5 Best Treadmills With A Decline (2023 Updated)

Man running on a treadmill with decline


By Simon Gould

There are many benefits to using a treadmill decline. But there aren’t many that have a decline feature. If you’re serious about running and training, they’re a good investment. They give you all the benefits of downhill running in a controlled and measurable way. I’ll go through some benefits, then the 5 best treadmills with a decline.

4 Benefits of a treadmill with a decline

1. Replicate outside routes

If you run outside you encounter all kinds of undulations and you may want to replicate this on a treadmill. Perhaps you can’t run outside for some reason due to the weather. Maybe you have a race coming up and you want to copy the course on your treadmill. One with a decline can help you do this and do it quite accurately.

2. Exercise leg muscles in a different way

Running downhill extends your stride and builds the quads. The hamstrings also get in some extra work. It’s best to do a combination of incline and decline training to get the muscles used to a variation of exercises. Although you won’t find steep declines on a decline treadmill, you still need to adjust your form to compensate.

3. Go at faster speeds

This is the main benefit of using a decline, you run at faster speeds using less effort. This trains your stride and legs to turnover more quickly. Over time you get used to the quicker pace and your normal runs quicken as a result. Using a decline is just one aspect of speed training you can do on a decline treadmill. This is why they appeal to runners who want to improve their times.

4. Helps reduce the risk of injury

The connective tissue in your legs are strengthened by running on a decline. When you combine this with the cushioning of the treadmill, this means it’s better for you than running downhill outside. Although you shouldn’t do all your training this way. Just like you shouldn’t run on an incline too often. It’s great to have it there when you want it.

Quick word about treadmills with declines

Treadmills with declines aren’t cheap. You pay a premium for it. They cost at least $1,500, but for that you usually get a good treadmill for the money. If the manufacturer have invested in a decline, then the rest of the specifications are usually high, they are with the treadmills on this list. I’ve never seen a cheap decline treadmill.

5 Best treadmills with a decline

VerdictTreadmillMaximum DeclinePrice
Top Pick!Bowflex BXT216-5%Best Price*
2ndBowflex Treadmill 10-5%Best Price*
3rdBowflex Treadmill 22-5%Best Price*
4thProForm Pro 2000-3%Best Price*
5thNordicTrack Commercial 1750-3%Best Price*

Top Pick: Bowflex BXT216

Bowflex BXT216

The Bowflex BXT216 is the flagship treadmill by Bowflex. It has a high specification particularly on the build and components. It’s a treadmill for runners with it’s powerful motor. The whole family can get a good workout in the home with a treadmill like this. It has some nice touches which I’ll go through in this review.

  • Motor Power: 4.0 CHP
  • Warranty: 15 Years: Frame & Drive Motor
  • Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
  • Decline: -5%

The BXT216 is a big treadmill with it’s long and wide deck. I always like a 22″ wide surface to run on, it makes me feel more confident knowing there’s a lot of room beneath me. Of course you can still walk on it or maybe another member of the family prefers walking. The machine is very sturdy and at 304 lbs is massive.

I have given this treadmill a maximum score. I think, given the features you get and the reasonable price for what it is, the score is deserved. If you’re looking for a machine for the whole family that will last, the BXT216 will serve you well. Experts and owners review this treadmill highly and I can only agree with them.

Leading 4.0 CHP motor
High weight capacity
Large LCD Screen
A bit heavy

Click here for the best price on the Bowflex BXT216*

2nd: Bowflex Treadmill 10

This is one of two Bowflex treadmills on this list and I prefer this one. They were only released this year so you’re getting the latest treadmill technologies. It includes a 10 inch touchscreen and is built around their app they call JRNY. Fitness apps are the latest thing in fitness equipment and all the leading brands have them.

  • Motor Power: 2.5 CHP
  • Folding: Yes
  • Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
  • Decline: -5%

This Bowflex Treadmill 10 is significantly cheaper than my top pick. It has some great qualities which may appeal a lot. This Bowflex is built for entertainment. If you want a decline feature, you’re more serious about running, that’s the reason it’s second.

Apart from the motor the specifications are very similar, you have 400 lbs weight capacity, the 2 year labor warranty. The labor warranty is very good for the price. It’s another big treadmill so measure up for where you want it to go. The decline of -5% is more than enough for those who want it. It’s a good treadmill in it’s own right.

Advanced built in app
10″ touchscreen can show Netflix
Bluetooth for Zwift
Large running surface
Heart rate armband included
Motor might not be big enough for some

Click here for the best price on the Bowflex Treadmill 10*

3rd: Bowflex Treadmill 22

This is the second Bowflex treadmill on this list and it deserves its place. It’s the higher spec model and it’s motor is significantly more powerful. It’s designed to take frequent runs and interval training, plus it has a good decline we’re focusing on. Being -5%, it’s the second highest on this list making it an essential consideration.

