During our last review of elliptical machines, the NordicTrack C9.5 earned our highest rating. This popular elliptical continues to make a competitive showing as one of the best home machines available, but it’s been edged out of our top three by several newer, upgraded models.
Like each of the ellipticals we reviewed, the C9.5 is a front drive machine, which means its 25-pound flywheel is placed at the front and its pedals run on rails at the back. Rear drive and center drive ellipticals are also available, but front drive machines are the most common and are generally less expensive.
One of the most important considerations in buying an elliptical machine is whether its stride feels stable and smooth. The C9.5 has a 19-inch power-adjustable stride length (with a maximum of 19 inches) to accommodate multiple users. This is an inch shorter than average and three inches shorter than the machines with the longest lengths in our review, but most users should be able to maintain a natural stride nonetheless. This elliptical has oversized, cushioned pedals to make working out more comfortable, and it has soft-grip moving handlebars for upper body support. However, while its static grips have dual pulse sensors for heart rate monitoring, it doesn’t come with a wireless chest strap. The Horizon Evolve 5 is the only other machine in our lineup missing this high-tech accessory.
The C9.5 weighs 210 pounds and has front-mounted transport wheels. Other convenient features include a tablet holder, an auxiliary music port and a water bottle holder. It also has integrated speakers and a workout fan, and can accommodate users weighing up to 350 pounds.
This elliptical machine has 24 digital resistance levels and a 0-to-20 percent incline. These features add challenge and versatility to your routine and can help you target specific muscles groups as you exercise. The C9.5 has 32 preprogrammed workouts on board, and you can save workout programming preferences of your own. You can even sync with Google Maps Street View to train on scenic routes around the world.
Like the C12.9, the C9.5 comes with 1-year membership to iFit that is programmable for up to four users. The ProForm SMART Pro 12.9 and SMART Endurance 920 also come with iFit memberships, but a customer service representative from Icon Health & Fitness – the parent company of both brands – told us the ProForm memberships are for single members unless you buy a family plan upgrade.
The NordicTrack C9.5 has a 7-inch SMART HD touchscreen, and online reviewers say getting workout data is easy. Like most high-performing elliptical machines, its console tracks information such as calories, distance, incline, pulse, resistance and RPMs. If you’re also curious about how many watts of electricity you generate as you exercise, you may be interested in the Horizon Evolve 5. The Bowflex BXE216 can tell you your real-time calorie burn rate per minute.
The NordicTrack C9.5 has dimensions of 68.3 X 36.9 X 67.1-inches (length, width and height). Free curbside shipping is available, with a $249 option for professional assembly. Consumers say it’s easy to assemble, so you can save some money if you’re handy.
NordicTrack protects the C9.5 with a lifetime frame warranty, a 3-year parts warranty and 1 year on labor. You can reach customer service by phone and live chat.