Best Incline Treadmills – Top Bang For Buck Auto Incline Trainers
Treadmill running can get boring pretty soon. I’ll give you that.
When you are watching the same tiny screen or the wall in front of you, every single day, even Don Diablo cannot force an endorphin rush.
That’s the reason why most treadmills end up turning into glorified clothes drying racks, forgotten under your bed if you have a fold-flat treadmill, or get buried under all the clutter that you never even knew existed at home if you have a low profile treadmill.
But if running outside is not an option for any reason, what is the best way to turn a mundane physical activity such as this one, into an exciting one, that you look forward to?
Get the best treadmill with incline, that’s how.
The best treadmills with incline incorporate uphill running into your treadmill workouts.
Unlike running on flat terrain, uphill running is a different beast altogether that pushes you to work harder, burn more calories, and instantly amplifies the overall potential benefits of the activity by leaps and bounds.
So, if a normal treadmill sounds ho-hum, wait till you learn how a seemingly simple feature like an incline, can completely transform your workouts.
Why You Should Only Buy an Incline Treadmill
Incline treadmills are generally more feature rich as compared to regular treadmills, because they are designed to simulate hills and flats. Some treadmill models even offer a decline function to simulate running down a slope as well - making your workout routine even more effective.
To add to this, most of them feature interactive workouts such as iFit, which ensure that your body doesn’t adapt to the activity.
There’s a plethora of health benefits to add to this.
Incline Treadmills Build and Tone Your Butt and Thighs
When you run on an incline, you are essentially running uphill and it activates not only your leg muscles, but also every major muscle group in your body.
Your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, your core, the arms, your back, every single major muscle group is working harder to propel you forward.
The most noticeable difference will be in your butt and your thighs though.
If you thought that normal running was enough to tone your legs, try running on an incline.
It has a weight-training-like effect on your butt and your quads and hamstrings. If you’ve been shirking leg day in the gym, this is the next best way to train your lower body.
Costs Approximately the Same as Normal Treadmills
This is the kicker. Whenever I mention treadmills with incline, most of my buddies assume that they are pricier than normal treadmills.
But they are not.
They cost roughly the same as the treadmills without an incline.
Why then would you want to settle for a less effective option while you are paying the same money?
Makes no sense at all.
Allows for Interactive Training and Gaming (Zwift)
Interactive training is THE way to be exercising today.
It’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s a group activity, it can be customized to suit your physical conditioning and your fitness goals, and it comes bundled with most treadmills with incline. Lots of treadmills work with Zwift, as an example of these interactive training apps. Zwift gives a gamified exercise experience which is really awesome and has a lot of benefits, people wonder if Zwift is worth the money or not, from my experience it is well worth the money .
Why, you might ask.
That’s because in most of these interactive classes, trainers try to mix and match things up.
They will ramp up the speed and then slow it down. They will switch to an incline and then increase the speed further, turning it into an incline sprint for five to six seconds.
Short uphill sprints are the bee’s knees for fitness.
If you are taking an interactive class on your treadmill that does not have an incline, you will be caught lollygagging.
Hills Burn Fat
It is estimated that a person of average body weight can burn anywhere from 800-1400 calories an hour running on an incline.
In comparison, the average person clocks between 600-800 calories burned while running on a flat level surface.
The exact numbers will vary depending on the person’s speed, body weight and the level of incline, among other factors.
But even if you look at that ballpark figure, it tells you that incline running is a much superior calorie burner as compared to flat running.
If you are looking at running as a way to burn more calories and drop some pounds fast, get a treadmill with an incline option.
Better Heart and Lung Health
Running on a treadmill with an incline function is much better for your cardiovascular system as it is forced to work harder to power you uphill. Your lungs and your breathing will also become more efficient as you continue to run uphill.
There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that indicates that incline runs have resulted in better lipids. LDL levels drop, HDL levels increase.
In a nutshell, it makes you stronger, faster, healthier and leaner, a better athlete in every way.
Top 9 Incline Treadmills
Best Treadmills with Automatic Incline
On that note, let me quickly share with you the best treadmills with an automatic incline feature.
