Live Science Verdict
The NordicTrack X22i puts regular treadmills to shame with its smart features, unrivaled range of incline settings and cushioned yet stable running surface – even at top speeds. It’s a big piece of kit, but if you have the space to accommodate it then it can revolutionise your running training.
Solid commercial machine
Great incline and decline range
Big user-friendly touchscreen
Takes up a lot of space
Needs two people to assemble
Need an iFit Live subscription for content
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The NordicTrack X22i can breathe new life into any running routine in need of resuscitation. With its crisp 22” HD touchscreen and immense offering of immersive workouts (available via the iFit app), we found there were enough features to keep us coming back for more.
The impressive 40% maximum incline meant even seasoned runners on our team faced an uphill battle to keep pace on advanced routes, while the ability to filter runs and classes by difficulty meant beginners could find a session to suit them, too.
Size: 70.2” L x 39.6” W x 71.6” H
Tread belt size: 22” x 60”
Max user weight: 350lb
Display: 22” HD touchscreen
Max incline: 40%
Max decline: -6%
Top speed: 12mph
Warranty: Lifetime frame, 10 year motor (parts only), 2 years parts and labour warranty
Workouts and other features: iFit
It’s a big piece of equipment, better suited to a garage or home gym than a spot in the living room, and the price tag may raise some eyebrows. But the comprehensive coaching, smooth performance and wealth of health content available via the iFit app cements its place as one of the best treadmills you can buy.
Whether you’re interested in running to lose weight, wondering how to run faster, or wanting exercise sessions led by elite instructors (both on and off the treadmill), the NordicTrack X22i can help you with your fitness goals.
Price and release date
The NordicTrack X22i Treadmill we tested (the 2021 update) is available now. It retails for $2,999 in the US or £3,999 in the UK, and comes with a 30-day iFIT Family Membership.
Set-up and usability
We were lucky enough to have our machine assembled for us. However, normally the NordicTrack X22i treadmill has out-of-the-box assembly, arriving as several pieces which need to be connected. The belt comes as a single piece, as does the screen, screen holder and handles. There are then several smaller pieces that will need to be screwed into place to connect the two main parts and complete the machine.
The NordicTrack website advises recruiting a helper when installing the treadmill as some parts, particularly the large belt, are very heavy. It comes with instructions, or you can download the innovative BILT app to see a 3D step-by-step guide for assembly.
NordicTrack X22i: Design and display
When reviewing the NordicTrack X22i Treadmill, we must first address the (figurative) elephant in the room – it’s an incredibly big bit of kit. Measuring more than 70” (177.8cm) in height and length, there’s no way this will be a discreet addition to your home. It isn’t foldable, either, so there’s no way to tuck it into a corner when not in use.
However, if you’re happy to have a treadmill as the statement piece in your living room (or you’re fortunate enough to have a dedicated home workout space) this could be the treadmill for you.
While the considerable dimensions have their drawbacks when it comes to storage, they have a whole host of advantages, too. The 22” wide, 60” long belt provided us with a spacious running surface which our taller (6ft 3) tester said felt unrestrictive – having previously found compact machines such as the Peloton Tread and Echelon Stride felt slightly cramped.
The running surface struck a fine balance between feeling cushioned enough to soften the blow of each stride, while still being sufficiently firm to generate plenty of power. The treadmill also stayed steadfast, whatever speed or incline setting we chose.
Elsewhere on the machine, the crystal clear 22” HD touchscreen (from which the X22i draws its name) is another area where the NordicTrack X22i excels. It provided us with an almost cinematic experience for all follow-along workouts and studio classes, but really came into its own during instructor-led virtual routes. We were transported from jogging along a Hawaiian beach to exploring the UK’s Snowdonia National Park (accompanied by double Olympic gold medallist Alex Gregory) with just a couple of taps of the touchscreen.
These scenic backdrops provide a far more engaging experience than the metric-led LED monitor you may be used to seeing on the treadmills at your local gym. However, the NordicTrack X22i doesn’t skimp on the statistics. During workouts, a bar at the top of the screen shows your level of incline, time elapsed, distance covered, speed and estimated calorie burn. On the homescreen you can also view further details, such as your time spent exercising with the treadmill that week, average power and number of workouts completed.
One issue we did encounter was viewing the screen during off-treadmill workouts. The iFit app offers a wide range of sessions, including the likes of strength and cross-training, which require you to step off the machine and onto a yoga mat (find the best yoga mats 2022 to accompany your treadmill sessions here). However, due to the large size of the machine, we found that the screen was hard to see from the mat and we had to rely on audio cues to know what to do next. You can tilt the screen slightly, but we would have liked a bit more manoeuvrability to allow us to angle it to a more practical position.
There was also a slight lag on the responsiveness of the touchscreen but, aside from taking slightly longer to select a workout, we didn’t find this had much of an impact on its performance.
NordicTrack X22i: Features
The NordicTrack X32i takes the fabled “runner’s high” quite literally with its unparalleled 40% incline (and if you’re wondering, ‘what is runner’s high?’ you can find all the answers here). It also offers up to a 6% decline, allowing it to replicate hilly routes.
This is good news for those looking for a low impact walking workout as it allows you to face a challenging, calorie-crushing session without putting your joints under extra strain. And, if you're wondering how effective these slower-paced sessions can be, or wondering, "Does walking build muscle?", we think their fitness-boosting credentials may surprise you.
