5 Highest Incline Treadmills from 15 to 40-Degree Gradients [2020 Review]

In this review, you will find 5 treadmills with the highest incline settings I could find on the market today. Unlike so many other reviews, this one holds true to its word and guarantees only the highest incline treadmills which include 15%, 30%, and three 40% gradients.

High incline treadmills have far more benefits than just your ordinary treadmills that have very low inclines.

Without having to run or jog, you can burn just as many calories at a much slower pace and without the high impact by simply increasing the incline on these treadmills.

Unlike your traditional treadmills, the high incline trainers are more effective at burning more calories, and also engaging more muscle activation in your calves, your legs, and yes even your glutes.

That said, you will not only get a very effective cardio workout but also strengthen and build your muscles at the same time.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • The Many Benefits of Higher Incline Treadmills
  • Treadmill Incline Conversion Chart & Calories Burned
  • Our 6 Highest Incline Treadmill Machines
  • Incline Treadmill vs Incline Trainer
  • What to Consider Before Making Your Purchase

Our Steepest Incline Treadmills at a Glance

Here is a quick glance at some of the highest incline treadmills I will be showing you in this review. Before considering your first purchase, make sure to look at not only the treadmill’s incline but also the speed.

TreadmillHighestInclineMaxSpeed
SHF Asuna Treadmill & Workstation (Editor’s Choice)40% Incline< 15% = 7.5MPH
> 15% = 3.75MPH
NordicTrack X11i High Incline Trainer40% Incline< 15% = 12 MPH
> 15% = MPH drops
NordicTrack X22i Incline Trainer40% Incline< 15% = 12 MPH
> 15% = MPH drops
FreeMotion i11.9 Incline Trainer30% Incline12MPH
Bowflex BXT216 Treadmill (foldable)15% Incline12 MPH

The Many Benefits of High Incline Treadmills

As opposed to your traditional treadmills with slopes that top out at about 10%, the higher incline treadmills have so much more to offer with extra-steep maximum inclines of over 15% and even up to 40%.

The benefits of these higher incline treadmills are numerous. So let’s take a look at what raising the workout surface to a higher slope can do for you.

  • Increased heart rate without increasing the speed
  • More calories burned in less time
  • Burn 5X the calories just by walking
  • Greater muscle stimulation in calves, quads, and glutes
  • Increased core engagement
  • More resistance for greater muscle activation & added strength
  • Less impact on knees & ankles

This list may not seem very long to you, but the benefits are tremendous. The fact that you can activate more muscles and burn more calories in less time is a huge advantage over your traditional treadmill machines.

With that said, if you’re convinced that purchasing a new high incline treadmill is a no brainer and would like to learn more about what’s available, here are our top treadmills with the highest incline settings we could find. Compare the features for each and decide for yourself which is the best choice for you.

Treadmill Incline Conversion Chart & Calories Burned

The following table shows how many more calories you can burn by simply walking while increasing the incline level. I have taken two stats found online and averaged them for more accurate numbers.

The main point, however, is to show how much more you can burn on calories as you raise the slope levels by 10-degrees.

That said, the numbers show that you could burn almost 5 times the calories at a 40% incline than you would at 0%. Obviously your tempo would slow down at a higher incline. But with the added resistance from the incline, you would still burn far more calories regardless.

InclineCaloriesCaloriesAvg. Cal.
40%381398389
30%321317319
20%232236
10%157157
0%877480
*Calories burned walking at 2mph for 20 minutes.

Our Top 6 Highest Incline Treadmill Machines

If you came here to find a good high incline treadmill to purchase for your home gym, then here are my top picks.

1. Sunny Health & Fitness 9700 40% Incline Treadmill with Workstation

Sunny Health & Fitness High Incline Treadmill 40% gradient

Editor’s #1 Pick

Best bang for your buck & most compact high incline treadmill and trainer on the market!

The Sunny Health & Fitness 9700 is by far the most affordable high incline treadmill and offers a whopping 40% incline.

Extremely Compact & with Workstation
But what makes this treadmill special is not only the 40% incline but that it can also be used as a workstation at home and is very compact when compared to other treadmills and incline trainers.

