The 8 Best Commercial Stair Climbers of 2024, Tested by Our Experts

When it comes to cardio, the best stair climbers can get your heart pumping and legs burning in no time. In fact, a Harvard study found that 30 minutes on a stair climber can torch up to 252 calories while still offering cardiovascular benefits like lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease. (1)(2) On top of that, the stair-climbing motion can help strengthen your glutes, calves, and quads. (3)

Whether you’re looking to slot one in your commercial gym or bring one of these heavy-duty machines home, we’ve put some of the best commercial stair masters to the test. Taking into consideration their features, specs, and onboard technology, our team put together a list of our favorites to help you find the match for your space, wallet, and fitness goals. Check out what our team thought about our time on the best commercial stair climbers.

The 8 Best Commercial Stair Climbers of 2024

Best Commercial Stair Climber Overall: Jacobs Ladder The Stairway GTL

Best Versatile Commercial Stair Climber: NordicTrack FS10i

Best Commercial Stair Climber for Trainer-Led Workouts: ProForm Pro HIIT H14

Best Commercial Stair Climber for Comfort: Bells of Steel Blitz Stepper

Best Commercial Stair Climber for Streaming: STEPR+

Best Budget Commercial Stair Climber: Echelon Stair Climber Sport

Best Vertical Commercial Stair Climber: CLMBR Connected 02

Best Compact Commercial Stair Climber: Bowflex Max Trainer M6

About Our Expert

This article has been reviewed by Kate Meier, NASM-CPT, USAW-L1, CF-L1, a certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level-1 instructor. She reviewed the research we cite and the stair climbers we listed to help ensure we’re providing helpful, accurate descriptions and recommendations.

How We Tested and Chose the Best Commercial Stair Climbers

BarBend’s roster of fitness pros includes certified personal trainers, CrossFit coaches, and competitive athletes. For each of the 22 stair climbers we tested, we applied a rating of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) across categories like durability, value, and footprint. Below are some of the key components we looked at when choosing the best commercial stair climbers. 

A BarBend tester on the NordicTrack FS10i.

For more information on how we test all our products, check out the BarBend Equipment Testing Methodology.

Durability and Stability: The commercial models on our list feature heavy-duty steel frames that can withstand constant use and support steady workouts. These models have weight capacities ranging from 275 to 375 pounds, making them accessible for a range of different body types.

Footprint: When we put together our list, we were mindful of the floor space each stair climber requires and listed each model’s dimensions. Most stair climbers eat up around 11 to 13 square feet — about the size of a loveseat — while slimmer options only take up roughly 9 or 10 square feet — closer to a recliner. (4)(5)

Value: With varying tech capabilities and unique designs, the stair climbers on our list range from just $799.99 up to $7,495. We assessed the value of each option by scrutinizing the quality of its build, its resistance range, and the utility of its technology.

Best Commercial Stair Climber Overall: Jacobs Ladder The Stairway GTL

Jacobs The Stairway

Jacobs The Stairway

You can control the speed of the steps on this machine’s display with up and down buttons. The Stairway is self-powered, and narrow enough to fit through most doorways. 

Shop Get RXD


Price: $7,495

Product Dimensions: 54″ L x 30.5″ W x 75.5″ H

Weight Capacity: 350lbs

Resistance Levels: N/A

Warranty: 4-year parts, 1-year labor


Durable, powder-coated steel frame

User-powered design

Rotating staircase simulates climbing actual stairs


Expensive price point for individuals

No touchscreen display

No warranty for the frame

Whether you’re stocking your own training space with the best home gym equipment or outfitting a commercial facility, expect the Jacobs Ladder The Stairway GTL to be around for the long haul. This absolute unit is built to sustain heavy usage for years to come. Its powder-coated steel frame supports a true rotating stairway — sometimes called a “stepmill” — creating the feeling of climbing an actual staircase. The user-powered design also eliminates the need to connect to a wall outlet, providing the freedom to arrange your space how you see fit.

