Best NordicTrack Ellipticals

Nordictrack is a solid company. Well known for their ski machines produced in the 70s and 80s. They became more prominent decades later when they expanded their cardio range into other forms of equipment such as cross trainers, bikes, rowers and treadmills.

Today NordicTrack is a pioneer in the home cross trainer industry. They are now owned by one of the largest manufacturers and marketers of fitness equipment – Icon Health and Fitness. NordicTrack elliptical trainers (or cross trainers) are targeted at a mid-price market with their range starting at around £400 price point for entry levels. You can snag a more advanced version up to £1700 for those who require advanced functionality. Such as HD 10inch wide display screen ideal for viewing iFit coach features.

Best Nordictrack elliptical

All of the NordicTrack cross trainers have a unique, premium look about them. They incorporate the latest technology to provide the smoothest gliding action. As well as their iFit cards that provide endless workout possibilities. This commitment to performance, comfort and innovation makes NordicTrack a leader in the fitness equipment industry. A primary function of all of their ellipticals is that they help with weight loss. Check out our article here on how to lose weight on a cross trainer to maximise your use!

Below I have listed the 5 best NordicTrack Cross trainers on show from a low price point to high price point. This list is well balanced to provide information on the best machine at each price

Before we dive in to each product its important to know that NordicTrack makes three types of Ellipticals: 

  • Front Drive
  • Center Drive
  • Rear Drive
  • Free Stride

Each design has different features in terms of size and ergonomics. Let me highlight a brief overview of each design

Cross Trainer

Front Drive

Nordictrack front drive elliptical

Compared to rear drive ellipticals, one of the biggest advantages of the front drive is that it requires less space when in use. Some of their customers prefer the ease of mounting and dismounting a front drive elliptical. They tend to run smoother in the NordicTrack range by supporting longer stride lengths. Up to 20 inches. With this in mind, this type of motion is more suitable for advanced users, as it’s more challenging. Nevertheless, the adjustability is flexible so you can experiment with different stride lengths to suit your comfort levels.

NordicTrack boasts four front drive cross trainers, ranging from the C 7.5 to the Commercial 14.9. All of these machines (excluding the C 7.5) provide exceptionally smooth rides accommodating all skill levels. The C 7.5 is equipped with a 20 pound drive offering respectable force for entry level cross trainer users.

One unique feature of the Commercial 14.9 is its built in 10” touch screen. Providing web-enable iFit Coach support and 35 workout apps included. This is a premium piece of equipment at £1,999.

Center Drive

Nordictrack elliptical centre drive

The Mid-Mech Commercial nordictrack cross trainer is the centre drive NordicTrack Ellipticals. The compact design is favoured for those who have trouble keeping balance on a traditional elliptical trainer. One benefit of the design is that this elliptical can actually burn more calories because the user isn’t encouraged to lean on the console for support

NordicTrack center drive ellipticals are the A.C.T Commercial, A.C.T. 7  and A.C.T. 10. Each enabled with iFit Coach, a maximum resistance of 10 – 12 kg and 18” to 22” power adjustable stride. The two top machines support web-enabled touch screens and wireless heart rate monitoring.

You can order the A.C.T Commercial at around £999 including delivery and warranty.

Rear Drive NordicTrack Ellipticals 

Rear drive Nordictrack cross trainer

The rear drive elliptical machine supports the most natural motion. This type of machine was in fact the first type invented. Interestingly, the other designs came later to avoid patent protections. NordicTracks Rear Drive Series includes the SE7i and SE9i. Both models are in their SpaceSaver range. Which means they can fold away for storage making them the easiest to assemble – expect to get these set up in about 15 minutes!

The rear drive have good ergonomics for smaller users. If you are a taller adult, you may prefer the other designs as they support longer stride length.

The SpaceSaver SE7i is around £899.00. This machine comes with entry level features such as grip sensors for heart rate monitoring, an 18” stride length, incline up to 8 degrees and a 5” display. These features along with its affordable price point make it ideal for beginners.

The upgraded version to this is a SE9i which also features an 18” stride. The upgrade comes with wireless telemetry and 7” touch screen, web-enabled display. It also has a steeper incline at 10 degrees in comparison to the SE7i

FreeStride Fitness Trainers 

Nordictrack free stride

 

This type of elliptical cross trainer is most flexible. This highly adjustable machine allows you to sculpt your body with a wide variety of stride lengths. Use them as a traditional elliptical, treadmill alternative or stairstepper. Here are some of the top FreeStride Trainers

The FS5i has a 16 pound, light flywheel, iFit programming on a 5” screen. The upgraded NordicTrack Freestride Trainer FS7i and FS9i have a 20 pound flywheel with 7” and 10” touchscreen respectively. Although one feature the FS9i has it lets you virtually train anywhere in the world with its paired iFit Membership. This feature simulates a real terrain experience with ups and downs of 10 degrees (+/-).

