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I’ve always been wildly fascinated by the people who climb Mount Everest. They are clearly, quite brave, and clearly, very well-conditioned (or just have a lot of personal confidence).
Although you won’t catch me scaling the side of the Himalayas anytime soon, you will see me using one of the best ellipticals with incline. Whether you’re into scaling glaciers or just feeling the burn in a more tame fashion, the best elliptical with incline can help you achieve your fitness goals.
When it comes to strength and cardio equipment reviews, Garage Gym Reviews has your back. After all, our team of expert product testers and reviewers are certified personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and former NCAA D1 athletes. We have used more than 30 elliptical machines, putting them through our in-depth equipment testing methodology to assess factors like:
- Durability: We look for weight capacities of 300 lbs or more
- Programming: We favor machines that offer built-in or streaming workouts
- Workout Performance: We rate ellipticals for how they deliver on good cardio exercise
We’re passionate about giving readers unbiased and in-depth information they can trust––so they can get a great workout on equipment they love.
5 Best Ellipticals with Incline
- Best Elliptical With Incline Overall: NordicTrack AirGlide
- Best Elliptical With Incline for Tall People: Sole E25
- Best Smart Elliptical With Incline: NordicTrack Commercial 9.9
- Best Budget Elliptical With Incline: Schwinn 430 Elliptical
- Best Incline Elliptical With Interactive Programming: ProForm Carbon E10
Best Elliptical with Incline Overall: NordicTrack AirGlide
Good for: Users of all fitness levels who want a durable machine that does it all
- Elliptical machine with incline and decline settings
- 14” touchscreen display
- iFIT interactive programming
- Adjustable stride length
- Built-in fan and speakers
Pros & Cons
- Automatic trainer control with iFIT
- 30-day iFIT trial included
- Large, cushioned pedals
- Bluetooth speakers
- Quiet drive system
- Expensive price tag
- iFIT trial requires your credit card
- iFIT requires monthly membership fees
If you want the biggest incline range on an elliptical, then the NordicTrack AirGlide is your best bet. It touts an impressive 15% incline. Even better, it has decline training as well! GGR Everything Lead Reviewer Lindsay Scheele used the AirGlide gave this a perfect 5 out of 5 on her workout experience, stating, “There was no shaking to it and felt super smooth throughout the workout.”
There are 22 resistance levels on the AirGlide, providing a range of options for your workout. “It felt like a higher resistant to start off than other ellipticals I’ve tried in the past,” Lindsay warns, “but there is no way to really test that because it says it is set to 0.”
Like all the best NordicTrack ellipticals, the AirGlide connects with iFIT, which provides thousands of streaming and on-demand classes. (Beware: While you get a free 30-day trial of iFIT with your purchase, you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription of about $40 to keep it going.) On the AirGlide, iFIT is broadcast on a 14-inch HD touchscreen.
Lindsay took the climbing pyramids class, which is a 25-minute workout. “The instructor was great, and I really liked the music,” Lindsay says.
In terms of conveniences, the AirGlide pretty much as it all: Bluetooth speakers, cushioned pedals, water bottle holder, and a cooling fan (which Lindsay says isn’t really all that great in use because it’s not very powerful). One important missing element: A media shelf. NordicTrack likely leaves this off to encourage you to subscribe to iFIT.
Our team had a rough time with assembly. We paid the $199 for NordicTrack’s white glove service, but there were missing parts, so our team ended up having to put the machine together anyway. We have also assembled the Commercial 14.9, which was the previous iteration of this machine, and it took us several hours. If you have the time and ability to move this nearly-250-pound machine yourself, then we recommend assembly. If not, pay for the white glove service.
For more, check out our NordicTrack AirGlide 14i review.
|-5% decline to 15% incline
|69″ L x 25″ W x 71″ H
Best Elliptical with Incline for Tall People: Sole E25
Good for: Tall individuals who need a larger stride length
Best Elliptical with Incline for Tall People
- Budget friendly and under $1,200
- Lifetime warranty on the frame
- User capacity of up to 350 pounds
- Large footprint at 71” H x 70” L x 24” W
Pros & Cons
- Under $1,200
- 20 levels of resistance
- 350-pound weight capacity
- Heart rate chest strap included
- High-quality heavy-duty steel frame
- Difficult assembly with unclear instructions
- Heavy at over 212 pounds
- 20-inch stride length does not adjust
The Sole E25 is an incline elliptical that features a generous 20-inch stride length, which allows folks with longer legs to get full range of motion during their workout. Plus, you’ll also be treated to a whopping 20 levels of incline to help you really step up your game (hehe).
