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The 10 Best Stair Steppers for Getting in Shape from the Comfort of Your Own Home

Step up your fitness and torch major calories with one of our favorite picks.

woman using pro form stair stepper

Ready to step up your fitness and torch some serious calories? Do it figuratively and literally with a stair-stepper machine. These cardio machines are built around one of the most functional movements: stepping.

“Functional movement training offers so many benefits, from improved posture, gait, and stability to increased muscle memory, increased bone density, and working multiple muscle groups at once,” says Sergio Pedemonte, a certified personal trainer and owner of Your House Fitness.

Plus, “stairmasters and steppers allow you to get some resistance while doing your cardio,” says DJ Zmachinski, assistant personal training manager at Life Time. “It’s like doing hundreds of bodyweight step-ups on small steps.”

The uphill aspect of the stepper, though, makes it more challenging than a treadmill, while cutting out the jarring, repetitive impact of running. “This is great for folks recovering from injuries or with pre-existing joint pain, especially in their knees or hips,” says Pedemonte.

Stair climbers target your calves, quads, hamstrings and the three major glute muscles for an all-in-one lower body workout. “You can go fast or slow — most people usually like to go slower for a longer duration,” says Zmachinski. “I usually recommend starting at 5 minutes and then adding a minute or two each week.”

Like a tread, it can be monotonous, but that doesn’t mean you can phone your workout in. “Make sure you use good posture, and don’t hunch over loading all your weight on the machine,” says Zmachinski.

How We Chose

With so many people melting into their couches these days, we scoured the internet for the best stair steppers to help you easily incorporate more movement into your life. From testing these machines at our local gyms and working directly with brands to learn about their latest offerings, to checking out Amazon buyer reviews and other product roundups, we assessed over 20 products to come up with the top 10 stair steppers we’d not only recommend, but purchase for our own homes.

Best Stair Steppers

From beginner options to more advanced models, there's a stair-stepper that's best for your body's needs. Find the best one to help you achieve your fitness goals without breaking the bank.

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Best Overall
ProForm Cardio HIIT Trainer
ProForm proform.com

In terms of overall value, we think this stair-stepper from ProForm is the best option for those who want to get their cardio fix at home. It's much more durable than other fold-up steppers you can buy online, and it will give you a more intense workout.

That's because your feet travel on a 10-inch vertical while simultaneously going on a 5-inch horizontal elliptical path. This effectively replicates stair-climbing and triggers your calves, hammies, and quads. If you're holding onto the handle bars, you'll also get an arm workout and build biceps and triceps.

The climber has 32 built-in programs and in-handle controls — plus it measures your heart rate, and it offers 24 resistance levels. There's a fan, and even a spot for your water bottle and your tablet. Its frame is backed by a lifetime warranty, and parts and labor are covered for 3 years and 1 year, respectively.

More: No Matter What Your Level of Fitness Is, There’s a Sport Watch for You

Most Compact
L NOW Adjustable Mini Stair Stepper
L NOW amazon.com

Reimagine your office space with this compact machine, which is less than 20 inches wide and 10 inches high. Instead of just standing in front of your computer, start stepping while typing; or just stash it under your desk to use during breaks between Zoom meetings.

The hydraulic cylinder that powers the machine is quiet enough that no one will hear it while you’re on calls, and the large, nonslip pedals keep you surefooted even when you’re focusing on something on your screen. If you’re not multitasking, attach the included resistance bands for a total-body workout.

Best 2-in-1 Machine
Body Power 2-in-1 Elliptical Stepper Trainer
Body Power amazon.com
$350.07 (12% off)

Get two for the (very reasonable) price of one with this combo stepper/elliptical. It combines the stepping movement with curve-crank technology that makes the oval path of your steps as smooth as on a flywheel-powered indoor cycling machine.

A built-in LCD console (next to a padded smart phone holder) displays your distance, time, speed, RPM, calories burned, and heart rate (based on sensors in the hand holds). Using the knob on the main stem of the machine, you can easily switch between eight levels of preset resistance — no matter how hard you challenge yourself, you’ll be getting a low-impact, heart rate-boosting workout.

