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Echelon Vs NordicTrack Rower – The Winner Is…

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choosing between the NordicTrack rowers and the Echelon smart rower

Hi everyone, it’s Petra, and if you’re having trouble choosing between the NordicTrack rowers and the Echelon smart rower, then this article is for you.

Buying a smart rower for your home gym is a big investment. You want to be sure that you are getting the perfect rowing machine, not a big clothes hanger!

At first glance, the Echelon S and the NordicTrack rowers seem the same (compare NordicTrack Rower vs Concept 2 ) , and to be honest, many of the features are pretty much identical. However, there are a few major differences that you should know before you buy.

Echelon or NordicTrack? Let’s get right down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?

Comparison Chart – Echelon Vs NordicTrack Rowers

Before we go into the details, here’s a comparison chart to quickly give you an idea about how these models compare. In a glance, you’ll know the floor space each model requires, their weight capacity, resistance type, and more.

Features Echelon NordicTrack RW600 NordicTrack RW700 NordicTrack RW900
Resistance Type Magnetic Resistance Magnetic and Air Resistance Magnetic and Air Resistance Magnetic and Air Resistance
Bluetooth-Enabled Yes Yes Yes Yes
Overall Dimensions 49.5 x 25 x 17 inches 87.02 x 22 x 47.24 inches 87.0 x 22.0 x 47 inches  ‎86.5 x 22 x 50.4 inches
Stored Dimensions 2.5′ x 4.0′ 4’ x 2 ‘ x 4’ high 4’ x 2 ‘ x 4’ high 4’ x 2 ‘ x 4’ high
Maximum User Weight Capacity 300 Pounds 250 Pounds 250 Pounds 250 Pounds
Machine Weight 123 Pounds 117 Pounds 117 Pounds 130.6 Pounds
Echelon
Resistance Type Magnetic Resistance
Bluetooth-Enabled Yes
Overall Dimensions 49.5 x 25 x 17 inches
Stored Dimensions 2.5′ x 4.0′
Maximum User Weight Capacity 300 Pounds
Machine Weight 123 Pounds
NordicTrack RW600
Resistance Type Magnetic and Air Resistance
Bluetooth-Enabled Yes
Overall Dimensions 87.02 x 22 x 47.24 inches
Stored Dimensions 4’ x 2 ‘ x 4’ high
Maximum User Weight Capacity 250 Pounds
Machine Weight 117 Pounds
NordicTrack RW700
Resistance Type Magnetic and Air Resistance
Bluetooth-Enabled Yes
Overall Dimensions 87.0 x 22.0 x 47 inches
Stored Dimensions 4’ x 2 ‘ x 4’ high
Maximum User Weight Capacity 250 Pounds
Machine Weight 117 Pounds
NordicTrack RW900
Resistance Type Magnetic and Air Resistance
Bluetooth-Enabled Yes
Overall Dimensions ‎86.5 x 22 x 50.4 inches
Stored Dimensions 4’ x 2 ‘ x 4’ high
Maximum User Weight Capacity 250 Pounds
Machine Weight 130.6 Pounds

NordicTrack Rowing Machines

First, let me break down the differences between the three models of rowing machines that are made by NordicTrack.

There are the RW600, RW700, and the RW900. All these rowing machines by NordicTrack have similar features, with the main difference being the size of the monitor.

Nordictrack RW900 rower side view

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Features Common to RW600, RW700, and RW900

The features that these three machines share include:

  • They are Bluetooth-enabled, which means you can connect your own headphones, fitness devices, fitness watches, and heart rate monitors.
  • All NordicTrack rowing machines use the iFit app. If you’ve never used iFit (read more on iFit Rowing Machine ), you’ll be surprised at just how much it has to offer! There are workouts designed for rowing, yoga, weight lifting, bike riding, treadmills, you name it! This means that if you have other pieces of gym equipment, like a treadmill, you can use the iFit membership plan for other devices as well.
  • The workouts include on-the-water rowing instructors, classroom or studio type of trainers, and more. There are daily workouts and live classes, and you can even choose from the pre-programmed workouts that have already been uploaded. (Compare Nordictrack workouts with Hydrow workouts here)
  • WiFi-compatible
  • 26 levels of silent magnetic resistance (SMR) and 10 manual resistance controls for air resistance
  • Adjustable foot pedals
  • An ergonomically designed seat and handle
  • Folds for easy storage
  • An impressive warranty

You’ll enjoy all these features whether you’re buying the range-topping model or the mid-range RW700.

