Wondering which is the best value for you?
These two super-popular rowing machines give you something completely different – a more immersive, training experience.
With iFit Coach (which works on both machines) you can row famous world waterways or even take a high-energy studio workout from your machine console.
So what’s the difference between these two models?
This post will show you the key differences between the Nordictrack RW500 vs RW90 rowers.
So let’s dive in:
Nordictrack RW500 vs RW900: Price
As of this writing the Nordictrack RW500 rower has the edge here, coming in at around $999 with Free Shipping here.
The Nordictrack RW900 is the next model up and the premium model in the series – coming in around $1599 with Free Shipping here.
So is the RW900 Rower worth the extra money? Let’s find out.
Nordictrack RW500 or RW900: Console
The console is where you see the biggest difference between these two machines.
The Nordictrack RW500 has a dual-color, backlit 5-inch console as you can see here:
Nordictrack has recently added a 10-inch tablet included with this rower (no extra charge) that you can put on the media shelf in front of the console like this:
This effectively turns it into a color console with the tablet.
You can then connect with iFit Coach through the tablet and row different waterways all over the world or take a streaming rowing fitness class from your machine – very cool.
The Nordictrack RW900 however goes one better than this. The console here is a massive 22-inch, HD, touch-screen console.
This is basically like having a built-in, interactive TV on your machine.
So you can see your workout stats in full color with a swipe of your finger – unlike the dual color (non-touch-screen) console on the RW500 model.
You can also connect to iFit Coach through the RW900 console and row different world waterways or take instructor-led workout classes from the extra-large screen.
The larger screen can make a big difference in your enjoyment of your workouts. It just feels more immersive than using the tablet on the RW500 model.
It’s not surprising.
Basically, the RW900 screen is more than twice the size as the screen you’ll be watching on the RW500 (22 inches vs 10 inches). So that’s quite a size difference.
The good news?
If you get either rowing machine from the Manufacturer, you can get a Free 1-year membership to iFit Coach included with your rower.
So you can try iFit Coach out for the full year for free to see if it’s right for you.
Note: You don’t need iFit Coach to use either machine – they will both work fine without iFit. iFit is simply an add-on option if you want it.
Both rowers fold up with wheels on the bottom to make moving the machines a bit easier. That’s handy if you have a smaller workout area and you want to be able to move your rower away to clean or make room if you need it.
However the RW900 rower – because of the larger console – will be a bit heavier to move than the RW500 model. You’ll also have to be a bit more careful with the larger screen as it’s easier to snag on passing furniture.
This isn’t a huge difference – but if you plan on moving your rowing machine around frequently it might be something you want to keep in mind.
So what’s the bottom line when comparing the Nordictrack RW500 vs RW900 rowers?
To be honest, I was a bit surprised there wasn’t more of a difference between them.
However, on the plus side, they’re both built with strong construction – including pivoting footpedals, molded seat and oversized steel seat rails.
They also both give you 2 different forms of resistance – magnetic and air. So you can add more intensity with the air resistance and grow with the machine as your fitness levels improve.
The real difference here is in the size and style of the console.
The Nordictrack RW500 rower has a decent dual-color console with an added tablet – giving you ultimately a 10-in color screen through which to watch your iFit Coach workouts.
However the Nordictrack RW900 completely blows the RW500 console away – with a 22-inch, massive, HD, touch-screen console.
This more-than-double-the-size screen makes the world rowing workouts a lot more fun and immersive.
On the other hand, if you don’t really care about having the different iFit Coach workouts to watch, you may be just fine with the more affordable RW500 model.
So it really comes down to what you want at the end of the day.
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Related: Nordictrack RW900 Rower Review