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Last Updated: May 12, 2023
In this battle of the treadmills, I’ll compare two of some of the highest inclining and declining models on the market. The Bowflex Treadmill 22 and NordicTrack X22i are certainly impressive machines. They’re capable of handling a lot of use and each comes with a large 22” touch screen and the option to stream subscription content. In our comparison review of the Bowflex Treadmill 22 and NordicTrack X22i Treadmill, I’ll go over what to expect from each model, and how they compare and differ so you can determine which one is the best treadmill for you. And as for the best treadmills we recommend, these two are on the list, so this comparison is extra juicy.
Why You Should Trust Our Comparison Review
Here at Treadmill Review Guru, we have the unique ability to be able to test all kinds of treadmills. Because our studio is filled to the brim with treadmills from all kinds of brands, we often pull out models that are similar when testing. It’s helpful for us to see how two treadmills that are in the same class, perform side by side. Our goal in comparison reviews like this one is to help you decide which treadmill is best for you and your home. Comparing a list of specs is fine, but that won’t tell you how functional, comfortable, or well-performing a treadmill is. That’s where we come in. We put time on the belts and hop back and forth between models while comparing in order to be as thorough as possible in our reviews.
Our Bowflex vs NordicTrack Video Comparison Review
Pros & Cons of the NordicTrack X22i
Pros & Cons of Bowflex Treadmill 22
- Touch Screen: 22” enabled with iFit which comes free for the first month
- Footprint: 70” L x 39” W x 72.5” H
- Motor: 4.0 CHP
- Frame: Steel
- Belt: 22″ X 60″
- Speed: .5 – 12 mph.
- Incline: 40%
- Decline: -6%
- Max user weight: 300 lbs
- Treadmill Weight: 417 pounds (in box)
- Front transportation wheels
- Fan: Dual workout fans
- Two 3” digitally-amplified speakers
- No device rack
- 2 cup holders
- Heart rate armband sold separately
- Warranty: 10-year frame, 2-year parts, and 1-year labor
- Touch Screen: 22” enabled with JRNY which comes free for the first year
- Apps to stream: Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO Max
- Footprint: 85” L x 39.6” W x 70” H
- Motor: 4.0 HP
- Frame: Steel with chrome accents
- Belt: 22″ X 60″
- Speed: .5 – 12 mph.
- Incline: 20%
- Decline: -5%
- Max user weight: 400 lbs
- Treadmill Weight: 336 pounds (in box)
- Folding deck
- Front transportation wheels
- Built-in fan
- Built-in speakers
- Device rack
- 2 cup holders
- 2 storage pockets
- Included Bluetooth HR armband
- Warranty: 15-year frame and motor, 5-year mechanical parts, 1-year electronics, and 2-year labor
As I mentioned, the NordicTrack X22i and Bowflex Treadmill 22 are on our best treadmills for 2023 list. As far as noise output, motor size, and deck size, both treadmills are very quiet, have 4.0 hp motors, and have large 22” x 60” running surfaces. They also both have big 22” touch screens that offer subscription content to stream while you work out. Other than that, they have some key differences that you should factor into your decision on which one is for you.
Deck cushioning, storage, and incline range are the big differences (as far as construction) between these treadmills. The X22i is significantly softer to run on and has more cushioning than the Treadmill 22. The T22 feels firm underfoot while still providing shock absorption, but I’d go with the X22i if you have joint issues and discomfort. The NordicTrack X22i has a slightly smaller footprint than the Bowflex, but it doesn’t fold up. The Bowflex folds up when you’re done to save a lot of room. Both machines are heavy so we suggest having a designated space for either, however, you can move them around if needed. Finally, another big difference is the incline. They both incline higher than the average treadmill, but the X22i inclines up 2x higher than the Bowflex to 40% as opposed to 20%. Don’t get me wrong – both of these incline ranges are significant, but depending on your preference and your home, one is going to be better for you.
The NordicTrack is priced higher than the Bowflex, too. Ultimately, we recommend both treadmills and they both perform well. You can’t go wrong with either option and you’re certainly going to enhance your training with either treadmill.
In-Depth Comparison of the Bowflex Treadmill 22 and NordicTrack X22i Treadmills
NordicTrack X22i Vs. Bowflex Treadmill 22 Content
iFit and JRNY are two different training platforms that serve as entertainment and guidance when you’re working out. Each requires a monthly subscription to access all of the content. NordicTrack uses iFit, while Bowflex has JRNY. JRNY comes free for the first year when you purchase the Treadmill 22, while iFit is offered free for the first month with the X22i.
