Best Mini Stepper – Step Up Your Fitness Routine

Steppers

Best mini stepper

Image: Richard Coshott

Finding the right form of exercise can be a challenge in itself.

Joining a gym isn’t for everyone, whether it’s because it’s too expensive or too intimidating. As for exercising outdoors (running or hiking, for example), the weather can mess up your plans. So, what are the options? One solution is to use a stepper machine in the comfort of your own home.

A mini stepper is like a simplified version of the stair master that you’ve undoubtedly seen in gyms.

Although they don’t provide as intense of a workout, the best mini stepper will provide solid cardio training. Ideally, a mini stepper should supplement your overall exercise regime, but if you’re new to working out, it’s a great way to begin strengthening your muscles.

The bonus is you can use it according to your own schedule and it’s small enough to stash out of sight when you’ve finished with it. You can even use it in front of the television!

Of course, there are variations on the basic design. Some mini steppers have handles for balance or removable resistance bands for support and an upper body workout.

How do mini steppers work?

Like the larger stair climber, a mini stepper has two hydraulic pedals for your feet that move up and down. The best models have an adjustable tension so you can control the level of difficulty. Your heart rate increases as you pedal and your lungs work harder.

In this way, you’re improving your cardiovascular health and increasing your strength and stamina. The best mini stepper exercise machine will have a computer console that displays your stats (for example, the number of steps and the number of calories burned).

Pros of a mini stepper

Burns calories

As with most basic cardio exercises, using a mini stepper will successfully burn calories (although not as many as a full-sized stair master). Some folks have the clever idea of using a mini stepper at work—under their desk while they’re seated—and they’ve reported burning up to 100 calories in 60 minutes.

Tones and strengthens muscles

The targeted muscle groups are the lower body (legs and hips) and core (abs). The range of motion is small, so you won’t work deep into the muscles; however, repetitive stepping will eventually tone these areas.

Increases stamina

If you use the mini stepper on a regular basis, before long you’ll be able to endure longer and more arduous workouts. You’ll probably notice that you’ll have an easier time going up and down stairs and you may be able to handle more intense physical activities than ever before.

Versatile workout

If you aren’t keen on joining a gym, the mini stepper might be the way to go. You can work out at home or even bring your stepper to work and use it in your office. If you want a full-body workout, look for mini steppers that can accommodate resistance bands.

Affordable and portable

Mini steppers won’t break the bank; the best mini steppers tend to run around $100. We love that they are lightweight (around 20 lbs.) and many models can fold up for storage or travel.​

Cons of a mini steppper

The balance issue is two-fold. First, some steppers have slippery undersides so they may skid across the floor when you step on them. Secondly, some are designed without handles of any kind or even removable resistance bands. Certainly, it can be hard to remain upright on these models (although they work well underneath a desk).

Lower body only

Unless you use resistance bands or have a model with moving handles, the mini stepper exercises mainly the lower body. Some people remedy this by using free weights.

Restricted range

The smaller size makes for a limited amount of movement.

Noisy

A common complaint with mini steppers is that they tend to squeak when in use.

What to look for in a mini stepper​

  • Safety: Make sure the stepper remains firmly on the ground and doesn’t slip or tip over.
  • Durability: Check that all parts are secure and in place and ask about a warranty plan.
  • Resistance: If you know you’ll want to challenge yourself, make sure there are several resistance levels to choose from.
  • Capacity: Check out the weight capacity, especially if you have a larger frame.
  • Versatility: If you’d like the option a full-body workout, check if you can attach resistance bands. If not, you may want a design that has movable handles.

Before we share all the details, here's a quick overview of the best models at the moment.

Quick comparison: Best mini stepper​

Mini stepper

Features we love

Rating

Buy it now

Stamina InStride Pro
Electronic Stepper

Best mini stepper

- Super compact, perfect
for work or home
- Includes rubber resistance
tubes for upper body workout
- Monitor displays important stats
- Has skid resistant floor protectors

Sunny Health & Fitness
Twister Stepper

Best mini stepper

- Unique twisting motion
provides for a better workout
- Resistance is adjustable
- Compact and portable
- Heavy-duty construction

jfit Under Desk &
Stand Up Mini Elliptical/Stepper

Best mini stepper

- Allows you to pedal
from 2 angles
- Very quiet
- Tension is adjustable
- Converts easily from stand
up to sit down mode

Gold’s Gym Mini Stepper

Best mini stepper

- Compact, east to store
- Perfect for traveling with
- Works calves, hips and butt
- Easily track your
workout on screen

Xiser Commercial
Mini Stairmaster

- Smoothest pedaling of
all models reviewed here
- Extremely quiet
- Very light and easy
to take with you
- Excellent warranty

Keep reading for the lowdown on the best mini steppers.

Stamina InStride Pro Electronic Stepper

With the Stamina InStride you can choose to incorporate an upper body workout (upper back, chest, arms) by using rubber resistance bands or skip the bands to focus on toning the lower body (glutes, thighs, calves). You can keep track of your workouts (time, number of steps, calories burned) on the battery-run monitor.

Best mini stepper

Although this mini stepper is made from durable steel, it’s lightweight so you can move it from room to room or take it to your office.

