Are you tired of getting bored while exercising? Do you want something more exciting?
Then check out the Nordictrack RW900 Rower!
It’s now being called the “Peloton” of rowing machines!
Complete with a 22.0″ monitor and tons of interactive on-screen workouts to follow, you’ll never get bored of rowing again!
Some people said it’s like having a home-trainer and it even causes them to row twice a day!
The RW900 Rower has dual air & magnetic resistance to create a strong, smooth, and quiet rowing stroke. This allows a complete, total body workout that will have you blasting away fat and helping you reach those fitness goals!
NordicTrack is a well known fitness company with a complete lineup of equipment. This helps you know you are buying from a reputable company that create high quality products.
While you may be thinking, “where do I sign up!?”, there are a few things you should read about before purchasing. Like, do I need the most advanced version or is the mid-range model sufficient?
Check out my full NordicTrack RW900 Rower review below to see all the pros & cons!
The RW900 Rowing Machine is a combination air/magnetic rower.
This means the resistance utilizes 2 of the most common resistance types: air & magnetic.
Magnetic resistance operates by moving a magnet closer or farther from the spinning, metal flywheel.
The closer the magnet is to the flywheel, the more it interacts with the metal, and the more resistance you will feel. The further the magnetic is from the flywheel, the less resistance you will feel.
Due to the user being able to control the distance the magnet is from the flywheel, we call this “adjustable” resistance.
Air resistance operates a little different. As a user rows, the fan flywheel begins to spin and must move air out of the way of the fan blades. The faster a user rows, the faster the fan spins, and the more air it must displace. The more air needing to be displaced, means the greater the resistance!
Due to air resistance being controlled by the users rowing speed, we call this “variable” resistance.
As mentioned above, the 2 forms of resistance are a huge benefit of the RW900. Users are truly getting the best of both worlds.
With 26 levels of magnetic resistance and 10 adjustable air settings, there really is a setting for users of any fitness type!
Users felt the resistance was strong enough for the most advanced users but also had the ability to adjust down to much lower levels.
They also felt the resistance was comparable to other highly rated rowers on the market and was quiet enough to use in an apartment or early in the morning.
Adjusting the Air Settings
You’ll notice on the flywheel there is a lever for adjusting the air resistance. This is known as a “damper”.
A damper is only seen on more advanced air rowing machines and adds another layer of adjusting the feeling of the rowing stoke, aside from rowing faster or slower.
While most people consider a damper to be a resistance setting, this technically isn’t true. A damper will adjust the “feel” of a rowing stroke, but won’t adjust the resistance.
By moving the damper from a lower setting (1-3) to a higher setting (7-10), you are allowing more air to flow into the flywheel. Due to more air being allowed to flow through the flywheel, you are causing more air to slow down the fan faster.
This causes the rowing stroke to feel heavier. Think of higher damper settings as adding more people into a boat.
Rowing a boat with 1 person feels light and easy, while rowing with 7 people feels much heavier and slower (sounds a lot like resistance, but according to the experts, it’s different).
Adjusting the Magnetic Settings
The magnetic resistance (or as NordicTrack likes to call it “Silent Magnetic Resistance – SMR”) is much easier to explain and a bit more exciting!
The RW900 has 26 different levels that are all controlled by the touch screen! Simply slide the dial and automatically increase the resistance.
By sliding the dial, you are essentially moving a magnet in the flywheel that is working to slow the flywheel down faster.
The exciting part about the magnetic resistance is that it is automatically controlled by the coaches on the iFit programs (more on this in the next section).
This means that while following the programs, the resistance automatically changes to what your personal trainer is feeling!
This really helps keep users engaged while working out and creates a very fun, yet challenging, rowing experience!
Overall, the resistance on the NordicTrack RW900 Rower is excellent and received very few (if any) complaints.
The virtually silent magnetic resistance delivers a smooth rowing stroke that won’t bother sleeping family members or grouchy neighbors. While the air resistance offers greater variability and mimics the real feeling of rowing on water!
Now on to the section that makes this rower so appealing! The NordicTrack RW900 Rower comes with a 22.0″ HD SMART touchscreen display!
You heard that right, a 22.0″ monitor mounted right in front of you!
The monitor is adjustable so you can rotate it 90 degrees if you are following a workout routing that is on the side of your rower.
The monitor is mainly used to connect with the NordicTrack iFIT workout programs. These are pre-recorded high-energy studio rowing classes lead by professional trainers that help empower and motivate you through each workout! (more on this below)
The RW900 monitor tracks a bunch of different workout data like distance, time, strokes per minute, watts, 500m split, heart rate (HRM not included), calories burned, etc.
