Most public gymnasiums have treadmills and ellipticals, so it makes sense that runners who have home gyms or would prefer not to run in the rain/heat would have one of the machines as well. But how can someone determine which style will work best for them?  Treadmills and ellipticals are very similar, so many of the defining factors will come down to a person’s preferences and budget. There are a two very popular brands which make the machines that we will be comparing today - Proform vs Nordictrack.

Proform vs Nordictrack: The Differences between Their Treadmills and Ellipticals

Most public gymnasiums have treadmills and ellipticals, so it makes sense that runners who have home gyms or would prefer not to run in the rain/heat would have one of the machines as well. But how can someone determine which style will work best for them?

Treadmills and ellipticals are very similar, so many of the defining factors will come down to a person’s preferences and budget. There are a two very popular brands which make the machines that we will be comparing today - Proform vs Nordictrack.

History Behind the Treadmill: 

A basic treadmill is an exercise machine with a belt that individuals can run or walk on without actually getting anywhere. According to Mental Floss, the closest device to what modern audiences know as a treadmill actually originated around 1818.

A civil engineer by the name of Sir William Cubitt made a 24-spoked wheel on which inmates in prisons were forced to walk.

This “treadwheel” was frequently used to grind grain, hence the origin of the word “treadmill.” Many people were forced to march on these devices for the majority of the day for days on end, using their manual labor to make profits for the prisons.

So, if the treadmill seems like a form of torture, this notion actually isn’t that far from the truth. This video explains the information is more detail.

Modern treadmills no longer function as torture devices, but are instead a type of exercise machine where a runner can move without being outside or going anywhere.

Most contemporary machines have screens to display important information about the user’s workout, including calories burned, distance travelled, and speed.

History Behind the Elliptical: 

Imagine someone took the seat off of an exercise bike, forcing the user to stand up. An elliptical is a machine which looks like this. The user has their feet on two pedals which are connected to bars that the athlete can hold and move with their hands.

The idea of the elliptical is that the user can walk or run without going away. The pedals move in an elliptical motion which is believed to put less strain on the person exercising, especially on joints like the knees, ankles, and hips.

Precor developed the first elliptical trainers for the modern market in the 1990s, where they have since gained popularity

Health Benefits of Regular Running: 

Both the treadmill and the elliptical can give users some of the health benefits of regular running as a form of exercise. These benefits have been identified by numerous professional and medical groups, including places like Harvard University.

The Harvard University noted that regular running, even a steady jog, is enough to improve a person’s heart health, keep their muscles strong, and help the lungs.

Even running for 5-10 minutes a day is enough to extend a person’s lifespan by several years. National Public Radio reported on the same conclusion, which stated that even light exercise improves a person’s quality of life. People who run even more can receive greater benefits than others who stick to a few minutes of jogging.

Treadmills and ellipticals have roughly the same effect as running outdoors or on a track. Treadmills can be tough on the joints because of the shock and force created from the impact of a person’s foot on the machine, but ellipticals seem to work well for individuals who have joint issues.

However, ellipticals can be more expensive and technologically advanced, so many people still use treadmills.


Proform Treadmill: 

ProForm is a brand of Icon Health & Fitness, also called Weslo. This line consists of treadmills and ellipticals designed both for the average person and for regular athletes and runner. This review will include a broad overview of the different models sold by the company as well as some general information and facts about the equipment.

On a scale of 1-5, most Proform equipment rates around 3.5 or 4. There are a broad range of prices for the treadmills and ellipticals.

Here are their two most popular treadmills and ellipticals. 

Most of the Proform treadmills include a form of cushioning to help protect the runner’s joints when striking the belt.

  • The average incline is between 0% and 10%, although the more expensive models can reach a full 12%. 
  • All of them have heart rate monitors to help the runner keep track of that information. All of them also record the calories burned, distance run, and time spent running.
  • Like most treadmills, Proform includes a top speed so people can challenge themselves without hurting themselves. The majority of the devices can reach 10 mph while newer models can hit 12 mph.
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    The average weight capacity of treadmills and ellipticals is 300-325 lbs., though some can reach 350 lbs.
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    Each device has between an average of 18 and 32 included workouts.
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    Proform is well known for its warranties on labor, frame, and equipment. One downside of these warranties is that simpler treadmills and ellipticals have longer warranties than newer machines.
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    Almost all of the machines can fold for easy storage.

My Choice: If I were to buy one of their treadmills today I would select this one because of the value. 

Sale
ProForm PFTL59515 Performance 400i Treadmill
110 Reviews
ProForm PFTL59515 Performance 400i Treadmill
  • 25 chp Mach Z motor, 20 x 55 tread belt, proshox cushioning, space saver design
  • 19 inch length
  • 18 workout Apps, grip Pulse EKG heart RATE monitor, this heavy-duty treadmill accommodates up to 115 Kg.

NordicTrack Treadmill: 

Edward and Florence Pauls opened NordicTrack in 1975 and the company continues to develop advanced treadmills and ellipticals for regular people and seasoned athletes alike. On a scale of 1-5, NordicTrack rates around a 4 to 4.5 because it combines quality with affordability.

The company remains technologically cognizant and strives to provide high quality machines.

The ellipticals don’t have the same restrictions but can have their resistance adjusted to suit the user. All of the equipment has some form of heart rate monitor, tracks calories burned, speed ran, and how long the user has been on the machine.

Here are the most popular NordicTrack treadmills and ellipticals. 

  • The average weight limit is between 300 lbs. and 350 lbs., so people interested in a machine need to pay close attention to the restrictions of their specific device
  • NordicTrack focuses on providing reliable machines with few additional frills. Many of the machines can be folded, including the ellipticals
  • Almost all of the equipment has between 12 and 32 fitness programs to help people train and run. 
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    There are numerous warranties, including lifetime warranties on frames. Older machines do tend to have longer warranties because they possess fewer technology.
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    NordicTrack treadmills have a broad range of inclines, between 0% and a severe 40%.
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    The majority of the devices hit 10 mph while some reach 12 mph

My Choice: If I were to buy one of their treadmills today I would select this one because of the value. 

NordicTrack NTL17915 T 6.5 S Treadmill
545 Reviews
NordicTrack NTL17915 T 6.5 S Treadmill
  • Digitally adjust your incline up to 10 percent to add intensity to your workout and target specific muscle groups
  • Get the training you want with 20 built-in workouts designed by a Certified personal trainer to help you achieve your fitness goals
  • 2.6 CHP drive System

Comparison: NordicTrack vs Proform: 

It can be difficult to find many surface differences between Proform and NordicTrack because of their similarities.

Both companies make high-quality equipment designed with runners and athletes in mind. This graph demonstrates some of the main differences between the brands.

Proform

NordicTrack

$400- $4000

$800-$2,500

Variety of warranties

Variety of warranties

10-12 mph limits

10-12 mph limits

Maximum 12% incline

Maximum 40% incline

18-32 fitness programs

12-32 fitness programs

300-325 lb. limits

300-350 lb. limits

More flexible material

Sturdier material

These brands seem very similar but there are a few differences when actually used. Overall, the NordicTrack models tend to be sturdier and more durable than their Proform counterparts, which are more flexible and have longer warranties.

Neither makes one machine better than the other, but runners will have different needs based on their workouts.

Conclusion

As most people can see, on paper Proform and NordicTrack treadmills and ellipticals look very similar. Either one would be a good machine for a runner, so the main factors influencing a person’s decision should be budget, need, and lifestyle.

A runner should decide which machine best suits their exercise regimen before making a decision. If possible, it’s important to try any machine before purchase to ensure comfort as well.


Last update on 2018-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API