Over recent years, you might have noticed a few unfamiliar pieces of kit like treadclimbers cropping up in your local gym.
What is a treadclimber and why should you care?
Well, in the most basic sense, a treadclimber is similar to a treadmill. Where a treadmill has a single track, though, treadclimbers have a pair of narrow tracks that move over pedals, also known as treadles.
Adjustability is where the magic comes in…
With a maximum incline of 40%, you can ratchet up the slope and use the machine as a treadmill for walking, as a stair stepper, or even as an elliptical machine. This versatility means that, while treadclimbers are certainly not cheap, you’re getting a great deal of overall value.
What should you look out for when you’re on the buying trail, then?
- Budget: We typically don’t mention price in our buying guides since price always plays a role in any buying decision. With treadclimbers it’s more relevant, though. These things are not cheap so you should establish first whether one of these machines falls within your budget. If not, don’t worry. You can choose from plenty of other fitness machines that come in cheaper. If you’re happy with the investment required, check closely for the price of all machines in your range. That should narrow down your options immediately without lifting a finger while ensuring you stay on budget
- Dimensions: Size matters and that’s certainly the case with treadclimbers. Many of these machines are really bulky. Others are quite compact and fold down when not in use. Focus firmly on the space you have available at home. Make certain that you only consider treadclimbers that will fit into this space. If not, you’re asking for a headache when your package arrives
- Fitness Level: Think closely about your fitness level, too. If all you need is a vigorous walk on an occasional basis, you’ve got no need to seek out a line-topping machine. Equally, if you’re looking to engage in a serious weight loss program and you plan to hit the machine hard, it makes sense to look for something more robust
- LCD: The screen should be clear and easy to read, ideally backlit since so many gyms are pretty gloomy. Make sure you can see everything you need at a glance. Make certain, too, that the interface is easy to use and responsive
- Noise: Last but certainly not least, think about whether or not noise is an issue in your home gym. If so, avoid some of the models that kick out more of a racket
To summarize, here are the core benefits of a treadclimber:
- Gentle and low-impact, ideal if you have knee injuries
- A superb supplement to help you achieve better overall heart health
- Completely customizable with a broad spread of workout programs suitable for all experience levels
- A superior method of calorie-burning than you’ll find with most home workout machines
- Target multiple muscle groups for a comprehensive, whole-body workout without any jarring impact
- Many space-saving models available if you’re tight for room
If you feel those benefits could be worth the considerable price tag, we’ll push ahead now and break down the leading treadclimbers at your fingertips.
Top 5 Best TreadClimbers
1. Bowflex TreadClimber TC200
First up in our quest for the best treadclimber is the Bowflex TC200 from industry legend Nautilus. What makes this versatile training tool stand out, though?
The TC series share common features but differ in terms of programming and top speed along with other minor differences. The TC200 starts out at a pedestrian 0.5mph but you can push on to 4.5mph at the upper end. If you’re looking to burn calories and lose weight, this is a robust approach to cardio. Remember, you’ll need to eat sensibly as well and maintain a calorie deficit if you’re looking to lose weight.
Great Bluetooth connectivity gives you the scope to share data with friends via your favorite fitness app. MyFitnessPal, Apple Health, and Google Fit are all supported. You can also track your progress in the free TreadClimber app available for iOS and Android.
If your goal is torching calories, you’ll find you get almost double the effect from your cardio workout compared to spending similar time on a regular treadmill.
The LCD is easy to read at a distance and comes backlit so it’s perfect even in poor lighting. Choose from 5 fitness programs and get all the benefits of a great cardio session without any of the damaging impact.
While no treadclimber is cheap, we’d advise you consider how much you would otherwise spend on a gym membership. If you several people in your family likely to use the machine, it suddenly starts to seem like great value rather than prohibitively expensive.
Things We Like
- Choose from 5 workout programs for a varying degree of intensity
- Much more effective for calorie-burning than a treadmill
- Bluetooth connectivity allows you to easily share data
Things We Dislike
- Makes quite a lot of noise in operation
2. Bowflex TreadClimber TC20
Now updated in the form of the TC200 above, the classic T20 – this model – is still up for grabs if you move quickly. Is it still worth the investment?
In a word, yes. With a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds, there’s no excuse not to workout just because you’re a little on the heavy site. The TC20 will support you every step of the way as you get an intense burst of cardio without wrecking your joints. If you suffer from knee injuries or lower-back pain, these machines are a great way to make sure you stay mobile.
As with all treadclimbers, you’ll enjoy an adaptable machine giving you everything from a gentle stroll to a more punishing whole-body workout. Of all the machine we look at today, this older model is perhaps the least versatile. If you’re just starting out, this makes a solid entry point.
Speed-wise, you can set the machine at anywhere from 0.5mph through to 4.5mph at the upper end. The LCD lets you see what you need at a glance with speed, time, distance, and calories burned displayed along with your heart rate.
This machine measures up at 31.5 x 55.25 x 55 inches and tips the scales at over 200 pounds. You’ll certainly need some help offloading and installing it. Once set up, this is not the kind of machine you’ll want to shift around so get placement right.
Crowned by a dependable 3-year limited warranty, you might need to dig deep but you can buy with complete confidence.