Due to the flexibility and features of these types of elliptical trainers, the freestride range from Nordic Track range from £1,499 to £2,199. 

NordicTrack Buying guide

Now you know the differences between the different types of ellipticals NordicTrack offer. I have chosen the 5 best elliptical machines NordicTrack has to offer,  taking into account all three types and different price points. It’s worth adding that all NordicTracks elliptical cross trainers are compatible with their signature iFit programme. This paid subscription has thousands of HD workout videos lead by pro personal trainers to choose from and we found them to be immensely enjoyable and engaging. Subscribers to iFit get the added bonus of Google Maps workouts that allow you to map out your own routes on Google Maps, high-definition workout videos led by professional personal trainers, online races against other iFit members and personalised advice for nutrition, exercise routines and sleep schedule.

Best cross trainers

 

NordicTrack C 5.5 Elliptical Cross Trainer

When it comes to assembling a cross trainer, not all are created equal. Some require little time and are straightforward while others are time consuming and complex. The NordicTrack C5.5 is slightly more complex in putting together, but once it’s built, you will see why it was worth the time. 

The C 5.5 is on the larger side with a footprint of 169cm x 63cm and a weight of 79kg (175lbs). With this in mind, I’d recommend building this elliptical where you intend on using it due to its size – it’s not particularly easy to move once built!

The C 5.5 uses a 7kg flywheel to keep things smooth in this sturdy machine. But in comparison to other premium models it does lack that ultra-smooth feel that the heavier flywheel offers. It’s a shame because the use of a heavier flywheel in the C 5.5 would give a premium experience with such a large unit. Nonetheless it’s certainly not bumpy,  the strides remain smooth and quiet.

Ergonomically the C 5.5 has a substantial stride at 18” providing a natural striding motion. The pedals on each side sit on a single rail to glide along, which provides a smooth and sturdy operation. But, in comparison to other models which offer a dual rail design offers a significantly more stable and durable experience. Overall the single rail is a competent feature but not quite offering the stability of other models in the front drive range.

A stand out feature of the C 5.5 is the five position incline system. This feature allows the user to adjust the shape of the ellipse that the pedals move alone. By turning the movement from a steeper incline down to a flatter motion, you can target different muscle groups. Unfortunately this has to be done manually, so if you are halfway through your workout you have to stop, get off the machine and make the adjustment. Or decide prior to working out which incline you require. It’s a solid feature to have but it loses its appeal that it can’t be controlled with the onboard display console. But once you familiarise yourself with the elliptical you will know which setting is best for your needs. 

This particular machine offers 20 levels of resistance. Whether you prefer to follow a programme or control your routine manually, this offers both with 20 different workouts to choose from or manual mode. These programmes are divided up by calorie or performance goals. All training data is displayed on the 5 inch backlit display including, calories, distance, resistance, RPM, speed and much more. For those wanting to maximise their use of the C 5.5, NordicTracks signature iFit programme is included for free. This service which is typically a paid subscription provides access to personal trainer led workout videos, races against others and much more.

For full details iFit click here to visit their page. 

The C5.5 also includes an integrated tablet holder, 3.5mm audio input jack for mp3 playback, dual 2 inch speakers and a wireless heart rate receiver.

Reasons to Buy

  • iFit included
  • Adjustable incline system

Reasons to avoid

  • Assembly is complex and time consuming
  • Single Rail design, not as sturdy as dual rail machines.

NordicTrack Spacesaver SE7i Elliptical Cross Trainer 

Now lets consider one of NordicTracks mid-priced point cross trainers. Ironically the Spacesaver SE7i doesn’t look like you’re space saving when you see it in the box! The reason for this looking larger than some of the other models in the NordicTrack range is that the SE7i comes practically pre-assembled. Once its out the box its a small job of fitting the stabilisers to the front and rear of the machine, adjusting the arms and locking them into position. A tip with this machine is to make sure it’s on a flat surface, to ensure it’s a smooth ride with no unwanted noises. Much like the C 5.5 make sure you set it up where you want it to save you having to move it twice.

