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NordicTrack RW500 Rower Review

Quick Take

The NordicTrack RW500 is a good intermediate level rowing machine that blends the simplicity of the entry-level RW200 rower with the display and interactivity of the top-tier RW900. It’s perfectly well suited for a home gym, if you’re looking for something sturdy that boasts a solid warranty without completely breaking the bank. One of the best features about the RW500 is the 10-inch HD touchscreen tablet included with the rower, as well as the 1-year subscription to iFit interactive training programs that is included with purchase, which streams countless numbers of programs and provide real-time resistance adjustments to the rower. The machine uses a combination of air and magnetic resistance—the latter being necessary for iFit’s real-time resistance adjustments during interactive training sessions.

Pros

10” Tablet Included
Dual Resistance
Easy Folding

Cons

Lower Weight Capacity
Short Labor Warranty

Our Rating

So, the biggest selling point at hand here is the integration of iFit training directly into the modestly priced RW500 rower. Rather than building the screen into the console, the benefit of an included detachable tablet is that you’re now able to take the tablet off of the rower; this allows users to set up and follow other iFit classes for yoga, strength training, and stretching. Running this screen in tandem with a 5-inch backlit LCD display (a monitor for your speed, time, heart rate, resistance and calories burned), you effectively get the best of both worlds here.

 

The smaller console let’s you just row away at your own pace, all while tracking your metrics the way you would on a more entry-level rower, whereas the larger screen lets you enjoy the added push or motivation from instructor-led courses. In following these courses, your magnetic resistance is controlled by the course instructors. As an added perk, the machine has 30 built-in training programs that are separate from the iFit catalog. This is rare these days, as brands often trade out built-in programming when streaming services are available. If you decide that you don’t want to spend money on continuing with iFit after your first year, you’ll still have a good selection of training programs to choose from with the RW500 rower.

 

The NordicTrack RW500 rower is equipped with 26 digital resistance levels, which is a good overall range compared to some air resistance rowers without adjustability. The transitions between the levels are smooth and quiet thanks to the inertia-enhanced flywheel with SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance—a system more commonly seen in indoor cycles. Layered on top of this, the air resistance element will increase and decrease based on intensity/stroke speed. For those in larger households, or with home gyms that aren’t too far from bedrooms, early morning workout sounds won’t be an issue for the rest of your household. If you’re working in a space where sound is not an issue, instructor led workouts (as well as your favorite workout music) are broadcast via a pair of 2” digitally amplified speakers.

 

In addition, the extra features to consider:

  • The console is adjustable to suit your size and view.
  • Adjustable nylon straps are a good safety feature to keep you secure as you increase in speed and resistance.  
  • Oversized pedals, keep you comfortable in your positions as you move around and increase the intensity of your workout.
  • Molded seat; ergonomically designed to keep you sitting comfortably and properly.

As for the footprint, the NordicTrack RW500 doesn’t take up much space, as it is specifically designed for home use, with the dimensions of  86.5” L x 22.0” W x 42.8”. The space saving feature means it can be folded up and transported on front mounted wheels to a corner if needed.

The warranty is decent. 10 years on frame, three years on parts and one year on labor. The length of the warranty shows that Nordictrack believes in the quality of the product. It would be nice to see a two-year warranty on labor, but one year seems to be the standard for NordicTrack equipment.

 

Positives

  • 10” HD touchscreen tablet included: Stream iFit workouts directly to the included tablet, rather than having to use your own tablet or iPad.
  • 5” backlit display: Monitor your progress on your speed, calories burned, time, heart rate resistance and distance.
  • Two 2” digitally amplified speakers: Listen through enhanced sound to your favorite instructor or music.
  • 26 levels of resistance: 26 levels of resistance is a good start for beginners and intermediate users. There are two ways to adjust resistance: digital SMR Silent Magnetic Resistance or adjust air flow to add more intensity to your workout.
  • One year NordicTrack iFit membership; iFit wireless technology is built in.
  • 30 built in workouts: If you decide not to continue the subscription to iFit or you want to go straight to it, you have access to 30 preset programs that come with the RW500.
  • Oversized pedals: Makes for a more comfortable workout.
  • Adjustable foot straps: Secure your feet in place, as you increase your speed and intensity.
  • Warranty: Reasonable warranty; it covers for a long period.
  • Space-saver design: After use, it folds up and is easy to store with a relatively small footprint.  

 

Negatives

  • 250 lbs. user capacity: The norm is generally 300 lbs or more.
  • Short labor warranty: Labor is only covered for the first year of ownership.

 

Our Conclusion

The RW500 is a great rower for home use and is best suited for beginner and intermediate rowers alike. The 10” tablet, syncs with iFit app to deliver a myriad of expert created instructor videos—enough that you probably will never try them all. But you don’t have to use the app to access the 30 programs that come built in with the rower. The silent magnetic resistance system makes sure it’s quiet, perfect for early morning or late night workouts that won’t disturb the rest of your household. And once you’re finished, you can fold it up and tuck it away in a corner. Overall, it’s a good value purchase for those who want access to interactive training without stepping up to the big touchscreen console seen on the RW900.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How large is the RW500 Rower?
A: The NordicTrack RW500 is 86.5" L x 22.0" W x 42.8" H.
Q: Does the NordicTrack RW500 Rower fold?
A: The RW500 folds and has transport wheels.

Rating: 80%

Resistance Type

Air

Resistance Level

26

Programs

30

Bluetooth

Yes

Dimensions (inches)

86.5" L x 22.0" W x 42.8" H

Folding

Yes

Maximum User Weight Capacity

250 lbs

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