If you want a moderate exercise routine that can be carried out in the comfort of your home, then a stepper machine could be the perfect investment.
A portable stepper machine allows you to rack up your daily step count whilst you watch television!
And they are so small that they can be easily stored away in the smallest of rooms.
So, here’s my list of the best stepper machines on the market, to suit a range of budgets.
Aidapt Mini-Stepper with LED Display and Training Ropes
The Aidapt mini-stepper is a compact home step machine with the addition of built-in elastic resistance bands. The resistance bands allow the user to engage in an upper-body workout too, taking the stepper from a machine that only trains the legs and glutes to something that can also provide an upper body workout. It includes an LCD screen that counts time, calories burned and steps taken. The pedals are made from anti-slip plastic and resistance is provided by spring. The action is a rotation, where the pedals rotate outwards.
- All body exercise via resistance bands
- Strong pedal construction
- Inconsistent overall build quality – lots of users report faults.
Ultrasport Up-Down Stepper
The Ultrasport Up-Down Stepper is a lower body only stepper, but the build quality is good and the LCD screen more in-depth than others in its category, with calories burned, time, step count and steps per minute monitored so you can adjust your workout to reach certain pace levels. The mechanism of the pedals is a straight up and down, rather than in/out rotation which some people may find more comfortable. The resistance is provided by pneumatic cylinders so less likely to wear out.
- Good build quality
- Straight up/down movement action
- More in depth LCD screen than some others
Sportstech 2in1 Twister Stepper with Power Ropes
This Sportstech stepper is one of the class leaders in the home stepper market. It has a two-way step action – up and down and also a slight twist mechanism. Unlike a lot of the other steppers on the market it offers an adjustable resistance – you can increase the range of motion of the stepper to make the workout harder or easier depending on your level of fitness. The stepper also includes the resistance bands offering you an upper body resistance workout too. Includes non-slip pedals and LCD screen for extra workout information.
- Variable resistance – a big plus
- Two-way action. Up and down or rotation
- Upper body resistance bands included
Body Sculpture BS1320 Lateral Twist Stepper with Resistance Cords
Body Sculpture are well-known in the home gym kit world and their stepper is a decent offering. It has a rotational action and a pair of upper body resistance bands to allow for upper body exercise at the same time. It has the anti-slip pedals and like the others, is a compact and easy to store bit of kit. Pneumatic pistons supply the resistance to the machine. Overall the build quality is inconsistent, with some users experiencing problems with the construction.
- Rotation action
- Resistance bands for upper body exercise included
- Non-slip pedals
FLEXXI POWER Electrical Motorised Elliptical Cycle
This product from FLEXXI POWER is unique in the list because it’s not actually a stepper – it’s an elliptical cycling machine to use whilst sat at a desk. This allows you to exercise whilst you work, promoting blood flow and allowing you to keep active whilst you normally wouldn’t. There’s 3 different resistance levels, it’s completely portable and comes with a remote control so you can adjust it without having to bend under the desk. This isn’t designed for intense training, just gentle use throughout the day.
- Varying resistance levels
- Remote control for simple adjustment
- Multi-function use. Forward and backward pedaling allowed
Lopbinte Stepper Home Mute Weight Loss stepper
The Lopbinte Stepper is only really suitable for those who are very light weight and are on an incredibly tight budget. Although there are few moving parts and the design is very basic, most users report it breaks quickly. It will be fine for very light weight children, but this isn’t a stepper to buy if you want to train hard at home. If your children want to do a little exercise at home though, this could be a low-cost option for them. It folds up quickly for very easy storage.
- Simple design
- Low price
- Easy storage
What is a portable stepper machine?
A portable stepper machine is a home exercise machine that allows users to predominantly train their lower body, by stepping up and down on 2 hinged foot plates.
They’re low/no impact (great for the joints) and in some cases include a resistance band that can be used to train the upper body at the same time.
Portable steppers have been popular with home exercisers for years because of their simplicity and easy storage. They’re also low cost relative to other bits of home gym equipment.
Benefits of using a stepper
There are lot of benefits to using stepper, for a wide range of populations. Here are just a few of them…
- Low/No Impact – Meaning that your foot is not making a big impact against the floor (lie in jogging). A lot of people (arthritis sufferers and people with knee problems for example) can’t do high-impact exercise, making a stepper perfect for them
- Versatile – steppers can incorporate both the upper and lower body, burning more calories
- Simple to use – there’s no technique to learn, so they’re really beginner friendly
- Targeted Exercise – if you want to specifically target the legs or buttocks to make them stronger post-surgery for example, this is ideal.
- Easy to store – if you don’t have much room, a stepper is perfect – it’s only small so easy to hide!
What to look for in a stepper machine
With a wide range of steppers on the market, you have to be specific for your requirements. Here are a few important features to consider…
The build quality is essential. With your body weight on top of the machine and the same action being repeated over and over again, it has to be able to withstand heavy use. Look at user experiences for guidance.
If the machine is too light weight it’s likely to be built of poor quality materials and won’t last long. Typically look for machines over 8kg in weight as they tend to contain more metal and less plastic.
Most steppers don’t offer much in the way of variable resistance, but if you seek out the higher end ones you can enjoy a little more workout intensity with adjustable ranges of movement.
The LCD displays on most steppers are very basic. At the higher end you will get a steps per minute counter, but most of them are largely the same.
Extras (bands etc)
A lot of the steppers include resistance bands which turn the machine from a lower body only device to a whole body workout. I’d suggest you always go for a stepper with bands if you can because it offers so much more variety.
If you live in an apartment block you need to have a quiet stepper. The more you spend, generally the quieter the stepper. Pay attention to this in user reviews.
The steppers are all roughly the same size, so this won’t feature much in your decision making. Try to get the most compact one you can though if you need to save space.
A good foot grip will be made from non-slip plastic. It should be large enough to accommodate your entire foot (with a shoe on) and will have raised plastic grips for extra security.
Choosing a stepper machine – conclusion
A stepper is a useful and versatile addition to a home gym. It offers space-saving that a lot of machines just can’t watch and provides a versatile workout for many. It’s not the most intense training you’ll ever do, but it’s certainly a useful way to do some exercise from the comfort of your own home.