Best Incline Treadmill & Trainers

Lucie Bennett | Last Updated: May 9, 2020

There’s no denying the fact that cardio is awesome.

Running is one of the best ways to burn calories and build muscle.

Being able to run on an incline (i.e., up or down a slope) gives you the extra boost for those powerful workouts.

With one of these 5 Best Incline Treadmill & Trainers, you can really push yourself to the limit.

Incline treadmills tend to be bigger, heavier machines than some of the home treadmills, and they tend to come with bigger motors as well as footprint dimensions.

Some of the best incline treadmills come with folding decks to save space with easy storage.

The best incline treadmills come fully loaded with great features like HD screens, interactive coach technology, and cushioned decks.

We’ve pulled together the 5 best incline trainers and treadmills and broken down their specs, features, as well as their pros and cons.

We’ll finish up by recommending what we think is the best incline treadmill of 2020.


5 Best Incline Treadmill

NordicTrack Commercial x11i

NordicTrack is regularly rated as one of the leading exercise equipment companies out there, making some of the best treadmills, ellipticals, exercise bikes, and rowing machines.

Their NordicTrack X11i Commercial Treadmill is no different.

The NordicTrack X11i is a rock-solid, steel-framed treadmill that has the potential to surpass all of your needs as a runner.

With a best-in-class 0 to 40% incline, a 0 to 6% decline, it offers one of the highest incline ranges in the industry.

With a speed range of 0 – 12 mph, you can take your workouts anywhere from light walks to high-intensity sprints.

The X11i has a 10” smart HD touchscreen and comes with 44 onboard workout programs to assist runners in achieving their fitness goals.

You can stream movies and music or run along with one of the iFit Coach’s workout programs designed specifically for you to get the most out of your incline trainer.

The Next-Gen Sled Push is an excellent feature on the X11i and is bound to get your heart pumping.

Combining the all-new push bar and sled grips with a 1 MPH speed setting, the X11i will help you push your body to the limit.

The X11i combines performance with comfort, and runners’ joints and limbs are protected by the Reflex Cushioning on the running deck.

NordicTrack’s X11i is one of the best incline trainers out there and its spectacular features list makes it hard to beat.

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The NordicTrack Commercial X11i is a solid incline treadmill that comes with one of the best incline ranges available.

Freemotion i11.9 Incline Trainer

The i11.9 Incline Trainer from Freemotion is a superb incline trainer with a massive 33% incline range, perfect for burning those extra calories.

If you’re looking to push yourself, the i11.9 incline trainer is hard to beat.

Ramp up the intensity with an impressive 30% incline and -3% decline.

With this spectacular range, runners will be able to target specific and varied muscle groups, and it’s perfect for hitting those quags and glutes.

The Freemotion i11.9 comes with a 10” HD screen, 12 onboard workout programs, a handy USB port for charging your device, and one of the best incline ranges in the industry, making it one of the best incline treadmills on the market today.

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The Freemotion i11.9 Incline Trainer has all the features runners want plus an amazing 33% incline range!

Bowflex BXT226

Bowflex has come out with a beast of an incline trainer with their BXT266. It comes with a solid 15% incline, 9 onboard workouts, and a max. Speed of 12 mph. Runners can customize their workouts to suit their goals.

The Bowflex also comes with a 60-day membership to Bowflex’s JRNY app, where you can access dozens of workout programs.

When you’re not using it, the SoftDrop Folding System makes it friendly and easy to store. The 22” x 60” running belt gives runners lots of space to run.

Play your favorite music through the integrated digital speakers using BlueTooth connectivity, and there’s a handy USB port to charge your device during your running.

With a solid features list and compact size, the Bowflex BXT226 is one of the best inline trainers out there.

If you want top-level performance from a compact incline machine, the BXT226 is an excellent treadmill for you.

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The Bowflex BXT226 treadmill brings the performance you need from a compact incline trainer.

NordicTrack Commercial x32i

The NordicTrack Commercial X32i is one of the best treadmills with incline that runners can buy.

It’s industry-leading incline range, plus premium features list raises the X32i over its competitors and easily makes it one of our favorite treadmills on the market.

The NordicTrack X32i has a rock-solid steel frame that can push you to your limits.

With a stunning 0 to 40% incline and 0 to 6% decline, it offers one of the biggest incline ranges in the industry.

It also comes with a speed range of 0 – 12 mph, so you can change up your workouts from easy jogging to sweat-busting sprints.

The X32i has an impressive 32” interactive HD touchscreen and comes with 50 onboard workout programs to help runners achieve their exercise goals.

You can stream movies and music or run along with one of the iFit Coach’s workout programs, designed specifically for you to get the most out of the X32i incline treadmill.

The Next-Gen Sled Push is a superb feature on the X32i and will undoubtedly get your heart pumping.

Combined with the push bar and sled grips, a 1 MPH speed setting will push you to the limit.

The X32i is a ridiculous treadmill with one of the best features list we’ve seen.

The design, build, performance, and features make the NordicTrack Commercial X32i one of the best treadmills of the year.

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The NordicTrack Commercial x32i is a premium incline treadmill that comes with one of the best incline ranges and features list on the market.

