Best Stepper Machine Review – Top 5 Fittest List for Aug. 2018
When people can’t or don’t want to go out walking or running regularly, they buy a treadmill. When people can’t get to the gym every day, they buy a home gym. But why buy a stepper, when you can just go up and down the stairs in your house?
It’s simple, really; running up and down your stairs is high-impact and can hurt your ankles and knees, while stair steppers are designed with a resistance system to let you do low-impact exercise with minimal damage to your muscles and joints.
Many people don’t consider steppers when they’re looking at exercise equipment, but stair steppers are a terrific way to burn fat and lose weight while toning all of the muscles in your lower body.
As with any piece of exercise gear, there are a ton of choices. Here is Groom+Style’s best stepper machine top 5 list available right now.
1. Bowflex TreadClimber TC10 Stepper Machine
Want to go all-in on a home exercise machine, but not sure if a stepper is right for you and are still thinking about a treadmill or elliptical machine instead? If you’ve got the cash (about two grand, to be specific), there’s no need to choose; the Bowflex TreadClimber TC10 combines all three into one extraordinary machine.
While it’s not just a stepper this unit gives you an exceptional workout, with independent foot treadles (featuring small belts which can move) which simulate a normal climbing motion, but also can be set to move “forward” as well as up and down to act more like an elliptical. (You can also choose just to have the treadles move forward, for a treadmill-like effect.)
This Bowflex, like all of the exercise machines that the company makes, is exceptionally well-built and durable and can accommodate users weighing up to 300 pounds.
There are twelve adjustable resistance levels (and if you choose to use the machine as an elliptical or treadmill, it can reach four miles per hour), and the very nice LCD screen not only tracks all of the usual stats but also allows you to set and follow your progress toward a weekly goal. There’s no heart monitor, but that’s the only real negative the Groom+Style review team found.
You may be thinking about an inexpensive stepper which can just do the job whenever you feel like climbing onto it, in which case the TreadClimber TC10 is clearly overkill.
But if you want a commercial-grade stepper which can double as two other quality pieces of exercise equipment, you’re not going to do any better than this Bowflex unit.
Key details of the Bowflex TreadClimber TC10:
2. StairMaster Gauntlet Stair Climber
OK, hold onto your seats. The Gauntlet Stair Climber retails for a whopping price. But we don’t have to tell you that StairMaster is renowned for its thirty-year history of manufacturing the highest-quality steppers, and this pricey version is simply outstanding.
Rather than using pedals to simulate the effects of climbing stairs, the Gauntlet Stair Climber actually has a series of eight-inch deep steps controlled by a chain drive so you’re not pretending to climb, you really are. It lets you get a great cardio workout while doing strength training and toning everything from calves and hamstrings to quads and glutes.
While it’s not quite as low impact as a simulated climb, it is still easy on your joints because it moves at low speeds compared to a treadmill; for example, you get the same effect by climbing at one mile per hour that you would by running at five miles per hour.
This is a commercial-grade stepping machine which offers nine resistance levels, speeds between 24 and 162 steps per minute, ten workout programs, wireless heart rate monitoring and a two-window LCD display. There are even cool features like the “landmark challenge” which lets you simulate climbing landmarks like the Eiffel Tower while you track your progress.
One important note: you need around 9 feet of ceiling clearance for the Gauntlet.
This is a wonderful stepper. It’s not for most people, but it’s ideal for those who can afford it and want to commit to a lifelong stepping routine.
Important specifications of the StairMaster Gauntlet Stair Climber:
3. ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer
You don’t see the word “stepper” in the name of this terrific machine, but that’s because the ProForm HIIT Trainer is much like the Bowflex TreadClimber that the review team described earlier. It combines the function of a step machine with the benefits of an elliptical – but it’s about half the price of the Bowflex.
The pedals on the ProForm make it look more like a traditional high-end stepper than the TreadClimber does. What makes it much different than a normal step machine, though, is the pedals’ elliptical footpath; it runs 10” vertical (2” higher than commercial Stair Masters) and 5” horizontal, requiring more work by the user. The handlebars (with multiple grip positions) also move against resistance, providing an even greater workout for the shoulders, arms, back and entire core. That’s the ideal prescription for exercising the upper body as well as the legs and butt and allows you to build strength and burn calories with every stepping session.
