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Stairmill by Pro6

Stairmill Guide

A Guide to Stairmills


When browsing for stairmill machines you will come across various models such as those that are designed for home use and others that are designed for a larger setting such as a gym.


You can scroll to the end of this article for the pros and cons of the different size models.


Before we begin just know that people tend to use different names for these stairmills and with that in mind I will be referring to them with different terms.  Some of the terms used are stair stepper, stair mill, stairmaster, stair machine, and so on.  They may mean different things, depending on the person.


Stair mill Benefits


Since you are already looking at buying a stair mill you probably already know some of the following benefits:


  • A great way to burn calories
  • Improves your cardio health
  • Strengthens and tones your lower body
  • Builds bone density.
  • Improves and strengthens your immune system



So, how do you choose the right stair mill for your needs? 


In general, stairmill machines come in 2 basic models. One model has 6 inch steps and the other will have 8 inch steps. The difference in step size are actually easy to spot. Let’s take a look at why.


The size of the steps will determine the overall size of the machine.

What do I mean by that? Well, any stair mill machine with 8" steps will be much taller to accommodate the larger steps. This means that the machine will need a higher ceiling which most homes will not be able to accommodate. These larger machines will need at least a 9 foot ceiling for headroom and some recommend a 10ft ceiling.

Since most homes have an 8 foot ceiling, manufacturers have made stair machines that will fit into them. This way more people can have a stair machine that fits in their home space. So that is why the home versions have the smaller 6 inch step size. You might say that having a smaller step is a disadvantage.  However, I will explain why it can be an advantage in a minute.


It is a great advantage to have a stairmill in your home, especially in these times of staying safe at home. Cardio Nation offers the Pro 6 Aspen Stairmill with 6 inch steps for home and light commercial use. The Aspen is a very portable stair stepper and offers a great workout! 


Stairmill 6 inch step

Stairmills for a commercial gym


If you have then you know that the 8 inch step is like walking up a regular staircase in your home. In comparison, the 6 inch step is like going up the steps in a stadium. Shorter stride, more steps. The 6 inch step is a different feel if you are used to the bigger machine at a gym. But after a little time it will feel perfectly normal. You will get a great workout and you can actually go faster with the 6 inch


Now, if you have the headroom the larger 8 inch versions can be a great choice.  Other reasons to get the larger step machine is if you exceed the maximum user weight of the smaller model or you are over 6 foot 3 inches tall.  At 6’3” on the 6 inch machine you will likely have about 3 inches of headroom for an 8 foot ceiling.  For the 6” step machine you add 18 inches to your own height with shoes on. So 6 ft 3 inches equals 75 inches plus the 18 inches for the machine puts you add 93 inches total.  An 8 ft ceiling leaves equals 96 inches.


To calculate height for the larger machine with the 8 inch step you add 36 inches to your own height with shoes on.  So at 75 inches tall plus 36 inches for the machine puts you at 111 inches. In this case you would need at least a 9.5 ft (114 inches) ceiling to accommodate the machine. The 36 inches is used to give you enough head space.


Cardio Nation offers the Muscle D MuscleStepper if you are interested in the 8 inch step and have a ceiling of at least 9 feet as recommended by the manufacturer.


stair mill 8 inch steps

Looking at the Musclestepper you can see the 8 inch models are substantially bigger in size. This is what you would see in a public gym setting. More pictures and info for the commercial Musclestepper can be found at Cardio Nation USA here: Stairmill Muscle D Musclestepper 


Stairmill Workout

Stair Mills offer a great workout that will stimulate weight loss, calorie burn, muscle growth, and toning to name a few.

You can vary your workout intensity with these machines.  Go for a faster pace for more of an aerobic workout.  These machines can be made for go faster or slower depending on your goals or if you just want to mix things up a bit.

If you want to add some muscle to your butt, then just go for the slow burn. Trust me, you WILL feel the burn of these machines.  If you want to get advanced, we suggest adding a weighted vest to really challenge yourself and spur those leg muscles on to some great gains.

We recommend the Stairway GTL by Jacobs Ladder is a great machine for anyone looking for a great stairmill workout as speed and intensity are fully driven by how fast you climb. Made in the USA you can find more information at our product page. Note you only need an 8.5 foot ceiling for this machine!

Stairmill Workout Stairway GTL


Stair Mill - Two Steps at a Time


As I mentioned earlier, having a smaller 6 inch step can be an advantage.  This is because you can actually take 2 steps at a time without feeling too awkward even if you have shorter legs. If you have ever tried taking two steps at a time on the larger 8 inch step machines you know that it doesn’t feel natural and can be unsafe in some cases.  If you are a person with short legs you won’t be able to take 2 steps at a time without overextending. So on the 6 inch machine "skipping a step" would give you a variation in your workouts and it would tone your body in a different way which is good.

Also a machine with 8 inch steps requires a ceiling height of at least 9 feet and sometimes higher the height of the user. Look for the ceiling height requirements before you buy. If you have the space it is a great choice though.  Another thing to check is the size of the machine before it is assembled so you can know if it will even fit through the doors when bringing it to the room of your choice.

Pros and Cons of a Stairmill


The Pro 6 Aspen StairMill with 6 inch step:



  • Smaller stadium step size at 6 inches and up to 120 steps per minute
  • Take 2 steps at a time if desired. (Turn off the step lock feature after you are on the machine).
  • Only needs an 8 foot ceiling for headroom.
  • Very portable and space saving when compared to the larger machines.
  • Has wheels for moving
  • You can see over the console easily. Handy if you want to watch TV for example.



  • 6” steps take some getting used to if you’ve used the 8” at a gym.
  • Maximum user weight 250 lbs.


Stair Mills with an 8 Inch step size:




  • Larger 8 “step size
  • Step size compares to taking the stairs in your home.
  • Usually Commercial Grade
  • Greater maximum user weight
  • Easier to walk backwards on if desired




  • Need at least a 9 foot ceiling for some
  • Awkward or not safe to take 2 steps at a time
  • Heavy but does have wheels
  • Console may block your vision in front of you

Stairmill Summary

We hope you enjoyed learning about the different types of stairmills, you can browse for when looking for a stair mill that is right for you.  Choosing one that gives you the stairmill workout you desire is paramount and making an informed decision is the only way to buy your next stair mill.  Thanks for reading!


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