So, how does it work? When you first step aboard and press start, the Stairway GTL calculates your weight to track your calories burned on the LCD display. As you climb, an onboard generator powers the steps’ rotation. Older models used a waist belt to regulate the speed of the stairs, but the GTL uses a closed speed loop, which you control with simple up and down buttons. Once you start getting tired and lean forward, that system keeps the speed consistent regardless of how your body weight may shift.

Aside from its heavy-duty build, what sets the Stairway GTL apart from stair climbers designed for home use is that it uses actual steps as opposed to pedals meant to simulate climbing stairs. It feels like you’re climbing stairs because, well, you are. 

Despite only eating up about as much floor space as a recliner, there are always three full steps available as you climb, allowing you to skip a step during your workout if you so choose. (5) Its 30.5-inch width also makes it narrow enough to roll through most doorways. (6)

What you won’t find onboard the Stairway GTL is a glistening touchscreen pumping out virtual workouts. Another odd omission is the lack of a warranty for the frame, although we wouldn’t anticipate any issues and haven’t discovered any common problems with the frame among customer reviews. 

Best Versatile Commercial Stair Climber: NordicTrack FS10i

NordicTrack FS10i

NordicTrack FS10i

This machine is a stair climber, elliptical and treadmill all in one. It has 24 levels of digital resistance, and you can change your stride to work with the resistance in tread, elliptical, or stair climber mode. 

Shop NordicTrack


Price: $1,999

Product Dimensions: 58.5″ L x 29.5″ W x 74″ H

Weight Capacity: 350lbs

Resistance Levels: 24

Warranty: 10-year frame 


Versatile machine operates as stair climber, elliptical, and treadmill

Adjustable resistance and incline ranges

10-inch HD touchscreen streams iFIT programming

Stride length automatically adjusts


Heavy overall weight makes moving difficult

Only one set of fixed handlebars

iFIT subscription costs additional $39.99 per month

The three-in-one design of the NordicTrack FS10i combines the functionality of a stair climber, elliptical, and treadmill, giving this machine a unique level of versatility in the gym. Multiple BarBend testers have taken it for a spin, including a CrossFit Level-1 instructor who thought two of those modes may be more effective than the other.

Our tester on the NordicTrack FS10i.

“While it’s a learned skill set to swap between stepping and gliding mid-workout, I felt I could master it after just a few sessions,” they said. “I’d use this FS10i for stepping and elliptical work more than running though, as it can be awkward to jog without ever lifting your feet from the oversized pedals.”

As another BarBend tester, Jake Herod, NASM-CNC, demonstrates, the responsive pedals are what ties the whole machine together.

While the 26 resistance levels and 10-percent incline range were the foundation for our ratings for adjustability (4 out of 5) and customizations (5 out of 5), iFIT’s SmartAdjust feature was icing on the cake. “If you’re doing a trainer-led workout, you don’t have to worry about it at all because it’s going to automatically adjust on its own,” Herod said.

A BarBend tester selecting an iFIT class on the NordicTrack FS10i.

The FS10i’s versatility also helps maximize iFIT’s $39.99 monthly subscription. With a library of over 17,000 workouts, including scenic walks and hikes, iFIT’s programming consistently earns ratings of 5 out of 5 from our team. Herod says this much variety will keep you coming back for more. “You’re never going to get bored or run out of possibilities when it comes to workouts,” he said. 

While the FS10i’s steel build helped it score a 5 out of 5 rating for durability, Herod suggests parking this 284-pound machine in one spot. “It’s definitely not easy to move around,” he said. “The legs can’t lock into place, so sometimes when I’m moving it they kind of bump into me, which is annoying.”  The FS10i garnered just a 3.75 out of 5 for portability. 

Read our full NordicTrack FS10i Review.

Best Commercial Stair Climber for Trainer-Led Workouts: ProForm Pro HIIT H14

ProForm Pro HIIT H14

ProForm Pro HIIT H14

This unique profile combines a stair climber and elliptical for a space-saving, high-performance training experience. The Pro HIIT H14 is also integrated with the iFIT online workout program, giving you access to over 17,000 live and on-demand fitness classes.

