If you know anyone who climbs rock faces, you know that there’s a specific body type associated — lean, muscled, taut.
Maybe you want that type of body, but don’t necessarily want to expose yourself to the dangers associated with climbing in the great outdoors.
The good news? There’s a machine you can use in the comfort (and safety) of your own home that offers all of the reward and none of the risk.
Let’s talk about the best vertical climbers.
Why Buy a Vertical Climber?
Unlike most fitness equipment, a climbing machine works all of the body’s major muscle groups. Instead of purchasing weight machines—some for your upper body, others for your lower—as well as cardio machines and ab machines, you can purchase just this one piece of equipment.
For something that accomplishes pretty much everything at once, the vertical climber retails for a reasonable price. The mountain climber machine can cost as little as $100, though the commercial machines can sell for upwards of $3,000. The cost of your vertical climber depends on a range of factors we’ll cover shortly.
This product is among the simplest of fitness machines to assemble and store in your home.
Things to Consider When Buying a Vertical Climber
The structure of the climbing machine is long and lean—similar to the body type it produces. This kind of build doesn’t support every weight. Most machines have a weight limit around 250 pounds. The maximum capacity we’ve seen is 350 pounds.
The climbing machine is foldable and easy to store. It’s much less cumbersome than an elliptical machine, for example, and can be moved around with little effort. Like most fitness machines, this one does best indoors. Exposure to the outdoors will result in a higher level of required maintenance.
The climbing machine is ergonomic, designed for maximum productivity as well as optimal comfort. Some come with features that enhance your experience. If you want to spend a little more, you can get a machine with padded grips that can help prevent blisters. Some machines also have foot pads for added traction to reduce the possibility of slipping.
Many mountain climber machines have easy-to-read LCD displays that keep you updated about how “far” you’ve climbed, how many calories you’ve burned, and how much time you’ve spent working out. Tracking your workout metrics helps you achieve the fitness goals you set for yourself. Some vertical climbers also come with companion apps to help keep you accountable.
Many users report they’re able to set up their vertical climber without using the manual.
As this is a machine that works your entire body, you want it to be perfectly suited to fit your proportions. Make sure your machine adjusts in all the ways that make it comfortable for you.
Another thing you may want to adjust is resistance. Not all models have adjustable resistance. If you want to push through fitness plateaus, you may want to consider a machine that allows you to crank up the intensity of your workout.
The stability of a vertical climber is important because there are so many parts moving simultaneously. You don’t want your machine to rock or tip while you’re exercising. If you’re feeling off-balance, your workout isn’t going to be efficient.
Look for a climber with a stable metal frame, solid bolts, and pulleys made of robust materials. A well-built machine will dramatically reduce your chances of injury.
The quality of a machine’s build will affect the quality of your workout. Construction will dictate whether the experience is smooth or whether the machine sticks or jerks. If you’re willing to spend a little more, your machine is likely to last longer.
Some models provide platforms or holders for your tablet or phone, making it convenient to check emails, catch up on reading, or FaceTime with family as you’re burning calories.
If you prefer mindless distraction to productivity, you can use the platform to watch TV. This helps on the days your body is resisting your mind. Give it something else to focus on, and before you know it, you’ll have completed your exercise for the day.
Best Vertical Climbers – Reviews & Recommendations 2018
Best Vertical Climber for Home
- Versatile and easy-to-use climber that works for all...
- Full-body workout, combines calorie burning cardio with...
- Low impact workout, easy on the knees and ankles.
- Saves time - No need to drive to the gym and use...
- Easy to set up, lightweight and height adjustable....
The MaxiClimber® is the perfect machine to store in your home. It’s designed to take up as little space as possible — about three square feet — and folds up easily for simple storage.
The MaxiClimber is lightweight and 90% pre-assembled, so you can set it up in mere minutes.
This model adjusts to fit different heights and weights, but has only one resistance setting.
A useful and motivating feature is the accompanying fitness app, which gives you a range of high-intensity interval training routines to choose from. The app also offers a meal plan, complete with recipes, and allows you to track your fitness progress.
Though the MaxiClimber is one of the easiest products to purchase and use, it’s also less durable than some of the other climbers on the market. If you’re planning to use your climbing machine daily, you might consider a product with a sturdier build, such as the Merax.
Merax Vertical Climber
- [Whole Body Workout] Natural climbing motion & Vary the...
- [Durable Construction & Folding Design] Square steel...
- [LCD Monitor] LCD Digital Workout Timer for monitoring...
- [Fits For All Body Types ] 5-Step adjustable height...
- [Specifications] Weight Capacity: 350 lbs, Product...
The Merax Vertical Climber is a high-quality machine with a durable design. The sturdier build, which features a square steel tube, allows for a higher weight limit than many other vertical climbers.
The Merax can accommodate fitness enthusiasts weighing up to 350 pounds. You can also adjust the climber to match your height.
This product is heavier than the MaxiClimber and takes up more space. Still, despite the robustness of this machine, its assembly is relatively easy, involving just a handful of bolts.
Another great feature of this product is the LCD screen for monitoring time, speed, distance, and calories burned, which can help keep you motivated and accountable.
The Merax is best for larger, taller workout enthusiasts. Smaller, shorter users have faced difficulty moving the machine around and reaching the handles.
Conquer Vertical Climber Machine 2.0
- New Low Impact Cardio - Version 2.0
- Excellent aerobic workout to burn calories and fat
- Durable steel construction
- Folds for easy storage
The Conquer is built for comfort. It has a stable base, constructed of durable steel, and most users report it feels sturdier than its competitor, the MaxiClimber.
