NordicTrack T 6.5 Si Treadmill Review – Pros & Cons (2020)

Kristen (Kacey) NelsonKristen (Kacey) Nelson

Last Updated: November 23, 2020

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Treadmill Awards: Best Budget Treadmill 2020

Best Treadmill for 2020
NordicTrack’s 6.5 Si is one of our Best Buy Treadmills of 2020. As the entry-level model in NordicTrack’s T-Series line, the 6.5 Si is often confused with its sister machine, the NordicTrack 6.5 S. The main difference between the two is the 6.5 Si has a 10” full-color HD touchscreen while the 6.5 S, which is less expensive, only has a 5” LCD screen. Slightly more tech-enabled, the 6.5 Si broadcasts iFit programs while still being compact and budget-friendly.

Who It’s For: Users looking for a lightweight folding treadmill that is solid and affordable

The NordicTrack 6.5 Si sits perfectly positioned with features commonly found on more expensive machines. It works best for those who want:

  • High-end tech on a compact footprint
  • Low price tag
  • +10% incline
  • 10mph max speed
  • 1-year free iFit membership
  • FlexSelect cushioning
  • 20” by 55” tread belt

Our Video Review


Pros
  • Bright, eye-catching 10” touchscreen
  • High-end tech for great price
  • Streamlined, easy-to-use console
  • 1-year iFit membership included
  • Textured, 4” non-slip side rails
  • Cushioning in the deck can be turned on or off
  • Affordable and foldable
  • Great for walking or light jogging
  • 300lb user capacity
Cons
  • Heart rate chest strap not included
  • No fans on console
  • Not meant for intense training

FeaturesSpecifications
  • 10″ Smart HD Touchscreen
    • The 6.5 Si includes a 10” HD touchscreen whereas the 6.5 S only has a 5” LCD screen. This is a huge upgrade as the size and interactivity of this screen makes all the difference.
    • Crisp graphics and high resolution on the screen bring life to your run. Whether you are using the engaging iFit programs, or just running in manual mode, the screen is large, directly in your line of vision, and easy to navigate.
    • Touchscreen capabilities make it easy to select both your workouts and stats. You can adjust volume, incline and speed via the touchscreen.
  • Includes 1-Year NordicTrack iFit® membership
    • iFit is NordicTrack’s proprietary database of online classes and outdoor routes filmed all over the world. iFit requires WiFi so you will need internet access to run this program. The onboard programs do not require WiFi.
    • iFit features studio-based classes led by personal trainers who both engage and encourage you during your workout. As you run, the treadmill will automatically adjust incline and speed for you to match the direction of the trainer.
    • It also features outdoor routes filmed everywhere imaginable. These too are led by personal trainers who run just ahead of you, providing input and direction as you run.
  • 10% Incline
    • The 6.5 Si will incline to a 10% grade, which is plenty steep for the average user. Working at an incline engages glutes and hamstrings for balanced leg conditioning. It also provides an added challenge walkers looking for a hearty calorie burn.
  • 300lb Weight capacity
    • The 300lb weight capacity is surprising for such a compact treadmill. The 6.5 is designed to be durable and sturdy. It will fit in your home and support most users.
  • One Touch® Controls
    • Flanking the screen on either side you find OneTouch controls for Speed (right) and Incline (left). Buttons are numbered 1-10 to match each speed or incline, and they provide a quick way to navigate directly from the console.
  • 20 On-Board Workout Programs
    • For those not desiring iFit training, there are 20 onboard workouts on the treadmill. These include basic routines such as HIIT, Hill Climb, and Calorie Burn. You can also run any number of uploaded Google routes and the treadmill will adjust for you to match the actual terrain.
  • 2.6 CHP DurX™ Commercial Plus Motor
    • 2.6 CHP is “continuous horsepower” which means the motor can maintain and hold any preset speed. The motor is self-cooling so it won’t overheat and should accommodate the needs of most users. If plan to do heavy training with long distances and multiple runs – or if you have multiple family members who plan to use the treadmill daily – you may want to look at a treadmill with a slightly more powerful motor. For walkers and light joggers, the 6.5 Si is a great option.
  • 20” x 55” Commercial Tread Belt
    • The tread belt on the 6.5 is commercial grade and you can feel the difference. Reduced vibration in the deck helps stabilize the belt so it doesn’t make that “slapping” sound while running.
    • The 4” side rails alongside the deck are textured and anti-slip. These are angled ever so slightly towards the deck so you don’t accidentally slip off the machine.
  • FlexSelect™ Cushioning
    • Four orange dampeners under the deck allow users to turn the cushioning feature on or off. To turn on, just twist the dampener until it reads: “Cushion.” To mimic outdoor surfaces, turn the dampener until it reads: “Off.” Cushioning helps protect joints from overuse and impact injuries and is one of the main benefits of indoor training.
  • Auxiliary Music Port and Digitally Amplified Speakers
    • You can plug in headphones via the music port or listen to iFit trainers through the console speakers. Sound is crisp and there are multiple volume settings.
  • SpaceSaver® Design with EasyLift™ Assist
    • The 6.5 S folds up simply and easily. Simply grab the bar at the base of the deck and lift — EasyLift assist will help you fold up the machine. Since the footprint is compact, the 6.5 Si is only 73” tall when folded in a vertical position. This makes it so you can keep your treadmill in a common room or even a bedroom and it won’t take up space when not in use. To release, press your foot against the foot bar under the deck and a hydraulic release system lowers it slowly back to the floor.