NordicTrack RW700 Rower Features

Difference Between RW600, RW700, and RW900

As mentioned earlier, all the NordicTrack models differ mainly in the size of their displays.

The RW600 has a 10-inch HD touchscreen, the RW700 uses a 14-inch monitor, and the top-of-the-line RW900 boasts of a huge 22-inch HD screen.

NordicTrack RW600 Features

Besides the monitor size, the upgraded RW900 now also packs all the tech innovations made by NordicTrack, including the premium 30W sound system, improved slide, 360-deg tilt-and-pivot monitor, and inertia-enhanced flywheel. With all these new features, the RW900 is also a few pounds heavier than either RW600 or RW700.  Side Note:  You might also like to read my other article Aviron vs NordicTrack Rower

Is iFit Owned by NordicTrack?

Yes, it is! It means one thing. An iFit membership plan and a NordicTrack rowing machine are a perfect match!

My local gym uses NordicTrack machines, and they give you a membership to iFit as part of the gym membership.

Nordictrack rower with iFit Membership

I will say that iFit is a pretty impressive app. You can sign up 5 profiles for the one low price and enjoy all kinds of workouts, even if you aren’t at the gym or on your rowing machine.

I have the app on my phone, and I use it when I go hiking or do strength training. They even have yoga and other programs designed to help you sleep or wake up!

iFit has so many workouts I don’t think I’ve seen all the categories, let alone the thousands of workouts that are there.

This is one membership that you won’t regret, but the best thing of all is that NordicTrack gives you a free trial period so if, for any reason, you don’t like iFit, you aren’t out any cash.

Can I Use the Nordictrack Rower Without iFit?

Yes, you can.

The good news here is that if you don’t want to use the iFit membership, the rower doesn’t become a giant paperweight.

All three models of the NordicTrack rower will work perfectly without iFit. There are 50 pre-programmed workouts on the machine that you can use for free.

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These workouts are OK, but you miss out on so much when you don’t use iFit.

So while you can use the rower without iFit, the question to ask is, “Why would you?”

When you use the iFit subscription, the app will control the resistance automatically for you. Of course, you can change it yourself manually, but once you’ve tried iFit, you won’t want to go back to regular workouts ever again.

I love all the different workouts on this app! You can use it to go hiking, and you can even check out the nutrition category ( read more on rowers nutrition ) to help you create meal plans for weight loss.

That’s a whole lot of value in one little app. Don’t forget that for one price, you can sign up for 5 membership profiles so everyone in the family can join in the fun of working out.

Echelon Row S Smart RowerEchelon Row S black

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In order to compare apples to apples here, I’m going to review the Echelon Row S smart rower.

When my good friend and next-door neighbor bought an Echelon, I had to go check it out.

At first glance, this looks like a fairly impressive machine. I like the styling and, at first, I thought the Echelon smart rower was an air resistance rower, but it’s not. It just looks like that!

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This rowing machine uses magnetic resistance, so it’s nearly silent.

Unlike NordicTrack, the Echelon rower uses its own workout app, called Echelon Fitpass, which features other programs such as yoga, strength, Pilates, boxing, and much more.

I didn’t spend a lot of time looking through the Fitpass menu, but it didn’t seem to be quite as extensive as the iFit classes.

