How to Decide on the Highest Incline Treadmills (Incline Trainers)

Woman running on a treadmill with incline

By Simon Gould

There seems to be a trend that I see at my gym quite a lot. People turn the incline of their treadmill up really high and speed walk. There’s a lot of evidence to show using the treadmill at an incline can burn a lot of calories and walking is something we can all do. It doesn’t look easy and burning a lot of calories is never easy but people seem to enjoy it.

What are incline trainers

The treadmills at gyms and the ones you can buy for the home all have around 15% incline to 20% incline. There is a demand for higher still and this is where incline trainers have come in. They are specially made for a steep incline and they usually go up to 40%. At this level you will be burning around 5 times more calories than walking on a flat surface.

Before I go through what I think are the leading incline trainers I must make you aware that some only have a top speed of 4 mph. That is a fast walk. So if you changed your mind with your workouts and you want to do jogging or running, you won’t be able to with some trainers. The ones I’ve listed have a top speed of 12 mph which is a very fast run for most people.

And remember, if you’re just starting to exercise, you should focus on perfecting your technique and running form rather than worrying about what incline you should run on a treadmill. You should focus on meeting the CDC’s standard for adult fitness and make an effort to run for at least 1 hour and 15 minutes each week. Setting an inclination is not nearly as significant as this.

NordicTrack lead the way

NordicTrack having been making exercise equipment for many years. They have been at the forefront of fitness technology and I think their incline trainers are the best. They offer free shipping and can take the product into the room of your choice and assemble it if you want, for an additional price. My advice is always pay for treadmill assembly for a number of reasons.

So the 3 NordicTrack incline trainers I’m going to show you all have fantastic warranties which is important. They all have lifetime frame and motor, 6 years parts and electronics and, what I really like, 3 years labor. This shows NordicTrack has confidence in the build of their trainers. They also have large running decks so you’re not going to fall off and great, 40% inclines.

1. NordicTrack X11i Incline Trainer

The NordicTrack X11i Incline Trainer is the cheapest of the 3 and at the time of writing is $2,249. There’s a 10-inch HD screen for you to enjoy and a powerful 4.0 CHP motor. This motor is very good for a treadmill and so can easily take a weight of up to 300 pounds.

The price includes a year of their iFit membership which allows you to train with instructors on the screen. As said before it has a maximum speed of 12 mph so if there’s anyone who likes running in the family, then they can use this.

2. NordicTrack X22i Incline Trainer

This is the step up from the X11i above. At the time of writing this was on sale for $2,999. So it’s a thousand more so what do you get for the extra money? You get double the size of interactive touchscreen because it’s 22 inches.

As with the X11i you are able to stream on demand workouts because a years membership to iFit is included. There are 50 on board workout programs so you get variety with the X22i. It’s a real calorie burner to get that weight loss.

3. NordicTrack X32i Incline Trainer

This is the best incline trainer NordicTrack have to offer. NordicTrack X32i Incline Trainer is on sale for $3,999 and is a real step forward than the other trainers on offer. It has the biggest touchscreen at 32 inches and has a more powerful 4.25 CHP motor.

All these trainers have a -6% decline which means you can walk or run slightly downhill. You can really reflect any terrain you meet and with the on demand workout sessions make a truly exceptional line of incline trainers.


I would warn you, walking on a 40% incline is really hard and you won’t be able to do it for long at first. But that’s the beauty of exercise, your body adapts and makes it easier over the weeks you do it. This is cardiovascular fitness improving and it can happen quite quickly. NordicTrack incline treadmills are perfect to help you achieve this.

As you can see, you pay a bit more for incline trainers. But they have exactly the same features and more than your usual treadmills. Apart from the incline the motor is very powerful. You normally see 3.0 CHP on treadmills but these incline trainers have 4.0 CHP and more. If you’re into speed walking up hills then you can’t go wrong with a NordicTrack incline trainer you see here.

What to do if your treadmill is stuck on an incline? We’ve got you covered. Learn more about what to do if your treadmill is stuck on an incline here.

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

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