Deciding on the perfect cardio machine for your fitness routine is more complicated than you could ever imagine. Treadmills are too tough on the joints for some people, and recumbent bikes just aren't challenging enough. But there is one machine that most cardio seekers will find both easy on the joints and provides a tough workout: the Bowflex Treadclimber.
The Treadclimber is designed to provide a full-body workout but do so with low-impact movements. Even if you’re not crazy about running or jogging, this machine is the perfect cardio solution. There’s more good news; Bowflex offers several Treadclimber models to choose from. Each one is designed to deliver a fat-blasting workout that just about anyone can do.
Once you’ve decided that the Treadclimber is the ideal cardio machine for at-home fitness, it’s time to decide on a specific model. Continue reading to learn about the top Bowflex Treadclimbers on the market, including the TC10, TC20, TC100, TC200, and TC5000 models.
0.5 - 4.0 mph
4: Speed, Distance, Time, Calories
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5: Speed, Distance, Time, Calories, Heart Rate
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4: Speed, Distance, Time, Calories
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4: Speed, Distance, Time, Calories
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8: Speed, Distance, Total Steps, Time, Calories per Minute, Total Calories, Climb Indicator, Heart Rate
How Bowflex Treadclimbers Workout Your Body
The name Treadclimber is fitting - this machine combines the benefits of both a treadmill and a stairclimber. You’ll get the cardio benefits of a treadmill and the fat-blasting workout of a stairclimber. This low-impact cardio option mimics the motion of walking up-hill, allowing a user to burn nearly twice as many calories thanks to this “uphill” walking.
Using a Treadclimber is one of the best ways to slim down and shape up. The machine is easy to use, and the innovative Bowflex technology works to target as many muscle groups as possible, particularly in the lower body. Most of the results will be seen in the calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quads. The Bowflex motto is Just Walk, and that’s truly all you have to do for an amazing Treadclimber workout.
The first time you hop on a Treadclimber, just start walking as you normally would. This is a very controlled movement, nothing fancy. With regular use, the Treadclimber’s walking and climbing combo can help you to lose weight, tone up, build endurance, and even boost mental health. All you have to do to start taking advantage of these benefits is just walk.
Choosing a Quality Bowflex Treadclimber
Considering the speed of a Treadclimber is much different than comparing treadmill speeds. This is because a Treadclimber wasn’t designed to go fast; you won’t be running as you would on a treadmill. Most treadmills can reach speeds of 12 miles per hour, but a Treadclimber is built for maximum speeds of 4 miles per hour.
Just remember, Treadclimber cardio is not about going fast; it's about efficient uphill movements to target the muscles of the lower body. That said, you’ll want to find a Treadclimber machine that matches your natural walking speed. If you consider yourself a speed-walker, look for a machine with a max speed between 3.8 and 4.5 miles per hour.
The higher the incline, the more potential there is for fat-burning and muscle-building. Many Bowflex Treadclimber models reach a slope between 30 and 40%. This is a significant increase from the 10 to 15% incline of the standard treadmill machine. The main perk of choosing a machine that offers a steep incline ability is that a user can increase heart rate without actually running.
Sturdy Body & Base
The sturdier the machine, the longer its lifespan. Any cardio machine stamped with the Bowflex name features sturdy construction, both in terms of machine body and base. Larger individuals should especially be concerned with a Treadclimber’s durability. Look for a machine that provides traction with the floor so that it stays put as you climb.
There are perks to choosing a lightweight cardio machine, like easy transport and high portability. However, a lightweight machine often means that the machine is constructed from less durable material. When in doubt, choose a heavy Treadclimber that features a broad base.
Unlike compact folding elliptical machines, Treadclimbers are not praised for their compact design. They are smaller in size than a bulky treadmill, but they still take up a good amount of space. Before investing in a Bowflex Treadclimber, you must make sure that you have enough space to do so.
Not only do you need to consider the machine’s base footprint, but also its height - especially if your home has low basement ceilings. Exact measurements should be taken within your designated cardio area and then compared with Bowflex Treadclimber models.
The maximum weight capacity of a Treadclimber varies from model to model. The general rule of thumb is that the larger and heavier the machine, the higher the weight limit. Another generalization is that a cheap treadclimber holds less weight than a more expensive model. The best Treadclimbers on the market have a high weight capacity of 300 pounds or more.
You’ll see from the Bowflex Treadclimber reviews below that these machines come with a variety of cool features. These features not only help to boost your calorie-burning and fat-blasting potential but also to make the entire fitness routine more enjoyable. Look for a machine that offers features like heart rate monitoring, multiple profiles for shared use, and preprogrammed workouts.
