The 4 Best Nautilus Stairmaster 2019 Review
It will seem a bit off for most to have a Nautilus StairMaster gym machines review in one article, because for them, these are two brands of completely different workout equipment. Nautilus is a popular for strength and conditioning equipment, particularly on a range of resistance workout machines that uses only cam and cable. Stairmaster, on the other hand, is popular for a line of cardio equipment that replicates the motion of climbing stairs. If you want to see our list of best StairMaster machines, we made a whole article showing you why they are our favorites and why we recommend them on our website.
While Nautilus has indeed revolutionized the modern (and perhaps the pricier) fitness centers with its weightless resistance machines, it has also introduced its own line of cardio equipment recently. This line includes treadmills, ellipticals, and both upright and recumbent stationary bikes. StairMaster has become the most preferred cardio machine in North America next only to the treadmill (more on this later). This discussion will look at how the Nautilus line of ellipticals compare to the StairMaster, since the ellipticals and stair-climbing machines have a similar standing two-pedal concept.
This Nautilus Stairmaster cardio machine showdown examines two products from each brand, highlighting their features, their benefits and price.
Quick Overview Of Products
Nautilus StairMaster workout equipment brands are easily the most recognizable globally. At one point, the presence and number of such equipment influenced the standard among fitness centers. Nautilus has been around since the 1970s, and for the next few decades, their strength machines were a must-have for weight rooms in gyms across the United States. Things suddenly changed for the Nautilus brand in the last decade when fitness centers started to shift back to more traditional plated weight machines.
The Nautilus brand is not nearly as popular for its cardio equipment as it is with cam and cable resistance machines. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to assume that the brand’s shift to cardio equipment is primarily due to cam and cable machines falling out of favor with fitness enthusiasts. However, it will be important to note in this Nautilus StairMaster comparison review that Nautilus also owns Schwinn, which is a brand that produces a decent line of cardio equipment for light-commercial and home gym use.
Below are two most notable Nautilus ellipticals.
1. Nautilus E628
The Nautilus E628 is the most modern elliptical machine from the brand that is rated for both light-commercial and home gym use. It comes with a console that allows users to track their workout progress. The console comes with 29 pre-installed workout programs, including interval training, weight loss, challenge, and heart rate training. It has Bluetooth connectivity that allows users to interface their mobile devices with the machine for their workout-tracking apps such as RunSocial, MyFitness Pal, and the brand’s own Nautilus Trainer and Connect.
While working out, users can track their heart rate via contact monitor on the handlebars or via telemetry monitoring. For its price point that is on the upwards of $2,000, it has a solid build with a fixed 22-inch stride that runs on a motor with 25 levels of resistance. Among its other features are water bottle holders, a built-in fan, a suspension adjustment for better cushioning with each stride, USB charging for your devices, mobile device holder and track wheels.
2. Nautilus E626
Upon quick glance, there seems to be very little difference between the Nautilus E626 with the earlier entry, the E628. However, priced about $600 less than the E628, there has to be some significant difference between the two. The most obvious difference is the maximum user weight of 350 pounds for the Nautilus E628 compared to just 300 for the E626. This must mean that the build and motor of the earlier entry are more robust than the Nautilus E626 elliptical machine. The maximum incline on the E626 is also four degrees less than the E628 at 11 degrees.
Apart from these differences, however, there’s nothing much that sets the E626 apart from its more robust brother. It also comes with the same blue backlit LCD display with 29 workout programs that include Quick Start, several fitness tests, challenges, and heart rate trainer. It also has the same 22-inch stride with custom cushioning adjustment. The E626 is outfitted with the essential features that include a 3-speed built-in cooling fan, USB port charger, and transport wheels.
StairMaster burst into the fitness scene several years later after the Nautilus brand. This brand’s advantage in this Nautilus StairMaster cardio head-to-head is that it started with cardio workout equipment and continued with its tradition right down to this day. While it became a fixture in fitness centers, it never became as popular as other cardio equipment such as ellipticals, stationary bikes, and the perennial king of cardio machines, the treadmill.