GGR head of content and personal trainer Kate Meier used the Sole E25 put this machine through our in-depth testing methodology, doing a a 15-minute fat burn workout. She rated it a 4.5 out of 5 for ergonomics for its long stride length, fixed and moving handles, and large, textured pedals.
“I really like the Sole speakers!” Kate said, noting that she was impressed with how clear the sound was on a machine that sits just above $1,000.
We also really impressed by the 350-pound user weight capacity. The 20-pound flywheel isn’t too shabby either––this is at the top of the range we’d expect to see on a high-quality elliptical.
The Sole E25 has an excellent lifetime frame warranty. If you’re struggling to justify spending more than $1,000 on an elliptical machine, just know you’ll be able to have this component guaranteed for life.
Just about all of the Sole ellipticals have a tall step-up height. If you’re someone with balance issues, you may have trouble mounting and dismounting the E25. Generally speaking, a low step-up height on an elliptical is around 10 inches or less.
It is also worth noting that this machine doesn’t have a touchscreen, although you are able to connect your smart device via Bluetooth for metrics and sound. You can either purchase a subscription to STUDIO, Sole’s interactive programming, or choose something different, like iFIT or JRNY. You can also forgo paid programming and take advantage of the bevvy of preset options on the E25. Kate liked the variety of workouts offered and found her phone stayed stable on the machine during testing.
Learn more in our Sole E25 Elliptical review.
|70″L x 24″W x 70″H
Best Smart Elliptical With Incline: NordicTrack Commercial 9.9
Good for: Someone who wants a little bit of everything––incline, resistance, and interactive programming on a front-drive elliptical
Best Smart Elliptical with Incline
- 7” smart HD Touchscreen
- Water bottle holder, dual 2” digitally amplified speakers
- AutoBreeze workout fan, oversized cushioned pedals
- 22 levels of digital resistance and up to a 20% incline
- Constructed with heavy-duty solid steel
Pros & Cons
- Programming options
- iFIT enabled
- Sturdy build
- 30 pre-programmed workouts
- Incline options
- Stride length is small for a commercial elliptical
- Requires a 4-year iFIT membership
If you’re looking for an elliptical with incline that exceeds tons of industry standards, the NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 may fit the bill. Nicole Davis, GGR’s senior editor and certified personal trainer, used this elliptical and gave it a 5 out of 5 for its tech capabilities. You get a 7-inch touchscreen that streams iFIT, plus Bluetooth capabilities, and Bluetooth speakers.
The 20 incline options can be controlled by the user or the Automatic Trainer Control feature that iFIT-enabled machines have. If you want to focus on your iFIT workout without messing with any buttons, Automatic Trainer Control is a great option, as the machine adjusts the settings to whatever the instructor says.
“I really like this elliptical,” Nicole says. “It feels stable, there are nice cushioned pedals, and lots of incline/resistance options.”
The 22 levels of resistance are impressive, as many ellipticals offer far less.
Two things about the 9.9 set this machine apart from the rest: The 25-pound flywheel and 350-pound user weight capacity. For reference, a good elliptical machine has between a 16- and 20-pound flywheel, so the 9.9 smashes these expectations. Plus, the 350-pound weight capacity is higher than the expected 275 pounds. This makes the 9.9 a more inclusive option for heavier people.
I’m a big fan of iFIT’s programming––it definitely rivals that of Peloton. However, Nicole says the 7-inch screen feels almost small (we have tested NordicTrack treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals with screens as big as 22 inches). For context, most people’s smartphones are only an inch or two smaller, so you’ll likely wish you had a larger display.
The warranty on this machine is one of the few things that isn’t great. The industry standard is at least 15 years on an elliptical frame, and the 9.9 only has 10 years to offer. In the future, I’d love to see NordicTrack switch this up to be aligned with what we expect.
Get the 4-1-1 with our NordicTrack Commercial 9.9 elliptical review.
|68.25″ L x 28.75″ W x 68.5″ H
Best Budget Elliptical with Incline: Schwinn 430 Elliptical
Good for: Those looking to save money without sacrificing quality
Best Budget Elliptical with Incline
- Front-drive elliptical
- 20” stride
- 20 levels of resistance
- 6 levels of incline
- 22 built-in programs
- Dual LCD screens
Pros & Cons
- 20 levels of magnetic ressistance
- Cheaper entry price compared to other similar ellipticals
- Longer stride length compared to other ellipticals in this price range
- Manually adjustable incline levels
- No Bluetooth connectivity
- Big footprint
Our team personally used the Schwinn 470, which is the now-discontinued big brother to the Schwinn 430, which we recommend as an excellent budget choice. Priced right under $1,000, this is the cheapest elliptical we recommend that still has incline on it.
