Vertical climbers are easily the best exercise machines available for those who want to strengthen the muscles you use most frequently while climbing.
The reason for that, is that they’re essentially machines that mimic rock climbing as closely as possible. Hence the name, as you might have guessed.
They’re not just for climbers though. Their true strength lies in that they’re able to provide such a good full body workout in the same way that climbing does. That means non-climbers can enjoy all the benefits of climbing to their fitness that climbers take for granted.
There’s also far less capacity to injure yourself on a vertical climber than if you were doing weightlifting exercises like barbell rows and so on.
I mean, that’s a huge extra bonus there considering that these machines are already better at targeting those muscles than those kinds of exercises that tend to “make do” with the limitations of traditional gym equipment like barbells.
Anyway, let’s jump right into taking a look at the best vertical climbers out there.
The Best Vertical Climbers Reviewed
|Top Pick||Sportsroyals Vertical Climber|
|Alternative Top Pick||RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Vertical Climber|
|Best 2-in-1 Vertical Climber and Exercise Bike||Flyerstoy Vertical Climber|
|Best Budget Option||Soozier Folding Vertical Climber|
|Non-Electronic Option||X-MAG Vertical Climber Machine|
Our Top Pick: Sportsroyals Vertical Climber
Our Top Pick
This is the ideal one to go for. The folding design saves 80% of its overall space, and it doesn’t sacrifice durability to achieve this either. The frame is made of frosted steel, and the triangular structure and suction cups make it stable during heavy workouts.
This is the updated model, based upon customer feedback among all vertical climbers.
One of the standout features of this one is that the LCD display is just so much better than the tiny, hard to read ones you see on almost every other vertical climber out there.
It also has 5 adjustable levels, from 3.9 – 19.7 inches, and is suitable for all body types. It also comes with a 2-year warranty.
What We Like:
- Durable, Sturdy Construction – The frosted steel frame seems sturdy, and having a stable vertical climber than can take the punishment of hard workouts is exactly what you’re looking for.
- Better LCD Screen Size Than Others – You can clearly see how much better this one’s screen is compared to most others out there. It makes the screens on others look like they’re from a calculator or something.
Alternative Top Pick: RELIFE REBUILD YOUR LIFE Vertical Climber
Alternative Top Pick
An extremely popular pick, and not just because of the ambitious name. The pedals have some inclination to help keep your center of gravity close to the frame.
It also has a lifetime warranty on all vulnerable parts, and a one year warranty for the sturdy main frame.
This one is adjustable to 5 different levels of resistance.
The first two levels are like climbing stairs, the next is more like difficult hiking or scrambling, then one up from that is like proper climbing, and, finally, the last gear is like a difficult climb.
What We Like:
- Lifetime Warranty on Vulnerable Parts – The frame is only a one year warranty, but it’s easily strong enough for that to not really matter. It’s the other parts that are much more useful to be covered by a warranty, so it’s great that that’s the case here with this one.
- Inclined Pedals – The pedals actually slant inwards, and you do feel like they’re more ergonomic that way. You tend to naturally press slightly outwards with your feet on a vertical climber, so this helps mitigate that so you can forget about your feet and just concentrate on working out hard.
Best 2-in-1 Vertical Climber and Exercise Bike: Flyerstoy Vertical Climber
Best 2-in-1 Vertical Climber and Exercise Bike
That’s right. It works as both a vertical climber and an exercise bike. It also has an adjustable height, LCD display and it’s foldable too.
It’s a nice addition being able to have two machines in one. It’s even better that it’s still a good vertical climber even without considering the exercise bike part.
The LCD display is also capable of showing time, speed, distance and calories burned, similar to our other picks, but, like our top pick, the display is actually a better size than most.
What We Like:
- Useful for Warming Up – With the exercise bike part, you can help reduce injury by warming up your ankles fully before you go heavy on the climbing.
- Great Value – Considering it’s two machines in one and it doesn’t cost that much more than the other picks, it’s definitely good value if you’re interested in giving the exercise bike function a go too.
Things to Consider:
- Exercise Bike Resistance Can’t Be Adjusted – If you’re interested in heavily using an exercise bike alongside a vertical climber, you’d be better off getting them separately. The exercise bike capability of this one is good, but it’s a product that is primarily a vertical climber, and the exercise bike is secondary to that.
Best Budget Option: Soozier Folding Vertical Climber
Best Budget Option
A great deal for the price – especially since it still has adjustable levels and an LCD monitor like most others.
This one has pretty much everything you’d want in a vertical climber, except it’s a cheaper option than most.
The downside to budget exercise machines, of course, is that they’re less durable on the whole, but at the very least this one is sturdy enough to handle some abuse.
