NordicTrack Commercial x22i Incline Trainer Treadmill Detailed Review – Pros & Cons (2020)

Last Updated: March 22, 2020

The NordicTrack x22i is in our Top 10 Best Treadmills for 2020 and our Best Treadmill for HIIT Training. This incline treadmill will peak at a +40% grade and drop to a -6% decline. The 2020 model includes a horizontal push bar and vertical sled grips for a sled-push option to burn calories. The x22i also features an eye-catching tech and a 1-year subscription to iFit — with over 16,000+ workouts.

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Treadmill Awards: 2020 Best Treadmill for HIIT Training

Best Treadmill for Running 2020

The NordicTrack x22i wins our award for ‘best treadmill for HIIT training’ for 2020. With a powerful motor, ability to incline +40 degrees, decline to -6 degrees, and excellent build quality, the x22i will enable you to get a fantastic workout in in no time at all. The x22i is perfect for anyone looking to get in a great HIIT workout, and burn a ton of calories.


Who It’s For: Anyone looking for high-intensity, low-impact training with engaging, interactive tech

The x22i is designed for runners and incline walkers who want all the extras:

  • +40% Incline and -6% Decline for maximum calorie burn
  • 1-year free iFit subscription with personal trainer led classes and routes
  • Eye-popping 22” HD touchscreen that brings iFit right into your home
  • Abundant training options with multiple incline and speed combinations
  • Sled-push option for upper body engagement and posterior strengthening
  • Solid frame with steel cross beams and side bars prevent any rocking during use
  • Maximum cushion to protect joints and extend your workout without fatigue
Pros
  • Innovative design lifts deck to +40% incline
  • Steep incline allows you to work hard but stay low-impact
  • Decline of -6% for recovery, conditioning, downhill training
  • Cushioned deck for maximum comfort
  • Perfect for athletes who do hard training
  • Great for injury recovery and gentle conditioning
  • Multiple training combos with incline, decline and 12mph max speed
  • Push sled option with horizontal push bar and sled grips
  • Engaging tech with iFit programs and routes
  • Bright 22” HD touchscreen with digital speakers
  • Multiple storage areas
  • Ledge for phone or tablet (may slightly block screen)
  • Fans!
Cons
  • Slightly higher price-tag
  • Requires WiFi and an iFit subscription (free the first year)
  • Does not fold up
  • 300lb max weight capacity