#1 – Editor’s Choice – Bowflex BXT22 - My Personal Home Incline Treadmill – 20% Incline
- Highly Rated & Reviewed
- Best Bang For Buck Option
- High Quality Build
- Capacious running track
- 3-ply belt with ample cushioning
- 4.0 CHP motor
- 0-12 mph
- Power incline
- 22” immersive console color screen with detailed stats
- 11 in-built workouts
- Can be synced with Zwift
- Comes with a heart rate monitor
Bowflex T22 Review
The Bowflex T22 is a mid-level model from Bowflex, with an impressive spec list at a very affordable price.
I researched incline treadmills for close to 6-months before narrowing down on the Bowflex T22.
It may not be the absolute best investment for a cardio machine. But it has all the important features that I was looking for from an incline treadmill. Besides, of all the options in town, this was among the most affordable.
If you too seek an affordable, feature-rich incline treadmill, you'll absolutely love this one.
What I Liked the Most About It
- Capacious running deck: The first thing that I noticed in the Bowflex T22 is the size of the deck. It’s 60” long and 22” wide. I am 6’2 and anything smaller than this doesn’t allow me to fully extend my stride and when I don’t do that, I am automatically compensating for it by altering my posture. Not great for my spine in the long run.
- Ample cushioning: The deck has a three-ply tread belt, which offers a generous amount of cushioning. This translates into lesser impact on your joints.
- Excellent speed and incline: The top speed of 12 mph is excellent for a vigorous run. Club that with a 20% incline and you will end up soaked in sweat by the time you are done with your workout.
- 22” Immersive console with adjustable HD touchscreen for interactive workouts: The T22 features a full color screen that can be used to run one of the built in workouts in the treadmill. If you have a bigger monitor, you can screen Zwift virtual workouts and sync it with the treadmill. This is an absolute cracker of a training app that allows you to join solo or group training sessions, guided by elite coaches.You become part of a global running community, track statistics, run custom workout programs and pick tracks from all around the world to run. I personally sync it with Garmin Connect. You can also sync it with Strava.
It also allows you to store up to 4-user profiles. So me and my partner can perform different workouts and pick up from where we left off.
Are There Any Issues with It?
- The acceleration is a little slow. So, if you go from say 4-8 mph, it’s not an instant switch. It takes time. Not that it’s bad. But after a while, you want it to accelerate sooner. Especially if you are doing HIIT.
What Do Customers Feel About It?
The Bowflex T22 has a customer rating of 4.5 out of 5. It is one of the most popular incline treadmills in the market.
Customers talk about the heavy duty metal frame, the powered incline and the great value that you get, especially with the bundled software that comes with it.
#2 - NordicTrack Commercial 2950 - Best Overall, Best Experience, but More Expensive –15% Incline
- Capacious running deck that’s 60” x 22”
- Cushioned and comfortable
- 4.25 CHP motor that goes from 0-12 mph in 8 seconds
- 22” full HD touch screen
- 1-year free iFit trainer membership
- Unlimited workout programs
- Track calories burned, heart rate, locations
NordicTrack Commercial 2950 Review
The Nordic Track Commercial 2950 is a premium, top-of-the-line treadmill from the brand’s commercial range of treadmills.
It is beefy, crammed to the brim with best-in-class features, and comes bundled with a year of iFit Coach subscription, which brings live interactive classes to your home.
If you seek the absolute best incline treadmill in this list, then you’ve just found it.
The only reason why I didn’t buy this instead of the Bowflex T22 is because of the hefty price tag.
Why I loved It
- User-friendly design: The treadmill is one of the most perfectly designed ones that I’ve used. There’s ample room for tall users on that 60” x 22” tread belt to run with a fully stretched out stride. The cushioning is top notch and the surface is quite forgiving on people with less than ideal running technique. There are twin handles on either side for support and there are enough trays to accommodate your bottles, towels and other sundry details. Everything is well within your arm’s reach.
- Powerful motor: The 2950 is powered by a 4.25 continuous-duty horsepower (CHP) DurX Commercial Plus Motor. It can go from 0-12 mph in just 8-seconds, just the way I like it. It also inclines up to 15% and declines 3%.
- Folding design: For a full-sized treadmill, the 79 inches long x 39.2 inches wide footprint isn’t too much. But if it bothers you, then you can fold this into a more accommodative 41.9 inches long unit with the same width. The folding system is hydraulic and you can even fold it with one hand after you are done with your workouts.
- IFit: Where do I even begin? The one-year membership gives you access to some of the best running tracks around the world. You can run on the cobblestoned streets of Paris to the Boston Marathon, to hills, beaches and everything else in between. Every time the terrain changes, the treadmill's automatic incline kicks in to adjust the incline and the decline to match it.