One of the coolest additional features of modern cardio machines is Bluetooth connectivity. Most of the new Bowflex models are compatible with Bluetooth, allowing a user to sync workout sessions with fitness apps like MyFitnessPal and Google Fit. For entertainment, while sweating it out, look for a machine with a media shelf for safely docking a tablet or kindle.
By investing in a Treadclimber for the home, you’ll be able to save money by cutting out that gym membership. But even so, you’ll want to shop around to find find the best value for price in your Bowflex Treadclimber. These machines range in price, with an average cost of $1,500. It might sound like a lot to spend, but as the most effective cardio solution for burning fat, it’s a small price to pay.
Any piece of fitness equipment you purchase should come with some sort of warranty coverage. It is essential to read the terms of the warranty policy since there are typically unique periods of coverage for each aspect of the machine. The machine frame will be covered for the longest amount of time, followed by the parts and electronics.
Most Treadclimbers from Bowflex come with either a 2 or 3-year warranty on both the frame and parts. Labor will usually be covered for 90 days from the date of purchase, and many models come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So if you’re not satisfied with the results or Treadclimber’s performance within a specific timeframe, you'll be able to return it for a full refund.
5 Best Bowflex Treadclimbers Reviewed & Compared
TC10 Vs TC20
The Bowflex Treadclimber TC10 and TC20 are extremely popular among Bowflex fans. This is because both models provide an intense yet low-impact workout that has been proven to help users burn calories and lose weight. These models are very similar, with a few slight differences. Both feature 12 levels of resistance, allowing you to either take it easy with level 1 or push yourself to the limit with level 12.
Before the TC10 and TC20, there was the TC5. This model features just 1 level of resistance, so the 10 and 20 models have certainly come a long way since the earlier TC5. Although they both feature 12 resistance levels and 300-pound weight capacity, the similarities stop there. The TC10 is quite a bit smaller than the TC20, so if you’re limited to a tight space, you might opt for the TC10.
The raving treadclimber reviews for the Bowflex TreadClimber TC20 have a lot to do with the increased speed limitation that comes along with this model. The TC10 has a maximum speed of 4 miles per hour, while the 20 goes all the way up to 4.5 miles per hour. This might not make a huge difference to you, but those with an extra pep in their step appreciate that extra .5 miles per hour.
In addition to faster speed limits, the TC20 features an extra workout function. The TC10 comes with 4 built-in workout functions, while the TC20 comes with 5 (the additional function is heart rate). Once again, this might not make a huge difference in your buying decision, but keep in mind that an extra workout function allows you to keep better track of your workout routine and progress.
The TC10 comes with just 1 user profile while the TC20 comes with 2. This means that only 1 user can keep information stored on the TC10 while 2 different people can use the TC20 Treadclimber and keep information safely stored. Having access to your specific profile is a must if you hope to keep track of performance. Even if you plan on being the only one to use the machine, the extra user profile with the TC20 makes this the better choice.
Both models come with an LCD display that shows time, distance, speed, and calories, but the backlit design of the TC20 makes its screen easier to read. The TC20 comes with a heart rate monitor, while the TC10 does not. Keeping track of heart rate during cardio is a must for elderly users or those with a medical condition, and the TC20 allows you to do this.
Warranty & Price
Lastly, you must consider your budget as well as each product’s warranty. The TC10 offers 2 years of coverage, while the TC20 goes above and beyond by offering a 3-year warranty. It’s clear that the TC20 is the winner, but remember that all of these additional perks come with a higher price tag. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the TC10 is a solid choice.
TC100 Vs TC200
The next set of Treadclimber models include the TC100 and TC200. Similar to the TC10 and TC20, both machines delivery a workout that is light on the joints, but tough on the calories. With either machine, you’ll burn calories hand over fist, and with regular use, either machine can help a user slim down and tone up. There are, however, some significant differences between the Bowflex TreadClimber TC100 and TC200.
Both machines feature 12 levels of resistance, meaning you have complete control of the intensity of your workout. On both machines, resistance can be easily adjusted via the front consoles using the up and down arrows. Users of both machines recommend that you start out with low resistance and work your way up over time.
If you’re looking for a machine that can keep up with your quick pace, you’ll want to go with the TC200. Just like the TC20, the TC200 has a maximum speed of 4.5 miles per hour. The slower TC100 can only reach a max speed of 4.0. With the TC200, you’ll be able to push yourself harder - 0.5 mph harder to be exact. This is just a slight difference in speed, but it can make a huge difference in your workout routine.
