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Jacobs Ladder Vs. Stairmaster

jacobs ladder vs. stairmaster

You've probably seen a stair stepper at the gym.

These machines are very common and used in a wide range of exercise facilities.

One brand in the market of climbing equipment is picking up steam all across America with their revolutionary and unique Jacobs Ladder machine.

They give some of the most popular and widely used stair machines a run for their money.

People always ask us, "what's the difference between a Stairmaster and a Jacobs Ladder?".

Today we will compare Jacobs Ladder climbing machines to stair stepping machines and see which is best for you.

As a bonus, we'll also compare two rival stair machines and see which comes out on top.

Firstly, let us understand the difference between a Jacobs Ladder and a stair stepper machine.

Jacobs Ladder Vs. Stair Stepper

Jacobs Ladder vs. Stairmaster

A classic stair stepper machine is precisely what it sounds like. 

Imagine an infinite flight of stairs you must ascend for a cardio-based workout. 

It is primarily a lower-body workout focusing on cardiovascular exercise. 

A ladder-climbing machine, while similar, has a few key differences. Instead of ascending a vertical flight of stairs, a ladder-climbing machine lowers the angle to 45 degrees and requires upper and lower body engagement. 

Imagine a ladder at a 45-degree angle leaning on a wall that you must climb for an undefined period. 

Unique right?

Benefits of a Stairmaster Machine

1 - Cardiovascular Fat Burning Exercise 

The stair machine is known for its ability to burn calories and provide a fantastic cardio workout. 

With a range of speeds and intensity levels, this can be either a high-intensity interval training workout or a long steady-state cardio workout. 

2 - Simple and Self Explanatory 

The stair machine is great if you are looking for a simple way to burn calories and fat. No complex regimens, plans, intervals, or timers; start stepping and feel the burn. 

Many people want to get in and get out with their cardio workouts and do the minimal amount required to stay healthy, lean, and look good. 

A stair machine is a very unengaged workout, so you can go on your phone, scroll, read, or multi-task with anything else while you get your cardio in. 

3 - Low-Impact on Joints 

Stepping up stairs, compared to running, is relatively low impact and easy on your joints. 

It requires little pressure on your knees from jumping, landing, or striking the ground. 

4 - Lower Body Focus 

People love the stair machine because it focuses on the lower body. 

Tone up your glutes, hips, thighs, and calves with a stair workout. 

If done so intentionally, the upper body is not involved in this exercise, which some see as an advantage. 

Benefits of Jacobs Ladder Machine

There are a few noteworthy models of the jacobs ladder design available to the market. The jacobs ladder, jacobs ladder x, and jacobs ladder 2 all house the ladder climbing type exercise with different features to match different settings. 

We compare these three models in Jacobs Ladder vs Jacobs ladder 2 comparison to help chose which of them suits your needs best. 

Each of these three machines offer many of the same benefits as follows. 

1 - Full Body Calorie Shredding Workout 

Among many Jacobs Ladder exercise benefits, since these machines engage the whole body since the user is leaning over to climb the ladder; both the hands and feet will be in use.

This provides more of an evenly full body cardio workout and even more calorie usage from the Jacobs Ladder than many other machines.

2 - Highly Engaging and Fun Workout Style

The ladder-climbing experience is far more mentally and physically engaging mentally and physically. 

You must pay more attention to your movement to stay in control of your whole body, which is functionally helpful for hand-eye coordination and agility. 

3 - Very Low Impact On Joints

Because the Jacobs Ladder places the user at a 40-degree angle, the impact on your joints is minimal.

Even less than that of the stair machine. 

4 - Requires No Power Outlet

Jacobs Ladder machines, and the Stairway GTL, are powered by the user. 

There are no power outlets, cords, or batteries, just a mechanical machine and the force/weight of the user. 

This makes them more transportable and reduces clutter in your space. 

5 - Variable Speed/Intensity Controlled Hands-Free

The user will not have to press buttons, choose programs, fiddle with settings, or do anything to change the machine's intensity or speed. 

Thanks to the waste band attachment, to slow down or speed up, go slower or faster, and the machine will match your pace.

Jacobs Ladder Stairway GTL Vs. Stairmaster

Now that you know the difference between a stair stepper and a Jacobs Ladder Machine, let us compare apples to apples with Jacobs Ladder's

The Stairway GTL and Stairmaster. 

Jacobs Ladder Stairway GTL Stair Stepper Features

Jacobs Ladder Stairway GTL

Jacobs Ladder Stairway GTL

The Stairway GTL is a feature-packed stair-stepping machine with unique benefits that might make it perfect for you.

Completely Powerless

The Stairway GTL is powered entirely by the force of the user. 

This machine requires no power cords, outlets, or plugs, that get in the way and clutter your gym space. 

You can place the machine anywhere you want, free of power requirements. 

Low Ceiling Height 

The Stairway GTL is designed with many users and facilities in mind. 

