Indoor rowing is a unique exercise that allows low-impact, full-body workouts. It gets better when you do it with a reliable machine. So, I thought a ProForm vs NordicTrack rower comparison could help optimise your rowing sessions.
Our list of top rowing machines in Australia shows that you have several options if you’re after the best.
Admittedly, ProForm and NordicTrack are among the most popular.
It’s not surprising, considering both brands produce reliable fitness equipment with modern features.
To answer which of them is a better brand, let’s identify their points of similarities and differences. That way, you can easily decide which machine maker meets your standards, needs, and budget.
ProForm vs NordicTrack Rower Similarities
It may seem like you’re seeing double when looking at rowing machines from ProForm and NordicTrack.
After all, these are sister brands from the same company, ICON Fitness. So, in a way, their fitness machines are not competing products.
Still, on the consumers’ end, their comparison is quite essential since any exercise machine is an investment that should match our individual fitness needs.
Let’s identify the similarities these brands share first.
1. iFit Compatibility
iFit is ICON Fitness’ workout streaming app compatible with its machines, like those from ProForm and NordicTrack.
Purchasing an indoor rower from either brand includes a free 30-day iFit trial, allowing you to test and experience the app before signing up for a full subscription.
You can also opt for an individual or family iFit membership based on your workout needs and budget.
However, you might be asking, is iFit for indoor rowing worth it? It is a good add-on investment, in my opinion.
One reason is that most ProForm and NordicTrack rowing machines lack built-in workout programs.
Rowing back and forth can quickly become monotonous and less challenging for continuous fitness progress. Syncing to the iFit app optimises the HD screen of your indoor rower.
More importantly, it lets you access the app’s extensive and continuously growing workout library. The app also activates the auto-adjustment functions of your indoor rower, so you can focus on rowing while the machine takes care of its settings.
One thing I liked the most about iFit is its Google Map technology that lets you design your scenic rowing route anywhere in the world.
Best of all, the iFit app is not limited to indoor rowing workouts. You can also access its other programs for strength training, yoga, running, and more for your off-rower days.
Check out this article on the new iFit+ package to learn more about the app and its latest offers.
2. Oversized Seat Rails and Pedals
First-time users would often complain about discomfort after their rowing workout.
While this is common if you’re still mastering the proper rowing form, you can avoid rowing-related body aches with a well-made machine. In this aspect, there is no ProForm vs NordicTrack rower contest.
Both brands did their assignment when it comes to incorporating features for maximum comfort.
Their rowing machine handles have a soft grip, so you can row for longer minus the dreaded blisters. The pedals with straps are also extra-large to accommodate varying foot or shoe sizes.
I find their oversized steel rails safe and stable, too. These rails make every glide smooth and realistic.
Indoor rowers from either brand are beginner-friendly for sure. They feel solid for long workouts yet comfortable for those still learning the ropes.
3. Adjustable Magnetic Resistance
There are several types of indoor rowing machines. However, the most adaptable to any user would have to be the magnetic rower type.
It is precise, often reasonably priced, and more compact than other kinds of indoor rowers. It is also the quietest.
Good thing most ProForm and NordicTrack rowers have this resistance type. All their magnetic rowers also have 24 to 26 digital resistance levels.
That means any of their rowing machines covers most fitness capacities and user types.
4. Weight Capacity
Another similar feature that the sister brands share is their rowing machine weight capacities.
Currently, they have models that can support up to 115 kg. It’s a decent load limit that should suit small to medium-built users.
However, if you are tall or heavy-set, you might need a machine with a higher weight capacity than this.
Our article on rowing machine weight limits has a few recommended high-capacity models that can support up to 200 kg.
5. Warranty and Return Policy
When assessing the quality of ProForm vs NordicTrack rowers, we should check their warranties.
The good news is these brands equally and strongly believe in their products as both offer the same warranty coverages.
Specifically, their indoor rowing machines have 10 years on frame, 2 years on parts, and 1 year on labour. Both brands also implement the same return policy conditions and processes.
Remember that warranty and return policies may change over time, however. So, check the brand websites and read the updated ones before buying.
ProForm vs NordicTrack Rower Differences
ProForm and NordicTrack rowers have several features in common.
They also have unique qualities, which I believe will be your deciding factor when choosing between these brands.
Here are their key differences.