The Conquer 2.0 improves upon the first version of this climber in several important ways: it’s easier to assemble and maintain, and it’s both lighter and more durable. Probably the most significant improvement, though, is in the quality of its build.
The climber no longer uses a cable and pulley mechanism, like its predecessor and most other machines. Instead, the 2.0 uses a sturdy chain and sprocket, similar to a bicycle—a system which can support greater weight and lasts longer. The 2.0 is less likely than other machines to squeak or wobble.
With hand grips and adjustable handles, it’s a machine you can customize until it feels right for you. It’s also quieter than other machines, so you can get your workout in during a conference call.
However, the Conquer lacks an electronic timer and adjustable resistance. It has also been reported to stick. This vertical climber may not be as easy to store and move around as other products, but it’s built to last and reasonably priced.
Best Vertical Climber on a Budget
Weslo Stepfit Climber
- Dimensions: 25.13L x 37.88W x 90.5H in.
- Frame constructed from steel
- Adjustable resistance for intense workouts
- Device shelf holds tablet, phones, and more
- LCD display charts your progress
The Weslo Stepfit Climber offers the best value for money. A high-quality product for a reasonable price, the machine has a range of features that make your workout convenient and comfortable. Among them is a shelf for your smartphone.
The design is sturdy so the machine won’t wobble. You can adjust the resistance for upper and lower body workouts separately, so you can isolate muscle groups. It’s like alternating arm and leg days using the same piece of equipment.
Although the handlebars are adjustable, shorter users may find it challenging to reach the grips. The Weslo is also not the easiest model to assemble.
Conquer Vertical Climber Machine 1.0
- Low-impact comprehensive aerobic/anaerobic workout
- Excellent aerobic workout to burn calories and fat
- Low impact muscle toning
- Durable steel construction
- Folds for easy storage
The Conquer Vertical Climber is a steal. It’s sturdy and well-built with durable construction and a wide base. It also comes with a time and calorie tracker, as well as a free battery, and adjustable handles.
Probably the leading complaint users register is the machine’s lack of resistance settings. This won’t stop you from getting an intense, calorie-shredding workout; it just means you can’t push yourself harder as you get fitter.
The Weslo is good for those who prefer lighter, more consistent workouts.
Best Vertical Climber Honorable Mention
Sunny Folding Stepping Climber
- CONVENIENT: Unlike other exercise equipment, this...
- TRACK YOUR FITNESS: Easy to read and informative, you...
- DUAL HYDRAULIC: Heavy-duty hydraulic piston cylinders...
- STABILITY: This sturdy climber machine supports weight...
- EASY STORAGE: When you're not using it, the Climbing...
This climber is slim and lightweight, so it won’t take up much space in your home. It folds and stores easily, too. This small footprint doesn’t imply a lack of sturdiness, though – the Sunny is solidly constructed.
The stabilizing bar is padded to increase your comfort. Another great feature is its wide range of resistance settings, from 1 to 12 — a unique bonus for a climbing machine.
Each hydraulic piston cylinder can be set to a different resistance level, which allows you to customize your workout and adjust the intensity level at which each muscle group is working.
The Sunny also comes with an easy-to-read LCD monitor, which tracks your time, distance, and calories burned.
Despite all the great features and the high-quality construction, some users have reported that this machine requires more maintenance than others. These same users have also reported quick, no-nonsense customer service from the supplier.
Best Vertical Climber for Commercial Use
The Versaclimber LX is pricier for good reason. This is a full-sized commercial climbing machine with a wall mount and a bulky frame. At 48 inches by 48 inches, it’s larger than the at-home climbing machines, though it does fit under an eight-foot ceiling.
The Versaclimber comes with adjustable resistance and a display screen that makes it easy to track your workouts.
If you’re looking for something lightweight and simple to install in a home gym, the Versaclimber probably isn’t for you. If you own a gym, however, this is a great choice – it will last longer and perform better than most other climbers.
Vertical Climber Tips
- Adding foot straps to the pedals of your climbing machine can make you feel more secure and comfortable as you work out. Instead of focusing on keeping your feet in their holds, you can channel your energy into your legs.
- Choosing a model with adjustable resistance settings isn’t the only way to increase the intensity of your workout – you can also wear a weighted vest. These can cost as little as $20.
- If you choose a lower-budget vertical climber, you can still use a timer or watch to monitor your fitness goals.
Vertical Climber FAQs
Q: How many calories can you burn on a vertical climber?
A: A 200-pound person can burn more than 850 calories in an hour-long session on the vertical climbing machine—a burn rate similar to that of other high-intensity workouts like weightlifting or cross-country skiing.
This, of course, depends on the resistance and the intensity of your workout; some people using heavy-duty commercial climbers can burn 800 calories in just half an hour.
Q: What are some good climbing machine workouts?
A: Mens’ Journal recommends a 30-minute workout designed for hardcore fitness enthusiasts. Described as “agonizing,” the workout involves alternating short-range and long-range strokes, never for more than 4 minutes and 45 seconds of continued exercise, as well as timed rest intervals.
Vertical climbers are great machines to have at home if you’re looking to tone your whole body and shred calories. These machines are also easy to assemble and store, and they don’t take up much space.
Our top recommendation is the MaxiClimber, as it’s compact, sturdy, and comes with technology that can help you focus and track your workouts.
If you’re looking for a quality climber on a budget, we recommend the Weslo, which is designed for both stability and comfort.
Which climbing machine is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!