Which Is the Best Choice For You?
Trying to decide between a Nordictrack vs Bowflex Elliptical?
Wondering which brand is the best choice for you?
Great question. These are two of the most awarded and well-constructed brands on the market.
Each one has a range of starter to commercial grade ellipticals for all budgets.
Plus each brand has a few of their own uniquely designed elliptical-style machines that give you more than a traditional crosstrainer.
There are some key differences between them however.
And depending on your situation, you’ll probably find yourself leaning towards one brand over the other.
So how do you choose?
This post will help you compare the Nordictrack elliptical vs Bowflex – so you can find the best crosstrainer for you.
Nordictrack Elliptical vs Bowflex – The Big Picture
Overall these two brands are both giants in the world of fitness equipment. They are two of the largest fitness manufacturers in the world.
Nordictrack is manufactured and backed by ICON Health and Fitness. They also own names like Proform, Freemotion, Gold’s Gym, Reebok (fitness equipment), Healthrider and more.
Bowflex is no slouch either. They own and manufacture top fitness equipment names like Bowflex, Schwinn and Nautilus.
Both Nordictrack and Bowflex are always coming out with new types of equipment, new technology and different fitness offers. This is in stark contrast to a lot of brands that tend to stay stagnant and only come out with new models every 3-5 years. So these are basically two o the strongest brands on the market right now.
Nordictrack vs Bowflex Elliptical – Design Differences
Both brands have a number of different elliptical trainer designs for you to choose from. Let’s start with Nordictrack.
Nordictrack offers both front-drive, rear-drive and even center-drive elliptical trainers.
Front drive trainers are where the larger flywheel is placed in front of the pedals. Rear-drive ellipticals have the larger flywheel behind the pedals.
And Center drive trainers place two smaller flywheels on either side of the pedals.
There isn’t really a consensus as to which is best. Some people prefer a front drive trainer as they can feel a little more stable (since the large flywheel in front helps to anchor the machine) and they give you a slight climbing motion.
Some people like a rear-drive trainer as they can give you more of a flat running path. And they can be a bit easier to move around.
And some people love the center drive design as it’s more compact than the other two designs and tends to have a lower step-on height (for safety concerns).
This is a very cool new type of elliptical trainer.
Instead of being locked into a fixed stride you get a completely adaptable stride of up to 32 inches! (Regular elliptical strides range from 18 – 22 inches).
So you can do short up-and-down-strides, longer jogging motions or even longer hurdling-type strides. This really increases the ways you can crosstrain.
It also ensures that you (or anyone in your family) can find a stride that feels more comfortable for them. There are currently 3 different models the FS5i, FS7i and FS9i.
Another cool thing you can find in the Nordictrack lineup are folding ellipticals. The Nordictrack SE7i and SE9i both fold up with wheels on the bottom for easy movement and storage. This is great for condos or apartments.
Bowflex also gives you a number of different elliptical designs – however things are a bit different in the Bowflex lineup.
The main Bowflex elliptical trainers – the BXE116 and BXE216 are front-drive elliptical trainers with ultra-heavy flywheels and double-roller-track designs for added stability.
The main benefit to these machines is that they are massive, heavy and very stable. You get extra long 22 inch strides and even adjustable footpedals so you can choose the best toe-heel angle for you.
Unfotunately there are no rear-drive or center drive designs available with Bowflex. There are also no folding models available.
Bowflex also offers the Lateral X ellipticals .
These are enhanced elliptical trainers that give you side-to-side lateral motion as well as the standard elliptical forward and back motion. This is very cool and you can see a bit of the motion here:
The major benefit here is that you get a better, richer crosstraining experience since the Lateral X more closely mimics the way you move in every day life.
According to Bowflex tests, you can also burn 39% more calories than a standard elliptical workout (by following the built-in Bowflex HIIT workouts).
There are 2 different Lateral X ellipticals – the LX3 and LX5. And like the regular Bowflex elliptical trainers these are front drive designs. For more on the Bowflex Lateral X ellipticals see this post.
Finally Bowflex also makes the famous MAX Trainer. This is an elliptical-stair climber hybrid. Basically you have a lower body stair-climbing motion with upper-body elliptical arms.
The benefit of this is that you can burn calories up to 2.5 times faster. If you’re looking for one of the best machines to lose weight fast, the Max Trainer is it.
Another benefit is that the Max Trainer takes up about half the floor space of a regular elliptical trainer – making it a great choice for condos or apartments.
