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Best Ellipticals with Incline

Ramp up your cardio routine - literally - with the incline feature on an elliptical. Here are some of our favorite models!

Ellipticals are very popular exercise machines that are seen in basically every gym, but it can be difficult to decide which one to get for home use because the fitness world constantly comes out with new workout devices. However, these workout machines are the perfect combination between a treadmill and a stair-climber, and they remain great exercise devices.

Ellipticals will increase the heart rate while they work important muscle groups at the same time - they can be used as cardio as well as strength training machines. They are known for increasing leg strength as well as toning the buttocks. It is also a proven fact that ellipticals burn more calories than jogging in a shorter period of time.

Ellipticals with incline

A high-quality elliptical machine will let you adjust not only the resistance level but also the level of incline. The incline level determines how challenging the workout is and you should adapt it to your preferences without pushing your limits.

Basically, changing the incline level means changing the slope of the elliptical steps, which can increase or decrease the effort during exercise. The higher the incline level is set, the more effort you will put into it. You can compare it with walking uphill instead of walking on a flat surface. This will also target different muscle groups, giving you a more well-rounded workout than just flat running.

Using an elliptical with incline will also target different muscle groups, giving you a more well-rounded workout than just flat running.

Automatic versus manual incline

The ellipticals that come with an incline feature can activate this feature manually or automatically. While both come with certain advantages and disadvantages, it is mostly an individual preference when it comes to what you should choose.

 In general, ellipticals that come with an automatic incline function are more popular because you don’t have to interrupt the workout to adjust the incline level. Automatic machines also also offer a wider range of incline levels. However, the manual incline lowers the price of ellipticals significantly which is important to consider as well. Manual incline machines also have a tendency to break a bit more easily, because jostling moving parts by hand leads to greater wear and tear on the machine.

muscles targeted by incline

The incline function is used to work the Hamstrings muscles in particular. Other muscle groups targeted by the incline function are the Gluteus Maximus and the Quadriceps. Some ellipticals also come with upper body levels on movable handles, which allows you to work-out the triceps and the chest muscles.The decline function on the other hand will help you focus on the speed that you develop during the workout. Also, if you get a decline of -10%,you will increase your chances to get a high quality cardio workout. 

1) Schwinn 470 available for $999 on Amazon

Key features
  • 10 degree automatic incline
  • Up to 4 custom user profiles
  • 29 workout programs
  • 25 levels of resistance

Schwinn is one of the most appreciated manufacturers in terms of fitness equipment and they don’t disappoint with the 470 model. This American brand offers an entire line of high quality products that are designed to help people of all shapes and sizes live a healthy lifestyle. With such a great brand reputation and a premium set of features, the Schwinn 470 is not one of the absolute cheapest ellipticals on the market, but is certainly far from being an expensive model.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

This elliptical comes with an incline feature that is automatic and can be set at up to a maximum of 10 degrees. You can adjust the incline level by using the buttons on the console. However, some users might prefer an incline level that is higher than 10 degrees, in order to get a more intense or muscle-focused workout.

What else is great about it?

The primary major benefit of of the Schwinn 470 elliptical is that it comes with a highly advanced computer system that allows you to set up future workouts as well as track old ones. You can also register up to 4 user profiles which makes this great as a family or group fitness machine.

This means that even though multiple people are using the machine, it will remember your specific workout settings. Also, the resistance feature is automatic, so you can easily customise your difficulty with the touch of a button. All of these features can be found on the intuitive console screen.

You will find 25 ECB resistance settings which is impressive (most machines have around 20). In terms of extra features, Schwinn 470 offers increased comfort during workout with the built in speakers and tablet shelf. You can read your favorite book or listen to your music while working out. This product also comes with 10 years of warranty.

Pros:
  • Automatic incline and resistance
  • Computer incorporated
  • Allows the registration of 4 users
  • Allows tracking past workouts
  • Easy to set up future workouts
  • 10 years warranty
Cons:
  • The incline can be set only up to 10 degrees
  • It is not a budget friendly product
     

2) Schwinn 430 available for $815 on Amazon

Key features
  • 2 custom user profiles
  • 22 workout programs
  • 20 resistance levels
  • USB port in the console

Another great alternative from Schwinn is the 430 elliptical. The price of this elliptical is similar to the Schwinn 470 model, but it comes with certain notable differences.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

The major difference between the Schwinn 430 and the Schwinn 470 is that the incline function is manual on the 430 (compared to be automatic on the latter). Both the Schwinn 470 and 430 offer an incline that can get up to 10 degrees which might be too small of an angle for some buyers’ preferences.

