Since the first Stairmaster craze in the 1980’s, leading fitness technology companies such as Matrix have upped their game to gain a creditable impact in the market.
Climbmills, or stairmills have become a popular piece of equipment, with nearly all commercial gyms having at least one and a rising number of fitness enthusiasts investing in one for their home.
How do you pick a climbmill?
There are hundreds of different climbmills and stepmills on the market, but in the article I will compare two models from two leading climbmill manufacturers. The 8 Series Gauntlet from Stairmaster and the C50 Climbmill from Matrix Fitness.
These two climbmills are both great machines, and both are built with quality and integrity in mind so let’s get into it.
Right from the get-go, the Stairmaster is a much larger machine compared the Matrix C50. It has a length of 147cm and a height of 226cm compared to the compact design of the Matrix being length of only 135cm and height of 190cm.
But don’t let the size fool you, the C50 is built to be just as strong and sturdy as any commercial climbmill out there.
Let’s talk about some similarities.
Each machine has built-in heart rate monitors on an easy access handle with a stop button and level controls right at your fingertips. The pair comes with all the basic data features calorie count, step count, reading rack and accessory tray.
These premium devices are mills, meaning they work on an endless, smooth rotating staircase motion driven by chains. However, the Stairmaster has a slightly faster stepping speed of 24 – 162 steps per minute compared to the C50’s 24 – 137 steps per minute
Monitors and Programs
Both machines have an option of three consoles to choose from with the basic monitor being the cheapest price. As we move into the mid-range and top-level consoles, the price increases but so does the features.
One great feature that is available in the 10’ and 15’ touch screen for the Stairmaster and the XER and XIR console for the C50 is the landmarks challenge. This feature allows you to climb famous landmarks around the world with a precise amount of floors and steps to reach the top. The Eifel Tower, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Taj Mahal and The Great Pyramids and amongst the great landmarks you can conquer on these climbmills.
When it comes to the premium console features, the Stairmaster is a step ahead of the Matrix. The top of the range 15” monitor by Stairmaster has an easy connectivity feature to both Apple and Android wearables, whereas the XIR console with Matrix is more Android driven.
The Stairmaster console also has app connectivity capabilities to popular fitness apps such as Map My Run and Run Keeper for real time data syncing.
Size and Weight
The Stairmaster Gauntlet weighs 156kg and can take a maximum weight of 159kg. Its large size may allow a heavier max load but it would require a larger space with a ceiling of at least 3m to have you use it comfortably in a home.
Its size does come with a few benefits, allowing different exercise on the wider steps like side-to-side steps and box jumps.
Although the C50 is slightly lighter at 128.5kg, the max load is not that much less than the Stairmaster at 136kg. The 20kg max-load difference wont have much of an affect an average persons workout routine.
One feature that stands out on the Matrix C50 is a censor which knows where you are and stops the rotation in its tracks so that you don’t fall off.
Another major feature is the sweat management system. Matrix’ design considers where sweat drips and have covered the areas to prevent liquid damage, even making the sweat cascade off the climbmill’s outer shell.
The Gauntlet 8 Series doesn't have sweat management but is built with anti-rust materials to avoid long-term moisture damage.
Cause of its larger size and taller steps, it consists of two smaller side panels for step assistance, allowing users to safely onboard and exit with ease.
Which one is better for you?
That really depends on your situation. At a RRP of $7800 (with the entry monitor) the Stairmaster is worth every penny as its full of features and built with great craftsmanship but it does require a much bigger space and with higher ceilings. Its larger size is more suitable for a commercial environment for constant use with different body sizes and fitness levels.
The Matrix C50 comes at a slightly lower RRP of $6300 (with XR console) but was designed with home use in mind. It matches the Stairmaster with most of the features with the only standout difference being the smaller size and the app connectivity feature in the premium console. This machine would be ideal for a family or an individual that has minimal space to work with in your home.