Exercise Bike vs. Stair Climber: Which Should You Choose?

Exercise Bike vs. Stair Climber: Which Should You Choose?

With so much exercise equipment on the market, it’s hard to decide which you should add to your home gym. Exercise bikes and stair climbers are highly effective for cardio workouts and offer the convenience of working out from home.

But which one is the best for you? The answer can depend on your fitness goals, personal preferences, and the space available in your home.

Exercise Bike Overview

Exercise bikes are stationary bicycles designed to simulate riding a traditional bicycle.

They come in different forms:

  1. Upright Bikes: Closest to traditional bicycles, you sit upright on a small, firm seat, with your feet on pedals directly beneath you.
  2. Recumbent Bikes: These bikes allow users to lean back and cycle with their legs extended in front of them. The seat is larger and provides more support for the lower back.
  3. Indoor Cycling Bikes: Also known as “spin bikes,” these mimic the experience of outdoor cycling. The user stays upright but positions the handlebars farther away to enable a more aggressive riding posture.


Modern exercise bikes have adjustable resistance, pre-set workout programs, heart rate monitors, and adjustable seating and handlebar positions.

Adjustable resistance allows users to change the intensity of their workout. Pre-set workout programs provide users with different exercise routines to follow.

Heart rate monitors help users track their heart rate during exercise. Adjustable seating and handlebar positions allow users to customize their bikes for a comfortable workout experience.

Stair Climber Overview

Stair climbers are machines that replicate climbing stairs.

There are two main types:

  1. Stepper Machines: These devices have two separate pedals that you alternate between to raise and lower, which creates a stair-stepping motion.
  2. StairMaster Machines: These utilize a revolving set of stairs that you climb continuously, providing a more natural stair-climbing motion.


Stair climbers typically have different settings to control speed, resistance, and workout intensity. Some also come with handlebars for added stability.

Benefits of Exercise Bikes and Stair Climbers

Benefits Exercise Bikes Stair Climbers
Workout Impact Low-impact workout that is gentle on joints, ideal for injury recovery. High-intensity, strength/weight workout
Cardiovascular Health Improves heart rate, and blood circulation, and reduces heart disease risk. Efficient at burning calories, it boosts cardiovascular health.
Muscle Engagement Targets quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes; increases endurance. Primarily targets the lower body, enhancing strength in the legs and glutes.
Convenience Indoor use, variable resistance levels, suitable for home gyms. Effective for quick, intense workouts; ideal for cardiovascular exercises.
Additional Benefits Versatile workout programs, compact design for homes. Enhances coordination and balance by engaging core and stabilizers.

Additional Features

Factor Exercise Bike Stair Climber
Muscle Group Targeting Primarily targets lower body: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Also works the upper body and core if using models with handlebars. Targets a wider range of muscles: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, hip flexors, and upper body/core with certain models.
Intensity Levels Offers various resistance levels, suitable for all fitness levels, from beginners to advanced. Provides adjustable resistance, generally offering a more intense cardio workout due to higher heart rates.
Equipment Footprint Typically smaller footprint, suitable for limited spaces. Upright bikes are the most compact. Larger footprint, especially full-sized machines. Mini-steppers are available for smaller spaces.
Cardiovascular Benefits Excellent for cardiovascular health, suitable for endurance and heart health. Also excellent for cardiovascular health, potentially more intense due to higher heart rates.
Muscle Toning Focuses on quads and calves; less comprehensive in muscle engagement compared to stair climbers. More comprehensive lower body workout, engaging glutes, hamstrings, quads, calves, and additional muscle groups.
Joint Impact Low-impact, better for individuals with joint issues or recovering from injury. Higher impact on knees and ankles, requiring attention to form to avoid strain.
Intensity Can range from moderate to high, and is suitable for interval training and lower-intensity workouts. Generally higher intensity, engaging more muscles and requiring greater effort.
Space and Budget Requires less space and is generally more affordable. Larger and typically more expensive than exercise bikes.

Choose What Works Best for Your Fitness Goals

Buying exercise equipment is an investment–make sure to take time to research and try the equipment that works best for you. Fitness Expo Stores lets you try exercise equipment at our showroom. We understand the importance of investing in high-quality fitness equipment.

Call our showrooms in these locations:

Metairie/New Orleans LA


Baton Rouge LA


Shreveport LA


Jackson MS