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Last Updated: August 24, 2023
The NordicTrack RW900 is NordicTrack’s premier indoor rowing machine. With a 22” touchscreen secured over the flywheel, this is a high-tech machine with magnetic resistance and comfortable geometry that can be stored upright when not in use. iFit has thousands of classes that are led by encouraging instructors to take your fitness to the next level. The silent magnetic resistance makes the NordicTrack RW900 Rower perfect for those in shared spaces, too. In this review of the NordicTrack RW900 Rower, I’ll guide you through the ins and outs of this rower so you can decide if it’s right for you.
Rowing Machine Awards:
The NordicTrack RW900 Rower is awarded our most versatile home rowing machine on our list of best rowing machines. We love its large 22” touch screen that lets you row in locations all around the world and then pivots to either side of the rower to follow it up with a yoga or strength training class to add a lot of variety to your training. iFit offers thousands of workouts both on and off the rower and the RW900 is a very versatile machine.
Why You Should Trust Our Review Of The NordicTrack RW900 Rower
We test out rowing machines like we test our other equipment, side by side with our reviewers switching back and forth between models. We have the unique opportunity to have a lot of equipment available to us for testing, including numerous rowers. This way, when we get a new rower in, we can pull out the ones we have to see how it compares.
We compared the NordicTrack RW900 Rower to the Hydrow, Hydrow Wave, ProForm Pro R10 Rower, and the Concept2 rower. We compared everything from the seat, handle, pedals, content, resistance, and overall build and performance to bring you this review. Our goal is to help you find the best rower for you.
Our NordicTrack RW900 Rower Video Review
- 22” Tilt & Pivot Smart HD Touchscreen
- iFit Enabled with Free 30-Day Trial
- Thousands of Trainer-led Rowing and Mat Classes with iFit
- Onboard Workouts Included
- Bluetooth Headphone Connectivity
- 30W Premium Sound System
- AutoAdjust Technology
- Adjustable Magnetic Resistance
- 26 Digital Resistance Level
- Front-mounted Transport Wheels
- Stores Upright
- Footprint: 82″ L x 22″ W x 54″ H
- Rower Weight: 163 lbs (In Box)
- Weight Capacity: 250 lbs
- Oversized Steel Seat Rail
- Ergonomic, Molded Seat
- Oversized, Pivoting Pedals
- Adjustable Nylon Foot Straps
- Ergonomic Handle
- Warranty: 10 years for the frame, 2 years for parts, and 1 year for labor
In-depth Review of NordicTrack RW900 Rower
iFit is a complete training platform that offers thousands of trainer-led workout classes. The classes are available to take on-demand and iFit comes enabled on equipment from brands like NordicTrack and ProForm. iFit comes free for the first month with the purchase of the NordicTrack RW900 Rower. We highly recommend subscribing because iFit certainly enhances the overall experience of this rower. However, you can use the RW900 without a subscription, which I’ll get into a little later. First, here’s an overview of what you can expect with an iFit subscription on the RW900.
iFit’s classes are filmed indoors in professional studios and outdoors on water locations all over the world. Indoor classes feature a trainer in front of you and often with other participants who are rowing alongside them. The trainers provide cues for form and guide you through the workout.
The outdoor classes are where the experience on the RW900 is really enhanced. These classes take place on the water with the instructor guiding you through the workout while rowing. Often the camera pans to the surrounding landscapes so you can kind of feel like you’re there, too.
Compared to other rowing machines with subscription content, iFit definitely provides a wide variety. Not only can you utilize the RW900’s screen while rowing, but you can also access mat classes like strength training, yoga, and meditation. So, when you’re done with a rowing session you can follow it up with some yoga with iFit.
Other rowers like the Hydrow and Hydrow Wave have their own training platform that also features outdoor rowing content led by instructors. The biggest difference I’ve noticed between the two subscriptions is what direction the camera is placed. Hydrow points the camera at the instructor as they row backward, so they can talk to the camera versus mainly seeing the perspective of the instructor or a side profile view of the instructor.
