monitoring capabilities.
- Build Quality: Invest in a stair climber made from high-quality materials that can withstand regular use. Durable construction ensures your machine lasts longer and operates smoothly. Read reviews or ask for recommendations to gauge the machine’s build quality.
- Safety Features: Safety should be a top priority. Look for handrails and non-slip pedals to prevent accidents during your workouts. Additionally, a safety key or emergency stop button can provide peace of mind.
- Price and Warranty: Set a budget before shopping for a stair climber. Prices can vary widely, so knowing your budget will help narrow down your options. Also, check the warranty offered by the manufacturer to ensure you’re covered in case of any malfunctions or issues.
- Noise Level: Some stair climbers can be quite noisy, which might be disruptive in a shared living space. If noise is a concern, read reviews or inquire about the machine’s noise level before purchasing.
The Most Asked Questions About Stair Climbers
What is the best stair climber on the market?
We believe the products listed above are among the best stair climbers and hybrid climbers for a home gym. Commercial outfits tend to lean towards the StairMaster and Precor series thanks to long warranties and quality builds. Home users may find that products such as the Stepr+ are more suited for the space they have available and the connectivity options they provide.
Is 30 minutes of stair climbing enough?
Whether 30 minutes of stair climbing is enough depends on your fitness goals and overall exercise routine. Stair climbing is an effective cardiovascular workout that can help improve your endurance, burn calories, and tone your lower body.
For general fitness, 30 minutes of stair climbing can be a good starting point. However, if you aim to achieve specific fitness goals, such as weight loss or improved cardiovascular health, you may need to adjust the duration and intensity of your workouts accordingly.
Does StairMaster help lose belly fat?
Stair climbing, including the use of a StairMaster, can contribute to overall fat loss, which may include reducing belly fat. However, spot reduction (losing fat from a specific area of the body) is not generally considered effective. Fat loss occurs throughout the body as you create a calorie deficit through a combination of diet and exercise. Stair climbing is a great cardiovascular exercise that can help burn calories and improve overall fitness, but it should be complemented with a balanced diet and a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups for a comprehensive approach to fat loss.
Should I Buy a Stair Climber or a Treadmill?
A treadmill is more likely to help users develop stranger aerobic capacity when used on a regular basis. A stair climber, on the other hand, can help build more muscle mass, especially in the legs with a traditional stair climber and throughout the whole body with a hybrid stepper.
A stair climber is also going to help develop better hip flexion, hip extension, knee extension, and knee flexion.
At the end of the day, the choice between a stair climber and a treadmill comes down to personal preference, your ability to run versus step, and the type of muscle or cardio goals you are attempting to achieve.