a woman using inclined treadmill

This is our review of the Best Incline Treadmills in . 

Treadmills offer a variety of features, each carrying its own benefits. Some treadmills are fitted with the basic requirements, while others are loaded with premium features. A treadmill with an incline, while being listed as a premium feature, can actually be called a core need.

We do know that walking on a flat surface (treadmill or ground) helps you burn calories and improves cardiovascular stamina. Compared to that, studies have shown that incline walking helps you burn more calories [1] in the same amount of time, while also improving muscle activation, tone and strength [2].

This article will help you choose the high incline treadmill best suited to you. Here is our review of the best 6 based on our in-depth research and our understanding of user needs.

Our top choice would be the Xterra TRX3500 treadmill. With 12 levels of incline operated by a 3.0 HP powerful motor, this is a machine that will help you transition from beginner to seasoned runner smoothly and effectively. 

The sheer variety of pre-programmed workouts as well as a spacious and cushioned running deck will help you keep motivation and interest high. Its foldable design coupled with transport wheels makes it easy to maneuver and store when not in use.

However, we leave you spoilt for choice with 5 more treadmills that meet our quality standards. We are confident you can find your next incline treadmill here.

Best Incline Treadmills (Overall) Xterra Fitness TRX3500 Folding Treadmill
Best Incline Treadmills (Highest incline) Bowflex Treadmill T22
Best Incline Treadmills (For running) LifeSpan Treadmill TR6000i
Best Incline Treadmills (Foldable) Echelon Strides treadmill
Best Incline Treadmills (Budget)Kotia Manual Treadmill
Best Incline Treadmills (Manual)Avari magnetic treadmill

We recommend you read the entire article to understand the pros and cons of every product well. Aside from the reviews, we have also assembled a buying guide and answered some commonly asked questions.

The 6 Best Incline Treadmills Reviewed

Each treadmill in our list has been chosen with care about its quality, utility, and value additions. While they would be a great fit for your needs, we advise you to consult your medical expert for specific health issues.

Xterra Fitness TRX3500 Folding Treadmill – Best Incline Treadmills (Overall)

Incline: 12 levels

Motor capacity: 3.0 HP

Running belt size: 60 x 20 inches

User weight capacity: 350 lb

Warranty: Lifetime for frame and motor, 2 years for deck and parts, 1 year for in-home labor

The Xterra TRX3500 is a generous machine. It is packed with superb features that give a premium look and feel. At the same time, you will be surprised to know that it does not burn a hole in your pocket.

But, let’s talk about the incline capabilities first. The TRX3500 comes with 12 levels of incline, making it a versatile option for users with varying fitness capabilities. Secondly, you can take the treadmill to speeds as high as 12 mph. This means that a beginner can train on this 12 incline treadmill as effectively as a fitness veteran. 

The motor is a powerful high-torque 3.0 HP one. This is crucial so that the machine does not buckle under when operating at maximum capacity. This also allows smooth transitioning between speeds and inclines while operating virtually soundless. 

The console comprises of a 6.5-inch blue-backlit LCD that gives you real-time information about your workout metrics. You can choose between a whopping 30 pre-set workout programs and can also create up to 2 customizable programs to suit your goals.

Buttons on either side of the display allow you to change speed and incline quickly. For more efficiency, the treadmill’s handlebars are also equipped with controls for fast changes and transitions.

The running belt is a generous 60 x 22 inches, giving ample space to the user to maximize movement. XTRASoft deck cushioning gives added bounce while running and minimizes impact on the joints. 

A low step-up height makes this treadmill a great choice for people living in low-ceiling apartments. It is also a wonderful option for people undergoing physical rehabilitation and those with joint injuries.

Bluetooth FTMS connectivity allows you to connect the high-incline treadmill to popular third-party fitness apps. This lets you maintain records of your metrics and targets on your smart device for handy reference.

The treadmill can be folded up with the Lift Assist. This also comes with a Safe Drop feature to lower the deck slowly whenever you need to use it. Transport wheels allow you to move the treadmill from room to room.

Audio speakers, a cooling fan, a cup holder, and an accessory tray are other value additions.

