Which incline treadmill is best?

Treadmills are among the most popular exercise machines for home or gym use. Using them with an incline lets you increase the intensity of the workout and target the lower-body muscle groups. For a high-end incline treadmill that is loaded with features and offers ultimate durability, the NordicTrack Commercial 2950 is a top choice.

What to know before you buy an incline treadmill

Levels of incline 

Most treadmills designed for home use offer a maximum incline of 10%-15%, which should be enough for most people. If you want a higher incline, consider getting an incline trainer, which can go up to 40% incline.


If you have limited space, choose a compact incline treadmill. Keep in mind that compact treadmills that offer features such as foldable design are great for space-saving but might not provide optimum sturdiness. Also, consider the size of the platform, as it should be large enough to comfortably accommodate your natural stride when walking or running. Ideally, the platform should have extra room on the side and back to provide safety and comfort.


A 2-horsepower motor should be enough for most users. The advantages of a more powerful motor are smoother operation and that the motor can support faster speed and heavier weight. The disadvantage is that it can increase the treadmill’s price and will consume more energy.

What to look for in a quality incline treadmill

Safety features

One of the most common treadmill safety features is a clip that attaches to your clothes. If you are thrown off balance and the clip is pulled, the treadmill is designed to stop moving the belt. Other safety features include an emergency stop button and handrails for balance.

Display console 

Budget treadmills typically offer a display console showing distance, time, calories burned, and other basic workout data. More advanced models will have larger touch screen displays with media connectivity and built-in workout programs. The high-quality displays should be responsive and easy to read.

Cushioning system 

The cushioning system’s impact protection is an important feature of a high-quality treadmill. Most types of treadmills are easier on the joints than running outdoors. Some high-end models offer advanced systems that include specialized rubber for the belt and shock absorber springs.

How much you can expect to spend on an incline treadmill

For a budget treadmill, expect to pay around $400. For a high-end treadmill with advanced features and extra durability, plan to spend more than $1,000.

Incline treadmill FAQ

How much energy do treadmills consume? 

A. A treadmill generally consumes more energy than an exercise bike or elliptical machine. The exact consumption will depend on the size and type of treadmill. As you can expect, treadmills with larger motors will be less energy-efficient. For example, a 2.5-horsepower motor needs around 1,800 watts of power.

Is an incline treadmill good for burning calories?

A. Yes, if you use it at a speed that elevates the heart rate. The calories burned will depend on the workout’s intensity and the user’s weight. Increasing the angle by 5% can boost calories burned from 150 to 250 for a 30-minute workout at 4 miles per hour for a 160-pound user.  

Can the treadmills be used in a declining position? 

A. Several models offer a decline position, but the angle is not as steep as the incline. Using the treadmill on decline can target different muscles of the lower body, but a sharp decline angle can cause joint discomfort or injury.  

What’s the best incline treadmill to buy?

Top incline treadmill

Best NordicTrack Commercial 2950

NordicTrack Commercial 2950

What you need to know: It might be expensive, but it’s loaded with all the features you will find on a high-quality incline treadmill.

What you’ll love: This treadmill can be tilted from -3% to 15%. The innovative EasyLift assist feature offers a space-saving design, while the large 4-horsepower motor provides quiet and smooth operation.

What you should consider: The higher price can be a sticking point with price-sensitive buyers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top incline treadmill for the money

TR150 Folding Treadmill by Xterra

TR150 Folding Treadmill by Xterra 

What you need to know: With its unbeatable price, foldable design and extra-large platform, this incline treadmill from Xterra is a bargain.

What you’ll love: Offering three incline levels and a 2.25-horsepower motor, this treadmill is ideal for home use. The cushioned desk provides proper stability and comfort.

What you should consider: Because it’s designed for home use, you may run into durability issues if you plan on heavy-duty use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Best NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill

NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill

What you need to know: This midrange treadmill offers a multi-function display and heart rate sensor.

What you’ll love: The incline goes up to 10%, which should be enough for most users. The treadmill has a 3-horsepower motor, providing adequate power. The heavy-duty steel frame provides extra durability.   

What you should consider: Some users reported a need to lubricate the belt periodically to get optimum performance.  

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Want to shop the best products at the best prices? Check out Daily Deals from BestReviews.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

 Ali Azhar writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2023 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.