Best Step Platforms

Updated July 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

59 Models Considered
46 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
239 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best step platforms

Last Updated July 2019

A step platform is a deceptively simple tool that can be used to work a variety of muscle groups, and owning one means you don’t have to leave your home to get a good workout. Their common applications include aerobics and Pilates, but step platforms offer a variety of ways to exercise and train.

Basic models are simply a raised platform with a grippy surface, while others can be adjusted to a range of heights and angles. Some can even convert into workout benches with attachments like resistance cables. The size of step platforms varies greatly, and choosing the right size for you means considering your available space and what types of exercises you want to perform.

While most step platforms are reasonably affordable, it’s important to consider your needs to find one that will last you for years. Continue reading to learn more about step platforms and the different styles available. If you’re ready to buy, take a look at the step platforms we think stand out from the rest.

A step platform is far safer than using the stairs in your home for aerobic exercises. It’s also more versatile because you can step on the platform from several directions.

Key considerations

When choosing a step platform, think about the type of exercises you intend to use it for. If you’re unsure, a basic model that includes a few risers might be a good choice. If you have something more specific in mind, such as weight lifting or abdominal exercises, look for a tool designed specifically for the job.

Adjustability

Many step platforms have a fixed height, but others include risers or other adjusting methods to raise and lower the platform. Risers typically adjust the height in two-inch increments. In most cases, a step platform with risers includes two risers, but some come with more risers to achieve a height of eight inches or more.

Size

If you have limited space in your home, you might opt for a compact step platform that can be easily stowed away. However, you should bear in mind the impact that size has on safety and the variety of exercises you can perform with your step platform. A bigger surface is a larger target for your feet, reducing the risk of injury.

Circuit: Circuit-size step platforms are generally smaller, though there’s no specific size that defines one as a “circuit” step platform. In general, these are less than 30 inches long. Some are so small that it can be difficult to put both feet on the platform. While a circuit platform might work well for some basic stepping exercises, it’s generally not recommended for abdominal exercises or weight training because the platform can’t fully support your back and neck when used as a bench.

Aerobic or health club: This size step platform is the largest available and is more versatile than circuit step platforms. One of these can be used as a stepping platform or as a bench. In some cases, it can be angled using the included risers. If you have the space and hope to use your platform for several types of exercises, this is your best option. These platforms are typically 35 to 45 inches long.

Weight capacity 

Look for a step platform with a weight capacity well above your own weight. Not only will this help you find a platform that doesn’t flex or feel flimsy under your feet but it also gives you a platform that still functions well when you have dumbbells in your hands. Most step platforms can support 200 pounds or more, but some are capable of handling up to 400 pounds. In general, the higher the capacity, the less likely that the platform will flex under your weight.

Grip

Almost any step platform has nonskid feet and some sort of surface to prevent slipping. There are two main types of surface: textured and rubber-coated.

Feet: You should note whether the feet of the platform and risers are nonskid to reduce the chance of injury while exercising. If you do purchase a step platform without nonskid feet, consider placing it on a yoga mat or other grippy surface to provide additional traction.

Textured surface: This typically has grooves that allow your shoes to grip the plastic.

Rubber-coated surface: This is somewhat more reliable and might be more comfortable to use than a textured surface because the rubber provides some cushioning. In addition, stepping and jumping on a rubber surface is generally quieter than on a grooved plastic surface.

DID YOU KNOW?

Most step platforms are made of high-density polyethylene, a rugged plastic that can withstand significant weight without bending.

Step platform features

While most step platforms are similar in design, some include additional features and functions that increase the variety of exercises you can perform.  

Accessories

If you’re hoping to pick up some additional accessories, some step platforms include things like dumbbells and exercise balls. Though less common, some models include resistance cables that attach to the platform.

Risers and angled platforms

Take note of the number of risers a step platform includes or whether the height of the platform can be adjusted. Exercising with a higher step usually leads to more calories burned per hour. Some models can also be angled by placing the risers on only one end, allowing you to use the platform for abdominal exercises. Not all step platforms with risers are capable of this, however. The platform and risers should be designed to stay securely in place when the platform is angled.

Exercises

If you’re new to using a step platform, consider looking for a model that includes an exercise booklet or DVD to help get you started. These guides can range from sparse instructions to thorough workouts.

EXPERT TIP

A step platform is a relatively affordable tool that can be used for a variety of intense calorie-burning workouts.


Staff  | BestReviews

Step platform prices

Inexpensive: Step platforms that cost $20 to $40 are often circuit size and might not include risers or height adjustment. The surface is often textured, but it isn’t always rubber-coated. The weight limit could be on the low side, too.

Mid-range: Spend $40 to $60 and you’ll find step platforms in a range of sizes, many of which come with a set of risers and have a rubber-coated surface.

Expensive: Many step platforms in the $60 to $120 range include accessories like dumbbells or exercise DVDs. In addition, they might convert into benches for additional weight training exercises. These step platforms almost always have a rubber-coated surface and are highly durable.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

The first time you use a step platform, use it without risers or on the lowest setting. As you become familiar with using it, you can raise the surface to increase the intensity of your workout.

Tips

  • Keep the surface of your step platform clean. This will help prevent slipping during workouts.

  • Only use compatible risers to raise or angle your step platform. Using improper risers could result in injury.

  • Opt for a rubber surface. If you plan to use your step platform for weight training or abdominal exercises, a platform with a rubber surface is far easier on your back than a textured plastic surface.

  • Look online for tips and exercises. Not all step platforms include recommended exercises, but there are countless online videos and resources that you can access for free.

Other products we considered

Step platforms come in different styles, and many include additional functions and accessories to add variety to your workout. For a step platform that may well function as the centerpiece of your home gym, the Escape Fitness Deck is an excellent option if you’re willing to spend a bit more than the average platform costs. With two height settings and step and bench modes, this is an all-around piece of equipment that can adapt easily to different exercises. For a basic step that can be angled for abdominal exercises, consider The Step Freestyle Aerobic Platform. Measuring 28.5 inches long, this is a circuit platform with a textured high-density polyethylene surface. The shorter length means that you can achieve a steeper angle using fewer risers, though it has a smaller surface than an aerobic platform.

Step platforms aren’t just for leg exercises. They can also be used for working out your core and arms and for stretching.

FAQ

Q. What muscle groups can I focus on using a step platform?
A.
Most people think of using a step platform to focus on leg muscles like glutes, calves, and hamstrings, but you can also use one to work your core muscles and even biceps, triceps, and pectorals.
 

Q. How safe are step platforms?
A.
Due to the low-impact nature of most of the exercises done with a step platform, the risk of injury is fairly low. Most injuries involving step platforms are a result of a platform that’s set too high or improper foot placement.
 

Q. Can I put a step platform on carpeted floor?
A.
You can, but you make sure that the feet or risers won’t slide as you move onto and off of the platform.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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