NordicTrack Commercial 2950 Treadmill + iFit Review

For much of the last decade, a disproportionate amount of my off-season cardio has taken place on a treadmill.  No one, and I truly mean not a single soul that I’ve met, loves spending significant time on the human hamster wheel.  That said, when there’s six inches of snow on the ground and the mercury has dropped well below freezing, a treadmill is approximately 50,000 times more appealing than any outdoor activity.  Because my mental health requires a near-daily dose of cardio, the treadmill has become the friend I don’t like, but I do need.

Below is my take on the NordicTrack Commercial 2950 treadmill, in addition to its primary feature, iFit, NordicTrack’s interactive fitness video training software (read: Peloton competitor).  I’ve had the opportunity to test the two over the course of the last 11 months.

NordicTrack Commercial 2950 + iFit At-a-Glance

  • Length: 79 inches
  • Width: 39.2 inches
  • Height: 66.9 inches
  • Motor Rating: 4.25 horsepower
  • Max Speed: 12 mph
  • Incline Range: -3 to 15%
  • Color: Black
  • MSRP: $2,999
  • iFit membership: Starts at $15 per month (first year free with machine purchase)
  • Warranty: 10-Year Frame Warranty, 2-Year Parts Warranty, 1-Year Labor Warranty

Circumstance of Use

As previously mentioned, I’ve tested this treadmill over the last 11 months. Much of this has taken place during the winter and heat of the summer (especially when Colorado was smoke-ridden).  Over that time, I’ve covered 107 miles.

Features

22” HD Interactive Touchscreen

The first thing you’ll notice about the NordicTrack 2950 is its beautiful 22″ HD screen.  The picture quality is impressively sharp.  In addition to displaying the various iFit workouts, the UX overall is nice to look at and intuitive.

Fan

This treadmill comes with a pair of fans.  They’re not going to blow your skirt up—figuratively or literally—but some breeze > no breeze (source: breeze science).

EasyLift Assist

Jargon for “this folds up.”

Bluetooth Audio Compatibility

You can sync your Bluetooth headphones with this treadmill.

iFit Personal Training

For a feature-rich, at-home treadmill, the iFit program is the 2950’s king feature.  The website states more than 17,000 workouts, combined between pre-recorded and a live schedule of workouts.  Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you are aware of the phenomenon that is the Peloton Bike craze.  This is NordicTrack’s answer to the Peloton.

Pros

iFit

First and definitely foremost is the iFit personal training program.

For those who are familiar, iFit is conceptually very similar to Peloton.  I’ve never actually used a Peloton, but have several friends who own one, and the differences appear to be minuscule.

The iFit program features a wide array of pre-recorded workouts lead by experienced fitness trainers.  These workouts can range from a run through the streets of Munich, a jog along the beaches of Costa Rica, a hike in the Alps, or a gym studio-style sweat fest. The number of pre-recorded workouts is functionally endless, with more than 14,000 options and new workouts being added every week.

The iFit program also includes live workouts, which can be done on the treadmill or off in the form of strength or yoga classes.  Note: many of the “live” courses are in fact pre-recorded, however, at least one course per day (and often more than that) is truly live and offers some interactive features with the trainer.

 

Admittedly, I was slow to adopt iFit, as I historically have used a treadmill as an opportunity to zone out during a 7mph jog over a podcast or audiobook.  The idea of being engaged with someone or having the treadmill automatically adjust speeds and inclines is a big departure from my mindless hamster wheeling.  That said, the training programs have grown on me.  I do find that the time goes by faster when distracted by the beautiful foreign scenery and by having a significantly more fit person yelling at me (I’m being facetious, they’re actually quite encouraging, unfortunately).

Although I do still primarily run on manual mode (hard to teach an old hamster new tricks), I’ve learned the power of the iFit program from watching my wife use this treadmill.

Previously, the only time I’ve seen Jenna run was when it was mandated at a CrossFit workout or to chase our forever-determined-to-escape dog. Now that CrossFit is no longer a part of our routine due to COVID, this treadmill has become her primary means of exercise. And contrary to the way I use a treadmill, this is true regardless of the weather. By her own admission, the iFit program is solely responsible for her continued use of this treadmill.

100% of Jenna’s workouts have been through the pre-recorded training videos, which are a combination of jogging, interval running, and walking at a steep incline. She’s locked into her favorite trainers, having recently completed Kelsey Sheahan’s 11-week running program.  Jenna’s fangirl status has even graduated to her following Kelsey on Instagram.

