Best Stair Stepper Machine For Home Use – Step Into Fitness For 2021?

Best Step Machine For Home Use

Did you know step machines have been around for over 30 years?  It makes sense since they provide an effective low impact cardio workout. This review will reveal what is the best stair stepper machine.  

Since steppers have become popular,  we now have at least 4 different varieties of steppers and stair climbers that Amazon classifies as Step Fitness Machines. 

Click for ==> Amazon Best Sellers in Step Machines.

So what is the real difference? Does one type stand out above the rest? What is the best stepper machine for home use? This article will describe the most popular models so that you can find the ultimate home stepper machine that is just right for you.

Our top 4 picks:

MaxiClimber Vertical Climber Combines Resistance Training and High-Intensity Cardio for a Full Body Workout. Free Coach-led Classes & Fitness App
MaxiClimber Vertical Climber Combines Resistance Training and High-Intensity Cardio for a Full Body Workout. Free Coach-led Classes & Fitness App
Full-body workout: combines calorie-burning cardio with muscle toning in one simple step; Low impact workout: easy on the knees and ankles
$199.00 Amazon Prime
Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper Step Machine with Handle Bar and LCD Monitor - No. 059
Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper Step Machine with Handle Bar and LCD Monitor - No. 059
LARGE TEXTURED PEDALS: Never lose your footing with the Non-slip feet pedals.
BowFlex Max Trainer M3
BowFlex Max Trainer M3
DISPLAY: Interactive LCD display with 2 workout programs.; HEART RATE: Included heart rate monitor chest strap.
$999.00 Amazon Prime


What Are the Types of Step Machines?

According to Macmilland Dictionary, a step machine in the broadest sense is really any form of exercise equipment that simulates climbing stairs. This is a good thing because climbing is an effective type of aerobic exercise that tones your body.

Amazon categorizes Step Machines under Cardio Training and there are at least 4 types of machines available.  All are low impact and designed to put less stress on your body because your feet are on the pedals throughout.  

  1. Vertical Climbers
  2. Stair Steppers
  3. Mini Steppers
  4. StepMills

You will have a choice between steppers that are powered by electricity, or manually via air pressure pistons. The latter is typically more affordable, while the former provides an overall smoother workout.

What Is a Vertical Climber?

As the name suggests, this particular machine mimics climbing in an upward motion.  Imagine yourself climbing a rock wall to envision the motion.

Place your feet on the pedals to climb and simultaneously work your arms as well.

This type of step fitness machine provides a full body workout.   This means that you can burn calories faster in a shorter amount of time than activities like walking.

vertical climber

What Is a Stair Stepper?

sunny twister stepper

A stepper utilizes two pedals that move up and down with the motion of your feet.  It is as though you are climbing stairs.

This is a very good choice if you want to take the pressure off your knees, and handrails are typically included for maintaining stability on your side.

What Is a Mini-Stepper?

Mini-steppers are based on the same design used for the full size stepper, and they are great in terms of portability.

Many people use steppers at the office because they are compact and can fit under your desk. They are so affordable that you can have one at your office and one at home.

Often a mini stepper with resistance bands is available to work the arms and upper body.

Don't expect the versatility of a full size stepper.  But the convenience and price range makes up for it.

sunny health and fitness twist stepper mini stepper

What is a StepMill?

Stair Master StepMill

Although a stepmill is slightly different from a traditional step machine, it is obvious why it is classified as a step machine.

A stepmill looks very much like an escalator, and it functions on the same principle. In other words,  you climb stairs, but the steps keep coming at a consistent speed set by you.

While a stepmill can put more pressure on the joints, it also provides more options on how you can approach your workout.

A stepmill is also considerably more expensive than a stepper and for most of us the cost and size would not make it a realistic piece of equipment for most home gyms.

What Are the Benefits of a Stair Stepper Machine?

benefits of climbing stairs

What are the benefits you can expect to gain once you regularly start using a stepper?  Keeping your eye on the prize can have substantial rewards!  The best stair stepper machine for home use should provide the following:

- Muscle Toning

A quality stepper machine will see you targeting your lower body. This means your abdominal muscles, glutes, hips, and thighs are getting a proper workout, thanks to the various adjustable resistance levels and the fact that your legs are going through a complete range of motion.

- Strengthening Your Core

Maintaining an upright position while using the stepper, especially after you start feeling the pressure, helps you to strengthen your core.

- Increase Bone Density

Any weight resistance exercise that has you working against gravity will increase bone density.