Construction

  • 2.6 CHP DurX™ Commercial Plus Motor
  • 1.9” Precision and Balanced Non-Flex Rollers
  • 20” x 55” Commercial Tread Belt
  • 54″ H x 36″ W x 73.5″ L Footprint

Console

  • 10” Smart HD Touchscreen
  • Auxiliary Music Port
  • Dual 2” Digitally Amplified Speakers
  • One Touch® Controls

Functionality

  • 0 to +10% Incline
  • 0 to 10MPH Speed
  • Includes 1-Year NordicTrack iFit® membership
  • 20 On-Board Workout Programs
  • FlexSelect™ Cushioning
  • EKG Grip Pulse
  • SpaceSaver® Design with EasyLift™ Assist
  • 300 Lb. User Capacity

Warranty

  • 10-Year Frame Warranty
  • 2-Year Parts Warranty
  • 1-Year Labor Warranty

In-depth Review of NordicTrack T 6.5 Si Treadmill

Construction

Frame

The 6.5 Si is built to be sturdy but still light enough to fold up. The base is constructed of steel side and cross beams to stabilize the deck without weighing it down. Powder coated chrome rails support the handrails and console. The deck is composed of a composite material to keep the running platform durable and solid.

Handrails

  • Depth: 17” handrails extend from the back of the console forward, alongside the deck. The rear 7” are covered in black plastic molding, matching the console. The front 11” are coated with a soft, spongy grip material for a convenient handle.
  • Width: 30” horizontal handrail extends in front of the console. This grip has EKG sensors for each hand.
  • Comfort: I like the coating that lines the forward handrails. More expensive treadmills have a black plastic molding here that protects the rails, but I actually prefer the material on the 6.5 Si. It rivals what you find on spin bike handlebars, and I find it easier to grip.

Deck

  • Cushioning: FlexSelect cushioning is designed to reduce joint impact. There is tremendous value in this feature! Because running is such a high-impact exercise, impact injuries and discomfort are a common complaint. The 6.5 Si allows runners and walkers alike to enjoy a cushioned feel on a sleek surface while exercising indoors. Orange dampeners under the deck support and moderate cushioning so users can turn it on or off as desired. I would recommend leaving the cushioning ‘on’ unless otherwise needed. This useful feature enhances comfort and reduces impact and fatigue.
  • Length/Width: At 20 inches wide by 55 inches long, the length of the running belt is long enough to accommodate most runners. Any longer and the machine would be top heavy when folded. The belt size allows for full stride length with just a little extra wiggle room along the sides. One item to note: When running on any treadmill, it is tempting to hover your body directly in front of the console. For walking and light running this works fine, but at an incline or running fast, you may find the sole of your shoe will occasionally graze the top of the hood. This has more to do with body positioning than the length of the deck, and it is easily rectified by repositioning closer to the midline of the platform.

  • Hood: The hood on the 6.5 is a bit long. It protrudes 13” from the front of the deck. While it isn’t raised as high off the deck as the Sole F63 machine, I did graze it a few times with my shoe. If you stand back on the machine further this doesn’t happen, but I did come in contact with the hood once or twice when reaching for the console.
  • Belt: The commercial grade belt on the 6.5 Si is durable with a slightly textured surface. I’ve run on other treadmills in this price range and the feel of the belt can vary tremendously. The 6.5 Si belt is not overly slick nor does it catch the sole of my shoe while in use.

Motor

The 2.6 CHP motor is self-cooling, so it should keep itself cool during light walking and jogging sessions. The motor adjusts incline and speed so it controls much of your running experience. While the 6.5 Si motor is not as powerful as some, I tested it under several conditions. Using interval training, I toggled between speed settings quickly and often. The motor responded evenly without any hiccup during adjustments. Similarly, I also moved the incline and decline several times throughout and even during speed adjustments to see if the motor could handle both. I would recommend looking at a slightly more powerful motor if you have multiple users in your family or plan to do heavy training.

Console/Controls

Updated in 2020, the console on the 1750 has been simplified. Button array was streamlined to reduce any unnecessary clutter on the console. Icons pertaining to iFit navigation now appear in the touchscreen. Screen size was also increased from 7” to 10”.

Screen

  • The 10” touchscreen on the 6.5 Si is easy to navigate and I found it responsive even with sweaty hands. The images and videos are colorful and easy to watch. I didn’t find the screen too bright or dim. It also pivots up and down so you can find just the right tilt to avoid reflective overhead lighting. Because iFit is such a prominent component on the 6.5 Si, the added screen size really helps feature the eye-catching videography of the classes and outdoor locales.

