Should You Buy the NordicTrack Incline Trainer or Bowflex Treadclimber?
We often get asked – what is a better machine for getting in shape and burning calories – a Bowflex Treadclimber or a NordicTrack Incline Trainer?
Both machines are hyped through infomercials and it is necessary to separate the hype from the facts. Yet both have positive features in assisting you in reaching your fitness goals, which is reflected in the high sales numbers for each machine.
Pros and Cons of the Bowflex Treadclimber vs NordicTrack Incline Trainer
Both machines have some serious features in the “pros” category:
They each provide a serious cardio burn utilizing a low impact workout. With the Bowflex Treadclimber, the “treadles” move up and down and meet your foot. So there is less impact than a treadmill. The NordicTrack Incline Trainer is designed primarily for walking and steep inclines, which also results in a less impact during your workout.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can also run with the Incline Trainers. We would not recommend you try running on the Bowflex Treadclimbers. Just stick to walking.
Bowflex claims their Treadclimbers burn calories more efficiently then a treadmill. There may be some truth to that, but their comparison is to a treadmill that has the deck leveled, not one that is seriously inclined. So the claims of burning considerably more calories don’t hold up. When you incline a treadmill, the cardio burn is similar to hiking up a steep mountain, and we all know that can be a very intense workout.
A pro with the Treadclimber is that is more compact and does not take up as much space as an Incline Trainer. If you have space restraints this can be an important issue.
The cons of the Bowflex Treadclimbers is that they are rather expensive for what you get. They also have minimal programming in comparison to NordicTrack Incline Trainers. When you compare specs and features for the money – you are typically getting more value with the Incline Trainer.
BowFlex TC 200 Treadmill Climber vs. NordicTrack X11i Incline Trainer
Let’s compare the NordicTrack X11i Incline Trainer to the Bowflex TC 200 Treadclimber.
The NordicTrack X11i costs about $700 less after discounts. It inclines up to 40% and declines, allowing you to simulate going up and down hills. Although the Incline Trainer is primarily designed for walking, you can also run on the 60″ long deck. The treadbelt is also an extra wide 22″.
With the Bowflex TC 200 Treadclimber, you are restricted to walking and the “treadle” platforms that are rather limited in space.
Additional features on the NordicTrack X11i Incline Trainer include decent speakers, the ability to plug in your MP3 player and a built-in fan. The X11i comes with 44 installed programs.
The TC 200 comes with 5 basic programs on an LCD display. In comparison, you get a 10″ Smart HD Touchscreen with the X11i.
iFit Programming on the NordicTrack x11i Incline Trainer
What really distinguishes the X11i vs the TC 200 is the optional iFit feature. The most powerful motivational technology available in the fitness industry.
iFit is a total interactive fitness management technology that includes…
The ability to create daily customized workouts based on your fitness goals. These workouts can be progressive and increase with intensity as you improve.
- You get an iFit wearable for on-the-go tracking that can be used on and off the incline trainer. This allows you to track all your physical activity throughout the day so you can get the entire picture of your daily fitness activities.
- You get access to an extensive library of virtual workouts that you be viewed on the full color 10″ display. For example, you can walk the beaches of California, or hike the canyons of Utah, and in the process you get audio coaching. What makes iFit virtual training so impressive is that your incline trainer will mimic the terrain of the video by inclining and declining.
- iFit provides recommendations for custom meals based on your calorie burn. It probably doesn’t include Big Macs.
- Expert advice is offered for better sleep, although with the intense cardio workout you get, that probably will come naturally.
You are able to track your workouts and your progress with helpful charts and stats. Studies show that individuals that track their workouts are more likely to achieve their fitness goals.
- Finally, you can access a number of your favorite web sites on the full color display, including Facebook and YouTube.
In comparison the Bowflex TC 200 has recently added technology that sets, monitors, and tracks your personal fitness goals with the free TreadClimber App with integrated Bluetooth® connectivity. This feature automatically shares your data with My Fitness Pal, Apple Health Kit and Google Fit. However, the TreadClimber App is nowhere as dynamic as iFit on the Incline Trainers.
Both typically come with free shipping, but the standard shipping is to the curb. Both these machines are very heavy and awkward to move, therefore we suggest you at least upgrade to inside shipping.
Check out our comparison article for the NordicTrack x22i and x11i models here.
Bowflex Treadclimber vs NordicTrack Incline Trainer – Conclusion
Based on the cost differences, durability and the available features, we would have to give the edge to the NordicTrack Incline Trainers. We do believe that the Treadclimbers offer a better low impact workout since the treadles move up to meet you foot, but Incline Trainers do a better job of motivating you to achieve your fitness goals and it gives you the versatility of either walking or running.
One last thought. Having been on both machines we feel the NordicTrack Incline Trainers are more durable machines in comparison to the Bowflex Treadclimbers, which is reflected in the warranty. The BowFlex TC200 comes with a 3 year parts and labor warranty. The NordicTrack X11i Incline Trainer comes with lifetime coverage on the frame and motor, 6 years parts and 3 years labor. The one issue we have always had with the Bowflex Treadclimbers is there are too many moving parts. Early models were a maintenance nightmare, but over the years their service record has improved immensely.
Check out reviews of all Treaclimber and Incline Trainer models here.
NordicTrack X22i Review (With 22″ full color display)
Or, see a comparison chart of Treadclimber models and Incline trainers by clicking on these links.