It’s always a good idea to choose a power incline elliptical, especially if you’re choosing a front-drive machine.

Front drive ellipticals, the ones with the flywheel positioned in front of you, only really work the quads, and that’s because you’re standing on the front of your feet and pushing the flywheel to get it spinning. To get the most out of your elliptical workouts and burn a ton more calories, you need to work the much larger posterior muscles like the glutes and hamstrings.

Hamstrings 3 Times Larger Than The Quads.

The hamstrings are three times larger than the quads and the glutes and the largest muscles in the body, and because of their size, they have a much higher caloric output requirement than the smaller anterior leg muscles like the quads. If you want to work them on a front-drive elliptical, you must have an incline feature. Pedaling on an incline will switch the focus of your workout from the front to the rear.

Still, you need a decent incline with at least a 10% max. Also, power-adjustable is the way to go. A power-adjustable incline saves you from having to get off the elliptical in the middle of a workout to adjust it.

The Other Essentials are Just as Important

It’s great to own a front-drive machine with a power-adjustable incline. Still, other essentials of the elliptical are just as important, like the build quality, how sturdy the elliptical is, the smoothness of the elliptical motion, and the stride length.

So in today’s guide, we’re going to look at a few ellipticals that have got all the essentials right and boast a power incline of at least 10%

If you’re in a rush, check out the comparison table below for my top 2 picks. If you have more time, please scroll past the comparison table and read the review summaries for all 5 ellipticals with power incline.

Best Power Incline Elliptical – Comparison Table

Best Affordable

Nautilus E616 Elliptical
  • rear view nautilus e616 elliptical
  • Stride Length – 20″
  • Resistance Levels –  25
  • Flywheel Weight – 17lb
  • Weight – 165lb Assembled
  • Incline – Power Adjust 0-10%
  • 5″ Backlit Dual LCDs


Man viewing ifit on NordicTrack commercial 14.9 elliptical

1. NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 Elliptical

I’m not always a massive fan of NordicTrack. It can be hit and miss with these guys, but they always seem to get their ellipticals right; this is one place where they excel. I love their new commercial line of ellipticals. They’re packed full of features, but what’s best is they are built well with sturdy heavy-duty frames.

NordicTrack didn’t just focus on the tech with their elliptical. The build is just as impressive. And that’s what I like most about the Commercial 14.9 it weighs over 200lb, it’s nice and heavy, it feels solid, and all that weight tells me it’s made from high-quality materials.

You get a 0- 20% 20-level power adjustable incline with the 14.9 elliptical, which is about as good as you’ll find in this price range, more than enough to work the glutes and hamstrings hard.

You can adjust the incline from the one-touch buttons of the monitor or let the iFit trainers auto-adjust it for you. Auto adjust is a cool feature that works with both incline and resistance, allowing you to focus fully on your workout while the iFit trainers do the rest.

The monitor on this elliptical is excellent, as you’d expect from NordicTrack. These guys always provide the most impressive monitors on the market, and you get a 14″ full HD tilt touchscreen with the 14.9 elliptical. It’s a lovely crisp HD screen and perfect for viewing all your online classes, global routes, and everything else that comes with iFit.

Still, I think the feature that impressed me most about this elliptical is the weight of the flywheel. It weighs 32lb which is about as heavy as you’ll find. A heavy flywheel like this will ensure the elliptical motion is smooth and consistent, and the resistance in the upper levels is strong.

And then lastly, the stride length is 19″, meaning there’s a max height limit of around 6’2″. What’s nice about this stride length is that it’s power adjustable which is great news, especially if there’s more than one person using the elliptical, as you’ll be able to adjust it to fit.

Overall an impressive machine that includes everything. You have the sturdy build, all the latest tech, including that  14″ HD touchscreen, a heavy flywheel for the smoothest of elliptical motions, and an excellent 0-20%, 20-level power adjustable incline.

If I were to fault anything, I would have liked to of seen at least three years on parts for the warranty. The two years they offer is okay, but there are other ellipticals in this price bracket with much better warranties. Not a deal killer, just something these guys could improve on.