Right off the bat, you have to know that you need to manually adjust the ramp in order to change incline levels. To do so, you’ll have to get off the machine, turn it off, and make the change. Therefore, you’ll probably simply set the ramp to one height for the entirety of your workout. This is less than ideal, but it’s to be expected of an elliptical under $1,000.
RELATED: Best Black Friday Elliptical Deals
If you’re a taller person, say over 6 feet, you’ll really enjoy the 20-inch stride length. The Schwinn 470 also had this longer stride length, which our testers found ideal.
For those in small spaces, the 430 may not be your best choice, as the machine does have a significant footprint. It is also worth noting that this elliptical needs two people for assembly––or you’ll need to cough up an additional $199 for professional assistance.
Read our full Schwinn 430 Elliptical review.
|6 manual adjustments
|70.1” (L) x 28.2” (W) x 63.2” (H)
Best Incline Elliptical With Interactive Programming: ProForm Carbon E10
Good for: Those looking to stream workouts
Best With Programming
- 10” touchscreen
- 19” adjustable stride
- 20-degree incline
- 25-lb flywheel
- 10-year frame warranty
Pros & Cons
- Touchscreen with IFIT
- 24 levels of silent magnetic resistance
- 19-inch adjustable stride will work for most
- 25-lb flywheel should provide a stable workout
- Pedals are adjustable
- 275-lb weight capacity is on the lower end
- Large footprint
- Customer reports of the machine being loud
Looking for a machine that streams thousands of workouts led by certified trainers and coaches? The ProForm Carbon E10 is compatible with iFIT, one of our favorite interactive workout platforms. We have tested iFIT on ProForm and NordicTrack ellipticals, bikes, treadmills, and rowing machines, and all of us (nearly half a dozen testers) agree that it rivals Peloton programming.
The Carbon E10 is “free” when you purchase three years of an iFIT family membership, which is valued at around $1,400. ProForm allows you to break down that payment to be about $39/month for 36 months. In general, we think this is a good deal.
We have personally used the ProForm Carbon EL, which is the base model in this series. Our tester says the EL is a quiet elliptical that delivers a great workout. We can say with confidence that the E10 will do the same, only with additional features.
For example, the Carbon E10 has a 10-inch HD touchscreen where you can take your workouts on the road with iFIT, traveling around the world and through scenic runs. The EL, which we tested, has a simple high-contrast display.
The E10 also features up to a 20% incline, 24 levels of resistance, and Bluetooth speakers—all upgrades to the Carbon EL.
We have to point out that these machines are large and heavy. So they will take up a lot of room in your home gym, and they are a bit of a bear to assemble.
Read our in-depth ProForm Carbon E10 review.
|Free with 3-year iFIT family membership (around $1,400)
|68.5” L x 25” W x 67.75” H
Other Ellipticals with Incline We Researched
To be frank, there aren’t many ellipticals with incline on the market. Horizon made an elliptical with incline, the 7.0 AE, but it was recently discontinued. The same with Nautilus ellipticals and ProForm ellipticals. However, you can still find some other great elliptical machines:
How We Picked and Tested
Before adding an incline elliptical to our roundup, we asked ourselves a series of in-depth questions. Here is a sampling:
- Incline options: Does this elliptical have an adjustable incline? How many incline settings does this machine have?
- Price: How expensive is this machine? Would it be considered budget, mid-range, or high-end? Are there any financing options available?
- Stride length: What is the stride length? Does it fall within the expected industry standard of 18 to 20 inches? Does this cross trainer have an adjustable stride length?
- Resistance: How many levels of resistance does this machine have? Does it have magnetic resistance?
- Foot pedals: Are the pedals adjustable? Are they well-cushioned? Will they fit most feet?
- Footprint: What are the dimensions of the elliptical? Does it have a large footprint or would it be considered a compact option? Would this fit in an apartment?
- Warranty: What does the warranty look like? How does this compare to the industry standard for frame, labor, and parts?