The workout you get with the ProForm is high intensity, but it’s also low impact because your feet remain on the oversized, cushioned pedals throughout. As a result, stress and strain on leg muscles is reduced, and long-term bone and tendon issues are avoided. Magnetic resistance is provided by a 28-pound flywheel, and there are 24 resistance settings and 32 pre-set workout programs to let you vary your sessions.
The Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer has a decent assortment of goodies: backlit 7” LCD screen for real-time stats, an integrated tablet holder to let you run iFit if you desire, a two-speed fan, a water bottle holder, and an audio jack with integral speakers for your music. If you want to upgrade to a similar machine with an integrated 10” touchscreen and a heavier flywheel, the Pro version of this stepper costs an extra $500 or so.
Don’t be scared away by the word “elliptical” – this is primarily a stepper machine, just with many of the added benefits of an elliptical machine with a much smaller footprint. It’s designed smartly, built well, and the price is quite good for what you get.
Looking further at the ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer:
4. Kettler Montana Stair Stepper Machine
Kettler doesn’t have as much brand recognition among average consumers as companies like StairMaster or Bowflex, probably because they’re a German firm – but they make excellent equipment with strict attention to detail.
And their Montana Stepper fits the mold with high-grade steel construction with carefully welded joints, heavy-duty independent hydraulic cylinders letting you adjust resistance easily, oversized thick rubber pedals, and an overall sturdy build despite the very small footprint which allows this stepper to fit almost anywhere.
The Montana allows you to adjust the speed and intensity of your workouts in order to match your weight or fitness level, and also a recovery heart rate feature letting you step down your workout gradually as you’re finishing up. It has a small LCD screen which belies an effective tracking system for seven functions including height, step rate, calories burned and pulse; there is no heart rate monitor.
There aren’t amazing features or spectacular extras on the Kettler Montana. It’s just an extremely sturdy, well-built, small stepper which is ideal for home use.
Specifications of the Kettler Montana Stepper:
5. Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper
And now, for something (almost) completely different. The extremely popular Sunny Twister Stepper doesn’t look like you’d expect a stepper to look, and doesn’t cost what you’d expect one to cost. It’s basically two oversized, rubber pedals on a base which contains the hydraulics, and comes with two exercise bands which you can attach to work your shoulders and arms while doing your stepping.
There’s even more to what the unit does; Sunny describes this machine as a mini-elliptical because lateral motion, as well as up-and-down stepping, is included in the Twister Stepper low-impact workout. This lets you tone your thighs as well as your leg muscles, in the same workout.
The resistance levels on the Sunny machine are adjusted with a dial at the base of the unit, which is also where the LCD monitor is located. Groom+Style were surprised to see a monitor on a stepper this compact, and it’s not anything extravagant, but it does show you calories, step count, total count and time.
If the G+S review team had to complain about two things it would be that the stride on the machine is shorter than most full-sized steppers, and you can only use the Twister Stepper for 15 minutes at a time so that the hydraulics won’t overheat.
But this stepper is lightweight and portable, sturdy and effective – and we haven’t even mentioned the price yet. It is a step down from all the other machines on this list (see what we did there?). This isn’t a solid-gold option when it comes to steppers, but it’s a rock-solid bargain.
Going in detail on the Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper:
Multisports ST-2200 Stepper Machine
Note: the ST-2200 does not seem to be available on Amazon anymore.
OK, now the review team move on to what you’d traditionally think of when you visualize a stepper. The Multisports ST-2200 is small (but has a wide base for stability), solid (it’s made from heavy-duty steel) and does the job well.
An unusual feature of the stepper that Groom+Style liked is that it uses the same Eddy Current Brake resistance system seen on many elliptical machines to smoothly regulate resistance, and it’s a good idea.
The ST-2200 isn’t silent but it’s pretty quiet, in part due to the ECB system which doesn’t require chains or other noisy parts. The textured rubber pedals are wide and self-leveling, and the side rails can also be positioned to fit your body size. The computer/LCD display is well-designed and provides 10 programs and displays eight readings (including heart rate with the included wireless monitor).
This Multisports unit is cheaper than the Bowflex, and if you’re not too heavy for it (the maximum weight for users is 225 pounds) it provides a good stepper workout every time.
Specifications of the Multisports ST-2200 Stepper: