The 5 Best Under-Desk Stair Steppers of 2024 (Expert Reviewed)

The best stair climbers can strengthen your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves while also increasing aerobic capacity and improving body composition. (1) Of course, not everyone has the space (or time) to dedicate to these towering machines. If you’re stuck at your desk working long hours and find your workout routine suffering, the best under-desk stair steppers can help you have your cake and eat it, too.

Our team of certified fitness professionals got climbing on these mini steppers to help you navigate the best options on the market. Whether you’re looking for some desk exercise between Zoom calls or are a beginner looking for low-impact total-body work to do while watching “90 Day Fiancé,” we’ve got you covered with our favorite picks.

The 5 Best Under-Desk Stair Steppers of 2024

Best Under-Desk Stair Stepper Overall: Sportsroyals Stair Stepper

Best Budget Under-Desk Stair Stepper: Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper

Best Under-Desk Stair Stepper with Resistance Bands: Nordic Lifting Mini Stepper & Stair Climber

Best Portable Under-Desk Stair Stepper: Niceday Steppers

Best Under-Desk Stair Stepper for Heavy People: Xiser Pro Trainer

About Our Expert

This article has been reviewed by Amanda Capritto, CPT, CES, CNC, CF-L1, CSNC, a certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level-1 instructor. She reviewed the research we cite and the under-desk stair steppers we listed to help ensure we’re providing helpful, accurate descriptions and recommendations. 

How We Tested and Chose the Best Under-Desk Stair Steppers

The BarBend roster is filled with competitive athletes, certified personal trainers, and lovers of all things cardio and strength. In an effort to find the best products for your consideration, we’ve tested over 150 pieces of cardio equipment. Using the BarBend Equipment Testing Methodology, we scored each product on a scale of 1 (yikes) to 5 (nice!) in areas like durability, construction, and value. 

Top view of the Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper

Footprint: The under-desk steppers on our list needed to have profiles that could slip snugly in small spaces. As such, we chose options with footprints between 1.17 and 2.46 square feet — roughly the size of a toaster oven. (2)

Portability: For those interested in working out from their desks, we opted for steppers with lightweight builds between 13.5 and 20 pounds that could easily be moved around by most able-bodied people. 

Stability: Under-desk stair steppers aren’t designed to withstand high-intensity exercise, but we sought to include options with large non-slip pedals, wide bases, and, whenever possible, durable builds of alloy steel or aluminum. 

Value: Options on our list range from $69.99 up to $577, a range wide enough to suit budgets big and small. Regardless, these models will cost you a great deal less than the best treadmills or ellipticals on the market. 

Best Under-Desk Stair Stepper Overall: Sportsroyals Stair Stepper

Sportsroyals Stair Stepper

Sportsroyals Stair Stepper

Its quiet hydraulic drive system and oversized pedals have made it a favorite on Amazon. Use the removable resistance bands to add upper body exercises while you step. Its LED monitor lets you keep an eye on your step count, calories burned, and time.

Shop Sportsroyals


Price: $139.99

Dimensions: 9.8” H x 19.6” L x 18.1” W

Weight: 19.8lbs

Weight Capacity: 330lbs


Unique twisting step motion

Cushions help limit clanking against the floor

Comes with removable resistance bands for a full-body workout


No resistance adjustments

Digital monitor isn’t always reliable

Hydraulics get hot after extended use

Unlike typical under-desk stair steppers, there’s a twist to the Sportsroyals Stair Stepper — quite literally. During use, the slightly angled pedal stroke swings your hips from side to side as you step. According to the brand, this motion can help target your thighs and buttocks. If you’re stuck at your standing desk looking for an affordable way to log some steps, this mini cardio machine may be right for you. 

While many steppers can bang and clang against the floor, this stair stepper utilizes rubber shock-absorbing pads to limit noise from each step. It’s also, in our opinion, one of the best compact stair steppers, weighing only 19.8 pounds and taking up 2.46 square feet — roughly the same footprint as a typical nightstand. (3)

Sportsroyals Stair Stepper

We also like that this stepper comes with a set of removable resistance bands, which allow the user to work their upper body with bicep curls, upright rows, and lateral lifts. We do, though, wish this stepper allowed users to adjust its resistance. 

Since resistance is set, customer reviews were mixed on how well this set resistance suited their training. “The steps have a nice, strong resistance… if you don’t like a challenge, try something else,” reads one five-star review. “I didn’t realize that it didn’t have different resistance levels,” says another. “For that reason alone, I may return it.”

The LED monitor tracks your steps, time, distance, and calories burned, so you can manage your output and effort from one workout to the next. However, some customer reviews have noted a problem with this tracker not working. “Seemed to be a good machine [but] the monitor went out the second day,” mentioned a review. Try replacing the AA battery if you run into the same problem.

