Bowflex Treadmill Review – Which Model is Right for You?
If you’ve been looking into a home fitness machine for a convenient way to exercise and have a healthy lifestyle right from your own home, you might have struggled with trying to figure out which kind of equipment is right for you. There are so many options on the market that it can be rather daunting to sift through the pros and cons of different home fitness equipment. One unique option out there is the Bowflex treadmill.
Bowflex has designed a treadmill that is unlike any other. The Bowflex treadmill is actually a “Tread Climber” which combines the best features of several different home trainers to maximize the benefits of your fitness routine.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the Bowflex Treadclimber and cover all the different ins and outs of this unique piece of equipment.
The treadclimber is not a home fitness machine that many people are familiar with, so we will go in-depth so that you have all the information you need to decide if the treadclimber is right for you. We’ll also look at four of the most popular models to help you determine which piece of equipment best fits your situation.
In case you don’t have time to read our full review, just click an item in the table below to go to your most important question.
How Does a Treadclimber Work?
A treadclimber is a bit different than a regular treadmill. In many ways, it is a machine that combines the features of a treadmill and a stair master. Two independent treads move on a belt just like a traditional treadmill. But these decks are also attached to struts that raise the treads so that you have to step up like a traditional stair master. And because the struts are rising up to meet your feet, the step also functions somewhat like an elliptical trainer for even, smooth, low-impact movement.
Why Use a Treadclimber?
There are a couple of great benefits to using the Bowflex Treadclimber instead of a treadmill. First, traditional treadmills cannot match the low-impact of the struts.
This means it is much gentler on your knees, back, and other joints. If you are looking for a good home fitness machine that will not be hard on your body, a treadclimber is a great option.
Second, you get a much more intense workout than a traditional treadmill, because you are stepping up like you would with a traditional treadmill or stair master. Some studies have shown that you can burn up to 2.5 times more calories doing the same workout on a treadclimber than you can on a treadmill.
What Are the Different Models of Bowflex Treadclimbers?
There are several models of Bowflex treadclimbers you can find on the market. Two of these, the TC10 and TC20 are older models, while the TC100 and the TC200 are their upgrades, respectively. These four models are all marketed to the average consumer, but other models exist for commercial uses like gyms and fitness centers. Here are the four most popular that we think you should consider.
Bowflex TreadClimber TC10
The TC10 is a basic, entry-level treadclimber for the person who does not want any extra features beyond the basic model.
The motor on the treads will take you up to 4 miles per hour for a good, strenuous workout. The treadles will respond well to the adjustable struts so that they will rise up to meet your steps in a natural and reactive motion.
The console features four different readouts on an LCD screen. The first reading will give you your speed in either miles or kilometers per hour and can be adjusted with a single button. The second reading is total distance which can also be set to either miles or kilometers so that you can set goals and track your overall progress.
The fourth reading is time so that you can see how long you’ve been working out, or set a workout goal for each training session. The final reading is a calorie readout which is simply an estimate to give you an idea of how much energy you’ve exerted during your workout.
The TC10 weighs around 185 pounds and will take up about 30″ X 50″ of floor space, so you should make sure you have enough clearance all the way around. To ensure that you have enough ceiling height you should take your own height and add around 14 inches. This will give you an approximation of how much room you will need to comfortably use the TC10. It also comes with transport wheels on the rear so that you can tilt the machine and easily roll it out of the way if necessary.
It has a recommended weight allowance of 300 pounds, so it can handle quite well those looking to reduce their weight. With the low-impact movement, this can be a great option for those who have trouble with high-impact stress on their joints.
The TC10 comes with a complete two-year, limited liability warranty. So, if anything should go wrong with the machine within that time frame due to manufacturing errors or parts defects, Bowflex will cover it. They will not warranty problems due to abuse or accidental damage, but otherwise, they will cover any major problems.
Bowflex TreadClimber TC20
The TC20 is a step-up from the TC10. It comes with several more features that some will find desirable. First, it has a slight speed upgrade to 4.5 miles per hour. So, you can get a bit faster of a workout over the TC10, which makes this model preferable for those who want a more intense workout.
The console on the TC20 features a backlit LCD screen, so it will be brighter and more easily seen in low-light conditions. So, if you plan on placing your treadclimber in a place where there is not a lot of natural light, the TC20 will be much easier to see the readings.
The console will display the same metrics as the TC10 – speed, distance, time, calories. In addition to all this, though, the TC20 also comes with a readout for your heart rate. This model comes with a heart rate strap that will monitor your heart rate as you work out. This allows you to keep your heart rate within the target and acceptable limits.