 Since the incline is manual, you will have to adjust it according to the types of muscles you want to work out in advance (the higher the incline level, the more you target the hamstrings and glutes). Alternatively, you can pause your workout to make the incline adjustments by hand and increase the level gradually.

What else is great about it?

Just like Schwinn 470 model, the 430 comes with an incorporated computer system that allows you to track your workouts over a long period of time. The computer offers the option to register 2 profiles compared to Schwinn 470 which allows up to 4 user profiles. This makes it convenient to share the elliptical with someone else, but if you have more than two people in your household using the machine it may not be sufficient.

It also includes 22 programs with 9 workouts and 8 heart rate controls. The user can adjust to 22 levels of resistance as well. Schwinn 430 is made to accommodate users with a maximum weight of 300 pounds which makes it a great choice for a variety of people. Also, the heart rate is monitored through the hand grips and not by using a chest belt. This product also comes with 10 years of warranty.

Pros:
  • Advanced computer system
  • 22 levels of resistance
  • Can register up to two profiles
  • 10 years of warranty
  • Heart rate monitor on hand grips
Cons:
  • Manual incline feature
  • The incline can only be set up to 10 degrees
  • Doesn’t include a chest belt

3) NordicTrack E 7.0 Z

Key features
  • 20 workout programs
  • Up to 20 degree incline
  • 20-inch adjustable stride
  • 15 lb flywheel

The NordicTrack is a well-known manufacturer of ergonomic fitness equipment with increased attention to detail. The brand is part of the ICON Health and Fitness group, which has offered high quality fitness equipment for over 25 years. In terms of the price, this elliptical is roughly the average cost of a machine that offers as many features as it does. There are cheaper models available, but they aren’t built to the same level of quality or have the same brand recognition.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

NordicTrack E 7.0.Z offers an ability to incline automatically up to 20 degrees, which is more than other ellipticals offer. You can easily adjust the incline on the console according to what muscle groups you want to work, without interrupting your exercising program.

Also, the incline feature can be adjusted without any input from the user in order to match the terrain provided by different scenarios provided on the computer that this elliptical comes with.

What else is great about it?

The computer incorporated into the NordicTrack E 7.0.Z elliptical comes with a variety of features as well. It has 20 programmed workouts to enjoy as well as iFit Compatibility. If you are an iFit subscriber, you can access hundreds of customised workouts online created by professional trainers to suit your personal goals and physical needs.

Also, through iFit you can access different scenarios in the world that you will see on the screen of the computer - so you will be virtually running through a forest, up mountains, even on famous racing tracks. Another great feature is the 20 inch stride, which is made to accommodate tall people.

Pros:
  • Incline feature adjustable up to 20 degrees
  • 20 inch stride (suitable for tall people)
  • 20 programmed workouts
  • Compatible with iFit, which offers even more customized workout programs
  • Heart rate monitors on stationary handles
Cons:
  • Doesn’t come with a fan
  • No chest belt for monitoring heart rate is included
  • No touch screen display (so the controls for many features may be a bit tricky to figure out)

4) NordicTrack C 7.5 available for $799 on Amazon

Key features
  • 26 workout programs
  • 20 lb flywheel
  • 325 lb weight capacity
  • Automatic 20 degree incline

NordicTrack C 7.5 is similar with the NordicTrack E 7.0.Z and they are both in the same budget range (not too expensive but not one of the cheapest options either). You get the same assurance and customer experience with the NordicTrack brand.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

The incline feature can be adjusted up to 20 degrees automatically. Just like in the NordicTrack E 7.0.Z, all it takes to find the right level is one button. This ensures that you can modify the incline level without interrupting your workout. By using the incline function you tone the quads, calves and glutes.

What else is great about it?

Just like the previous elliptical model, NordicTrack C 7.5 comes with an incorporated computer. However, this computer has 26 programmed workouts (compared to the NordicTrack E 7.0.Z’s 20). It is also compatible with the iFit.

Also, this elliptical allows tracking the heart rate through hand grips, though it doesn’t come with a chest belt. This elliptical has a 20 inch stride and a resistance that goes up 22 levels. This product comes with a lifetime frame of warranty, 2 years warranty for parts and 1 year warranty for labor.