All of the information is stored on the monitor so you can review old workouts and see how you progress over time.
Check out one of the highest rated compatible HRMs here: Polar H10 Heart Rate Monitor
In manual mode, you can change between different views to see a different set of workout metrics and use a touchscreen slide to adjust the resistance.
If you select an iFIT workout, there will be a pre-chosen screen for metrics and it automatically adjusts the resistance.
There are 2 speakers (both 2.0″) that are loud enough to hear without needing headphones but there is an auxiliary port if you choose to wear headphones.
You will need strong WIFI to connect and operate your monitor.
iFIT Personal Coaching
Once you connect your monitor to the WIFI, you can setup and login to your iFIT account (instructions in the manual on how to setup).
There are about 30 workouts pre-loaded onto the monitor that do not require a membership. However, you will have a 1-year free subscription so make sure to get that setup ASAP!
The 1-year iFIT membership is valued around $400 and gets you access to a ton of workouts! From various rowing workouts to cross-training, yoga, weights, and even kick-boxing!
All you have to do is select a workout and follow the instructions. The workouts even adjust the resistance as you are rowing so you can’t cheat yourself out of a tough session!
Rowing workouts include “visually rowing a river in Kenya, Croatia, Slovenia, the UK and more or decide to be part of a rowing studio class”. There is even a “Google street view” option where you can select a route and the screen changes based on Google maps street view. Basically, you can row down different streets and rivers around the world!
There is so much to cover on the iFIT membership that it makes it difficult to fit into once section. If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the comment section and I’ll do the best I can to help answer!
While the monitor has a ton of cool features, it also adds to the total price! Which means it has to feel worth it to the consumer! Below are a few downsides that were mentioned by consumers.
The biggest gripe is the monitor can only be used for the iFIT programs and doesn’t have any input jacks. Meaning, you can’t watch Netflix, YouTube, etc. on the monitor.
This is a huge downside in my opinion, as it would be nice to have this ability. It seems like NordicTrack only wants people to use iFIT and doesn’t want people to follow other rowing video workouts on YouTube.
The monitor also needs to be unplugged after being used. This bothered some people (I don’t think it’s a big deal) and they felt the monitor should have an on/off switch because they often forget to unplug it.
Right now, there are no “live” rowing sessions and you cannot race against other rowers. Some users really wanted this “live” feature like Peloton. NordicTrack does promote “LIVE INTERACTIVE TRAINING” on their website, so it is a bit misleading. Maybe they plan to add this in the near future.
A few other complaints are that you cannot connect bluetooth speakers to the monitor, the monitor is large but has thick bezels so it makes the screen seem dated, and the Google maps feature is kind of cheesy because it’s just moving the street images and not really connected to your pace.
While there are a few downsides to the monitor, I think it’s impossible to create a piece of technology like this and not have any negative feedback. The issues seem minor in my opinion and there are a lot more pros than cons!
Overall, the NordicTrack RW900 Rower monitor is one of the most advanced monitors on the market. It is by far the best monitor that has pre-programmed workouts and the best built-in “personal trainer” monitor.
There’s a huge benefit to it being software that can be updated using WIFI, so you know it can be improved without you having to buy a completely new rower!
So although there are a few downsides, some of the downsides like “no live training sessions” or “no access to YouTube or Netflix” can be changed by new software updates.
If you’ve ever purchased fitness equipment or visited a fitness store, you should know NordicTrack.
They are one of the top fitness equipment companies in the industry with a wide range of products. NordicTrack sells treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, weights, and rowers!
The NordicTrack Ski Machine is what actually made them famous back in the 70s and mimicked doing cross-country skiing! It is one heck of a workout!
With that being said, the NordicTrack RW900 Rower is no different than the rest of their equipment. Meaning, it is a high quality rower backed by a very reputable company.
Most users commented the rower is very high quality and provides a smooth, strong rowing stroke. They didn’t mention any of the parts being weak or feeling like they were cheaply made.
From the steel frame, industrial grade ball bearings, tough nylon straps, and durable handle – the RW900 won’t fall apart after a few months like some other rowing machines! Plus, it’s backed by a great warranty that I talk about below!
It’s actually kind of funny that NordicTrack skips over a lot of the “build quality” marketing because they are so confident in their quality and brand. Instead, they focus on marketing the monitor and iFit program.
