NordicTrack RW900 Rower Review (2023): In-Depth Guide

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: December 30, 2023
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

As a personal trainer, I'm a big fan of rowing machines for cardio workouts and more.

And while commercial gyms will have machines that have every possible feature, those tend to come with a heavy price tag.

One of my clients asked me if I would recommend the NordicTrack RW900 rowing machine for use at home.

So, I reached out to some friends in the fitness industry to find someone who uses the NordicTrack rower, and it didn’t take long to get a response.

I ended up spending a few days researching the product and testing out all the features.

What Is The NordicTrack RW900?

The NordicTrack RW900 Front view

The NordicTrack RW900 is a budget rowing machine that delivers commercial functionality at a more affordable price.

The first time I laid eyes on the NordicTrack RW900, I was struck by its large touchscreen display. It’s not just a rowing machine; it’s like having a personal trainer right in your living room. I’ve spent countless hours enjoying a variety of iFit classes, making every workout unique and engaging.

Once I started using it, I immediately noticed that it had a very smooth magnetic resistance.

And unlike air rowers and water rowers, there is almost no noise from this. I even tried some of the higher-intensity iFit workout options, and I could barely hear it.

What I did hear from my friend is that he had some issues getting and installing a spare part, as it took a few weeks to even get through to someone in the company to provide support.

Our Rating

CTA of NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine

NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.0
Durability
4.4
Price
4.3
Resistance

Has the Machine Evolved?

We also looked at how much this machine has changed since it was first launched four years ago, and the main change is that it’s a lot more expensive now.

But you don’t get major new features with that price change.

The overall setup and configuration haven’t changed much at all, with only minor upgrades to the screen quality.

What Are the Benefits?

Benefits of the The RW900

I remember the first stroke I took on the NordicTrack RW900; the magnetic resistance was a game-changer. It’s smooth and silent, making those early morning workouts peaceful yet intense. It’s a different experience, one that’s kinder to my ears and my neighbors.

Having that smooth resistance will also help prevent back trouble with magnetic rowers [1]. The other thing that will attract many users is the large display for changing settings and connecting with iFit trainers.

I’ve had some experience with this service and can say that it offers a great range of workouts at home.

What We Don’t Like About the Nordictrack RW900

The first downside I would highlight with the NordicTrack RW900 rower is the maximum weight capacity.

At 250 pounds, that’s a bit on the low side, and I know a lot of bodybuilders who would probably make this rowing machine buckle. And some of my weight-loss clients would also run into trouble here.

The other thing you need to keep in mind is that you only get one month of free iFit membership.

Other rowing machines I've tested include up to six months of free use. And the final issue with this rower is that it’s not foldable and weighs quite a lot.

The total weight is 125 pounds, and that makes it difficult to store out of the way if you don’t have a designated space for your rowing workouts.

Pros
  • The magnetic resistance is very smooth and practically silent
  • Comes with a large touchscreen and easy-to-adjust settings
  • Integrates with iFit classes for a wide range of online workouts
  • Ergonomic design with great adjustment for your height
Cons
  • The maximum weight capacity of 250 pounds is a bit low
  • Some users have highlighted a poor after-sales support

Key Features Of The RW900

The RW900 Screen

I also spent a good hour taking notes about all the key rowing features of the NordicTrack RW900. Let’s get into them.

Large Touchscreen

The first thing you see on the NordicTrack RW900 rower is the large 22” touchscreen that sits high enough to make it easier to see while using the high quality cardio machine.

At first glance, it seemed like the screen was fixed in place. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that you can tilt it in all directions.

That means you can tilt it to the side in order to do exercises with other equipment you have or do one of the many floor workouts like yoga and pilates classes with the iFit membership.

You can see a large video section to follow the training instructions, and at the top of the screen, you see training data like time, strokes, distance, and calories burned. I just found that it could end up being a bit distracting.

Integrates With iFit Workouts

The RW900 also integrates with iFit workouts. You just set up an iFit account and then have the option of hundreds of different workouts to choose from. These don’t just include rowing but all types of cardio and strength training, yoga, and pilates.

However, keep in mind that you're only getting a one-month free subscription to access iFit. After that, the yearly subscription doesn’t come cheap, and I think the company could offer a longer trial period with such an expensive machine.

Integrated Bluetooth

Bluetooth symbol

The NordicTrack RW900 also offers wireless connectivity, which allows you to connect your Bluetooth headphones.

