Which Ellipticals Have Incline Capability?

Elliptical With Incline - NordicTrack with up to 20 degreesIncline capability used to be something you wouldn’t find often on elliptical trainers, especially those in the lower price ranges. But as more and more users are requesting the ability to ramp up their training (no pun intended), more manufacturers are incorporating incline on newer machines.

Let’s take a look at the current incline ellipticals on the market today…

Elliptical Trainers With Incline (And Decline)

NordicTrack: Whenever we are looking for a new feature, we head first to NordicTrack ellipticals, as they always tend to have more bells and whistles than all of the other brands.

Sure enough, most of their ellipticals have incline capability up to 20% (The FS9i actually has decline up to -10%). Most of the FreeStride Trainers, all of the C Series Front Drive ellipticals, and both SpaceSavers. The only ones that don’t are the ACT Commercial mid-drive models and the base FS5i FreeStride Trainer.

ProForm: The second most popular brand on the market also tends to have a lot of features. Most of the ProForm ellipticals have incline up to 20%, including the Endurance Series, Pro Series and Smart Strider series. The only models without incline are the 495 CSE Smart Strider and the Hybrid Trainers.

Sole: All of the Sole ellipticals have incline: E25, E35, E55, E95, E95S and E98.

Yowza: All of the Yowza ellipticals have incline. Some models actually have up to 60% incline. (Note that Yowza recently went out of business.)

Horizon: Only the top of the line Elite E7 and Elite E9 elliptical have incline…the EX-59, Evolve 3 and Evolve 5 do not.

So those are the popular incline ellipticals, but what about the high-end commercial brands? Do they offer incline capability as well? Let’s take a look at those…

Life Fitness: Due to the design of the Life Fitness ellipticals, they do not have incline capability.

Precor: All of the Precor ellipticals have incline capability. Some models can incline up to 40%.

Matrix: The Ascent Trainers (A30 and A50) can be inclined up to 54%. The Suspension Ellipticals (E30 and E50) can’t be inclined.

What about Incline and Resistance Levels?

Although not all elliptical trainers have incline capability, they do all have a variety of resistance levels to choose from. You would be hard pressed to find a machine without this capability these days, even at the lower price levels.

Who offers the most resistance levels? Let’s take a look….

NordicTrack – 26 resistance levels
ProForm – 26 resistance levels
Horizon – 20 resistance levels
Sole – Not available
Life Fitness – 25 resistance levels
Octane – 30 resistance levels
Matrix – 30 resistance levels
Precor – 20 resistance levels

So you can see that most ellipticals on the market will give you about 20-30 resistance levels, which is plenty of variety for you. Note that these are the maximum resistance offerings…some of the lower priced ellipticals from each brand might have fewer. But in general all of these brands give you enough to work with.

The Bottom Line on Ellipticals With Incline

If you’re looking for an elliptical with ramp functionality, NordicTrack, ProForm and Sole have the most options for you. All or almost all of their cross trainers can be inclined to some degree, most in the 10% to 20% range. So look there in the lower to mid price category.

As far as high end models, look at Matrix and Precor…the Ascent Trainers from Matrix incline up to 54%. These ellipticals are more expensive than those from NordicTrack or Sole, but they are commercial-grade…so they are closer to the machines you’ll find at the gym.

Do you need incline functionality? No, but it is a great way to target more muscle groups in the legs, burn some more calories and lose some weight. Incline treadmills are very popular these days because of this, so if you can get this capability on an elliptical trainer, why not go for it?

If you are set on an elliptical that does not have incline functionality, e.g. a Life Fitness, don’t let that deter you from buying it. Some ellipticals were not designed to have incline, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a great workout. There are still all of the resistance levels as well as built in programming that will help you reach your fitness goals.