1. Space-Saving Design
Indoor rowing machines are generally heavy and bulky. Their long seat rails can take up space, and, in most cases, these rowers require a dedicated area at home.
So, before buying, measure your workout spot and take note of the rowing machine’s dimensions.
Fitness equipment producers apply various strategies to make rowers as space-efficient as possible.
For instance, the footprint of ProForm rowing machines is a bit larger than their NordicTrack counterparts. However, they are also foldable and noticeably lighter.
These two qualities are excellent if you are looking for indoor rowers that fit your apartment.
On the other hand, NordicTrack rowers are heavier and non-foldable but more compact. These make them good options for tiny home gyms.
Touchscreens are another vital ProForm vs NordicTrack rower difference.
While both brands have models with screens, NordicTrack typically has them in more immersive and larger sizes.
In addition, the brand’s screen has a convenient tilt-and-pivot feature, allowing you to swivel the monitor from side to side or up and down.
I like this function a lot, especially when doing off-rower iFit workouts. It lets me use the same HD screen, making my rowing machine multipurpose.
ProForm touchscreens are good, too. Their rowing machine models typically have a 10-inch display, and you can adjust the console angle for a better view.
The choice, however, is up to your preference.
Also, note that while a NordicTrack rower with a 22-inch touchscreen display is impressive, the extra width from the monitor can take up space.
Price range or cost is perhaps the most crucial and obvious point of difference when comparing ProForm vs NordicTrack rowers.
Specifically, ProForm rowing machines are your more affordable options.
The brand’s models usually fall under the budget to mid-range category.
On the other hand, NordicTrack rowing machines are usually two to three times the cost of their ProForm counterparts.
Their models cover the mid-range to high-end category.
Of course, your choice will largely depend on your budget limit. You also have a potentially long-term fitness app subscription to think about.
Whichever you choose, select a machine with balanced features that meet your fitness needs.
Our article on rowing machine price points has more details and suggestions.
ProForm vs NordicTrack Rower: Which One Should You Buy?
After comparing these rowing machine brands, we see that both have pros and cons. Ultimately, your training needs and preferences will dictate which rower to get.
To make decision-making a bit easier, here’s a checklist you can refer to.
Choose a ProForm rower if you:
- prefer well-built but budget-friendly cardio machines
- are on a beginner or intermediate fitness level
- like light and foldable rowing machines to save space
- want to balance your upfront cost with a full app subscription
- do not mind smaller screens or lower weight limits
Choose a NordicTrack rower if you:
- are willing to spend on more expensive cardio machines
- are on an intermediate or experienced fitness level
- are looking for stable but compact indoor rowers
- need heavy-duty machines with top-of-the-line features
- prefer larger tilt-and-pivot screens
Which One is the Winner – ProForm vs NordicTrack Rower
It’s still hard to tell who wins this ProForm vs NordicTrack rower face-off.
After all, both are reputable brands that make highly reliable fitness equipment.
Their indoor rowing machine models promise effective full-body workouts thanks to their iFit compatibility, comfortable pedals and rails, and adjustable resistance.
So, the best rowing machine choice boils down to how big your workout area is and how much you are willing to spend.
If a tight space and budget is your primary concern, a ProForm rower is your best match. Consider getting a NordicTrack unit if you are after a heavy-duty and highly advanced machine.
Finally, I highly suggest giving machines from either brand a test drive to see which is the most comfortable for your daily workout sessions.
Questions About Rowing Machines
1. Which is better: NordicTrack RW900 or ProForm Pro R10?
Choosing between NordicTrack RW900 and ProForm Pro R10 is difficult as they share several things in common. However, if you want maximum iFit experience, I think the 22-inch screen of the RW900 can give you that. On the other hand, the foldable Pro R10 is excellent for any space, particularly tight apartments. Our in-depth NordicTrack RW900 vs ProForm Pro R10 review has more details.
2. Should seniors use a rowing machine?
The full-body workouts an indoor rower can provide are excellent for seniors. These can strengthen their muscles and bones and help them stay at a healthy weight. Moreover, the back-and-forth rowing motion keeps them physically active without hurting their joints.
3. Can indoor rowing make your legs or shoulders bulky?
An indoor rowing session recruits over 80% of your muscles. However, this exercise cannot give you bulky legs or shoulders. That’s because building muscles is an intentional fitness outcome, and proper exercise and diet are necessary to gain considerable bulk.
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