- Weight Control

The Best stepper machines are known for being fast calories burners, and when you consider that 10 steps on the stepper can be compared to taking 38 steps on ground level, it's not surprising why they are effective.

- Low Impact Exercise 

With a stepper your feet never leave the pedals, resulting in an effective low impact workout.

Of course, these are not the only benefits associated with stepper machines, but it gives you a good idea of why they are so popular. 

Step Machine vs Treadmill - Is A Step Machine Better Than A Treadmill?

The step machine and treadmill are two machines that are easily found in most gyms and both provide an excellent cardiovascular workout. However, there are some differences between these two machines and we'll now look at them.

Difference In Muscle Activation

Both of these machines activate the lower body muscles, however, the step machine actually works the glutes and quads a lot more than the treadmill. As a result of this additional resistance, the step machine will help you to get more muscular and shapely glutes and thighs. This is great if that is your particular fitness goal.


If you prefer a lower impact cardio exercise, then the stair stepper is a better option than the treadmill since you can still use it if you have certain leg injuries. Using this machine is a lot more low impact in comparison to running on a treadmill. With that said, if you have knee injuries, then it may be best to test out the stair stepper first before actually using it for long periods of time since it may stress the injury.

Weight Loss

Now, the treadmill is quite good at enabling weight loss since you can choose to walk or even run on it, which creates a high calorie burn. However, the step machine is actually better for weight loss since it places a much greater load on your legs along with the need to repetitively drive your legs up and down.

Due to the greater work load on your lower body, it will actually help you to lose weight faster, become leaner and stoke your metabolism to a higher degree. The step machine is definitely a more efficient fat burner when compared to the treadmill.

As you can see, both of these machines are excellent for improving cardiovascular fitness and enabling weight loss. However, the step machine certainly does edge the treadmill out for the first spot.

What Are the Best Selling and Most Popular Home Stepper Machines for 2020?

My top 4 picks for the best stair stepper machine are listed below:

MaxiClimber XL Vertical Climber
  • Versatile and easy-to-use: MaxiClimber works for all fitness levels. Target Power, Strength and Endurance with MaxiClimber and experience the perfect combination of steady-state cardio plus HIIT training to burn double the calories
  • Full-body workout: combines calorie-burning cardio with muscle toning in one simple step
  • Elastic Resistance System (ERS): customize your workout by using your own weight to reach max power or add resistance with target maximum endurance
  • Low impact workout: easy on the knees and ankles
  • Easy to set up, lightweight and height adjustable: Comes 90% pre-assembled, ready to use in minutes. Compact folding design for easy storage

Strictly speaking, the MaxiClimber is a stepper with a twist. It utilizes the design of a vertical climber, but you can choose to focus on just your lower body like a stepper, or you can exercise the upper body as well thanks to the moving handles.

The frame is lightweight and easy to assemble, and you shouldn't expect any pressure on your joints. However, the position you will be in is going to differ from typical stepper machines, given the vertical climber design.

If you are looking for a compact, portable  step machine that is affordable , then this is a good choice.

Overall, users are very impressed with the MaxiClimber and it takes less than 10-minutes to break into a sweat. 

For a full review, read Maxi Climber Reviews - Can You Climb Your Way To Fitness?

Sunny Health & Fitness Duo Function Premium 330 LB Capacity Power Stepper with Resistance Bands, Space-Saving Low Impact Peddle - NO. 045
  • TWIST ACTION: Twist action helps you tone thighs and buttocks, while achieving a challenging cardiovascular workout; work deep muscles in hard-to-reach places without putting stress on joints.
  • DURABILITY: Heavy-duty steel construction provides years of reliable use; oversized, slip-resistant foot plates keep you firmly planted during workout.
  • DIGITAL MONITOR: LCD display shows total count, time, calories burned, and rep count. adjustable height helps work your deep muscles without putting extreme pressure on bones and joints.
  • RESISTANCE BANDS: Removable exercise bands work arms, chest, back, and shoulders for total body workout.
  • ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT: Use the height adjustment lever to adjust the step height before your workout on your compact stepper.

This is another popular model, and even though the Sunny Twist Stepper (also called a twister stepper)  doesn't look like anything out of the ordinary, it provides a twisting motion. This lets you tone your buttocks and expand your workout overall.

A digital monitor does the counting for you, and the step machine with resistance bands give you control of the intensity as well as works your upper body. 

With the bands in place, you can get a full-body workout when using something as basic as this Sunny Health Fitness mini stepper. 

If you want portability and a machine that you can even use at home or even the office, then the Sunny Health Fitness is a good choice.