ProForm SMART Pro 9000

The ProForm SMART Pro 9000 comes with a solid -3% to +15% incline range, plus 40 onboard workouts, giving runners the ability to tailor their workouts to their specific workout goals.

ProForm sweetens the deal by throwing in a 1-year subscription to iFit Coach Technology for users who want more training options.

The 10” HD touchscreen is a better feature than some of the LDC screens that come on some competitor’s models.

The 4.0 CHP motor smoothly drives the belt up to the 12 mph max. speed and the 18% incline range.

While it doesn’t come with lifetime warranties, the ProForm SMART Pro 9000 has everything you need for a superb incline treadmill.

You can easily store it with SpaceSaver Design and EasyLift Assist when you’re not using it.

Its awesome features list make the Pro 9000 one of our favorite mid-range incline treadmills.

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The ProForm SMART Pro 9000 is a rock-solid incline treadmill with a respectable features list and an even better price.

Traits of Best Incline Treadmills

There are some key points to keep in mind when choosing the right incline treadmill for you.

Check out the factors you should be aware of when it comes to comparing incline trainers.

Incline Range

Some treadmills focus on giving more incline/decline range than others, going between -6% decline up to a whopping +40% incline.

Standard incline treadmills usually have a 0 – 15% range, as this provides enough variability to keep the workouts exciting and challenging.


Because treadmills are big pieces of equipment, you might want to get one that folds if you’re going to be using it at home.

The ability to fold your machine makes it far easier to store as it takes up a lot less space.

Some incline trainers come with assisted folding making them easier and more straightforward to fold.

Size of Motor

To be able to handle the added strain that comes with inclines, make sure your treadmill has at least 3 CHP, or even better, 4 CHP.

Deck Size (Running Surface)

The industry standard for deck size is 20” x 60”.

Anything less than this might be too small, especially for taller runners.


The maximum belt speed for most incline treadmills is 12 mph.

Usually, there’s no need to go over this, but if you go under, you might limit the treadmill’s usefulness for some runners.

Maximum User Weight

Incline treadmills usually have a maximum user weight somewhere between 300 and 400 lbs.

Check the specifications of the particular model to see exactly what weight your incline treadmill can handle.


Make sure your home treadmill comes with good warranties.

Most models offer different warranties for the frame, parts, motor, electronics, and labor, so make sure you check each one thoroughly.

Features of Best Incline Treadmill

The features tend to be what separates the basic incline treadmills from the premium incline treadmills.

Some models come small LCD screens, while others are fitted with large HD screens.

The top-end incline treadmills also come with subscriptions to iFit Coach technology, Bluetooth speakers, and USB ports for charging devices, as well as cooling fans and water bottle holders to keep you comfortable while you run.


To sum up our recommendations for the best incline trainers and treadmills of 2020:

    If you want a premium incline trainer, the NordicTrack Commercial X32i is the treadmill for you.
    If you want a compact incline treadmill, the Bowflex BXT226 is your best choice.
    If a midrange incline treadmill, the Freemotion i11.9 is a great option for you.
    If you're looking for good value for money, the NordicTrack Commercial X11i is the perfect option.
    If you're looking for a budget home treadmill, the ProForm SMART Pro 9000 will not let you down.
Happy running!

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Yes. Incline trainers are great exercise machines for building leg muscles, especially quads and glutes.

Yes. Inclines can help you target specific leg muscles.

To begin with, runners might feel some foot pain as their foot adapts to running on an incline. Over time with adequate rest and recovery, the pain should go away.

It depends on what you’re aim is. If you want to build muscle, slower speeds with a higher incline are better. If you want to build stamina and endurance, higher speeds and lower inclines are better.

Most decent incline treadmills have cushioned decks to help reduce the chance of users getting injured. Remember to start low and slow then slowly increase as you get stronger.

Numerous studies have shown that walking on an incline for 3 – 6 hours per week burns more fat than walking on a level surface for the same amount of time.

Yes. If your aim is to gain muscle, the best setting is high incline, low speed. If the treadmill has sled push bars, use them to gain even more muscle.

Treadmills display the incline level as a percentage, not a level. This means if you set it to level 2, the deck will be at a 2% incline.

Yes. You will burn more calories running at an incline than you would running on flat at the same speed.

This all depends on what your personal goals are. If you want to build your endurance, low inclines and high speeds are better. If you want to build muscle, higher inclines and lower speeds are better suited for you. It’s always a good idea to experiment and see what works for you!

No. Incline trainers are great machines for people of all heights, weights, and shapes.

Incline treadmills build muscles in your ankles, calves, thighs, and glutes. Plus, the incline actually stretches the muscles, so you’ll gain long, lean leg muscles.

Using iFit Coach Technology is a great way to simulate road running. You can run along a road using Google Maps and the treadmill’s incline and decline will adjust automatically.

Some treadmills come with auto incline. By choosing an option on the display, the treadmill will adjust its own incline so you can focus on running.

No, not for most people. If you feel pain in your knees while you’re running on your treadmill, see if it goes away at lower inclines.

Being able to adjust the incline on your treadmill gives you a whole other level. You can boost the intensity to gain strength and endurance.

Yes. Incline treadmills are perfect machines for sculpting your glutes.

Yes, on a 32-inch screen.

No. The versatility of an incline treadmill makes it the better option.


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