Pros:
  • 26 incorporated workouts
  • Great warranty service
  • Compatible with iFit subscription
  • 22 levels of resistance
  • 20 degree automatic incline
Cons:
  • No chest belt included

5) Nautilus E614 available for $548 on Amazon

Key features
  • 22 workout programs
  • 20 resistance levels
  • 10 degree manual incline
  • USB port on console

Nautilus offers a variety of fitness products that come at a relatively budget price (slightly cheaper or about the same compared to other ellipticals on the market). But the quality of these products remains high, so overall it is considered to be a great investment. The Naulitus E614 in particular is great for beginners in terms of workout and fitness without breaking the bank.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

The incline function of the E614 can be adjusted to 6 positions manually up to 10 degrees. 10 degrees is by no means a lot of incline, but if you’re only planning on using this feature once in a while, or if it’s not a priority for you, then the E614 is a good option.

What else is great about it?

As for other features, Nautilus E 614 comes with an incorporated computer DualTrack LCD window system with 22 workout programs. You can enjoy 3 fun rides, 3 mountain rides, and 3 challenges.

Also the 8 heart rate programs come with custom settings to adjust as you please. Your physical improvement can be tested with 2 fitness test programs. In addition, Nautilus E 614 comes with a 10 year frame warranty, 2 year parts warranty, one year warranty for electronics and a 90 day labor warranty.

Pros:
  • Budget friendly price
  • Customize your workout with fitness tests
  • 22 workout programs
  • Can measure heart rate
  • 20 levels of resistance
Cons:
  • Manual incline function
  • Only 10 degrees of incline

6) Nautilus E616 available for $999 on Amazon

Key features
  • Bluetooth connectivity to Nautilus and RunSocial fitness app
  • 20 inch stride
  • 29 workout programs 

Compared to the E 614 model, the Nautilus E 616 is more expensive, but it also comes with a variety of premium features.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

The incline function is motorized, which allows you to increase the intensity of the workout without getting off the elliptical to adjust it. The incline only goes up to 11 degrees automatically (compared to 10 degrees on the E614). Again, this may not be enough if you want an intense muscle-focused workout, but if you’re focusing mostly on cardio, you’ll be fine.

What else is great about it?

Other impressive features of the Nautilus E 616 include the 25 levels of resistance (compared to 20 levels offered by Nautilus 614).

Also, the DualTrack console includes 29 programmable workouts to enjoy compared to Nautilus 614 that includes only 22 of these programs. From these, 12 programs are already pre-loaded and ready to be used which makes it seem like you have a personal fitness trainer.

Even if the price of this elliptical is not the most budget friendly compared to the E614, it is justifiable if we consider the extra features such as in-console speakers with MP3 input port, USB media charging and adjustable fan.

Pros:
  • 29 programs with 12 pre loaded workout ones
  • Adjustable fan
  • Automated incline
  • Incorporated speakers
  • USB media charging
  • 25 levels of resistance
Cons:
  • Incline can be adjusted only up to 11 degrees
  • Price - the E616 is more expensive than other Nautilus models
 

7) Proform SmartStrider 735

Key features
  • 22 workout programs
  • 18 lb flywheel
  • 300 lb weight capacity
  • 20 resistance levels

ProForm 735 Smart Strider is a great product by the ProForm, one the most well-known fitness equipment manufacturer’s both on and offline. Because it is one of the high quality ellipticals, you will not find it for super cheap.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

The incline and decline features are automatic and easy to adjust by using the console that this device comes with. It comes with 22 different programs, but it is also compatible with the iFit application which gives you access to unlimited other customised workouts.

While some users might prefer a higher incline range, the 10 degrees of incline should be enough for more cardio-focused workouts. And since it can be changed automatically, you won’t have to pause your exercise session to adjust it to the level that you need.

What else is great about it?

Another great feature about this product is that you can fold it up easily, so it won’t take space in your room when you are not using it.This elliptical offers 20 levels of resistance. The foot paddles are made to accommodate most users regardless of their foot size because they are easily adjustable. And the dual grip heart rate monitor is just one more useful feature to add to the benefits of this elliptical.

Pros:
  • Comes with 22 workout programs
  • Automatic incline
  • 20 levels of resistance
  • Easy to store thanks to its fold-up feature
  • iFit compatible
Cons:
  • The incline feature only goes to 10 degrees
  • Price - the SmartStrider is slightly more expensive than other ellipticals that offer roughly the same set of features

8) NordicTrack SE9i available for $648 on Amazon

Key features
  • 30 workout programs
  • 325 lb weight capacity
  • Includes a heart rate monitor chest strap
  • 18 lb flywheel

NordicTrack SE9i is an elliptical model that is very popular among both beginner and expert users. The SE9i comes with a lot of improved features compared to the previous NordicTrack models. The extra features of this elliptical also explains the increased price which is not too expensive, but it should be considered a long-term investment in your health.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

The incline feature of this elliptical is adjustable up to 10 degrees, which is good enough for a cardio-heavy workout but will not be sufficient to build any muscle mass. The incline can be modified automatically so you won’t have to disturb your workout program to get it to the level that you want.

