Best Stepper Machines in 2020 [Full Reviews & Buying Guide]

Best high-end stepper

Bowflex M8 Max Trainer Series

Our Score: 4.75 / 5

 Bowflex M8 Max Trainer Series
  • Equipped with a personalized coaching technology via the Bowflex JRNY™ App, which features ‘Max,’ a smart dynamic trainer
  • Engineered with 20 resistance levels that offer maximum workout intensity so you can torch more calories in just 4 minutes
  • Made with a unique muscle activation system that allows you to maximize movements
  • Features a unique burn rate display that shows calorie burn per minute
  • Allows four user profiles

Best heavy-duty stepper

Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster

Our Score: 4.5 / 5

 Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster
  • Compact, space-saving design
  • Portable
  • The ONLY step sprint trainer out in the market
  • Highest maximum weight capacity on our list at 400 pounds
  • Constructed with aircraft alloy
  • 100% USA made parts and labor since 1977

Best Value for Money

Twist Stepper Machine NO. 059

Our Score: 4.25 / 5

Twist Stepper Machine NO. 059
  • Built with non-slip pedals and handles
  • Made with a digital display that helps you keep track of calories, time, scan, and count
  • Highly adjustable resistance levels for diverse workout patterns

Table of Contents

Got no time to hit the gym? Good thing burning calories, toning muscles, and building endurance doesn’t require much more than a small cardio machine.

From treadmills to ellipticals, there are many pieces of equipment that can help you create dynamic exercise patterns right from the comfort of your home. And trust us, it can be overwhelming to compare features and choose just one exercise machine.

The key: set a personal goal so you can narrow down your options.

Now, if you’re specifically looking for a physically demanding yet low impact exercise machine, you landed on the right page. Today’s feature, the best stepper machine in 2020, is all about low impact yet fairly high-intensity cardio exercise that completely lowers the risk for injury.

Our best picks include minimalist pieces perfect for small spaces and their highly-advanced, bulkier counterparts. Let’s take a look at these best-sellers’ unique buying features.

Side-by-side product comparison - specifications & features

ImageProductPriceWeight capacityMaterialProduct dimensionConsoleWarrantyOverall rating
Bowflex M8 Max TrainerBowflex M8 Max Trainer Series$$$$$300 poundsN/A47.9 L x 30.8 W x 65.2 HEnhanced dual-mode backlit LCD/LED screens (calorie burn and heart rate)Frame & parts: 3 years
Labor: 90 days
4.75
Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster, BlackXiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster$$$400 poundsAircraft alloy21 L x 14 W x 4 H (Folded)NoneLabor & parts: 5 years
4.5
Bowflex Treadclimber SeriesBowflex TC10 Treadclimber Series$$$$$300 poundsN/A30.3 W x 52.3 H x 50.6 D inBacklit LCD
(speed, distance, time, calories)
2-year warranty4.25
Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper Step Machine w/Handle Bar and LCD Monitor - NO. 059Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper Machine - NO. 059$$250 poundsHeavy-duty steel; textured, non-slip oversized foot pedals17.5L X 18W X 50.5H inDigital Monitor displays (Time, Calories, Count, and Scan)Frame: 1 year
Parts & components: 90 days
4.25
Stamina 40-0069 SpaceMate Folding StepperStamina 40-0069 SpaceMate Folding Stepper$$250 lbs.Steel frame; wide, textured pedals30.2 L x 16.2 Wx 54.5 H inDigital monitor display (number of steps per minute, number of steps during the workout, workout time and calories burned)Frame: 1 year
Parts & components: 90 days
4
Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper - NO. 045Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper NO. 045$250 poundsHeavy-duty steel; textured, non-slip foot pedals17 L x 19 W x 14 H inDigital screen display (total count, time, calories burned, and rep count)Frame: 1 year
Parts & components: 90 days
4

Best stepper machines - our top picks

#1 Best high-end stepper

 Bowflex M8 Max Trainer Series

Bowflex M8 Max Trainer Series

Our Score: 4.75 / 5

Editor's opinion:

From its smart console to its interactive display, the Bowflex M8 Max Trainer Series is anything but an ordinary stepper. Its unique coaching technology and its adjustable resistance level can give you the ultimate workout experience even in just 4 minutes. Intelligent, durable, and flexible, this workout beast crushes its competitors with its high-end, sophisticated features.