Lastly, the manual warns that the hydraulics can get hot after 20 minutes of use. While this is a common complaint with mini steppers, it’s worth noting. Might we suggest short HIIT workouts that you can knock out before it heats up?

Best Budget Under-Desk Stair Stepper: Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper

Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper

Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper

Its footprint of 1.36 square feet is roughly 63 percent more compact than the average stepper. At just 15.2 pounds, it’s a lightweight and easy-to-transport unit.

Shop Sunny Health & Fitness


Price: $79.99

Dimensions: 13.5” H x 16” L x 12.5” W

Weight: 14.5lbs

Weight Capacity: 220lbs


Less expensive than the average stepper at under $100

Adjustable step height

Removable resistance bands


Not meant for use over 15 minutes

Max user weight is only 220 pounds

Bands may be too short for some upper-body moves

Sunny Health & Fitness provides affordable and reliable fitness equipment. I’ve been a long-time fan of the brand’s cost-saving equipment — shout out to the SF-B1002 exercise bike, which I love. As such, the Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper is our choice for the best budget under-desk stair stepper, with non-slip foot pedals to keep you locked in on each step and removable resistance bands so you can crank out bicep curls and forward and lateral raises for an upper-body strength-training session.

[Related: Sunny Health & Fitness Exercise Bike Review]

The average under-desk stair stepper tends to cost around $100, so this $79.99 mini-stepper can save you some dough when you want to get a workout from your work or home office.

Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper

“I have to say, it’s a sneaky butt-kicker. I wasn’t expecting much from such a budget-friendly and tiny machine, especially because it only supports users up to 220 pounds, but my legs and glutes were burning,” said Matt Cummings, BarBend editorial member, who likes to use this stepper for 15-minute sessions. “For the price, I think this thing has a ton of value, especially since it’s about the size of a small laundry basket.” Portability and value scored a 5 out of 5.

A dual hydraulic-drive system with adjustable step height allows you to fine-tune your training intensity. hydraulics tend to be featured on more cost-friendly cardio equipment, and they can get hot due to friction. Sunny Health & Fitness recommends only using this stepper for 15-minute sessions to avoid overheating.

“The resistance bands were fine, but they weren’t long enough for me to press overhead,” said Cummings, who scored his workout experience a 3 out of 5. “However, my wife really likes the bands, and when she’s not doing curls she uses them to help keep her balance.”

Best Under-Desk Stair Stepper with Resistance Bands: Nordic Lifting Mini Stepper & Stair Climber

Nordic Lifting Mini Stepper & Stair Climber Machine

Nordic Lifting Mini Stepper & Stair Climber Machine

With three included sets of resistance bands, you can engage your upper body and lower body during your workout. It takes up just 1.32 square feet of space, making it easy to set down and start stepping.

Shop Nordic Lifting


Price: $103.49

Dimensions: 7.9″ H x 16.5″ L x 11.5″ W

Weight: 15.4lbs

Weight Capacity: 286lbs


Comes with three pairs of resistance bands

Takes up only 1.32 square feet of floor space

One-year warranty


Customers have mentioned squeaks and noise while stepping

Band carabiners are made from plastic and can break

No adjustable resistance

The Nordic Lifting Mini Stepper & Stair Climber is one of the best mini stair steppers we’ve tested, due in no small part to the three pairs of resistance bands that come with it. The 20-inch, 28-inch, and 39-inch bands can be attached to the machine, allowing for upper-body exercises like bicep curls and lateral raises. 

“I do like the variety of resistance bands that it comes with and the [20-inch] ones are great for balance. Once you get moving you can do arm curls well,” noted one Amazon reviewer. 

However, these bands attach to the machine with plastic carabiners, which we don’t like since they’re not nearly as durable as ones made from steel and aluminum. The latter carabiners often include kilonewton measurements that can tell you how much weight they can withstand — we wish these plastic ones offered the same. (4) “The plastic on the clip bent the opposite way and the band came flying off. It’s a wonder it didn’t put my eye out,” reads another customer review. 

(If a carabiner or band breaks or you notice a ton of squeaking from the hydraulics — an issue some customers have complained about — Nordic does provide a “hassle-free” one-year warranty.)

At only 1.32 square feet, a little smaller than a 16-inch MacBook Pro, this mini stepper can easily slide under your desk after an office workout. Its lightweight 15.4-pound frame can be easily carried around should you want to squeeze in steps from another room.

“I put this in the living room and try to use it during commercial breaks, during TV show theme songs, or… whenever I want,” reads a customer review. The only downside, it noted, was the inability to adjust resistance. “[Without adjustments] at first, it feels like no effort at all, but after a few minutes it gets harder and you realize you are getting in real exercise,” they said.