If you like to drown out the noise around you and just get a crystal-clear sound, then I highly recommend trying this out. I used my AirPods and a Bose Quiet Comfort headset, and it was very easy to set up.

Even though there’s hardly any noise from the machine, it can help to better hear instructions when your heart is pumping and you’re not at a constant distance from the built-in speakers.

Magnetic Resistance System

The silent magnetic resistance is something I already mentioned above, and it’s a significant attraction. It feels smooth, but I did notice that there are sometimes some fluctuations in the amount of resistance.

My home gym workout area has an air rowing machine, and while it's not the quietest machine, the resistance levels are very consistent.

My main concern would be that this is something that might further deteriorate over time, and I saw some online reviews where people had trouble with the magnetic mechanism.

Related: 10 Best Magnetic Rowing Machines

Large Range Of Resistance Levels

The RW900 screen showing resistance

The magnetic resistance does provide a wide range of intensity levels. There aren’t that many cardio machines that offer 26 different intensity settings, and that can allow you to make your full-body workouts more effective and flexible [2].

There is also an auto-adjust feature based on the instructor-led workouts you have joined. You’ll hear a message that says, “I’m increasing your resistance,” just before this happens.

“To change something you’re already doing, add intervals of high-intensity activity interspersed throughout your usual activity.”

- Elizabeth Timms, Writer & Researcher 

Ergonomic Seat

The NordicTrack RW900 rower has an ergonomically designed seat with foam padding that feels very comfortable even after a 1-hour rowing session. It glides along the guide rail with ease, and it doesn’t tend to wobble.

However, I have heard from some people with a larger backside that they struggle to get comfortable. Other companies offer different-sized seats, which seems to be a missing feature with this NordicTrack option.

Compact Size

Measuring Tape

While the magnetic resistance makes this a quiet rower, it also has an impact on the overall size. If you compare it to an air or water rower, you’ll notice that it has an overall compact design (dimensions: 47.24” H x 22” W x 87.02” L).

Even the adjustable nylon foot straps are huge and bulky, like those on other rowers.

However, you can’t fold this rower and stand it out of the way when it’s not in use. And because it weighs 125 pounds, most people won’t be able to easily lift it out of the way. That means you'll need to find out how much space it will occupy in your home gym.

Weight Capacity

The NordicTrack RW900 rower has a total weight limit of 250 pounds; for the majority of users, that will be more than enough. But I have many bodybuilding and weight-loss clients for whom that would be a problem.

I would not recommend exceeding these weight limits, as it would void any warranty and could result in injuries. And home workout injuries are a lot more common than most people would believe, as per WebMD [3].

Commercial-Grade Durability

Commercial-Grade Durability

Taking a closer look at the RW900, it does look like it’s a very solid machine. The stainless steel frame and construction are solid, and I didn't feel like there was any indication of it wobbling or being unsteady during use.

The company claims that it would stand up to commercial use, but I have heard from a few people who had a couple of defects within 18 months of using it. And they weren’t using it all day long. It seems like the overall structure is solid, but small things can break.

Warranty

The NordicTrack RW900 rower comes with a 10-year warranty for the frame, two years for parts, and one year for labor. That is about standard for fitness equipment in general, but my friend did highlight an issue he had.

After about 18 months, a part of the magnetic mechanism failed. He identified what it was and tried to get a replacement.

It took over two weeks just to get someone on the phone who was able to help out, and another two weeks for the part to arrive. That’s a pretty poor after-sales service, and one I’ve seen in a few user reviews.

Maintenance and Care

To maintain and care for your NordicTrack RW900 rowing machine for optimal performance and longevity, follow these steps:

  1. Regular cleaning: Wipe down the machine with a damp cloth after each use to remove sweat and dust. Pay attention to the seat, rail, handle, and console.
  2. Lubrication: Lubricate the chain or strap as per the manufacturer's recommendations to ensure smooth operation. This prevents unnecessary wear and tear.
  3. Check bolts and screws: Periodically inspect and tighten all bolts and screws to prevent any parts from becoming loose during use.
  4. Keep it dry: Avoid exposing the rower to excessive moisture, and store it in a dry environment to prevent rust or corrosion.
  5. Maintenance schedule: Follow the maintenance schedule outlined in the user manual, which may include checking tension and alignment, inspecting the monitor, and other specific tasks.
  6. Protect the display: Use a cover or cloth to shield the monitor from dust and potential damage when not in use.

By following these maintenance tips, you can ensure that your NordicTrack RW900 rowing machine remains in excellent working condition, providing you with years of reliable performance.

