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Last Updated: May 30, 2023
The NordicTrack EXP 7i is an entry-level model from NordicTrack. Although it’s a lower-end model, the EXP 7i shouldn’t be dismissed as just another cheap treadmill. This model has similar capabilities as higher-end models from NordicTrack. For starters, iFit is available on the 7” touch screen for access to thousands of guided classes, the ability to create your own training routes, and automatic adjustability throughout your workout. The 2.6 CHP motor is great for light to moderate use like walking and jogging for a few miles per day. Plus, the cushioning is comfortable and softer than what we see from other budget-friendly treadmills. In our NordicTrack EXP 7i Treadmill review, I’ll go over how it performed for us and give you all of the ins and outs so you know what to expect.
Why You Should Trust Our Review Of The NordicTrack EXP 7i Treadmill
We extensively test every treadmill that comes into our studio. All of our reviewers hop on and check out every component on each treadmill. We assess the construction, frame, motor, handles, deck, cushioning, noise, console, and content. Our goal is to provide you with insight to help you make informed buying decisions. We also hope you’ll take home a treadmill that you love.
When testing the NordicTrack EXP 7i, we placed it next to models like the ProForm Carbon T7, Sole F63, and Horizon T101, to name a few, and we hopped back and forth to see how the EXP 7i compares to these other models and to bring you this comprehensive review.
- The touch screen is enabled with iFit to offer thousands of workouts and automatic adjustability for hands-free training.
- This is a good budget option that comes with similar features as higher-end models.
- It’s compact, lightweight, and foldable to work well in most homes.
- The deck has softer cushioning than other models in its class.
- The 2.6 CHP motor is best for walking, jogging, and light running.
- There is a place to put your phone/tablet to stream whatever content you want.
- The 7” touch screen is small and harder to see and navigate if you have limited vision.
- This model isn’t best for extensive training and long-distance running.
- The incline function is a little noisy.
- 7” Tilt HD touchscreen
- iFit enabled with a free 30-day trial
- AutoAdjust (with iFit)
- Active Pulse (with iFit)
- Quick-touch adjustment buttons
- Bluetooth headphone and heart rate connectivity
- Premium audio speakers
- No fan
- Device rack
- Folding deck
- Transportation wheels
- Footprint: 70.8” L x 34.9” W x 59.7” H
- Motor: 2.6 CHP
- Deck: 20” W x 55” L
- Weight Capacity: 300 lbs
- Treadmill Weight: 228 lbs (in box)
- Incline: 12%
- Speed: 10 mph
- Runner’s Flex Cushioning
- Warranty: 10 years frame, 2 years parts, and 1-year labor
In-depth Review of NordicTrack EXP 7i Treadmill
Being that the EXP 7i is from NordicTrack, it is enabled with iFit. iFit is a complete training platform that offers classes led by instructors on equipment such as treadmills, exercise bikes, ellipticals, rowers, and mat classes like yoga, strength training, and meditations. iFit is found on equipment from NordicTrack, ProForm, Matrix, and FreeMotion.
iFit comes free for the first month with the purchase of the NordicTrack EXP 7i. After the free trial, you must pay a membership fee to use iFit, otherwise, there are onboard workouts and a manual mode available to use on the EXP 7i without a subscription. I’ll get into this below, but what do you get with a subscription to iFit?
The library is updated regularly and all of the classes are on-demand which means they can be taken whenever you want. Each class is led by an instructor and filmed either indoors in a studio or outdoors in locations all around the world.
Filmed on every continent, you have the choice of taking a walk through Venice, Italy, or trekking through glaciers in Alaska on the EXP 7i. The instructor acts as your own personal tour guide to give you fun facts about the area while encouraging you to keep up your pace. The camera pans to show shots of the landscape throughout each class, too.
The indoor classes are modeled after in-person studio fitness classes The camera points at the instructor and sometimes there are other participants who are taking the workout in real time, seen on the outer edges of the screen.