Shop ProForm


Price: $1,799

Product Dimensions: 52” L x 29” W x 66” H

Weight Capacity: 325lbs

Resistance Levels: 26

Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, 1-year labor


Integrated with iFIT’s library of over 17,000 workouts

14-inch HD touchscreen

Hybrid stair-climber and elliptical design


iFIT requires $39 monthly subscription

Per our tester, relocating it was difficult

Display only streams iFIT

The crystal-clear 14-inch touchscreen on the ProForm Pro HIIT H14 helps bring iFIT’s library of over 17,000 workouts to life. Whether its a scenic hike through the Grand Canyon (my personal favorite) or a pulse-pumping studio classes, these classes are led by iFIT’s lineup of certified trainers. 

A BarBend tester on the ProForm Pro HIIT H14.

Our tester, a CrossFit Level-1 coach, highlighted the display when rating its tech capabilities 4 out of 5. However, it was the quality of iFIT’s workouts that stole the show. “The touchscreen is clear and it’s nice being able to swivel it,” they said. “But the belle of the ball is iFIT’s programming.” Our whole team, including yours truly, consistently rates iFIT programming a 5 out of 5.

The console and handlebars of the ProForm Pro HIIT H14.

The H14’s hybrid design theoretically combines a stair climber and an elliptical, but our tester doesn’t think it’s an even split. “I would absolutely call this a stepper machine before calling it an elliptical,” they said. “It’s definitely not as bulky as an elliptical — much taller than it is wide — but I was very impressed with how sturdy it was.” 

Related: Best Compact Ellipticals

Where most commercial stair climbers take up roughly as much room as a typical loveseat, the H14’s footprint of 10.47 square feet footprint is closer to that of a recliner. (5) Its 224-pound weight, however, could make moving it around a little tough, which prompted a 3.5 out of 5 rating for footprint and portability. 

A BarBend tester moving the ProForm Pro HIIT H14.

“I definitely wouldn’t call this thing ‘light,’” they said. “Most people shouldn’t have trouble rolling it around a room, but if you’re going up or down any stairs, call a friend.”

Considering an iFIT membership will set you back an additional $39.99 per month, the H14 earned a 3.5 out of 5 for value from our team. “At $1,700, it is definitely not cheap, but it’s really a high-tech machine,” they said. “iFIT’s trainer-led programming truly makes it one of the best fitness apps out there.”

Read our full ProForm Pro HIIT 14 Review.

Best Commercial Stair Climber for Comfort: Bells of Steel Blitz Stepper

Bells of Steel Blitz Stepper

Bells of Steel Blitz Stepper

Torch calories and fat with this stair-climbing machine that features 15 levels of magnetic resistance. Unlike revolving style stair climbers, this stepper’s motion is more reminiscent of an elliptical with a vertical stride length to keep you climbing upwards.

Shop Bells of Steel


Price: $1,499.99

Product Dimensions: 58” L x 32” W x 61” H

Weight Capacity: 330lbs

Resistance Levels: 15

Warranty: Lifetime frame, 2-year parts


Roomy foot pedals provide comfort and stability

Above-average weight capacity

Built-in handle and transport wheels


Fewer levels of resistance than average

No touchscreen

Along with its oversized textured pedals and padded handles, the Bells of Steel Blitz Stepper’s hybrid design mashes together the vertical nature of stair climbers with the low-impact workouts of ellipticals. Compared to the revolving steps you’ll find on many commercial stair climbers, this unique machine uses rollers that glide along steel rails. All in all, this is easily one of the most comfortable steppers we’ve used. 

On their own, stair climbers and ellipticals are two of the best cardio machines to help save your knees a bit of stress, but as certified personal trainer Jesse Zucker, NCSF-CPT, explains, hybrid machines like the Blitz Stepper can offer the best of both worlds. “The elliptical and the stair climber are both low-impact workouts, but… since your feet stay on the pedals, you’re not adding extra shock or force to your joints even as you increase the intensity,” they explain. (7)

The Blitz Stepper’s steel frame supports users up to 330 pounds — roughly 30 pounds higher than the industry standard — and its lifetime frame warranty indicates Bells of Steel believes in its durability. With foot plates large enough for size 24 men’s shoes, not only would Shaq slip in under the weight capacity, but his size 22s would have room to spare.