This is of course until a survey in 2016 by Ecofit revealed that the StairMaster had become the most preferred cardio machine next only to the treadmill in fitness centers across North America. Ecofit is an asset management company that collates data on workout equipment used in fitness centers. While the data in the survey did not reveal the reason behind this major shift in preference among gym members, it has become clear that the StairMaster is no longer that “other” gym cardio machine.
So how does the Nautilus line of ellipticals stack up against the top StairMaster machines?
The following are two of the most notable StairMaster machines.
1. StairMaster Gauntlet G8
The Gauntlet is easily one of the StairMaster brand’s best known cardio machines in its StepMill models. It first hit the gyms way back in 1988 where it became a fixture alongside treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes. The Gauntlet G8 is its latest iteration, integrating the latest technological innovations into its basic structural concept.
The StairMaster Gauntlet G8 was redesigned to have a more ergonomic design for a better and safer workout experience. Its most noticeable upgrade is the optional OpenHub LCD capacitive consoles that allow users to interface their mobile devices with the machine to run their fitness tracker apps or watch their own videos. Independent of the user’s devices, the consoles can also run its own tracker apps, play videos, and connect to web-based entertainment and motivational fitness videos.
The profile of the machine itself was redesigned to look more ergonomic with smooth oval handrails for better grip. Right in the heart of the machine runs the three-active steps that are run by an electronically controlled drive chain, alternator, and brake that makes for a smoother and quiet operation. This also provides making the session safer for users by giving them better control of the equipment. This unit has a hefty price tag that starts at $7,000 brand new.
2. StepMill 5 (SM5)
If the price of the Gauntlet G8 is too steep for you, the StepMill 5 (SM5) cuts it by half, while still maintaining some of the essential features of the G8. It has the same dimensions as the G8, but with a more basic LCD console. Users can still connect their devices with the console on the SM5 for their fitness tracking apps. Like the G8, the engine that runs the SM5 is electronically-controlled for better and safer user control. The basic console on the SM5 comes with ten workout programs and an accessory for an LCD TV connection.
Stair Master Vs. Nautilus: The Benefits
For weight management, the Nautilus ellipticals may hold a bit of an advantage over the StairMaster stair-climbing machines. Some studies indicate that elliptical machines can potentially make an average person burn between 100 to 200 more calories than the StairMaster. This data, however, can be a bit subjective as the number of calories burned ultimately boils down to the effort and time put in during the workout session or training program. The user’s meal and eating plan is also a significant variable in this when discussing weight management.
Many gym members regard ellipticals as an “easy” cardio workout, despite it having varying levels of resistance and difficulty. The treadmill has always been the go-to cardio machine for those who are looking to improve their stamina. Several professional athletes, however, prefer the StairMaster as an alternative cardio training machine. Since StairMaster StepMills only replicate the ascending motion on a flight of stairs, there are fewer chances for injury. Studies show that knee injuries often occur on the downward motion in most cardio exercises such as running on pavement or running on stairs.
Strength Training and Muscle Toning
Stair-climbing machines have an edge in this Nautilus Stairmaster review category. StairMaster StepMill workouts hit lower muscle groups including the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and the glutes. Since working out on a StairMaster StepMill requires the user to keep his balance all the time, the core muscles are also being trained all-throughout the workout session. As mentioned earlier, the ascending motion reduces the chances of injuries. This makes the StairMaster a favorite among physical therapists for strengthening the lower body muscles, for rehabbing injuries and for pain management.
The winner in this Nautilus StairMaster cardio workout equipment showdown is dependent on several factors. If budget is not an issue and you are results-oriented, the StairMaster machines are a clear-cut winner. Fitness centers can also benefit in the resurgence of stair-climbing machines, and an imposing row of these fitness machines can help bring in more members.
If you are working on a budget, however, you are better off with a Nautilus elliptical machine. The brand itself may help attract more gym members. It should be noted, however, that there are more popular and more affordable brands of elliptical machines for both light-commercial and home use.