Incline Treadmill Vs StairMaster – Which Is Better?

Incline Treadmill Vs StairMaster

Are you in the process of building your own home gym? And maybe you are trying to figure out if you should get a treadmill with an incline built into it or if you should go with the stairmaster?

This is a question, that a lot of people have but there is not much out there to answer it, so today that is exactly what I am going to help you do.

You can use this guide to help you decide not only which machine to go with but also which machine is going to be best for you to use to hit your specific goals.

Incline Treadmill VS StairMaster: Quick Overview

Here is a quick overview of each machine to give you a better idea of what each is and does before we get into the nitty gritty.

Incline Treadmill

The incline treadmill features a broad range of features that will play a major role in your fitness, weight loss, and health goals. The incline treadmill was specifically designed to offer more powerful workouts at an incline between 1 and 15 percent or more.

The incline intensifies a workout similar to stairs.

Most quality treadmill models offer an automatic incline adjustment mode. This allows the machine to make frequent include adjustments to replicate a workout program.

Most brands utilize an LED, touchscreen display. Depending on the brand, the display size could be as small as five inches or as large as 10 inches.

The larger size will ensure better visibility, flexibility, and functionality. Directly from the display, you can make speed, incline, workout, and decline adjustments.

It will also display your health stats and workout progress in real-time.

More powerful incline treadmills offer speeds up to 12 miles per hour. Even the economical models will deliver speeds up to at least 8 miles per hour.

At incline, it would be best to stick with speeds between 1 and 10 miles per hour. Anything more would put too much strain on your body.

Main Benefits Of Treadmills

Treadmills have a broad range of benefits, including:

  • Flexible workouts
  • Diversity (running, jogging, and walking)
  • More safety (safer than exercising outdoors in big cities)
  • Minimizes impact on joints and muscles (shock absorbency)
  • Promotes mental health
  • Builds lean muscle mass
  • Burns calories
  • Boosts endurance

When you compare the price of the average incline treadmill to the StairMasterStepMilland Gauntlet, you see a significant variance. The most expensive treadmill will only cost half as much as the StairMaster step machine.

To ensure more portability and usability in homes, manufacturers are opting for more compact designs. These designs minimize the overall size of the treadmill and display folding running desks.

The average treadmill is compact and more suitable for home gyms than the StairMaster.

As far as capacity goes, the treadmill varies from one model to the next. Economical brands support up to about 200 pounds while luxury models support up to 300 pounds or more.

StairMaster step machines support around 350 pounds.

Main Benefits Of StairMasters

StairMaster has a broad selection of step machines, including:

  • Gauntlet
  • Stepmill
  • FreeClimber 8 Series

Each series is unique but all StairMaster step machines have similar functionality. The major differences between the three models are the display design, overall weight, integrated workout programs, step rate, step action, maximum user weight capacity, and product dimensions.

Another similarity worth mentioning is the onboard drive system. It appears all three models have a drive system with an alternator, drive chain, and brake that are all electronically controlled.

The Free Climber 8 Series is compatible with the Polar wireless heart rate sensor. It appears the device is to be purchased separately. This is an option that allows users to monitor their pulse during workouts.

The optional Polar heart rate sensor is not available for the Gauntlet or Stepmill models.

The Gauntlet is the tallest of all three models. At 89 inches, the Gauntlet may not be suitable for homes with ceilings 7 feet or lower. The FreeClimber 8 Series, followed by the Stepmill is the best option for homes with low ceilings.

The FreeClimber 8 is 68 inches in height while the Stepmill is slightly taller at 73 inches.

The Gauntlet and FreeClimber 8 have optional displays. Gauntlet customers can choose from two touchscreen displays, one has an embedded TV tuner while the other is an LCD with a backlight.

The StairMasterFreeClimber 8 Series also has two compatible displays, a 10-inch, and 15-inch, both of which are LCD touchscreens with optional PVS.

The downside to upgrading the FreeClimber 8 Series display is an additional power requirement. To operate the LCD touchscreen with PVS capability, you will need a 12-volt power supply.

If you are a fan of integrated workout programs, your best StairMaster option will be the Gauntlet, which features the Landmark Challenge Program.

The FreeClimber 8 Series is the next best option for pre-programmed workouts. The display features 10 unique pre-programmed exercise programs. There is a program that focuses on burning fat, speed, and speed.

Each step machine has a unique step action capability. The Gauntlet has an 8-step revolving staircase with a varying width between eight and 22 inches.

The step action for the Stepmill is a revolving staircase with six-inch steps. The FreeClimber 8 Series is the only StairMaster with a patented step action.

StairMaster’s patented step action has a 4-bar linkage system to ensure a high level of comfort and accuracy when pedaling.

Each StairMaster step machine supports a significant amount of user weight. The FreeClimber 8 and Gauntlet share the same weight capacity – 350 pounds. The Gauntlet is the heaviest of the three models, weighing in at 328 pounds.

The FreeClimber 8 Series weighs 271 pounds, a 57-pound difference from the Gauntlet. The Stepmill is even lighter at 227 pounds.

After a StepMaster comparison, we believe the Stepmill is the most suitable for at-home gyms. Its more compact design – lighter weight and smaller overall size – makes it easier to handle.

Incline Treadmills VS StairMaster – Which Is Better?

Commercial gyms offer more flexibility than in-home gyms. Taking advantage of the allotted space in your home gym while trying to achieve maximum workouts, the treadmill will be your best option.

Which Is Better For A Home Gym?

With so many sizes, designs, brands, and models to choose from, your options are unlimited. Unlike the StairMaster, treadmills offer diverse workouts – jogging, running, and walking.

The StairMaster, on the other hand, offers only climbing action with varying step sizes.

All the StairMaster step machines are heavy, weighing between 227 and 350 pounds. There is nothing compact about these machines. The Stepmill is the more compact of the three models – 73” H X 29” W X 46” L.

Economic treadmills average around 49” L X 24” W X 42” H. The average size for the larger treadmill is 81” L X 39” W X 62” H. All the models between are of varying sizes to ensure the perfect fit for any home gym.

Which Is The Better Workout For Fat Loss – Which Burns More Calories?

A half-hour workout on the StairMaster can burn anywhere from 180 to 260 calories — depending on your body weight and intensity of the workout. heavier person will burn.

Running on the treadmill for 30 minutes at an easy pace of 5 mph, a 125-pound person will burn 240 calories while a 185-pound person will burn about 355 calories. 

Which Is Better For Building Muscle

The StairMaster isolates the lower body while running involves full-body labor.

Long-running sessions are notoriously famous for consuming precious muscle mass. That’s the reason most bodybuilders prefer stair master as cardio because it won’t burn down their precious muscle mass.


Your decision should be based on several factors. These factors include price, warranty, size, design, weight, capacity, functionality, and capability. For smaller homes and the older age group, the treadmill will always be the better option. It is more diverse, with varying speeds, incline levels, pre-programmed workouts, and prices.

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