Pros

  • Equipped with a personalized coaching technology via the Bowflex JRNY™ App, which features ‘Max,’ a smart dynamic trainer
  • Engineered with 20 resistance levels that offer maximum workout intensity so you can torch more calories in just 4 minutes
  • Made with a unique muscle activation system that allows you to maximize movements
  • Features a unique burn rate display that shows calorie burn per minute
  • Allows four user profiles

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Some users complain about manufacturer’s responsiveness

Built by health enthusiasts with the perfect workout in mind, the Bowflex M8 Max Trainer Series is our top pick in terms of flexibility, diversity, and innovation, and there are just so many reasons why.

Out of all its intelligent features, its personalized coaching technology really sealed the deal for us.

Standing out in a room full of hefty gym equipment, the Bowflex M8 Max Trainer Series allows you to ditch the gym and take full control over your workout routines with the help of the Bowflex JRNY™ App, which features ‘Max,’ your smart dynamic trainer.

Through Max’s coaching technology, you can create an individualized program engineered to automatically adjust intensity and time based on your fitness progress.

Got no personal trainer?

M8 doesn’t need you to hire one because Max is here to lead your way.

If that’s not impressive enough, its 20 resistance levels, which most steppers here lack, should change your mind. True to its slogan, “less time, max results”, the Bowflex M8 Max Trainer can give you that maximum workout intensity so you can burn more calories in just 4 minutes.

Last among its remarkable features is its burn rate display, which shows you the number of calories you burn per minute so you can adjust your activity level based on your targeted results. It also allows you to input up to four user profiles, making it a great pick for families.

Interactive and highly technological, the Bowflex M8 Max Trainer Series gives you a guided workout experience without sacrificing your need for freedom and control. But if there’s anything we don’t like about it, it’s its price.

M8 is the most expensive machine on our list, and some users have complained about the manufacturer’s responsiveness, too. So if you’re going to purchase one, make sure you’ve read about its warranty length and the availability of the warranty in your location.

#2 Best heavy-duty stepper

 Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster

Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster

Our Score: 4.5 / 5

Editor's opinion:

Get ready for the most advanced compact stepper, AKA the Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster, a workout tool that’s jam-packed with outstanding features. Despite its small size, it has the highest weight capacity on our list and it is the only stepper that can be used for sprint training, making it a versatile unit that can make other steppers go green with envy.

Pros

  • Compact, space-saving design
  • Portable
  • The ONLY step sprint trainer out in the market
  • Highest maximum weight capacity on our list at 400 pounds
  • Constructed with aircraft alloy
  • 100% USA made parts and labor since 1977

Cons

  • Expensive for its size

Great investments don’t always come in big packages, and that’s one thing we can learn from the Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster, a small yet very powerful workout machine.

Its compact size may be one of its main selling points, but that’s not all there is to this portable stepper. In fact, it’s the ONLY step sprint trainer out in the market, and it can also carry up to 400 pounds–the highest recorded maximum weight capacity on our list. So if you’re looking for a machine that allows you to go beyond fast walking but won’t be as bulky as a treadmill, Xiser is the workout monster you’re looking for.

On top of that, it was also constructed with aircraft alloy and its parts and labor are 100% from the USA since 1977. A legend that withstood the test of time (and competition), Xiser is one of the toughest and most elaborate steppers in the field.

Space-saving, portable and durable, Xiser upholds its promise of keeping quality at the top of its priority list. But if there’s anything we don’t like about it, it’s, again, its expensive price. But other than that, we can’t see why it can’t beat bigger workout tools out there, making it our 2nd best stepper.