Aesthetically the Spacesaver SE7i is top notch. It’s modern, sleek and looks like a functional bit of kit. But the biggest question is does this sleek appearance save space as it’s designed to? It’s safe to say that all of NordicTracks spacesaver series do indeed save space when they’re folded up. But the issue you might face is the storing away part, which defeats the purpose of the space saver. Depending on the position you might have the SE7i if it’s folded up against a wall it will be out of the way but it’s not particularly easy to navigate the 45kg machine if it’s folded up in the centre of the room. If you’re able to lift this on your own it’s a viable option but it is something to take into account if you have planned where you will be putting the machine or if 45kg is too heavy for you.

In terms of comfort the SE7i fits the bill. With large, padded, detachable footplates. It features a mechanism that allows quick adjustments to your body angle. This makes for a comfortable workout helping you spend more time focussing on working the correct muscle groups. You can easily make any resistance adjustments mid-workout on the display console. Like others in the NordicTrack range the SE7i offers an incline mechanism, but counterintuitively this particular system doesn’t change the shape of the ellipse which maintains the same stride length.This incline mechanism functions more like a treadmill where the entire front end raises up. Although not as effective as other models’ incline system it still provides a smooth, comfortable and quiet workout.

The 5” back-lit LCD display console has 24 built-in preset workouts or a manual mode. It is also compatible with their signature iFit subscription programme so there’s no shortage of training variety. It comes equipped with all the standard measurables (calories, distance, resistance level, RPM etc) It allows you to input your personal data to give you more accurate readings. Along with a power display setup which compares your target energy output with your actual output. This is a really nice feature because if you follow along to your target energy you are guaranteed to get a good workout in. The menus are intuitive and gives you plenty of options on what your desired goals are, this makes each workout personalised. For example if you wanted to focus on burning more calories or improve cardio. 

Additional features that the SE7i offers is the dual speed fan, stereo speakers with audio input and hand pulse sensors. There’s a bluetooth wireless heat receiver and integrated table holder – perfect if you’re using their iFit programme.

All in all, the SE7i is a very well built and well designed elliptical trainer. It’s definitely value for money with its sleek and modern look. Its space saving capabilities are good but consider if you can move a heavy, folded up elliptical on your own. Or if you don’t intend on moving it around the room plan ahead for where it can be used and easily stored out of the way.

Reasons to Buy

  • Easy assembly
  • Comfortable
  • Well built

Reasons to Avoid

  • Folding away daily is useful if you have the strength to lift it

NordicTrack Commercial 12.9 Elliptical Cross Trainer

One of the biggest benefits to NordicTrack equipment is they continue to innovate and improve their current range of products. The Commercial 12.9 is now a new and improved version. Thankfully one of the improvements to the C 12.9 is assembly, there are a few bits to put together but the most it will take to fully set up is about an hour.

It’s modern design features a familiar black, grey and silver colour scheme. Although more compact than its predecessor it’s still a substantial elliptical with a footprint of 178cm x 73cm (70” x 28.7”) making it a solid and durable elliptical. The motion is very smooth even with a low resistance, this elliptical cross trainer is ideal for heavy users with an inertia of 13kg.

Surprisingly the C12.9 switched from dual rail to a single rail design. I assume to make this more compact and lightweight. But it’s commonly known that front drive cross trainers on a single rail can make it easy for the rollers to come off the track under intense activity. Which is a cause of concern for this particular model. On paper it’s certainly a downgrade but I don’t doubt for a second that NordicTrack chose this for a good reason. The C12.9 feels rock solid with a very reliable, quiet and smooth ride.

Due to this 98kg solid design it feels like it’s bolted to the floor, keeping lateral movement of the body to a minimum and a reassuring absence of noise. This is highlighted by the fact you can fully adjust each footplate to wherever suits you. Offering additional support and reducing a potential injury. 

The C12.9 offers an adjustable stride of 18-20”. But an important factor to consider is that this stride is adjustable by changing the incline settings. You can select a steeper incline up to 20% which makes the stride 18” or reduce the incline to a stride of 20”. A bonus of this incline mechanism is that it is electronically powered, meaning you can change the settings intra-workout. This makes the model suitable for all shapes and sizes as you can adjust your position or 24 levels of resistance while you workout giving you total comfort and control. One thing I would change on this elliptical is that the controls were also on the handlebars, it’s not the easiest to change resistance and incline once you are in the groove.

