Best Incline Trainers
Last Updated: January 28, 2021
If you’re looking for a machine that maximizes calorie burn while being light on the joints and offers lower-body resistance training as well, an incline trainer could be the ideal choice for you. Incline trainers are like treadmills but where the running decks can slope at different degrees for an uphill or downhill walking and running experience.
The main feature of an incline trainer is a steep maximum incline of about 30 to 40% as compared to the 10-20% maximum incline level of treadmills. These machines are quite versatile, being able to serve also as a treadmill, elliptical and stair stepper, thanks to their diverse sloping options.
Best Incline Trainers 2021-22
While the incline trainer industry is not as diverse as the treadmill industry with only a few manufacturers who offer these machines, making an informed purchase is still essential since they don’t come cheap. Below are our recommendations for the top incline trainer models available out there.
1. NordicTrack Commercial X22i
The 40% incline and 6% decline offered by NordicTrack machines is as good as it gets for incline trainers. 22-inch SMART HD touchscreen with iFit compatibility to its powerful 4.0 CHP motor, the X22i is a solid incline trainer that is hard to beat. Which is why the X22i Incline Trainer ranks as one of our top overall treadmill.
X22i features a powerful 4.0 CHP motor, 50 built in training programs, shock absorbing cushioning, extra wide and quiet tread belt, we can go on and on…please read our full review
2. FreeMotion i11.9 Incline Trainer
If you’re looking for a high-end training experience, the FreeMotion i11.9 is certainly an option to consider. This incline trainer offers a maximum slope of 30% and also a slight decline, but its other features are what adds to its appeal.
The 5 HP motor power, extra-large track, 10-inch Android touchscreen, iFit compatibility, and even a 17-inch HDTV compatibility (TV not included in the purchase) make it a luxury trainer for both gym and home use. However, the limited warranty and higher price are major drawbacks of this incline trainer.
3. NordicTrack Commercial X11i
The max 40% incline offered by NordicTrack machines is as steep as it gets on modern incline trainers. From its 10-inch interactive HD touchscreen with iFit compatibility to its powerful 3.75 CHP motor, the X11i is a solid incline trainer at a reasonable price.
It also works on manual mode with a sled push option for resistance training, optional cushioning to lessen impact on joints, 48 built-in training programs, and 6 levels of decline as well for downhill walking. While not the fanciest of its Commercial series machines, the X11i is a practical and impressive model which offers good value for money.
4. BowFlex TreadClimber TC100
This one is certainly a unique incline trainer with two separate treadles, one for each foot. Its 3-in-1 motion makes it able to function as an elliptical, treadmill, and stepper all in one.
The TC100 is meant for power walks instead of sprints, having a maximum speed of 4 mph. It has a backlit LED display with stat tracking, wheels for added portability, and all the basic features required for a solid machine. One thing that might be a bother is the limited warranty.
5. NordicTrack Commercial X32i
This modern incline trainer is pretty impressive at both first sight and with use. Its luxurious 32-inch screen is web and iFit-enabled, and the motor is a powerful 4.25 CHP to support longer workouts. With 50 built-in programs, 6% decline, 40% incline, optional cushioning, and max 12 mph speed, working out on the X32i offers a lot of possibilities.
This trainer comes with an excellent warranty package and also a free year-long membership of iFit Coach.
If you’re still a bit lost and are trying to figure out what kind of incline trainer to go for, below are a few tips, pros, and cons of the machines.
Pros of Using an Incline Trainer
- Light on the joints
- Versatile action (as a stepper, elliptical, and treadmill)
- Multiplied calorie burn
- Cardio and resistance training in one
Cons of Using an Incline Trainer
- May not always allow running
- More expensive than regular treadmills
Features to Look Out For When Buying an Incline Trainer
Making a purchase that costs a few thousand dollars should be done after thorough research. Here are some pointers on what to look for when looking to purchase:
- Decline/ incline range – the right range for you depends on your fitness level and how intense of a workout you are looking for. A wider range translates to more potential and intensity.
- Dimensions – should be able to fit in the space you have in mind at home, as well as allow some free area (at least around 8 inches at the back) for your safety.
- Track style – some incline trainers have pedal like ‘treadles’ that further reduce impact on joints, while others may operate more like treadmills with a traditional belt.
- Length of the running surface – incline trainers typically require shorter belts than treadmills since slopes always shorten the steps you take. It’s still wiser to purchase one on the larger side especially if you’re 6 feet or above, and plan on speeding up
- Other features – cooling fans, touchscreens, internet connectivity, built-in workout programs, compatibility with fitness apps, a good sound system, and heart rate monitoring can add quality to your workout experience
Now that you know all that modern incline trainers have to offer, it’s up to you to decide which features are worth spending on and which ones you can live without while saving some money. Overall, it’s a good idea to buy an incline trainer to speed up your calorie burn while protecting your joints and strengthening your muscles at the same time.