Layout

  • The layout of the console is streamlined and simple, making navigation easy. QuickControl buttons flank the screen while volume controls lie just beneath with the speakers on either side. In the lower right, there’s an aux import. Manual controls for incline and speed are set lower, at approximately thumb height. Start and Stop and the Safety Key buttons are also centered and easy to see. There is a ledge just below volume control that is plenty wide to hold a phone or tablet. A phone should fit fine here, while a tablet may block the lower part of the screen. A front grip bar extends horizontally at the base of the console with EKG sensors on either side for heart rate stats.

Speakers/Other Accessories

  • Two 2” Amplified Speakers sit on the sides of the console and provide plenty of volume. The sound is crisp. Volume can be regulated to control: overall sound, music, and trainer. I like that you can turn the music all the way down and turn the trainer’s voice all the way up. In addition to speakers, I would like NordicTrack to offer Closed Captioning for iFit programs. This is not presently available.
  • Storage Pockets on either side of the console are wide and deep enough to accommodate large water bottles.

Functionality

Performance

The 6.5 Si is a comfortable treadmill. The combination of the right sized motor, good rollers, a sturdy belt, and deck cushioning create a smooth surface for running or walking. Speed and incline settings provide just enough challenge and the onboard and iFit programs keep you engaged.

Incline range

A 10% incline max on the 6.5 Si offers plenty of training variables. Incline training not only conditions the legs for outdoor hills, it also strengthens the hamstrings to offset quad dominance. It is especially useful for walkers because when you walk at a steep grade, you naturally lengthen your stride and swing your arms for a greater full-body workout. Also, a steeper grade requires more effort, so you can crank up that metabolic output, while still enjoying the low-impact benefits of walking.

20 Pre-programmed workouts

For those days when you just want to climb on the treadmill and go, the onboard programs provide lots of preset options for: intervals, hills, calorie burn, fat burn, etc. When you select any program, the display provides a graph of the full routine, so you know what to expect. A simple manual lap screen is also available. There’s no audio in these programs, so they are great to keep track of your stats while you listen to music, a podcast or even read a book.

Subscription Options: iFit

iFit is NordicTrack’s premier fitness database. iFit is constantly updated and offers over 16,000 different workouts.

  • Studio-based classes include: bootcamp, interval training, and combo routines that alternate strength training with running segments. The trainer provides direction as he/she works alongside you and other participants in the studio. iFit automatically adjusts the speed and incline for you at the direction of the trainer. (You can override this at any point — just hit any QuickControl speed or incline button to adjust as needed.)
  • iFit also offers outdoor runs in any number of exotic places. I joined Gideon Akande on a run through Dragon Crest trail in Krabi, Thailand. You follow along on the treadmill as he navigates the real terrain just ahead of you. The treadmill automatically inclines and declines to match the actual grade as you run. The scenery is breathtaking and Gideon did a good job of keeping it interesting. The total caloric expenditure is calibrated to match your weight, incline and speed so if you go faster or slower, it will be reflected in your stats. However, the program and distance is set, so even if you run faster, the trainer and route will take the preset time to complete.
  • Off-the-treadmill classes are also available. Log into iFit from any tablet or computer and from the Main Menu bar, select the “Daily Workout” tab. It will bring up class options like: kickboxing, yoga, HIIT, dumbbells or Fit in 15 (for when you only have 15minutes). You do not need to be by your treadmill to access these classes, which means you can use iFit even while travelling.

iFit provides enough options and programs that it eliminates the need for a gym membership. I would recommend perusing NordicTrack’s website and the iFit website to see everything it has to offer.

Noise

The 6.5 Si is remarkably quiet. I want to say it’s quieter than some of the much more expensive treadmills we have here in the studio. Regardless of incline, there is very little foot noise while walking and not much more while running. Quiet deck impact is one of the features I was most impressed by on this machine.

Storage / Folding

The 6.5 Si is a folding treadmill and a dandy one at that. Folding it is simple and only requires one person (and maybe just one hand). Just grab the bar at the base of the deck and lift. There is no “release” lever to raise the deck. It latches securely in place when folded up and will stay locked until you press the foot release bar underneath. As the deck descends, the hydraulic system will engage to gently rest it on the floor, you don’t have to pull or push it down.

You can also roll your treadmill out of the way as needed. There are two wheels under the front so you can tip the treadmill towards yourself, rocking it back onto the wheels. It is then easy to roll or slide out of the room or into a closet.


Items of Note

The 6.5 Si is the entry-level treadmill in NordicTrack’s T-Series line. It is a great intro to the features and benefits of an in-home treadmill. Note that the size and motor will not support all types of users so if you plan to run hard, long or have multiple users, a more powerful machine may work better.


Bottom Line:

There are good reasons why NordicTrack’s 6.5 Si is one of our Best Buy Treadmills of 2020. It is a great entry-level option with a surprising 10” HD touchscreen, iFit subscription, and cushioned deck. The compact footprint and folding capability make it a great option for small homes or apartments.

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