Incredible classes and instructors
Weight limit is lower than most
About the NordicTrack RW900
The RW900 is NordicTrack’s highest-end rowing machine. It features a rotating, tiltable 22-inch touchscreen that broadcasts trainer-led classes filmed on open water or in studios from iFit, NordicTrack’s fitness platform. The rower’s primary source of resistance is an electromagnetic flywheel that provides 26 levels of resistance, which you can change by swiping the screen or using iFit’s “Follow Trainer” feature to adjust it automatically. It’s also possible to use the manual row mode to self-guide your workout. Either way, the screen displays the same metrics: Distance in meters, strokes per minute, split time per 500 meters, total time or time remaining in the workout, and a calorie burn estimate. You can also add on 10 levels of air resistance by tilting a plastic filter on top of the flywheel. NordicTrack’s other rowers include the RW600 and RW700, both of which have the same rowing features with smaller, non-tilting screens at lower prices.
Once assembled, the RW900 measures 86.5 inches long (just over 7 feet), 22 inches wide, and 50.4 inches tall. It also folds up vertically when not in use. This puts its measurements at about 42 inches long and about 41 inches tall—comparable to a medium-size bookshelf or hefty nightstand. Its user weight limit is 250 pounds, and NordicTrack does not list a height minimum or maximum to use the rower.
The RW900 costs $1,599 with a shipping fee of $199. If you want professional assembly, add on an extra $249. iFit, which provides access to the classes, is provided for free for the first year with purchase and $39 a month, $180 a year, or $396 a year for a family membership plan that allows five accounts thereafter. No-interest financing is available starting at $47 a month for 39 months.
What we like about the NordicTrack RW900
Ease of use in all aspects
Once the RW900 is set up, it’s a breeze to use. It’s simple to browse for a class on the touchscreen display or search for specific workouts (an improvement on iFit’s part, as this hasn’t always been the case). You can bookmark individual classes or series (a collection of individual classes, usually intended to help the user achieve a certain goal after a set period of time). When I rowed, I almost always used the “Follow Trainer” feature, which meant the resistance changed to match the workout without me having to do anything. Still, it wasn’t hard to change the resistance by pressing the number I wanted on the touchscreen.
Folding it up was also relatively easy and drama-free—you grab the main handle by the footholds, then yank it up and clip the bottom portion to the beam by the flywheel to hold it in place. Then, you can roll the whole thing where you need to go by tilting it on its wheels, which are also close to the flywheel. This helps clear up its footprint and could conceivably be tucked away in a closet (or at least a corner) if you don’t have enough space to keep the rower out all the time.
Sturdy, solid-feeling build
One of the best things about the RW900 is pretty basic: The whole machine just feels really good to row on. The legs never felt wobbly and I found that the seat slid smoothly and without a hitch across the main beam. The handles, which connect to the machine with a fabric belt, make each stroke feel smooth and even and also felt secure in my hands, even as my grip got sweaty during my rowing workouts.
Fantastic programming and classes
iFit’s fitness programming is as high quality as it is multitudinous, with thousands of on- and off-rower classes. Classes are led by expert trainers, some of whom are former Olympians, and take place all over the world—I rowed “on” Lake Bled in Slovenia, the Kafue River in Zambia, and Little Bitterroot Lake in Montana. And iFit’s studio-style classes are no slouch, either. I especially loved the bootcamp-style classes I took, in which a trainer leads the class through rowing intervals, then hops off the machine for cross-training exercises like squats, lunges, and planks. If you want to get off the rower entirely, you can choose from yoga, strength training, HIIT, Pilates, and stretching classes. For all the classes I took, the 22-inch screen made a big difference—it was crystal-clear and helped make the scenery look more beautiful and classes feel more engaging.
If the thought of Olympian instructors feels intimidating, don’t worry. iFit offers an in-studio “Learn to Row” series, in which instructors walk you through the steps to achieve proper rowing form, as well as a number of series intended for beginners. These classes are especially helpful for brand-new rowers as well as anyone who could use a refresher. The benefits of rowing—not to mention injury prevention—hinge on correct form, so it’s a great way to build a solid foundation to your workout routine.
What we don’t like about the NordicTrack RW900
Low weight limit
I was surprised when I saw the RW900’s weight limit—just 250 pounds—especially considering how solid it felt when I sat on it. (Though, granted, I weigh in well under that limit.) This feels exclusionary to a considerable amount of people who should be able to use this machine, too. For those who fall outside this weight limit, one alternative is our Best Value rower pick, the $900 Concept2 RowErg, which has a weight limit of up to 500 pounds (but no connected screen). For a connected rower—albeit one that’s even pricier than the RW900 at $2,245—you could also go for our Best Upgrade pick, Hydrow, which has a 375-pound weight limit and touchscreen that streams trainer-led classes.
NordicTrack offers the best warranty of all the rowers we tried: 10 years on the frame, two years on parts, and one year labor. You can also add an extra three years to the warranty for $239.99 or a three-year service plan, in which a NordicTrack technician comes to your house once a year to tune up your equipment, for $339.99.
What owners are saying
NordicTrack does not list reviews or an overall rating for the RW900, though it shows reviews and ratings for iFit workouts taken on the RW900: 4.8 stars based on about 3,200 ratings. Other retailers that sell the RW900, such as Amazon and Best Buy list ratings and reviews, which are predominently positive. It has 4.1 stars based on 746 reviews on Amazon and 4.4 stars based on 65 reviews on Best Buy.
Many people have the same praises as me. “If you are looking at investing in a rower look no further,” one 5-star Best Buy reviewer writes. “The big box it came in was intimidating but putting it together was a breeze. The free year of iFit is awesome and is a good motivating tool. I thought about getting the model below this with the smaller monitor, I’m so glad I didn’t.”
Of the 1-star reviews I found, people seemed to have issues with the screen—which they said never connected or puttered out after a few weeks—challenges related to assembly, and difficulty getting in touch with Icon, NordicTrack’s parent company, to resolve problems.
Should you buy the NordicTrack RW900?
As with all at-home fitness equipment, your main consideration when mulling over the RW900 purchase is whether or not you’ll actually use the thing. (As opposed to, you know, getting it set up and using it as an expensive clothes-drying rack.) But we think anyone in search of an effective full-body, cardio-focused, at-home workout system—and isn’t impeded by its weight limit—will be satisfied by the RW900. Its build, fitness programming, overall ease of use, and solid warranty make it a solid choice—and, for most people, a machine you’ll return to over and over again.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Meet the tester
Sara Hendricks is an editor with Reviewed covering health and fitness.
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