The 3 Best StairMaster StepMills 2019 Edition
Unlike vibrating belt machines or those springy chest expanders that are gathering rust in your basement, StairMaster StepMill machines are by no means fading into obscurity. In fact, data from a company that tracks gym equipment use shows that StairMaster StepMills are used more times than other cardio equipment next only to the treadmill in about 1,000 gyms surveyed across North America. The data suggests that more gym members are favoring the StepMill machines more as they spend considerably more minutes on it compared to other two-pedal cardio equipment.
Surprising as it may seem, this particular survey also reveals that StairMaster StepMill machines have pulled abreast, if not ahead, of treadmills in terms of popularity of gym cardio equipment. This may lead some to wonder why more rows StairMaster StepMills are suddenly appearing in their gym. Of course, the questions running through their minds will be answered after one or more workouts on the machine. Before this article discusses the reasons why more people are starting to favor this cardio equipment, we’ll check out the top three StairMaster StepMill machines and take a closer look at their features.
1. StairMaster StepMill Gauntlet 8G
The StairMaster StepMill Gauntlet model first made its debut a little over three decades ago. It was the exercise equipment brand’s crown jewel back then and the Gauntlet remained as one of its best cardio machines to come out of the StairMaster brand. That was of course, until this latest iteration, the StairMaster StepMill Gauntlet 8G.
While sticking to its core features that made it as one of the best, if not the best StepMill models of all time, the Stairmaster Gauntlet 8G now boasts of essential upgrades to integrate the latest technologies available. Along with these technologies, the 8G has also been improved to adapt to the most-up-to-date knowledge of fitness and training requirements.
One of its most notable upgrades to the Gauntlet in its 8G version is the integration of OpenHub monitors, which takes the StairMaster StepMill workouts to higher level. Available in different sizes, these capacitive touch screen consoles paved the way for a number of very useful functionalities. Users can easily interface their devices with the console via Bluetooth or HDMI connectivity, which will allow them to watch their own workout videos or run their own fitness tracker programs.
Apart from easy connectivity to mobile devices, other features of OpenHub include a TV tuner, access to the RunTV curated “exertainment”, and internet connectivity to access your social networking accounts, news, entertainment and workout motivation videos. The console also comes prewired for ECOFIT gym asset management to help gym owners and trainers to track the progress of their members and equipment usage among other things.
The StepMaster StepMill 8G’s workout programs has undergone several changes, as well, which includes a Spartan and Landmark workout programs for standard LCD consoles and a personal fan, which can be a lifesaver during warmer days. StepMill 8G also has a hot bar with an emergency button that tracks the user’s heart rate and level control adjustment. Having been around for 30 years, the Gauntlet’s motor has also evolved with an electronically controlled alternator, brake and drive chain, which not only give users better control, but likewise makes for a safer workout session.
Since these are premium features in the new StairMaster StepMill 8G model, it should be expected that stair-climbing machine also come at a premium price, as well. At more or less $7,500 per unit, however, it is still comparatively more affordable compared to other premium cardio machines. It will likewise be a wise investment for gym owners as its continuing rise in popularity will attract even more members and thereby help the gym pull ahead of its competition.
2. StairMaster StepMill 5 (SM5)
Admittedly, the tag price on the Gauntlet is beyond the budget of those who are looking for a personal stair-climbing machine. Luckily, there are other StepMill models such as the SM5, which takes a huge step towards affordability from the 8G model. StepMill 5, while sharing similar physical and performance features with the 8G, has a price tag that hovers around $3,000 to 3,700 depending on existing reseller promos and discounts.
The SM5 first hit the gyms back in 2011 where it has since earned good reviews consistently. Measuring 58 inches in length, 34 inches wide and 89 inches tall, it has the same dimensions as the StepMill 8G. This makes the SM5 a more affordable alternative to the 8G for gym owners who are looking to add premium stair-climbing machines to their cardio area. Like the 8G, the StairMaster StepMill 5 requires a 10 foot ceiling clearance to ensure the safety of its users. The SM5 is also built sturdily with a weight capacity of 350 pounds.
Although the SM5 is older, it also shares the same electronically controlled drive, alternator and brake as its premium counterpart. This also gives it a smooth stair-climbing action with a step rate that can run a step rate of 24 to 162 steps per minute. Like the 8G, the electronic controls gives the user better control of the speed and intensity of the training, while making the workout session safer at the same time.