#3 Best Value for Money

Twist Stepper Machine NO. 059

Twist Stepper Machine NO. 059

Our Score: 4.25 / 5

Editor's opinion:

The Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper Machine No. 059 is all about making every cent count by keeping basic features its main priority. Space-saving and highly functional, this gym equipment is proof that you don’t need to break the bank to get a great piece of equipment.

Pros

  • Built with non-slip pedals and handles
  • Made with a digital display that helps you keep track of calories, time, scan, and count
  • Highly adjustable resistance levels for diverse workout patterns

Cons

  • Some users complain about having a hard time adjusting its stepping height
  • Noisy operation

The Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper Machine No. 059 is a traditional stepper machine that doesn’t just minimize footprint but also puts a sense of balance in your daily workout routine. How so? Let’s take a look at the features that led it to the 4th spot.

For one, the Twist Stepper Machine No. 059 is one of Amazon’s most recommended products because of two factors: price and ratings. It’s not just one of the most inexpensive products on our list. It’s also the most highly-rated because of its sturdy and functional features.

Realistically speaking, considering its price range, you can’t expect model No. 059 to be as technologically advanced as Bowflex M8, but it is equipped with all the right features that all steppers need.

From the outside, it looks like a traditional stepper machine with non-slip pedals and handles, which allow you maximum movement without sacrificing balance. Its digital display also helps you keep track of calories, time, and step-count, so you can stay motivated as you perform your daily routines. Our favorite feature: you can adjust its resistance levels as you build up your endurance.

The downside some users complain about is its noise and adjustability, but these are just minor glitches that we decided to overlook since it pretty much has all basic workout needs covered.

#4 Multifunctional Stepper Machine

Bowflex TC10 Treadclimber Series

Bowflex TC10 Treadclimber Series

Our Score: 4.25 / 5

Editor's opinion:

A stair climber, a treadmill, and an elliptical in one machine, the Bowflex TC10 Treadclimber Series rises above the competition because of features that other solo stepper machines lack. And since it’s 3-in-1, it significantly minimizes footprint while helping you get diverse workout routines.

Pros

  • Functions as a stair climber, a treadmill, and an elliptical machine
  • Equipped with incline and decline functions
  • Designed with a touchscreen display panel that tracks your time, distance, speed, and calories

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lacks automatic pedals

Nothing speaks diversity in the low impact training arena better than the Bowflex TC10 Treadclimber Series, a 3-in-1 machine that minimizes storage while providing you a wide range of workout patterns.

Matching its M8 sibling in terms of weight capacity (max: 300 pounds), the TC10 is a premium machine that keeps durability, flexibility, and safety in check. Construction-wise, the TC10 was engineered to function as a stair climber, a treadmill, and an elliptical machine, making it a great investment if you’re looking for multifunctionality.

The TC10 is equipped with incline and decline functions available in standard treadmills but only allows a top speed of 4 mph, making it a great machine for those who love walking. But although you can’t do sprints here as in other steppers on our list, the angular variations can help you achieve more intense workout levels.

According to claims, the TC10 can help you burn calories about 3.5 times more than regular cardio equipment, but if you want to be sure, you can track your time, distance, speed, and calories via its touchscreen display panels.

Despite all these high-end features, the TC10 is our third placer because it is 2nd to the most expensive items on our list, yet it lacks some features that could’ve been handy to users like automatic pedals.

Since the pedals move according to the user’s weight, you might not expect more changes in movement if you’re lightweight. But overall, if you’re in the market for a space-saving, multifunctional piece, this is one of the best options you can find.

