StairMaster SM3 Review | 2019
The StairMaster SM3 is the StepMill line’s first cardio machine for home gyms. While it is also rated for light-commercial use, its compact size makes it better suited for a place inside the house rather than the cardio room of a fitness center. Unlike the Gauntlet G8 or the StepMill 5, the StairMaster SM3 does not have an imposing size, nor does it require a high ceiling clearance for its users to exercise safely. Its smaller size might lead some to wonder if working out on it will have lesser benefits compared to working out on a full-sized, commercial-rated StepMills.
Quick Overview Of Product
StairMaster StepMills: A Quick Look
The first iteration of the StairMaster StepMill model was introduced more than 30 years ago in 1983 with the StairMaster 5000. The equipment underwent a few upgrades and redesigns until the brand released the highly successfully Gauntlet in 1988. The Gauntlet, along with other stair-climber and stepper machines from StairMaster, made it one of the most recognizable and trusted brands in fitness equipment. Since the 1990s, having StairMaster cardio machines has become a standard of quality in most fitness centers across North America.
The success of StairMaster StepMills is mainly due to its benefits, such as improvement in stamina, increased muscle strength, muscle toning, and weight loss. Unlike other cardio machines, users can achieve these results more efficiently with StepMill machines. Despite its popularity, however, StepMills were not deemed practical for home gyms because of their size. Unlike StairMaster’s line of steppers that are small enough for home gyms, the StepMills take up ample floor space, are heavy and need at least 10 feet of ceiling clearance.
The StairMaster SM3
Prior to 2012, the steppers were the only stair-climbing equipment from StairMaster that were available and were practical for home gyms. The brand, however, still sought to make the StepMill workout experience available even to those who prefer to workout at home. Finally, in 2012, the brand launched a scaled-down version of the StepMill, the StairMaster SM3.
Measuring only 46 inches long, 29 inches wide and 73 inches tall, the StairMaster SM3 indeed looks small right next to heftier StepMills. Also known as the StepMill 3, it is also rated for light-commercial use, which means that it can run for approximately 8 hours per day to accommodate several users. With its smaller dimensions, users can safely operate the StairMaster SM3 in areas with a ceiling clearance of at least 8 feet, which is the usual ceiling height in most homes.
The StairMaster SM3 is also easy to move around the home with built-in front transport wheels and weighing only 227 pounds, which is more than 100 pounds lighter than larger StepMills. It also does not need too much floor space, which means that you can fit it into any available space in your home, such as your bedroom or living area.
Although this StepMill is smaller, it comes with a host of features for a rewarding home workout experience. It has a primary blue backlit LCD console that displays important workout information such as Time Elapsed, Calories Burned, Resistance Level, Floors Climbed, Floors Per Minute, and Heart Rate. With the display feature alone, you can customize a quick workout program with each session with goals for Time, Calories, or Floors.
To make your workout challenging each time, the console comes with several workout programs such as Calorie Burner, Build, Bell Shaped, Heart Rate Zone Trainer, and Mystery Challenge. During your workout, you can keep track of your heart rate via the contact “hot bar” on the handrails or via Polar telemetry connection attachment that is included.
Modeled after the StepMill 5, the StairMaster SM3 runs on a slightly smaller motor. Like most StepMills, the SM3 motor runs quietly at speeds of 26 to 162 steps per minute. Since the console is linked directly to the drive chain, alternator, and brake, users can dial in the workout program and stair speed that is ideal for their level of fitness. For safety, the StairMaster SM3 has ergonomically designed handrails on either side of the user, while a sensor at the base of the bottom stairs automatically stops the machine when triggered.
Is the StairMaster SM3 Worth its Price Tag?
It is worth noting that since the StairMaster SM3 is smaller, it does have a lower stair rise at 6 inches compared to the 8 inches on its full-sized brothers. However, this hardly takes away anything from the overall workout experience on the SM3. Whatever the SM3 lacks in size, users can easily make up for with more time and effort spent on the machine.
The StairMaster SM3 costs on the upwards of $3,000, which is more than half the price of its commercial-rated brother, the Gauntlet G8. The StairMaster brand has been known for producing cardio equipment that lasts a lifetime, so it won’t be a stretch to assume that the SM3 comes with the same quality and build as well.
At its price point, the StairMaster SM3 is well-worth its price. Being able to take home the experience of working out on the StairMaster in the gym is one benefit that makes it even more worth its cost.