The rubber padding keeps the stepper in place and the wide pedals help you to keep your balance.​

Technical specs​

  • Item dimensions: 16.25” x 12.25” x 12.25”
  • Item weight: 20 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs.
  • Other: 1 year warranty on frame, 90 days on parts

Pros

  • Portable
  • Sturdy
  • Versatile​

Cons

  • Squeaky​

Our favorite feature

Since this stepper is so lightweight and small, we were able to toss it into a gym bag and bring it to the office. It was a perfect way to break up a long workday and to jumpstart an afternoon of lengthy meetings!​


Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper

What sets the Sunny Health & Fitness model apart is its unique side-to-side movement that works the lower body muscles in a challenging yet safe way. With adjustable tension, you can work deeper into your muscles but remain in control.

Best mini stepper

The Twister Stepper is sturdy, thanks to no-skid footplates and a solid steel construction. An LCD monitor tracks your workout (time, calories burned, number of steps). When you’ve finished your routine, it’s easy to just fold up and stash away until next time!​

Technical specs

  • Item dimensions: 18.5” x 16” x 8”
  • Item weight: 20 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs.
  • Other: 90 day warranty

Pros

  • Foldable​
  • Easy to assemble
  • Sturdy and well balanced

Cons

  • Limited step range​
  • Squeaky

Our favorite feature

Although it took us a few tries to get the hang of the twisting motion, once we did, we were hooked. We loved how our whole body felt strengthened and toned after a 30-minute workout.


jfit Under Desk & Stand Up Mini Elliptical/Stepper

The j/fit stepper was created with an office setting in mind. This is a great pick if you spend hours at a desk and worry about getting enough exercise. This mini stepper fits under a desk and doesn’t skid or tip over. You can pedal it from two different angles, and you can use it sitting or standing.

There are solid rear wheels and a front handle so you can easily change positions. A monitor keeps track of your stats (time, steps, calories). You can easily change the level of difficulty by adjusting the level of tension.​

Best mini stepper

Technical specs

  • Item dimensions: 27” x 15” x 11”
  • Item weight: 26.5 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs.
  • Other: 1 year warranty on frame, 90 days on parts

Pros

  • Pedal from 2 angles​
  • Sturdy
  • Adjustable tension

Cons

  • Bulkier and heavier than other models​
  • Limited step range

Our favorite feature

We found this to be one of the quietest of all the steppers. This was especially important to us when we brought the stepper to a large meeting; no one knew it was under the desk!​


Gold’s Gym Mini Stepper

For those who live in small spaces or for folks who travel, Gold’s Gym mini stepper is a solid choice.

Although it’s just 13 lbs., this stepper has a maximum weight capacity of 250 lbs. It provides a low-impact workout that elevates your heart rate and tones your legs, buttocks and core, while protecting your hips and knees.

Despite the compact size, the pedals are large and comfortable and the unit stays firmly on the ground during use. Like many other models, there is a display that shows the basic stats of your routine.​

Best mini stepper

Technical specs

  • Item dimensions: 16” x 13” x 7”
  • Item weight: 13 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 250 lbs.

Pros

  • Compact and light​
  • Comfortable pedals
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Squeaky​
  • Limited step range

Our favorite feature

We found this to be the best mini stepper for travel because it’s extremely lightweight and easy to carry. It was comforting to know that no matter where we were, we had a mini stepper on hand.​


Xiser Commercial Mini Stairmaster

If you’re looking for a top of-the-line stepper, the Xiser is for you. The only negative we found is the hefty price tag.

Best mini stepper

Cast from an aluminum mold, the Xiser stepper is extremely durable and long lasting. Since there are no welded parts, there aren’t any weak spots in the frame, and it can withstand up to 400 lbs.

It has a longer length for even more stability and a smooth pedaling motion that makes almost no sound.

There are three resistance levels to choose from: walk, high-speed, and run.

This portable stepper weighs in at just 14 lbs. so it’s a breeze to take with you or move around your home.

Here’s a video showing how to set up your Xiser stepper:​

Technical specs

  • Item dimensions: 21” x 13” x 14”
  • Item weight: 14 lbs.
  • Weight capacity: 400 lbs.
  • Other: 5 year consumer warranty, 1 year institutional

Pros

  • Super lightweight​
  • Great warranty
  • Long-lasting
  • Smooth pedaling
  • Easy to assemble
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Expensive​

Our favorite feature

We loved just about everything to do with the Xiser mini stepper. But what really impressed us is that it can withstand up to 400 lbs. This is great news for folks with larger builds who have had trouble finding appropriate gym equipment.​


Life is full of complications and surprises. Don’t let your workout be any more difficult than it needs to be.

The mini stepper is a straightforward, unfussy way to improve your cardiovascular health.

Although it may take a few tries before your routine feels comfortable, with a stepper you don’t have to factor in extra gadgets or add-ons. With regular use, a mini stepper can increase your muscle tone, your strength and endurance.

And since it’s portable, you can exercise at home or in your office.

Studies have shown that elevating your heart rate for one hour every day can improve your overall health and quality of life.

If you’re worried about meeting that requirement (even if you live in a small space or travel or have a limited budget), the best mini stepper reviews like this one will help to find the model for you.​