Why do we love itWhat do you need to consider
Wide variety of workout programsPoor customer service
Bluetooth connectivity to third-party fitness apps 
Foldable and portable

Summary of Customer Reviews

The Xterra TRX3500 folding treadmill with incline has received mostly positive reviews from its customers. They are especially happy with its pricing, stating it as being absolutely value-for-money. Many also remarked about how quiet the machine is. However, we did discover general negative feedback about customer service. 

Bowflex Treadmill T22 – Best Treadmill with Highest incline

Incline: -5% to 20%

Motor capacity: Not disclosed

Running belt size: 60 x 22 inches

User weight capacity: 400 lb

Warranty: 15 years on frame & motor, 5 years on mechanical parts, 1 year on electronics, 2 years on labor

If you are looking for some serious uphill training, you should check out the Bowflex Treadmill T22. With a combined incline-decline range of 25 levels, it features the highest incline among all the high-quality treadmills we have encountered.

The treadmill has a motorized incline going up to a sky-high 20%. You can effortlessly shift between the levels thanks to the powerful motor and transition ease. Further, the highest incline treadmill also offers decline training, letting you train and strengthen different muscle groups simultaneously.

Due to the incline capabilities, the treadmill comes with extended handlebar grips to maintain posture and balance even at towering inclines. 

The Bowflex T22 can take you to speeds up to 12 mph on its spacious running belt. The deck is reinforced with Comfort Tech deck cushioning to ensure minimal joint impact even during the hardest training sessions.

A 2-month JRNY membership and a 22-inch HD touchscreen display are your access points to the fitness library as well as the entertainment center.

You can view and train on expert-led workouts and even experience voice-coached workouts that are customized to fit your fitness levels. More than 200 virtual running routes simulating scenic destinations keep you engaged in your training. You can also track all your workout metrics in real-time through the display.

The display is compatible with OTT apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, and Hulu. So you can stream your favorite movies and shows while you train. However, you need to subscribe to them separately to access them on the treadmill.

Though the treadmill is a giant and occupies a good amount of floor space, the Soft Drop folding mechanism manages to reduce its footprint by 40% when it is not in use.

Hand grips and a Bluetooth armband let you track your heart rate while you work out so that you can keep it in the optimal zone at all times.

Finally, the maximum user weight capacity is an appreciable 400 lbs. This means that the T22 is capable of accommodating users of different sizes very comfortably.

Why do we love itWhat do you need to consider
Highest incline treadmill with excellent incline-decline rangeMust have JRNY subscription to access fitness videos & OTT
Extended handlebars for incline support No transport wheels
Access to OTT platforms

Summary of Customer Reviews

Most users are happy with the quality and incline capabilities of the Bowflex Treadmill T22. They also love the trainer-led sessions and found it easy to assemble the high-incline treadmill despite its size. 

However, some customers spoke poorly about customer support while a few others experienced problems with the cooling fan.

LifeSpan Treadmill TR6000i – Best Incline Treadmill for Running

Incline: 13 levels (3 levels of decline)

Motor capacity: 3.5 HP

Running belt size: 60 x 22 inches

User weight capacity: 350 lb

Warranty: 10 years on frame, 2 years on parts, 1 year on labor

If you are looking for an electric treadmill with incline that will comfortably take you to high speeds and inclines for a serious workout, check out the LifeSpan Treadmill TR6000i.

It has the highest speed limit of 13.5 mph among all the quality treadmills we have come across. The motor is of a solid 3.5 HP, and easily takes the treadmill to high speeds without a hitch. This makes the TR6000i an ideal fit for seasoned runners or for those wanting to make serious headway in their running.

The 13 incline levels provide an additional challenge to your running activity and simulate running on uphill terrain for a realistic feel. 

Despite the fierce specs, the auto-incline treadmill is extremely sturdy and well-balanced. Built on a steel frame with aluminium side rails, the treadmill feels grounded and stable even during the most intense workouts.

The running deck is spacious and fitted with an oversized roller to enhance the performance of the belt especially at high speeds and incline. The presence of strategically placed compression shocks in the running deck provides much-needed relief to joints under training.

The TR6000i is supported by Intelli-Guard, a safety feature that automatically pauses the belt 20 seconds after you step off. It also has a step-counting feature called Intell-Step that counts and records the number of steps you have taken during your workout.