We just received our Blitz Stepper, so we’ll update this review once we’ve had a chance to step through its 15 levels of resistance. Fifteen is a little low when compared to other hybrid stair climber and elliptical machines we’ve tested, which tend to offer between 16 and 26 resistance levels. Also, at this price point, we’d also expect a touchscreen with streaming capabilities over this machine’s LED display, though we do appreciate that it includes a handful of preset programs. 

Best Commercial Stair Climber for Streaming: STEPR+

STEPR Classic

STEPR Classic

STEPR created this climbing machine to be able to fit in the average home — with dimensions that can both fit through typical doorways and a height that allows users to step when faced with ceiling heights as low as 8 feet tall. This is a more compact version of the stair climbers you tend to see in commercial gyms, with Bluetooth capabilities to connect and stream with the free STEPR app.



Price: $4,999.99

Product Dimensions: 42” L x 27.6” W x 82” H

Weight Capacity: 375lbs

Resistance Levels: 15

Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, 1-year labor


Preloaded streaming apps like YouTube, Netflix, and more

27-inch touchscreen

No ongoing subscription


STEPR companion app not yet available 

Per our tester, assembly was tedious

Price is more than $2,000 above average

If catching up on a show or movie sounds like a welcome distraction from a heart-pounding stair climb, the 27-inch HD touchscreen on the STEPR+ goes above and beyond. As our tester discovered, a lot of the usual suspects — Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, and more — come preloaded on the super-sized display. 

“It’s nice to just tap and stream whatever you want without fiddling with your own device,” they said. “But the best part? You don’t have to pay extra for it.” On some machines, you may have to subscribe just to access streamers like these, but on the STEPR+, the streaming world is your oyster.

A BarBend tester on the STEPR+.

Well, mostly. “They’ve been talking about coming out with a companion STEPR app, but for now, you have 36 preloaded workouts to follow,” our tester said. “So if you want to stream one of their workouts, it’s nice to follow along with a trainer for free.” 

Our tester doesn’t think these 36 workouts quite match the scenic hikes and walks from the best fitness apps. The available programming is still pretty good, though, and earned a 4 out of 5.

While the rotating-step design of the STEPR+ might remind you of traditional commercial stair climbers, our tester thinks its coffee-table-sized footprint makes it feasible for smaller spaces, too. (8) STEPR took commercial stair-climbing machines, shrunk them down so they could fit in most homes,” they said, rating its footprint and portability 5 out of 5.

Our tester on the STEPR+.

Our tester also noted that while its narrow profile allows it to roll through most doors, its compact nature created more than one limitation. “When you’re doing a stair master workout at the gym, you can typically skip a step. The compact design on the STEPR+ doesn’t really let you do that,” they said. “Each step is short, too — 5.2 inches. It didn’t take long to get used to, but if you usually take long steps, it’s something to keep in mind.” Ergonomics earned a 3.5 out of 5.

Best Budget Commercial Stair Climber: Echelon Stair Climber Sport

Echelon Climber Sport

Echelon Climber Sport

This climber can fold down when not in use, making storage under beds or in closets ideal for those short on space. There are three levels of manually adjustable incline and a turn knob to adjust resistance while you train. Track your progress with the built-in LED monitor or attach your phone to the device mount to stream programming.

Shop Echelon


Price: $799.99

Product Dimensions: 39” L x 22” W x 55” H

Weight Capacity: 275lbs

Resistance Levels: N/A

Warranty: 1 year (5 years with Echelon Premier membership)


Roughly $2,000 less than many commercial stair climbers

Foldable design and wheels increase portability

Large, comfortable pedals


Unspecified resistance levels

Extended warranty requires Echelon Premier Membership

Our tester noticed a grinding noise during use

At roughly $2,000 less than many commercial stair climbers we’ve tested, the $799.99 price tag on the Echelon Climber Sport is a welcome sight for budget-conscious athletes. Save for the four AA batteries to power the monitor, this user-powered stair-climber requires zero electricity. While its onboard tech won’t win it any accolades, it’s certainly one of the best affordable stair climbers we’ve tried out. 