Here’s a quick overview of what each platform comes with when you subscribe to a membership.
NordicTrack X22i Content
iFit has over 16,000 on-demand trainer-led classes in its library. Each class is led by an instructor who guides you through the workout. As far as trainer-led content, iFit is one of the top subscriptions, especially because of its outdoor-filmed classes. They have classes filmed in professional studios, but the outdoor workouts are unmatched. You can take classes filmed on every continent in locations all over the world.
You can also do exploring on your own with the Google Map feature. This is where you pick any location on the map and draw your route. Google Images pop up as you take the workout.
One of my favorite features of iFit is AutoAdjust where the X22i (or whatever iFit-enabled machine you’re using) will adjust on its own to match the terrain of the outdoor location and structure of the workout. Once you take a few iFit classes, this technology will remember how you performed in previous workouts in order to determine appropriate speeds to adjust the treadmill to. You can adjust the X22i yourself, but this feature is convenient for hands-free training. It also holds you accountable and encourages you to push yourself to progress.
When you purchase the heart rate tracking armband separately from NordicTrack, you can use the ActivePulse feature which will adjust the X22i based on your target heart rates.
Of course, iFit has a manual mode and in every workout, you can track essential metrics like time, speed, and distance. If you don’t want to subscribe to iFit, there are a few included trainer-led workouts and onboard workouts available for free.
Bowflex Treadmill 22 Content
JRNY offers trainer-led workouts, too. They aren’t the same quality as iFit, but they’re good for taking structured workouts. The library isn’t as large or robust as iFit, however.
JRNY also has preprogrammed workouts that they call “adaptive workouts”. When you take a fitness assessment, the format of these workouts shifts to adapt to your fitness level. Over time as you progress, these change to encourage you to progress. When you take the assessment you’ll be given a “burn rate” which displays as a scale at the bottom of the screen with a highlighted target range and your current level based on intensity. This scale serves as a way for you to work at specific intensity levels for a well-rounded workout.
It’s during adaptive workouts that you can choose from different entertainment options. One of them is “Explore the World”. These workouts feature a camera that moves through different locations around the world to make it feel like you’re there when you run. You can do an Explore the World workout by itself or pair it with an adaptive workout for guided training.
You can log into your Netflix account through JRNY and watch whatever shows and movies you want. Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and HBO Max are available to use too. You can watch from these apps in manual mode or during adaptive workouts.
There are onboard workouts and a manual mode available without a subscription to JRNY, too.
A heart rate monitor armband is included when you purchase the Bowflex Treadmill 22. When connected, your heart rate will display on the screen. We appreciate that this is included with the treadmill.
Both iFit and JRNY use radio-esque music options that play in the background of your workouts. There are different preselected playlists of songs split into different genre categories. Music integrated into the workouts would be a nice upgrade to see on both of these fitness platforms.
The bottom line between iFit and JRNY is this: iFit is best if you love taking trainer-led content, JRNY is best if you want more variety and the option to stream from apps like Netflix. While the content is definitely important to consider, the overall construction is going to contribute to what you can do on the treadmill, and if you can use it in your home space. So, let’s keep comparing the two models.
NordicTrack X22i Vs. Bowflex Treadmill 22 Console
The console on a treadmill might seem like a less important component, but trust me, navigating a clunky console is frustrating. Fortunately, both of these treadmills have pretty functional consoles. The console is where you control the treadmill and access the content.
NordicTrack X22i Console
Treadmills from NordicTrack have some of our favorite console layout designs. This makes them user-friendly and easy to navigate. The X22i has a 22” touch screen. This is where you access iFit with a subscription and the onboard workouts. It’s also where you track your metrics like the treadmill’s speed and incline.
What makes the console even more functional though are the quick touch adjustment buttons on the left and right sides of the screen. These numbered buttons allow you to adjust the treadmill quickly by pressing a button. For example, I can press 20 on the left side and the deck will incline to 20%, or 6 on the right side and the belt will adjust to 6 mph. To adjust to more specific speeds, you can press two of the right-side buttons back-to-back to get to speeds like 7.6 mph.
The screen can tilt slightly for better visibility, but it isn’t very adjustable.
The speakers are front-facing and clear. The volume is loud and can be adjusted on the console or the screen. On the screen, you can balance between the trainer’s voice and the music or mute one or the other, or both. The fans provide good airflow and are adjustable with different airflow settings.