The Good

Sturdy build can handle 350lb

Crisp 14″ HD touchscreen – looks great

Impressive 20% power adjustable incline – work your glutes and hamstrings

Power adjustable stride 

Auto adjust technology for resistance and incline – can be used with global routes, trainer-led classes and Google maps

1 month free of iFit

32lb flywheel keeps things nice and smooth

Wireless heart rate capabilities

26 levels of magnetic resistance and its strong in the upper levels because of that heavy flywheel

Built-in transport wheels, cooling fans, BlueTooth, speakers, and tablet holder

The Bad

Needs more built-in workout programs for people who dont want to subscribe to iFit

Warranty is a bit dissapointing

Although they have improved lately, customer service with NordicTrack can still be slow


man pedaling on nautilus e616 elliptical trainer

2. Nautilus E616 Elliptical (Best Affordable)

Nautilus are a large company, and they own a load of brands, including Bowflex and Schwinn. This is why you’ll find Schwinn and Nautilus ellipticals are almost identical. The reason I wanted to show you a Nautilus elliptical rather than a Schwinn is that Nautilus, for some reason, update their line ellipticals more often than their Schwinn line.

So it makes much more sense to choose a Nautilus elliptical because they are the same price as the Schwinn ellipticals, except you get all the latest tech with the Nautilus ellipticals. The E616 is the updated version of the Schwinn 430.

So instead of getting a manual incline as you would with the Schwinn 430,  you get a 10% power adjustable incline which is very impressive for a machine that costs under $800

You also get a 20″ stride, wireless heart rate mounting with HR chest strap included, 25 resistance levels, 29 built-in workout programs BlueTooth and free access to their Explore The World App.

Also, this thing weighs 165lb. It’s heavy for a low-cost machine, so you know it’s sturdy and well-built.

The E616 boasts all features of the mid-level ellipticals and more but at a much lower price. This is why it’s my favorite elliptical under $800. It offers more bang for your buck than any other elliptical in its class.

The Good

Sturdy build can handle 300lb

20″ stride suitable for users up to 6’3″

Impressive 10% power adjustable incline – burn more calories, build glutes and hamstrings

Easy to use monitor with quick touch buttons – saves time

25 levels of resistance and 29 built-in workout programs

Wireless heart rate monitoring with HR chest strap included

Can be used with Explore The World App

Built-in transport wheels, speakers, cooling fan, and BlueTooth

The Bad

Would have liked to of seen a 20lb flywheel

Need two people for assembly

Only ten year warranty on frame

Our Full Review: Nautilus E616 Elliptical


woman pedaling on sole 35 elliptical in a large kitichen

3. Sole E35 Elliptical

Sole Fitness are a company that prides themselves on the quality of their gear, so much so they have the best warranties you’ll find on any elliptical. This is a company that stands behind their products which is always reassuring.

The E35 is my favorite elliptical Sole make, it’s a heavy-duty machine, and weighing 231lb assembled, so it’s a bit of a beast for the price point. But that’s why I love it; it’s about as close to commercial grade as you’ll get for under $2000.

A feature that’s always impressed me about the Sole E35 is the dual rails with actual wheels for the pedals.

The dual rails ensure no sideway movement of the pedals and keep the elliptical path straight. And the wheels keep everything running smoothly. It’s a feature you won’t find on other ellipticals in this price bracket. Usually, you get a single rail and plastic sliders rather than wheels.

Also, you have a heavy flywheel weighing 25lb, and you get high-ratio gears. High-ratio gears are another feature that you only usually find on commercial machines. When you combine the high-ratio gears, the heavy flywheel, and those impressive dual rails with wheels, you’re left with the smoothest elliptical motion in the price bracket.

So you have the build quality with the Sole e35,  the elliptical motion is extra smooth, the stride length is 20″, and you have an impressive 0-20%, 20-level power incline; it’s an elliptical that more than delivers on the essentials. But is there anything that lets this machine down? Yes, the monitor is pretty basic for the price point.

There’s no HD color screen with the Sole 35 or advanced features like auto trainer control, it’s a decent monitor, but it lacks features. You still have the handy one-touch buttons for incline and resistance, and you get wireless heart rate monitoring with a chest strap included, but that’s about it.

It’s always been this way with Sole Fitness and their monitors. They put everything into the elliptical build, and the monitors seem to come second, which can be a good thing. It’s better to have a company that cares more about the essentials than the techy stuff.

The Good

Sturdy elliptical for price point – heavy duty frame

Excellent warranty that includes 5 years on parts

Impressive 20 level power adjustable incline

20″ stride suitable for users up to 6’3″

25lb flywheel, dual rails with wheels, and high ratio gears give the E35 the smoothest elliptical motion in its price bracket

20 levels of magnetic resistance

Quiet machine 

Wireless heart rate monitoring – HR strap Included

Built-in transport wheels, speakers, BlueTooth, cooling fan, and tablet holder

The Bad

Only 10 workout programs

Monitor might be a little basic for some users

You’ll need an afternoon for assembly


side view of the proform carbon E10 elliptical

4. ProForm Carbon E10 Elliptical

ProForm makes some pretty impressive mid-level ellipticals, similar to NordicTrack, just not quite as heavy-duty. The ProForm Carbon E10 is the best front-drive elliptical they make. It’s a study mid-level machine that boasts everything you need for a low-impact workout at home.

