NordicTrack RW200 Rower ReviewThe NordicTrack RW200 Rower is this popular fitness company’s only rowing machine.

With such a solid reputation, one would expect to see an equally as good rowing machine.

The RW200 Rower provides a smooth, strong rowing stroke that is great for all ages and fitness levels.

It also features all the great benefits of other high-end rowing machines like providing a full-body workout with very low impact.

Functionally the NordicTrack Rowing Machine is an excellent product that many people would be happy to own.

However, there are a few small setbacks such as large fluctuations in price during the year and a lower than normal resistance strength.

I go over both of these issues in my review below!

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Table of Contents
(click a title to jump ahead!)

1. Resistance Type
2. Monitor/Control Panel
3. Build Quality
4. Comfort
5. Storage
6. Capacity
7. Dimensions
8. Assembly
9. Pros and Cons
10. Consumer Reviews
11. Warranty
12. Price
13. Overall Review

Resistance Type

The NordicTrack RW200 Rower is an air resistance rowing machine.

Like all other air rowers, the resistance works by first pulling the handle and spinning a flywheel at the front of the machine.

As the flywheel spins, air is sucked into the housing and creates resistance against the spinning flywheel.

The faster a user rows, the faster the flywheel spins, which in return creates more airflow and resistance.

Simply put, the faster you row the more resistance you create.

This type of resistance is classified as ‘variable’ and is the same as a water rowing machine.

It differs from ‘adjustable’ resistance, which is found on magnetic and hydraulic piston rowers.

You can read about all four resistance type in this comparison article.

The NordicTrack Rowing Machine offers a smooth, strong rowing stroke with many great qualities that I mention below.

Resistance Positives

There are a lot of great things about the RW200 resistance.  Many people love air resistance rowing machines because what you put into it, is what you get out of it.

This is due to the ‘variable’ resistance mentioned earlier and the fact that you must row fast to get a good workout.

NordicTrack RW200 Resistance Strength

This type of resistance is great for HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts because a rower can speed up or slow down without having to change any settings and resistance will automatically adjust to your speed.  This is why air resistance rowers are seen in every Crossfit style gym.

Air resistance rowers also closely mimic the resistance felt when rowing in a scull on water, which is why all Olympic rowers and athletes use air rowers.

Users felt the RW200 Rower offered adequate resistance for beginner and intermediate rowers.  They also enjoyed the light breeze created by the fan, which helped cool them down during an intense workout!

Damper Setting

An added benefit of the RW200 Rower is that the “inertia enhanced flywheel” has a built in “damper setting” much like the Concept2 rowers.

While NordicTrack calls this “adjustable” resistance, they are not correct in saying that.  The “adjustable resistance” they are referring to is a handle that controls the amount of airflow into the flywheel (seen in the photo below).  You can set it from level 1 all the way to level 10.

NordicTrack RW200 Rower Damper Setting

Level 1 allows the least amount of air to enter the flywheel, which in return causes the flywheel to spin more freely and feel “less resistance”.  This can be compared to rowing in a light, sleek rowing boat.

Level 10 allows the most air into the flywheel, which creates “more resistance”.  This can be compared to rowing in a big, heavy boat.

While this may sound like adjustable resistance, it technically is not.  Concept2 compares it to being “similar to bicycle gearing: it affects how rowing feels but does not directly affect the resistance.”  If this is confusing you can read their Damper 101 article here.

Resistance Negatives

The first negative to mention when dealing with all air rowing machines is that they are the noisiest of all resistance types.

While many users felt the NoricTrack Rowing Machine was quieter than other air rowers, they did mention the volume on a TV would need to be turned up to hear.  However, you should not worry about waking a person up in another room or bothering your neighbors in an adjacent apartment.

Other users felt the resistance on the NordicTrack RW200 Rower was a bit weak and wished it was stronger. Of these complaints, at least half of the people did not understand the difference between “variable” and “adjustable” resistance.

They often said the resistance on level 10 can hardly be felt.  This is because a user must row faster to feel higher resistance.  You cannot row slow and feel strong resistance on an air rowing machine, even at level 10.  That type of resistance can be found on magnetic rowers.

With that being said, I do think the resistance is a little weaker than what is found on the Concept2 Rowers. One user compared the level 10 on the RW200 Rower to a level 6 or 7 on the Concept2.

Unless you are extremely fit and used to rowing on a Concept2, I think the resistance provided by the NordicTrack Rower will be suitable.