What the SM5 does not have is the multi-media console that the 8G has. In its place, the SM5 has a dual-display, easy-to-read LCD display monitor. The readouts on the console include workout levels, calories burned, workout time, floor climbed, heart rate and workout programs. There are 10 pre-programmed workouts in SM5 and several fitness tests, as well. All StairMaster SM5 units come with an LCD TV accessory, which opens up a host of connectivity possibilities for the user.
StairMaster StepMill 5 (SM5)
Newest Technology Features
3. StairMaster StepMill 3 (SM3)
The StairMaster StepMill 3 came a year after the SM5 in 2012. It basically shares the same features as the SM5, save for the size. The StepMill 3 measures 46 inches long, 29 inches wide and 73 inches tall, essentially making it a more compact version of the SM5. Being smaller than the SM5 and the G8 makes the StairMaster StepMill 3 better suited for home gyms with a ceiling clearance requirement of only 8 feet. Not only does it take less space than its bigger cousins, the SM5 also weighs more than a hundred pounds lighter at 227 pounds. It has front transport wheels that allow you to move the unit with ease. Although it is lighter, it can still accommodate hefty users weighing up to 320 pounds.
Like the SM5 the SM4 has an easy-to-read blue LCD monitor that tells you the time you have spent working out, calories burned, heart rate, workout level, floors per minute, floors climbed and the user’s workout profile. The StepMill 5 also has the 10 pre-program workouts that include Quick Start, Calorie Burner, Heart Rate Zone Trainer, Manual and Mystery Challenge. The LCD monitor can be interfaced with Polar telemetry sensors. The handlebars on the Stairmaster SM3 also has the standard heart and pulse rate monitor. The price tag on the StairMaster StepMill 3 is $3,000.
Cardio Training, Weight Loss and Muscle Building
Ranking these three StairMaster StepMill models according to their abilities to help you lose weight, tone muscles and improve cardio performance will not make sense since all three work similarly. If anything, the many features of the StepMill G8 model can go a long way in motivating users to put in more work and go at it with more intensity.
As far as cardio workouts are concerned, professional athletes who want to improve their stamina and supplement their specialized cardio exercises have long been using StepMill machines. The shedding of excess weight is the usual result of a good quality cardio workout. Since you need to maintain your balance all throughout your StepMill workout session, this climbing-machine does wonders for your core and lower body muscle groups. With all these things considered, it won’t be a stretch to say that StairMaster StepMill machines work well in improving your stamina, helping you lose weight and in toning your muscles. The results will only vary, therefore, according to the workout plan, innate physical abilities, and consistency of the user.
Best for Gyms
Hands down, the StairMaster StepMill G8 takes your gym to new heights. Its connectivity should attract more members who have become so attuned with their devices and apps. Being able to interface with the stair-climber machine gives them a semblance of control over their workouts and a feeling of autonomy. For gym owners and trainers, tracking the workouts of their clients become much easier and the information will allow them to customize a better workout plan for their members for best results. Acquiring several G8s may get pricey. However, the buzz that the attraction that the StepMills will generate will make the investment well worth it in no time.
Best for Light Commercial and Home Use
The StairMaster StepMill models 5 and 3 are ideal for light commercial use in smaller gyms, as well as for home gyms. They come at a considerably more affordable price than the G8, without sacrificing the most important features that are enough to give you a thorough and satisfying workout. Smaller gym owners can also modify the SM5 with smart TVs to give it almost the same features as the G8. The SM3, on the other hand, is the obvious choice for home gyms as it is lighter, smaller and easier to move around.
Why the StairMaster StepMill
More and more people are starting to enjoy StairMaster StepMill machines even more as it gives them a better cardio workoutwhile working more muscles compared to the traditional treadmill. Some studies also show that shorter workouts on the StepMill can replicate the results of working out longer on a treadmill. Apart from the benefits already mentioned above, working out on a StepMill also improves the strength of your quad, hamstring and calf muscles. It likewise tones your thighs and glutes. Beyond muscles and stamina, exercising on a StairMaster StepMill has also been shown to help in easing chronic knee pain and in strengthening the bones.
Whether you are thinking of purchasing a StairMaster StepMill machine either for commercial or home use, it will be a good idea to buy only from approved and reputable dealers. Negotiate for a better warranty deal to ensure that you get to reap the benefits of this stair-climbing machine for a long time. It will also be best to look at our Nautilus Stairmaster comparison and review to look at different kinds of brands before making your final decision.