Like the NordicTrack elliptical, you have all the features that come with iFit, like the auto trainer control, where you let the trainers adjust the incline and resistance depending on the global route or studio class you’ve chosen. You also have Google maps and thousands of other workouts, too much to mention here.

But what’s best about the ProForm E10 is that it comes with 3 years of iFit, a subscription worth over $1200, and you get it free with this elliptical. That’s a cool offer from ProForm, and remember, you have that 10″ Smart HD touchscreen with this machine, so you won’t need a tablet or anything like that.

So we know the tech is all there with the ProForm E10, but what about all the important stuff? It does well here too, boasting a 25lb flywheel which is heavy enough to keep things smooth. You also have the 20% -20 level power adjustable incline, a 19″ adjustable stride, and a sturdy build. This thing weighs 200lb. It’s not going to move when you’re working out.

I like the E10, it’s a well-equipped machine, and you get 3 years free of iFit. It’s not an elliptical that leaves you wanting. If you’re a beginner or intermediate, the E10 is a great choice for light to medium workouts.

The Good

Decent build quality for price point – sturdy

Adjustable stride length – max user height of 6’2″

Impressive 0-20 degree power adjustable incline

Excellent deal on iFIT and elliptical

Whisper quiet thanks to magnetic resistance and belt drive

heavy 25lb flywheel helps keep elliptical motion smooth and resistance strong

10″ HD color Touchsceen

Automatic trainer control for resistance and incline

Built in transport wheels, Bluetooth speakers, cooling fan, and bottle holder

The Bad

No built-in workout programs, this elliptical is designed around the iFIT app

I was disappointed to find there’s no wireless heart rate monitoring option

Max user weight is on the low side at 275lb


side view of Schwinn 470 elliptical machine in corner of a room

5. Schwinn 470 Elliptical

The Schwinn brand has been around for over 100 years, and they have been building fitness gear for our homes for decades, but a few years ago, they were taken over by Nautilus, and since then, their ellipticals have fallen behind a little.

Still, their 470 elliptical is one of the most popular ellipticals on the market and probably the most popular elliptical with a power incline.

It’s the brand name that really sells this machine. People know the Schwinn brand and want an elliptical with a Schwinn badge as they know they will get quality at a reasonable price. And this is still true. The Schwinn 470 is a high-quality machine. It’s still one of the best ellipticals with a power incline for around $1k

You have the desirable 20″ stride, so it’s suitable for up to 6’3″. A decent monitor with 25 resistance levels and 29 workout programs, and you get dual LCD screens just like the Nautilus E616. And, of course, that impressive 10% 10-level power incline.

It’s a much better buy than the outdated 430 elliptical from Schwinn. Still, the flywheel is too light for an elliptical that costs close to $1100. It weighs just 17lb which is disappointing for this price point. Also, they don’t supply the HR chest strap; you must buy it separately.

Lately, Schwinn are a bit of a letdown. There are better ellipticals out there right now that are cheaper than the 470 and offer more. Yes, I’ve always liked and respected Schwinn, but they need to up their game to keep up with the competition.

The Good

Sturdy build, users have praised how stable the 470 feels

20″ stride length, can accommodate users up to 6’3″

Impressive 10 degree, 10% power incline

Decent monitor for price range, easy to use, and has a ton of built-in workout programs, including their app

25 levels of quiet magnetic resistance – can watch TV without being disturbed by the sound of the machine

Built-in speakers, BlueTooth, tablet holder, water bottle holder and transport wheels

The Bad

The flywheel is on the light side for a mid-level elliptical

Can’t adjust pedal angle

Have to buy HR chest strap seperatley


Buying Tips

Before choosing an elliptical, it’s always good to know what to look for and what to avoid. This is especially important if this is your first elliptical. I’ve put together a quick buyer’s guide that hopefully should give you all the information you need.

Weight/Build Quality

The weight of an elliptical is more important than you might think. The weight of an elliptical gives us a good clue to the overall quality of the parts used in the build. And it’s the heavier, the better when it comes to ellipticals.

Most commercial ellipticals weigh 300lb or more. We’re not going to get that kind of weight for a home elliptical unless you want to pay over $2k.