#5 Highly portable stepper machine

 Stamina SpaceMate Folding Stepper

Stamina SpaceMate Folding Stepper

Our Score: 4 / 5

Editor's opinion:

It’s hard to beat the Stamina 40-0069 SpaceMate Folding Stepper when it comes to portability and assembly time, making it one of our top picks if you’re after a standard stepper that won’t give you problems with storage. Also, it’s one of the cheapest options on our list, making it a solid investment.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble
  • Compact size
  • Portable
  • Built with textured pedals and foam-covered handlebars that optimize safety and stability
  • Designed with a monitor, which displays time, calories burned, the total number of steps per workout, and the number of steps you take per minute

Cons

  • Not ideal for tall people because of its short strides
  • Pedals can be too stiff

Its easy assembly might be its edge over other standard steppers with handles, but the Stamina 40-0069 SpaceMate Folding Stepper further proves why it should be acknowledged as one of the best steppers to date by featuring simple yet convenient features that make home workouts a breeze.

What we particularly like about the Stamina 40-0069 is its foldability, which makes storage the least of your concerns. The perfect “workout, fold, and stow” home equipment, this traditional stepper takes only a few minutes to assemble, which is a huge advantage over its other bulkier counterparts that can take forever to set up.

Got no storage left? Just fold it and slide it under your bed and you’re good to go!

The Stamina 40-0069 also flaunts a great build so you can get maximum support anytime you exercise. Its wide, textured pedals were engineered to resist slides and glides, optimizing safety and stability. Paired with its pedals are foam-covered handlebars designed to offer you a great sense of balance while putting your arms into work.

Just like other models on our list, the Stamina 40-0069 also comes with a monitor, which displays time, calories burned, the total number of steps per workout, and the number of steps you take per minute, enabling you to make adjustments so you can make the most out of your workout routine.

The Stamina 40-0069 is pretty much as basic stepper that prioritizes portability and functionality, but it does have its own set of flaws, too. As previously mentioned, this stepper is particularly popular for its portability, but this can also be a major disadvantage if you are tall and you want to get longer strides. Other users also complain about the stiffness of the pedals, however, this can be adjusted by via the machine’s resistance levels.

#6 Best Compact Stepper Machine

Twist Stepper NO. 045

Twist Stepper NO. 045

Our Score: 4 / 5

Editor's opinion:

The Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper NO. 045 shies away from fancy technological features to focus on basic functions that make working out simpler and more attainable. It may be the cheapest model on our list, but its sturdy components are built to provide you lasting services.

Pros

  • Designed with two lateral exercise bands that allow you to engage in upper and lower body exercises
  • Built with an LCD monitor that displays important stats such as step count, time, calories, and total count
  • Comes with an adjustment dial
  • Its compact design makes it ideal for small spaces
  • Cheapest stepper machine on our list

Cons

  • Faulty body twisting mechanics may cause injury
  • Shorter stride than other steppers

Let’s admit it, the Sunny Health & Fitness Twist Stepper NO. 045 doesn’t really look anything more than two oversized pedals glued on a base, but as the good old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover.

With a 4.3 star rating from over 2,300 Amazon users, this stepper absolutely has all the right components stuck together in one package.

Instead of letting your feet do all the muscle-building wonders, the Twist Stepper NO. 045 also puts your arms and shoulders to action by attaching two lateral exercise bands, which are designed to mimic a mini-elliptical machine’s motion. Not in the mood for a quick arm exercise? Simply detach the bands so you can focus on your lower body.

On the base of Twist Stepper NO. 045, you’ll see an LCD monitor that displays important stats such as step count, time, calories, and total count. Close to it is a dial that allows you to adjust the machine’s resistance levels so you can create a mix of workout patterns.

Want to know the best part? The Twist Stepper NO. 045 is a compact machine that’s hard on the calories but easy on your pockets. The most affordable model on our list, this stepper makes fitness simple and attainable.

So if you’re on a tight budget or you simply don’t have the space to accommodate bulky gym equipment, this stepper is ideal for you.

Considering its price range, the Twist Stepper NO. 045 is already a great stepper that does what it’s supposed to do.