What else is great about it?

Also, another great feature of this elliptical is the 24 levels of resistance - most ellipticals at the price point come with around 20. The 7 inch screen that the NordicTrack SE9i comes with allows you to navigate the internet while you do your workout and enjoy different running scenarios.

It includes a natural stride ergonomic style that accommodates most users, and power adjustable incline function, so that it’s easy and smooth to use for the whole ride.

It also comes with 30 pre-set programs to try out, and it is iFit compatible if you need even more variety. This elliptical can be easily folded so it will save space when you don’t use it.

Pros:
  • Foldable frame for easy storage
  • 7 inch screen that allows you to browse online
  • 24 levels of resistance
  • 30 pre-set programs
  • Automatic incline function
Cons:
  • Incline only goes up to 10 degrees
  • Expensive - as expected, since it comes with all the bells and whistles

9) Proform 520E available for $708 on Amazon

Key features
  • 18 workout programs
  • 15 lb flywheel
  • 20 inch adjustable stride
  • 300 lb weight capacity

Proform 520 E is one of the elliptical models that you should definitely consider as a fitness beginner. Also, ProForm is a great brand with plenty of high quality products, which is why it has gained buyers’ trust.

This elliptical has a stride that can be adjusted to up to 20 inches which makes it suitable for even taller rusers. The difficulty can be adjusted between the 18 resistance levels that it comes with, and you also get a 18 workout programs to choose from.

As for the price, it is definitely more affordable than other models. And you get all the benefits of the Proform brand, which means that the quality remains high even if it is not one of the expensive ellipticals on the market.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

The ProForm 520 E comes with an adjustable incline function that can go up to 20 degrees. This can help to add more variety to your workout, since it comes with less programs than other machines.

The changes to the incline can be done automatically so you won’t have to interrupt your workout to get the desired level. Modifying the incline will allow you to focus on different muscle groups and enjoy better results at the end. We can definitely say that the incline function and the level it can go up to are the key features of this elliptical - most budget friendly models from well-known brands don’t feature an automatic incline at all.

What else is great about it?

Besides a great range of incline and resistance options that can both be adjusted automatically, this elliptical also comes with some pre installed workout programs.

These programs can be accessed by using the incorporated computer and 5 inch display attached to the product. It is iPod and iFit compatible to allow you to access an even wider variety of workouts and options.

The dual-grip heart rate monitor will keep you informed about your heart rate as you burn calories away during your exercise session. The Proform 520 E also comes with other comfort features such as a bottle holder and a tablet holder which make working out much more enjoyable!

Pros:
  • Automatic incline function that goes up to 20 degrees
  • iFit and iPad compatible
  • Adjustable stride size
Cons:
  • 18 levels of resistance
  • Only 18 workout programs already installed
 

10) Sole Fitness E25 available for $1299 on Amazon

Key features
  • 20-22 inch adjustable stride length
  • 350 lb weight limit
  • Chest strap heart rate monitor included
  • 30 degree automatic incline

The SOLE Fitness E25 Elliptical is definitely made to meet everyone’s needs. SOLE is a well-known and highly appreciated brand that had an amazing development in USA and Canada in a record period of time. In only 5 years, SOLE became a premium fitness brand and it continues to develop.

As for the SOLE Fitness E25, the resistance and incline functions are both adjustable so you can choose the type of workout that you want. And your can also monitor your heart rate during exercise, which is always useful in hitting your intensity goals.

As for the price range, this typically found above the average price of an elliptical machine.. But with so many advantages included, it is definitely a great investment that will last years to come.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

The incline function is automatic which makes it very convenient to use and modify as you please. It goes up to 30 degrees, which is steep enough to begin to feel some muscle burn during your workout. Considering that most ellipticals only go up to 10 degrees, if at all, if you are planning on doing some heavy uphill training, this is the machine for you!

When you adjust your incline, you have 20 levels to choose from. Remember that increased incline works your leg muscles a lot more so use it wisely!

What else is great about it?

When using the heart rate monitor function, you can also use a chest belt which allows for more accurate heart rate measurements.Hard-core fitness enthusiasts will find this feature invaluable.

