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NordicTrack vs Sole – 2 Of America’s Most Wanted

nordictrack vs sole

NordicTrack and Sole are 2 of the most respected names in home fitness equipment. Odds are, if you’ve ever searched for the “best of” for any type of home cardio machine, both of these brands where on that list.

Personally, I know these 2 brands almost always find their way on my “best of” lists for treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, and pretty much anything else they offer.

That said, there are differences between the 2 brands.

Choosing a clear-cut winner between NordicTrack and Sole really depends on what features and specs you’re most interested in.

And knowing each brands strengths and weaknesses can make your life easier when it comes time to make a decision on your next fitness machine.

In this guide, I’ll go over each brands key features. I’ll also discuss the areas where each could use some improvements.

After reading, you’ll have a better understanding of each brand.

And don’t worry, I’m not going to call this friendly competition “a tie” or anything lame like that- there will be an undisputed winner at the end of this article.

Eh, I won’t make ya wait, the winner is… Sole.

NordicTrack vs Sole

I mentioned that these are 2 of the biggest home fitness brands around.

I’ll be honest, I don’t have any numbers or anything to back that statement up (and I’m not feeling motivated enough to search for that kind of info), but let’s be real- most people have heard of these brands.

NordicTrack probably more so than Sole.

Even though both brands are at the top of their game, they’re actually quite different from each other. Check out the following table for a quick comparison:

 NordicTrackSole
Build QualityGood Great
Workout StreamingYesNo
Built-in Workout ProgramsManyFew
PriceModerateModerate
WarrantyGoodGreat
Lineup SizeLarge Large

NordicTrack

NordicTrack has a ton of brand recognition- I mean who hasn’t heard of NordicTrack (at least in the U.S.)? The popular brand has been around since they ’70’s, when they came out with their innovative yet kinda goofy Skier Machine.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

NordicTrack has been expanding and fine tuning their lineup over the last several decades. Even though they started with a single cardio machine, they now have a full lineup of treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, and rowers.

And even though they specialize in cardio machines, they’ve recently added a series of strength training machines with their Fusion CSTs, which combine streaming workouts with resistance training.

Speaking of streaming, NordicTrack has jumped on the streaming workouts bandwagon like no other.

Almost all of their treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes come with the option of getting a large, HD display that’s designed to pair with iFit, their streaming app.

They’ve even added rowers to that list, with the RW500 and RW900 (which is giving The Hydrow a run for its money).

It’s no coincidence that NordicTrack is pushing iFit with all of their high-end machines. After all, NordicTrack and iFit are owned by the same company- ICON Health & Fitness.

ICON owns ProForm too, as well as several other less-known fitness brands.

This is actually one of the biggest differences between NordicTrack and Sole- Sole is very minimalistic when it comes to the workout programs and tech of their consoles.

You aren’t going to find large screens and workout streaming on Sole products, but more on that below.

So, NordicTrack is a good brand to consider if you’re looking for workout streaming, but how do their machines stand up in the spec department?

Generally speaking, they hold up pretty well.

Their treadmills come with strong motors, spacious running surfaces, large rollers, and decent weight capacities. Their exercise bikes and ellipticals come with heavy flywheels and heavy-duty frames.

In other words, NordicTrack products are well-built and of good quality.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get a bad apple, this happens to all brands, regardless of quality or reputation. There’s always the chance that you can get a product with missing/broken/malfunctioning parts.

Which brings me to one of NordicTrack’s biggest downsides- their customer service.

NordicTrack, as well as pretty much all ICON brands, have a reputation for having less than stellar customer services. There are complaints ranging from having a hard time reaching anybody to crazy long wait times to receive replacement parts.

If you do end up going with a NordicTrack product, hopefully you won’t need to use their customer service, but be prepared if you do- it could be quite the process.

Otherwise, the NordicTrack brand comes with a good reputation.

When it comes to price, NordicTrack falls in the moderate to high-end range. Many of their machines cost between $1000-$3000 and some of their highest-end incline trainers and free stride trainers will cost ya around $4000.

NordicTrack does a nice job with their warranties too. They tend to offer 10-year frame warranties, 2-year parts guarantees, and 1 year labor warranties.