An intuitive 10-inch touchscreen display tracks and shows your training metrics. You can also choose from among 19 in-built workout programs concentrating on different aspects of physical fitness. Or you could create your own workout program and train accordingly.

A media shelf and Bluetooth audio speakers are prominent value additions. Also, though the TR6000i has front-mounted transport wheels for ease of movement, it is not a foldable treadmill.

YouTube link: NA

Why do we love itWhat do you need to consider
Impressive speed range ideal for serious runnersNot foldable
Sturdy, premium-quality build
Impact-absorbing, durable running belt

Summary of Customer Reviews

Customers seem to be very happy with the LifeSpan Treadmill TR6000i. They love it for its quiet running and sturdiness. They also liked the smoothness of the transition between speeds. We did not come across any negative comments about this electric treadmill with incline.

Echelon Strides Auto-Fold treadmill – Best Foldable Incline Treadmill

Incline: 12 levels

Motor capacity: 1.75 CHP (2.5 Peak HP)

Running belt size: 55 x 20 inches

User weight capacity: 300 lb

Warranty: 1 year

Many people who want to set up a home gym have limited space for it. If you are facing a serious space crunch in your home but still want a treadmill for fitness, the Echelon Strides Auto-Fold treadmill could be what you are looking for.

It comes with a patented Auto-fold feature where once the console and handlebars are locked, the treadmill folds itself automatically. The best part is that it folds flush, measuring just 10 inches tall. The presence of built-in transport wheels makes it super easy to maneuver and store.

Being lightweight, it can either be propped up against a wall or can be pushed under the bed or sofa. Setting it up for a workout again is again simple, making it among the few treadmills that are truly storage-friendly and hassle-free.

The motor runs at an economical 2.5 Peak HP. However, despite the moderate motor and compact build, it can go up to a speed of 12 mph and shift between 12 incline levels. These specs are good enough to offer a variety of difficulty levels in your workouts. 

The running deck has a spacious width, though the length fits in the slightly compact range. The quality however is top-notch. The belt features an impact-absorbing elastomer giving a cushioning effect when the foot lands on the deck.

The console of this folding treadmill with incline is efficient and programmed with 8 pre-set workouts. You can also be a part of a wider community through the Echelon membership. Through this, you get access to live classes and on-demand workouts. The membership also gives you access to virtual scenic routes and music to accompany your training. However, you need to pay an additional cost for these features.

Sensors are integrated into the handlebars for real-time heart rate monitoring. A media shelf lets you support your smart device for easy viewing when you train.

Why do we love itWhat do you need to consider
Folds flush for easy storageLow warranty coverage
Compact, lightweight and portable
Cushioned running deck

Summary of Customer Reviews

Customers who bought the Echelon Strides Auto-Fold treadmill found it easy to assemble. Most spoke about how quiet the motor is and appreciated the fact that the incline went higher in small increments for user-friendliness. However, few users complained about the poor technical support.

Kotia Manual Treadmill – Best Budget Incline Treadmill

Incline: 10 degrees

Motor capacity: Manual treadmill

Running belt size: 42.5 x 13 inches

User weight capacity: 220 lb

Warranty: NA

When looking for a quality incline treadmill, budget can be a pain point for many people. This is often the case for people who are just starting out on treadmill training and want to practice restraint in their financial investment. And the Kotia Manual Treadmill is a definite bargain.

Retailing on Amazon at under $200, it is the perfect option for people whose budget is extremely tight. And yet, the treadmill stands well in terms of quality and features.

This is a motor-less treadmill operating solely on the energy put in by the user. This means the treadmill can be used outdoors or in any location without electric connections as long as it is placed on even ground.

Another advantage is that while the treadmill already has a small footprint, you can save even more space in your room by folding and stashing it away. It is one of the most compact treadmills we know and the attached transport wheels make moving it from room to room breezy.

We like that the running belt is diamond-textured. In a manual treadmill, stopping the belt once you start it can be difficult and could lead to slippage if the belt is smooth. A textured belt helps maintain foot grip and prevents you from losing your footing and sustaining injuries. This becomes crucial especially when training on an incline.