Best Portable Under-Desk Stair Stepper: Niceday Steppers

Niceday Steppers

Niceday Steppers

This affordable mini-stepper uses hydraulics to create resistance and features attachable bands for an upper-body workout. Weighing only 16 pounds, you can easily move this wherever you want to get your steps from.

Shop Amazon


Price: $69.99

Dimensions: 16” H x 13.5” L x 12.5” W

Weight: 16lbs

Weight Capacity: 300lbs


Portable at only 16 pounds

Takes up only 1.17 square feet

5- to 15-inch step-height adjustment


Customer reviews have mentioned snapped resistance cables

Some users have complained about noise while stepping

Stepper can get hot with extended use

If you’re looking to tackle 10,000 steps a day from your desk and then keep the cardio party going with some work in front of the TV, you’ll want a portable stair stepper that can be easily carried from room to room. The Niceday Steppers is our choice for the best portable under-desk stair stepper thanks to a 16-pound build that should be easy for most able-bodied athletes to transport. 

It has a footprint of 1.17 square feet, a little larger than a square 12-inch decorative pillow. “The size is also really nice since you can store it away pretty easily so I just tuck mine under my coffee table and pull it out when I want to use it,” reads one customer review.

The 5- to 15-inch step-height adjustment allows users to fine-tune their lower-body workout. If you have knee pain when you step, you can lower the step height to potentially help take strain off your knees. Or, if you want a more quad-focused workout, you can increase the step height for a larger range of motion. (5

When it’s time to get the upper body in on the work, the removable resistance bands can be used for bicep curls or lateral raises. However, some customers have complained about these bands not being durable. One customer review noted, “I bought these steppers and used them for a month, then the cable snapped. Exchanged for a new one, worked for about two months, then the cable snapped.”

As is the case with hydraulic steppers, the hydraulics can heat up with extended use. Be careful if you’re looking to move this stepper around after your workout because the friction of the hydraulics can get hot. “I burnt myself trying to move it after working out for 25 minutes,” mentioned a review.

Best Under-Desk Stair Stepper for Heavy People: Xiser Pro Trainer

Xiser Pro Trainer

Xiser Pro Trainer

Its aircraft-grade aluminum alloy frame provides a stable workout for users up to 400 pounds, despite weighing just 13.5 pounds. 

Shop Xiser


Price: $577

Dimensions: 4” H x 21” L x 14” W

Weight: 13.5lbs

Weight Capacity: 400lbs


Supports users up to 400 pounds

Adjustable resistance

Transports easily at only 13.5 pounds


No stat tracking

Some customers have noted squeaking and clicking noises

Much more expensive than the average under-desk stair stepper

While under-desk stair steppers tend to be budget-friendly exercise machines that only support users between 220 and 300 pounds, the Xiser Pro Trainer has a user weight capacity of 400 pounds. As such, heavier athletes can reap the benefits of cardio exercise, including lifted moods, reduced anxiety, and weight loss. (6)

While most mini-steppers tend to be built with a mixture of plastic parts, aluminum, and alloy steel, this 13.5-pound beast — easy to carry and 4 pounds lighter than the average mini-stepper — uses aircraft-grade aluminum alloy for the pedals and frame so users of heavier builds can feel stable and supported throughout their workout. Plus, unlike most mini stair steppers, this unit has adjustable modes of resistance that can support progressive overload

However, this quality build comes at a hefty price. At $577, it’s more than $400 more expensive than the average under-desk stepper. One thing we think some users may also miss from typical mini-steppers is the ability to track your training metrics. You won’t find an LCD monitor on the Xiser Pro to do so.

Reviews on the machine’s noise are split, with some complaining about squeaks and others saying that with proper technique you shouldn’t experience any noise.

“[It] started making clicking and squeaking noises after two months of use as mentioned by many other reviewers,” mentioned a customer. Another replied, “This can be avoided by the user with the technique of riding the thing advised by the manufacturer,” said another. If you’re curious about that technique, there are videos available online from Xiser that can help you get the hang of it. 

Benefits of Under-Desk Stair Steppers

BarBend expert reviewer Amanda Capritto says, “People who want to exercise at home but don’t have a lot of space to dedicate to a home gym can benefit from compact gym equipment.” Under-desk stair steppers are nothing if not compact. Here are some benefits of having one in your home or office. 

Our tester with the Sunny Health & Fitness Mini Stepper

Approachable Cost: Unlike the best ellipticals, treadmills, and vertical climbers, under-desk steppers provide access to low-impact cardio training without selling the farm. These compact stair stepper machines tend to cost around $100, which is a drop in the bucket compared to full-sized cardio machines, which can cost upwards of $1,000 to $2,000. 

Space Saving: With profiles ranging from 1.17 to 2.46 square feet, users can utilize whatever space they have available when they want to get their heart rate up. Capritto says this about compact equipment: “Many people are making do with what they have: A corner of their bedroom, a sliver of living room, maybe a spare walk-in closet.”

