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Versa Climber vs Jacobs Ladder

VersaClimber vs Jacobs Ladder

 Jacobs Ladder vs VersaClimber


The VersaClimber vs the Jacobs Ladder Machine - Which is Best for You? 

So you've narrowed down your research to two very effective full body cardio machines, the VersaClimber and the Jacobs Ladder Climbing Machines. Two fitness machines that offer similar full body workouts, and yet, are different in many ways.  Below we reviewed the benefits and differences to help you decide which machine best meets your needs and gives you the best calorie burn for your time.

We'll go over what the VersaClimber and the Jacobs Ladder is, what their individual shared benefits are, their different benefits, and then give a conclusion of what we think you should consider.  


Table of Contents (Click to Jump)

1. Versaclimber
2. Jacobs Ladder
3. Shared Benefits
4. Differences
5. Final Thoughts
6. Related Article


The VersaClimber

The Versaclimber is cardio machine that positions the user in an 75 degree upright position that simulates the experience of climbing.

The Versaclimber decreases the weight bearing load on your knees and lower back while distributing the load to the upper torso, making it a great low impact work out option. 

The VersaClimber has two pedals to velcro strap feet into and two handles for grabbing and pulling. When in motion, the contralateral body pattern of alternating feet pushing and hand pulling, from opposites sides of the body form a climbing pattern that is very easy to use. 

The Versaclimber is self powered. This means the user needs to initiate their movement to power the machine and begin the workout at their own pace.  Users can adjust the stride length to short, medium, or long depending on the workout intensity and personalized height. Users can also focus on the legs only, by holding onto the handrails near the hip position, giving the user a stair-stepper type of workout.


The Jacobs Ladder

The Jacobs Ladder is a ladder-style treadmill climber that allows for an intense, low impact workout. Users on the Jacobs Ladder are placed on a 40 degree angle with the hands and feet positioned in a ladder climbing-like motion. The hand-over hand, stepping movement has very minimal impact on your lower back, hips, and knees, maintaining the intensity in your muscles, not your joints.

Anyone can use the Jacobs Ladder since it is self powered and user paced. The user is in full controls of the speed and the intensity by the rate of exertion the user climbs.


The Versaclimber vs the Jacobs Ladder Machine - Shared Benefits 

The VersaClimber and Jacobs Ladder share many similarities as 7 are listed below. 


1. Provides a total body workout 

The VersaClimber engages your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, abs, back, chest, shoulders, biceps and triceps muscle groups. The push-pull motion of vertical climbing forces the user to utilize the core stabilizer muscles with each stride. 

The key areas the Jacobs Ladder targets are the outer and inner thighs, hamstrings, glutes, abs, shoulders, triceps, and biceps. The Jacobs Ladder also engages the user's core muscles that naturally engage maintaining the body weight's balance during climbing sessions.

2. Low Impact

Both the Versaclimber and the Jacobs Ladder offers a low-impact exercise compared to the impacts of running and other forms of exercises on hard surfaces. Additionally both machines does not put pressure on the spine like rowing and biking does. 

The Versaclimber positions the user in a vertical 75 degree position that places the weight load on the upper body; whereas the Jacobs Ladder position the user on a 40 degree angle that equally distributes weight load between the arms, core, and the legs. 

3. Ease of Use

Both the VersaClimber and Jacobs Ladder are easy to use, as it incorporates one of the most natural movements for the human body, climbing.

4. Functional Movement Pattern

Both the Versaclimber and the Jacobs Ladder are unique pieces of cardio equipment that combines high and low intensity conditioning performed in a contralateral movement. Climbing and/or crawling is a highly functional movement that is often overlooked during athletic training, but is a great way to help restore, reinforce and improve coordination, posture and balance.

5. Self-Paced Intensity

Both the VersaClimber and the Jacobs Ladder are self-powered and self-paced, so the user is never underworked or overworked training the athlete aerobically or anaerobically in the best way possible.

6. Electrical outlet not needed

 The VersaClimber and the Jacobs Ladder are self powered, so there is no need to plug the unit into any outlet. This offers freedom to place or relocate the units anywhere in your home gym or facility. 

7. Made in USA

Both the Versaclimber and Jacobs ladder are Made in the USA. 