In all of these workouts, music plays in the background. You can mute the music or even the instructor’s voice if you want to though. There are preselected playlists of songs that a split into different genres like radio stations. You can change each station throughout your workout. This is where I’d like to see iFit improved upon. Music can be a huge contributor to the overall energy of the workout. I think incorporating music in iFit’s indoor classes could help improve the experience of these workouts.
When you want to create your own workouts and explore on your own, there is a Google Map feature. This feature lets you draw routes anywhere in the world. When you’re running the route, Google Images pop up on the screen to show you the location. This is found in the “create” button on the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen on the EXP 7i in iFit’s library.
Overall, iFit has a lot to offer. The instructors are very knowledgeable and there are over 180 so you’re sure to find at least one that you like, if not a few. On the NordicTrack EXP 7i, you can take running, walking, hiking, and interval workouts. With all there is to choose from, we highly recommend checking it out on the EXP 7i.
So, iFit is great if you love trainer-led content, but if you don’t, don’t worry, the EXP 7i can be used without it. Without a subscription, the EXP 7i comes with onboard workouts, a couple of trainer-led iFit classes, and a manual mode. If you’ve ever used a treadmill at the gym, the onboard workouts are like that. Manual mode can of course be used with an iFit membership too, but we appreciate all the programming included without paying an extra fee.
It’s pretty small, but it does its job of displaying iFit, the onboard workouts, and your workout metrics like time, distance, speed, and calories. The screen isn’t very adjustable. It’s essentially a small tablet built into the console and it can be tilted up and down very slightly for better viewing depending on your line of sight. Also, this screen might be hard for some to see and navigate, especially if you have limited visibility because of its size.
This screen obviously doesn’t make for the most interactive training experience visually, but the screen and console provide a lot of the same features found on NordicTrack’s higher-end treadmills.
For starters, the EXP 7i will automatically adjust the incline and speed of the treadmill throughout your iFit workout. So, if the iFit instructor says to bump up your speed, the treadmill will do that for you. You can adjust the treadmill on your own whenever you want, too, but this is a really nice feature.
For adjusting the EXP 7i yourself, there’s plenty of functionality. The numbered buttons on either side of the 7” screen allow you to quickly adjust to whatever speed and incline. For instance, when you press 4 on the right and 2 on the left, the treadmill will adjust to 4 mph and 2% incline.
I also like that the buttons to adjust the incline and speed are below the quick-touch number buttons. These are nice to use when you want to adjust the treadmill by .1 mph and .5% grades. The start and stop buttons are conveniently located below the screen, too.
The speakers are clear, offer a nice amount of volume, and project the sound at you. There isn’t a fan built into the console like the EXP 10i and EXP 14i. We wish there was one built into the slot above the fan. You’ll have to plug in your own fan if you want to cool off while you work out.
The new design for the EXP 7i has been modeled after the Commercial Series when it was updated with this look in 2022. It is streamlined with the same cupholders as the Commercial Series Treadmills, but the EXP 7i has a rack to put your phone or tablet. This is an excellent addition because it lets you stream your own content. This way you’re not locked into using the touch screen, although you’ll need it to see where the treadmill is adjusted to.
The construction of the NordicTrack EXP 7i is compact, fairly lightweight, and streamlined from the previous version. The new EXP 7i is all-black so it looks pretty sleek. It has a 300 lb weight limit, which is standard for NordicTrack Treadmills and common for treadmills in its class. Treadmills with higher weight limits are usually larger and higher priced.
Two steel uprights connect to the frame and extend up to the handles which are built into the console.
I’ll admit I was a little nervous about the overall stability, especially in the console because there is no longer a steel crossbar in between the uprights. The console, and treadmill in general, are sturdy though. I even put my large Stanley Cup in the cupholder and it remained in place with very little rattle. My phone also stayed on the device rack because the console and screen manages to be stable without wobbling like some entry-level models.