Most Interactive Stepper
Women’s Health Men’s Health Bluetooth Stair Stepper
Women’s Health Men’s Health amazon.com
$169.00 (15% off)

Don’t want to invest in a huge machine that takes up a ton of space? This Bluetooth-enabled stepper has one of the smallest footprints (see what we did there?), but it syncs with the MyCloudFitness app to open up a world of possibilities — not only can you track your workouts, but you can access personalized workout programs and scenic routes that stream to your TV.

Pick up the pace and the intensity by adjusting the step height up to 10 inches, then add in an upper-body workout using the attached resistance bands. 

Best for Safety
Jacobs Ladder Stairway Cardio Conditioning Treadmill Stepper
Jacobs Ladder amazon.com

We tested the Stairway at our local gym. We found that the Jacobs Ladder was much more durable than the more affordable StairMaster SM3 StepMill

It has a rotating staircase, and the speed of the stairs is controlled by tension of a waist belt you wear while using it. The higher you go and more steps you take, the faster the stairs come. If you slow down, the flow of the stairs will, too. This provides a safer machine that will let its users always feel like they are in control.

You'll need at least an 8.5-foot ceiling for this monster. It features a computer and integrated display that shows the number of stairs climbed, your rate (steps per minute), elapsed time, and calories burned. It can also detect your heart rate via a wireless strap.

Best Budget Option
Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper with Resistance Bands
Sunny Health & Fitness amazon.com

Tight on space? This mini stepper — which clocks in under 15 pounds — easily stashes in a closet or under the bed when not in use. The machine is built with two resistance hydraulic cylinders that provide a smooth stepping motion, and the option to adjust the step motion height for either short bursts or long steps.

Get even more out of this stepper using the removable resistance bands. While the steps work your lower body, you can tone your chest, back, shoulders, abs, and obliques with low-impact exercises. The small LCD monitor between the steps will track your steps per minute, steps during the workout, and the time and calories burned.

Best Multipurpose Machine
Bowflex M3 Max Trainer
Bowflex amazon.com

This Bowflex machine combines everything you love about an elliptical and a stair stepper machine into one product. It may seem basic in function, but it's top-of-the-line when it comes to performance. 

While this exercise machine doesn't have a full screen, you'll still be able to track all necessary information. The Max Trainer's burn rate display shows calories burned and gives you activity targets to hit, too. You'll stay motivated to continue hitting different target zones and resistance levels. 

In just 14 minutes on this machine, you'll experience all the cardio benefits typically achieved from internal training.

Best for Hardcore Workouts
StairMaster SM3 StepMill
StairMaster amazon.com

In search of a commercial-grade stair-stepper you can use at home? Look no further than this option from StairMaster. The smallest offering yet from the OG stepper company, the SM3 is packed with premium and durable commercial-grade components, but won't hog space.

This model features 10 pre-programmed workouts, 20 resistance levels, and a step range of 26 to 162 steps per minute. There are heart rate pulse grips mounted to the handrails, but it’s also compatible with Polar heart rate monitoring devices like chest straps and watches, so you can really zero in on your training zones.

Best for Small Spaces
Stamina SpaceMate Folding Stepper
Stamina luckyvitamin.com

This lightweight stepper was designed to be as unobtrusive as possible: It folds in half for easy storage in a closet or under a bed, and, at just 45 pounds with built-in rollers, can be easily moved around when you’re ready to work out.

The SpaceMate stepper may be slight in build, but it still delivers the same total-body, cardiovascular benefits as bulkier machines. Two hydraulic cylinders keep your steps smooth, and wide, textured pedals prevent any chance of slipping. Keep track of your steps per minute, total steps, workout time, and calories burned on the electronic monitor.

Best for Low-Intensity Workouts
Doufit Foldable Stair Step Machine
Doufit amazon.com

Another two-for-one deal, this minimalist stepper — which features a hydraulic resistance system — can be used in the more traditional sense with the handlebar, or you can use the attached resistance bands to engage your upper body throughout the workout. Either way, the LCD monitor will track calories burned, time, step frequency, and the number of steps you take.

This machine isn’t meant for high-intensity workouts, which makes it perfect for using while zoning out to a podcast or the TV. But once you add in the bands, you’ll definitely feel the burn. When you’re done, just fold it up and stash it out of sight.

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