If you’re historically motivated to work out without the help of a program or trainers, then iFit may not be a game-changer for you.  However, as I’ve seen with Jenna and my many friends who have dropped thousands of dollars on a Peloton, it’s rather clear that this style of virtual classes is a benefit to many.

Last note—one aspect of iFit that I haven’t explored that I do believe would be a potent personal motivator is the leaderboard tool, which shows where you rank relative to other participants in a given class.  Competition is a powerful fitness motivator, a reality I’ve gleaned from CrossFit.

The Fans

As previously mentioned, the cooling effect is about as powerful as you’d expect from a pair of 3″ diameter fans, but some airflow is far superior to none.  I am a sweaty bastard and even this mild breeze delays the cascading waterfall of my salty affliction by a handful of minutes.

It Folds Up

Because our gym is also my wife’s office / our storage room / where we entertain our friend’s kids / where we will soon be entertaining our newborn, the extra space is appreciated.

Noise

We’ve all been to a gym where that one treadmill squeals like a devil pig.  This treadmill, thankfully, does not.  In fact, it’s surprisingly chill in the noise department.

Softness

A cheap treadmill will feel an awful lot like running on concrete.  The 2950 offers a bit of give, which is a huge benefit for my knees, which are hot trash.

The Size

The only other non-gym treadmill that I’ve used was comically small.  On that treadmill, if you wander even a skosh left, right, forward, or back, you’re going to miss the track and flirt with breaking your ass.  In contrast, the 2950’s track is comparable to a treadmill you’d use at any gym.

Cons

Wishing the 22″ Screen Offered More

My biggest disappointment with this device is that the beautiful 22″ HD screen isn’t better catered to the 21st century.  If the screen could utilize outside apps, such as Netflix or Hulu, I think you could raise the price point another grand and it’d still feel like a great value.  Instead, I’m often looking over the screen at a TV or using it as a backdrop for my iPad that’s streaming YouTube.  For someone who lives and dies by the iFit program, this complaint will not be relevant.  If you don’t foresee yourself using iFit, you may find yourself wondering why they didn’t do more here.

Google Maps Street View Runs

One of the iFit features that seemed most appealing at first turned out to be a disappointment.  You can draw a route in conjunction with Google Maps anywhere that Street View is available virtually “run” through that location.  This is a great idea.  In my testing, however, the video is choppy and consequently disorienting. It’s possible that our wifi isn’t up to snuff for this feature (34 Mbps download, 12 Mbps upload), but we are able to stream all of the popular video apps elsewhere in the house without issue.  If your wifi speeds are in the same ballpark as ours, I would encourage you not to let this feature be a selling point.

Overall

It’s no surprise that at-home fitness equipment is selling like crack right now.  A building full of people gasping for air during a droplet/aerosol-spread pandemic is not exactly anyone’s vision of paradise.  And if winter running/hiking isn’t your cup of tea, as is the case for me, finding ways to get your sweat on at home is the logical solution.  I’m conservatively estimating that I’ve run on 30 different treadmill models over the course of my life, and the NordicTrack Commercial 2950 is as good as any that I’ve used.

Although the iFit program isn’t a huge sell for me personally, I do think it could be a game-changer for someone who enjoys being led by a trainer and/or benefits from a structured program.  According to Peloton’s $38B market capitalization, the demand for these sorts of programs is obviously high.  Even with bad knees, I’d prefer to sweat on a treadmill over a stationary bike, as the unhealthy portion of my day is already spent sitting and I don’t need for the healthy part to also be on a seat.

Although the $3,000 price tag is going to be a nonstarter for many people, if you are in the market for a new treadmill, this is competitively priced for what you get.  If iFit is going to keep you motivated to sweat all winter (and/or year), this larger screen model will likely be worth its price tag. If you don’t foresee yourself using the iFit program, you’re better off opting for another treadmill.

Shop the NordicTrack 2950 Here

Comparable Treadmills

NordicTrack Commercial 2450

Screensize: 14″
Device Size: 59.25” H x 39.25” W x 81.25” L
MSRP: $2,299

NordicTrack Commercial 1750

Screensize: 10″
Device Size: 62.75” H x 39.25” W x 81.25” L
MSRP: $1,799

Sunny Health & Fitness Folding Treadmill

Screensize: n/a
Track Size: 15. 5W X 49L
MSRP: $375

Disclosure: the above product was donated for the purpose of this review.

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