Our Video Review


FeaturesSpecifications
  • 22” Smart HD Touchscreen
    • The 22” Smart HD touchscreen on the x22i is the perfect size. I love the x32i as well and will happily train on either machine any day. However, the 22” screen fits perfectly in the console while still allowing for space on either side to set a phone, water bottle, keys, etc. The touchscreen works well even with sweaty hands. Much of the functionality of the treadmill is embedded in the touchscreen, which cleans up the console nicely and reduces visual clutter.
    • The HD screen brings the outdoors to you via abundant iFit routes you can run all over the world. The size and graphics of the screen are impressive and really make you feel like you are right there, running alongside the trainer.
  • +40% Incline to -6% Decline
    • Aside from its sister machine, the x32i, no other incline trainer can reach a +40% grade. This increases the amount of effort needed just to walk. Try running at that incline and you’ll last just a few seconds — it’s intense!
    • Additional incline adds more training variables to your routine. If you want to work hard but stay low-impact, you can engage one of the higher incline settings and still get a great workout without having to run.
    • Incline training also engages glutes and hamstrings by changing the angle of the body. Training at multiple incline levels helps balance anterior and posterior muscle groups to offset quad dominance or knee tightness from too much pull on the IT band.
  • Reflex™ Cushioning in deck
    • Reflex cushioning absorbs a significant amount of the impact from running. When running on a non-cushioned surface (like outdoors), the impact force of each downward step can be up to double a runner’s weight. When not cushioned, a runner’s joints and spine absorb most of this impact.
    • A support system under the deck allows a few inches of travel to absorb foot impact. While the deck is sturdy, providing a stable surface for good form and a strong toe-off, springs underneath the platform cushion the impact from each step.
    • Reflex cushioning not only protects the body from joint impact, it also reduces impact fatigue, which means you can workout harder and longer without getting injured.
  • 1-Year NordicTrack iFit® membership with iFit Bluetooth® Chest Strap Included
    • iFit is NordicTrack’s workout database of over 16,000 workouts both on and off the treadmill. Users can access studio-based classes or follow along on an outdoor route guided by a personal trainer.
    • The Bluetooth chest strap syncs with iFit so your heart rate is displayed on the screen. Heart rate is monitored throughout the workout and recorded in your stats. This facilitates accurate heart rate training or zone training.
    • Running, walking, and combo options are available along with various classes that feature strength training, HIIT workouts, and even stretching and yoga.
  • 4.0 CHP DurX™ Commercial Plus Motor with 22” x 60” Tread belt
    • The hearty 4.0 CHP motor lifts/lowers the deck and moderates speed. Continuous horsepower means it not can not only achieve a certain speed, it will hold that speed constant while you run. There is no lag between speed or incline adjustments with this motor. It is self-cooling and strong enough to support heavy training and multiple users.
  • Bluetooth® Audio Capabilities and Two 3” Digitally Amplified Speakers
    • You can sync your phone via Bluetooth to play your music through the treadmill speakers. The two digitally amplified speakers provide clear sound and have multiple volume options. This way you can turn the music all the way down while turning the trainer volume up — or do both at the same time. The ability to modify variables in volume is a handy feature.
    • Currently, you need a Bluetooth transmitter to send sound from the treadmill to wireless headphones. An inexpensive adapter that plugs into the aux port on the side of the console will allow you to listen to the iFit trainers on your personal headphones.
  • Dual AutoBreeze™ Workout Fans
    • Two fans just below the screen provide good air flow with minimal noise. There are three settings and an auto-mode (where fan speed corresponds to belt speed). Fans are a good height.
  • One Touch® Controls on Console
    • Preset speed controls line the right side of the console with incline buttons on the left. These display large numbers which are easy to read and reach, so you can quickly adjust speed and incline when needed.

Construction

  • 22” x 60” Commercial Tread Belt
  • 4.0 CHP DurX™ Commercial Plus Motor
  • 2.5” Precision and Balanced Non-Flex Rollers
  • Reflex™ Cushioning
  • 70.2” L x 39.6” W x 71.6” H Footprint

Console

  • 22” Smart HD Touchscreen
  • Bluetooth® Audio Capabilities
  • Two 3” Digitally Amplified Speakers
  • Dual AutoBreeze™ Workout Fans
  • One Touch® Controls

Functionality

  • 1-Year NordicTrack iFit® membership**
  • 0 – 40% Incline
  • 0 – 6% Decline
  • 0 – 12 MPH Speed
  • 1-Year NordicTrack iFit® membership**
  • iFit Bluetooth® Chest Strap Included
  • 50 On-Board Workout Programs
  • 300 Lb. User Capacity

Warranty

  • 10-Year Frame Warranty
  • 2-Year Parts Warranty
  • 1-Year Labor Warranty

In-depth Review of NordicTrack x22i Treadmill


Construction

Steel Frame

The x22i frame is comprised of two steel side beams and three steel cross beams that support the running platform. On the x22i, the 4.0 CHP motor is housed at the base of the machine under the rear deck — rather than in the front as on traditional treadmills. This creates extra length at the top of the tread belt so your foot doesn’t graze the motor hood. A hydraulic lift system under the deck lifts and lowers the platform to create the 40% grade. Two convex upright beams extend vertically from the frame to hold the console and handrails. The gentle curve of these support beams brings the console closer to the midline of the running platform so you can stand close to the console and still have plenty of both forward foot reach and rear kickback. On most treadmills these vertical support beams are straight rather than curved which pulls the console closer to the front of the tread belt and can lead to foot contact with the hood motor. All exposed steel beams are powder coated either black or chrome for an overall sleek look and streamlined design.