  • Motor Power: 4.0 CHP
  • Folding: Yes
  • Weight Capacity: 400 lbs
  • Decline: -5%

The touchscreen is a massive 22 inches so you’ll be able to see every pixel in crystal clear quality. The incline is 20% which is much better than the standard 15% you see on most treadmills. The screen is mainly for using the exclusive Bowflex fitness app, but a great feature you don’t often see is the ability to watch streaming services like Netflix. You can’t do that on NordicTrack equipment.

A Bluetooth heart rate arm band is included so you’ll be able to track your performance and effort as you run. There is free shipping so you’re not going to be hit with any hidden charges. For those who take their running seriously you can connect it to Zwift. You will still need foot pods if you want your speed transmitted though. Overall, a good, high spec treadmill with a high decline.

High 20% incline
2 years labor warranty
Powerful motor
NetFlix and other streaming services can be watched
Popular fitness app
A bit heavy

Click here for the best price on the Bowflex Treadmill 22*

4th: NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill

NordicTrack are one of the market leaders in fitness equipment. This Commercial 1750 is one of their most popular treadmills. It features a -3% decline so it’s not the biggest on this list, but it’s a quality treadmill so it gets a rightful place. If you only need a minor decline for your training, it’s definitely worth considering. There’s a special cushioning system as well so your joints are protected.

  • Motor Power: 3.0 CHP
  • Folding: Yes
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Decline: -3%

The fact that the treadmill has an average rating of 4.2 out of 5 from over 3,000 buyers on Amazon is unusual (in a good way). Fitness equipment can often develop faults and this one clearly doesn’t for the majority of customers. The weight capacity is perhaps a little low being 300 lbs, I’d have liked it to be a little higher. The warranty is one year for labor.

The link below takes you to the treadmill on Amazon, check the price as it changes occasionally. The most appealing part of NordicTrack treadmills are their fitness app called iFit. This enables you to enjoy streaming classes which are a very motivational and fun way to get your exercise. These apps will be in every treadmill in the near future.

iFit fitness app
10″ interactive touchscreen
Wide deck
Streaming classes
Good reputation
Low weight capacity

Click here for the best price on the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 Treadmill*

5th: ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill

ProForm equipment are made by the same company who make NordicTrack. For this reason some of the specifications can be similar. Although the weight capacity is the same as the NordicTrack above, the running surface is slightly smaller. This might concern you if you’re very tall or not so confident on treadmills. However, the Pro 2000 has proven popular and why it features on this list.

  • Motor Power: 3.0 CHP
  • Folding: Yes
  • Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
  • Decline: -3%

Like the NordicTrack, the decline is -3%, this will enable you to replicate minor downhill routes. The incline goes to 12% so you can have some nice variation in your workouts. This one has the iFit app too and all the benefits that come with it. You get 30 days free and then there’s monthly charge for it. That sounds bad but the content is expensive to produce. I think it’s worth it.

The top speed is 12 mph and it responds to changes quickly so you can do interval training. The frame is made of heavy duty steel so you can trust it’s durable and will last. The treadmill itself is quite heavy at 260 lbs, so make sure you assemble it where you want it to avoid needing to move it. All in all the ProForm is often recommended around the web and users seem to enjoy it.

Good top speed
Respectable warranty
Easy assembly
Good maker
Powerful motor
Smaller deck

Click here for the best price on the ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill*

4 Tips for decline training

1. Introduce decline training gradually

Like any new training routine you need to introduce it slowly. Don’t start doing decline runs several times per week immediately. Exercising on a decline is usually high intensity, It’s easy to over train and start getting injuries associated with it, like shin splints or runner’s knee. Do it once per week to start off with to get muscles used to being worked in a different way.

2. Avoid decline training if you have an injury

With some minor injuries you can start training before you’ve completely recovered. But you might want to avoid decline training as it increases the impact on your joints and muscles. That’s usually thew reason you got your injury in the first place. So don’t exacerbate it by using the decline, follow any physio or doctors recommendations about exercise for you personally.

3. Use the maximum decline

The decline on treadmills are a little limited, they can’t be much greater. So use the maximum when you want to do specific training on declines. Research says the optimum gradient is -6% and only my top pick has that (the Bowflex BXT216*). This is the amount you get the most benefits from downhill training. Any decline is better than none to get the benefits of quicker leg speed.

4. Don’t do it too often

The benefits can be had from decline training once or twice per week. More than that and you risk injuries like those if you increase the intensity too quickly. It may be tempting to enjoy the quicker speed needing less effort more often, but resist over doing it. You won’t find endless downhills in nature so there’s no need for constant decline training on your treadmill.

Final thoughts

At the beginning I went through 4 key benefits you can get from downhill training and these treadmills are the best available today that enable you to get them. If you’re a serious runner who encounters undulations in your outside running and want the same on your treadmill. One of these (especially my top pick) will suit you very well. Decline training can really help your running times.

Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked.

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