Before you pull the trigger on purchasing a stair climber, here are a few key factors to consider:
Intended use: Dr. Pastuch recommends first asking yourself, “am I actually going to use this, consistently?” Having a plan for how (and when) you’ll use the machine not only helps to make the most out of your investment, but also guides you to determining which features are most important based on your needs.
Your goals: “Know how the equipment is going to fit into your program and goals before you buy it,” says Dr. Pastuch. Clarify your fitness objectives with yourself before committing to a machine. Need a climber for intense sprinting intervals, for example? Steady-state sessions? Knowing your goals will guide you to the machine that best aligns with your fitness journey.
Technology: Are you a fan of interactive programming, or do you prefer doing your own thing? Some machines offer fantastic interactive features (i.e., STEPR+), like classes and workouts, while others cater to those who like to chart their own course (VersaClimber). ‘Smarter’ machines will often run up the price, so take care not to pay for a feature you aren’t going to use.
Space considerations: Measure your available space carefully before purchasing. You wouldn’t want a machine to show up just to realize it overwhelms your home (or worse, doesn’t fit). Height is an added challenge you don’t want to forget about when it comes to stairclimbers, because they have verticality that perhaps only matched by the ski erg.
If you’re tight on floor space but have ceiling height to spare, consider taller vertical options like the VersaClimber or CLMBR, which have a significantly smaller footprint than a more traditional climbers. For spaces that are more limited vertically than on floorspace, the Jacob’s Ladder or BowFlex Max Trainer are reasonable choices.
Price: Prices of stair climbers can vary significantly, ranging from $1,200 to well over $10,000. It’s essential to set a budget first, or explore financing options if needed. Make sure you’re comfortable with the investment you’re making.