Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Getting fit is not only about looking good but it’s also about being healthy. In recent years, awareness has significantly increased regarding the importance of taking care of the mind and the body. One of the most popular fitness goals among people is to reduce fat and increase muscle mass. However, not everyone has the freedom to spend hours in the gym every day.

Step machines are a great way to introduce an achievable home training routine into your schedule. In the following guide, we will explain everything you need to know about these devices as well as answer all the questions you may have. Keep reading on if you’ve always wanted to learn more about step machines or you are considering purchasing one.

Key Facts

  • These machines are used to simulate the movement of climbing steps. The first step machines came out in 1986 and have continued to evolve ever since.
  • On the market today there are many different models to choose from. There are traditional machines that simulate climbing stairs to machines that also provide a workout for your arms.
  • When choosing which step machine to purchase you should assess the design of the machine and the type of handle that is used. In addition, it is important to take into account the physical characteristics of the user.

Our Selection: The Best Step Machines

Are you looking to tone your legs and buttocks whilst burning calories at the same time? Do you want to do all this from the comfort of your own living room, maybe even while you’re watching TV? Well, a step machine may well just be the perfect product for you!

As there are so many products on the market you may be a little unsure about where to start. To help you out, we’ve prepared the following list of the best step machines that are currently on the market. The products below have all been selected based on their value for money, their features, and excellent customer feedback.

Shopping Guide: Everything You Should Know About Step Machines

If you want to buy a step machine but you don’t know which one to choose, keep read on. Below we will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of the different models and explain different aspects related to their use. Here’s everything you need to know about step machines!

Step machines are fitness devices used to work the lower body.
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What are step machines and what are they used for?

Step machines, sometimes know as stairclimbers, are indoor fitness devices used to work the lower body, in particular, the calves, thighs, and buttocks. They simulate the movement that you make when climbing stairs. They have pedals with adjustable resistance levels and some step machines have handlebars or grips to hold onto for balance.

The lower part of the body is the target of step machines, however, the abdomen and back muscles are also areas that that will be worked out when using a step machine. In addition to muscle strengthing, using a step machine provides an intense cardiovascular workout. A step machine is a wonderful option to burn excess fat and tone the lower half of your body.

Using a step machine will allow you to perform intense physical exercise without leaving home. This is perfect if you don’t have time to make it to the gym or you live in a climate that makes outdoor exercise difficult. What is also great about step machines is that in most cases, you will be able to monitor your workouts via the data analysis console.

What types of step machines are there?

There are some step machines with pedals that only move up and down, meanwhile, there are other machines that allow circular or lateral movements. There are also many different grips available when it comes to step machines. In the following section we will take a look at the different types of step machines available.

  • Basic step bench: This model is not a machine as it doesn’t have any moving parts. A basic step bench is simply a firm platform that you can step up and down on. These basic models can be found in almost any gym and their height is easily adjustable.
  • Traditional step machine: This model is the most common home step machine as it is the simplest. The base is usually made of steel with non-slip material. The pedals move up and down in a linear direction and this type does not have hand grips. These step machines are very easy to store as they are very small.
  • Elliptical step machine: This step machine is very similar to the traditional step machine, however, the movement of the feet is elliptical. With this machine, the pedals make a constant circular movement which is better for strengthening the hip and lateral muscles.
  • Ladder-type step machine: This machine has movable steps that descend when you put weight on the step. This type of step machine has the benefit that there is less stress placed on the knees,  however, as it is not possible to change the height of the step, it can be very difficult to use for short people.
  • Step machine with handles or grip: This is the most popular type of step machine in gyms. In addition to the pedal, this type of machine has one or more different shaped grips. Some models have two handles that move at the same rate as the feet to exercise the upper body.
  • Step machine with elastic straps: This model is similar to the traditional step machine, however, it has two elastic hand straps attached to the base. These straps allow you to exercise your arms whilst using the step machine. Some high-end models allow you to make side turns to work on your abdomen.

Some step machines have pedals that only move up and down.
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What type of step machine should I use?

With so many options to choose from, you may be asking yourself which is the right model to buy. No one type is better than the rest, rather the best machine will be the one that best suits your needs. In the below table we analyze the advantages and disadvantages of some of the models:

Type of machine Advantages Disdavantages
Traditional Very lightweight, easy to store and use.

It often includes programs with different levels of resistance.

Only the lower body is used.

This model can be limiting for expert users.

With handgrip Offer more stability.

It is possible to work out the upper body at the same time.

Large and heavy, which makes it difficult to transport and store.

With elastic bands You can work out the upper body at the same time.

It offers a great variety of exercises for arms, chest, back and abdomen.

There are other more effective devices to work on the upper body.

Ladder-type The best option for protecting the knees. Very big and heavy machine.

Buyer’s Guide

The best step machine on the market will be the model that best suits your needs, your characteristics and the space you have at home. When choosing one of the products available on the market, it is important to consider a number of aspects in order to make a successful purchase. In the following section, we explain three important areas to consider when buying a step machine:


Some step machines are simply a base with pedals that offer curved or a straight linear movement, meanwhile, others have adjustable elastic straps to exercise the upper body. There are also models, such as the ladder-type, that move like escalators while others are completely static, such as the basic step bench.

When deciding which option to choose it is important to analyze the pros and cons of each type and what you want to focus on in your training routine. If you only want to work on your lower body, then a traditional step machine will work for you. If you also want to work out your upper body, then a machine with elastic bands or handles will be better. Its all about assessing what your needs are and making a decision with these in mind.

An elliptical step machine strengthens your hip and lateral muscles.
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Size and Weight

The weight and size of a step machine are very important to consider if you want to train at home. When purchasing a heavy step machine, make sure it has wheels to transport it. If the space in your home is limited, it may be better to purchase a traditional machine or one with elastic bands. If you have plenty of space or a garage to use, there’ll be no problem if you purchase a larger one.

User Physique

The height and weight of the person who will use the step machine is an aspect that should be taken into consideration when comparing models. If you weigh more than 220 lbs you may find that your options are limited, as this is the weight limit set by many brands. We recommend that you review the product description closely to ensure that your weight is within the limits of the machine.

There are a few other physical aspects that should be taken into account when purchasing a step machine. If you have balance problems, we recommend that you opt for a step machine with handles, as you will be able to keep yourself steady. If you have hip or knee problems, you should consult your doctor or physiotherapist to recommend whether a step machine with elliptical or straight movements is better.


Over the past few years, there has been an increase in the products available for working out at home. You may have even asked yourself what is the best option to burn calories and tone the body, particularly the lower body. Step machines are one home-based fitness product that is ideal for achieving your exercise goals.

To choose the most suitable step machine on the market, it is important to assess the available options and select the product that best meets your needs. The design, size, and weight of the product, along with your physical characteristics should all be taken into consideration in order to find the perfect product. Thanks to these great products you can now workout from the comfort of your own home.

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