- 22” HD Touch screen: Your workouts are screened on a 22” full HD, touch screen display. Too bad you cannot use this large screen to watch movies or your favorite shows.
This is a very difficult treadmill to assemble. That’s coming from someone who’s reasonably skilled with assembling machines.
Another minor grumble that I have with it is the noise. That 4.25 CHP motor is loud. I guess that’s a small tradeoff that most of us can live with.
What Do Customers Feel About This?
This is the top rated treadmill on multiple online shopping portals. Customers are extremely impressed with how sturdy the treadmill is.
As expected, a lot of reviews are about the tech and about the iFit workouts, which really expands the capabilities of the treadmill.
#3 – Treadmill with The Largest Incline and Decline Setting - NordicTrack Commercial X22i–40% Incline and 6% Decline
- Top of the line commercial model
- 60” x 22” wide running belt
- 0-12 mph speed in 8 seconds
- 22” HD touch screen
- 40% Incline. The highest in any treadmill
- 6% decline
- Very quiet and smooth operation
- Large sidebars for support
NordicTrack Commercial X22i Review
What do you get when you take one of the bests treadmill for home users and throw in the largest incline and decline setting that you can find?
You get the NordicTrack Commercial x22i, a beefy, feature-rich treadmill that offers a luxurious running experience, and a brutal one when required.
This is the top-of-the-line treadmill from NordicTrack’s commercial range, which means that it is more expensive than any home use treadmill. Sadly, that translates into unaffordable for me.
But if you are not broke like me and are looking for the absolute best that money can buy, this is it folks.
Why I Think This Is the Best
- Quiet as a mouse: When you first look at the NordicTrack x22i, you can’t help get the feeling that this is the NordicTrack 2950’s beefier, noisier sibling. But once you power it on, it just goes quiet and works incredibly smooth. There’s no rattle, no shake thanks to the Smart Response Drive system. At best, you get a dull whirr at top speed. But that’s too low a noise to bother anyone really.
- Perfectly engineered: You get the most spacious running belt with the x22i. It’s 60” long and 22” wide and is flanked by heavy, metal sidebars for support. I for one, thought that I am never gonna need sidebars to run. That’s until the trainer increased the incline to 35%. That’s when I realized the importance of those handles. Just like the 2950, there’s enough room in the form of trays to tuck in your essentials while you sweat away.
- 22” Immersive touchscreen: iFit’s interactive Google Map based workouts come alive on this large HD screen with haptic feedback. Try the ‘Around the world in 30-days‘workout series to run in the gorgeous grand canyon. If you hate squinting your eyes trying to track your data as you run, you are going to love the large, bold and vivid icons that display everything with crystal clarity on the screen.
- 40% Incline and 6% decline: One of the coach programs takes you from a flat level surface to 40% incline within 5-minutes and it’s one of the toughest workouts that I have ever done. If you are looking to simulate an exact hill run, this is it. You can also manually set it to decline after the uphill run.
How about that price tag? Lol.
The other thing that I dislike about the x22i is that 22” HD touchscreen that cannot be used for anything other than streaming workouts. If you fancy running while watching Netflix, that’s not a possibility. For the priciest treadmill in NordicTrack’s range, I think that should have been a standard feature. Don’t you?
What Do Customers Feel About This
The NordicTrack x22i has 100% positive customer rating. Customers have called it their dream machine. Imagine being stuck in a garage and being able to run with a view of the Norwegian Fjords.
The only negatives are spoken about the size and the price.
Two features that you sadly, will have to live with.
#4 – Excellent Incline, Cheaper than NordicTrack – FreeMotion i11.9 – 30% Incline
- 12-Built in workout programs
- Compatible with iFit and Google Maps
- 10” Full HD screen
- TV Input allows you to connect a 15.6 smart TV
- 0-12 MPH in 1 step increments
- Lift Motor for smooth operation
- 30% incline with 1-degree increments
- Available in multiple colors
Nordictrack–FreeMotion i11.9 Review
The FreeMotion i11.9 is a very underrated treadmill. I first came across the name when I was looking for treadmills with more than the standard 15% incline.
When I read the spec sheet and checked out some of the features, I was pleasantly surprised.
If you are an experienced athlete or are training for a marathon, this might be a great alternative to the NordicTrack x22i, provided you are alright with slightly lesser incline.