Things We Like
- Get a workout with triple the intensity of a non-inclined machine
- Generous 300-pound load-bearing capacity ideal for almost anyone
- Low impact training that’s remarkably easy on your joints
Things We Dislike
- Not the most versatile cardio machine
3. Bowflex TreadClimber TC5000
The powerful Bowflex Treadclimber TC5000 is another winning entry from the deep TC bench. What makes this particular model so good?
Well, if you’re looking for a cheap treadclimber, this is certainly not for you. The TC5000 is expensive but built correspondingly and with performance to match.
Anyone hunting for a space-saving machine is out of luck, too. This beast is big so make sure you have the room to accommodate.
Assuming that your budget and placement are OK, you’ll get a treadclimber capable of up to 4mph giving you a robust and calorie-torching workout that outperforms alternative fitness gear.
You can choose from an array of 12 resistance levels meaning you can start out gently and remain confident you can still find workouts challenging enough as you get fitter and stronger.
As with all treadclimbers, you’ll enjoy all of these benefits without punishing your joints. Low-impact exercise can still be highly effective for weight loss purposes. All you need is the right equipment, the right attitude and, of course, the right diet.
This machine is sized at 46 x 30 x 55.25 inches. Weighing just 185 pounds, this is one of the lighter machines we look at today.
You get the standard Nautilus warranty with the motor covered for 5 years, electronics and other components for 3 years, and 2 years backing of the hydraulics. This allows you to buy without any niggling concerns about imminent repair bills. Build quality is solid and lifespan impressive.
As long as you have a more flexible budget, the Bowflex TC500 is one of the best treadclimbers you can find.
Things We Like
- 12 resistance levels so you can mix things up
- User-friendly even if you’re a complete beginner
- Length warranty with motor backed for 5 years
Things We Dislike
- Certainly not a cheap or entry-level machine
4. Bowflex Max Trainer Series
The last Bowflex machine we look at today, the Max Trainer is reasonably compact so makes a smart choice if you’re operating within tight space constraints. Weighing 150 pounds, it’s heavyweight but not as cripplingly so as some of the beefier machines we look at today.
Despite these reasonably slimline dimensions, you’ll get a remarkably powerful addition to your home gym. As with all treadclimbers, you’ll get a much more intense workout than you could achieve using a treadmill or an elliptical machine. You can also benefit in much the way you would by using a step raiser but with added versatility thrown in.
If you want a ruthless cardio session but you don’t want to jolt your joints or strain old injuries, treadclimbers offer the ideal solution. You can expect to burn more than double the calories than you would using much regular fitness equipment if you go the treadclimber route.
If you’re prepared to invest in the paid subscription, you can enjoy even more flexibility. Build out customized workouts and really personalize the experience.
You can see all key metrics on the large, backlit screen. This is great news if your gym is gloomy and you struggle to see what you need. The media rack built in gives you plenty of space for your smartphone or your tablet so you’ve got everything you need close at hand.
You get the usual Nautilus guarantee so you can rest easy. The motor is backed for 5 years, with other parts covered for 3 years.
While it’s not exactly a giveaway, the Max Series allows you to buy into that Bowflex brand heritage without spending a fortune.
Get a vigorous but low-impact exercise program started at home for less than you might imagine with this stellar treadclimber from an industry giant.
Things We Like
- Space-saving model ideal for apartments or small home gyms
- Benefit from a great calorie-burning burst of cardio with low impact
- Media rack and full color display for your complete convenience
Things We Dislike
- Paid subscription required for customized workouts
5. Star Trac 8 Series TreadClimber
Last but absolutely not least in our hunt for the best treadclimber, we’ve got something outside the Bowflex bench.
The Star Trac 8 Series TreadClimber is a compact machine best reserved for more occasional use. If you plan to engage in a more sustained and boisterous cardio program, you’re better sticking with something more solid and robust.
Ergonomics are uppermost with this machine. The hot bar lets you control everything you need in one place. This allows you to focus on burning those calories rather than struggling with a complicated interface.
Since this is a slimline and relatively lightweight unit, it makes a wise choice if you live in an apartment or you have a home gym with limited space. There’s no need to compromise on your fitness program just because you don’t have acres of room.
While this machine is not an industrial-grade unit built to heavy punishment, maximum load-bearing capacity is exceptional. At 350 pounds, this machine is man enough for pretty much anybody.
If you run quite a sweat when you’re burning those calories, you’ll appreciate the integrated fans. Make sure you stay properly hydrated and benefit from the cooling effect so you can push yourself even harder without overheating.
Measuring up at 36 x 83 x 83 inches, the Star Trac has a fairly small footprint considering the heavyweight performance it delivers. Build quality is also impressive. As long as you keep your machine properly maintained, you should get years of happy service.
Treadclimbers work especially well if you need to shift some excess pounds. The incline means that you can get more fat-burning effect than if you used a treadmill or an elliptical machine. And the best part? You can achieve these cardio goals without causing any undue stress on your joints. Treadclimbers are perhaps the ultimate low-impact machines giving you enormous rewards with very little downside.
Things We Like
- Hot bar gives you ergonomic, one-touch control
- Compact unit perfect is space is at a premium
- Enjoy the benefits of a treadmill, stepper, and elliptical combined
Things We Dislike
- Not the most heavy-duty treadclimber
Well, you should be perfectly placed now to determine which of these treadclimbers makes the best fit.
If you have a more flexible budget and you’re looking for a rugged machine capable of sustained punishment, stick with the Bowflex line from Nautilus. For anyone looking for a lighter machine priced more keenly, the Star Tac is a solid choice.
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