Shopping For A Treadmill? You Must See This Review

You guys have already heard me report that I’m very happy with our new treadmill purchase. I bought the NordicTrack C 990 through Amazon with my own money. (This post/review isn’t sponsored at all). I wanted to share a more formal review of it because:

  1. Lots of you have asked me about both the model and the ordering/delivery/assembly experience.
  2. When I was doing my own research I couldn’t find that many informal, real-person reviews of treadmills.

So forgive me for being a bit redundant with points I have already blogged about. I want to put it all in one big easy-to-read post!

Why Did I Buy A New Treadmill?

As I have already written about, I bought a used treadmill on Craigslist last fall that was a basic model and 10 years old. I loved power walking and eventually running on it after my baby was born. But soon, the wear and tear on such an old machine led to a few problems related to the belt and incline that would cost a few hundred dollars to repair. The treadmill was so old and I was hooked on home workouts, so I decided to invest in a new one instead of trying to sink money into an outdated machine.

Under $1,000

Although I am sure the $4,000 treadmills are amazing, I really just needed something that worked and had a few cool features like quick touch buttons for speed and incline. I will probably never be running more than 4-5 miles indoors, and I am not a serious runner training for marathons. I’m just a thirties mom trying to break a good sweat! Initially I wanted something at the $500-600 price point, and I almost bought this model. However, this review article convinced me that I should get a model that is one step up from the bottom and shared reasons why the 990 was better than the 6.5.

iFit + Touch Screen

Some of those features shared in the article included a better motor and a built-in tablet holder for an iPad, which I knew would be convenient for watching Birch and watching shows through apps.

But the ultimate selling point for me on the 990 was the 7″ screen that is iFit enabled. iFit is a subscription-based program that has a library of coached video workouts filmed all over the world. It’s like the video version of Aaptiv, which I had been using and loving. (I plan on comparing Aaptiv and iFit in another post – I like them both for different reasons!) The coach on your screen guides you through the workout AND CHANGES YOUR SPEED AND INCLINE FOR YOU. Allow me to emphasize how much I love the auto change feature. When I read that iFit could do it, I eliminated any treadmill that wasn’t compatible from my research list. Some of the models (like the 6.5) are “iFit compatible” but you have to have your own screen on a phone or tablet connected through BlueTooth. I thought it made so much sense to have the screen built in, which is why the 990 was my top choice. I knew if you bought the treadmill through NordicTrack you got a free year of iFit (valued at about $180) but I didn’t know if mine would come with it and planned to do a free trial. Imagine my delight when I opened my user manual to find the iFit gift card inside, thus, I’m fairly sure that all new machines come with it.

Ordering Through Amazon

Three cheers for Amazon! When I ordered, and currently as I type this post, both delivery and ASSEMBLY were included. I did pay $19 to have the treadmill delivered to my basement (“any room” fee) and I did tip all of the delivery/assembly guys $60 so technically it wasn’t free free, but compared to the $250 that NordicTrack.com wanted to charge me and compared to the fear of assembling something this big myself, I was very happy. (Even when it’s not on special, the delivery is always free and the assembly is $111 – very reasonable.)

All of the Amazon communication around delivery/assembly was very clear. I scheduled the delivery about 5 days after my purchase and the assembly the following afternoon. We had a snowstorm in Charlottesville, and my UPS package got delayed, but I’ll be darned if those two nice guys didn’t show up on time with my treadmill and carry it up an icy hill to my basement door.

The next day a very nice man came from a local tech company called Techies4Me (contracted through Amazon) that does everything from surround sound to fitness assembly. Brian had my treadmill up and running in about 1.5 hours! Let me tell you: one look inside that box and I was so glad a pro was doing it. I’m sure we could have figured it out, but he worked so quickly that it was the best money never spent (because it was free!)

And How Does It Run?

She runs beautifully! I have gotten on treadmills at hotels before that were so wobbly I felt like it might collapse under me, so my greatest fear was that it wouldn’t “feel solid” but it’s great! I did have to put a little piece of wood under the back wheel to level it because my basement floor is not-so-level, but that made it feel like I was running on a nice, firm surface. I have been sprinting at speeds of 8.0/8.2 just fine!

I love the polished look, and the slots for water/phones/chapstick/headphones are great. Roomy enough for my big Hydroflask bottle too.

The quick touch buttons are awesome, and I love that you can type in “3 then 5” for a speed of 3.5. (On my old one you had to type 3 and then push the ^ arrow 5 times to get to 3.5).

The touch screen is nice. It is a bit on the small side, but I didn’t really think I needed a giant one that would have easily added another few hundred dollars to the price, so I’m happy enough with it. I will say that the interface isn’t the most user friendly, but I have figured it all out now.

The treadmill does fold up and roll around, but I find that to be more of a hassle than it’s worth since we have a nice little mudroom for it.

I am absolutely obsessed with iFit, although I do have some complaints about it. I’m going to save all of those deets for a whole separate post!

Any Cons?

Yes – just a few.

Bluetooth: I thought I would be able to play music (or Aaptiv) through the built-in speakers via Bluetooth, but as far as I know the only way to connect a phone is an audio jack. It seems like the Bluetooth is only able to connect iFit through an app. And I haven’t been able to connect the iFit app for some reason.

Multitasking: Because the touch screen controls both iFit and the manual workouts, you can’t start the belt moving until you select a workout. For example, you can’t walk at a speed of 3 while you browse the built-in workouts or the iFit workouts and then push “go” and immediately switch to the next one. You have to stop whatever you’re doing, rate the workout, and exit to the main screen before you can move onto something else. Basically, the touch screen is both a pro and a con. Sometimes you just need an old fashioned dashboard, yaknowwhati’msayin?

While I can’t speak to long-term use or reliability yet, I am very, very happy with my purchase!

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