Nordic Track and Bowflex have made big names for themselves by offering the latest high-quality home gym equipment. Two of their biggest sellers are the Nordic Track Incline Trainer and the Bowflex Treadclimber. While both stem from a traditional treadmill model and equally provide as intense a workout as you can manage, there are some differences.
The Incline Trainer
The Nordic Track Incline Trainer does just that: inclines up to 40 degrees. Some models decline as low as negative-3 degrees as well. This allows the ramp to be adjusted to different heights and simulate going uphill or downhill, which can build stamina faster than a basic treadmill that stays in the zero-degree position. It's a high impact-workout but might not be suitable for you if you have joint or leg issues.
The Bowflex Treadclimber also inclines up and down, but does so with each step you take. This is achieved by including two separate platforms, each with its own moving belt for each foot. This machine combines the treadmill, incline and elliptical into one machine to provide a low-impact but intense workout that can build stamina and strength without taking as much of a toll on your joints.
Which model you choose will determine the other features you get. Nordic Track features include a personal training program called iFit, up to nine workout programs, compatibility with iPods and mp3 players and a screen to simulate different terrains in 3D, such as a "mountain trail." If you're looking for bells and whistles along with a great workout, or easily lose focus during workouts, this could be a good choice.
Bowflex also offers lots of features with different models. Goal Oriented technology -- or a G.O. coach -- is a virtual coach that helps you establish exercise goals and track your progress, and rewards you with virtual "trophies." Some Treadclimber models are iPod and mp3 compatible and offer up to 12 workout intensity levels. If you find you need some help in focusing on your goals along with an intense but low-impact workout, the Treadclimber is worth considering.
Weight capacity also varies not only by company but also by the model you get. Exceeding the weight limit might cause damage to the machine and even personal injury. The Nordic Track Incline Trainer and Bowflex Treadclimber weight limits top out at 350 lbs., but both have a few that go up to only 300 lbs., so if weight is a concern, check which model has what limits.
Cost also can be a deciding factor when it comes to making a big purchase. As of 2010, Nordic Track Incline Trainers are easier on the wallet and ranges from roughly $1,200 to $2,000. Treadclimber models are more expensive and range from roughly $1,300 to $3,300. Shipping fees can vary for both brands and can be as much as $150.