“What’s the Difference Between An Incline Trainer and Treadmill?”
Trying to decide between an incline trainer and treadmill?
Wondering what exactly is the difference between them?
Good question – it can be confusing, especially since sometimes incline trainers are actually called “incline trainer treadmills”.
And they look very similar to treadmills.
But there are a few key differences between incline trainers and treadmills that you should know.
And it’s not only that incline trainers have all the benefits – treadmills have a few benefits over incline trainers as well.
This post will go over the key differences between incline trainers and treadmills to help you decide which is best for you
Note that we will be talking here about Nordictrack incline trainers and Nordictrack treadmills for easier comparison.
(For example, AFG makes an “incline trainer” that is actually an elliptical trainer – not a treadmill at all. So to avoid confusion – and since this blog deals mainly with Nordictrack products, we’ll stick with comparing those two products.)
Difference Between Incline Trainer and Treadmill – Incline
We’ll start with the obvious difference. Incline.
Both of these machines give you incline. With treadmills, depending on the model, you can generally get inclines of 8% up to 15%. The high incline is a great way to add some high-intensity interval training to your workout.
However, the Incline trainer goes beyond a traditional treadmill and gives you inclines of up to 40% – which is incredible.
Note that most people probably won’t automatically be able to go full out at 40%. It’s pretty intense.
But you can do short bursts of high inclines (as much as you can manage) and grow from there.
What’s the benefit to high inclines?
Obviously you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time.
According to the manufacturer, you can burn 5 times more calories walking on a 40% incline (vs a flat surface). That means you can lose weight and see results faster on an incline trainer vs a treadmill.
Another cool thing about walking at higher inclines?
You can actually walk slower – but still burn the same amount of calories as if you were running or power walking.
This makes it great for people with bad knees or shin splints. They’re not pounding down on the belt and stressing their joints as they would be if they were running.
So that’s another benefit that a high incline trainer can give you over a treadmill.
Another Benefit of Incline Trainer vs Treadmill? Decline
This doesn’t apply to every treadmill (some higher-end Nordictrack treadmills also carry decline as well).
But in general incline trainers offer you decline – whereas most standard treadmills do not have this option.
So in addition to walking at high inclines, you can also decline the incline trainer. Usually the decline goes from 0 to minus 6%. This is a great way to crosstrain.
(It’s also handy after those highly intense workouts to go walking downhill for a while.)
Nordictrack Incline Trainer vs Treadmill: Large Screen Consoles
Again, this doesn’t apply to every Nordictrack treadmill. However, in general, Nordictrack incline trainers tend to have larger screens than other treadmills.
For example the Nordictrack X22i Incline Trainer gives you a large 22-inch, HD, touch-screen console seen here:
And the Nordictrack X32i Incline Trainer goes even further with a whopping 32-inch screen seen below:
The larger screen really pulls you into the iFit scenery and workout programs. So it can give you a more immersive training expereience overall vs a standard treadmill with a smaller screen.)
So those are some of the benefits that incline trainers give you over treadmills. But what about treadmills?
Do they offer benefits over incline trainers? Yes, they do.
Difference Between Treadmill and Incline Trainer: Folding
Because of the limits of a high-incline design, no incline trainer (as of this writing) folds up.
Incline Trainers are monster machines and can be quite heavy to move around.
However, all Nordictrack treadmills (and most other home treadmills) do fold up and lock into place.
So you can clean under them easily. This can also make them easier to move around.
So if you really need a folding machine, you’ll have to go with a treadmill for now – or wait until they come out with a folding incline trainer in the future.
Another Benefit of Treadmills: Price
Incline trainers are premium machines with heavy motors and all the bells and whistles you could ever want in a treadmill. Unfortunately they’re also not cheap.
Starting around $2500 and up, these machines are not for the budget-conscious buyer.
But you can find a decent Nordictrack treadmill for around $1200 up to $1800 very easily.
A personal favorite? The Commercial 1750 treadmill which gives you a high 15% incline and even 3% decline.
So if your budget doesn’t allow an incline trainer, then a treadmill might be a better option for your home.
So what’s the difference between incline trainer and treadmill?
Well, incline trainers give you the benefit of much higher inclines – which can get you faster calorie-burning results.
It can also result in a lower impact workout if you shin splints or knee issues.
Most incline trainers also give you decline – which you don’t often get with treadmills – as well as larger screens for a more immersive workout.
Treadmills however have a few advantages as well.
For example, they can fold up to save you space – which you don’t get with incline trainers.
They can also be more cost effective and easier on the budget.
So it depends on what you want at the end of the day.
Regardless of which you choose, take your time, and do your research before fully committing to a treadmill or incline trainer!
Want to learn more? Check out the links below to compare different treadmills or incline trainers.
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