If you’re looking for a way to get a great low-impact workout at home, an elliptical machine is a great solution. There are tons of options available to choose from, from barebones models under $300 to machines with bells, whistles and gym-quality durability that cost over $3,000. The right machine for you will depend on how often you intend to use it and what features are most important to you. In this article, we will look at the Nordictrack Audiostrider 990, a mid-range elliptical machine that’s suitable for home use, and we’ll compare it to other elliptical machines to see how it fares. Is the Nordictrack Audiostrider 990 at the top of the heap when it comes to home ellipticals?
What Is the Nordictrack Audiostrider 990?
The Nordictrack Audiostrider 990 has been available for several years now and often ranks near the top of best value rankings in fitness publications. It can fold up to save space in your home and comes packed with a wealth of options and features. This includes an iPod dock, compatibility with the iFit subscription fitness service, and a power-adjustable incline. It lacks a few key features, such as a full-color screen and included adjustable heart rate monitor, but few elliptical machines at this price point have those features. All in all, this is a high-quality, versatile machine that can easily stand up to years of daily use.
The Nordictrack Audiostrider 990 is a versatile machine that should provide a great workout to just about anybody. Its 18-in. stride is unfortunately not adjustable, but it should be enough for all but the tallest workout warriors. Twenty-two levels of resistance will have users of all kinds sweating, but the front-mounted fan will keep you cool the more you pedal. Its oversized adjustable pedals are easy on the feet no matter which level of incline you’re at. The machine can also accommodate a weight of up to 325 lbs.Enter your text here…
The Nordictrack Audiostrider 990 costs around $900 on Amazon.com, which also offers free shipping with purchase.
How It Compares
We picked a few similar elliptical machines available on the market to see how they compare.
- Sole E98
- Bowflex Max Trainer M5
- NordicTrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical
- Nordictrack Audiostrider 990
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Nordictrack Audiostrider 990
The Nordictrack Audiostrider 990 costs around $900 on Amazon, as mentioned above.
With 22 levels of resistance, a power-adjustable incline, an iPod dock, an 18-in. stride length, and oversized, comfortable foot pads, the Nordictrack Audiostrider 990 has all the features you would expect from a solid mid-range elliptical machine. The iFit compatibility is nice, but buyers should keep in mind that the service costs $99 per year and is not included with purchase of this machine. In addition, there is no heart rate monitor included with purchase aside from those in the hand grips.
The Nordictrack Audiostrider 990’s screen is a simple two-tone display that gets the job done but won’t blow anyone away. It’s fine for the price range, but it pales in comparison to the displays on higher-end machines.
The Nordictrack Audiostrider 990 is a well-built machine that’s also surprisingly easy to assemble on your own. Weighing in at a hefty 283 lbs., it can hold users of up to 325 lbs. with no problems. The heavy rear flywheel provides a smooth, sturdy ride that’s also quiet.
Nordictrack offers a lifetime warranty ona the frame, plus two years of coverage on parts and electronics and one year of coverage on labor. It’s a fairly average warranty as far as elliptical machines go.
- Twenty-two resistance levels
- Power-adjustable incline
- Great foot pads
- Easy set up
- Folds up for storage
- Great price
- iFit subscription costs extra
- Two-tone screen
- No included wireless heart rate monitor
Sole E98 Elliptical
Sole earned its credentials selling commercial-grade exercise equipment to hotels and gyms, and their E98 model elliptical trainer is a direct reflection of that history. This high-end machine comes with a premium price tag, but it is also one of the most ergonomically minded machines on the market. Its pedals come with a 20-in. stride length and a slight tilt, reducing strain on the ankles and knees for maximum comfort. At 34 lbs., the flywheel is Sole’s heaviest, resulting in a smooth, quiet ride. It also features Bluetooth connectivity, which allows users to download data to their favorite fitness apps. Unfortunately, users can use fitness apps to download new workout programs, although the E98 does allow them to create a save new programs directly on the machine.
The Sole E98 costs about $2,500 on Amazon, with expert assembly available for about $75 more.
With 20 automated incline levels, an included heart rate monitor strap, Bluetooth connectivity, and an audio jack and included speakers for your MP3 player or phone, this elliptical has a ton of high-end features. It also boasts the ability to create and save new exercise programs from the display, although it only comes loaded with 10 programs to start. The biggest downside to this machine is its fixed 20-in. stride length. Most users will be fine with 20 in,, but at this price, it would be nice to see an adjustable stride length.
The Sole E98’s 10.1-in. display is big and bright, and the adjustable console ensures that you’ll always have the perfect viewing angle. The display also includes a tablet holder so that you can read and watch streaming media on your iPad or other device as you work out.
Rated for a maximum user weight of 400 lbs., the Sole E98 is a sturdy machine. In fact, it’s built for light commercial use, which means it should be able to stand up to years of daily use in your home with no trouble at all.
Sole’s manufacturer’s warranty is one of the best in the elliptical market. Buyers get a lifetime of coverage on the frame with five years of coverage on parts and electronics and two years on labor.