The handles don’t extend very far on either side of the deck, but they’re covered with textured plastic so they don’t feel slippery. Also, with the compact nature of the EXP 7i, the handles and console are well within reach. I like that the front horizontal handle is one continuous handle without a separation in the middle like the previous model. This makes it easier to grab when you need to.
The motor is 2.6 CHP. This motor is slightly smaller than the Sole F63, but comparable to the ProForm Carbon T7 and Horizon T101. We recommend it for primarily walking and jogging and some light running. If you plan on walking and/or jogging for a few miles a day, this motor should handle that. It’s not best for running at higher speeds for long periods and distance training though.
The speed goes up to 10 mph which is a quick pace for most. The deck inclines up to 12% to offer a good amount of incline, too. It inclines a little higher than the T101 and Carbon T7, so you get a little more range than those treadmills.
As far as noise, the drive motor that moves the belt is pretty quiet, but the incline motor is a little noisy and slower to adjust. The Sole F63 and T101 have quieter inclines in comparison. The overall sound output on the EXP 7i is pretty quiet though.
For an entry-level model, the deck is comparable in size to other budget-friendly treadmills. It is 20” wide and 55” long. With this size, some users with long-running strides might not be able to comfortably run on the deck. 60” is the ideal length for most, however, for slower jogging and shorter running strides, 55” should be sufficient.
He has a shorter stride so he’s able to get up to a good jogging pace on the EXP 7i. I’m our shortest reviewer and I have a fairly short running stride so I’m able to run on the deck at the highest speed.
The cushioning in the deck really helps set the NordicTrack EXP 7i apart from other entry-level models though. It’s soft and comparable to some higher-end models. If you have joint issues, I recommend considering the EXP 7i. Even for walking, the deck cushioning feels comfortable and helps lessen the impact on your joints.
Overall, I’m really pleased with the new design of the NordicTrack EXP 7i. It’s functional, compact, and budget-friendly yet it features some components found on higher-end models. It performed well for us – it’s stable, sturdy, and pretty quiet. It’s not the quietest treadmill we’ve tested but it has a pretty low foot noise. It’s just the incline that is a little loud but that’s common for treadmills in this price range.
We recommend the EXP 7i for users looking for a walking and jogging treadmill. We also recommend it if you want similar functionality and cushioning to higher-end models but for a fraction of the price. This treadmill is a good pick if you like trainer-led content and want to read or watch something from your own device from time to time.
What makes the EXP 7i great for most homes is the fact that it’s pretty compact, foldable, and lightweight. It can be used on upper-level floors, and the deck isn’t overly large and it folds up and locks into place when you’re finished. The deck uses a hydraulic system to fold and unfold the deck so you don’t have to worry about it dropping and damaging your floor or yourself like the ProForm Carbon T7. When unlocked, the deck slowly lowers to the ground itself. Plus, you get some assistance when lifting the deck so you don’t have to worry about throwing your back out.
When the deck is folded, you just have to tilt it back to engage the two transportation wheels.
Like most other models from NordicTrack, the EXP 7i comes with a 10-year warranty for the frame, a 2-year warranty for parts, and a 1-year warranty for labor. Assembly is pretty straightforward, but having two people for set up is a good idea.
Bottom Line Review: NordicTrack EXP 7i Treadmill
The NordicTrack EXP 7i is an entry-level treadmill that has a nice amount of tech and high-end features for a budget-friendly price. The EXP 7i is a great pick if you’re looking for a compact, lightweight, folding treadmill that has a touchscreen with interactive content. The 2.6 CHP motor is quiet and capable of handling light to moderate use. The 55” long deck is great for walking and jogging. If you have a shorter stride, running is possible too. We really love how soft the cushioning is compared to other cheap treadmills. You’ll also be getting automatic adjustability throughout your workouts when you subscribe to iFit and the option to stream your own content from your device. The NordicTrack EXP 7i is definitely a treadmill to consider if any of this sounds like it aligns with your goals.