2 Operation Modes: Good for Both Running & Climbing
I especially like the 2 operation modes for both running and for climbing. This special feature offers speeds of 7.5mph up to a 15% incline and speeds of 3.75mph for anything above 15% and up to a 40% incline.

9700 Treadmill Workstation Desk with Auto Incline | ASUNA

Key Features

  • Highest Incline setting: 40%
  • Less than 15% incline top speed: 7.5mph
  • Greater than 15% incline: 3.75mph
  • Most compact high incline trainer & treadmill on the market.
  • Includes workstation desk
  • Integrated tablet mount and onboard USB charging port.
  • Backlit Display Monitor: Speed, time, heart rate, distance, calories burned, and incline.
  • Pulse sensor to track your heart rate.
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • 12 preset workout programs
  • Quick incline buttons & bottle holder
  • Emergency stop clip, floor stabilizers, transport wheels
  • Running deck: 52”L x 19.5”W
  • Dimensions: 68”L x 36”W x 68.5H

2. NordicTrack X11i 40% Incline Trainer

NordicTrack X11i 40% high incline treadmill

The NordicTrack X11i is an excellent choice for walking, jogging, and running alike. It is a high quality, robust, and commercial-grade machine backed by a household name you can trust and all the warranties you would expect from such a brand.

Besides boasting a powerful motor and spacious walking deck, this incline machine is packed with extra features most other brands can not top. Check out all the key features below.

NordicTrack Commercial X11i Incline Trainer - Interactive Personal Training

My Verdict

I have read both very positive but also some negative reviews on this machine. However, after reading through the included user manual, it became apparent that many of the user issues and problems were most likely a result of not reading and following the user guide instructions and important first time settings and adjustments.

That said, I would definitely recommend this high incline trainer and treadmill if you have the room (as it is very heavy and would require a dedicated space) and enjoy having all the extra bells and whistles that come with it.

Key Features

  • From -6% to Highest Incline of 40%
  • Quick & easy OneTouch controls for speed, incline, 44 workout presets, volume, and more
  • Bluetooth Audio Capabilities
  • 10” Smart HD Color Touchscreen (iFit enabled free & paid accounts), MAPS, workout programs (complete with others around the world).
  • Quiet operation (only about 60db)
  • Access the Internet thru WiFi
  • Reflex cushion deck for extra comfort & low impact
  • 5-speed fan
  • USB port to charge your personal devices
  • Safety key
  • Pulse sensors on handles & chest strap pulse sensor
  • Storage cubbies, media device holder, heart rate monitor & various stats
  • Speakers with audio jack
  • Less than 15% incline top speed: 12 mph
  • Greater than 15%  incline: reduced speeds
  • Powerful 3.75 CHP Smart Response DurX Motor
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Running deck: 60”L x 22”W
  • Dimensions: 72” x 40”W x 72H

3. NordicTrack X22i 40% Incline Trainer

NordicTrack X22i 40% Incline Trainer

The NordicTrack x22i is a step up from our previous model. Basically, this high incline treadmill offers most of the same features but has a larger 22” display and a more powerful 4.0 CHP motor.

Additionally, you will find some extra on-board workout programs to keep you busy.

Are these upgrades worth the extra cost? Well, I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Key Features

  • Gradient: -6% to 40% gradient incline
  • OneTouch controls, 50 workout presets, and more
  • Bluetooth Audio Capabilities
  • 12” Smart HD Color Touchscreen (iFit interactive personal training), MAPS, workout programs (complete with others around the world).
  • Access the Internet thru WiFi
  • Low Impact Reflex cushion
  • Quiet operation (only about 60db)
  • 5-speed fan
  • USB port to charge your personal devices
  • Safety key
  • Pulse sensors on handles & chest strap pulse sensor
  • Storage cubbies, media device holder, heart rate monitor & various stats
  • Speakers with audio jack
  • Less than 15% incline top speed: 12 mph
  • Greater than 15%  incline: reduced speeds
  • Powerful 4.0 CHP Smart Response DurX Motor
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 300 lbs.
  • Running deck: 60”L x 22”W
  • Dimensions: 70”L x 40”W x 72H

4. FreeMotion i11.9 Treadmill with 30% Incline

FreeMotion i11.9 with 30% gradient

Best High-end commercial grade incline treadmill.

