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NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride review

The NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride cross-trainer offers a full body workout and the feeling of gliding on air, but is that enough to justify adding it to your home gym?

NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride review
(Image: © NordicTrack)

Our Verdict

The NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride marries functionality with features in a model that has all the bells and whistles of a gym-grade elliptical machine. The result is a versatile cross-trainer with 35 built-in workout programs, plus optional iFit Coach membership to help you get fit at home.

For

  • Smooth and quiet workout
  • Free one-year iFit membership
  • Low-impact/high-cardio experience

Against

  • Lighter maximum resistance

The NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride cross-trainer has earned itself quite the fanbase, and for good reason. You see, it hits that sweet spot in the FreeStride trainer series, offering a ton of impressive features without the huge price tag of the FS10i or FS14i. So if you're looking for the best elliptical machines on the market, you just found it.

The NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride offers the benefits of a stepper, treadmill and elliptical in one compact machine, with an ultra-smooth gliding motion that'll leave you feeling as though you’re walking on air. In terms of build quality, you're in good hands as NordicTrack makes some of the best treadmills, not to mention the best exercise bikes, so it has great form.

The FS7i FreeStride also has an impressive number of built-in workouts, plus a huge range of resistance levels. Let's take a closer look at it now to see if it’s worthy of a spot in your home gym.

NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride review: Overview

The NordicTrack FS7i is called a FreeStride trainer because of its ability to support any stride length up to 32 inches, so no matter whether you’re taking short, medium, or long strides during your workout, you’ll get that magically smooth movement that leaves you feeling like you’ve traded the ground for the clouds.

While equipment such as the best bike trainers offers you a great calorie-burning cardio workout, walking, running and cycling all put your body into a repetitive pattern of movement, which can place a strain on your joints. 

The brilliance of the FS7i is that this hybrid elliptical machine utilizes the movement of three pieces of equipment in one, meaning you get a versatile and low-impact workout that’s gentler on your body. To workout with little to no equipment, also take a look at our guide to the best online fitness training programs.

NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride review

(Image credit: NordicTrack)

No matter your skill level, an elliptical machine is a great way to mix together a solid cardiovascular workout with light to moderate strength training. You can rest assured knowing that whether you’re a beginner or an expert, the FS7i has got you covered. It's more expensive than something like the Sole Fitness E25 Elliptical Machine, so that one is worth checking out if you have a smaller budget.

Both the resistance and the incline are adjustable so you can mix it up and make your workout as challenging or as easy as you like, and with a massive library of 35 built-in workout programs and an iFit enabled console, we can guarantee that you can kiss goodbye to workout boredom forever.

Packed with a ton of great features to help you keep track of your health and fitness goals, including heart rate monitoring, calorie burn, intensity, and performance, we’d recommend pairing the FS7i with one of the best fitness trackers around to help you monitor those all important health stats 24/7. For a cheap tracker, take a look at our guide to the best Amazon Prime Day Fitbit deals.

NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride review: Design

The FS7i is one sleek and professional machine that’s going to look super impressive in your home gym. A big draw is its center-drive design, which means the flywheel or drive system is located on either side of the machine rather than at the front or back. 

NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride review

(Image credit: NordicTrack)

Why is that important? Well, it not only helps you stand more upright and puts less strain on your hips but it makes for a more compact machine with a smaller footprint, perfect if you don’t have a lot of workout space at home. The FS7i measures 68.4 x 28.5 x 62 inches, so not only is it a great space-saving option but the transport wheels make it a breeze to move around.

The hybrid design means you’re getting great value for money with the FreeStrider doing the work of a stepper, treadmill, and elliptical all in one compact package. While some models make swapping between muscle groups mid-workout more than a little tricky, the FS7i makes it effortless with the stride controls built into the handlebars and console.

The moving handlebars provide a fantastic full-body workout and with a maximum power-adjustable stride length of 32 inches, the FS7i has been designed with all users in mind. You also get a built-in water bottle holder and mount for your tablet so you can keep an eye on your fitness data while watching an episode of your favorite show.

NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride review: Features

The NordicTrack FS7i comes with an impressive library of 35 built-in workout programs that make use of the 24 resistance levels and 0-10% incline range. Programs are organized according to fitness goals so whether you’re looking to burn calories or increase your endurance ability, you’ll find plenty to choose from.

NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride review

(Image credit: NordicTrack)

If you want unlimited variety then why not consider subscribing to iFit coach? With a membership you can download new workouts anytime you want and with Google Maps you can hike all over the world and feel like you’re right there in person.

iFit is great for mixing things up, one day you can be hiking through Yosemite National Park or climbing Mt Fuji and the next you can be joining a high-energy studio session with some of the world’s best personal trainers.

You’ll love the control center on the FS7i, which features a 7-inch color touch screen with an Android web browser and the two built-in speakers and iPod compatibility mean you can blast your favorite tunes while you step it out.

NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride review: Performance

The FS7i comes with a 20lb flywheel, which is on the lighter end of the spectrum for an elite model in this price range. The advantage of a heavy flywheel is that it offers a smoother and quieter workout experience but thanks to the center-drive design you still get that here.

NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride review

(Image credit: NordicTrack)

It’s worth keeping the flywheel weight in mind if you’re a more experienced elliptical user as you might prefer to invest in a model that can give you a higher level of resistance for a more challenging workout. If you’re a beginner though, this weight should suit you perfectly.

The 10% power incline will help get those muscles burning but it pays to note there’s no comparable decline option available here. We like that this is a solidly built machine and can take a user weight of up to 375lbs. It also comes with a wireless chest strap too, which provides a more accurate reading of your heart rate.

Should you buy the NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride?

With the NordicTrack FS7i FreeStride, you get almost all of the benefits of an elite elliptical trainer without having to take out a second mortgage on your home to pay for it. With the exception of the lighter flywheel, there’s almost nothing to complain about with this model and everything to love.

From the huge range of in-built programs and resistance levels to the option to subscribe to iFit Coach, the versatile FS7i FreeStride gets a big tick of approval from us, and we’re confident that you’re going to love it just as much as we do.