But despite this, there is a downside that we can’t overlook: its stride is quite a lot shorter as compared to other steppers on our list, making it advisable only if you’re not tall.

The best stepper machine: buying guide, tips & tricks

Stepper machines are all built for the same general goal, but they have various features that make them distinct. Since there are so many steppers out there, it can be increasingly challenging to find one that’s tailored to your needs.

To help you make the wisest investment, below are some of the factors you should consider.

1. Personal goals

Tired of buying products that don’t match your needs, preferences, and physical capabilities? We’ve got two words for you: goal setting.

By setting personal goals, you can efficiently screen products and eliminate the ones that are either under or over the top.

Are you buying one to simply lose weight or are you targeting high-intensity workouts as you go along? If so, find a stepper that can adjust to your needs and future goals. By putting more thought into what you buy, you can find a product that can last you a lifetime.

2. Budget

Your personal goals and your budget are like shoes. You can’t wear a pair that doesn’t match. When you’re setting a personal goal, make sure it is in line with your personal budget so you won’t get disappointed along the way. You can’t find a top-notch stepper that comes with all the most high-end features with a 50-dollar budget, can you?

3. Features

Once you have set your goal and budget, compare the features of products that meet both. Also, check past reviews for the model’s performance. Some steppers are jampacked with so many features that they sacrifice overall quality and performance in exchange for variety.

How do users rate the product? Were they satisfied by its specs?

4. Quality

Steppers shouldn’t be solely defined by their specs and features because, at the end of the day, it’s the quality of the product that determines whether it will stand the test of time. What kind of materials were used to construct the frame (if it has one) and steppers? Does the product have great reviews in terms of durability? Can it support your weight? Buying a cheap, low-grade product might seem tempting, but it’s actually a waste of time and money if it’s gonna get broken after a few months.

Is a stepper machine a good workout?

Just like climbing regular stairs, a stepper is a great cardio exercise that aims to help you lose weight, build muscles, and increase your endurance levels. So considering all these, a stepper is a great workout machine that you can take home even if you are limited in space.

What does a stair stepper do for your body?

Climbing and running up the stairs is an efficient way to lose weight and strengthen muscle groups, particularly the hamstrings, calves, glutes, and quads. Great even for beginner athletes or workout enthusiasts, a stair stepper can give you a good lower body cardio exercise, which builds significant leg strength and improves your endurance.

Just make sure to check on proper body mechanics and form, especially when you’re performing body twisting movements so you can avoid any injury and get the most out of your routine even when you’re pressed for time.

Is the stair stepper or treadmill better?

Both are great cardio workouts that can burn calories and improve your endurance, but despite their similarities, a stair stepper and a treadmill are two very unique pieces of gym equipment that can help you achieve different sets of goals.

So how do you choose between them?

A stepper is a wiser choice if your goal is to increase leg strength over time since it puts higher resistance on these muscle groups, with a much lower risk of injury. A low-impact exercise that serves as a great alternative to running, a stepper machine will place far less stress on your joints, in particular knees, hips, and ankles.

A treadmill, on the other hand, gives you more freedom to engage in a variety of workout patterns since you can adjust not just its speed but its running angle through its incline and decline options as well. Additionally, studies suggest that a treadmill burns more calories as compared to a stepper machine. Treadmills do have a higher risk of injury due to the high-impact nature of running.

The major takeaway: for low impact and strengthening, a stepper is a better option. If you want to burn more calories and increase workout variability, a treadmill is a better investment.

Final verdict

The ultimate muscle-building, low-impact exercise can be just a step away if you have a durable and functional stepper machine, just do your homework and make sure you are choosing one that’s accustomed to your personal fitness goals.

Good for your heart and your muscles, a stepper machine can be your door to that perfect, muscle-sculpting workout routine.

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Katie Smith
Katie Smith

Katie is a researcher and writer at Painless Movement. Her talent lies in digging through the internet to find the best products for your well-being.

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