This high-end commercial grade incline trainer and treadmill by FreeMotion is the ultimate for both climbers and runners. This high incline treadmill and trainer is built to take a beating and can be found in most fitness studios across the country.

The FreeMotion i11.9 incline trainer is packed with extra features and built for commercial use. If however money is not an issue, this is truly a top of the line machine that will last and deliver.

It features a 10” HD color touchscreen with internet, iFit Live connectivity, and Google Maps Programming.

The HP5 motor powers a well-cushioned 22” wide and 60” running deck at maximum speeds of 12 mph with a 30% incline while also supporting a maximum user weight capacity of up to 400 lbs.

Superb quality comes at a price. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a professional high incline treadmill and trainer it is well worth paying the extra bucks.

I have even found refurbished or slightly used models offered at half the price.

Introducing the FreeMotion Incline Trainer

Key Features

  • -3% decline to 30% maximum gradient incline
  • 10” HD Color Touch Screen Console with internet connectivity
  • Internet & iFit Live connectivity & Google Maps Programming
  • Extra-Long, 60” Ultra Cushioned Shock Absorbing Deck System
  • Powerful 5HP Motor
  • Maximum speed: 12 MPH
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 lbs.
  • Running surface: 60”L x 22”W
  • Dimensions: 79.5”L x 37.3”W x 72.3”H

5. Bowflex BXT216 Treadmill 15% Incline

Bowflex BXT216 Treadmill 15% Incline

Best foldable space saving high incline treadmill.

Although the Bowflex BXT216 high incline treadmill only tops out at a 15% gradient, it does offer a foldable design that will save you much more room than any of our previous models in this review.

The Bowflex incline treadmill features a 9” full color LCD screen with 11 ready to use workout programs. The Bowflex JRNY App offers custom workouts, personalized coaching and feedback to push you harder and reach new goals.

With the Explore the World App you can also explore dozens of virtual courses and stunning trails that also automatically adjusts to your running speed.

Check out the following video and additional key features below.

Bowflex® Results Series | 216 Treadmill Product Overview

Key Features

Key Features

  • Highest incline: 15%
  • Easy to fold up when not in use
  • 9” Full-Color back-lit LCD & 11 integrated workout programs
  • Bowflex JRNY App for custom workouts
  • Explore the World App (virtual courses & stunning trails)
  • Extra-Long, 60” x 22” Comfort Tech Cushioned Running Deck
  • Contact & Telemetry enabled (chest strap included)
  • Powerful 4.0CHP Motor
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Tablet holder
  • Maximum speed: 12 MPH
  • Maximum Weight Capacity: 400 lbs.
  • Running surface: 60”L x 22”W
  • In use dimensions: 84.6″L x 36.3″W x 55.2″H.
  • Folded dimensions: 52.5″L x 36.3″W x 67″H

Incline Treadmill vs Incline Trainer

I have been reading various articles in which the authors are comparing the two as if they were completely different cardio machines. Yes, there are differences that you should be aware of before you drop some coin for one of these.

That said, all-in-all they are still both treadmills but with slightly different functionality and construction, among other things.

Therefore, to make things easier and not stretch this article out any longer than need be, I have created a bullet list of differences for each machine.

Incline Treadmill

  • Usually a smaller motor (so less expensive)
  • Inclines up to 15%
  • Mostly higher speeds up to 12mph

Incline Trainer

  • Mostly more expensive due to the larger motor & extra components
  • Highest inclines up to 40%
  • Mostly lower speeds at higher inclines

What to Consider before Buying

Besides the obvious, paying attention to the warranty and buying from a reputable company, you should also pay close attention to the speed level.

In many cases, buyers are so focused on the treadmill incline levels that they forget to consider what the maximum speed is for the machine.

If you’re buying a high incline treadmill but still want the speeds of a traditional 0% to 10% incline for days when you prefer a brisk walk or a good jogging session, then speed is definitely a factor to recognize.

On the other hand if you are not the running type, then most so-called incline trainers will absolutely do the trick.

Sunny Health & Fitness 9700 is a treadmill that offers both functions and includes a workstation. It offers speeds of 7.5mph at up to a 10% incline, and 3.75mph up to a 40% incline.