You can check out the RW900 Rower in action below to get a good idea of the quality:
Like I always say, you won’t use your rowing machine if it’s not comfortable! So make sure you buy something you can use longer than 15 minutes!
Of course, NordicTrack put some thought into making this rower comfortable!
The oversized seat rail allows users of all heights to have a full rowing stroke, without having to limit any movement. Plus, the ergonomic, moulded seat allows for a pain-free rowing stroke.
I wrote a post about the best rowing machine seat pad due to many users complaining about hard rowing seats.
The foot-pedals can comfortably fit any size shoe and the quick-adjust straps allow you to firmly keep your feet in place.
There is also a soft-touch handle that is firm enough to not feel weird in your grip but soft enough to prevent blisters.
Another key component of the comfort is the noise-level. While most people don’t think of this as a comfort aspect, it really does make the row more comfortable when you aren’t nervous about the rower being too loud for your family. Plus, you can easily hear the monitor in front of you without the volume being too loud.
Overall, the comfort of the NordicTrrack RW900 is excellent and won’t leave you dissatisfied.
For a lot of people, storing the rower is an important feature needed on a rowing machine.
If you are rowing in the only open space in your house, I’m sure you don’t want this big fitness machine sitting there when you have company over!
Luckily, the RW900 has a SpaceSaver design, which allows the rower to be folded and moved into the corner of a room.
Folding is super easy and there are 2 handles to help the process go smoothly. Simply lift up on the main handle in the center of the rowing machine. This should cause the seat rail to begin to fold inward.
Then continue lifting the handle until the seat rail folds in and clips into place.
The RW900 also has built-in front caster wheels to allow the rower to be moved in either position.
Unfolding is as simple as pulling the handle to disengage the clip and allowing the seat rail to fold down flat.
The entire process takes about 15 seconds and folds into a 3.0′ x 2.0′ space.
For the average person, the capacity of the rowing machine shouldn’t matter too much.
However, if you are tall or on the heavy side, you should make sure you’re buying a model that can accommodate your size.
The RW900 has a 250 lb. weight capacity, which is fairly low for a model in this price range. Other models in this range have weight capacities of 500 lbs and even 1,000 lbs!
With that being said, I do think NordicTrack is on the conservative side. Meaning, it should be able to handle users close to the 250 lb. capacity. If you are over 300 lbs., then I would look to other models like the Concept2.
NordicTrack doesn’t list the seat rail length on their website but I did reach out to customer support and asked them if someone who is 6’5″ could use this model.
They said there would be no issues if you are 6’5″ and said “It should work perfectly for you!”.
If you watch the assembly video below, you will see there are 2 stops for the seat at the back of the seat rail. If you were to remove these stops, you would gain an extra 1.0″-1.5″ on the seat rail if you are close to the height limit.
I’ll keep an eye out for other people commenting about height restrictions but so far I would be comfortable saying that anyone around 250 lbs. and shorter than 6’5″ can use this model.
- Assembled Dimensions (L x W x H):
- 86.50″ x 22.0″ x 50.40″
- Shipping Dimensions (L x W x H):
- 46.05″ x 22.64″ x 25.78″
- Storage Dimensions (L x W x H):
- 36.20″ x 22.0″ x 50.40″
- Assembled Weight: 111 lbs.
- Shipping Weight: 130.6 lbs.
Assembling fitness equipment can be a real pain but companies have gotten a lot better at making this easy for us!
NordicTrack obviously kept this in mind when designing the rower because assembly is super easy. It takes about 20 minutes and can be done by 1 person (although 2 is recommended for attaching the monitor).
You can watch the 3 minute video below and you may not even need the manual:
There were only 2 issues I saw consumers complaining about in regards to the RW900 Rower assembly.
- The rower now includes a free 1-year membership to iFit. However, I think a lot of models were already stocked before this offer came out so they don’t include the code needed to sign up for the 1-year membership. This means people have to contact NordicTrack or iFit customer support to received the free code. This can be a little annoying but most people found it fairly easy to complete.
- The rowing machine has to be plugged into the wall to operate. The manual does say to unplug the monitor after each session, which some people found annoying. There is no on/off switch so the monitor will stay on for some time if you forget to unplug it.
Other than that, the assembly is super easy and there were no other complaints. You can even have someone assembly the rower for you by adding the “expert assembly” option at checkout.
NordicTrack may require this options, which is a bit odd, but I talk about this more in my final price section.