The 7” HD touch screen display is at the heart of the machine. It’s functions are intuitive like a regular tablet. But if you prefer to use your own tablet to watch your favourite shows during your workout the C12.9 comes with a handy, adjustable tablet holder. As with all the series the console is compatible with their iFit programme and boasts 35 preset workouts divided into different categories depending on your goal. Each workout displays the estimated duration and number of calories it’s designed to burn if you keep up with the intensity. Other bonuses with the C12.9 are the wireless heart rate receiver, bluetooth compatible stereo speakers and a built in cooling fan.

Reasons to Buy

  • Adjustable stride length
  • Huge variety of on-board workouts

Reasons to Avoid

  • No controls on handlebars

NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 Series Elliptical Cross Trainer 

Now let’s consider one of NordicTracks more high end models – the Commercial 14.9. The bulky 98kg (217lbs) machine easily breaks the 1k barrier, requiring a small amount of assembly when first received. The good news is that the steps to complete assembly are minimal and the straightforward tasks shouldnt take longer than an hour to complete.

Once assembled the C14.9 looks rather industrial in its design, not as aesthetically pleasing as some of the other models. It’s a hefty front wheel based cross trainer that is heavily focussed on function. By any definition this isn’t a small machine for your home, with a profile of 178cm x 73cm (70” x 28.7”). Although a large elliptical, it’s sleek colour scheme reduces it’s visual impact if you were considering putting this into the corner of your home gym.

The C 14.9 offers impressive technical specifications. It’s constructed with a heavy 15kg flywheel providing the smoothest of rides. It’s completely fluid from start to finish through all 26 speed variations available. The machine offers a 20 degree adjustable powered incline function which gives the user the ability to change the stride length and shape of the elliptical path. This feature makes it possible to change the length of the padded foot plates from 46cm to 51cm while switching seamlessly from a flatter to rounder ellipse. A benefit of doing this is not only does it make it more comfortable and personalised for the user, but they can switch up the position to target a different muscle group. Providing a greater full body workout experience.

There are two sets of handlebars on the C14.9 one set fixed to the frame and one set moving. Holding onto the fixed bars helps to target the lower body and also house the hand-pulse sensors. This machine does offer an even better alternative to monitor your pulse through its built in wireless bluetooth receiver. The moving handles offer several different grip points to target different muscle groups of the upper body.

The distance between the pedals, also known as the Q-Factor is low. The large adjustable footplates provide excellent ergonomics while the different grip points on the moving handlebars allow the user to get into a comfortable position when in use. The C 14.9 really is a joy to use offering a smooth, quiet and stable ride. 

The console of the machine offers a whole host of features to liven up your workouts and prevent you from becoming bored of it. The eye catching 10” HD colour touch screen display is easily accessible and allows you to scroll through your workouts and features at will. One surprising yet stand out feature, NordicTrack have removed the preset workout programmes that their other models offer. Instead they provide 50 engaging and enjoyable personal training HD videos to motivate you through your workout and provide what feels like a one to one personal training session. Each video offers a specific goal, whether it’s cardio improvement or weight loss. This completely changes the nature of your workout experience because instead of staring at numbers and graphs during your workout you are listening to a personal trainer through video. For home workouts this is a total game changer, I don’t know about you but I get a lot more motivated listening to a trainer push me through a workout than looking at numbers! In addition to this, there’s a map based workout that allows you to run along the same route on the map, this is updated daily. NordicTrack have really separated these features from other ellipticals and it truly offers a more captivating experience. 

If you prefer to just do your own thing, the C14.9 has manual mode which tracks the usual stats such as calories, distance, speed, time, heart rate etc. As well as their iFit subscription which is actually included for one year, so you don’t need to pay extra for this. You can even view your iFit training data while participating in one of their workout videos. There’s really no expense spared on this exquisite machine. Other small features that are equipped on the C14.9 is a built-in fan, music port with 2” built in speakers and bluetooth wireless heart rate receiver.

To surmise the NordicTrack Commercial 14.9 it is a very impressive machine indeed. Ergonomically it’s outstanding and allows you to immerse yourself into each workout unlike any other elliptical trainer. Although an expensive piece the features alone understandably justify the price point. I absolutely love the C 14.9 

and highly recommend it if you have the budget and space at home.

Reasons to Buy

  • 10″ Touch screen display
  • Personal trainer led HD video workouts
  • Smooth and comfortable 
  • iFit subscription included
  • Excellent build quality

Reasons to Avoid

  • Expensive

NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride Series Elliptical Cross Trainer

Finally I decided to include the NordicTrack FS7i Freestride cross trainer because it promises to be unconventional compared to the traditional elliptical. 