It comes with built in speakers so you can enjoy your favorite music during your workout. However, you will be only able to choose between 10 workout programs that are already installed. If you’re the kind of person who sets their own workout routines, however, this won’t bother you.

You can also track your calories, fat burnt as well as time, distance and speed. With a stride of 20 inches to 22 inches, any user can find comfort using this product.

Pros:
  • Incline function goes up to 30 degrees
  • Built-in speakers
  • 20 levels of resistance
  • Large stride to accommodate even the tallest users
  • Heart rate can be monitored with a chest belt
Cons:
  • Comes with less pre-installed programs than other similar machines (only 10 workout programs)
  • Chest belt is not included

11) Yowza Fitness Miami

Key features
  • 19" - 32" adjustable stride length
  • Up to 60% automatic incline
  • Bluetooth speakers on the console
  • 30 workout programs

The Yowza Fitness Miami elliptical is a good option that comes from Yowza fitness, a brand that has been around for over 3 decades. All their products are made and highly tested in USA. When it comes to the price, these ellipticals are generally more expensive than others because they come with a variety of premium features that you can’t find in most of the cheaper products.

The stride can be easily adjusted between 19 inches and 32 inches in order to accommodate all potential users. Also, this elliptical comes with an automatically adjustable incline and resistance and a built in Bluetooth wireless Fit system to enjoy your music during workout.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

The incline function in this elliptical is the defining feature on this machine. It goes up to 60 % - adding 6 times more difficulty than most ellipticals. If you are aiming to work your core, calves and glutes, and not just break a sweat, a high incline is a must. Adjusting the incline as well as the resistance level can be done automatically.

When modifying the incline, you can choose between 12 different levels. Each level adds an additional of 5 % to the previous one. The minimum incline comes with a 19 inch stride size, and maximum incline gets the stride size up to 32 inches, so you can really take those long steps uphill to feel the burn!

What else is great about it?

The resistance can be adjusted automatically by choosing one of the 16 levels that it comes with, without interrupting or pausing your workout session. Also, the elliptical comes with 21 pre-set and 9 customisable workout programs (meaning that you can create your own program, and the machine will save it for you). It also has a bottle holder and a fan attached for increased workout comfort and convenience.

Pros:
  • Great incline range of 60 %
  • Comes with 30 total workout programs
  • Stride goes from 19 inches to 32 inches
  • Fan and bottle holder attached
  • Automatic incline and resistance adjustment
Cons:
  • Quite expensive
  • It is not easy to move or store, as it is a very heavy product

12) Precor EFX 546i available for $3198 on Amazon

Key features
  • Adjustable stride from 21.2" to 24.7"
  • Automatic incline up to 40 degrees
  • 20 levels of resistance
  • 10 workout programs

Precor is a well-known company that survived on the market for over 3 decades and they keep coming out with great fitness equipment. Precor EFX 546i is an elliptical that is made for commercial use, and can be often found in high class gyms - you can ensure that one of these models is made to withstand a lot of abuse!

All these features come at a price that is significantly more expensive than other models, but well worth it in terms of quality.

Image Source: Amazon

What's good about the incline?

The CrossRamp is automatically adjustable up to 40 degrees, which is an excellent incline level for an elliptical. It’s also much more stable than other elliptical models, because it has a very heavy and sturdy frame.

Also, the stride size will increase as you increase the incline level, which allows you to have more comfort during your high-intensity workout as well as more stability.

What else is great about it?

Besides all these features, Precor EFX 546i comes with 10 pre-installed programs to enjoy according to your preferences. It comes with an incorporated computer to keep track of approximate calories, fat burnt, time passed, and more while you are exercising. You can also track your heart rate during the workout. It comes with a 7 year of warranty on the frame, 2 years of warranty on parts and 1 year on labor. All in all, if you want a no fuss, but extremely solid machine with all of the guarantees, and you have a large budget to work with, this is the one to get.

Pros:
  • 20 levels of resistance
  • Cross-ramp incline up to 40 degrees
  • Adjustable stride
  • Long lifespan
Cons:
  • Significantly more expensive than other models
  • Only 10 pre-programmed workouts

In conclusion...

Overall, choosing a great elliptical for your needs is a subjective task. Keep in mind that the incline function is important if you want to work out different muscle groups and add diversity to your exercise sessions. When you work out your whole body as well as cardio, you are not only building muscle more evenly, but you are also doing a great favor to your health.

Finally, your decision will also be based on your budget. The good news is that there are ellipticals for everyone out there. So, if you consider all of the features that you find are necessary to your needs, you can definitely end up with a quality elliptical within the price range that you afford.