Mini steppers are the most popular version of the stepper among home fitness enthusiasts, because of their price range, rather their ‘value for money’, and their versatility. You generally won’t find these in membership gyms, so if that was the type of stair stepper you came here to view, please refer to our review page of the Top 3 Stair Steppers and if you are not entirely sure what to look for in a stepper, please read our free Stair Stepper Buyers Guide :: How to Choose the Best Stepper for Your Budget.
For most people, exercising is just a chore. It takes up too much time, you need to buy a gym membership, and you’d probably have to move around in front of lots of people in ways you don’t really want them to see you doing! It can also be really boring.
This makes mini steppers the perfect choice for a home fitness and weight loss program. You don’t need a lot of room, you can exercise in front of your television (to take away the boredom) and, well sorry, you do need to set aside a little time each day if you want to achieve a better body and lifestyle.
What Should You Look for in a Mini Stepper?
There are a few things to consider when deciding on a mini stepper, so to help you, we have provided a few tips:
- The most important feature to you is safety. Some mini steppers slip around and are unstable, making them unsafe to use. That will be your first decision to make sure you or anyone else doesn’t hurt themselves.
- Durability is another key feature you should consider, because some of the lower end machines are quite unreliable.
- After using your new mini machine a few times, you will definitely notice an increase in your leg strength. You need to make sure that you have several resistance levels to choose from, ranging from easy to very difficult. If you don’t get one that you can turn up the resistance on, it could become useless to you as you won’t get any benefit from your workout.
- Does the machine you are looking at, have a maximum weight limit? This is important if you have a large frame or are over-weight.
- Is versatility important to your exercise program? What I mean by this, is to decide if you want a machine that comes with resistance bands which will add an upper body workout, while you step away to your favorite music (or TV program). Don’t forget, even if the machine comes with bands, you don’t have to use them!
We have chosen all Sunny Health & Fitness products to review because they offer quality at a price that does not hurt your bank balance. Sunny also have a great reputation. They have wonderful customer service in the event that you do have a problem, and will usually deal with queries/faults immediately. This is a real plus, compared to some of the other manufacturers we came across who failed miserably to keep customers happy. You should also note that on Amazon (our recommended online store), Sunny mini steppers all have well over a four star rating from previous buyers.
Choice #1 – Sunny Twister Stepper with Handle
Easy to assemble, sturdy, lightweight and a great fitness machine if your ‘balancing’ skills are not brilliant. I think one of the best things about this machine, is that anyone can get it out of the box and set it up ready for use, without a hitch. It is very easy to assemble.
- Made from heavy duty steel
- Non slip plates for your feet
- LCD computer & screen showing calories burned, time & step count
- Weight – 28 pounds
- Dimensions – 19L x 17W x 48H
The Sunny Twister Stepper with handles has a maximum weight limit of two hundred and fifty pounds, making it a perfect choice if you have a big frame or are overweight. Virtually anyone can use this machine without fear of falling off or of it breaking under their weight. Also, the safety bars mean it can be used for rehabilitation exercising, which is why stair steppers were invented in the first place (with the Stairmaster).
The handles are fixed and do not move. It is quiet, in fact the only noise you will hear is from the magnetic wheel mechanism as you step. Although you probably won’t hear this if the television is on or you are listening to your MP3 player. If you need to transport this anywhere, the wires unplug from the computer and the handle bars can be easily removed, for safe moving.
How Does the Twisting Motion Benefit You?
Whenever you twist your body, you are engaging numerous muscles, not just your thighs and calf muscles. The twist action activates every muscle from your oblique’s (abdominal muscles on your sides), your buttocks, hip flexors and all the way down to your calves. And because the twist stepper ‘fires’ all these groups of muscles, it means that you are burning more calories than a standard, up and down machine.
The only possible negative I see with this one, is perhaps the half rotations of the up and down movement could place additional stress on your knee joints. This was my initial feeling. However, after scrutinizing many reviews, I have not come across anyone complaining about this. That’s because the ‘twist motion’ is the bodies natural movement, starting at your abdominals, your hips, buttocks and then your thighs.
What Do Previous Owners of the Sunny Twister Stepper with Handle Say?
Whilst researching this product (and any other product you find on our site), we always read through as many reviews that we can find (good and bad), to give you our honest opinion. And one review in particular, stood out from the rest. A previous owner became a “repeat customer” of the Sunny Health and Fitness Twister Stepper with Handlebar, because they were so happy with it. Their first machine was used every day for 2 years, and by more than one person, until the frame cracked. They had no other issues with it until then.
That really does say something about the quality of the Twister Stepper with Handles. Retailing at around under eighty dollars, this machine is incredible value for money, considering the amount of use it had over that twenty four month period.