For the price range, there are better warranties out there (as you’ll see in a minute), but there are also worse.

Where NordicTrack really shines though is with their HD touchscreen displays. These hi-tech consoles pair nicely with iFit and are a great choice for people looking for lots of workout variety to choose from.

Many NordicTrack machines come with a lot of built-in workout programs too, so in the case you don’t want to sign up and pay the monthly iFit subscription, you can still have access to dozens of workouts.

And signing up for iFit is optional on all NordicTrack machines- you can still use any of them without signing up (even though they sometimes want you to think you have to sign up to use them).

Overall, NordicTrack is a good brand that offers a lot of cardio machines to choose from. They’re known for their large screens and streaming service, as well as having a lot of workouts to choose from.

Their warranties are good. Their customer service could use some work.

Sole

If you’re familiar with my reviews, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Sole. I’d even go as far to say that Sole is my favorite home fitness brand.

And no, I don’t secretly work for them or anything.

Sole Fitness started out by producing treadmills for hotels. These were treadmills that could be used in individual rooms or in stand alone fitness rooms within the the hotels.

These treadmills must’ve been popular, because Sole decided to take their products directly to the people, and started offering residential equipment.

I think I read somewhere that Sole is one of the fastest growing fitness equipment companies in the country (US).

It’s pretty easy to see why- Sole machines are heavy-duty, well-built, and backed by some of the best warranties you’re going to find anywhere (especially for the price).

Like NordicTrack, Sole has a pretty extensive lineup to choose from.

They specialize in cardio equipment and have several treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, and rowers to choose from.

At the time of writing this, they don’t have any strength training equipment yet, but they do have a vertical climbing machine (Sole CC81 Cardio Climber).

Not that this is a big thing, but Sole also conveniently names their models numerically, so it’s easy to tell the hierarchy by looking at the name of each model.

Sole is also a very well-priced brand.

The majority of their products can be purchased for under $2000 and I think I’m safe to say that all of their equipment falls under $3000 (putting them well in the moderately priced category for fitness equipment).

The lower prices makes their treadmills especially great buys when you compare the specs. Sole treadmills come with strong motors, large rollers, and large running surfaces.

All of their equipment comes with durable, heavy-duty frames that usually have significantly higher weight capacities than other brands (375 lb vs 300 lb).

The performance specs on Sole products are stellar, but what really sets them apart is their warranties.

Sole offers lifetime warranties on their frames and motors. They also offer 5 years on parts and 2 years on labor on many of their machines (which is literally 2x as long as many competitors).

What Sole doesn’t offer are fancy, hi-tech consoles.

You aren’t going to find large, HD touchscreens on Sole machines. You also aren’t going to find tons of built-in workouts to choose from (most Sole machines only come with 8-10 workouts).

Which is probably why I like them so much.

Personally, I don’t spend much time using built-in workouts. I tend to do my own thing, so I don’t really care if the machine comes with a bunch of workout to choose from.

(I’ve had my Horizon 7.8AT for several months now and I think I’ve only done 2 of the pre-programmed workouts).

I’d rather have a treadmill or elliptical that is well-built and backed by a long warranty. To me, having a cardio machine that works great and is going to last is more important than anything else.

Again, this is why I gravitate toward Sole products.

If you’re looking for fitness equipment that can stream workouts, Sole definitely isn’t the brand for you. Sole doesn’t offer any streaming devices (at the time of writing this anyway).

But for the folks that aren’t looking for workout streaming, and just want a durable cardio machine that’s easy to use, Sole is a great brand to explore (the best brand in this price point in my opinion).

Final Thoughts

I like NordicTrack and I think they have some great products in their lineup, but they’re no match for Sole. To be fair though, I think Sole is the best moderately priced home fitness brand in the world today.

Check out any of my guides for the best treadmills, best ellipticals, or best bikes of the year and you’ll usually find a Sole product at the top of that list.

Sole just offers the best combo of build quality and warranty.

That said, if streaming or overall workout variety is a top priority, you really should go with a NordicTrack- Sole can’t compete with them in terms of console tech and workout selection.

Again, I guess it all comes down to what you’re looking for.

(But Sole still wins!)

 

 

 

Will

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