There are 4 different Max Trainer models – ranging from the simple, ultra-affordable M3 to the mid-range, higher-end M6 to the premium M8 and Max Total. You can compare all 4 Max Trainer models here.
Bottom line whem comparing Bowflex vs Nordictrack elliptical options?
While Bowflex doesn’t have the extra-large range of standard elliptical trainers that you get with Nordictrack, they do offer a few more elliptical-hybrid type machines which have some very unique characteristics like improved crosstraining and better calorie-burning.
Nordictrack Elliptical vs Bowflex – Consoles
The console is important since it’s what you’ll be looking at for the majority of your workout. Both brands have elliptical consoles that give you all the essential feedback that you need.
Both brands also give you things like tablet holders – so you can attach your tablet and surf the web or watch your favorite shows as you workout.
You’ll also find things like phone ports and built-in speakers. So you can plug in your phone or other mp3 device and play your favorite workout music through the console speakers.
However there are some general differences you should know.
Bowflex elliptical consoles are backlit and easy to read. For example, here’s the console on the Bowflex BXE 216 elliptical:
And here’s the Max Trainer M8 Console below. As you can see they are bright, easy to read with easy-to-use quick touch buttons and programs.
Some of the Nordictrack’s starter elliptical trainers also come with dual-color consoles that are bright and backlit as you’ll see below.
However many of Nordictrack’s mid-to-high end elliptical trainers are now offering you full-color, touch-screen, HD displays:
This is really impressive as you can easily see your workout stats with a swipe of your finger.
It also makes iFit Coach world scenery much more enjoyable to watch. What is iFit?
A Word on iFit Coach:
iFit Coach is a technology that is found on all Nordictrack elliptical trainers and it’s worth a mention here. Basically iFit takes your elliptical online and from there you can do all sorts of cool things.
iFit will track your workouts over time and show you how far you’ve come. You can also program calorie or activity goals into it and iFit will make adjustments in your workouts to meet these goals for you.
You can track everything from your workouts to daily activity and even your sleep patterns.
The coolest thing about iFit however are the world workouts. You can run anywhere in the world – from Paris to Hawaii and watch the scenery pass you by in the console screen.
You can also watch guided workouts where a personal trainer takes you all over the world to do specific workouts.
You can do HIIT training in the Swiss Alps or a running workout in Santorini. You can run the Boston Marathon route or take a walking tour of Florence.
There are over 12,0000 HD video workouts to try with iFit coach – so you’ll never run out of things to do. This alone makes Nordictrack elliptical trainers very popular.
The only downside?
iFit is a subscription-based service. There is a small monthly fee. However, if you get a Nordictrack elliptical through the Manufacturer, you can often get a Free 1 year membership to iFit Coach included – which is fantastic.
So you can try iFit out for a full year on your elliptical and see if it’s right for you.
Bowflex does not have iFit Coach. However they do have Bluetooth tracking on most of their machines.
So you can track and sync your workouts with popular fitness apps. Or use the Bowflex App to track your workouts. Plus, unlike iFit, the Bowflex App is free to use.
So there is a pretty decent tracking option included with Bowflex that you can use to reach your fitness goals.
Bowflex also recently introduced something called Max Intelligence on their Max Trainers (also called Bowfle JRNY) – which in some ways is similar to iFit Coach. It is a streaming online subscription service that sends you tailor-made workouts to your machine.
You can also travel the world and explore different famous world trails – or stream trainer-led workouts to your console or tablet.
What’s the bottom line when it comes to the Nordictrack elliptical vs Bowflex? Well, they both have benefits.
Nordictrack has a larger range of ellipticals in various designs that you don’t get with Bowflex. They also have unique machines like the Freestrider that gives you the adaptable stride or the Space Saver ellipticals that fold up.
Plus most Nordictrack ellipticals have the iFit Coach option. This can turn a boring elliptical into your own personal fitness studio as you run trails all over the world.
Bowflex has a limited number of standard ellipticals. However these are strong and extremely well-built with a double-wheel track design for added stability.
Bowflex also has the lateral ellipticals which add a new dimension to your crosstraining. And the Max Trainer machines which give you ultra-fast calorie burning and take up less space than conventional ellipticals.
So as you’ll see it really depends on you and what appeals to you as to which elliptical brand is best.
Regardless of which brand you choose, remember to take your time, read about your options and choose an elliptical that gets you excited about using it. That way you’re guaranteed to get the best trainer and the most value for your money!
Want to learn more? See the links below