For a home elliptical, you need to look for machines that weigh at least 150lb. This is enough weight to ensure the elliptical feels sturdy, and you’ll know it’s not a cheaply made machine.

man pedaling on a nautilus elliptical in his home

Stride Length

The Stride length of an elliptical is another important feature as it determines who can use the elliptical machine. The ellipticals you use in your local gym usually are equipped with 20″ strides. This is the desirable stride length for an elliptical as it suits most people’s heights from 5ft to 6’3″.

You want to get as close to a 20″ stride as possible with your elliptical, remember never choose an elliptical with a stride too short, as it will restrict your movement and won’t allow the elliptical to do the job it’s built for.

If you can find an elliptical with an adjustable stride within your budget, that’s even better, as an adjustable one allows you to adjust the stride length to fit your body size.

Flywheel Weight

The flywheel weight is the main factor that determines how smooth your elliptical motion will feel. Ellipticals that cost a few hundred bucks from Amazon will come with the lightest flywheels, weighing less than 10lb. This type of elliptical can have a jerky, stuttering motion. You want to avoid these machines.

For a smooth and consistent motion, you need to look for a flywheel weight of 15lb minimum, anything over 20lb being ideal. Also, the weight of the flywheel can affect how strong the resistance feels in those all-important upper levels.

incline feature of front drive elliptical

Power Incline

An incline feature is important if you want to get the most out of your elliptical workouts. Pedaling on an incline will work the large posterior muscles like your glutes and hamstrings. These muscles have a much heigher caloric demand than the smaller anterior muscles of the legs like the quads. So if you want to burn a load more calories and build and strengthen those hard to train posterior muscles, an incline feature is essential.

Most low-cost ellipticals don’t come with an inline. We only start to see inclines when we get to the mid-level ellipticals. I always recommend choosing a power adjustable incline as it saves you from getting off the machine and adjusting the incline in the middle of a workout.

Look for at least a 10% max power incline.

Resistance Type

You want a frictionless resistance system on an elliptical because they’re the smoothest out of all resistance systems. Magnetic resistance is a frictionless system, as the magnets of the system never have to make contact with the flywheel.

Also, because the magnets never make contact with the flywheel, it’s a quiet resistance system. You can listen to music and watch TV without being disturbed by the sound of the machine.

Thankfully nearly all ellipticals use a magnetic resistance system.

NordicTrack elliptical monitor

Monitor/Control Console

What I feel is most important about a monitor is that it’s easy to use. You don’t want an over complicated monitor with hundreds of menus to scroll through. You’ll also want the one-touch buttons for resistance and incline.

Most mid-level ellipticals come with one-touch buttons; some even include handlebar control buttons for resistance and incline. These are great as they save you from reaching forward to the monitor in the middle of a workout to adjust resistance strength or level of incline.

Wireless heart rate monitoring is another feature to look for, as it’s much more accurate than the handlebar pulse sensors and an essential feature for those who love to train in their chosen heart rate zones.

Not all ellipticals include wireless heart rate monitoring, but you’ll find that most good ones do. Some even supply the HR chest strap, saving you from purchasing one separately.

Built-in workout programs are something else you will need, especially if you don’t want to subscribe to any fitness apps.

An HD color touchscreen is an excellent feature as it’s perfect for viewing all your workout classes; some ellipticals even allow you to download apps like Netflix and YouTube on their screens. An HD color touchscreen isn’t essential, but it is certainly a cool feature and makes those long workout sessions more entertaining.

Moving and Stationary Handlebars

Most ellipticals should come with two pairs of handlebars, a moving and stationary pair. The stationary pair are handy for beginners. If you’ve never used an elliptical before, you can hold on to these while you get used to the elliptical motion. Once you’ve built your confidence, you can move on to the moving pair for a full-body workout,

Still, it’s not just beginners who use the stationary pair of handlebars. Many seasoned elliptical users love to use the stationary pair of handlebars as it allows them to focus fully on the lower body. You can set the resistance to a high level and give the legs a really hard workout.

To Sum Up

I was surprised at how much the Nautilus E616 offered for the price point. This is an elliptical with a 20″ stride, power incline, a sturdy build, a decent monitor, and a smooth elliptical motion; all this for $750. It’s unbeatable for the price.

And then you have the Commerical 14.9 from NordicTrack. This machine offers all the essentials, plus that impressive 32lb flywheel, and boasts all the latest tech, including that loverly crisp 14″ HD tilt Touchscreen. The 14.9 is an elliptical that has it all. NordicTrack has done well with their commercial line of ellipticals.