Features of the Echelon Row S Smart Rower

Let me tell you some of the best things about the Echelon rower:

  • It has a 21.5 inch HD touchscreen that flips 90 degrees so you can do yoga or other workouts and still have an easy view of the monitor
  • The Echelon smart rower has 32 levels of magnetic resistance
  • There are streaming classes and live classes but no on-the-water classes
  • While most rowing machines have resistance controls on the monitor or on the fan cage, the Echelon smart rower has them located on the handle. It felt awkward controlling it from the handle, and I kept stopping to look at what I was doing, but I suppose with time you could get used to it.
  • The monitor also shows you other data including speed, time spent, distance, and calories burned
  • The oversized steel seat rail feels sturdy
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled
  • Built-in front facing speakers if you don’t want to use headphones

I must say that when I tried to adjust the resistance, it just didn’t feel natural to me. While I’m sure that Echelon tried to place the resistance controls in an area they thought was easy to reach (and they are right there near the center of the handle), it just didn’t feel comfortable to me.

The overall rowing experience was OK. I like the silent magnetic resistance that the Echelon smart rower features and the resistance levels seemed to be acceptable.

I watched my friend fold the Echelon smart rower, which was easy. I like that it had a handle underneath that kind of pops out so you can just push on it and roll it away if you wanted to.

Once I returned home, I had to go check out some of the details regarding the Echelon smart rower.

The membership is $40 a month, which seems a bit high considering that they don’t have anywhere near the number or variety of workouts that iFit offers.

I also saw that the warranty was a limited 12-month warranty. For a premium machine, they should at least match the 10-year frame, 2-year parts, and 1-year of labor warranty that NordicTrack offers.

Maybe I’m spoiled, but one year just doesn’t sound like a company that has much confidence in its product.

The overall rowing experience was fine and the Echelon smart rower has a lot going for it, but perhaps the company should work on a few things and release a new and improved model.

Can You Use the Echelon Smart Rower Without the Subscription?

Yes, you can.

The app has a limited number of free workouts, but at least the rowing machine doesn’t become a big, sliding steel chair that can’t be used without it.

The truth is that you can use the iFit app on the Echelon smart rower. While the app won’t be able to control the resistance, you can do that yourself with that not-so-easy to adjust handle.

Echelon does give you a limited time frame where you can try out the app for free, but you might do better to just skip the app altogether unless you love studio classes.

Does Echelon Offer any Other Models?

Yes, Echelon has two rowers. The Echelon smart rower, which I am reviewing here, and there is a more basic rower.

The regular rowing machine from Echelon has no tablet, but it has a tablet holder so you can use your own tablet or smartphone.

The tablet holder is adjustable and, while it won’t fit a 22-inch tablet, you shouldn’t have any problem with a 10-inch tablet.

The regular Echelon rower is the same as the one above, minus the tablet holder.

Does the Echelon App Offer Rowing Classes?

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If you mean studio-type classes, yes, the Echelon smart rower has classes.

What they don’t have is on-the-water workouts. They do offer other workouts like yoga and Zumba, but they don’t have the wide range of classes that iFit offers, such as hiking, jogging, biking, walking, and elliptical workouts.

Which Is Better Echelon or NordicTrack?

I’ve used both machines, and I can say with confidence that the NordicTrack wins this competition hands down!

While I do have more rowing experience with the NordicTrack and using iFit, the fact remains that the Echelon smart rower just isn’t ready for prime time, as they say.

features of Nordictrack rower

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If you are interested in this rower you can read more about Nordictrack Here

The resistance setting on the handle just doesn’t cut it. It’s bulky, it’s awkward, and I really didn’t like it at all.

The rower itself felt OK, but so do many other magnetic resistance rowing machines that cost less and have better features.

Perhaps the only area where the Echelon smart rower has the advantage over the NordicTrack is in the user weight capacity. The Echelon smart rower can support users up to 300 pounds, NordicTrack says 250 pounds is the max.

I’ve seen plenty of big guys use the NordicTrack at the gym. However, they looked like they were more in the 250-300 pound category, but you should always ask the manufacturer first just to be certain.

I’ve used NordicTrack quite a bit during my years at the gym, and it offers a good solid rowing experience, plenty of resistance levels, and the iFit app is really, really good.

NordicTrack won’t take the place of Hydrow or Ergatta, but it has so much more to offer than the Echelon smart rower.

I hope this article has provided you the information you needed before making a decision. Keep rocking and rowing on!

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