Best Incline Trainer Treadmills

Find the best incline trainer can be a fairly quick process. While most treadmills have some amount of incline ability built into them, most don’t go higher than 15% incline, which sets incline trainers apart from your average treadmill. These machines are able to reach inclines of 40%!  However, not many treadmill manufacturers have produced incline trainers.

The 3 fitness brands which have made incline trainers are NordicTrack, Bowflex, and FreeMotion. The FreeMotion incline trainer is not available for home purchase and can only be bought secondhand. As for the Bowflex TreadClimber, it has less utility and is more expensive than NordicTrack’s incline trainers. This effectively narrows down the competition for the spot of best incline trainer.

Top-Rated Incline Trainers

NordicTrack X9i Incline Trainer

The NordicTrack X9i incline trainer brings treadmills to a new level. It has a 3.0 CHP motor, a 7” touchscreen display, and can decline to -6% and incline up to 40%. It can also act as a regular treadmill as well as incline trainer and is able to reach a max speed of 12 MPH. Read our full review of the X9i for more information.  

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NordicTrack X11i Incline Trainer

A good compromise between the X9i and the X22i, the NordicTrack X11i is a beast of a machine. It has a 4.25 CHP motor and also has an incline range of -6% to 40%. Also included is a 10” touchscreen so you can track your workouts and enjoy any of the 44 pre-programmed workouts available on this incline trainer. Read our full review of the X11i for more information.

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NordicTrack X22i Incline Trainer

Top of the incline trainer line is the NordicTrack X22i incline trainer. Equipped with a 22” high-definition touchscreen, the X22i will make your workouts an immersive experience. It makes the iFit Coach membership even more appealing as you can virtually run anywhere you want in the world with the giant screen in front of you. Add in the large 4.25 CHP motor and huge incline range, and you have a recipe for engrossing workouts. Read our full review of the X22i for more information.

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Why You Should Consider Buying An Incline Trainer

There are many treadmills out there and they have at least some incline range. So why choose one of the best incline trainers over a traditional treadmill? Easy, because our top three incline trainers blend together all the best things you can find in treadmills as well as adding a massive incline range. Some of the benefits of engaging in incline training are:

  • Ability to hill train without being near to hills
  • Faster calorie burn at higher inclines
  • Work more of your body’s muscles
  • Expand your VO2 max

The best incline trainers bring you all these benefits and by doubling as a treadmill, you can reap even more health benefits.

Determining Which Is The Best Incline Trainers

There are several criteria which our incline trainers need to meet in order to be considered one of our best incline trainers. By applying our rigorous standards to all the incline trainers available on the market, it became clear why some made the cut and others did not.

  • Decline – The highest decline we’ve seen in treadmills and incline trainers alike has been -6%. So we have set that as the bar that the best incline trainers need to meet.
  • Incline – NordicTrack’s incline trainers can reach an incline of 40%, which is higher than any other treadmill and incline trainer on the market today.
  • Max speed – The top speed of the best incline trainers should be 12 MPH.
  • Belt area – When it comes to incline trainers, you will want plenty of room to move. Top incline trainers will have belt measurements of 22” by 60”.
  • Built-in workouts – While it can be nice to manually input your workout, to make the best use of your incline trainer, they should come with a variety of workout programs.
  • Cost – While it would be nice if price was no issue, that isn’t the case for most potential buyers. Incline trainers can be more expensive than your average treadmill, which is why it is important to make sure you are choosing the right incline trainer.

Why We Excluded Bowflex And FreeMotion

When testing and reviewing treadmills as well as incline trainers, we do our best to be fair. Part of that fairness included holding both incline trainers and treadmills up to competitive standards. Based on those standards, both the FreeMotion i11.7 incline trainer and the Bowflex TreadClimber TC100 missed the mark.

Bowflex TreadClimber TC100 – The TreadClimber TC100 will never act as a treadmill. With its split-deck belt, it inclines one side at a time. It also:

  • Retails for $2,199 and often goes on sale for $1,999.
  • Only has a max speed of 4 MPH
  • Cannot control incline levels
  • No built-in programs

There is also the Bowflex TreadClimber TC200, but it is not much of an upgrade even though it costs $1,000 more than the TC100.

FreeMotion i7.9 – The FreeMotion brand is a commercial workout machine brand. As such, their machines are not available to the general public except through secondhand dealer. So while the FreeMotion i7.9 is a good incline trainer, it falls short in several ways.

  • Can only decline to -3% and up to 30% incline.
  • Has only 26 programs. NordicTrack incline trainers start at 44 built-in programs.
  • The most affordable i7.9 we could find costs $4,687 on Amazon.

Freemotion also has the i11.9, which is very similar to the i7.9 but has even fewer built-in programs.

Clearly, the two other incline trainer manufacturers do not measure up to the standards of the best incline trainers.  

Other Considerations When Selecting The Best Incline Trainer

There are a few other aspects you may want to consider when looking for the best incline trainer to go into your home.

  • Incline trainers take up a lot of space. There is a tradeoff for their great incline range and one of the main tradeoffs is that incline trainers are very large. On average, they measure 40” wide, 70” long, and 72” tall. Incline trainers also do not fold up, so be sure you have enough space for your chosen incline trainer.
  • Extra features for greater enjoyment and utility. If you have a close decision when picking your incline trainer, the features may be a tie-breaker. The best incline trainers will have extras like wireless heart rate monitoring chest straps, good speakers, strong fans, touchscreen displays, and the ability to sync with apps.
  • Build and warranty should be excellent. Incline trainers need to be incredibly sturdy to withstand high incline levels. The incline trainer should not move as you use it, no matter the incline or speed. Also, look for longer warranties to protect your investment. There should at least be a lifetime warranty on the motor, frame, and deck. At least a 5-year electronics and parts warranty, with a 2-year labor warranty.

Best Incline Trainers

Choosing an incline trainer shouldn’t mean you are giving up on buying a treadmill. The best incline trainers will blend your favorite things from the best treadmills and give you the incredible incline range offered by an incline trainer. To see how our 2 best incline trainers stack up to regular treadmills, check out our best treadmills under $2,000 page as well as the best treadmills under $2,500 page.

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