Budget treadmill/incline trainer for elevation gain

  • Creator
  • #45409

    Hi there,
    Im looking for a budget treadmill or incline trainer for use at home, mostly for accumulating those elevation gains. With budget I mean not much more than 1000 bucks.

    Is there any particular models with at least 15-20% inclination that are considered as good bang for the buck? I started browsing the treadmill world on the web and I feel I drowned with no conclusions 🙂 Ive learned that the treadmill should have at least 3 CHP (Countinuos Horse Power) to avoid slippage. Id prioritize good build quality rather than paying for all bells and whistles.

    Thanks in advance guys.


  • Keymaster
    Scott Johnston on #45422


    I have a Nordic Trac incline trainer that I bought used for about $1000. It was the cheapest model that NT made at the time. All the NT incline trainers are pretty much the same. The higher the price, the bigger the screens and fancier electronics but the function is really the same It is fine for home use but is not particularly robust construction like a Woodway which is a professional lab grade incline trainer costing several thousand dollars.

    The NT goes to 40% grade where the Woodway only goes to 30% I think. These are the only two brands I am familiar with and I am not even sure there are other brands. If I had it to do over again I would have stepped up for the Woodway. The NT is kind of a flimsy POS. It will get the job done but has some problems.

    The speed of the belt is not constant. This means that somedays 5mph is not the same as other days at 5mph. That’t not huge deal unless you want to compare workout to workout. The angle of incline is grossly inaccurate so I have to measure with an inclinometer and adjust so that if I want to be at 30% I am actually at 30%.

    All that said It is still a very effective training tool for bad weather or smoke. And you can vary the grade so that it has some running and some hiking. even downhill because the NT will go to -10% grade. For longer workout i watch movies or listen to podcasts.

    If you do not live close to steep trails this thing will really help you. Just don’t expect high quality from the NT.


    Scott Semple on #45522

    My experience is the same. I have a NT x11i, and the screen under-reports the actual speed at inclines by 10-20%… However, if you’re training by HR, then you can ignore the display and just go by your watch.

    trygve.veslum on #45721

    Scott and Scott,
    thanks for your responses. Im surprised that the NTs cant even tell the pace right given their price point starting at at least 2K dollars new. I guess we are into a niche segment here as I cant find any 2nd hand incline trainers here in Norway at all…barely anyone selling those brand new.

    I think it boils down to getting a treadmill with 15% incline which at least is better than nothing when at home. Perhaps shimming under the front of the treadmill to achieve more like 20% and cross my fingers it wont break down on long term.

    Cheers, much appreciated.


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