Our tester on the Echelon Stair Climber Sport.

In addition to folding into more budgets, the machine itself can fold up for easier storage. Its 55-inch height was already roughly 10 inches below average, but when folded, it shrinks down to just 11 inches. 

However, getting to that 11-inch height wasn’t a walk in the park for our tester, a certified personal trainer, leading to a 3 out of 5 rating for footprint and portability. “I appreciate that this stair stepper folds, but it’s not the most intuitive process,” they said. “There’s a lot of plastic knobs you have to twist and tighten.”

Another plastic knob lets you adjust the resistance, but the resistance levels themselves are not specified. As such, we scored it a 2 out of 5 for adjustability. 

At this price point, however, we were happy to see at least three levels of manual incline. At the highest level, though, our tester started to question its durability. “While on it, the climber feels sturdy, but thinking about the small hooks keeping the machine in its angled incline position makes me nervous,” they said.

A BarBend tester rolling the Echelon Stair Climber Sport.

Most commercial stair steppers hover around $2,800. So, for $799.99, our tester thought the Stair Climber Sport deserved a 4 out of 5 for overall value, despite what they hoped was a one-off issue. “I do think it’s one of the best compact stair steppers I’ve used, but I did hear this scraping sound on each step,” they said. “I’m not sure if this is a problem with this individual piece of cardio equipment, or if it’s a problem more users are facing.”

Best Vertical Commercial Stair Climber: CLMBR Connected 02

CLMBR Connected 02

CLMBR Connected 02

The CLMBR Connected 02 features adjustable handles for alternating grip positions, as well as a sturdy frame capable of holding up to 350 pounds. Additionally, there’s plenty of tech strewn across the profile, including an integrated app delivering on-demand classes, challenges, guides, and more.



Price: $3,995

Product Dimensions: 35” L x 32” W x 88” H

Weight Capacity: 350lbs

Resistance Levels: 11

Warranty: 1-year frame and parts


Vertical design minimizes footprint

Climbing motion provides intense full-body workouts

21-inch touchscreen streams CLMBR programming


CLMBR subscription costs $39.99 per month

Per our tester, assembly was a pain and required two people

Warranty is weak compared to other commercial models

The vertical orientation of the CLMBR Connected 02 not only requires less floor space than typical commercial stair climbers, but the moving arms can also get your upper body in on the action. Its 11 levels of magnetic resistance also let you adjust the intensity when your arms and shoulders start barking. Its vertical design, and the total-body workouts it affords, prompted a 4 out of 5 rating for ergonomics from our tester, a CrossFit Level-1 trainer.

In fact, seven total categories earned at least a 4 out of 5. While many of the best vertical climbers could be described as “utilitarian,” the 21-inch HD touchscreen on this model earned its tech capabilities a 5 out of 5 from our tester. “The screen is really great, and the ability to tilt it forward made it possible for me to view the screen while I took classes off of the trainer,” they said.

With the Premium-level CLMBR app subscription ($39 per month), you can access on-demand programming, challenges, and community-based features like competitions. Our tester rated CLMBR’s programming 5 out of 5, but noted that a membership may not be a prerequisite for everyone. 

“I also like that you can still operate the CLMBR in manual mode if a CLMBR app subscription is out of your budget. You can still generate a worthwhile workout experience, ” they said. “I will say, though, that I think the interactive programming is worth the $39.99 monthly charge.”

Given its vertical design, we paid extra attention to its stability. “I wasn’t worried about the machine falling or anything,” said our 6-foot-3-inch tester when they rated its durability 4.5 out of 5. 

We don’t anticipate long-term issues with the aluminum build, but the one-year warranty garnered just a 3.5 out of 5 from our team. Many cardio machines, including stair climbers, in this price range offer 10-year or lifetime frame warranties.

Read our full CLMBR Connected 02 Review.

