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A tried and true classic in the world of fitness equipment

A stair climber, sometimes called "stair stepper" or "stairmaster," is an appropriately named exercise machine that simulates the motions used when climbing stairs. The main focus of these machines is for users to receive a cardiovascular workout as well as tone and strengthen their lower body. Most stair steppers have different levels of speed and resistance, enabling users of every fitness level to receive quality workouts.

While stair climbers have been on the market for years and continue to improve, recently fitness enthusiasts are migrating towards treadmills and elliptical trainers. This is most likely due to the limited abilities of most stair steppers as well as their tendency to focus only on limited sections of the lower body, such as quads. As a result consumers find cheaper and more innovative models with features ranging from gimmicky to extremely useful. These include hybrid trainers, convenient storing capabilities and even built-in audio systems.

Among the various stair climbers available today, you will find that they range in price from very cheap -- $150 or less -- to extremely expensive, upwards of $4,000. With a small selection from which to choose, most people are attracted to the cheaper "mini-steppers." These are designed specifically for home use and casual exercise. They will not be as effective as the high-end machines, but they are smaller and, therefore, much easier to store. Since they cost so little, it comes as no surprise that many customers complain about the durability and performance of these models.

Even with the new innovative features, stair climbers are decreasing in popularity, making expert reviews tough to find. Many manufacturers are discontinuing their stair climber product lines. It is possible to find some useful consumer reviews on sites like Amazon.com, Sears.com and Buzzillions.com.

If you are unsure of which mini-stepper or commercial-quality trainer to buy, ConsumerSearch can help. We use expert and consumer reviews to determine our recommendations based on the machine's performance, features, durability, how easy it is to use and the brand's quality of customer service.

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