Another safety feature is the presence of high-friction quick stop mats that let you stop exercising if the speed becomes too fast.

The belt is supported by twin flywheels that give you a smooth walking and running experience.

However, the running deck is shorter and narrower than most incline treadmills. And so the Kotia treadmill is not an ideal option for tall users. Additionally, given the limited maximum user weight capacity (220 lb), a heavy user would not be able to train well on it.

The 5-inch LCD display is functional and showcases your workout metrics in a simple manner.

YouTube link: NA

Why do we love itWhat do you need to consider
Budget-friendlyNarrow and small running belt
Very lightweight and compactLow maximum user weight capacity
Textured belt to prevent slippage

Summary of Customer Reviews

Most users are pleased with the price point of the Kotia Manual Treadmill. They also found it easy to assemble and move the treadmill. Quite a few customers liked the kind of workout they experienced on it. However, some users mentioned that the belt made jerky movements and became loose after a few weeks of use.

Avari Magnetic Treadmill – Best Manual Incline Treadmills 

Incline: 8 degrees

Motor capacity: Manual Treadmill

Running belt size: 42 x 12.5 inches

User weight capacity: 250 lb

Warranty: 3 years for frame and 90 days for parts

If you are looking for a foldable treadmill with incline that is low on maintenance and budget, but offers features that work well with your fitness goals, consider the Avari Magnetic Treadmill.

It is a manual treadmill that works solely on the user’s power to function. It requires no electrical connections and can be operated in any part of the home. 

Users of manual treadmills usually complain about how twitchy and bumpy movements feel while they train. The Avari treadmill eliminates this problem because of its magnetic resistance and dual flywheel system. Together, they keep the running belt smooth and fluid in movement.

A steel frame and skid-resistant rubber floor protectors keep the treadmill steady and balanced even in the most intense sessions. The running belt, though admittedly on the smaller side, is textured. This is effective in preventing slippage and injury, especially when training using any of the 8 incline resistance levels. Handrails are foam-padded for a stronger hand grip.

The electronic fitness monitor tracks and displays your metrics in real-time.

On buying the Avari portable treadmill with incline, you also get free access to müüv, the audio coaching app. It outputs workouts containing a mix of cardio, strength, and flexibility that is customized based on the equipment you own. 

Finally, the treadmill is foldable and rolls for easy storage. It is extremely lightweight, so moving it around is a breeze.

Why do we love it?What do you need to consider?
Budget-friendlySmall running belt
Lightweight and compact

Summary of Customer Reviews

Users find the Avari Magnetic Treadmill very easy to assemble and store. It folds up nicely and is easy to use. However, some customers spoke out about the poor customer support, whereas others found the belt drifting to the side after some weeks of use.

Benefits of Using an Incline Treadmill

There are significant advantages of training on an incline treadmill, including

Boosts heart rate

Training uphill or on an incline requires the heart to pump blood faster. This leads to an increase in your heart rate, enhancing circulation capabilities in the body.

Preps the body for realistic terrain

Incline training simulates walking or running on natural slopes. It primes the body to train in natural terrain conditions, providing adequate prep for runners looking to cross-train.

Targets the posterior muscle groups

Walking on a flat surface lets you exercise your quadriceps well. However, when you train on an incline, your glutes and hamstrings are also made to work, giving you a more rounded strengthening workout.

Increases calorie burn

The number of calories you burn while you work out depends on a multitude of factors, including the type of workout, the intensity of the workout, your fitness levels and weight, etc. 

When you perform incline training, you are automatically upping the intensity of your training and effectively burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.

Improves the health of knees and ankles

Walking on an incline reduces stress on the knee joints and helps to train the muscle around the ankles. This is especially of use in people with compromised knees stability. 

Buying Guide: Features to Consider When Buying the Best Incline Treadmill

Here is what you need to keep in mind when buying an incline treadmill:

Incline range

Look for the degrees of the incline the treadmill offers. A wider range means you have the convenience of stepping up your challenge level within the same machine.

Also, go for treadmills that offer incline changes in small increments. This helps prep your body better and prevent micro-injuries.

Having decline as an additional feature is always a plus. You can check out our detailed review on the finest decline treadmills to get more information. 