What Makes This Nordictrack Treadmill Such a Great Choice
- Full-sized running deck: The i11.9 is a full-sized treadmill that has a 60” x 22” deck. Since all the four treadmills that I have picked in this list have a deck that size, don’t assume that it’s a standard. Most treadmills for home use have an 18” deck, which is a fairly decent size, but is not wide enough for anyone who’s taller than 5’8. With a full sized deck, you do not have to make adjustments to your stride when you are sprinting at top speed.
- Best cushioning: The i11.9 has one of the best cushioned running decks that I’ve ever used. I am not sure about how many layers the belt has, but it’s like running on a firm, but spongy surface, if that makes sense. There’s absolutely no shin splints, no knee pain and no joint niggles.
- 12-built in programs: The i11.9 has 12-built in workout programs, that eliminate boredom and enable you to burn more calories with intense workouts. In case you are craving more workouts, this is iFit compatible and I’ve already spoken about it in my previous reviews. It is also compatible with a range of other programs such as Cardio Theater, Broadcastvision™ Entertainment, MYE™ Entertainment, CardioVision and Fantaay™ run with Google.
- Connect your TV: In case you aren’t satisfied with the 10” Full HD display, you have the option to add an additional 15.6” screen to the treadmill. It comes with a dedicated TV input and a tablet holder to accommodate the TV/Tablet.
- 30% Incline and 3% decline: Last but not the least, it features a 30% incline with 1 degree adjustments. This allows you to make really small increments, especially if you are starting off with incline running. Also, everything is 1 touch. Right from adjusting speed to increasing or reducing decline, you just have to touch a button. Not keep anything pressed while you are sprinting away.
Possible Issues with It?
Apart from the price tag, there’s no issue with this. It’s a nearly flawless design.
What Do Customers Feel About It?
Most customers who have used the i11.9 call it the best treadmill they’ve ever used. It’s super easy to use, has everything from a decent speed to quality entertainment to a steep incline. Hard to go wrong with it.
#5 – Commercial Features at Entry Level Pricing - ProForm 2000 – 12% Incline
- Ramp up from 0-12 mph with one touch
- 12% Incline and 3% decline at the touch of a button
- Excellent cushioning with ReBound Pro
- Hydraulic folding system
- 10” HD Touchscreen with 1 year iFit membership
ProForm 2000 Review
The ProForm 2000 was one of the treadmills that I really liked. I wrote about another ProForm Treadmill before, the ProForm 5000 and compared it to the NordicTrack 1750 and it didn't disappoint.
The ProForm 2000 almost has all the features that I was looking for. To top it off, the pricing is just too good to ignore.
The only reason why I favored the BowFlex over this is due to a slightly wider running deck. BowFlex is 22” while this is 20”.
Do 2” matter so much? Maybe it’s one of those things that I tend to get hung up over.
But for someone who’s 6’2 and tends to over supinate on their stride, I wanted the deck to be as wide as it could get.
What I Loved About the Pro Form 2000
- QuickSpeed One Button control: The ProForm 2000 lets you manually ramp up the speed from 0-12 mph with the touch of a button. The acceleration is reasonably good too. So you can go from 0 to say, 8 at the touch of a button. Ditto with increasing the incline from 0-12%. Just select the degree of incline that you prefer and touch the numbered key.
- Excellent joint support: The tread deck on the ProForm 2000 features ReBound Pro™ Cushioning system, which is ProForm’s patented shock absorption technology. I have run on so many different treadmills which use fancy terms to describe their tech. But this is one of the softest and spongiest decks that I have run on. You can clock hours on this with zero impact on your joints.
- Smooth and Quiet Motor: The ProForm 2000 is powered by a 3.25 CHP Mach Z motor that’s extremely quiet and efficient.
- 10” Smart HD Touchscreen with iFit:The 2000 comes with a 10” Full HD Touchscreen that shows you your vital details as well as streams iFit. A 1-year membership is bundled with the treadmill that makes it complete value for money.
- Hydraulic Folding System: When you are done with your run, just lift the treadmill with one hand and it gently folds into a more space-saving footprint. It also has two rollers, which make it super easy to move around the house or home gym for storage.
Possible Issues with It?
When you initially power the treadmill on, you will have to register on iFit, which includes sharing your credit card details. A lot of customers are not too comfortable with this, especially people who do not wish to use iFit.