For a full review, read Twist Stepper - Can It Twist You Into Shape?

Sunny Twist Stepper With Handle Bars - No59
  • LCD MONITOR: Monitor displays your Time, Calories, Count, and Scan, you will be able to see your results to keep you motivated and on pace.
  • BALANCE: This stepper has Handlebars to help keep you balanced while you step. Great for beginners who are new to the stepping world.
  • TWIST ACTION: Tone both your core and lower body while performing fun and effective stepping actions to work deep muscles without putting extreme pressure on bones and joints.
  • NON-SLIP PEDALS: Textured non-slip oversized foot pedals to ensure safety of your vigorous workouts.
  • CONSTRUCTION: Heavy-duty steel construction to stand the test of time, and the everyday use of intense workouts. Max Weight capacity 250 lbs.

Also by Sunny Health & Fitness, this piece of stepper exercise equipment comes with those handlebars mentioned earlier for more stability. You will also get the twisting motion, as well as the LCD, to count the steps for you.

For a full review of this Sunny Health Fitness product, read Twist Stepper With Handlebars: Working Your Core and Lower Body!

#4 Bowflex Max Trainer Series  (Full Size Stepper)

Bowflex Max Trainer Series
  • ELLIPTICAL MEETS STEPPER: Combines the easy low-impact motion of an elliptical with the calorie burning power of a stepper.
  • RESISTANCE: Adjustable dial increases the challenge of your workout with up to 8 levels of resistance.
  • DISPLAY: Interactive LCD display with 2 workout programs.
  • BURN RATE DISPLAY: Unique burn rate display shows how many calories burned per minute and sets activity level targets
  • 14 MINUTE WORKOUT: Challenge yourself with the 14-minute Max Interval, or carve your own path in Manual Mode.

If you are looking for the best stepper machines, then the Bowflex Max Trainer Series is just what you need. Bowflex Max Trainer offers several models in this product line.

The M3 is at the lower price range. We are talking about a sturdy full size piece of equipment. Needless to say, you are looking at a much heftier price tag than the minis.

For a detailed review, of the Bowflex M3 Max Trainer, visit "Bowflex M3 Max Trainer Review -Best Stair Stepper Machine Under 1000?"

How Many Calories Can You Burn on a Step Machine?

Remember the movie, Rocky? The classic scene is with him running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for endurance and exercise.

You may not burn that many, but stepping is an effective way to burn calories.  As an approximation, you can burn 5 calories per a flight of steps (12 steps).  Add resistance levels and you can burn more.  Add arm movement (as used in a vertical climber) and add more.  

The real answer to the question is - it depends on the type of stepper, your weight as well as your effort.  Most come with trackers that calculate calories burned and time.

How To Use a Step Machine Properly?

The following video shows how to properly use a full size stepper.  For mini steppers, you can just sit and step!

Making the Most of Your Stepper Machine Workout

There are some people who can spend hours in the gym and still not see or feel a significant difference. Even with modern and "smart" gym equipment stacked around them, they simply can't achieve what others seem to do in 30-minutes a day.

Is it because people are just different, and some have to work harder? Yes, but only to a certain degree.

While people are different and not everyone will build muscle at the same speed, a very big part of an effective workout comes down to your technique.

More specifically, if you don't focus on how you are exercising, there is a good chance you'll have to sweat a lot more to reach your goal.

For example, Patrick Vellner took 1st place in the 2020 Reebok CrossFit Games, meaning his body doesn't really know what "fat" looks like anymore.

cross fit board

As a chiropractic student, he spends much of his time studying.  However, he prioritizes his chiropractic studies above CrossFit, and he still managed to beat thousands of his peers to gain second place. 

How did he do it?

He believes that pure focus and technique during short bursts is much more effective than long stretches of broken concentration and bad execution. In other words, you don't have to spend hours on the stepper to see results.

Just pay attention to your technique and approach then you should see a big difference down the line. 


Stepping machines are great in the sense that they take very little space, they are adjustable, portable, low-noise and impact, and affordable for the most part.

But not every stepper out there is going to give you the rewards you are looking for, so don't just settle for the first one you see. Get the details and think about how the stepper can fit into your lifestyle.

About the author

Dee Smith

Hello I am Dee and I am a busy mom who truth be told hated to exercise. That is why I was always looking for shortcuts to fitness and started researching ways to stay healthy and fit at home. Here we provide reviews of the best and most popular products you can use at home to achieve your fitness goals!

Click here to add a comment

Leave a comment: