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NordicTrack Review

Thursday, October 21st

2021 Stair Climber Reviews

NordicTrack Review 4.5 Star Rating

NordicTrack

4.5 Star Rating
  • Cost: From $2,499 to $3,299
  • Foot path can be like a treadmill, elliptical or stepper
  • Lots of on-demand and live workouts
  • Live incline and resistance control
  • 1 model with incline and decline capabilities
  • 1 year complimentary iFit membership
  • "A+ rated by the BBB

NordicTrack is one of the top names in home fitness equipment, from treadmills to exercise bikes and beyond. Their stair climbers include two models, both of which give you a full-body workout (if you want!). NordicTrack's FreeStride options let you choose your foot motion - treadmill, elliptical, or stepper - offering the most versatility found in a stair climber machine.

More money = more features

The FS10i is priced at $2,499, and theFS14i comes in at $3,499. How are the two machines different? You'll get a slightly larger touchscreen on the more expensive model (10" vs. 14" ), digital resistance levels increase from 24 to 26, and you get the option of moving on a decline as well as an incline. Whether or not that's worth the extra $1,000 is a matter of preference.

Tons of workout options - including live

One of the most attractive features of NordicTrack stair steppers is the iFit membership, complimentary for the first year after purchase. Not only can you access a huge variety of both on-demand and live coached workouts, but the live sessions let your trainer automatically adjust your incline and resistance to simulate real-world terrain. That should make it a lot harder to get bored with your exercise routine! And, if that's not enough, your iFit subscription also lets you stream yoga, cross-training, strength training, and plenty of other non-stepper workouts.

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Equipment overview:

  • Price Range: $2,499 - $3,299
  • Different Models: 2
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Resistance Levels: 24-26, depending on model
  • Maximum User Weight: 375 lbs.
  • Live/on-demand classes available: Yes
  • Return Policy: 30 days, $250 return shipping charge
  • Warranty: 10 year frame, 2 year parts, 1 year labor
  • Shipping: $199

Costly delivery, look for discount

Both machines come with a delivery fee of $199. You might be able to offset those shipping costs with a promotional discount. As we browsed the site, we got a pop-up offer of $25 off an order of at least $399 if we signed up for NordicTrack's mailing list.

"A+" with the BBB

NordicTrack has a really solid track record for customer service. Owned by Icon Health and Fitness, who has an "A+" from the Better Business Bureau, the company does a praiseworthy job of responding to customer problems. We've always been impressed with how quickly we can reach live help using NordicTrack's online chat when we have questions about their products.

Praise from customers on machines and workouts

Better yet, customer feedback post-purchase is impressive on both stair climber models at NordicTrack. We encourage you to read them for yourself: the reviews on the machines and on the iFit workouts. People say that the quality of the equipment is fantastic and well-engineered; our favorite heading is "perfect for even a perfectionist" . Workout reviews describe them as having great intervals, motivating coaches, and "a great climb for the backside" .

You can't go wrong with a NordicTrack stair climber

The only reason NordicTrack didn't capture our first-place finish in the stair climber category is their price point. While we think these two steppers offer a lot of value for the money, our top pick has many of the same features for significantly less cash. Other than that, you can buy either of the NordicTrack FreeStride trainers with confidence. You're going to get an amazing workout - and probably have a ton of fun doing it! NordicTrack is one of our most recommended brands for stair climbers.

Where Can You Buy the Best Stair Climbers?

This essential piece of cardio equipment has been around for almost 40 years. Sometimes referred to as a "stair stepper" , these machines are a refreshing alternative to treadmills and exercise bikes while still delivering an excellent workout. Depending on your current level of fitness, your age and weight, and the resistance level you choose, you could burn a whopping 500 calories in just 30 minutes!

What kind of stair climber or stepper is right for you? There are several equipment styles to choose from. The one you see most often at fitness centers is called a "stairmill" : picture a rotating staircase that you climb almost like an escalator at the mall. The intensity of your workout is determined by the speed you set. These machines tend to be very large and can take up a lot of space in your home, but they offer the advantage of being extremely sturdy and often have a higher user weight capacity than other types of stair climbers.

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Stair Climber FAQ

A stair climber is a type of exercise equipment that uses either a rotating series of steps or pedals pushed up and down - imitating the motion you'd make when going up a staircase. The "stairmill" option is most commonly found in gyms and health clubs, while the pedal variety can be seen both in fitness centers and in home use.
Stair climbers are low-impact, delivering an intense workout that is gentler on the joints than running on a treadmill. It also doesn't have to be either-or: if you like to mix up your workouts and target different muscle groups, alternating between using a treadmill and a stair climber is a great option.
That will depend on the stair climber you choose. Most models have clearly-listed dimensions for both floor space and ceiling height requirements, so be sure to look at them carefully and map out the space in your home before making your purchase.
You can get a good-quality stair climber for just under $1,000. If you want a high-end model exactly like what you've seen at your local gym, expect a price tag upwards of $10,000.
The more resistance levels your stair climber has, the greater variety you'll be able to get in your workouts. If you have people of multiple heights who will use the machine - for example, maybe you're 4'11" and your roommate is 6'5" - you might want to choose a model with adjustable stride lengths. From there, you should consider how much tech you want it to have, like Bluetooth connectivity with fitness apps or heart rate monitoring through hand grips and/or a chest strap.
Most stair climber manufacturers aren't quite there yet. However, at least one company offers a separate membership to an online platform where you can get live workouts, exercise in real time with a friend, or stream videos to make your workout routine more interesting.
That depends on the manufacturer's policy. Some offer no returns at all, while others may give you 4-6 weeks to try it out. You may also have to pay restocking fees if you return your stair climber.
Yes. Most stair climbers have warranty coverage on the frame and welds, parts, and labor. The timeframes vary: you might get a lifetime warranty on the frame with one manufacturer, while another only covers the frame for three years. Read the warranty coverage and terms carefully before you buy a stair climber.
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Continued from above...

The stair steppers you'll find most commonly in home use have pedals that you push up and down. As you increase the resistance in the pedals, your workout gets more challenging. There's a lot of variety within this type of stair machine too: you'll see full-body options that make it feel more like mountain climbing or using an elliptical machine, as well as super-compact designs that can be stored under a desk or bed.

Because stair climbers use a different motion pattern than walking or biking, there can be an adjustment period as you get comfortable with your new equipment. You can hang onto the handrails at first, to get your balance and become familiar with the machine, but eventually try to climb without them. You'll get a better workout! Also, remember to push with your whole foot and not just the ball of the foot, unless you want a calf-focused session. Finally, make sure that your shoes are firmly tied: you don't want your laces to get wrapped around the pedals or caught in the stairmill!

Which stair climber is right for you? There are so many options that it might be easy to feel overwhelmed. Keep these criteria in mind as you shop, and you'll soon find the one that's the best fit:

  • Price. What's your budget? How much will you pay for your stair stepper and any accessories you might want (like a floor mat to go underneath the machine)? Is delivery included?
  • Available Space. Where do you plan on using your stair climber? Do you have enough floor space and ceiling clearance for the machine you're considering?
  • Fitness Goals. The more features your stair stepper has, the greater variety you can incorporate into your workout routines. A simple machine is fine if you just need a basic cardio workout, but you should consider equipment with more resistance levels if you're trying to improve your endurance and strength over time.
  • Return Policy. If you don't love your stair climber once you get it set up, can you send it back? How long do you have to decide? Is there a restocking fee and/or return shipping costs to consider?
  • Reputation. What do people say about the stair climber? Is it durable? Did customers have a good experience with the customer service aspect of their purchase? Has the BBB given the retailer a good rating?

TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the top stair climbers on the market today. We're confident that this information will help you narrow down the options until you find the perfect addition to your home gym!

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