Mini Stepper Vs. Mini Elliptical

Midsection of woman on exercise equipment, extreme close-up

According to the American Heart Association, if you wish to increase your level of health, you should be walking, stepping, marching or jogging at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Mini stepper and mini elliptical machines enable you to do this at home. Both machines are smaller, portable versions of popular exercise equipment found in most gyms.

A mini stepper has two foot plates to stand on and a stepping motion mimicking climbing stairs. It is performed against hydraulic pressure. With a mini stepper, there is a bottoming out of movement in which the leg is momentarily extended and a change of direction from down to up is required. Thus there is a slight impact to the knee that if repeated a large number of times without allowing adequate recovery time can cause knee pain, says

Mini Elliptical

A mini elliptical machine also has two foot plates to stand on. However an elliptical movement is performed under variable resistance. With a mini elliptical machine there is only one continuous movement and therefore no knee impact. A mini elliptical machine requires continuous exertion during exercise. According to trainer and author Brian Mackenzie, continuous training at 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for 10 to 20 minutes improves your cardiovascular system, glycogen burning, and lactate tolerance. Many of these machines allow you to adjust the tension, so you can increase the intensity of your workouts as you become stronger.

Muscles Worked

The mini stepper with its vertical up and down movement primarily works the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. A mini elliptical machine works the same muscles. The heart rate is greatly increased in the use of both machines and the muscles of the upper body can be exercised by holding hand weights.


The main difference between the two machines is the mini elliptical's non-impact nature compared with the low-impact nature of the mini stepper. Therefore, the mini elliptical machine may be preferred by users with joint pain problems because a mini stepper could aggravate these. The University of Maryland's medical department recommends that you consult a health care provider if your joint pain lasts for more than three days.


Both machines offer similar variable resistance workouts. Both are made from sturdy steel yet are lightweight and highly portable. Workouts on the mini stepper and the mini elliptical machines can be performed at home, in the office or in a hotel room. Personal preference in the type of movement each machine offers should be taken into account when choosing.