22” x 60” Deck

  • Reflex Cushioning means the deck responds to the amount of pressure generated. Four steel springs under the platform create space for the deck to descend gently with each foot step. Since the impact is greater from a heavier person or when running; consequently the deck will flex more. While walking, or for a lighter person, the deck will flex less. There are two benefits to this system:
    • The first benefit is a reflexive system doesn’t lose energy. If the platform flexes too much, it’s like running in sand. Sure, the impact is less, but significant energy is lost in the downward motion. The spring-supported Reflex cushioning responds to the impact force — which will vary depending on the user and the exercise — so the flexibility is just what is needed, but not too much.
    • The second benefit is a robust running platform. Forward motion requires a firm surface for good foot position and a strong toe-off. The x22i running platform is sturdy with just enough give to provide reflexive cushioning while maintaining a solid surface for good form.
  • At 22” wide by 60” long, the x22i tread belt provides plenty of space. Most commercial trainers in this price range offer 60” in length, but the extra 2” of width provides added lateral room. The construction of the running platform and the position of the console create plenty of length both at the top and bottom of the tread belt. It is nice to have that extra forward foot reach when working an incline. Similarly, the platform allows for a longer stride while running, or for tall users.
  • The tread belt on the x22i is commercial grade so it is durable, gently textured, and designed to provide a stable foot surface. If the belt is slick, thin, or creates friction under your shoe, it will impair your experience regardless of other treadmill features. The belt on the x22i is sturdy, doesn’t flap around, and moves evenly along the deck.
  • 2.5” balanced rollers help move the belt along the deck. Larger rollers have greater surface area to grab and move it along, so there is less tension on the tread belt. The combination of good sized rollers and a commercial tread belt create a nice running platform on the x22i.

4.0 CHP DurX Motor

  • The 4.0 CHP self-cooling motor controls speed and incline, and it works smoothly to regulate multiple adjustments at once. Also, the x22i is designed for heavy training by multiple users, so the self-cooling feature keeps it from overheating. I tested the motor on the x22i with an interval class on iFit. We moved through multiple incline and speed settings as the trainer jumped quickly between intervals. The motor responded seamlessly each time. I’m surprised at how quiet the motor is for being so powerful. You can barely hear it under the deck.

Console/Controls

22” Smart HD Touch Screen

  • As I mentioned above, I find the 22” screen on the x22i to be the perfect size. You don’t have to reach around it to grab water bottles and there are small pockets on either side for a phone. There are several features on the screen I personally liked:
    • Tilt feature allows you to gently push the screen up and down to find the right height. This helps eliminate the annoying glare of overhead lights and it also brings the screen into your line of vision. I like that this is a simple pivot feature and not some automated control, so it won’t break later and freeze in one position.
    • The screen has crisp graphics with good resolution. I played with my resolution a little bit. Factory settings will be calibrated for a moderate internet speed, so if you increase the resolution it might take just a minute to buffer videos before they start. For me it’s worth the short wait as I love the images as clear as possible. You can also adjust screen brightness as needed to match your lighting or time of day.
    • The touchscreen is responsive even with sweaty hands. I had to hit an on-screen button maybe twice, but otherwise it was good to respond each time. The size of the screen makes it easy to see and reach.
    • Screen position is good — not too close so it feels like it’s in your face — but not so far away that it’s hard to reach the touchscreen buttons. I didn’t feel unnecessary encroachment even when I tilted the incline to 40% and stood close to the console to counterbalance the grade. The screen is set back 6” from the horizontal push grip, which is the perfect distance.

