Stair climbers offer a challenging workout, targeting
in particular the muscles of the lower body. These exercise machines deliver significant fitness benefits and are a very efficient way of building up your stamina:
- At higher workout speeds and low resistance levels,
stair climbers deliver excellent aerobic results - including fat-burning effects, increased oxygen intake capacity and improved
- At lower speeds and higher resistance, the benefits are mainly muscle toning and muscle sculpting
of the lower body (in particular thighs, buttocks and lower back).
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Stair climbers range from flimsy mini-steppers costing below $100 to top-of-the-line machines
with price tags in excess of $3,000. Considering this large variety, you will naturally want to do some research prior to embarking on a purchase.
Unfortunately, unbiased exercise equipment reviews are hard to come by nowadays, amidst the overload of information and sales propaganda.
Therefore, Med-Solver chose to do the work for you: To spare our readers long hours of research and tedious reading, we compiled a brief list of StairClimber models we believe to represent best buys in their respective price range. We hope the information below proves helpful and simplifies your decision-making process.
To start with, here's a list of features to look for when choosing your stair climber:
- A sturdy, durable frame is an important feature. It provides stability during the workout, and keeps the machine from shaking or wobbling. In general, the heavier the machine, the
more stable it will feel during use. Avoid gimmicky entry-level models - there is a
reason why they come so cheap.
- Noise is an important factor with a stair climber, and can be a deterrent to exercise.
Generally speaking, higher-end models operating on a cable/chain mechanism are
quieter, while models operating on hydraulic pistons can be rather noisy.
- In case your stair climber uses pedals: Independent pedals (not moving in tandem with
each other) are highly desirable. Otherwise, the machine will be doing half the work for
you, decreasing the efficiency of the workout.
- Sturdy, padded handrails are recommended, to provide the necessary balance during
- Multiple resistance levels are desirable, allowing you to customize your workouts. Also, make
sure your stair climber lets you adjust resistance with ease, either manually or
electronically. You shouldn't have to fumble through a long menu in order to make the desired changes.
- A heart rate monitor is useful to help you stay in your target cardio range, where
you burn maximum calories. For safety reasons, cardiac monitoring is especially
recommended for those who are significantly overweight, new to exercise, or suffer from
medical conditions which increase cardiac risk (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, etc).
- Several built-in programs, including heart-rate-controlled programs, are a nice feature to
have for exercise variety.
- Last but not least, the warranty is an important factor: A good warranty vouches for the
quality of the product, and assures you that the manufacturer stands behind it. At the
very least, your machine should come with a 1-year warranty on parts, electronics
and labor. An extended warranty on the frame is desirable.
Decent stair climbers are notably pricey machines, with prices tags often in the thousands of dollars. Expect to pay at least $2,000 to $2,500 for a good stair climber in new condition. Purchasing a used refurbished machine is an option, and there are quite a few suppliers offering such deals (especially online offers). The prices for used refurbished machines are often significantly discounted - sometimes $500 to $1,000 cheaper than the original price tag. If you go this route, an important factor to look at is the warranty: If at all possible, look for a 1-year warranty on frame and parts (or, if this is not an option, at least a 6-months warranty). Don't settle for products that come with a skimpy 1-week warranty or without any warranty at all.
One other thing: Regarding the so-called "budget stair climbers", my honest opinion is they're not a good value for the money. They are simply too flimsy to deliver a quality workout, and durability is also an issue - especially with heavier usage. For the same cost, you may be better off choosing an elliptical trainer or an incline treadmill.
Below are several stair climber models which we feel constitute an excellent value for the price. We will review these based on features, cost, expert ratings and consumer
The models are listed in ascending price order. Follow the respective links for a full review of each model.
Note: This list is being periodically updated as new models come out on the market. The goal is to give our readers a handy digest of the best stairclimber buys in various price ranges.
- StairMaster FreeClimber 4000PT (est. $2,200) ... see review
- Bowflex Treadclimber TC5000 $ 2,299 (on sale by manufacturer) ... see review
- StarTrac SC4100 (est. $2,400) ... see review
- Prostep 6000 Residential Stair Climber (est. $3,500) ... see review
Please note: Although the information on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge, no guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Please verify all data with an official vendor prior to making a purchase.
Note: It is prudent to consult with your doctor prior to starting an exercise program, especially if you are new to exercise, suffer from any medical conditions, or are a woman over the age of 50 or a man over the age of 40.
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