I like how both are filmed and don’t have a personal preference of which view I like to see. Both add a lot of value to each of these rowers. iFit is a bit more versatile in the variety of content offered because you can take classes on other types of machines, as well as on the mat.
There are pre-programmed workouts that are available to take on the RW900 Rower without a subscription to iFit. These workouts guide you through various intensities and resistance. There is also a featured workout of the day from iFit that is free for non-subscribers, so you can enjoy whatever class or outdoor rowing route is promoted. The onboard workouts are sufficient to keep you active and provide plenty of training variables. But if you are willing to invest in the gorgeous 22” touchscreen, we suggest using iFit, since it makes the RW900 much more enjoyable.
The console pretty much entirely consists of the 22” touch screen. It’s important to note that all of the functionality of the RW900 Rower is within the screen. The screen is where you’ll access iFit, manual mode, and the pre-programmed workouts. It’s also where you adjust the magnetic resistance and speaker volume.
You can also adjust the volume of the iFit content and iFit music just below the screen in between the front-mounted speakers. These speakers are nice and loud, so you shouldn’t have any problem hearing the content on the screen. You can also connect your Bluetooth headphones to the speakers.
The 22” touch screen tilts so you can avoid any overhead glare and keep the screen within eye level while using the RW900. The screen also rotates so you can use it for iFit classes off the rower like Pilates and strength training, as I mentioned earlier.
For additional accessories and storage options, the NordicTrack RW900 Rower doesn’t come with any. There isn’t a fan or a tablet holder attached to the console. This is another reason why I suggest getting a subscription to iFit. There also isn’t a place to put your water bottle, like most home rowers.
We are impressed with how solid and sturdy the NordicTrack RW900 is. The RW900 has received a small facelift this year, but it really maintains the same design and stability as the previous model.
We are a little disappointed that it only has a 250 lb weight capacity. Other rowers like the Concept2 have a 500 lb limit. Even the Hydrow has an impressive 375 lb weight limit. Users up to the 250 lb limit should be able to use the RW900 rower just fine though.
The large, stable design is mainly due to the steel stabilizers and oversized steel monorail. This makes the RW900 feel incredibly stable when you’re on it. Underneath the front and rear stabilizers are adjustable leveling feet to plant the rower firmly on the floor and eliminate any movement of the machine.
The largest difference between the previous model and this new model of the RW900 is the monorail. It still slightly slopes downward to the front to help encourage you back into the recovery and catch from the finish. The base below the rail is now thiccc. It still functions the same as the previous model and it feels smooth and stable, but comparing the rowers side by side you can see this difference.
There’s also minimal noise from the seat as it moves over the steel rail. This rail is more heavy-duty than the ProForm Pro R10 Rower, but it doesn’t fold up as the ProForm does.
- Footprint: 82″ L x 22″ W x 54″ H
- Pedals: 13” L
- Monorail: 53” L x 15” H
- Saddle: 12” wide x 10” deep
- Belt Drive: 29” from where the belt feeds out to the ground
Footboard & Pedals
I’m a fan of the velcro foot straps. They’re easy to adjust and I’m able to put them on and take them off very quickly. They keep your feet secure when in use. The pedals also help to secure your feet in place. They’re adjustable to fit your foot size, and the back holds your heels in place. The pedals do allow some ankle flexion while staying gripped to your shoe.
I did find the pedals to be a little sticky to adjust at first, but it gets easier with use. The footboards are nice and large to accommodate a wide variety of sized users, too.
The handle on the NordicTrack RW900 is pretty straight and has a nice texture that doesn’t feel slippery. It isn’t completely round, but more of an oval shape so it doesn’t allow for other gripping options or single-armed rowing like the Concept2. It would be nice if it was a little longer, our largest reviewer wished he could have a little wider grip on it. I do prefer a rounder handle like on the Hydrow Rowers but didn’t have any problems using the RW900 handle. My hands didn’t get fatigued or uncomfortable after working out either.
The seat is lightly padded and minimally contoured. The Hydrow has more contouring for tailbone support, which we prefer. The padding on the RW900’s seat is enough though so I don’t find it too hard or uncomfortable to sit on.