The LCD screen has functions for time, frequency, counting, and calories burned too, so it’s not like you’re losing out by getting a bare-bones, basic machine here. This is a good value pick if you’re on a budget or you’re simply looking for an entry-level product and don’t want to shell out too much for your first machine.
What We Like:
- 4 Adjustable Levels – Despite being a budget option, it still has enough versatility in its design to be useful for people of any height.
- Foldable – If you’re getting a budget version because you won’t be using it too often, then it’s really useful being able to fold it away whenever you want to.
Things to Consider:
- Short Handlebars – The handlebars would be better if they were a bit longer, but it’s less noticeable if you don’t have large hands.
Non-Electronic Option: X-MAG Vertical Climber Machine
For when you just want a good, well-built machine rather than any fancy electronics or vulnerable parts.
Instead of having electronics, this machine focuses on the other parts that make up a vertical climber.
You know… the actual climbing part.
While the bottom stands are a little less wide than the other picks, this vertical climbing machine is just plain stronger than the others.
It’s the solid steel frames on this one that are the most impressive, because they’re not the thin metal tubes you see almost all the others having.
What We Like:
- Strong Steel Construction – If you’re strong, or simply looking to go ham on your vertical climbing machine, then you’ll be glad to know that the steel on this one is solid, unlike the thin tubes that others are almost always made from. Definitely a nice touch.
- Smooth Rolling Action – The smoothness of the rollers on this one along with the solidness of the steel frame also really help to keep the noise down.
- Foldable – Like the other top picks in this guide, this one is foldable to save space. That’s especially important in an exercise machine that sticks out as much as vertical climbers do.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do vertical climbers really work?
The truth is, they actually work better than most other exercise machines.
The reason for that, is that they work more than one muscle group at once. Think about it. You’re working both arms and both legs at the same time.
Compare that to perhaps the three most common exercise machines out there:
- An exercise bike, which only works your legs in a small degree of motion.
- A rowing machine, which has a good range of motion but still only works your upper body.
- A treadmill, which has more dynamic movement to it, but it only works your legs and it doesn’t even provide resistance against you.
As you can see, a vertical climber is basically able to do the same job as all three of those machines at the same time. This is why we harp on all the time about climbing being such a great alternative to the gym.
How many calories can you burn on a vertical climber?
You can expect to burn a whopping 800 calories per hour if you’re on a setting that feels right for you. Something that’s not too heavy, and not too light either.
A light workout on a low resistance setting would be more like 500 calories per hour, which is much closer to what you’d expect to burn on a treadmill.
On the other hand, if you really went ham on your vertical climber, you could burn up to 1000 calories per hour… until you start slowing down to what you can handle, which, of course, brings your average down again.
Either way, you don’t have to guess how many calories you’re burning. The vertical climbers out there that are worth getting almost always have an LCD display which tells you exactly how many calories you’ve burned during that session.
How long should you use a vertical climber for?
Honestly, don’t overdo it. Climbing is a really intense form of exercise if you really go at it, and you’ll likely feel sore for the next few days if you’re not already used to it.
The reason for that, is that motions you make while climbing puts into action a whole range of muscles, tendons and ligaments that you don’t normally use in the gym. Once you’ve eased into using your vertical climber though, you’ll be able to exercise for as long as you like.
As for a recommendation of how long to use one for, just go until you’re exhausted. That’s what all of us climbers do when we go rock climbing normally. It’s really the best way, and it sure is a whole lot more fun than running on a treadmill for a whole hour straight.
Are vertical climbers bad for your knees?
Vertical climbers are extremely low impact as far as exercise machines go. There’s no sudden, jarring movements, which are the ones that you have to look out for if you have have weak knees or hips.
The hand and foot grips of the machine are always in contact with you too, which means they’re able to do a pretty darn good job of evening out the stress that’s placed on your joints.
Also, remember that with most vertical climbers you can change the level of resistance that the machine puts out. If you think too much force is going to be a problem for your knees, then simply start on the easiest setting and work your way up. That’s all there is to it.
Other Worthy Mentions
These are ones that didn’t quite make the cut as one of the top picks, but are still interesting enough to be worth a look.
An ergonomic design that works for all body types, complete with a sturdy steel alloy frame with anti-rust paint.
- Durable Construction
- Rust-Proof Paint
- High density sponge mats
Both a vertical climber and an exercise bike. This one has 8 levels of resistance for the exercise bike, but only one for the climber. Basically, it’s like the opposite of the Flyerstoy vertical climber we looked at earlier.
- Adjustable climbing arms
- 8 levels of magnetic resistance for the exercise bike
- Adjustable pedal straps