Which is the Best Stepping Machine for Home Fitness?
After a month working out on a stepper, I can assure you that no staircase will ever be a challenge again! These compact exercise machines are ideal for home use. Most stepping machine models can be stowed away right after giving you a vigorous workout – great for those of us with limited space. Steppers are a broad category. You’ll find simple steps for aerobics type exercise, compact stepping units (with and without ropes and twists) and much more complex ‘stairmills’ which are bigger machines (like reverse escalators in your home).
First, something important to keep in mind!
There is a HUGE gulf in quality between the best steppers and the ‘knock-off’ models. This page will help you choose the right type for you. Here is what you will find on this stepper reviews page:
- 3 of the most popular models of the last 12 months in the table below. After the table I have added more detail on each of the models, giving you an idea of what you’ll get for your money – and helping you choose the right model for you. I have added a stairmill to this list, plus a different type of stepper altogether in the form of the MaxiClimber.
- A quick-fire guide to the different features available on stepping machines. This if you are unsure exactly which stepper to go for, this will help you to at least narrow the field. I recommend you divide these into must-have features and nice-to-have features for when you come to make your final choice.
- Recommendations for people with different objectives / plans.
- Summaries of each of the different stepping machines reviewed here at fitnessreview.co.uk
While the impact of a stepping machine is low (as far as the joints are concerned), these small pieces of kit can burn through the calories in no time. I have seen estimates of up to 768 Calories per hour for higher-intensity stepper workouts.
If you would like to include other muscle groups, then some steppers have variations which allow you to do just that. There are twist-steppers, which use your natural tendency to brace against the sideways movement to tone more muscle groups. You can also find models with elasticated bands that allow you to work your arms and back while climbing.
Best Selling Stepping Machines 2017
Popular Pick - Confidence Fitness Twist N Step
Straight from the best-sellers list. This stepper has elasticated ropes and twists too. Versatile, lightweight and easy to use
|Product Page Read Review|
Aerobic Stepper - HomCom 3 Level Step
For use in aerobics classes, this solid step from HomCom has 3 levels and a robust enough build to last and last.
|Product Page Read Review|
Regular Up-Down Mini-Stepper - UltraSport
No-Frills, no gimmicks, this stepper will simply burn the calories day after day. Another one from the best seller list at amazon.co.uk
|Product Page Read Review|
Popular Stepping Machines in Different Price Brackets
You can pick up a basic stepper for £30, you could also spend several thousand pounds on a commercial spec Stairmill. The key question is whether it is worth investing a little more and getting a piece of equipment that will stand the test of time, track your progress and give you the full workout you’ll be needing after those first few weeks.
Floor standing steppers, the type which are 40 to 50cm tall are in and around the £40 range. This is the budget end, and while you can expect a reasonable stepping machine for this much, it is important not to set the expectation levels too high. Once you get in the mid-range (£41 to $100) then the variety of machines available does expand. You can find machines with arms for stability, and even stepper / climbing machine hybrids. Stairmills are in a category of their own, this type of machine will set you back £1000’s – though for many people who use them in gyms, this would be a wonderful addition to a home fitness setup!
Here are the 3 most popular stepping machines of 2017 (the same ones in the table above, only with more info), plus the ‘MaxiClimber’ and Star Trac Stairmill.
Stepping Machine Rec #1 – Confidence Fitness Twist N Step:
This is a popular machine which combines a stepper, elasticated arm ropes, a sideways twisting motion and a small computer to keep track of your progress. Positives include the size, which is small enough to store away easily between uses. The sideways motion will help tone up parts of the legs and butt which other steppers do not. Latex ropes provide good resistance for those that would like to work out their upper body at the same time as stepping. This is a best seller, and has a very reasonable price.
Check out the amazon.co.uk product page for the gallery and user feedback.
Alternatively, you can check out the full review here.
Stepping Machine Rec #2 – HomCom Aerobic Step
This item is a durable reinforced plastic step. This type is used in aerobics classes, and this one is a best-seller in this category. It has 3 levels, and is lightweight yet solid enough to stand repeated use. If you are looking to do a home exercise routine that involves stepping, then this is more than worth the investment. Not too much more to say about this one – HomCom make a wide range of budget equipment, and have best sellers in several categories – a safe choice of aerobic stepper!
Check out the pictures and user feedback on the amazon.co.uk product page here:
You can read by review of the HomCom Aerobic stepper here.
Stepping Machine Rec #3 – UltraSport Up-Down Stepper
I picked this one as a straight up model for those of you who do not want the ropes / twist or any other complications. This is a budget stepper, though it does include a small computer which will keep track of time, steps and that all-important calories burned score. User feedback is good for this item, especially when you take the price and (at the time of writing) giant sized amazon.co.uk discount into account. This is a best-seller within its category too.
Check out the product page for the gallery and user feedback.
You can read my product review of the UltraSport Up-Down Stepper here.
Alternative Stepping Machine – The MaxiClimber Vertical Climbing Fitness System
I’m including this for the more adventurous readers! Instead of simply stepping, this machine simulates climbing a wall, or maybe a very wide ladder? You use both your arms and legs at the same time. You’ll be using your own body weight for resistance, and will get a serious aerobic workout while you tone up. One question here, did you ever see a climber without amazing tone?
You can see the full spec and gallery over on the amazon.co.uk product page.
My review of the MaxiClimber fitness system is here.