Who Is the NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine Suitable For?

The RW900 in a home gym

The NordicTrack RW900 rowing machine is suitable for people who want to have a low-impact and good-quality cardio machine at home.

It also perfectly suits people who plan to have an iFit subscription for on-demand workout classes, including rower-specific workouts.

It’s also the ideal exercise equipment for people who want to improve their joint health and increase muscle strength, as per PubMed [4].

Who Is It Not Suitable For?

The NordicTrack RW900 is not suitable for people who weigh more than 250 pounds or who aim to do a lot of training on this machine.

Some athletes I work with would use a rower for two hours a day, and it seems like this model won’t last as long as others. I would also say that it’s not the best choice if you don’t plan to get every workout from iFit. This is a paid service that the rower integrates with.

Many of the on-screen advantages and benefits will be wasted without the iFit integration, so keep that in mind before you order one.

Where Can You Buy the RW900?

Online shopping image

You can buy the RW900 in some sports equipment retail stores, and I’ve also seen it on Amazon.

My friend ordered it a while back from NordicTrack’s Amazon store, and the delivery was as expected. It took about four days to arrive, and there wasn’t a huge amount of assembly required.

What I have noticed, though, is that it’s regularly out of stock for long periods of time, so you might need to consider one of the alternatives I just mentioned.

Our Rating

CTA of NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine

NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.0
Durability
4.4
Price
4.3
Resistance

Customer Reviews

I had a look at the user reviews online, and here are some that stood out for me.

“This rower is a bit expensive, but I think the seat height is a great feature as it doesn’t make it feel like I’m sliding along the floor. And I like that the iFit software synchronizes between different devices.”

- AJ from New Jersey

“I had some issues with the resistance, and I ended up waiting several weeks for parts to arrive, which is very frustrating.”

- Steve from Florida

NordicTrack RW900 Vs. The Competition

Hand holding cash

As part of my research, I made a side-by-side comparison of features and usability with three other rowers.

The first one I looked at was the Rogue Fitness Black Concept 2. And while it is a bit noisier due to an air resistance mechanism, it provides a much more consistent effect.

It also works out a lot cheaper because it doesn’t have a fancy touchscreen. But if you plan your own workouts, then the data on the display is more than enough.

The other machine I compared it to was the Echelon Smart. This is also an air rower, and it does have a touchscreen. But it’s also considerably cheaper and has a better weight limit.

And finally, I made a comparison to a water rower from the Iron Company. It’s a simple machine that doesn’t look like much, but I’ve heard from competitive rowers that they prefer this machine over most others.

Also Read: 11 Best Compact Rowing Machines

FAQs

Is The NordicTrack RW900 Quiet?

Yes, the NordicTrack RW900 is quiet. It’s based on magnetic resistance rather than air, water, or hydraulics, which tend to be a lot noisier. But keep in mind that it doesn’t always provide consistent resistance.

Can You Use RW900 Without A Subscription?

Yes, you can use the RW900 without a subscription for fitness and rowing classes. However, that makes it quite an expensive device with a display that wouldn’t get much use at all.

Is the NordicTrack RW900 Rower Worth It?

In my time with the NordicTrack RW900, I’ve come to appreciate its silent magnetic resistance and the immersive experience offered by the large touchscreen.

Every stroke I take feels smooth, and the variety of iFit classes keeps my workouts fresh and engaging.

However, it’s not without its flaws. The weight capacity can be limiting, and the customer service experience left something to be desired.

The machine I would recommend for a home gym, and the one I have had for a year, is the Rogue Fitness Black Concept 2.

It’s a commercial-grade machine with smooth and consistent resistance and just the right level of training data on an easy-to-read display.

Our #1 Recommendation

Rogue Fitness Black Concept 2 product image

Rogue Fitness Black Concept 2

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.8
Durability
4.6
Price
4.9
Resistance
Pros
  • Supports individuals weighing up to 500 pounds and standing 6.6 feet tall
  • Simple to put together
  • The handle has a 10-degree slant for a natural grip
  • Comes with movable footrests
Cons
  • It is a little expensive
  • It comes with few built-in exercises
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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Our durability score is based 3 factors including: material quality, maintenance, and warranty terms. The score is a measure of objective test results against set standards. For more information see our durability score explanation here.
Our price score is based 3 factors including: cost justification, market comparison, and overall value. The score is a subjective measurement of the product's value against its price when compared to similar products. For more information see our price score explanation here.
Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.