Just make sure you understand the difference between ‘variable’ and ‘adjustable’ resistance.

Overall

The NordicTrack RW200 resistance provides a smooth, strong rowing stroke that is great for almost all ages and fitness levels.

While the resistance strength may not be adequate for more advance users, I think it is great for a majority of people looking for ‘variable’ resistance.

Monitor/Control Panel

The NordicTrack RW200 Rower comes with a fully adjustable monitor with a backlit display that features a watts meter, i-Pod compatible sound system, and 20 workout apps.

The fitness monitor tracks various data such as:

  • Calories
  • Distance
  • Strokes
  • Strokes Per Minute (SPM)
  • Time
  • Watts (Power)
  • Watts Meter

The monitor will turn on automatically and can be adjusted up or down based on the users height and preference.

NordicTrack Rowing Machine Monitor

The console uses 4 D-batteries or an optional power adapter can be purchased instead.

Display & Programs

The data will be displayed in three windows: Upper, Center, and Lower.

  • Upper Display will show the watts and watts meter or the strokes per minute (SPM).
  • Center Display will show either the time, distance, or strokes.
  • Lower Display will show the calories.

NordicTrack Rower Monitor

You can row at your own leisure by selecting the “Manual Mode” and pressing the “Priority Display” button until the data you want is displayed in the correct window.  The data can also be displayed in a scan mode.

Another option is to choose 1 of 20 preset “Watts or Calories” workout programs.  Each program displays a target zone on the watts meter that you need to stay in to complete the workout. The monitor will notify you when you fall out of range.

These programs were designed by a certified personal trainer so you are sure to get a kick-butt workout.

Unfortunately the monitor cannot track heart rate, which is a bummer but there are many wearable devices and phone apps that can perform this function.

One very popular heart rate monitor is the Polar H7 Bluetooth Fitness Tracker.

Sound System

Any device with a 3.5mm jack can be plugged into the monitor with an audio cable (not included).  You can then increase or decrease the volume using the buttons on the console.

Users loved being able to listen to podcasts or audio books while they row without having to use headphones.  It is a great feature that is not included on any other rowing machine model.

Overall

The NordicTrack Rowing Machine monitor is a unique piece of equipment that can track a good amount of data.

While the monitor looks really cool and has a flashy sound system, it is not functionally as good as some of the other monitors in this price range.  If you look closely at the monitor, it is very big but only a small portion of it actually displays data.

While there are some cool features about the RW200 monitor, it just doesn’t compare to the monitors found on the Concept2 Model D or the Stamina Avari Programmable Magnetic Rower.

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Build Quality

The NordicTrack RW200 Rower is built by a well-known and well-trusted fitness company.  NordicTrack has been supplying customers with high quality fitness equipment for over 40 years.

The RW200 Rower is no different and has a solid build structure with an oversized steel seat rail and welded steel frame.

NordicTrack Rowing Machine Quality

The rowing machine is sturdy and built to last.  If that isn’t satisfying enough, NordicTrack backs its equipment with excellent warranties and 30-day money back guarantees.

According to users, the NordicTrack Rower felt strong and sturdy while rowing. Pieces like the footrest, handles, and rowing strap felt strong and built to last.

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Comfort

The NordicTrack Rowing Machine comes complete with ergonomically designed footrests, handle, and seat to help provide comfort during long rowing sessions.

The adjustable monitor height also allows a user to view their workout data in the most comfortable position possible.

NordicTrack Rower Seat

NordicTrack RW200 Rower Build Quality

A user can sit on an oversized, molded seat that is made with superior padding and covered in vinyl for additional support.

The seat height is slightly higher than other rowing machines, which makes it good for individuals with bad joints and arthritis.

They can then slip their feet into pivoting footpedals with adjustable straps that can accommodate any shoe size. The pivoting footrest allows for a more natural and comfortable rowing stroke.

Finally, they will grab the soft, ergonomically designed handle that helps decrease hand and arm fatigue.

Overall, users felt the NordicTrack RW200 Rower had a smooth, comfortable rowing stroke.

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Storage

Storing the RW200 is a piece of cake with the patented SpaceSaver design.

Storing the rower vertically is very easy and only requires a person to hold the two handles on the seat rail and lift.  They can then allow the machine to fold in half and clip together.

NordickTrack RW200 Storage

When upright, the NordicTrack Rower can be moved and positioned on the two built-in caster wheels.  The folded footprint in fairly small and can easily be put in the corner of a room or inside a coat closet.

