If you’ve sat through a set of commercials at your local pub or glanced at the ads on the walls of the subway lately, you’ve probably heard of Peloton and NordicTrack. Interactive virtual fitness platforms like these have taken the fitness world by storm. If you have a couple feet of space, you can flip on a live or on-demand class and crank out a coached yoga flow, strength circuit, or HIIT workout all within the comfort of your home — one of the many perks of these interactive fitness class streaming platforms.
Peloton and NordicTrack are offering more than just floor circuits nowadays, leaning into treadmill runs, cycling rides, rowing workouts, and even bootcamp classes. And to accompany these workouts, they sell their machine counterparts — two of the most popular being their bikes and treadmills.
What are the big differences between Peloton and NordicTrack?
While both companies produce fitness equipment like bikes, treadmills, rowers, and weights, as well as virtual fitness platforms that customers can use for guided workouts, there are still some differences, including company age, price, and studio offerings.
The Newcomer and the Legacy Player
NordicTrack ages out Peloton not by a few years, but by a few decades — the company first started in 1975, whereas Peloton wasn’t founded until 2012. Though age certainly isn’t the end-all be-all between these two companies, NordicTrack has had more time to establish themselves in the fitness space and refine their physical products. Peloton, on the other hand, has made splashes over the past few years, riding boosts in technology to bring it all the way up in direct competition with a company 37 years its senior.
There’s a Big Price Difference
NordicTrack uses iFit as its streaming platform while Peloton has its own Peloton platform. Both streaming services cost $39 per month, but NordicTrack gives you the first year for free with any NordicTrack purchase. In addition to the free year of iFit, NordicTrack’s equipment prices are also much lower than Peloton’s (sometimes by over $1,000 depending on the machine). When it comes to price, NordicTrack should be more appealing to the cost-conscious consumer.
In-Studio Classes vs. Scenic Experiences
One thing Peloton does offer that NordicTrack does not are in-studio classes. All of the live and on-demand classes in the Peloton app are filmed in either their New York or London studio, and they open their doors to paying guests and members to take classes in-person if you opt for it. While NordicTrack doesn’t offer in-studio classes, they do offer a more robust library of scenic virtual classes, including one on the side of Mount Everest.
Peloton vs. iFit Streaming Services
While both Peloton and iFit offer live and on-demand classes — as well as leaderboard interactions and categories that range from running and cycling to strength, yoga, HIIT, and recovery — there are two main differences between the platforms, which have to do with user experience and the style and number of scenic classes offered.
When it comes to navigation, Peloton provides a better user experience than iFit. Peloton has great categorization, making it easy to find any workout you’re looking for, from HIIT to strength and bootcamps (a class that iFit has but does not categorize like Peloton does).
In contrast, iFit’s library is much larger than Peloton’s — they offer upwards of 16,000 live and on-demand classes, whereas Peloton keeps their library in the 10,000 range, both adding new classes daily. With so many series and classes offered, iFit hasn’t quite been able to nail down the proper organization just yet, so you have to be willing to sift through some filters to find what you’re looking for.
In iFit’s favor, they offer a wide array of classes that are filmed across the globe. In these classes you get an unedited view of the trail as a coach leads you through a ride or run. This means that instead of the more typical indoor tread or cycling classes, you can actually run or bike with an instructor who is taking you through a rainforest or along a coastline, which definitely makes long stints of cardio more interesting.
Peloton has added a few of these scenic classes, but they fall short as the company tries to make them more of a cinematic experience than just a workout to follow by chopping up the ride shots, and not giving you a consistent view. Overall, iFit offers far more of these classes, and allows users to feel part of the run or ride throughout the workout, rather than switching between the run or ride and more scenic, cinematic shots.
iFit also allows users to run or ride with their Google Maps feature — something Peloton has not incorporated into their library. Once you select a starting and ending point on Google Maps’ Street View, iFit will take you along that exact route on your screen.
All in all, the classes are fairly similar when it comes to content, and the price is the same at $39 per month. So when choosing between the two, it truly is up to personal preference — especially if you’re already partial to either platform and are simply looking for the equipment to match it.
The Bikes Compared
Both Peloton and NordicTrack sell exercise bikes that are compatible with their respective streaming services, but their machines do differ. NordicTrack sells its Commercial S22i and S15i, which are comparable to Peloton’s Bike+ and Bike, respectively. From dimension to functions, here’s how the bikes from these two companies stack up against each other.
NordicTrack Commercial S22i vs. Peloton Bike+
Both bikes are well-built, smooth, and stable pieces of equipment. They use magnetic resistance — which quietly produces drag with “Eddy currents” by spinning a metal disk through a magnetic field — so they’re next to silent while in use. They also both have a special perk called “auto resistance,” which allows the resistance to automatically change along with the class you are following. There are rotating touchscreen displays on both machines, so you can hop on and off the bike to alternate between strength and cycling work. Though similar in many ways, these bikes also have some major differences with incline/decline, technology, console features, pedals, accessories, and cost.