As far as storage, there are two cupholders on either side of the screen to fit your water bottle or phone. There isn’t a place to put your phone or tablet to stream your own content, unfortunately. You’re locked into using the touch screen and iFit if you choose to subscribe.
Bowflex Treadmill 22 Console
There’s a bit more stuff on the Treadmill 22’s console. It reminds me of a control panel on a spaceship. This console features a 22” touch screen where you track your workout metrics and access JRNY and the onboard workouts. The screen tilts up and down slightly like the X22i. The screen is positioned pretty high on the console. I’m about 5’1” and it’s in my line of sight. Our tallest reviewer, Matt, who’s 6’5” doesn’t have to look down as much to see this screen as he does with the X22i.
This treadmill has quick-touch buttons but there aren’t as many increments to choose from as on the X22i. Overall, they’re less streamlined to use. There are a few ways to adjust the speed and incline, though. First, there are buttons on the front handles next to the pulse grips which read your heart rate when you’re holding them. With how close they are to the quick-touch buttons I find I use these the most to get to specific increments like 4.5% incline and 2.3 mph.
There are buttons that look like light switches on either side handle. Left is for incline and right is for speed. These are nice but can be a little sticky to use. Sometimes I have to press them twice in order for them to work.
The speakers are positioned below the touch screen and are clear and loud. Adjusting the volume on the screen is the easiest way to balance between the trainer’s voice, notification beeps, and master volume. You can mute one or all, too. The fan is tiny but offers a great amount of airflow that’s effective.
The Bowflex Treadmill 22 has a lot more storage than the NordicTrack X22i. There are two oversized cupholders in the front for your water and whatever else, plus, a storage tray under the console. Below the screen is a ledge to place your device so you can stream your own content, too. Plus, the T22 is Bluetooth-enabled to connect to apps like Zwift to give you even more variety and training options.
Construction Quality & Durability
Now, let’s get into construction. Overall, both treadmills are impressive not only with their training options but with their builds. They do have different weight limits, which is an important consideration, especially for larger users. The Bowflex has a 400 lb weight limit which is usually the highest we see on motorized treadmills. The NordicTrack handles up to 300 lbs of user weight.
NordicTrack X22i Vs. Bowflex Treadmill 22 Frame
The frames are made out of steel. The X22i has a more standard frame design than the T22. The frame is positioned under the deck and two steel uprights extend up from the frame to hold the console and handles.
Like other folding treadmills, (I’ll elaborate on the storing capabilities of the two in the functionality section below) the frame extends under the front part of the deck, and steel uprights connect to the frame. The two uprights fork at the bottom to make a triangular design at the base of the treadmill. Triangles are the strongest shape so we think this was intentional and also effective. The T22 weighs slightly less than the X22i at 336 lbs, but it’s still an overbuilt beast!
Both feel incredibly durable, solid, and sturdy to use. They’re both on the heartier side of home treadmills. We recommend a designated space for both because of how heavy and large they are.
They have similar handles. The side handles extend on either side of the deck, while the front upper handles are more vertical to use when the treadmill is inclined. Both models have lower front handles, too. There are plenty of handle options on these two treadmills.
NordicTrack X22i Vs. Bowflex Treadmill 22 Motor
The X22i and T22 have 4.0 hp motors. Not only are these motors powerful and capable of handling heavy amounts of training and long-distance running, but they’re also very quiet. The X22i is slightly quieter overall, but the incline motor on the T22 is quieter when it adjusts.
In terms of placement, the X22i’s motor is under the rear part of the deck, rather than on top of the front part of the deck like traditional treadmills. This means that there isn’t a motor hood to potentially hit your foot on while you run. The incline motor is under the deck at the center, too. The Treadmill 22 has a large motor hood covering the drive and incline motor. With the positioning of the console over the motor hood, you shouldn’t have to worry about hitting it with your foot.
As far as speed range, both models adjust up to 12 mph. This is pretty standard on home treadmills and serves to be a good range for most people to run and even sprint. They both get up to speed in around the same amount of time roughly 20 seconds. This is a reasonable amount of time and I’d say they’re both pretty quick to adjust in terms of speed. Horizon treadmills, which are some of the fastest-adjusting ones we’ve tested, get up to speed a few seconds faster.
The incline and decline are where these treadmills differ and also where they’re most impressive (at least I think so). The Bowflex T22 inclines up to 20% and declines to -5%. This is the highest range we’ve seen on a folding treadmill. It’s tough!
The 40% incline is insane and incredibly difficult to even just walk without holding the upper handles. The decline is similar to the T22 at -6%. Both are noticeable and appreciated for allowing such a great range of decline to work your anterior leg muscles.
