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NordicTrack Review

Sunday, February 28th

2021 Rowing Machine Reviews

NordicTrack Review 4 Star Rating

NordicTrack

4 Star Rating
  • Cost: From $899 to $1,599

NordicTrack and home workouts are practically synonymous. For many years, thanks to the power of TV commercials, people have known that this brand gives people the ability to train both cardio and strength from the comfortable environment of their own space - no gym needed.

3 rowing machine options

Within the NordicTrack brand, you'll find 3 options for rowing machines: the RW200, RW500, and RW900.

Equipment overview:

  • Rower Type: Digital, Air, Magnetic
  • Price Range: $899 - $1,599
  • Different Models: 3
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Return Policy: 30 days
  • Warranty: Frame - 10 years, Parts - 2 years, Labor - 1 year
  • Shipping: Free (RW900 excluded)

Basic but feature rich

At the bottom of the price range is the RW200, sold for $699. Although it's the most basic of the three models offered by NordicTrack, it's still got plenty of features to catch your attention: 24 digital resistance levels (magnetic), Bluetooth-enabled, and 20 preset workout apps. The machine folds easily for storage at a height of 44" and a width of just over 37". Even the display is higher-end, allowing for setup of multiple user profiles, and the machine comes with a 1-year iFIT membership (more on that later). Shipping is free on this model.

Best Rowing Machines

New workouts added daily

In the middle, you'll find the RW500 for $999. Upgrade your rowing experience with a 10" tablet, 25 resistance levels - and interactive personal training. That last part comes through the iFIT membership (which is also included free for 12 months). Your on-demand workout actually controls the resistance digitally to match the various portions of the session, no need to fiddle with controls or set them yourself mid-exercise. New workouts are added daily for streaming whenever you want, or you can take a live class. Why haven't you heard of this before? Probably because rowing tends to be more specialized - you don't know you love it until you try it, maybe at a Live2Row studio or Orangetheory Fitness class.

Bigger screen

At the top of the options is the RW900. At $1,599, you're likely wondering what you get for that extra $600 over the RW500 - a valid question. How about a 22" interactive HD touchscreen, 26 resistance levels... and, unfortunately, no free shipping. That will cost you $199. Everything else is essentially the same between the two models, so it's up to you if it's worth the extra cash for the bigger screen and 1 additional level of resistance.

Mixed reputation

How about reputation? Here's where things get a little confusing. NordicTrack and another company in our review are both brands of ICON Fitness. Across all of its brands, the parent company gets a LOT of complaints (we're talking thousands). And yet, the Better Business Bureau still gives them an "A+" rating, so they're clearly doing something right in the way they address those customer issues.

Sister brand

So, with essentially the same track record and high-tech features, why does NordicTrack score higher than their sister brand, ProForm? That's easy: we think customers would rather choose among 3 rowers instead of 2, and they'd rather pay a straightforward price for their machine instead of being told it's "free" and then be committed to 3 years of the iFIT service. Beyond that and the differences among the companies' rowers themselves, the two options are essentially equal.

Enthusiastic supporters

For what it's worth, NordicTrack customers are pretty enthusiastic about the experience when using one of their rowing machines, especially with the trainer-led workouts. Rowing can feel like a bit of a slog, but with instructors pushing you to take it up a notch or encouraging you to keep at it for just a little longer, you'll probably get much more out of your fitness session than when you just row-and-go until you feel like stopping. NordicTrack doesn't offer any bargain-basement options for rowing machines, but they do give you a lot of value for the money spent. We think their iFIT-enabled rowers are definitely worth considering.

Where Can You Find the Best Rowing Machines?

Maybe you got a taste at a HIIT class like Eat the Frog or Orangetheory, you're a CrossFit devotee, or you just get in a rowing session when you hit Planet Fitness or another gym. Many people have a love-hate relationship with this particular piece of fitness equipment, so we applaud you if you're looking for a quality machine to add to your home gym!

You probably know all of the reasons to love rowing machines: few cardio workouts give you the total body focus that's achieved while rowing. Generally speaking, a rowing routine uses 65-75% legs and 25-35% of the upper body - strengthening legs, arms, and abs all at the same time. That's efficient!

The Best Rowing Machines Compare Rowing Machines Compare Rowing Machine Reviews What are the best Rowing Machines Best Rowing Machine Reviews

Rowing Machine FAQ

There are four basic types, all classified by the type of resistance they provide. The rowers you may have seen at your local gym, CrossFit box or Orangetheory studio probably used flywheel or water resistance. Other rowing machines use magnetic or piston/cylinder resistance mechanisms.
Absolutely! Rowing machines use up to 85% of your body, from the effort it takes to push backwards to the core strength needed to go back and forth and, of course, all of the upper body in the pull. Like any new exercise routine, you may find there's a learning curve to developing proper form, but it's one of the best low-impact workouts you can get.
Yes! There are many workouts designed for all levels of fitness, including yours. You can also find communities that share rowing challenges -even worldwide! This is especially true if you use a Concept2 rower, which is considered as the "gold standard" when entering competitive times for races and recruiting.
Sometimes, depending on the model you select and how many features it offers. You'll see rowers ranging from under $300 to over $2500. You might be able to get low-interest financing from the retailer of the rowing machine you select.
Most styles will have a certain minimum floor space when in use: you're pushing yourself back and forth along a track, so think about how long your legs extend from a bent position to a fully-extended one. However, if space is an issue, there are rowing machines that can be folded up when not in use (usually by placing the track in a vertical position).
Most retailers of Rowing Machines offer a return period of at least 30 days. But, keep in mind that you're usually going to be on the hook for return shipping fees, which can get expensive.
Some rowers are delivered for free. Don't be surprised to see shipping costs upwards of $130, though: rowing machines are oversized and heavy.
Generally speaking, you'll be the one setting up your rower. A few retailers might be able to connect you with a local professional who can do it for you, but you might want to try it yourself first. These machines are typically straightforward to get up and rowing.
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Continued from above...

Another huge reason to take advantage of rowing is its low-impact style. There's no pounding on already-sensitive joints while using a rowing machine, just a push and a pull that glides back and forth with whatever amount of effort you choose to use.

What style of rowing machine is best? That largely depends on preference. Resistance comes in four ways: air (flywheel), magnetic, pistons or cylinders, and water. If you've used a machine at a fitness center, you're probably familiar with flywheel and water rowers already. Those styles also do the best job of imitating the feel (and the sound, for tank-base systems) of rowing in open water.

So, how can you tell which rowing machine is the right one for your home gym? Here are several criteria to keep in mind as you shop for a rower:

  • Price. Rowing machines can range from ultra-affordable (less than $300) to top-of-the-line (over $2,500). While spending more usually puts more features and cutting-edge technology in your hands, you don't have to break the bank to get a rower that delivers a terrific workout.
  • Features. Make a list of the must-haves for your rower. Does it need to fold easily for storage? Do you want the capability of following a live class, Peloton-style? Should your rowing machine have a certain look to match your other home gym equipment?
  • Returns and Warranty. What if your rowing machine doesn't fit the space you had planned out? Or you realize that you'd actually prefer the resistance of a water rower instead of a flywheel system? Most retailers of rowers allow returns, but watch out for restocking fees and return shipping fees. What kind of warranty coverage does the company give you for the frame, mechanical components, and any electronics?
  • Reputation. What do other shoppers say about the company? Can you expect good service if something goes wrong during shipping, installation, or day-to-day use? A rowing machine can be a significant investment, so you want to know that your purchase is from a business that has your back.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best rowing machines available today. We hope this information helps you pick the right rower to meet all your health and fitness goals!

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