Pros and Cons
- Air-Resistance Damper (10 settings)
- Silent Magnetic Resistance (26 levels)
- 22.0″ Touchscreen Monitor
- 1-Year iFIT Membership
- 100s of interactive workout programs (rowing & non-rowing workouts)
- Ability to update software and add new features
- Excellent build quality & comfort
- Great warranty
- Easy setup
- Upper limit of most consumers price range
- Some small gripes about monitor functionality
- No included heart rate monitor
Overall, NordicTrack RW900 Rower reviews have been positive with very few recurring negative feedback themes.
For sure you can find the odd complaints here and there but I’m looking for reviews that pop-up more than once.
In general, consumers felt the resistance was strong, smooth, and quiet. They mentioned it had more than enough resistance levels to match what type of workout they needed and for various fitness types (beginners to fitness enthusiasts).
The biggest hit was the iFit membership that is used alongside the 22.0″ monitor. Users who get bored easily found this to be the biggest benefit as it keeps them engaged and coming back for more! Some users who said they struggled to workout 30 minutes in the past, found themselves easily rowing beyond this limit due to the interactive trainers and scenery on the screen.
While Peloton is the king of interactive workouts on bikes and treadmills, it looks like NordicTrack is a first mover in the rowing space and looking to remain on top!
Average Rating: 4.7
One huge positive of the NordicTrack RW900 Rowing Machine is the lengthy warranty. It’s always nice to know you are backed by a good warranty when spending this much on a piece of fitness equipment.
I did notice the warranty timeframes were different in a few spots, so I contacted customer support and asked them to confirm the warranty times.
- Frame: 10-Years
- Parts: 2-Years
- Labor: 1-Year
- Model #: RW900 Rower (NTRW19147)
There are multiple extended warranties that you can select at checkout for an additional cost.
I also wanted to mention that NordicTrack customer support is very responsive and they have a live chat feature on their website. Every time I contacted the live chat I was able to get an answer immediately!
NordicTrack RW900 Rower Price
The price on the NordicTrack RW900 Rower is one that has a bit of controversy. There are a few reasons for this:
- It has been known to go on sale for holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This has frustrated consumers who want to buy it other times of the year because the price fluctuates.
- The price can vary based on where you buy it. The two main places are NordicTrack.com and Amazon.com. However, it sometimes forces you to pay for the “white-glove delivery service” on the NordicTrack website, which upsets some buyers.
- Seeing as the price is quite high, some consumers felt the monitor isn’t worth the additional cost and wish they would have went with the RW500 or RW200. Some buyers didn’t realize the monitor can’t be used for watching YouTube, Netflix, etc.
With that being said, I think the price of the RW900 Rower is fair considering it has a 22.0″ monitor! It also comes with a free 1-Year iFit membership, which they value at $468 on their website and $396 on Amazon (value changes based on iFIT membership cost).
Due to the prices changing throughout the year on each website, I would recommend checking both and following the process to checkout to see the true final cost.
As you can see from the review, the NordicTrack RW900 Rower is making a case to be considered a top-tiered rowing machine.
With 26 levels of magnetic resistance, 10 levels of air adjustability, a 22.0″ monitor, interactive programs that automatically adjust resistance, and a great warranty – I can see why people are raving about this model.
While there is still some room to grow into the “Peloton of Rowing”, I think NordicTrack is doing a great job innovating in this new “interactive” training niche.
With that being said, would I recommend you buy this model over other rowers? It’s a hard call and it really depends on what you are looking for in a rowing machine.
If you need to have the “Peloton-Like” training videos to keep you engaged and motivated, then 100% I recommend buying one of the NordicTrack models.
Concept2 vs. RW900
If you are self-motived, enjoy tracking your personal workout data, and enjoy comparing it to other world class athletes – then I would recommend the Concept2. The Concept2 is lower cost and is the #1 used rowing machine by Olympic rowers, athletes, and Crossfit. This means everyone is using these to track their 2K times or 5000m rows.
A lot of people find it fun to compare themselves to other athletes and the Concept2 PM5 monitor is the only monitor capable of this accuracy. Learn more about the C2 with PM5 in my review.
Still unsure which model to buy? Check out my article on the best home rowing machine (with alternative options).
RW900 vs. RW500 vs. RW200
There are 2 other NordicTrack models that I recommend you check out as well. My RW500 review is coming soon and my RW200 review can be found here.
The major difference between the models is the monitor. If you don’t need a 22.0″ monitor, then I would highly consider the RW500. If you don’t care about having a screen at all and want to use your phone or tablet, then check out the RW200.
I hope you enjoyed my NordicTrack RW900 Rower review! Please drop any comments or questions below!