The machine requires only an 8.5-foot ceiling to use comfortably. 

This is over a foot less than the industry average for similar machines. 

Low Initial Step Height 

The first step in getting onto the machine is an underrated feature. 

Most stair machines have a big jump to the first step, requiring the user to use handlebars or an extra footstep to mount the machine. 

The Stairway GTL has only a 10-inch first step height, followed by 8-inch steps while using the machine. 

This is very convenient compared to typical stair machine models, ranging from 18 to 24 inches in initial step height. 

160 Steps Per Minute Max Speed

The rate at which the steps on the machine come at you is significant. 

The GTL is present in this department too. 

It matches or beats most other stair machines on the market. 

160 steps per minute is a very fast pace for any user to climb stairs. 

This range makes the GTL very useful for user fitness levels. 

Digital Display Panel 

The convenient display panel shows many important things about the user and their workout. 

Track your heart rate, steps taken, intensity, and speed of the machine. 

Digital display panels are standard on most stair machines, and the Stairway GTL is up to par on this front. 

Over-all Quality and Build 

Jacobs Ladder's Stairway GTL is constructed with steel and polyvinyl stairs, powder-coated steel handle rails, and an abs plastic frame. 

This keeps the machine lean, at only 300 pounds, while maintaining a durable and long-lasting quality. 


The Stairway GTL from Jacobs Ladder comes in at $6995. 

Considering the value described above, this is more than a fair price. Want to get it even cheaper? Contact us!

Save Big On Jacobs Ladder

The Stairmaster 8 Series Gauntlet Features

Stairmaster 8 Series Gauntlet with LCD Console Demo Model-Certified

For the comparison, we will use one of Stairmaster's best-selling stair machines, The Series 8 Gauntlet, which is similar in price, and other features. 

Stairmaster High Standard for Quality

The Series 8 Gauntlet and all other Stairmaster machines are exceptionally high-quality, built to commercial standards, and rated for hours of daily use. 

User-Friendly, In-Depth Digital Display and Screens 

Stairmaster has some of the best digital display and visual screen options for their stair-stepping machines. 

They have advanced digital systems, workouts, heart rate monitors, workout programs, intensity levels, and more. 

To go with that, they even have options for large display screens, which would not be available on the GTL. 

162 Step Per Minute Max Speed

The max speed on the Series 8 Gauntlet is high. 

At 162 steps per minute, just over the Stairway GTL, this is sure to give even the best of the best level athletes a challenging cardio workout.

It is said that stair master machines are better than real stair climbing. 

10 Foot Ceiling Height and 18-Inch First Step

This stair machine, like most, requires a 10-foot ceiling height for comfortable use. 

Considering this would go inside a gym most of the time, that shouldn't be an issue. 

While high, the 18-inch initial stair height is supported with long rails and extra foot placement steps to get on the machine. 


This machine ranges in price from around $7,000-$10000, depending on the display options you choose, as well as extended warranties and program options. 

While this is expensive, the machine will last a lifetime, providing fantastic cardio exercise for many users. 

So Which Stair Stepping Machine is Best?

Jacobs Ladder Vs. Stairmaster

Above is a comparison sheet of the specifications for The Stairway GTL, Series 8 Gauntlet, and an additional stair machine.

As you can see, the Stairway GTL is unique and convenient because its key feature is self-powered and utterly free from power cords.
Stair steppers commonly require a 120 VAC power outlet input, which is standard but a bonus for the GTL.

In terms of ceiling height requirement, which may not be a decision-maker for most buyers, the stairway GTL is also ahead of this feature.
It only requires an 8.5-foot ceiling compared to the Gauntlet, which will need a 10-foot ceiling or higher.

The step height and depths are all similar on each machine, with the initial step-up height of Stairway GTL being 8 inches lower than the two competitors.
This may not seem like a big deal, but having a low step-up height is excellent in terms of safety and convenience.

So, while Stairmaster specializes in creating excellent stair stepper machines, the Jacobs Ladder Stairway GTL has clear advantages that must be addressed.
The extra convenient features of the Stairway GTL make it a better option for many people in commercial, light commercial, and even home settings.

Wrap Up 

Now that you know all the differences between Jacobs Ladder machines and stair machines, you can decide which is best for you.

If you choose to go with a Jacobs Ladder Machine, shop our collection here.
We also compared one the best stair steppers on the market (so they say) to Jacobs Ladder's stair machine, The Stairway GTL.

Jacob's Ladder Pricing

Recommended Next Reads:

Previous article Jacobs Ladder Stairway GTL Review | The Ultimate Stair Stepper
Next article Jacobs Ladder Machine Benefits

About The Author

Matt Gemkow, the author of this content section at Select Fitness USA, boasts more than 15 years of fitness experience. He started out in sports and athletic training for many years and has since 2014 transitioned into heavy-weight training and bodybuilding. As a result, he has become one of the most experienced fitness equipment experts out there, and a valuable source of information.