The NordicTrack RW200 Rower is heavier than most rowing machines so just be careful at first until you get used to the weight distribution.

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Capacity

The RW200 has a fairly long seat rail to accommodate tall users but unfortunately the weight capacity is not as high as other rowing machines in the price range.

RW200 Rower Storage

I called NordicTrack and they informed me that rowers as tall as 6’6″ should be able to use this rowing machine depending on their inseam length.  They also said the weight capacity limit is 250 lbs..

The weight limit is usually a manufacturers suggestion that is on the conservative side to ensure there are less warranty claims. I’m confident this machine can handle more weight but just know the warranty would technically be voided.

There are no height restrictions for shorter users on this rowing machine.

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Dimensions

  • Assembled Dimensions:
    • 85.0″ x 22.0′ x 43.5″ (L x W x H)
  • Assembled Weight:
    • 105 lbs.
  • Shipping Weight:
    • 145 lbs.

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Assembly

Assembling the NordicTrack RW200 Rower is fairly easy and can be done in about 30 minutes.

The rowing machine comes mostly preassembled and a majority of the assembly left is attaching the seat and monitor.

You will need 1 Phillips head screwdriver, 1 adjustable wrench, and 4 D-batteries for assembly.

Just be aware that the shipping weight of this unit is 145 lbs., so you may want help carrying it to the proper room before putting it together.

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Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Adjustable “damper setting” resistance
  • Built in sound system
  • Good build quality
  • Comfortable, smooth rowing stroke
  • Easy fold storage
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Easy assembly

Cons:

  • Resistance can be easy for some users
  • Basic monitor (no heart rate function)
  • Heavy
  • Low weight capacity
  • Price can fluctuate causing it to be a good deal or bad deal

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Consumer Reviews

Finding consumer reviews on the NordicTrack RW200 Rower was difficult and I had to search on various sites in a few different countries. In countries such as the U.K., Germany, and Canada, this rower can sell under names like NordicTrack RX800 and NordicTrack RX1000.

After compiling all the reviews it seems that consumers either love this rower or strongly dislike it.  The main reason for disliking it was due to “weak resistance”.  Many people felt the rower didn’t provide enough resistance even when the damper was set to level 10.  I already mention this previously, but a lot of users don’t understand the concept of air rowers and don’t realize they must row faster to feel more resistance.

Either way, most consumers felt the rowing machine was excellent in all other areas.  If you are concerned about resistance strength, there are plenty of other rowing machines in this price range that can offer proven, strong resistance.

Price variation was also an issue with the RW200 Rower and I have seen it listed as high as $1,299 and as low as $599 on special sales.  My rating is based on the cost being towards the lower end. At the upper-end, I would 100% recommend the Concept2 or WaterRower machines.

Average Rating: 4.1

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Warranty

  • Frame: 5-years
  • Parts & Labor: 1-year
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee

The NordicTrack RW200 has a solid warranty in my opinion and a 30-day money back guarantee always makes me feel a little more comfortable.

The actual item model number is NTRW5914, so when registering your rower for its warranty make sure to put down: NordicTrack RW200 Rowing Machine (NTRW5914).

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NordicTrack RW200 Rower Price

As I mentioned previously, the price for the NordicTrack RW200 Rowing Machine can vary from $599 all the way to $1299.  Obviously this massive price difference makes recommending this rower difficult.

At $599 you can make a case but at $1299 I can’t see any reason to buy this rower.

Check prices at both retailers before purchasing.

Amazon.com Best Price:

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NordicTrack.com Best Price:

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Overall Review

The NordicTrack RW200 Rower is a great piece of exercise equipment that many people would be very happy purchasing.  All the features are exactly as advertised, so it’s hard to say anything bad about it.

However, at a higher price point I feel there are other rowing machines that offer a stronger resistance, better monitor, and better overall value.

There seems to be a consensus that the resistance on the RW200 is a bit easier than other high-end air rowers which can be a deciding factor if choosing between the Concept2 Model D vs. NordicTrack RW200 rower.

For this reason, I would recommend buying the Concept2 Model D Rowing Machine over the RW200 Rower (link to my full Model D Review)

If you really like the style of this rower you can compare the NordicTrack RW200 vs. ProForm 550R Rower.  They are the exact same rowing machine except the ProForm Rower has a downgraded monitor, shorter warranty, and lower price.  You can read my full review here.

I hope you enjoyed my NordicTrack RW200 Rower review! Please ask me any questions in the comments below.

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