A way to override this is by deep pressing the iFit button for 20-seconds. But this is not mentioned anywhere in the instructions. I feel that ProForm should mention this clearly and allow users to choose, rather than forcing an iFit membership upon anyone. (The first year is free and I personally feel it’s completely worth the $180 that you pay per year after that)
#6 – Best for Professional or Long Distance Runners – 3G Cardio Elite Runner –15% Incline
- Largest running surface among treadmills
- 62” long and 22” wide
- 0-12 MPH in one touch
- 0-15% incline in one touch
- Ortho Flex Shock absorption system
- Detailed console to track your performance
3G Cardio Elite Runner Review
An inadequate deck length is one of the commonest gripes that pro runners have with treadmills. This cardio machine puts that to rest.
The 3G Cardio Elite Runner features the largest running deck that I’ve ever seen. It’s 62” long, 2” more than most commercial treadmills.
Further, it comes with a console that lets you tweak every tiny detail of your workout, allowing pro athletes complete control over their runs.
What I Loved About It
- The Oversized platform: The oversized running platform on the 3G Cardio Elite is the perfect treadmill for tall users like me, as well as professional athletes who run with a stretched out stride. At the same time, it’s 22” wide which gives you adequate room to account for sideways movements. Irrespective of whether you tend to supinate or pronate during your stride, this has you covered.
- Ortho Flex Shock™ suspension system: The cushioning is top-notch. It’s spongy, but firm enough. There’s just enough bounce to take the impact off your knees and joints. It’s like running on a professionally-curated track, as opposed to running on hard outdoor surfaces - which, by the way, translates to less stress on your knees and joints in general. You'll get to appreciate the soft track more if you're a long distance runner and tends to spend more time on your cardio machine.
- Rated for 400 lbs.: This is one of the only treadmills in this list that’s rated for 400 lbs weight capacity. I weigh 220 lbs. But when I run on budget-priced treadmills, there’s always a hint of wobble and shake. Not on this one. It stays rock steady even at top speed.
- The console: There’s so much detail on that console. You can select preset modes such as Fat Burn, Calories, heart rate and HIIT. Beginner runners can do a fit test to check their body conditioning. Incline and Speed can be adjusted with one touch and there are five levels of increment to choose from. The handgrip heart rate sensor is conveniently positioned for real time updates on your cardiovascular health as well.
Possible Issues with This
The size. This isn't any close to your ordinary compact treadmill, it's massive and not all homes have the room to accommodate this. Moreover, it cannot be folded for storage either.
No interactive screen and no iFit integration either, which may or may not be a deal breaker for you if you want a treadmill with a screen or IFit. But personally, I prefer a treadmill with interactive training.
Also, it weighs close to 400 lbs. and assembly can be a challenge, especially if you are not mechanically inclined.
What Customers Feel About This?
The 3G Cardio Elite is mostly used by professionals who prefer the generous cushioning and the spacious deck that can allow for an outdrawn and intense workout. The customer reviews are 95% positive.
There are many reviews about the 62” long running deck. There are some users who at 6’5 are unable to run on any other treadmill except this one.
Further, it’s built like a tank. There’s absolutely no rattle at all, even when users who are heavier than 250 lbs. run on it.
#7 – Best Folding Treadmill - Sole F80 –15% Incline
- Compact folding design with hydraulic lift
- Large running deck with cushion flex shock absorption
- 40% softer than running on asphalt
- 3.5 CHP motor
- 15 speed and incline settings
- Dedicated tray for your watch, tablets and screens
- Comes with a console that tracks your vitals
Sole F80 Review
The Sole F80 is probably the only treadmill in this list that accommodates as little space as possible, when not in use.
It was designed for the hospitality industry that prefers fewer hideous looking clunkers lying around idle.
So the length of the treadmill drops by almost half when it’s folded.
Goes from 82” long to around 45”, in case you are wondering. The width remains the same and the height increases by 4 inches.
If you are looking for a treadmill that fits into a corner of the room, check out the F80.
What I Loved About It
- Sturdy Metal Frame: The F80 has an extremely sturdy metal frame that does not wobble or rattle under your weight. It’s rated for 375 lbs. and is built like a tank. Literally.
