A step machine can be a great fitness tool of choice. After all, a stepper will help to improve your fitness and endurance, tone muscles, burn calories to aid weight loss as well as enhance balance, stability and endurance via a low impact workout. To enjoy all of these benefits, you will need to invest in a good quality stair stepper.
There are so many stepper machines on the market these days, so finding one that is within your budget should not be hard. However, there is a lot more to buying fitness steppers than simply hunting for a machine with the lowest price tag. Different brands design stair steppers that have varying features and build quality. With that in mind, this top 5 step machines comparison review will contrast some of the top models on the market to help you make an informed buying decision. So without further ado, here are the top rated step training tools that you should check out.
Most full step machines tend to have stationary handrails. This means that only the lower body gets a good workout in such cases. However, the Maxi Climber is a little different as it features handles that move up and down. Movements on this machine mimic rock climbing, hence its name. The vertical movement of arms and legs while using the Maxi Climber ensures that users get to enjoy a full body workout.
The Maxi Climber uses your own body weight as resistance to provide a challenging workout. It features a motion-triggered timer as well, which records workout duration and reps. Although this vertical climber does not offer tension adjustment, you can adjust the height of upper handles to match your stride length. What’s more, heavier individuals can use this stepper since it handles up to 240lbs of weight.
- Works all major muscles groups
- This step machine is easy to set up. Except for the cable and feet, other parts come pre-assembled.
- Folds up easily for storage
- Made of lightweight yet durable coil-rolled steel
- Adjustable and ergonomic handles with non-stick grips
- Studded foot pedals improve grip and stability
- Comes with manufacturer’s warranty
- No tension adjustments
Unlike the Maxi Climber, the Sunny Health and Fitness Twister Stepper features adjustable stride resistance. Whether you want an easy beginner’s workout or a grueling climbing session, step resistance on this machine may be adjusted at the turn of a knob. The side stepping action of this machine helps to challenge the glutes and thigh muscles even more as users constantly strive to maintain balance.
This mini-stepper comes with elastic bands that you can pull to work upper body muscles in the chest, back and shoulders. It is also possible to adjust how hard or easy it is to pull the elastic cords. The bands feature comfortable foam padded handles while standing platforms on this stepper are textured just like those on the Maxi Climber so as to improve foot grip.
The Twisted Stepper from Sunny Health and Fitness also features an automated timer. In addition, the LCD display on this machine shows calories burned, rep count and total steps for every session. Maximum user weight on this mini-step machine is 10lbs more than the Maxi Climber, which is not a surprise considering that the material used is heavy duty steel.
- Portable and compact design makes this mini-stepper easy to use almost anywhere
- The machine is sturdy and well built
- Provides upper body workouts thanks to resistance bands
- Step height as well as resistance for both arm straps and foot plates can be adjusted
- Features oversized, non-skid platforms
- Covered with a warranty
- The tiny, low mounted digital display is a bit inconvenient to use since users with poor eyesight have to bend over or squat to see their stats after a workout
- Unlike other low maintenance steppers, this machine must be oiled regularly to prevent squeaky noises
The third mini-step machine in this review shares many features with the Sunny Health and Fitness Twister stepper since both models are from the same brand. These include the 250lb maximum user weight capacity, side stepping action, heavy-duty steel construction, computerized LCD screen and large-sized textured footplates. But, as the name implies, this mini-stepper model features a handle bar. The raised handle bar offers two rails to hold on to for balance and it brings the LCD screen closer to the eye. For this Sunny Health and Fitness Twister step machine, there are no elastic bands.
- Handle bars provide great balance that makes this stepper perfect for beginners
- Raised digital display is easy to read
- Multi-function digital monitor displays step count, calories, time and scan. It also comes with 2 AA batteries required to power it.
- Large foot pedals have grooved surface to improve stability
- Both height and step resistance are adjustable
- Easy to assemble and move
- Does not take up much space
- Manufacturer’s warranty included
- Provides no upper body workout as handles bars don’t move and elastic bands are not provided
- Twisting motion may be slightly awkward for people used to classic stair steppers
While not a stair climbing machine in essence, these Trademark High Step workout training device delivers a comparable range of motion to step machines. In that respect, it deserves a place in this review. This exercise stepper set comes as four square shape risers measuring 16×16 inches and a top platform that is sold separately. You can step on and off the platform and use the risers to increasing the stepping height. The risers stack up to 12-inches when you use all of them. Each riser provides good stability as well since the surface material consists of textured, non-slip rubber.
- Affordable fitness tool for individuals who want to start step exercises without spending much on an expensive machine
- Available in black or pink color choices
- Provides good workout for calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes
- The rubber non-slip surface on risers reduces risk of falls
- Workouts on an exercise platform are more high impact compared to using a stair stepper
- Lacks resistance adjustments and built in computer to track fitness training statistics
- Does not provide upper body workout
Compared to the Trade Innovations High Step platform and other stair climbers in this review, the Gazelle Freestyle glider provides by far the least impact on joints. Much of this has to do with the smooth striding motion of its footplates, which mimic cross-country skiing. As you glide on this machine, the handlebars also move to engage upper body muscles. However, the gliding motion does not entirely mimic the natural walk-like motion of true elliptical trainer.
Other notable features of the Gazelle Freestyle step machine include a built in computer that tracks speed, distance covered, time and calories burned as well as a thumb pulse monitor for taking your heart rate. This machine holds up to an impressive maximum weight of up to 300lbs and the no-slip platforms provide stability for the user during workouts.
- Comes with nutrition guide, 22-ounce water bottle with holder and 2 Workout DVDs to help you get started
- Heavy individuals can exercise on this step machine thanks to its high maximum user weight limit
- Swinging handlebars help to work upper body muscles
- High mounted digital display is easy to read
- The machine assembles easily
- Gliding platforms can transition seamlessly from a slow walk to full run without stopping your workout
- While this fitness tool may be easy to assemble, it has a larger footprint compared to other step machines reviewed above
- The Gazelle Freestyle step machine does not provide much in the way of resistance
In conclusion, it is important to note that the step training tools compared in this review are targeted at people with different fitness goals and needs. Before choosing any fitness tool, determine what your needs are. Are you looking for a low priced stepper, one that provides upper body workouts, a portable mini-stepper to travel with or something that will provide challenging workouts? Knowing what you want in a step machine will help you make the right choice while comparing the different options that are on the market.