How To Decide On The Best Incline Treadmill

How To Decide On The Best Incline Treadmill | NordicTrack Blog

The real world isn’t flat. So why is your treadmill? Welcome to the world of incline treadmills. Setting steep inclines can be better for burning calories and for realistically preparing for races and other athletic events. An incline treadmill allows you to mimic the real world gradients of your next marathon, or burn twice as many calories as running flat. Finding the right incline treadmill is easy when you remember to consider these five basic factors.

1. Make sure the frame is sturdy and safe.

Back in 1998, Hal Higdon, winner of four World Masters Championships, mentor for over 250,000 marathon completers, and the longest contributing writer to Runner’s World offered this timeless advice: “The control panel shouldn’t jiggle.”

That advice is still true today. First things first, the treadmill needs to be sturdy and the display needs to be readable. This means the treadmill should have appropriate front and side handlebars to give you something to grab onto when the going gets tough. Also, if you’ve ever run on a treadmill with a wiggling screen in front of your face, you probably know that it can make for a nauseating run.

2. Find one with a good belt and motor.

From Harvard Health Publications: “look for a strong motor” and “a belt that’s long and wide enough for your stride”

That means a full-sized tread belt – at least 22 inches wide and 50 inches long. A full-size treadmill allows an average-sized adult a full range of motion.

The treadmill should have a surface that’s not too soft, but also isn’t too hard. Determining what is comfortable for you will require running on different models, but it’s worth your time.

3. Consider the latest maximum incline treadmills.

A 10 percent max incline is good and available on most low-budget treadmills. Fifteen percent is even better. But why not consider going all out with a 40 percent max incline? More incline means more calories burned. An average 200-pound user walking at 2 mph for 20 minutes burns 129.2 calories. An average user at a 10 percent incline burns 173.1 calories. But at a 40 percent incline, an average user weighing 200 pounds burns a whopping 304.7 calories in just 20 minutes. 

4. Take a look at the other features.

Incline treadmills have the ability to recreate an uphill run, and some of them can even do downhill also. Some treadmills even have monitors that make it easy to create a simulated experience. From running uphill in a forest or a desert, the right scenery can give you all the motivation you need to reach your goals. Unique running programs are also essential. Also consider if it will sync up with your other devices such as tablets, phones, or Fitbits.

5. Don’t forget the Warranty.

Incline treadmills move a lot. Instead of just going round and round, they go up and down too. When treadmills move more, they wear more. Marathoners, athletes, and competitors should look for a longer warranty because they’ll put even more wear on the machine.


Finding the right incline treadmill can be easy. Just remember the five important factors, and don’t forget to read the reviews!

DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. NordicTrack assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article. Always follow the safety precautions included in the owner’s manual of your fitness equipment. Shipping times are dependent on in-stock inventory and delivery timeframes may vary. Make sure to check the website for any specific delays in delivery and shipping.

*Never stand on the walking belt when starting the machine, and remember to always use the safety key when using the treadmill. Please remember to follow all safety precautions that are listed in your treadmill Users Manual.*

IFIT DISCLAIMER: iFit requires an internet connection and Wi-Fi to function. You will be required to provide your credit card information upon sign-up for iFit. Your Commitment Period may be month-to-month or twelve (12), eighteen (18), or thirty-six (36) months, depending on your agreement. Terms shall apply to your iFit use and subscription during your Commitment Period and any subsequent Renewal Term. Unless you cancel your account or notify us at least twenty four (24) hours prior to the expiration of your commitment period that you do not wish to renew your subscription, your iFit subscription will automatically renew for an additional month, one (1) year, or two (2) year period, as applicable, for the same duration as your initial commitment period (“The Renewal Term”), and you authorize us to bill the then-applicable membership fee and any taxes to the payment method we have on record for you. 

Sources: (This study was commissioned and paid for by ICON Health & Fitness, Inc.)