Versatile: Set up your under-desk stepper under a standing desk to log a stepper workout during your workday. Or, thanks to their lightweight builds, you can take your workout in front of the TV for a new season of “The Golden Bachelor.”

How Much Do Under-Desk Stair Steppers Cost?

You won’t need to max out your credit card on an under-desk stair stepper, as they don’t cost nearly as much as the best cardio machines. Our picks range in price from $69.99 up to $577, with higher-priced models featuring more sturdy builds that can support a higher user weight capacity.

What to Consider Before Buying an Under-Desk Stair Stepper

How much are you willing to spend? What are your fitness goals? What type of training are you looking to tackle? Mull over these questions while you peruse what to consider before bringing a compact step machine into your home.

Under-Desk Stair Steppers Vs. Stair Climbers

If you’re torn between an under-desk stair stepper and a proper stair climber, the first question you’ll want to ask is how much space do you have. Under-desk steppers are more compact than their bigger siblings, with footprints of a typical stair stepper logging in at around 12 square feet. That’s almost 10 square feet larger than the 1 to 3 square-foot profiles of the under-desk stair steppers we’ve listed. Additionally, even the best affordable stair climbers can cost up to $4,000.

Most stair-climbing machines feature handrails and consoles, so utilizing one of these beasts from your workstation might pose a problem. However, stair-climbing machines do provide a wider range of training capabilities, with more available levels of resistance and built-in workouts accessible via their Bluetooth-enabled touchscreens or LCD displays. As such, they’re designed for those really looking to sweat. An under-desk stepper, on the other hand, won’t provide the same level of challenge and is designed for low-intensity work to help you stay active. 

Weight Capacity

You’ll also want to take into account your weight and the weight capacity offered on the stepper of your dreams. The options on our list can support users between 220 and 400 pounds. While machines with weight capacities closer to 350 and 400 pounds will cost more, they’ll often be quieter in operation and stand up to more workouts than a less-durable model.

Available Space

Even when purchasing the best compact exercise equipment, it’s best to know the size of both the equipment and the dimensions of the space where you intend to use it. While our list of under-desk stair steppers features compact machines ranging in size from 1.17 to 2.46 square feet, you’ll still need to make sure it’ll work with your space. 

Capritto agrees. “Check the overall length, width, and height of the machine in its assembled position and folded position if applicable. And triple-measure your space to make sure it will fit!” she emphasizes. 

What About Under-Desk Treadmills, Ellipticals, and Bikes?

If you know you want a cardio device that can be used at your desk, you’ll want to nail down what type of cardio machine is best for you. In addition to under-desk stair steppers, it’s worth perusing the best under-desk treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes as well.

Under-desk treadmills, or walking pads, can be used for longer durations than under-desk stair steppers. I like to use my under-desk treadmill at a low speed for about two or three hours throughout the day while I write. In comparison, the hydraulics often used on mini steppers tend to heat up after 15 to 30 minutes of use, so you’ll be limited to short bursts of exercise. 

That said, under-desk steppers beat out treadmills when it comes to convenience since mini steppers can be easily carried and don’t need to be plugged in.

Under-desk ellipticals and under-desk bikes are pedal exercisers and typically require the user to be seated while they workout. Since you’re seated, using these machines isn’t a weight-bearing exercise. This kind of low-impact cardio may be ideal for those with hip or knee problems, though you’ll lose out on the weight-bearing, bone-building benefits of a mini stair stepper. (7)

Under-Desk Stair Steppers FAQs

How much do under-desk stair steppers cost?

For those on a budget, most under-desk stair steppers cost around $100. To suit most budgets, our list has options that range from $69.99 up to (gulp) $577. While the affordable choices offer a combination of stepping and attachable bands for a total body workout, the pricier options are built with durability in mind.

What is the best under-desk stair stepper?

Our pick for the best under-desk stair stepper is the $139.99 Sportsroyal Stair Stepper. This machine takes up 2.46 square feet and weighs a hair under 20 pounds, which makes moving it around relatively easy. Unlike any other under-desk stair stepper we tried, it also features a twist to the step, which the brand says can help target your thighs and glutes.

Do under-desk stair steppers work?

Fitness is often about the effort you put in, paired with consistency. If you bring an under-desk stair stepper into your home and use it consistently, you can get stronger, burn calories, and support your fitness goals while simulating the climbing of stairs.


Hongu, N., Shimada, M., Miyake, R., Nakajima, Y., Nakajima, I., & Yoshitake, Y. (2019). Promoting Stair Climbing as an Exercise Routine among Healthy Older Adults Attending a Community-Based Physical Activity Program. Sports (Basel, Switzerland), 7(1), 23.


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