- Extras: Does this elliptical trainer have extras like Bluetooth speakers, an included heart-rate chest strap, cushioned pedals, a water bottle holder, or a tablet holder?
- Programs: Are there any preset workout programs on this machine? Is the machine compatible with interactive programming services like iFIT, the JRNY app, or Explore the World?
- Weight and portability: How heavy is this machine? Would a single person be able to move it? How portable is the machine? Are there any transport wheels attached to the elliptical?
- Display: What type of display does this machine have? Is it an HD touchscreen, LCD screen, or LED display?
- Weight capacity: What is the weight capacity of the elliptical machine? Does this align with industry standards?
Benefits of Ellipticals with Incline
Trying to figure out if purchasing an elliptical with incline is the right move for you? Garage Gym Reviews Writer and certified personal trainer Lauren Strong is here to give some insight.
“Ellipticals with incline training options give you the ability to customize your workout and stimulate different muscle groups,” Lauren explains.
“Incline training can help you turn a low-impact workout into a posterior-chain pump by adding emphasis on the glutes, hamstrings, and calves. That said, increasing the incline on your elliptical can also help to increase calorie burn without adding more time to your cardio workout,” Lauren adds.
“During a 20-minute bout of elliptical exercise, your caloric expenditure will likely be higher if you implement incline training because more muscles are stimulated versus the same amount of time on an elliptical without choosing incline training.”
Buying Guide: What to Look for in an Elliptical with Incline
Here are the top three things you should keep in mind when purchasing an at home elliptical with incline:
Perhaps this goes without saying, but if you’re looking for an elliptical with incline, you should probably check the incline options. Some machines may have higher inclines available or a more challenging feel at the same level.
It is in your best interest to decide how many levels of incline you want ahead of your search. Some machines, like those NordicTrack ellipticals, can even automatically adjust your incline to match the instructor’s cues.
Price and Financing
Ellipticals can be pricey, so it is always a good idea to set a budget prior to purchasing anything. However, if you fall in love with a machine outside of your budget, there are a few ways to get around the issue. First, check to see if the elliptical in question is able to be financed. Many larger companies (like ProForm or NordicTrack) offer great financing options through banks. If you qualify via a credit check, you can make reasonable monthly payments instead of paying a large sum at once (sometimes without any interest).
If you’re in a more compact space, it is necessary to consider the measurements of your potential elliptical. Many elliptical machines have larger footprints and cannot be folded. Luckily, there are still a variety of options for people with limited space––you may just have to get creative or look a bit harder.
Best Elliptical with Incline FAQs
Is an incline elliptical good?
Yes, an incline elliptical can be a good add to your home gym. You’ll be able to get additional lower-body activation that you wouldn’t get during a traditional elliptical workout.
What is the highest rated elliptical machine?
I’ve tried dozens of different elliptical machines, and here are the ones that made the cut as the best:
Best Elliptical Overall: NordicTrack AirGlide 14i
Best Elliptical Machine Runner-Up: Sole E25
Best Elliptical for Comfort: Bowflex Max Trainer M6
Best Elliptical for Knee Pain: ProForm Hybrid Trainer
Best Elliptical for Small Spaces: NordicTrack FS10i
Best Elliptical for Beginners: ProForm Carbon EL
Best Budget Elliptical: Horizon 7.0 AE Elliptical
Best Adjustable Elliptical Machine: Diamondback Fitness 1280ef Adjustable Stride Elliptical Trainer
Best Under-Desk Elliptical: Cubii Move
Best Elliptical Under $1,000: NiceDay Elliptical Machine
Best Elliptical Under $500: Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Elliptical Machine
What muscles are worked with an incline elliptical?
“Exercising on an elliptical with incline will work all of the same muscles as exercising on a regular elliptical—all of the major muscle groups—but with an increased emphasis on the glutes, quads, and calves,” GGR editor and certified personal trainer Amanda Capritto shares. “You may also feel some additional strain on your core muscles due to the increased balance needed to remain upright with a higher step up.”
I’ve always been wildly fascinated by the people who climb Mount Everest. They are clearly, quite brave, and clearly, very well-conditioned (or just have a lot of personal confidence). Although you won’t catch me scaling the side of the Himalayas anytime soon, you will see me using one of the best ellipticals with incline. Whether you’re into scaling glaciers or just feeling the burn in a more tame fashion, the best elliptical with incline can help you achieve your fitness goals. » Read more about: Best Elliptical with Incline (2024): Burn Calves, Burn! » Read more
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