- Cushion Flex Whisper Deck: Another first for the F80 is that it’s one of the only treadmills that’s been part of a study to analyze the extent of cushioning that the deck provides to your joints. It was revealed that the tread deck on the F80 is 40% softer than hard, outdoor running surfaces like Asphalt. Having suffered a knee injury in my teens, I know what it feels like to experience runners knee. This is a terrific choice for anyone who’s unable to run outside due to joint issues.
- Large stop switch: Guess what? This is a very underrated feature. I have seen treadmills with emergency power off keys that are positioned awkwardly. You have to watch your hand movement to prevent the key from getting engaged accidentally. To that end, the F80 features a large stop switch that’s impossible to engage accidentally and impossible to miss.
- Threshold delivery: When you buy the F80 treadmill online, the treadmill ships with threshold delivery - the large box(es) will not be left outside on your curb. It will be delivered to the first dry location in your home instead.
Any Issues that I Found with It?
The speed transitions are a little slow. To be fair it’s powered by a 3.5 CHP motor and I was not expecting it to switch speeds in 8-10 seconds.
The problem though, is that the speed updates instantly on the monitor even before it’s changed on the deck. So it’s a little difficult to know when the speed change has completed. There’s a little guesswork involved there.
What Do Customers Feel About It?
The reviews for the Sole F80 are largely positive. The easy assembly is one of the things that finds special mention. Most users are able to assemble this themselves without any assistance.
Users have also spoken about how sturdy this unit is, and that it’s great value at this price.
#8 - NordicTrack T 9.5 S - Excellent Cheaper Alternative Treadmill with Incline – 12%
- 60” x 20” running deck
- Reflex cushioning
- 0-15% incline at the touch of a button
- 3.6 CHP motor
- Excellent speed and incline transitioning
- Annual iFit trainer Membership
- 14” HD Screen
NordicTrack T 9.5 S Review
The T9.5 S is NordicTrack’s entry level offering that borrows most of the features of its higher priced siblings, but comes at a very reasonable price tag.
If you cannot afford some of the more expensive NordicTracks, check this out.
It has the same solid construction, top notch features and a reasonably good incline setting. There might be a few very minor trade offs, which I will talk about in a bit. But if you can live with those, then this is a terrific option.
What I Loved About It
- 14” Interactive Touchscreen: One of the first differences is the size of the interactive touchscreen. The pricier NordicTrack treadmill models have a 22” screen whereas this one has a 14” screen. Does that make any difference to your runs? I don’t think so.
- IFit: The 9.5S comes bundled with an annual membership of iFit Coach, which in itself is worth $468. You have an endless number of workouts to choose from. You can run in studios, in live locations all around the world and you can even run with your friends. IFit is my favorite interactive training program and I feel that everyone who runs on a treadmill should try it out.
- Reflex Cushioning: That 60” x 20” deck features FlexSelect cushioning, which is NordicTrack’s patented shock absorption system. Your runs will be a lot gentler on your joints.
- One Touch Speed/ Incline select: Right next to the 14” touchscreen, you have the speed and incline option. You can go from 0-12 on either setting at the push of a button. This is an excellent feature if you are into HIIT training. You can run at 5 mph and adjust it to 10 straight away for a sprint before dropping it down to 2. The speed transition is reasonably good too thanks to the 3.6 CHP motor.
Possible Issues with It?
If you pause the treadmill for more than a minute, it gets reset. So you cannot pause, answer the door, come back and resume it from where you left off.
That’s kind of a bummer.
Also, no fan. I know I haven’t mentioned the fan as one of the features that I check for. But I do. It’s a game changer, especially when you have just run at 15% incline at 10 mph and want to cool down quickly.
What Do Customers Feel About This?
Most customers feel that this is an excellent budget-priced treadmill that almost has all the features of higher priced models. There’s also talk about the sturdy metal frame and lack of rattle.
Some customers have spoken about a thumping noise that seems to be more prominent when you use the treadmill initially, but fades after a while.
#9 – Prosumer Grade Treadmill - Sole TT8 – Incline 15%
- Commercial-grade features, budget-pricing
- Powerful 4.0 CHP motor
- 10 lbs. Flywheel
- Cushion Flex Deck rated for 400 lbs.
- Extremely quiet operation
Sole TT8 Review
The Sole TT8 is one of Sole’s bestselling treadmill models that sits right in the middle of their premium commercial range and entry level home range.
This has some of the best features of their commercial models, but is only slightly more expensive than their budget-priced models.