Incline and Decline
In addition to resistance, the NordicTack Commercial S22i has incline and decline from -10 percent all the way up to 20 percent that adjusts with a single mechanism, while the Peloton Bike+ only has resistance to increase or decrease intensity.
The Peloton Bike+ has a faster and more modern user interface (aka touchscreen display) — the technology is newer in this bike, so the UI acts quicker than the NordicTrack Commercial S22i’s does.
The NordicTrack Commercial S22i comes with a fan and a tray while the Bike+ does not, but the Peloton Bike+ comes with four speakers, two more than its competitor.
The pedals are different on both bikes, as well — the Peloton Bike+ requires clip-in spin shoes (which you must purchase separately if you don’t already own), while the NordicTrack Commercial S22i has toe cages for regular running shoes.
The NordicTrack Commercial S22i also comes with a pair of dumbbells, while you have to purchase dumbbells separately to use with the Peloton Bike+.
Likely the most noticeable difference between these two bikes is the cost. The Peloton Bike+ costs $2,495, plus $468 for the first year of membership, $25 if you want to buy dumbbells, and another possible $100 or so if you need compatible riding shoes. The Nordictrack S22i costs just $1,999, and there are no additional purchases necessary for an entire year. Though the iFit membership will be $39 per year after your first is up, the initial first year cost is about $1,000 less than the Peloton Bike+.
NordicTrack Commercial S15i vs. Peloton Bike
Just a small step down from the S22i and Bike+ (with features that are a little less modern, touchscreens that are smaller, and no “auto resistance”), the S15i and Bike are also quite similar to each other. They both use magnetic resistance and feature rotating touchscreen displays. You can expect a smooth, wobble-free ride from both bikes, but there are some differences between the two — the main four being incline/decline, pedals, console features, and cost.
Incline and Decline
The S15i features incline and decline options that the Peloton Bike does not, meaning you can raise and lower its back and front wheels to replicate hills.
The pedals on the Peloton Bike require clip-in riding shoes (which you’ll have to buy separately), whereas the S15i just requires regular running shoes.
The Peloton Bike features an additional two rear speakers compared to the S15i’s two front speakers.
The NordicTrack Commercial S15i costs $1,599 and includes a free year of iFit (a $396 value), while the Peloton Bike costs $1,895 alone. With the Peloton Bike, you will also have to pay a $39 membership fee to access classes and an extra $100 or so dollars for clip-in shoes if you do not have them already, making the first year cost with Peloton significantly more expensive.
Peloton only sells the Bike and the Bike+, but NordicTrack offers an array of options. Outside of its studio series (the S15i and the S22i), they also sell two recumbent bikes (the Commercial VR25 R35) and two other upright bikes (the Commercial VU 19 and VU 29). All four of these bikes are compatible with iFit, but their build and technology is not quite as advanced as that of the S15i and S22i. Additionally, NordicTrack’s sister company — ProForm — also sells their own line of bikes that are compatible with iFit.
The Treadmills Compared
Both Peloton and NordicTrack sell treadmills that work seamlessly with their respective streaming services, as well. NordicTrack sells its Commercial X32i and X22i that are comparable to the Peloton Tread+ and Tread. However, Peloton and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled the Tread+ due to over 70 incidents, including one child’s death. Peloton is working on modifications to fix these issues on the Tread+, but as the treads stood before the recall, we compared the functions and tech on both brands’ equipment — here’s how they all lined up.
NordicTrack Commercial X32i vs. Peloton Tread+
The NordicTrack Commercial X32i and Peloton Tread+ are the two brands’ highest level treadmills. They have similar features in that both work with their streaming platforms, can adjust incline automatically to flow with virtual classes, and have large touchscreen displays for class interaction. Both of these machines also have a sled push feature (specifically called “Free Mode” for Peloton) where you can stop the belt and use your leg power to power the tread entirely. When it comes to differences though, the main contrasts are with the motor, incline, build, and cost.
Motor and Incline
The Tread+ has much less powerful motor of only 2.0 HP versus the 4.5 CHP motor on the X32i. The Tread+’s drive is also much louder than NordicTrack X32i’s quiet drive incline tech, so when you’re running you’ll have to turn up the volume almost 80 percent to be able to hear over the motor. Part of the reason the X32i has such a powerful motor is so it can make its transitions between its highest incline of 40 percent to its decline of -6 percent seamless — something the Tread+ doesn’t have to work to do since it only inclines to 15 percent.
The X32i is built with unique handlebars that reach upward and look more like arms. You can grab them when you’re at the top of that incline or working through a sled push for some extra stability. The Tread+ has a more typical build with handlebars along the side of the running area.
And lastly, the cost of each of these pieces of equipment is drastically different. The Tread+ goes for $4,295, and that does not include the $39 per month membership fee for the interactive classes. The X32i goes for $3,799, and that does include a free year of iFit, making the NordickTrack X32i a much more cost-effective option than the Tread+.