The console also comes with two unique profiles that will remember your settings. This can be a good way for two people to use the treadclimber with the G.O. Coach™ function. This training program allows you to track weekly goals and display them on the console as you work out.
The console also has a three landmark display, which breaks your workout down into segments so you can track your progress and know exactly where you are in the course of your training.
The TC20 is slightly longer than the TC10, giving you more stride length for those taller people. Its footprint measures around 31″ X 55″. It’s also a bit heavier, coming in at 217 lbs., so if you have any concern about moving the unit you might want to factor this in. Otherwise, this should not make too much of a difference since the recommended weight capacity is still 300 lbs.
You will, however, need to add 3 more inches to the height clearance though as this model is slightly taller. So, to make sure you have enough ceiling height, just add 17″ to your own height to calculate how much room you will need.
The TC20 also comes with a longer warranty period – three years. This gives you some added time should anything go wrong with the machine. The extended time on the warranty is meant to match the slightly higher price tag. Given Bowflex’s general reputation, though, this should be more than enough to satisfy most users.
Bowflex TreadClimber TC100
The TC100 is the newest version of the TC10. It comes with some decent upgrades, mainly with features to the console. The treadles are slightly longer, the dimensions are 31″ X 57″, so it will work well for those with longer strides.
The console features a media shelf that is designed to hold your tablet or other electronic devices so that you can watch your favorite television shows or movies while you work out.
And with a built-in USB charger, your device will never run out of power. It also comes with a shelf for your water bottle so that you can stay hydrated while you work out.
The console also features contact grips on center cross bars so that you can periodically check your heart rate – this is not an option offered on the TC10, but one that is a good idea to ensure you are reaching your target heart rates for effective and safe workouts.
With the USB ports, you will also be able to connect and use the Bowflex Connect™ app – this allows you to store and track two different unique user profiles. With this app, you can set goals, track your progress, and analyze your data in convenient and interactive displays.
It comes with the same two-year warranty as the TC10, so you are fully protected against any defects. With the electronic upgrades to the console, most people find this model preferable to the TC10.
Bowflex Treadclimber TC200
The TC200 is the upgrade to the TC20. It is the premium model of the treadclimber line for those who want a serious workout. It features the same 4.5 miles per hour speed as the TC20 and the same basic dimensions.
The bright, backlit LCD display comes with the same metric readouts of the TC20, but it also features several pre-programmed workouts. These workouts come with settings for simple walking, for calorie goals, for goals related to distance and time, or for interval training.
The console will also display achievement highlights, which are somewhat like badges that you earn as you meet various goals.
Another nice feature of the TC200 is the wireless, Bluetooth capability so that you can connect to the My Fitness Pal, Google Fit, Bowflex Connect™, or other fitness apps. This gives you a great range of options in how you want to track your workouts and analyze your data. In case you do not want to use the wireless settings, the TC200 comes with the same USB ports as the TC100 to charge and connect your device.
Like the TC20, the TC200 comes with a heart rate monitor chest strap that will connect to the console wirelessly. With this feature, you do not have to worry about placing your hands on contact grips and you get continuous readings. This is very convenient for those who want to keep their heart rate at a consistent level, which can be difficult if you have to rely on the contact grips.
The TC200 also has the same three-year warranty so you can be sure you are covered against any manufacturing problems or parts defects. For those who want a serious machine for intense training, the TC200 is your best option.
Are There Any Downsides to the Bowflex Treadclimber?
There are some things you should consider when deciding whether a treadclimber is right for you. First, you will pay a bit more for a treadclimber than a traditional treadmill or stair master. This is due to the advanced features of combining the treadmill and the struts for a hybrid machine.
Second, as you can see from the speed limitations, treadclimbers cannot be used for running. If you are looking for a trainer for running, you will want to look for a traditional treadmill. This makes the treadclimber more of a stair master than a treadmill.
Third, the width between the treads cannot be adjusted. This can be somewhat uncomfortable if you have an unusually narrow or unusually wide stride. You will want to make sure that there is enough width between the tread decks for you to comfortably exercise.
The Bowflex treadclimber is a truly unique piece of home fitness equipment.
By combining all the great benefits of a treadmill, a stair master, and an elliptical trainer, you are able to get an intense workout that maximizes your efforts.
While you might pay a little bit more for a treadclimber, you will certainly get plenty of return on your investment.
As long as you do not need a piece of equipment for long-distance running training, a Bowflex treadclimber can be one of the best machines you can use to improve your personal fitness.