Best Compact Commercial Stair Climber: Bowflex Max Trainer M6

Bowflex M6 Max Trainer

Bowflex M6 Max Trainer

Tight on space but still want to experience the low-impact benefits of elliptical training? The Bowflex M6 Max Trainer boasts a vertical orientation that shrinks the overall footprint to 8.31 square feet, yet the plane of motion can still be ideal for comfortable training with a heightened sense of muscle-boosting potential, especially across your posterior chain and legs.

Shop Bowflex


Price: $1,299

Product Dimensions: 46″ L x 26” W x 64.2″ H

Weight Capacity: 300lbs

Resistance Levels: 16

Warranty: 2-year frame, 2-year mechanical parts, 90-day labor


Vertical orientation minimizes footprint

Adaptive Max Trainer-specific workouts available on JRNY app

Fixed and moving handles


No touchscreen display

JRNY subscription costs additional $19.99 per month

Per our tester, it’s awkward to move

If most commercial stair climbers are roughly the size of a loveseat or recliner, the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 compares more to an end table. (8) The 8.31 square feet it takes up is around 20 percent less than a typical stair climber, which helped make it some of the best compact exercise equipment we’ve used. 

Its footprint and portability also earned a 4.5 out of 5 from BarBend editorial member and certified personal trainer Kate Meier. “It’s super narrow and pretty compact overall, so it’s great for small spaces,” she said. 

A BarBend tester on the Bowflex Max Trainer M6.

Instead of climbing a rotating staircase, though, you’ll be pumping elliptical-style pedals. Meier rated the ergonomics and adjustability of its hybrid design a 4.5 out of 5. “It has both fixed handles and moving arms, plus the big textured pedals you’d see on an elliptical,” she says. While it may not quite feel like you’re marching up the Empire State Building, we think you’ll still be able to work up a sweat via the JRNY app. 

Our tester adjusting the settings on the Bowflex Max Trainer M6. 

For about half the cost of fitness apps like iFIT ($39.99) or Peloton ($44), JRNY ($19.99) tailors M6-specific workouts that factor in your metrics and workout history. As Meier learned, these workouts can be sneaky butt-kickers. 

The flywheel of the Bowflex Max Trainer M6.

“This machine is designed for HIIT training and the JRNY workouts reflect that,” she said. “They are usually just 15 minutes or less and they really are killer.” Add in the five preset workouts, and its programming was dynamic enough to earn a 4.8 out of 5 from Meier.

However, since there’s no built-in touchscreen, those workouts require you to set up your own device on the media shelf. “I think it’s a little pricey for a machine that requires you to bring your own device,” she said, rating the Max Trainer M6’s 3.5 out of 5.

Read our full Bowflex Max Trainer M6 Review.

Benefits of Commercial Stair Climbers

As our expert reviewer and BarBend editorial member Kate Meier explains, the workouts on tap from these machines are no joke. Stair climbers are exceptional at boosting your heart rate, increasing muscular endurance in the lower body, and even potentially building some strength in the legs.” she says. “Even a short, 10-minute workout on a stair climber can send your heart rate soaring.”

Durability: Commercial stair climbers have steel builds that are meant to hold up to consistent use over long periods of time. Since you’re investing a decent chunk of change, it’s nice to know you’ll be getting a machine you can count on for the long haul.

Accessibility: Because climbing stairs is something we all do daily, you most likely won’t be learning new techniques, like, say, the stroke of a rowing machine. Meier adds, Stair climbers are great for anyone looking to get an intense workout in a short amount of time.”

Lower-Body Strength Training: In addition to being one of the best cardiovascular exercises, stair climbing can help target lower-body muscle groups like the quads, calves, and glutes. (3) This can provide a challenge to your legs on a machine more compact than most treadmills or ellipticals.

How Much Do Commercial Stair Climbers Cost?

The commercial stair climbers on our list range in price from $799.99 to $7,495. Higher-priced options typically offer the rock-solid durability to hold up to constant use, along with technology like touchscreens and dynamic programming. More budget-friendly models lack the frills of app-connected machines, but can still make you sweat. 