Due to its bulky size, assembly of the FS7i is a given. But where NordicTrack have differed on this model is they have made assembly as straightforward as possible. Taking just 25 minutes to assemble fully, even the official video showing assembly shows only one person carrying it out despite the instructions claiming it required two people! That’s seriously impressive for a machine this size, it is clear that NordicTrack have put in a lot of thought on the design of the FS7i.

Once fully assembled the machine looks imposing, it’s a large elliptical. Yet the smaller footplates (157cm x 74cm) remain understated in comparison to other models by NordicTrack. The mechanics are also located in the middle of the machine at either side rather than the front or back making it surprisingly compact while in use. This also allows for an excellent biomechanical position due to the pedals having a really low Q factor.

What sets the FS7i apart from other ellipticals is its variable motion system. With a traditional cross trainer the pedals move along a fixed trajectory which can’t be changed unless they feature an incline system allowing you to change the trajectory. Yet even with an incline system you still follow a predetermined path at that given incline. The fundamental flaw of this it’s down to the user adjusting the machine to get as comfortable as possible. There’s only so many adjustments a machine can make to cater for a user’s height, weight and body shape. The FS7i however is built differently by letting you stride in complete control. You don’t need to push any buttons or turn any knobs, it’s completely flexible with your technique. The feeling is strange at first because it’s not fixed so it doesn’t feel like a traditional elliptical in that way. But once you get into the groove you realise how different it really is. You adjust the trajectory by the way you move your arms and legs. And alter the ellipse from steep to shallow all through your own movement.

What this means is you will get a comfortable workout whether you are tall, short or just have a different technique to others! The machine bends with you instantly, not the other way around making this one of the most comfortable workout machines on the market. So if something doesn’t feel quite right you don’t need to make small adjustments to the machine, just shift your body to what’s comfortable and you will immediately know if it feels right. The suspension system and cushioned pedals add to the comfort along with 24 levels of resistance to increase the intensity of your workouts. All in all an outstanding system for a total body workout targeting muscles that a fixed elliptical cant offer.

The Android powered touch screen 7” colour display functions the same way as other tablets. With the basics of swiping through menus and options. There’s a whole host of settings to choose from with an integrated web browser to catch up on emails or read the news while you workout. The console is well laid out offering 35 built in exercise programmes and is iFit compatible but unfortunately not included, so it requires the paid subscription if you want to make use of the programme. Last but not least it has built in speakers with a connectible music player and cooling fan.

Reasons to Buy

  • User variable stride
  • Comfortable
  • Huge range of motion
  • Near instant change of stride length and depth on demand
  • Large selection of preset workouts

Reasons to Avoid

  • iFit subscription not included
  • Quite large

Nordic Track Product Highlights

  • Resistance Ranges: NordicTrack ellipticals cater for all levels  of fitness and desired intensities during your workout.
  • Moving Handlebars: They offer both moving and static arm bars to support total-body workouts.
  • Stride Choices: Despite most models being a fixed stride. You’re almost guaranteed to find a perfect match. The FreeStride range is completely flexible to your body movement providing unrivalled comfort.
  • Consoles: Nordic Track elliptical consoles for 2020 are impressive at all price points. Even most of the lowest-priced trainers are iFit ready and have a variety of preset workouts, tablet holders, built-in speakers, workout fans and other amenities to help you stay comfortable and motivated.
  • HD Displays: Top-of-the-line models for 2020 have 7” and 10” HD touchscreen displays.
  • iFit: You can use iFit with all of NordicTrack’s ellipticals for 2020 (some models come with a year’s free membership included) for unlimited workout downloads, automated data logging, personalized fitness advice, and other benefits.

Things to Consider

Warranty: NordicTrack elliptical cross trainers come with a standard one year manufacturer’s warranty. This covers the frame, parts, motor and labour. For extra peace of mind you can extend the warranty for free. The extension on ellipticals is 5 years on the frame and 2 years on parts and warranty. However, Nordic Track does not cover warranty for non home use such as commercial or professional settings.

Is Nordictrack a good elliptical

Overall NordicTrack elliptical cross trainers are built to last and I review them highly. Whether you prefer a front drive, rear drive or free stride, you can easily find a reliable and affordable NordicTrack unit that fulfils elliptical benefits and fits your cardio training needs. Although there are other more affordable options like Bowflex my choice would be NordicTrack

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An ex-triathlete, fitness coach and writer with a Masters in Sports Physiology. Fitness is my passion and I've had my fair share of home fitness equipment tried and tested!

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