Console Layout

  • Console layout on the x22i is streamlined and clutter-free. Many of the treadmill controls are embedded in the touchscreen itself, which cleans up the console, leaving the most important buttons accessible and not buried.
    • OneTouch Controls for both speed (right) and incline (left) flank the screen. There is a separate button for each speed — but not for each grade. There just isn’t room for 46 buttons, so the incline/decline buttons increase by 3 and then 5 for each incline. Manual controls at the base of the console allow for more specific adjustments.
    • Fan Controls: on the left just below the fans.
    • Volume Controls: on the right just below the fans.
    • Manual Controls: for both speed and incline sit just below the fan and speaker buttons. These are labeled for incline and +,- for speed. You can adjust by .10 for each speed or incline using the manual buttons.
    • Start/Stop and Safety Key: Start button is outlined in green; Stop button in red. The red safety key is in the center for easy reach. These are all along the bottom of the console.

Dual Fans

  • Yes! There are two fans, and I love them. These are a must-have on a machine of this caliber. The fans sit just below the screen and provide good air flow. There are four settings: Low-Med-High and Auto. The auto setting will correlate the fan speed with work load so they will increase and decrease power depending on how hard you are working.

Two 3” Digitally Enhanced Speakers

  • The speakers create good sound. Positioned laterally just under the screen, they are easy to hear. I love the volume adjustment options in iFit. You can moderate volume for: Overall Volume, Trainer, and Music. This means you can turn the music all the way down and the trainer’s voice all the way up. Or you can set them both where you want and adjust the overall volume. This is a brilliant design by NordicTrack because when working out at home, circumstances often require specific volume adjustments.
    • You can also Bluetooth your phone to the treadmill and play your music through the treadmill speakers.
    • My only complaint is, you cannot listen to iFit on your wireless headphones. You can Bluetooth your music in, but you can’t transmit iFit volume out via Bluetooth. I’d love to see iFit incorporate Closed Captioning in the programs as well.

No Tablet Holder

  • There is not a separate tablet holder on the x22i. When you tilt the screen, it creates a lip that can hold a phone or tablet; however, a large device may block part of the screen and might not be secure when running so be careful that it doesn’t fall off.

Storage

  • Two large storage pockets behind the screen are deep enough to hold most water bottles. Extra pockets to the sides of the screen offer a snug spot for a phone or wallet. Due to the design of the x22i, there is not an extra storage tray under the console. This would interfere with the incline.

Functionality

Performance

The x22i is designed from the ground-up to feature smart tech for serious training and extensive conditioning. The combination of a quality build and exciting features work cohesively to create solid performance on the x22i.

+40% Incline to -6% Decline range

A +40% incline and -6 decline is the differentiating feature on NordicTrack’s incline trainers. By comparison, the Peloton Tread only inclines to +15% and does not decline.

  • NordicTrack has been an industry leader in the treadmill space for 30 years. Based on users’ needs and industry trends, NordicTrack designed the incline trainers to offer something unique: extreme conditioning that is low-impact.
  • High-impact workouts are difficult for many people, be they serious athletes or those recovering from an injury. While running has traditionally been the easiest way to get a good calorie burn, many runners deal with stress fractures, impact pain and overuse injuries.
  • The x22i answers these problems with cushioning and incline that stimulates calorie burn similar to running, but at a much lower impact.
  • The -6% decline enables downhill training that more closely simulates outdoor descents. It can also be used by those who want gentle quad strengthening or active recovery options.

Sled-Push with Horizontal Push Bar and Vertical Grips

The new x22i 2020 model includes a push bar that sits horizontally at the base of the console. You can also grab the sled grips that extend vertically off the handrail. Either position allows you to lean in as you push the belt along with your feet. (Be prepared for high-intensity, full-body engagement — you’ll be anaerobic in seconds.) For safety, you can only operate the sled push option at 1mph and a 0% incline. Do not try to engage manual mode when the treadmill is off — this can damage the motor and walking platform.

50 Pre-programmed workouts

For those days when you just want to climb on the treadmill and go, the onboard programs provide lots of preset options for: intervals, hills, calorie burn, fat burn, etc. When you select any program, the display provides a graph of the full routine, so you know what to expect.

