NordicTrack RW500 Review: What You Should Know

We could all use a little more motivation in improving our health and burning some of those excess calories! Why not try out a low-impact workout that can be a fun challenge and a great addition to your normal workout routine. Although it has fewer features and a smaller screen than the Nordictrack RW900, the NordicTrack RW500 magnetic rower is still a premium model that gives you the latest technology and a world-class workout all in the comfort of your own home. The first thing that stands out about the RW500 Magnetic rower is the appearance. It comes with a sleek, innovative, and space-saving design that gives the RW500 rower a futuristic feel and look. The full steel frame and oversized seat rail provide a sturdy base for your workout and allows for a maximum user weight capacity of 250 lbs. This is one area where the NordicTrack RW500 disappointed as it lags other magnetic rowers like the HouseFit magnetic rower and the Women’s Health/Men’s Health Bluetooth Magnetic rower as well. Another plus with the NordicTrack RW500? The frame is foldable, so it makes for easy fold and go storage which is ideal especially when space is limited in your home.

Speaking of limited space, the NordicTrack RW500 magnetic indoor rower has a larger footprint than most magnetic rowers, so when it is in use, it will take up a ton of area in your home. The exact dimensions are 86.5” L x 22” W x 50.4” H, which means the RW500 is over seven feet long. Compared to other magnetic home rowers, the NordicTrack RW500 seems excessive, as it is 17” longer than the HouseFit magnetic rower. At 131 lbs, the NordicTrack RW500 is actually more than double the weight of the HouseFit magnetic rower which tips the scales at 61.7 lbs. The RW500 does have extra parts like the 22” HD Touchscreen console, but as you can see by the dimensions and the product weight, the RW500 is a hefty piece of home fitness equipment.

The resistance technology behind the NordicTrack RW500 rower is top of the line as the machine comes with an inertia-enhanced magnetic flywheel and adjustable air resistance system (combination of air and magnetic). The flywheel is designed and built with SMR or Silent Magnetic Resistance, and the noise difference between the RW500 and an air rower or a water resistance rower is vast. You certainly will not have to worry about bothering your neighbors or family members when using the RW500! The resistance system is actually two-fold as the flywheel comes with an impressive 26 different digital resistance levels, and the ability to manually control the air resistance to further add another level of intensity to your workout is a game-changer. I understand that water rowers are popular amongst rowing purists and that the sound of the water in the tank and the feel of the resistance is the most realistic rowing experience. But there is something about the range of resistance control you get with the RW500 magnetic resistance system that makes it so appealing to use.

The NordicTrack RW500 comes equipped with some incredible technology as well. Perhaps the best part about the RW500 is the full HD 22” touchscreen monitor that is fully adjustable no matter which kind of workout you are doing. The RW500 comes with full WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity which allows you to connect devices like Bluetooth headphones as you workout. Another bonus with the RW500? Every machines comes with a 1-year iFit personal trainer subscription, which allows you to utilize the 22” touchscreen monitor to have live training sessions with world class trainers from around the globe. This is a very similar setup to the top of the line Hydrow rower that comes with its own in-house subscription to classes, and also comes with a 22” full HD monitor. The iFit subscription comes with on-demand rowing, global workouts, world-class instructors, dairy recommended workouts, stat tracking technology, and up to four different user profiles. After the one year is up you do have the option to renew your subscription, at which point you would cover the costs.

Assembly is fairly straightforward and NordicTrack includes all of the necessary tools, parts, and instructions. A lot of users have noted that assembly is much easier with two people, especially when it comes to mounting the 22” monitor. Moving the machine from room to room can be cumbersome, even with the transport wheels included. Maintenance for magnetic rowers is quite minimal, with the recommendation of just keeping the flywheel and rail clean of dust and grime. There is no water tank to clean or change the water for, so there is another benefit of a magnetic rower. NordicTrack obviously operates its own site, although if you really need the RW500 fast, Amazon may be your best bet for a speedy delivery.

For a premium model from a trusted brand, that has connected technology and cutting edge resistance features, it should come as no surprise that the NordicTrack RW500 is priced at around $1,342.00 on Amazon and $1,599.00 on NordicTrack’s website. Compared to models like the Women’s Health/Men’s Health Bluetooth magnetic rower, the RW500 is on the expensive side. Compared to the uber premium Hydrow rower though, the RW500 comes at a nice discount to the higher end models. NordicTrack provides an excellent warranty for the RW500, with a 10-year frame warranty, a 2-year parts warranty, and a 1-year labor warranty.

NordicTrack RW500 Rower Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Sleek, innovative design
  • The foldable frame makes storage and transports simple
  • 22” Full HD Touchscreen monitor
  • Full Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity
  • Comes with 1-year of iFit subscription services
  • 26 levels of digital resistance levels
  • Dual-resistance system
  • Silent Magnetic Resistance technology
  • Quick-adjust pedals
  • Good warranty

Cons

  • A larger than normal footprint means you need a lot of space
  • Heavy for a home rowing machine
  • The maximum user weight capacity is low at 250 lbs
  • The monitor is somewhat useless without an iFit subscription
  • Assembly requires two people
  • Can be pricey for some people

My Final Verdict

There are few faults to find in the NordicTrack RW500 indoor magnetic rower, and having personally tested and reviewed hundreds of different models, that is saying something! The technology is cutting edge, not just with the way in which users interact with trainers and classes, but in the Silent Magnetic Resistance technology for the flywheel. NordicTrack is a trusted name in the home fitness equipment industry, and it has thrown in a 1-year iFit subscription to ensure you stay dedicated to your machine. While you could opt for a cheaper model like the Women’s Health/Men’s Health Bluetooth magnetic rower, there’s plenty to like about the RW500 magnetic rower at its reasonable price point. It is nearly half the price of the Hydrow rower which is similar in features and technology, so the RW500 may just be priced exactly where it needs to be. Throw in the foldable frame, and you have one of the best total packages in the indoor magnetic rower market.

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