Which Is the Best Choice For You?
Wondering which is the best brand for you?
Well, first of all, you’re not alone – these are two of the most popular – and well made – elliptical brands on the market.
They both produce a range of starter to commercial-grade home elliptical trainers. And they’ve both won lots of “Best Buy” awards over the years from consumer magazines and websites
But there are some differences between the brands that you should know.
And depending on your specific situation, the brand that’s best for you might not be the one that’s best for someone else.
So how do you choose?
This post will give you a take-no-prisoners rundown of how these trainers compare – so you can find the best one for your home.
Nordictrack Elliptical vs Sole – General Overview
First of all, let’s take a look at the big picture behind these two brands. Nordictrack is manufactured and backed by one of the largest fitness equipment manufacturer in the world – ICON Health and Fitness.
They own lots of other names like Proform, Freemotion, Gold’s Gym, Healthrider and more. They even bought out Smoothfitness a couple of years ago. So they’re a giant in the industry.
How does that help you?
Well, first of all, it means that they have the engineers and money to develop the best in fitness technology for home equipment.
You see this in things like Nordictrack Consoles – which are some of the best in the home market with touch-screen web browsers, iPod docks, full-color consoles, multi-speed fans, scrolling message boards and more.
It also means that even in tough times – this company isn’t going anywhere. They’re large enough to weather any financial downturn and be around to service your elliptical should you need it – which is reassuring.
So what about Sole?
Sole is a much smaller fitness manufacturer (the only name they own and produce is Sole). Sole started out in the Commercial hotel market, making treadmills and ellipticals for in-room fitness for hotels like Omni and Hilton.
They then moved into selling their equipment direct to the home market and benefitted greatly from the direct-to-consumer market that the Internet offered.
They’ve since branched out into bikes and rowers.
What does that mean to you? Well, maybe not much. Then again, it’s nice to know that they have experience in the commercial market making commercial-tough machines.
Nordictrack Elliptical vs Sole – Consoles and Entertainment
While there are a range of different consoles, in general, Nordictrack outdoes Sole when it comes to console entertainment.
You can find Nordictrack elliptical trainers with everything from full-color consoles to touch-screen web browsers to tablet holders to one-touch incline/resistance buttons and more.
And these consoles also come iFit-ready (more on iFit below), which Sole ellipticals don’t have. They also tend to have a lot more built-in workouts than Sole trainers.
Sole elliptical consoles by comparison are a little…..dull. They give you the basic feedback stats that you need – and they are backlit so they’re easy to read.
But they don’t really pop out. They do however have iPod docks, fans and several built-in workouts included. And they’re well laid out.
But overall, Nordictrack consoles just give you more ways to entertain yourself while working out.
Nordictrack Elliptical vs Sole – Design
This is a bit of a mixed bag as each brand has its benefits. Sole tends to stick with one design – the front drive elliptical trainer.
Nordictrack gives you more options – from front drive to rear drive to center drive and even folding ellipticals. You get a lot more choices.
Both brands give you medium to heavy flywheels in their machines (a heavier flywheel helps to give you a more stable and smooth-feeling machines). They both also give you adjustable pedals – for a more comfortable fit.
One thing that makes Sole popular is that all of their ellipticals are built with a two degree inward angle slope that they claim puts your body in a more neutral alignment. This can help reduce stress and strain especially over long workouts.
I’ve tried many different models of both Nordictrack and Sole trainers over the years. And I will say that Sole trainers do feel extremely comfortable.
But do they feel more comfortable than a Nordictrack? I really can’t feel the difference – although maybe I would if I did 1 – 2 hour long workouts every day, who knows.
So which is better in the Nordictrack elliptical vs Sole design debate? Well, Nordictrack gives you a lot more choices. And if you really prefer a center drive or rear-drive machine, Nordictrack is your brand.
But Sole does have the inner angle design that many people find comfortable as well. So it’s kind of a draw here.
Nordictrack Elliptical vs Sole – Stride
Stride is the furthest distance between the elliptical pedals. A longer stride helps you to more fully work your leg muscles and get a more comfortable workout overall. Many people prefer an 18 – 20 inch stride.
The majority of Sole elliptical trainers come with a 20 inch stride. The longer 20 inch stride is excellent and was one of the features that really set Sole elliptical trainers apart – but that was 5 – 7 years ago.
And many brands, including Nordictrack, now offer an 18 – 20 inch stride on their trainers as well. So the advantage Sole used to have is really no longer there.
There are several Nordictrack models however that do give you an advantage in this area. Some ellipticals give you adjustable stride lengths.
For example the Nordictrack ACT 10 model (seen below) gives you an 18 – 22 inch stride that you can adjust in 1/4 inch increments, so you can really drill down to find the most comfortable stride for your body.
And the Nordictrack Freestrider is a brand new type of trainer that gives you a completely adjustable stride of up to 38 inches. This is an incredible advantage since you’re not locked into one set stride. Your body can’t adapt – and you end up burning more calories.
Nordictrack Elliptical vs Sole – Online Tracking
Nordictrack was the first ICON brand to add something called iFit to their trainers.
iFit takes your trainer online and tracks your workouts, graphs them, helps you set new fitness goals and more.
You can also download an unlimited library of new workouts to your elliptical trainer – including some from Jillian Michaels where she coaches you through your workout program through the console speakers.
iFit also lets you run famous trails all over the world – from the streets of Paris to the beaches in Hawaii. And you actually see real landmarks pass you by as you run. This is very cool and can really help take your training to the next level.
The only issue? iFit is a subscription-based service. But starting at $9 a month it’s still pretty affordable and for most people it’s more than worth it.
And iFit is also completely optional. You don’t need iFit to use or run any Nordictrack elliptical – it’s just an add-on option if you want it. You can add it anytime – or never.
Sole didn’t have any online tracking options for years however last year they did add Bluetooth tracking capability to most of their models.
You can track and transfer your workout data from your trainer to your smart device using the free Sole app or other compatible fitness apps.
However this is about all you can do – compared to iFit, it’s a very limited service (then again, it’s also free so…)
Nordictrack Elliptical vs Sole – Information
While this may or may not matter to you, Nordictrack trumps Sole when it comes to information. And as a potential buyer, information is what I want most.
For example, if you look at any Nordictrack elliptical trainer on the Manufacturer’s website here, you’ll find multiple pictures, videos, reviews, specs and pretty much all the information you’d ever want to know about the trainer you’re considering. This makes it easy to make a decision.
Compare this to the Sole Manufacturer website here and you’ll see a big difference. There are very few pictures of the consoles or explanations of exactly what you get with the trainers. You really have to search for it.
And these days, buyers want more. Sole’s lack of information on their site is pretty discouraging for buyers – even if they make a good product.
What’s the bottom line when it comes to the Nordictrack elliptical vs Sole elliptical debate? Well, they both have their strong points.
Sole is really known for focusing on strong, stable construction like heavy flywheels, steel-gauge frames and ergonomic design.
Nordictrack offers these things as well (especially in their “Commercial” and Freestrider models). But they also hit a homerun when it comes to entertainment options and different designs. They also make it easier to buy with a better, more informative website.
Regardless of which brand you choose, remember to take your time, educate yourself and go with a trainer that gets you excited about using it. That way you’re guaranteed to get the best trainer and the most value for your money!
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