Motor power

A powerful motor gives you smoother transitions and takes you to higher inclines more safely. It also reduces delay between incline shifts and encourages better stability.

Running belt size

Walking on an incline requires you to push your body harder. This means that both, your upper and lower body need more space to function. A wide and long-running deck gives you the needed room to adapt to increasing inclines.

User weight capacity

A treadmill with a high maximum user weight capacity has a sturdier frame and is built to last. Stronger frames are able to sustain inclines and incline changes well. Plus, this helps when multiple users would be training on a treadmill.

Cushioning and shock absorption

Running and walking, whether on a flat surface or a slope, are high-impact workouts that could cause micro-injuries to joints in the long run. Treadmills with running belts lined with a cushioning system or shock absorbers help to minimize joint impact and prolong joint health.


Every treadmill experiences wear and tear over time, and a warranty with good coverage can stand you in good stead. A good warranty covers problems in the frame, components, and electronics, and many cover labor needs as well.

If you are looking for a treadmill to keep you entertained during the workout, do check out our review on the best treadmills with a TV screen


A treadmill with incline is one of the best ways by which you can not just burn more calories, but can also tone different muscle groups, and improve cardiovascular stamina more efficiently than training on a flat surface.

Do check out our top pick, the Xterra TRX3500 treadmill. The powerful 3.0 HP motor can take you seamlessly through 12 incline levels, and give you a workout that challenges your body to better fitness. 

You can enjoy a variety of pre-programmed workouts on the cushioned running surface, protecting your joints from impact. Transport wheels let you move the treadmill from room to room while its foldable design helps to reduce its footprint when not in use.


What’s a good incline treadmill for beginners?

A huge range of incline treadmills could work beautifully if you are at the beginner level. Chalk out your main requirements and the features you need. For e.g., if you are stringent on budget, go for a manual treadmill to get a feel of working out on an incline treadmill.

However, here’s a tip to help. Choose a treadmill whose incline goes up in smaller increments. This will help you get used to incline training in a gradual but sustained manner.

The Xterra TRX3500, our top recommendation, would be an excellent choice for beginners. 

Is treadmill incline good for weight loss?

Like we mentioned at the start of the article, research studies have shown that incline walking can help you burn more calories in the same amount of time, while also improving muscle activation, tone, and strength.

However, do keep in mind that working out on the treadmill needs to be supported with a healthy diet and a lifestyle that aligns with fitness.

Are incline treadmills more expensive than regular treadmills?

Not necessarily. The price of a treadmill is dependent on many factors, including the quality of material used, motor specs, and the addition of premium features.

If you haven’t already, do go through our incline treadmill reviews. We have included a couple of options that are budget-friendly.

Is it better to walk or run on an incline treadmill?

This depends on your current strength, medical status, and fitness experience. As a beginner, we would advise you to begin with a walk on the incline treadmill, and then ease into jogging once your fitness levels improve.

Does an incline treadmill build muscle?

While it is not the sole factor on which muscle tone and strength are dependent, an incline treadmill does help you engage more muscle groups in the legs. Along with training, a diet conducive to muscle building is essential in achieving your goals.

Is a 12-incline good for a treadmill?

Yes. A 12-incline treadmill gives you more levels of slope to work out on. Each progressing level adds to the degree of challenge, and helps improve your fitness levels.

What incline should I use on a treadmill if I want to lose weight?

This depends on your current weight and fitness levels. As a rule, start warming up on a flat surface and then increase the incline progressively every few minutes till you reach a stage where your heart rate has increased but is still in the range where you can workout without discomfort.

On average, a 3-5% moderate incline is a great place to start. Of course, ensure that your diet is aligned to support weight loss.

What incline burns the most calories on a treadmill?

Working out even on a small incline can help you burn more calories. However, when we speak of specifics, the incline that would burn the most calories is more of an individual score. It depends on your weight, current health status, and fitness specifications.

What muscles are worked on an incline treadmill?

An incline treadmill lets you work on both, anterior and posterior groups of the leg muscles. It helps to simultaneously train and tone the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

Disclaimer: The information mentioned in the article above is for educational and informational purposes only. It shouldn’t be considered as health or medical advice. Please consult a doctor or a qualified health professional if you have any medical/health conditions questions.

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