What to Consider Before Buying Commercial Stair Climbers

Before adding a commercial stair climber to your gym or home, make sure it falls within your budget, but also consider how it will fit in your space and how much use it will get. In the wise words of BarBend expert reviewer Kate Meier, “A machine is only good if you’ll use it.” Here are a few of the main considerations to keep in mind when you’re looking for your new commercial stair climber.


Depending on their builds or onboard technology, you can find commercial stair climbers for as little as $800 or as much as nearly $7,500. For the most part, these machines hover around $2,800, so before writing that check, consider just how much money you can afford to invest. 

The console of the Echelon Stair Climber Sport.

The pricier options you’ll find lining the walls of commercial gyms are built for constant use from athletes of differing fitness levels, so if you’re stocking one of these gyms, the price tag may be justified. On the other hand, if your new stair climber is going to be a nice-to-have in a home or garage gym, you may be fine with a more affordable option.

Available Space 

While most fitness equipment is space-hungry, commercial stair climbers can be relatively compact. One factor to keep in mind, though, is their height. Many can be used under normal 8-foot ceilings, but double check the clearance your machine requires. Before you start planning out your stairmaster workouts, we also recommend measuring vertically and horizontally so you can operate your stair climber safely.

Usage Rate 

The hulking machines you’ll find in commercial gym settings are hulking for a reason. They need to support constant use from users of all fitness levels. Think about how often the stair climber on your wish list will be used, especially if you’re setting up a commercial gym or fitness center like those in apartment buildings or hotels. More expensive models typically have the commercial-grade steel builds to hold up to consistent usage.

Resistance Levels

A commercial stair climber with a wide range of resistance can offer the varied intensity to keep your cardio workouts challenging. As Meier describes, being able to up the resistance is a big part of the muscle-building potential of these machines.

Our tester on the NordicTrack FS10i.

“This wouldn’t be in the same way you could build muscle strength and power through doing loaded exercises like squats,” she says. “But you may still feel stronger in your legs when it comes specifically to climbing movements like walking uphill or climbing stairs.”

Commercial Stair Climbers FAQs

What is the best commercial stair climber?

The Jacobs Ladder Stairway GTL is our top commercial stair climber because its powder-coated steel frame can hold up to consistent use. The user-powered design allows you to set it up anywhere in your gym or home without being tethered to a wall outlet.

What are the different types of stair climbers?

From mini stepping machines that can slide under a desk to robust commercial models, stair climbers come in all shapes and sizes. The options you’ll see in commercial settings typically use a rotating staircase to simulate climbing in the real world, while some mid-range or budget-conscious models utilize a pedal-pumping design reminiscent of the best ellipticals.

What is the difference between stair climbers and stair steppers?

The affordable mini stair steppers that you’ve seen all over social media are lightweight and portable versions of true stair climbers. Best suited for beginner athletes, these compact machines can help get your heart rate up and save some floor space. Stair climber machines and commercial steppers that you might see at the gym can simulate climbing real stairs. They also usually include adjustable resistance that can ramp up the intensity of your workout.


Calories burned in 30 minutes of leisure and routine activities. Harvard Health. (2021, March 8).

Nystoriak, M. A., & Bhatnagar, A. (2018). Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise. Frontiers in cardiovascular medicine, 5, 135.

Zimmermann, C. L., Cook, T. M., Bravard, M. S., Hansen, M. M., Honomichl, R. T., Karns, S. T., Lammers, M. A., Steele, S. A., Yunker, L. K., & Zebrowski, R. M. (1994). Effects of stair-stepping exercise direction and cadence on EMG activity of selected lower extremity muscle groups. The Journal of orthopaedic and sports physical therapy, 19(3), 173–180. 

Jaramillo, C. (2022, December 29). A guide to sofa dimensions & sizes. SeatUp, LLC.

Minasian, K. (2018a, September 7). How to measure your space for a recliner. Living Spaces.

How wide and tall is your door?. North Georgia Replacement Windows. (n.d.). 

Sandmeier R. H. (2000). Osteoarthritis and Exercise: Does Increased Activity Wear Out Joints?. The Permanente Journal, 4(4), 26–28.

Cocreativeinteriors. (2022, March 17). Standard Furniture Size Guide. CoCreative Interiors.

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