- Ergonomically designed foot pedals
- Massive 34-lb. flywheel
- Bluetooth connectivity
- High price tag
- Can’t download new workout programs
- Fixed 20-in. stride length
Bowflex Max Trainer M5
The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is a mid-range exercise machine from a trusted home fitness brand. Its unique design means it’s not quite an elliptical trainer, but it actually burns calories at a higher rate than traditional ellipticals. Its 16 different resistance levels will provide an intense workout to beginners and seasoned gym rats alike, targeting both the upper and lower body efficiently while remaining low-impact. It’s easily compatible with a smartphone or iPod, and it can save information for up to two different users. In addition, a purchase nets you eight free weeks with Daily Burn, a workout subscription service with over 600 different videos available to stream.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is available on Amazon for around $1,200, with expert assembly available for free. Given that this machine can be difficult to put together, we recommend taking advantage of that offer.
With nine workout programs and 16 levels of resistance, this machine should put any workout warrior through their paces. It burns calories almost twice as fast as a traditional elliptical thanks to its unique motion, which engages the arms while putting the legs through their paces in a hybrid motion that straddles the line between an elliptical and a stair-stepper. With Bluetooth connectivity, two available user profiles, and wireless and contact heart rate monitoring, it’s packed with the kind of features you would expect from a mid-range machine.
The Bowflex Max Trainer M5’s display is not its strong suit; it’s small and limited but gets the job done. Better is the tablet holder attached to the display, which lets you read or watch streaming video as you work out.
At 173 lbs., this is a sturdy, high-quality machine that’s much lighter than many ellipticals in this price range. Bowflex makes high-quality machines that last. The only downside here is that if it should happen to break, chances are that the warranty will be long expired.
Bowflex’s two-year warranty covers the entire machine, but all coverage also expires after that two-year period. Compared with a company like Sole that offers lifetime coverage on the frame, this warranty pales in comparison.
- Great workout
- Excellent added features like Bluetooth and two user profiles
- Free trial subscription to Daily Burn
- Small, mediocre display
- Poor warranty
Nordictrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical
The Nordictrack SpaceSaver SE9i Elliptical is another mid-range home elliptical machine from Nordictrack, albeit slightly more expensive than the Nordictrack Audiostrider 990. Much of that price is reflected in the 7-in. high definition touchscreen display, which tracks stats, features 30 built-in workouts, can access iFit, and can even browse the Internet. It’s a high-end feature that makes this machine a bargain. In addition to the display, the SpaceSaver SE9i has an automated incline, 24 resistance levels and adjustable pedals. Unfortunately, the stride length is fixed at 18 in. with an 18-lb. flywheel, resulting in a ride that might not be as smooth or as challenging as some other machines on this list. If you plan to store your elliptical when you’re not using it, though, this model can easily fold up and be rolled into a closet.
The Nordictrack SpaceSaver SE9i sells for around $1,500 on Amazon, with expert assembly available for a tiny fee of around $7.
This machine’s 30-workout programs should be more than enough for most users, but with an iFit subscription, you can download near-unlimited workouts to supplement them. Keep in mind, however, that an iFit subscription costs around $90 per year. In addition to its plethora of workout options, the SpaceSaver SE9i also features a built-in fan to keep you cool, an included heart rate monitoring chest strap, and an auxiliary audio port so you can plug in your phone or mp3 player and listen to music or podcasts through the ellipticals twin speakers.
The SpaceSaver SE9i’s stellar 7-in. high definition touchscreen is a major draw of this elliptical. You can use it to adjust incline and resistance, select a workout program, see your workout stats, or simply read the news on your favorite website using a built-in browser. Compared to the simplistic screens of the other machines on this list, the SE9i’s takes the cake.
This is a high-quality machine, but the 18-lb. flywheel sometimes means that the ride isn’t as smooth as it is on some of the SE9i’s competitors. However, its weight capacity of 325 lbs. is fine for most users.
Nordictrack’s great warranty extends to this machine, as well. It includes a lifetime of coverage on the frame, plus five years on the parts and electronics and two years for labor.
- Excellent touchscreen display
- 30 pre-programmed workouts
- Heart rate monitoring strap included
- Folds up for easy storage
- Light 18-lb. flywheel
- iFit subscription costs $90 per year
It’s easy to recommend any of the machines on this list for different reasons. If you want commercial quality at home, the Sole E98 is an expensive, but excellent, machine. If you want a great workout with an innovative design, Bowflex’s Max Trainer M5 might be the machine for you.
The Nordictrack Audiostrider 990, meanwhile, is an excellent mid-range elliptical machine at a bargain price. It doesn’t have the stellar display of its cousin, the SpaceSaver SE9i, nor does it come pre-loaded with 30 workouts. It does, however, cost a whopping $600 less on average than the SE9i. Of its few drawbacks, the simplistic screen only matters if you love having the latest technology at your fingertips at all times, and the lack of a heart rate monitor can be easily remedied with a separate purchase. Unless you need all the bells and whistles that a more expensive, high-end machine can provide, you can’t go wrong with the Nordictrack Audiostrider 990. It’s an easy recommendation.
Final Rating: ****