NordicTrack X22i Vs. Bowflex Treadmill 22 Deck
Both decks are spacious and accommodate most users’ running strides. So, you’ll have room for running and sprinting. The decks are 22” wide and 60” long. This is an ideal length and the width serves to be plenty of room. The NordicTrack X32i, the premium model to the X22i, has a longer deck at 65” from what we normally see on home treadmills in comparison.
The cushioning is where the X22i and T22 differ pretty greatly. The X22i has some of the softest cushioning we’ve tested. It’s so soft to the point that it can feel a little bouncy to run on at high speeds of over 9 mph. For comfort and shock absorption, I’m more inclined to pick the X22i for my long runs because I tend to get ankle pain when I run on harder surfaces. If you have joint issues the X22i is the model I’d recommend.
The Bowflex T22 has shock absorption to lessen the impact on your joints but feels firmer underfoot. This is beneficial if you’re preparing for a race and want a similar feel to concrete – although it’s much more comfortable to run on than concrete which offers no shock absorption.
Performance & Functionality
Overall, both the NordicTrack X22i Incline Trainer and Bowflex Treadmill 22 performed well for us. These are two of our top recommended treadmills because of how durable and stable they are. The fact that they have high inclines and declines helps, too.
Testing them side by side, we timed how long they take to incline up to 20%. To our surprise, the X22i only took 14 secs versus the T22 took 52 secs. Although their motors adjust at around the same speed, the NordicTrack is much faster at adjusting to the same incline as the Bowflex.
The X22i is also the better option if you want the maximum amount of training capabilities. Because the Bowflex folds up, it’s more friendly if you need a storable treadmill.
The decks look a little different because the front rollers are visible instead of tucked under the motor hood like most models. Even the X22i which doesn’t have a motor hood has the front rollers tucked under a piece of plastic on the front part of the deck. On the Bowflex, this design acts as a hinge when inclining, declining, and folding up the deck.
We recommend and it’s mentioned in the manual, to decline the deck fully before folding. The deck can be folded at a flat grade but the deck doesn’t fold up quite as tightly as when it’s declined.
Even though the Bowflex is foldable, it’s still heavy and difficult to move. It requires being tipped back when it’s folded in order to engage the 2 transportation wheels. The X22i doesn’t fold and the back end must be lifted to wheel it around on the front wheels. This treadmill isn’t easy to move either, so we recommend having a designated space for both, especially the NordicTrack.
Ceiling height is another factor that you should consider when determining which treadmill is better for you and your space. Since these models have high inclines, you’ll need to make sure you have enough head clearance to use them at their full inclines. Because the X22i inclines higher, it requires a taller ceiling. It also has a higher step-up height of 14” from the floor to the top of the side rails when measured at a 0% grade. The T22 has a 10” step-up height, therefore it will work better in a lower ceiling room.
Bowflex offers a little longer warranty than NordicTrack. The Bowflex Treadmill 22 comes with a 15-year frame and motor warranty, a 5-year for mechanical parts warranty, a 1-year warranty for electronics, and 2 years for labor. The NordicTrack X22i comes with a 10-year warranty for the frame, 2 years for parts, and 1 year for labor.
We highly recommend having at least 2-3 people for assembly on either treadmill because of their sizes and to help the process be more efficient.
Bowflex Treadmill 22 vs NordicTrack Commercial 2450
Another comparable treadmill to the Bowflex Treadmill 22 is the NordicTrack Commercial 2450. This is a folding treadmill that can handle the same type of use as the T22. It’s also priced similarly to the Bowflex. The NordicTrack 2450 is more compact and easier to move but doesn’t incline or decline as high as the Treadmill 22. The 2450 is softer to run on and has a slightly easier-to-use and more streamlined console than the T22. The 2450 has fewer storage options on the console and only a 300 lb weight capacity versus the 400 limit that the Bowflex has.
Beyond construction, training content is also a factor. Being from NordicTrack, the 2450 is iFit enabled to offer trainer-led workouts filmed indoors and out, just like the NordicTrack X22i. The Bowflex T22 has JRNY which contains a larger variety of content such as trainer-led classes filmed in a studio, outdoor workouts to explore on your own, and streaming from apps like Hulu and Netflix. Like the NordicTrack X22i and Bowflex Treadmill 22, the NordicTrack 2450 is also on our best treadmills list. We highly recommend all three models, but one is most likely going to align with you, your goals, and where you’re going to put the treadmill in your home better than the other two.