Stairmill Recommendation – The Star Trac E-SM Stairmill
Now, before you get too excited about the top quality build and commercial spec of this machine, I need to note that this is a higher priced machine. Much higher priced, as in you could get a very nice car (used) for this amount. If you can afford it, the Star Trac stairmill is simply amazing. This is like an escalator going the wrong way, that you need to step up on to stay level. The console is next level, and this machine integrates with your apps and music too.
You can see the pictures and spec over on the amazon.co.uk product page.
Check out my detailed Star Trac E-SM review here.
Update: The Star Trac Stairmills are listed as not available at amazon.co.uk – I am looking for a new source of these amazing machines. Will update this page as soon as I find ont.
Stepper Machine Reviews – How to Compare Steppers
If you really want to start with something simple, the most basic stair-climbing simulator is a simple plastic step that you step on and off repeatedly. These are sometimes used in cardio / circuit training workouts.
The next level involves individual foot holders, which allow you to work out in a climbing motion. Here the quality is a big factor. You’ll need this mini stepper to be stable, a few wobbles will not just spoil your workout – they can make the equipment unusable. You’ll also want to make sure that the action is smooth. These machines can be hard on your knees, by making sure you have a quality build you can ensure that you are protecting yourself from injury. Your ability to adjust these for greater resistance can also be an important factor. While I am sure that the basic level will be hard enough at first – you’ll soon be looking for a more challenging workout.
Steppers with arm workouts can vary widely. Some are more like Elliptical trainers, only with steps instead of the circular motion for your legs. Others involve twisting [Confidence Fitness Twist N Step], or those elastic bands which can give your arms a workout – for example Ultrasport Swing Stepper.
Most Popular Stepper Machines 2017 for Different Objectives
Everyone has different criteria. Whether you are looking for something cheap and easy to get started on your fitness journey, determined to lose weight or firm up those thighs – or already fit and looking for a little variety / additions to your home gym, then there is a stepper for you. Below you will find some recommendations of the kind of stepping machine that fits with different people’s objectives.
Here are the most popular steppers so far in 2017. One is a mini stepper, though has a solid build and great reputation – the other includes arm action as well. I recommend you check the customer feedback at Amazon.co.uk for these, they both have a lot of people who are very happy with their purchase.
First Stepper – Trial Run
While I do not recommend the cheapest, flimsiest models – if you are new to stepping and looking to ‘get your feet wet’ (not literally!) then there are some great value models around which will count your steps and calories and give your arms a workout at the same time. I recommend the UltraSport Up-Down Stepper as a solid starter model from a popular manufacturer, for under £40 (at the time of writing, including the amazon.co.uk discount). Check out my review, or see the customer feedback on amazon.co.uk via this link:
Solid floor standing stepper from the popular UltraSport. Ideal for your first stepping machine.
Serious about Cardio / Firming Thighs & Butt
Well, all steppers will help you with cardio. The distinction here is that if you are more serious, you need stable, smart and reliable gear – and you also need it to keep you entertained so those routines do not get boring. Here I recommend going for the Christopeit Twist N Step Pro. The twisting option brings brand new muscle groups into the workout (you’ll notice the difference!). This model has a stand, making it more stable than the popular floor standing models. Check out my review here, or click the snippet below to check out the amazon.co.uk feedback.
High End Steppers
The highest end are more like stair climbing machines than steppers per se. I have covered those separately here at Fitness Review, so for now a suggestion of a great home stairmill. While the StairMaster items have wide appeal (and I do recommend you check them out) the one I like best is the Star Trac E-ST. Check out my review.
Top end kit from Star Trac! This is like an escalator in your home gym, it will take your stepping routine to the next level - amazing!
Stepper Reviews 2017 – Full List of Stepper Reviews
As with all the types of fitness equipment reviewed here, I have listed the full set of reviews in the stepping machines category below. Each one comes with a 1-line summary of what to expect when you click through to the more detailed review. Remember to bookmark this page – as there are new reviews of fitness equipment being added every week here.
HomCom Aerobic Stepper: This is a physical step for aerobics workouts. It has 3 levels, durable build and a non-slip surface.
Confidence Fitness Twist Stepper With Ropes: This floor stepping machine combines the best of 3 worlds. The regular stepping workout, side to side action (this makes a big difference!) and elasticated ropes for arm resistance training on top. This is a best seller.
UltraSport Swing Stepper: This is similar to the Confidence Fitness model described above. It includes those all-important ropes, so that you can work out your arms and upper body at the same time as your legs.
Star Trac E-SM Stairmill: This is the stepping machine of my dreams! Your very own staircase which moves down as you climb up. Huge feature list, though it does come at a price.
AsViva ST3 Stepper: This is similar to the Confidence and UltraSport floor standing steppers – except that it also includes a handle for stability. A good product, though let down by the fact that assembly instructions are only available in German (face palm moment from the supplier there!).
UltraSport Up-Down Stepper: This is a great basic stepper, which does include a ‘computer’ and also has (at the time of writing) a big amazon.co.uk discount.
LegMaster Leg Exerciser Review: Not a stepper as such, though as a compact machine that works the legs it does fit with this category. With this machine the motion is sideways.
MaxiClimber Vertical Climbing System: As featured above, this is an innovative machine which simulates rock climbing. Great for upper as well as lower body workouts.
Other types of fitness equipment to consider as alternatives are Elliptical Trainers or Treadmills – you’ll find plenty of reviews for both right here at Fitness Review. If you are looking to burn fat, then you could also check out my comparison guide on the Best Fitness Equipment for Weight Loss.