The workout functions displayed on the TC100 include speed, distance, time, and calories. Bowflex TreadClimber TC20 displays these same 4 workout functions, but it comes with a few added bonuses. In addition to displaying the basics, users of the TC200 get to take advantage of the 5 built-in training programs. These include Just Walk, Calorie Goal, Time Goal, Distance Goal, and Interval.
The TC100 utilizes a contact grip system for measuring heart rate, but this doesn’t compare to the heart rate monitoring system used by the TC200. The TC200 uses a more advanced take on keeping track of cardio health by providing users with a wireless monitor and chest strap. During the entire cardio session, you’ll be able to visually track your heart rate with the machine’s Heart Rate Zone Light Bar.
The other cool feature of the TC200 is the machine's Bluetooth connectivity. That's right; the TC200 comes with Bluetooth capabilities as well as full access to the Treadclimber app. This makes it easy to define fitness goals, but more importantly, to actually meet these goals. The TC200 will wirelessly sync your workout data with your favorite fitness apps.
Warranty & Price
Just as you would expect, the TC200 costs quite a bit more than the TC100 model. With the machine’s advanced heart rate monitoring and Bluetooth capability, this comes as no surprise to anyone. It’s up to you to decide whether or not these extra features are worth the extra cost. Warranty coverage is another thing to consider when comparing the TC100 and TC200. The TC100 comes with 2 years of coverage, while the TC200 is covered for 3.
If you want to go all out with your Treadclimbing workout routine, you might consider the Bowflex TC5000 Treadclimber. The TC5000 is the only machine in its class, so we won’t be comparing it with another Bowflex model. Similar to the other models mentioned, the TC5000 features 12 resistance levels. The maximum speed is 4.0 miles per hour, so if you’re looking for a speedier climb, consider the TC20 or TC200 models instead.
Just try not to be so quick on ruling this model out simply because of the 4.0mph speed limit. This machine has a lot going for it, like the integrated wireless heart rate monitor. This high-tech feature provides instant feedback on heart rate for enhancing both safety and performance. For a highly accurate heart rate reading, simply strap on the included chest strap before each workout session.
The heart rate monitor isn't why so many people love the TC5000, though. It has more to do with the long list of extra features, all of which are easy to access from the easy-to-use console. You’ll be able to tailor your workout to your specific fitness goals, no matter if you’re new to cardio or consider yourself an elite athlete.
With its powerful commercial-grade motor, the TC5000 is built to provide its users with years of tread-climbing. This machine has the longest warranty period of all the Bowflex Treadclimber models, which should give you complete peace of mind in your purchase. The only complaint from some users is the difficulty of assembly, but as long as you follow the TC5000 Assembly Guide and User Manual, you should have no trouble at all.
Bowflex vs NordicTrack
Comparing Bowflex Treadclimber vs. NordicTrack is ubiquitous in the world of fitness. Both the Bowflex and NordicTrack Treadclimber are well-known for helping people achieve their fitness goals all over the world. The NordicTrack T 6.5 S Treadmill works similarly to the Bowflex models, targeting the muscles of the lower body with uphill walking.
So which one is better? It’s difficult to give a definitive answer on whether or not you should purchase a Bowflex or NordicTrack since there are many factors to consider. However, if price is your main concern, we can tell you for a fact that the Bowflex Treadclimber cost is much more than the price of the NordicTrack. This is mainly because NordicTrack does not offer nearly as many extra features in its treadclimbers.
If you’re looking for more advanced features like wireless heart rate monitoring and Bluetooth connectivity, opt for one of the Bowflex Treadclimbers mentioned in this review. The NordicTrack is also a solid choice for anyone looking to burn calories and slim down, but the Bowflex models offer so much more.
Comparison with Other Home Fitness Equipment
From promoting a healthy weight to building muscle tone, the benefits of cardio are apparent. Choosing the proper home fitness equipment for cardio, however, is not nearly as obvious. This comparison guide can help:
Bowflex Treadclimber vs Regular Treadmills
When comparing a Treadclimber vs. treadmill, the main difference is the amount of impact delivered by each machine. Because a treadmill requires the user to physically run, this machine is considered very high-impact. It can be hard on the joints and muscles and cause more harm than good. If you’re looking for a low-impact cardio solution to burning calories, the Bowflex Treadclimber is a much better choice.
Bowflex Treadclimber vs Elliptical Trainers
The best elliptical models are similar to the best Bowflex Treadclimbers; both machines offer a low-impact workout that is much lighter on the knees than running on a treadmill. The main difference between a Treadclimber and elliptical is the number of calories burned.
Even though an elliptical requires movement of both the upper and lower body, the uphill climbing motion of a Treadclimber means that there is a greater potential for burning calories. The benefit of choosing an elliptical is the lower average cost of this type of machine. But you’ll have to work out twice as much to burn the same amount of calories if you choose an elliptical over a Treadclimber.
