Which Helps You Lose Weight Faster: Treadmill, Treadclimber or Incline Trainer?

As a treadmill user, there are 2 questions I often receive: ‘How to lose weight?’ and ‘What cardio equipment can help lose weight faster?’

An article written a few weeks ago, How to Lose Weight on the Treadmill, offers an answer to the first question.

In this article you will find out what cardio equipment can help you lose weight faster, based on my experience with Incline Trainers, Treadclimbers and Treadmills.

Cardio equipment brands have been investing lots of resources in testing and developing products that meet a common need: to lose weight. What are the results?

We have advanced Treadmills that support up to 12 mph speed and up to 15% incline, with various weight loss workouts and heart rate based exercises integrated in their consoles.

We have Incline Trainers, a close version of treadmills that support up to 40% incline. The high incline was developed to meet the same need, to lose weight.

And we have Treadclimbers, a cardio equipment built to help you lose weight by combining two movements at the same time: climbing stairs and walking.

How does each machine work?

Treadmills are built to get you in your target heart rate zone by controlling speed and incline. Treadmill workouts like hill intervals or speed intervals are very efficient for this purpose, but results are seen in time. This is because you must first build speed and lung endurance. Then you can concentrate on running complete weight loss workouts.

To make an idea about what time you need, a running program for beginners ‘from couch to 5k’ takes around 9 weeks of training.

Incline Trainers work based on a simple principle: the higher the incline is, the faster you get in your target heart rate zone.

In a few words: you don’t need speed endurance to work out your muscles at an intensity you start burning fat. And you can begin a weight loss program from the first day of training. If you are dedicated to the program, you start seeing results in 2–3 weeks.

A research completed by Dr. Matthew Rhea explains in detail the physiological changes that happen when using incline. His study, completed on a group of 30 year old, confirmed that when walking at 3 mph with 12% incline, the heart rate value is the same with running at 6 mph on flat surface. His research data is available in this Freemotion document on the benefits of Incline training.

The Treadclimber functionality is simple, yet highly efficient because it supports 2 movements at the same time: walking and climbing stairs. If you complete a 3 miles distance workout, 3–4 times a week it is enough to start seeing results from the first 2–3 weeks.

What is the most efficient cardio equipment to lose weight?

On the top of my list are the Incline Trainers. The main reason I choose Incliners is because they support diversified workouts. You can complete weight loss workouts at higher incline and slower speed, from the first weeks of training. And you can also use them to train for long distance runs.

The second on my list is the Treadclimber. It has a basic workouts selection, but it offers fast results if you want to start a weight loss program.

The third option is the treadmill, mainly because speed and lung endurance must be built in time. And not everyone has this time at hand.

What brands should you consider?

For Incline Trainers, I recommend Nordictrack, and especially Nordictrack X7i Incline Trainer.

Treadclimbers are sold only by Bowflex. Your choice depends on the budget you have. I would recommend the Bowflex TC 5000.

For treadmills, Livestrong has affordable products. I especially like that they offer up to 14% incline for the latest treadmills launched.

For more details about each brand go to RunReviews​.com.



  1. Connor MacIvor says:

    I own both the treadclimber and a pair of running shoes. Both are great. The treadclimber is much more difficult to master from a balance perspective. But, there is nothing quite like running for getting out into the fresh air and unrestricted movement. I see both forms of exercises as complimentary to one another.

    • Anna Ursu says:

      @Connor — Thank you for the comment. You are right. No cardio machine can substitute the pleasure of running outside. Happy running!

      • Heidi says:

        Running is no longer an option for me do to fusion of the spine. Is the treadclimber a good option for someone like myself?

        • Anna Ursu says:

          Heidi, I\‘m so sorry to hear about your health problems. I wish I could answer your question, but I have no medical experience. You should ask your doctor what type of effort you can do. The treadclimber allows you to walk at high inclines, but I don\‘t know if it helps you or not.

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  3. weight loss says:

    Interesting article. I would like to see some hard numbers on calorie burn. Personally, I don\‘t believe the hype about the treadclimber. It seems like setting a treadmill to the appropriate incline, you can burn the same number of calories as a treadclimber.

    • Anna says:

      Thank you for the comment and for sharing your point of view. Working out at high incline (over 30%) does make you sweat as fast as walking on the treadclimber or running on flat surface. It\‘s a matter of each person\‘s preference really.

  4. Joe Shmoe says:

    My preference is definitely a slower speed with a higher incline (20% or more). I would much rather do that than walk fast at a modest incline.

  5. tclark says:

    Hi! I\‘m a 24YO F @ 187lbs. I have been working out on my treadclimber @ 2.5–3.2mph for no less than 15min. twice a day for atleast 6 days a week for the past 2 weeks and I have only went down to 186lbs. I now watch my calorie intake and drink 1–2 liters of water a day or more. I\‘m trying to enlist in the navy and i have to get down to 149lbs and I feel the weight loss should be a bit more than this. PLEASE HELP!!

    • maquih says:

      One pound of fat has close to 5000 calories. So, if every day you burn 500 calories more than you eat, it will take you ten days to lose one pound of fat.

      I\‘m guessing but a fifteen minute treadclimber workout burns about 250 calories. (Probably less than that)

      To get down to 149, you need to lose about 35 pounds. If you lose a pound every ten days, it will take you 350 days, or very close to a year to lose all that weight!

      I think the current plan you have is quite good and reasonable, but you should expect about one year to lose all that weight.

  6. sue says:

    dont have a treadmill thats raises i do 4 miles in 42 mins walking fast will this help me lose weightjust abit mr treadmill raises just the once

  7. edytka says:

    I have been using the treadclimber for about 2 months now I do about 72min at a 3.2 speed 5 times a week I feel great and i lost 12lbs so far. You have to also change your diet and eat healthy. Im on a 1500calorie diet per day it is sufficient with the right kind of food. I never believed in exercising and now I believe I feel better and my jeans are starting to fit. I love my treadclimber I wasn\‘t too thrilled with the treadmill.

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Anna Ursu

Anna Ursu started running 5 years ago and this helped her improve her health and lifestyle in unexpected ways. At the beginning running was just a curiosity. Now she is addicted to this sport and she can not see her life without it. Her workout routine includes running on treadmills most of the time, mainly because it is convenient. But in time, as she started testing treadmills for RunReviews.com, she discovered that treadmills come also with advantages..

Through her work she wants to help people discover the benefits of running, no matter what workout type they prefer. In the end, the purpose of a runner must be to run, and have fun. The rest of a runner's story will write itself.