NordicTrack Commercial X22i vs. Peloton Tread
The NordicTrack Commercial X22i and Peloton Tread are a small step down in modernization from the X32i and Tread+, but are still fairly similar to each other. They both have large touchscreen displays, a 300 pound weight capacity, no folding capabilities, and sled push options (dubbed “Free Mode” for Peloton). On the other hand, there are still a few differences, which include motor power, incline, build and cost.
Motor and Incline
The X22i has a powerful 4.25 CHP motor while the Tread only has a 2.0 HP motor. Since the X22i inclines up to 40 percent and down to -6 percent, it does need a more powerful motor to keep the deck stable while users transition between hill heights. The Tread on the other hand only inclines up to 15 percent, so it doesn’t need the super powerful motor.
In addition, the X22i has two upright arms you can use as handlebars to power yourself through the difficult sled pushes or high inclines, while the Tread has basic side handlebars.
What’s typically a big difference between Peloton and NordicTrack is cost, but here, the costs come out much closer than normal. The Tread goes for $2,495, but you will still have to pay $39 per month for the class membership fee. The X22i is more expensive, coming in at $2,999, but you do get a free year of iFit with your purchase. After the first year, the math puts the X22i at just under $50 more than the Peloton, total.
While Peloton only sells the Tread and the Tread+, NordicTrack has three lines of treadmills — their incline treadmills, commercial treadmills, and T series treadmills. The five other models they sell are a little less high-tech, but they still feature iFit compatibility and a free year of iFit with your purchase. ProForm — NordicTrack’s sister company — also sells their own line of treads that are compatible with the iFit streaming service.
Which brand is the better option?
Each of these brands has its pros and cons. Peloton tends to be pricier but offers a super sleek looking product, seamless navigation on their streaming service, and high-tech features on all their machines. NordicTrack can be a little less expensive, but their navigation isn’t as solidified yet, and their products aren’t quite as sleek. However, they have a wider variety of classes, and incline and decline features you won’t find on Peloton products.
People looking for a better deal should probably opt for NordicTrack. iFit has a massive library, you get a free year right off the bat, and most of their machines are less expensive than their Peloton counterparts — yet, they still have many of the same high-tech features, varying only slightly.
However, there is a lot of hype around Peloton, the machines are super modern, and the company offers great virtual and in-studio class options. If you can afford their hefty price tags and love the brand and its instructors, you won’t be wasting your money by any means — you’re still getting one of the best products on the market, no matter which machine and service you’re looking to try.
Is virtual fitness worth the hype?
Interactive virtual fitness is a great way to stay motivated and can even be a great replacement for studio memberships if you want to cut back on membership fees. Virtual fitness platforms are significantly less expensive than in-studio membership fees, and a lot of the time you get a similar experience to what you would if you were to go into a spin or circuit-training studio for a workout.
It’s definitely a great option if you tend to need some extra guidance during your at-home workouts, but if you prefer to workout without a coach guiding you,it may not be worth your investment.
Can you just use the streaming service without the equipment?
Both iFit and Peloton classes can stand on their own. In fact, Peloton actually drops its fee if you are just using the digital membership without the Tread or Bike. The digital membership is only $12.99 per month, versus the $39 per month all-access fee that you need to use with the equipment, which offers better filtering options and a more personalized experience.
However, with the digital membership, you still get access to the same library of live and on-demand classes, and as long as you’re okay with scrolling through options to find playlists you like instead of using the all-access filter option, you’ll pretty much get the same experience.
You can also use iFit without the NordicTrack equipment, but their membership fee stays the same at $39 per month. If you have a tablet, you can prop it up on any treadmill, bike, or floor space and stream your workouts just as you would on a Peloton or NordicTrack machine.
Virtual fitness and home gym equipment are growing in popularity as people ditch their old studio or gym memberships to invest in more accessible, long term at-home exercise routines. Peloton and NordicTrack are leading the pack when it comes to interactive fitness — both have garnered a lot of hype in recent years and are only growing as people bring fitness into their homes.
Overall, both are great options when it comes to at-home fitness, but if you’re going to purchase the equipment that either of these companies sell, you’re going to have to be willing to dish out the cash. Both the Bike and Bike+, and Tread and Tread+ from Peloton are some of the most expensive bikes and treadmills on the market, and the NordicTrack bikes and treads are a close second.
Before you commit to buying a Peloton or NordicTrack bike or treadmill, consider what you’re truly looking for in your fitness experience. If it’s not the sleek, modern, high-tech look and features these machines offer, but rather more of the at-home virtual training experience, weigh your options with other brands, as well. After all, there are numerous bikes and treads from other brands on the market that will last just as long as these more expensive options when it comes down to it. But if you want something pretty — for a pretty penny — Peloton and NordicTrack have you covered.