A simple manual lap screen is also available. There’s no audio in these programs, so they are great to keep track of your stats while you listen to music, a podcast or even read a book.

iFit Subscription included free for the first year

When you purchase an x22i, the first year of iFit is included for free. After that, an iFit subscription costs $15/month for one user or $33/month for up to four users. (Comparatively, Peloton is $39/month.) iFit requires internet — you must have accessible WiFi to connect to when you first set up the treadmill. iFit offers many classes and features:

  • Studio-based classes: bootcamp, interval training, and combo routines that alternate strength training with running segments. The trainer provides direction as he/she works alongside you and other participants in the studio. iFit automatically adjusts the speed and incline for you at the direction of the trainer. (You can override this at any point — just hit any QuickControl speed or incline button to adjust as needed.)
  • iFit has outdoor runs in any number of exotic places. I joined the program: Hannah Eden takes Iceland which includes ten runs of varying lengths through the Icelandic Mountains. You follow along on the treadmill as she navigates the real terrain just ahead of you. The treadmill automatically inclines and declines to match the actual grade as you run. The scenery is breathtaking and Eden does a good job of keeping it interesting (while also managing to run and breathe).
  • Off-the-treadmill classes are also available. Log into iFit from any tablet or computer and from the Main Menu bar, select the “Daily Workout” tab. It will bring up class options like: kickboxing, yoga, HIIT, dumbbells or Fit in 15 (for when you only have 15minutes). You do not need to be by your treadmill to access these classes, which means you can use iFit even while travelling.
  • iFit eliminates the need for a gym membership. I would recommend perusing NordicTrack’s website and the iFit website to see everything it has to offer. You will be impressed.

Noise Level

Average Noise: ~81 decibels (with fan on high, decibel meter on console, user: 125lb.)

  • 0 incline, 3mph: 78 db
  • 0 incline, 6mph: 84 db
  • 3 incline, 3mph: 80 db
  • 3 incline, 6mph: 85 db
  • 6 incline, 3mph: 81 db
  • 6 incline, 6mph: 86 db
  • 10 incline, 3mph: 77 db
  • 10 incline, 6mph: 80 db
  • 15 incline, 3mph: 68 db
  • 15 incline, 6mph: 74 db
  • -3 decline, 3mph: 85 db
  • -6 decline, 6mph: 90 db

The x22i belt is very quiet, so when no one is on it, the noise output is low. We tested a walking pace (3mph) and a running pace (6mph) at different inclines. When the deck is declined, decibel readings go up because there is more foot-impact noise. When the deck is inclined past 10%, decibel readings went down because there is less distance from the runner to the deck. In general, this is a moderately quiet machine. The only one we have tested that registers quieter is the NordicTrack x32i.

Storage / Folding

The x22i does not fold and it is not easy to move. This piece of equipment is designed to be placed in the perfect space in your home and left there. To move it, incline the deck to the full 40%, then turn off and unplug the machine. You can then pivot the x22i forward on it’s wheels and roll it gently. Should you need to move it up or down stairs, make sure to have a few friends on hand to help. The machine is heavy, but it’s sturdy and silent when in use.


Items of Note

The x22i is a substantial piece of exercise equipment. It is not designed for small spaces; and it does not fold up or move easily, so make sure you have a dedicated space beforehand. Also, when fully inclined, the top of the deck is 31” off the floor. Check for overhead clearance if you have low ceilings or are a tall person. When flat at 0% incline, the deck sits 14” off the floor. Also, prior to each use, look for any toys, objects (or pets) that might accidentally sneak underneath. The deck descends several inches when declined.


Bottom Line:

Admittedly, I have a little crush on the x22i. I love the screen size, incline range, training options, and sled-push feature. Also a bonus: it’s sleek design looks stately in the room. This is why the x22i is one of our Top 10 Best Treadmills for 2020 and by far the Best Treadmill for HIIT Training. I would recommend this machine to athletes and users of all ranges and abilities.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Nordictrack Commercial x22i Incline Trainer Treadmill Review
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