So, if you have some extra cash to splurge, and are looking for the best in-class features, this might be a good option for you.
What I Loved About It
- Quiet, but powerful motor: The 4.0 CHP motor powering the TT8 is extremely quiet. Usually, any motor that has produces more than 3.5 CHP tends to be noisy, or at least has a loud whirr when the treadmill is operational. Not this one. Even if someone’s working in the neighboring room, they won’t even realize that its powered on.
- 10 lbs. Flywheel: The motor is surrounded by a commercial grade 10lbs. flywheel, which ensures that it is able to produce a consistent supply of power. No random sputters or unexpected shutdowns, even if you work out on the treadmill for hours at end.
- 15 degrees of Incline: The TT8 has 15-degrees of incline and 6-levels of decline which you can adjust in increments of 1-degree each, allowing a beginner runner to get used to uphill running.
- Butter smooth operation: The deck is a perma-waxed reversible one with 3" crowned rollers, that offers butter smooth performance and is designed for longevity. It’s also heavily cushioned to soften impact with each step by the way, with Sole’s patented Flex Cushion technology.
- Built-in Programs: What’s lacking in interactive training is more or less covered with the in-built programs that allow you to select a workout based on your fitness goals. If you are looking to burn fat for example, select the Fat Burn mode and the treadmill's automatic incline and speed will automatically adjust to offer you a more intense workout.
Possible Issues with It?
The lack of an HD touchscreen console may be a deal breaker for anyone who prefers using iFit's live workouts over inbuilt programs.
To be fair, there’s a tablet holder positioned right next to the 10” TFT LCD display. So you won’t really miss much in terms of entertainment.
Also, slow speed transitions anyone?
What Customers Feel About It?
The Sole TT8 is used extensively by commercial establishments as well as home users. The ratings are 95% positive, and most users absolutely love how sturdy the unit is.
The one-touch incline and speed settings receive a lot of positive reviews from customers, as does the cushioned deck that’s quite robust with a 400 lbs weight capacity.
Top Treadmill Brands
With a sudden surge in demand for home workouts, there has been an influx of poorly-constructed treadmills in the market that may resemble the more expensive, reputed brands, but will start to stutter and sputter in no time.
When it comes to picking the best treadmill and fitness equipment in general, I only trust a handful of brands.
Here are the best of them.
NordicTrack is one of the top rated treadmill brands that’s owned by Icon Fitness, the largest manufacturer of commercial treadmills (professional treadmills) in the world. For the uninitiated, the brand also owns FreeMotion, Epic & Reebok.
NordicTrack treadmills are manufactured right here in the USA and have won several awards and recommendations in consumer magazines. The treadmills are renowned for their ergonomic design, sturdy construction and pocket-friendly pricing. Also, they have a range of treadmills that feature an iFit membership.
Bowflex is one of the oldest brands in the home fitness business. I still recall seeing infomercials for the Bowflex 2000X back in 1986, which was touted to be some sort of a futuristic strength trainer back then. Lol.
The brand has come a long way since then. Since their inception, the brand’s focus has been on creating equipment that’s low impact and produces the best results.
That’s exactly, what their treadmills are known for. Great cushioning, excellent ergonomics and innovative tech, that sums up what you can expect from Bowflex.
Sole is one of the only brands that aims to bring commercial quality construction and tech into their entry-level treadmills. Even the most basic model features a beefy steel frame and a two-ply deck, with a robust motor that supports a top speed of 12 mph.
The quality is consistent across the range, and even if they do not have a full-sized entertainment console, they make it up by offering an extensive range of in-built workout programs. It’s one of my favorite treadmill brands.
Besides the Sole F80 we mentioned in this article I compared the Sole F63 to the Bowflex BXT6 in an article before and held up pretty well.
Benefits of a Having a Home Treadmill
Back in the day, when I was setting up a home gym, a lot of my friends thought that it was overkill.
‘Why not get a fancy gym membership for less than half the cost’, they would say.
Then folks, in the beginning of 2020, the pandemic hit and gyms were forced to down shutters. For the first time ever, I had the same buddies wanting to come over to my place and exercise.
That’s when we spoke at length about the many advantages of owning a home treadmill.
#1 – You Can Work Out At Your Leisure
I don’t think an unprecedented catastrophe like the Covid-19 pandemic will ever occur again during our lifetime. (I hope not).
