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NordicTrack FS5i Review

Quick Summary

Feel like you’re floating!

Distinguished by maximum 38″ strides that are very low impact, NordicTrack FreeStride Trainers are gentle on your body yet deliver powerful workouts.

Each FreeStride Trainer can serve as three types of fitness machines: an elliptical trainer, a treadmill and a stair climber.

The FS5i in this review is the lowest-priced option and an excellent value.

Get the details from our complete review of the NordicTrack FS5i below.


Model NordicTrack FS5i

Our custom rating considers all of the elliptical's features, specs, warranties, and 100's of user & expert reviews, to save you time!

List Price

Suggested retail price, typically higher than the price you'll pay with our recommended retailers.

Best Price

Since prices change daily, this link goes to our preferred retailer for the best price we've found.


Resistance is what determines calories burned per stride. The more levels, the more precisely you can control the difficulty.

22 Levels
Resistance Type

The type of resistance affects the performance of your elliptical. Magnetic and Eddy-Current are the most common types.

Single touch incline or resistance
Stride Length

Stride Length is important for comfort and smooth strides. A stride length of 18-21 inches is ideal for most heights (5'3 - 6'7).

0" - 38"

Elliptical pedals can be cushioned and adjustable for maximum comfort and minimum impact on joints for injury prevention.

Adjustable & Oversized

Some elliptical trainers can be set at an incline to increase difficulty and burn more calories.

0-10 degrees

The flywheel controls the smoothness and resistance of your workout. In general, the higher the better.

16 lbs.

Elliptical Programs allow you to complete a workout with changing speeds and inclines, without changing anything manually.

User Profiles

For each profile the elliptical allows, you can create a custom user account with saved programs and goal settings.

1 User
Heart Rate

Heart Rate programs allow you to track how many times your heart is beating per minute (bpm), and some control the workout for you.


Elliptical Display refers to the screen you'll look at to monitor workouts. LED and LCD displays are similar to TV screens.

7" Backlit Display
Max. Weight

Max User Weight is the amount of weight, in pounds (lbs), that it can safely support, which can represent durability.

350 lbs

Dimensions are included to help you figure out if this elliptical will fit properly (Length x Width x Height and Height x Depth).

68.4" x 28.5" x 62"
Upper Body

Most ellipticals have handles to hold while you're working out that provide an upper body workout.

Accessory Tray

Some ellipticals include an accessory tray for holding items such as water bottles, wallets, keys, or MP3 players like iPods.


Ellipticals that include a sound system allow you to listen to your MP3 player/iPod through built-in speakers (without headphones).

Cooling Fans

Cooling Fans are designed to help keep you cool during an intense workout on your elliptical.


Some ellipticals are designed to conserve space by folding up. This is a convenient option, but some features might be reduced.

Quick Controls

Quick Controls allow you to select speed, incline and even workout programs with the touch of a button (usually on the handles).


The warranty is an important part of your investment. The longer the warranty, the longer you can get free/discounted repairs.

Frame: Lifetime
Parts: 5 Years
Labor: 2 Year

Rating: 90.0%

Our Rating

Rating: 90.0/100. The NordicTrack FS5i is a center drive elliptical trainer and more. This dynamic fitness machine lets you control its stride length for a perfect fit and a wide variety of workout possibilities. Keep the stride short for a stair climbing effect, go a bit longer for a more traditional elliptical workout, or stretch out with your longest stride to use the FS5i as a treadmill. Excellent ergonomics ensure that each workout is gentle on your joints, so you can exercise for longer sessions and avoid the risk of impact-related injury. The digital perks are appealing too; for one, the FS5i is enabled for iFit.

This FreeStride Trainer carries a fantastic warranty considering the $1299 sale price: parts are covered for five years and the service agreement is for two years. Any potential drawbacks? Check out these lists with many pros and a few cons…


  • Assembly is quick and easy
  • 38″ adjustable stride for three-in-one effect
  • “Floating on air” design with belts instead of rails
  • Virtually silent operation
  • Audio system (iPod-compatible port, speakers)
  • 32 workouts
  • Enabled for iFit
  • 7″ backlit screen
  • Center drive design helps trainees feel stable
  • Transport wheels


  • Lighter flywheel (16 pounds)
  • Does not have an incline for extra resistance

FreeStride Trainer Alternatives

Other NordicTrack FreeStride Trainers cost more because they have upgrades such as heavier flywheels, inclines and touch screens with web browsers. These models are the FS7i and FS9i.


The NordicTrack FreeStride FS5i is a top elliptical alternative for lighter duty training. Engineered for comfortable exercise, it supports very low impact motion and lets anyone take very smooth and natural-feeling strides. Use it as an elliptical, a stair stepper or a treadmill! The maximum stride is 38″ whereas most elliptical machines top out at 18″ to 22″.

Important specs include a 16-pound flywheel and 22 resistance levels. Data are shown on a large backlit screen. Workout programming includes 32 preloaded apps and the option to download unlimited courses with an iFit membership.

Workout Programs

The NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS5i is loaded with 32 workout programs. Each program was designed by a certified personal trainer to help you lose weight, improve your athletic performance and build endurance. Using these preset workouts is a great way to familiarize yourself with the FS5i’s fantastic potential, and the programs take the guesswork out of planning efficient workout routines.

For unlimited workout variety the FS5i is iFit-enabled. This means that your own tablet computer can serve as an iFit monitor. Set your tablet on the trainer’s secure eye-level holder and take your fitness machine online and around the world! As an iFit member you can download a customized personal training workout every day, choose from hundreds of HD video workouts, download an infinite variety of Google Maps™ workouts and more. Google Maps™ workouts are the most interactive. They can simulate any real-world route: As you train your tablet computer will show an interactive Google Street View.

FreeStride Trainer Features

FreeStride trainers use a center drive elliptical design. This makes it easy to stay balanced, promotes good posture and also helps keep the machine’s footprint small.

The highlight of course is the 38″ maximum stride. The wide range of possible stride lengths lets the machine serve as a stairstepper, an elliptical and a treadmill — all in one workout! The FS5i operates remarkably smoothly too; a “floating on air” sensation results from NordicTrack’s use of belts in place of the metal rails used on most elliptical trainers.

The control center is a 7″ LED with backlighting. The FS5i console also has a workout fan and an iPod-compatible port and speakers.

Warranty & Guarantee

NordicTrack FS5i warranty includes:

– Frame: Lifetime

– Parts: 5 Years

– Labor: 2 Years

NordicTrack has a 30-day money back guarantee on all exercise equipment.


FreeStride Trainers outperform other ellipticals by acting as three fitness machines in one. The FS5i is a good option for people who don’t carry much weight and seek lighter duty training.

Other shoppers would prefer the more expensive FreeStride Trainers — the FS7i and FS9i — because they have web-enabled touch screens and offer more resistance thanks to inclines and heavier flywheels.

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