The NordicTrack RW900 Rower sits pretty high off the ground. This makes it ideal for those with mobility issues that inhibit them from sitting low on the ground. It’s also easy to get on and off. The seat is 19” high from the top of the seat to the floor when measured in the middle of the rail. In comparison, the Concept2 air rower seat sits about 14” high off the ground. This makes the NordicTrack RW900 a little more convenient to get on and off.
The seat does shift a little bit from side to side if you shift your body this way while sitting. It’s pretty typical on most home rowers and doesn’t affect your positioning or the stability of the seat while rowing though.
The RW900 Rower uses a belt that’s attached to the flywheel and the handle. This is where you get the tension to pull from. The belt is a significant reason why the RW900 is so quiet to use. Other rowers use a chain drive which can make a clanking noise when rowing. Most rowers that we recommend for homes have belt drive systems. Belts typically require little to no maintenance and make each stroke feel really smooth.
The flywheel is inertia enhanced so it keeps the entire stroke smooth, too. We did notice that the belt does lose a little bit of tension in the recovery after the finish. There isn’t slack in the belt like the ProForm Pro R10 Rower gets when stronger users row, but it doesn’t keep the tension quite as much as either of the Hydrow Rowers.
This isn’t a huge problem, but we do discourage advanced and really strong rowers from using the RW900. This shouldn’t be an issue for more beginner and intermediate users. The former might be able to out-row the magnetic resistance as well.
The NordicTrack RW900 uses adjustable magnetic resistance. This makes it extremely quiet to use. It is actually quieter than the original Hydrow which also uses this type of resistance. As mentioned above, some users might not find the tension from magnetic resistance to be enough for them to row against. If this is the case for you, we recommend checking out air and water rowers. The harder you pull with these rowers, the more tension you get, and air rowers offer unlimited resistance.
Air rowers are loud though and might not be suitable for some spaces. The RW900 is perfect for any home setting because it makes little to no sound. The only sound is from the speakers when you’re using iFit or the preprogrammed workouts.
The magnetic resistance has 26 levels of resistance. You can adjust this on the screen in manual mode and in any of the iFit workouts. The 26 levels provide a good range of resistance to pull against.
Performance & Functionality
The NordicTrack RW900 feels incredibly stable to use. All of our reviewers found the RW900 to be comfortable and solid. It performed well for us as well.
We do feel like this rower is best for beginners and intermediates. The magnetic resistance has a maximum resistance which might not be suitable for some users. It also only has a 250 lb weight capacity, so we don’t recommend it to be used by people over that limit. Our largest reviewer is 6’5”, 230 lbs (pictured above) and he is able to use the RW900 just fine though. And in addition to increasing and decreasing the resistance, you can also change and adjust the intensity of your workout by increasing and decreasing your strokes per minute, as you can do on most rowing machines of different types.
The seat is a little higher in relation to the pedals, which might be better for beginners, too. Water rowers typically have lower seats that are in line with the pedals, making them a little harder for some people to use, but better for more advanced rowers since it resembles using an outdoor rowing shell.
I really like the swiveling touchscreen. A big factor for me is if I can reach the screen when I’m strapped in. I can easily navigate iFit while having my feet strapped into the pedals. For some rowers, I have to unstrap my feet to reach the screen, but the RW900 is close enough so I don’t have this problem. I can also adjust the screen so it is a little closer to me, too.
I do wish there were quick touch buttons on the console or handle though. This would make changing the resistance more accessible than having to access it through the screen. The ProForm Pro R10 Rower has a row of buttons under the screen to quickly click which resistance level you want to row at. The RW900 does automatically adjust the resistance during iFit workouts with the AutoAdjust feature though.
This design of the NordicTrack RW900 Rower doesn’t fold up. It can be stored upright, however. Plus, there are 2 wheels on the front so it can be moved around if needed. Keep in mind that there isn’t a way to collapse the screen or fold it inward so you need to factor in some extra floor space for the screen and the arm post that holds the screen when you store the RW900 upright.
NordicTrack offers a 10-year warranty for the frame, a 2-year warranty for parts, and a 1-year warranty for labor on the RW900 Rower.