Among its thousands of on-demand workouts, we found the iFit app has plenty to offer when it came to walking workouts, giving us the opportunity to traverse the testing topography of the Lake District in the UK and even make our way up 17,500ft to the lofty Everest Base Camp. There is also a wide selection of gradient-laden running routes, so more experienced endurance athletes can put their circulatory system to the test, too.
The aforementioned iFit app, while not exclusive to NordicTrack treadmills, earned further brownie points with our testing team. There are thousands of interactive workouts on offer including cross-training and active recovery workouts – alongside the expected walking and running sessions. Among these there are live studio classes led by knowledgeable, enthusiastic instructors and virtual routes in some of the most picturesque locations in the world.
The app is easy to navigate, too. Each workout is visible as a thumbnail with an image, difficulty level (beginner, intermediate or advanced), star rating out of five, duration, distance and predicted calorie burn all displayed clearly. You can also browse the extensive workout library, filtering results by type, duration, intensity, target area, trainer, continent and even environment. So, if it’s a testing 20 minute trail through a forest you’re after, you can find it in seconds.
Buttons either side of the touchscreen allow you to select specific speeds and incline settings, which proved much faster than holding down the plus and minus buttons on the console below. Some iFit workouts also allow the trainer to take charge through Live Interactive Training, altering your machine’s pace and gradient in real-time to mirror the route you’re following. We were big fans of this feature as it allowed us to focus solely on our run without having to think about tinkering with any buttons or settings.
Nevertheless, if you’re after a simpler session, just hit start and a “Manual Workout” will begin. This provides a more traditional treadmill experience, allowing you to just run without any instruction or pre-determined goal. A diagram of a 400m track is shown on the screen as well as the usual health metrics, so you can still track your progress, but you’re free to adjust the pace and incline settings as and when you wish.
NordicTrack X22i: Performance
This is a beast of a machine, and its performance in our tests reflects that. We found the running surface spacious and comfortable, with enough cushioning to soften the impact on our knees without proving too bouncy, and the belt stayed impressively quiet when we raised the pace.
The maximum speed of 13.5mph is more than fast enough for most runners, and the huge range of incline settings provides plenty of scope for hill training. Whatever the speed or incline setting, the sturdy treadmill felt secure with minimal wobbling and shaking.
The smart features left us seriously impressed, with the iFit app working well in conjunction with the NordicTrack machine to provide thousands of on-treadmill, off-treadmill and hybrid workouts. Users can choose between running, walking, mind, hiking, walk-run, beginner, strength, cross-training or active recovery modes.
The strength and cross-training classes are effective if you want to mix-up your fitness routine, helping us break a sweat while working your muscles, although seeing the elevated screen is a struggle from the lowly position of an exercise mat.
But it’s during the walking and running sessions where the NordicTrack X22i really comes into its own. The cinematic screen offers an immersive experience, the Live Interactive Training mirrors the pace and incline of your instructor on virtual routes and the clued-up coaches provide fascinating insight into your surroundings, while also giving advice on technique.
For example, on a virtual route along the walls of Dubrovnik in Croatia, we found ourselves learning about how conflict had shaped the city’s architectural make-up while covering the 1.6m course – hardly what we expected when we signed up for a recovery run.
Value for money
The NordicTrack X22i Treadmill has an RRP of $3,999 (or £3,999). To use it, you will also need to subscribe to the iFit app. It comes with a 30-day family membership, but after this it costs from $180 a year for an individual plan or $396 annually for a family plan. This can also be paid monthly, but the yearly memberships are provided at a discounted rate.
There’s no hiding from the fact that this amounts to a lot of money. So, for the casual exerciser keen to try a smart treadmill (along with the wealth of direction and motivation it can provide) then we would recommend starting smaller. The ProForm Pro 9000 also has access to the iFit app, but is more living room friendly and has a more palatable price point.
It’s instead the avid hikers and runners, looking to add a new dimension to their training, that the NordicTrack X22i Treadmill is made for. There are workouts suited to all ability levels but, when you consider the cost, this machine is meant for those looking to make a serious investment in their fitness and performance.
The NordicTrack X22i is the Rolls Royce of the treadmill world. It’s supremely comfortable to use, offers a smooth and relatively quiet running experience, and is packed with smart features to make your training enjoyable and effective.
This premier performance comes at a premium price, and the machine will need a dedicated space in your home on account of its considerable dimensions. But, if you’re looking to invest in your health and improve your running ability, we can’t recommend it highly enough.
If this product isn’t for you
The main factor that might put you off the NordicTrack X22i is its price tag. If you’re after a smart treadmill for a more modest price, we recommend trying the ProForm Pro 9000, shown above. If it’s a more compact machine you’re after, without sacrificing touchscreen functionality, the Peloton Tread might be more your speed.
Harry Bullmore is a fitness writer covering everything from reviews to features for LiveScience, T3, TechRadar, Fit&Well and more. So, whether you’re looking for a new fitness tracker or wondering how to shave seconds off your 5K PB, chances are he’s written something to help you improve your training.
When not writing, he’s most likely to be found experimenting with a wide variety of training methods in his home gym or trying to exhaust his ever-energetic puppy.
Prior to joining Future, Harry wrote health and fitness product reviews for publications including Men’s Health, Women’s Health and Runner’s World. Before this, he spent three years as a news reporter with work in more than 70 national and regional newspapers.