A another happy customer confirmed they were very happy with their purchase, saying “it’s done exactly what it said it would” with it being one of the best investments they had ever made. A friend of theirs also ordered one after seeing the great results you can achieve on it, after updating their review two months after writing the first one.
One other buyer who is sixty five years old, and had a knee replacement operation, and suffered with foot pain, expressed their complete satisfaction with their purchase. This again confirms that even if you have knee problems, you could benefit from using this apparatus and actually replace distance walking with it.
Are there any negatives to the Sunny Twister Stepper with Handles
There are negative reviews on Amazon which hint towards the way the this machine is packed. The instructions have not been included according to several people, plus the way that Sunny Health & Fitness package the item for posting, seems to be a bit ‘ad hoc’. However, when you compare the five star ratings to the lower ratings, a few things ‘stand out’.
Some people have written comments that do not appear to be anything to do with this Sunny machine, or any other stepper for that matter. One person even referred to the seat being uncomfortable. Mini steppers don’t have seats! Another person exclaimed that they were hitting their knees, but my suggestion would be that they were not stepping in an upright position. If you are hunched over, you are going to hit your knees.
But if you need to hunch over and exercise, maybe you should not be using a stepper in the first place.
Choice #2 – Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper
Our second choice is the Sunny Twister Stepper. It’s a few dollars cheaper than the handlebar version, but this little machine really gives you a ‘kick in the butt’ workout, because of the addition of resistance bands. If you don’t know what resistance bands are, they are very strong rubber bands that simulate exercises you can do with a set of dumbbells. But without the danger of dropping a heavy weight on your foot!
- Adjustable resistance
- Made from heavy duty steel
- LCD computer screen
- Large skid resistant foot plates
- Compact and easily portable
The Only Difference is the Resistance Bands Instead of the Handlebar
This model will help you burn more calories (in equal amount of time), than the version with handlebars because of the (optional) upper body resistance workout using the bands. I say ‘optional’, because it’s your choice to use the resistance bands. If you want to do lower body exercises, then remove the rubbers bands, or don’t pick them up off the floor.
If you struggle with your balance, maybe this model is not for you. The foot plates are very secure and non-slip, but you don’t have bars to hold, while you exercise. You can work deep into every big, and small muscle in your legs on this stepper, without over stressing your joints. The twisting action puts your buttocks to work, and also gets your hip flexors working like they never knew they could.
This model has more reviews, and a higher ‘star’ rating than the handlebar version, which means that more people prefer it, even if they don’t use the bands. The Sunny Health and Fitness Twister Stepper retails about twenty dollars cheaper too, which makes it very appealing to most people.
Previous Buyers Say Good Things About the Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper
- Easy to assemble – simply slid the cable on the wheel, attach resistance knob and clip on the bands and LCD monitor
- Resistance bands gets your heart rate right up higher
- Well balanced, making it very safe to use
- Very lightweight and portable
- Great for people who want to keep active, but have little time to spare
- Improves leg power
- Folds for storage
- Great customer service (if you need them)
- Wide foot pads for people with bigger feet
But, are there any bad points?
A few people said the stride height is not high enough for them, so they felt the front of their legs (quadriceps) didn’t get the workout they had hoped for. However, most did say that regardless of this, they had a decent cardiovascular workout, because you can get some speed going, and that it really did hit the backs of their legs and calf muscles. And, deep into their glutes.
Also, a couple of people suggested that if you are going to buy the Sunny Health & Fitness Twister Stepper, you should buy a lubricant like WD-40 or bicycle lubricant, because the pistons get hot and start squeaking. Just squirt a little lubricant on them regularly (being careful not to get any on your floor), and you can exercise, trouble free.
Choice #3 – Sunny Health and Fitness Mini Stepper with Resistance Bands
Staying with Sunny Health and Fitness, our last choice is the Mini Stepper with bands. Why? Well firstly, at the time of writing this review, it is retailing under $40 and it has a 4 star rating. And because it is a Sunny product, you can be assured of its quality construction.
- Detachable rubber resistance bands
- Computer screen
- Adjustable resistance
- Maximum user weight – 250 pounds
- Dimensions – 16.5″ L x 12.2″W x 8″ H
The feed back from owners of this model suggest that although it is a very basic model, if all you want to do is ‘step’ to your favorite music, this one is perfect. The resistance bands appear to have been faulty for some people, but most didn’t purchase for using the bands.
Unlike our first two recommendations, the Sunny H&F mini stepper with bands is a ‘straight up and down’ stepper – it does not twist, which I imagine most people would prefer if this is their first ever home stepper. Although it does not have handlebars to hold, and if you do not want to use the bands for your upper body, you can reach out and hold on to something else for stability.
One lady uses her ‘walker’ to hold on to, which would suggest that this little machine is ok for anybody to use, young or old-er.