The Versaclimber vs the Jacobs Ladder Machine - Different Benefits 

1. Caloric Burn 

Studies from the LSU School of Kinesiology, named Jacobs Ladder training as a “scientifically superior workout” compared to other traditional cardio machines workouts.  Users were able to reach higher levels of energy expenditure, with a lower VO2 max that burned more calories in a shorter amount of time. On average a Jacobs Ladder user can estimate between 600–665 for a 30-minute session at medium to high heart rate. Comparatively, the University of Michigan, Adelphia Study estimated a 400-414 caloric burn during a 30 minute session on the VersaClimber. 

Jacobs Ladder vs VersaClimber Calorie Burn 30 Minute Workout

2. How to Engage Resistance and Control the Speed

The VersaClimber allows you control the amount of resistance during your workout. Users can vary the amount of resistance to control the speed or resistance the user feels when climbing. Less resistance means more speed, while more resistance means more intensity experienced in the muscles for a more challenging climb. It’s generally recommended that beginners start with no resistance and then work their way up to higher resistance over time.

The Jacobs Ladder requires the user to wear a belt that controls the resistance mechanism on the machine. The belt communicates to the machine, how high the user climbs up the ladder, the more the resistance that is pulled at the cable, signals the ladder rungs to circulate faster. Conversely, the lower on the ladder the user climbs, the less resistance is pulled, and the slower the rungs will circulate. Users can expect a speed range between 25 and 160 hand-over-hand climbing-steps per minute. 

3. Displays show only what you need to know 

The VersaClimber’s display module has 16 different programs to choose from with the display read outs below:


  • Switch On or Off Battery Saver Turns off in 2 minutes
  • Exercise Time 
  • Calories Burn Rate
  • Heart Rate Control
  • Program Levels 1 to 16
  • Total Vertical Feet Climbed 
  • Opponent's Total Vertical Feet Climbed
  • Step Height/Stroke Length

The Jacobs Ladder has a more straight-forward exercise display console with no unecessary frills which offers simple stat readouts such as:


  • Rate & Feet per minute
  • Heart Rate
  • Total Feet climbed
  • Elapsed time
  • Calories burned

4. Footprint

The Versaclimber has 6 models to choose from that slightly vary in footprint. On the other hand, the Jacobs Ladder has 3 models to choose from that also slightly vary between sizes. Below are average specs to start from for each cardio machine. 



    • Height: 7 Feet 6 Inches (90 inches)
    • Required Floor Space:36 Inches x 44 Inches
    • Weight: 63 pounds

Jacobs Ladder 

    • Height: 65.5”
    • Width: 31.25”
    • Length: 76”
    • Weight: 325 lbs

5. Leadtime: 

The VersaClimber has been in business since 1981. Although they are made in the California, USA, the VersaClimber is readily available to ship at a click of a check out button. 

Since 2004, Jacobs Ladder has amassed a cult following with major organizations such as Navy Seals, Army Rangers, FBI, etc. due to its no frills approach to a total body cardiovascular, low impact workout. As these Jacobs Ladders are a made-to-order item from Niagara Falls, NY, a 6-8 week lead time is necessary to craft each unit by hand. 

6. Warranty: 


    • Frame, Hand Rails, Handles, Base Plate 3 years 
    • Foot Pedals, Rollers, and Slides 2 Years
    • Display and Electronics, Hand Grips, and Foot Pedal Straps 1 Year

Jacobs Ladder

    • 4 Years Parts
    • 1 Year Labor


Final Thoughts

The VersaClimber and the Jacobs Ladder are very different machines, that share vast amounts of beneficial similarities. Both machines provides a low-impact, self-paced, full-body cardiovascular workout that a wide range of people can use.

The VersaClimber offers 6 models to choose from that provide more program options integrated into the display console. The VersaClimber also has a smaller footprint to easily fit into a wide variety of home gym spaces or facilities per the user's preference. 

Conversely, the Jacobs ladder has 3 models to choose from and has a larger foot print to accommodate. The caloric burn rate from a Jacobs Ladder is significantly higher than a VersaClimber, which can be more attractive to athletes and serious fitness enthusiasts looking for more intense results that don't mind the extra space required.

Both machines are equally superior to any other cardio machine on the market today since it offers a low impact, calorie efficient workout. 

If you have questions about these models, Competitors Outlet is available via a call, text, email, or reach us on the website chat at the bottom right-hand corner. Customer Care is always on standby to answer any question, or assist in anyway. 



Related Articles:

The Complete Guide to the Jacobs Ladder Machine

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