Bowflex Treadclimber vs Stepper Machines
A stepper machine utilizes the same uphill motion as a Bowflex Treadclimber. Also called a stairclimber, a stepper machine resembles a flight of stairs. Although these two types of machines deliver a similar workout, the downside of choosing a stepper machine is its bulky size. In general, this machine takes up more space than a Treadclimber. On top of that, a stepper machine almost always has a higher price tag than a Treadclimber.
Bowflex Treadclimber Workout Routines
Many Bowflex Treadclimber machines come with preprogrammed workouts to enhance your workout routine. Whether or not your machine comes with built-in workout programs, interval training with your Treadclimber is one of the most effective ways to burn calories and lose weight. Bowflex has a 15-minute Treadclimber interval workout that has proven results in Treadclimber users around the world.
Here are the steps to performing this quick interval training session:
- 1Warm-up for 2 minutes (intensity = 3-4)
- 2High interval for 1 minute (intensity = 5-6 for beginners, 7-10 for advanced)
- 3Low interval for 1 minute (intensity = 3-4)
- 4Repeat the high and low intervals five more times
- 5Cool down for 1 minute (intensity = 2-3)
How to Setup & Use a Bowflex Treadclimber
Setting up your new Bowflex Treadclimber takes patience, and it also takes following the specific model’s assembly instructions. You can refer to the TC10 assembly video for guidance. This is a bulky machine with heavy parts, so some people feel that assembly is a 2-person job. Once you have the machine set up and ready for use, follow these tips for using your new Treadclimber:
Bowflex Treadclimber Error Codes & Troubleshooting
The most common reason for Bowflex Treadclimber troubleshooting happens as a result of improper assembly. This is why following the exact assembly instructions is crucial when setting up your Treadclimber machine. Most Bowflex machines need to be calibrated before using, which basically allows every part of the machine to work in conjunction with one another. Treadclimber users claim that most error codes displayed can easily be fixed by simply calibrating the machine.
To calibrate a Bowflex, the typical procedure is to hold down the “Power” and “Slower” buttons simultaneously after plugging in the machine and flipping the power switch to the On position. After releasing these buttons, you'll see "CAL" flash on the display. Press the "Start/Stop" button, and calibration will begin. If the problem still persists after calibration, call the Bowflex customer service line at (800)605-3369.
Home Fitness Equipment Safety Tips
When using any piece of home fitness equipment, it’s important to remember that safety comes first. No matter if you’re getting a lower body workout with the Bowflex Treadclimber or an upper-body burn with a rowing machine, follow these home fitness safety tips:
Frequently Asked Questions
What essential accessories do I need when using and maintaining these machines?
While using your new Bowflex Treadclimber, you’ll want to have a water bottle handy. For performance and heartrate monitoring, you might consider investing in the Bowflex Heart Rate Armband. To keep the machine as stable as possible, purchase a cardio machine non-slip mat.
Do I need to consult a doctor before using these treadclimbers?
This is what the Bowflex FAQs page says about using a Treadclimber: “The TreadClimber is a very popular machine, largely because it is designed to be very low impact. However, your experience is unique, so we cannot determine whether or not the machine would be right for you. We highly recommend that you consult with your doctor about your particular exercise needs.”
Should pregnant women use these to workout?
Engaging in cardio is perfectly fine while pregnant. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that exercising during pregnancy is beneficial to both the mother and child. This organization says that “if you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal, it is safe to continue or start regular physical activity.” However, it is recommended that you consult with your OBGYN beforehand.
Do treadclimbers help with weight loss?
Absolutely, some even say that the Bowflex Treadclimber is the ultimate weight loss solution. The best way to lose weight with a treadclimber is to combine regular cardio workouts with a healthy diet. You can’t expect to lose weight if you continue eating Big Macs, even after introducing the Treadclimber into your regular routine.
How many calories do Bowflex treadclimbers burn?
Livestrong says that “exercising at a level 12 intensity for 30 minutes at a speed of 3.2 mph, you can burn 321 calories.”
Of course, this is just an estimate since every individual burns calorie at different rates. But it still gives a clear picture of just how many calories a Treadclimber can burn in a short amount of time.
No matter which Bowflex Treadclimber model you choose, investing in any Bowflex home fitness equipment could be the best thing you ever do. Buying a Bowflex Treadclimber can lead to a healthier weight, better endurance, and greater strength. These machines come with a high price tag, but the price is completely fair when you consider the health boost that comes along with a Bowflex Treadclimber.
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