Most motorized treadmills that cost more $1,000 will motor-adjust up to a 12- or 15-percent incline. Very few, however, can adjust to a decline, putting the front of the deck lower than the back. Owners and experts alike praise these incline/decline treadmills for better simulating real-world terrain and making workouts more entertaining.
The Precor 9.35 (Est. $5,000) , Epic A42T Platinum (Est.$2,000) and NordicTrack Commercial 1750 (Est. $1,500) are about as different as you can get in terms of price, but all offer an impressive range of incline/decline positions. The Precor adjusts between 2-percent decline and 15-percent incline, while the NordicTrack and Epic models adjust between 3-percent decline and 15-percent incline.
The Epic A42T is a relatively new model, but so far users offer positive feedback about its massive, 4.2-chp motor and mechanical performance. "Strong motor has no problem keeping up ... range of incline is more than adequate. Reasonably quiet," sums up one reviewer at DicksSportingGoods.com. The Epic A42T's touch-screen interface and adjustable handlebars are, however, plagued with problems; and so far, the feedback about customer service -- which falls under the umbrella of Icon Health and Fitness -- is spotty.
Precor treadmills, on the other hand, have an unbeatable reputation for rock-solid, gym-quality construction -- and we couldn't find a single complaint about their customer service. Although the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 doesn't live up to quite the same standard, owners and experts agree it also offers a solid, well-cushioned ride. Even so, the NordicTrack Commercial 1750's 4.5-chp motor can't maintain regular speed at a 15-percent incline, while the 3-chp Precor 9.35 holds steady.
If it's an entertaining workout you're after, the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 is a clear favorite for its iFit Live programming. Provide a wireless Internet connection and pay the yearly membership fee (Est. $100), and iFit allows you to race against other users online or follow a simulated course from Google Maps. The treadmill will automatically adjust the incline or decline to match the terrain. The 1750's Android-powered touchscreen controls and built-in browser are also big hits, all for about a quarter of the price of the Precor 9.35.
We select the NordicTrack Commercial 1750 as our best-reviewed incline/decline treadmill for its impressive value and wealth of features; as excellent as the Precor 9.35 is, its high price tag puts it out of reach for many buyers. However, if you're serious enough about running, investing more in the Precor 9.35 is an equally good choice.