But even otherwise, a treadmill at home is all about convenience and leisure. You can work out whenever you feel like, unrestricted by weather conditions or governmental restrictions, wearing whatever you want to.
It’s like having an endless road at home. Just hop on and run on it. Treadmills are also great for home gym and apartment setups, as some compact treadmill models are smaller in size than you expect. Also there are some great treadmill models for seniors who want to work out and move their bodies but don't want to go out and risk an injury.
#2 – Treadmills Offer Better Cushioning than Outdoor Surfaces
I have popped my knee once as a teen, and since then, I am doubly careful about the stress that impact from exercises exerts on my joints. Any outdoor surface, be it pavements or asphalt or park trails are harder on your joints as compared to treadmill's heavily cushioned decks.
The best part is that you can select a model based entirely on the type of cushioning it provides. Need top notch machine with the best cushioning options? Check out the Sole, ProForm or NordicTrack ones above.
#3 – You Can Modify the Terrain
You can choose from flat surfaces or hills or alternate between them on a treadmill with incline, which is pretty much impossible to do when running outdoors. Even if you do manage to find a running trail that offers all of this, it’s predictable. You will be running the same trail every day.
But on a treadmill, you can mix and match the speed, the incline and the decline.
#4 – Interactive Workouts
Most of the best treadmills in this list come with a large entertainment console and an iFit membership that opens up a whole new world of interactive workouts.
Elite coaches will train you and you can choose from the best running trails around the world. With an endless number of workouts to choose from, you will never be bored again, ever.
FAQ Most Buyers Have when Shopping for An Incline Treadmill
We answer the most frequently asked questions people have when buying an incline treadmill.
Q. What Is the Best Incline to Set My Treadmill at For Building My Butt?
A. Hills build your booty. A lot of fitness trainers, including Becs Gentry, who’s a Peloton Tread trainer calls uphill running the best way to build your butt. But what’s the ideal incline on a treadmill for an intense butt workout?
Well, the verdict for that one is still out there. But a lot of trainers recommend an 8-10% incline for butt toning and sculpting. Yes, that’s right. When it comes to running on an incline, more is not always better.
You can also try an interval training (HIIT) version of hill running by alternating between an incline, a flat and a decline setting. As you get stronger and build your leg muscles, you reduce the time you spend running flat and in the decline setting, and increase the amount of time you run uphill.
With time, you can go all the way up to 15% for a more intense booty workout. Ensure that you do not hold the sidebars when running.
Q. What About Decline? What Is Decline Good for On a Treadmill?
A. Believe it or not, running on a decline has many benefits.
It’s one of the best workouts for the quads. But that’s not all. It’s a great way to work on your form, improve your balance and give some of the other major muscles of your lower body some rest.
When you run uphill or on an incline, all the muscles on the backside of your body are working extra hard. A downhill run gives these muscles a break and shifts the focus on to your quads and your stabilizer muscles.
That’s why an incline run is almost always followed by a decline.
It also helps prevent common running injuries and will help you improve your running speed.
Q. Better to Walk or Run on An Incline Treadmill?
A. That depends on so many different variables. What is your body weight? What is your fitness goal? How experienced are you with incline walking/jogging/running? What is your body conditioning? Do you have any injuries? What about your cardiovascular health and overall cardiac strength?
You should take all of these into consideration before you ramp up that incline to 15% and start sprinting. You can also entertain the thought of getting an elliptical or a bike Vs a treadmill since some bike and elliptical models would be great for people with knee injuries, or would be more suited for taller individuals.
A power walk on an incline is a great way to get used to the grade and also allow your muscles to develop the strength needed to run uphill.
Once you can walk at a certain speed or grade, slowly bump it up to the next one, up to the maximum grade and speed on your treadmill.
The rule of thumb here is to go slow. Always walk before you run. You can thank me later.
Hi there! I'm Ben, main author and chief editor at Fitlifefanatics.com. I have been obsessed with Strength Training and Fitness for 16 years now.
My passion for living a happy fit lifestyle is what made me realize that fitness is what I wanted for my future.
I went on to earn my Masters in Sports Training & Biomechanics.
My passion for Strength training & fitness and my love of helping others is what made me start Fitlifefanatics.
Here, myself, and a team of specialist aim to provide the most accurate, and actionable information possible in hopes to help foster the fitness community forward.
You can learn more about Fitlifefanatics on our About Page