Our cardio fitness correspondent Matt Smith takes on this high end treadmill in our NordicTrack EXP 14i review. Find out how it stacks up against the competition below…
Written by: Matt Smith
Fact Checked by: Editorial Team
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The NordicTrack EXP 14i is the headline product of the EXP series – a collection of industry-leading treadmills from NordicTrack. They recognise, as we all should, the importance of cardio workouts when it comes to achieving our fitness goals.
The best thing is that they are designed for everyone, whether you are a seasoned marathon runner, or you are looking to introduce more cardio into your life.
In this NordicTrack EXP 14i review, we are going to be taking an in-depth look at just how this treadmill performs, and whether it lives up to its price tag which sits towards the higher end, although there are plenty more expensive options available.
We’ll talk you through what you receive in the box and the various specifications before we put it to the test and give you our final verdict.
We know the difference that a treadmill can make in your life – expanding the capacity of your heart and lungs, while at the same time building up strength in your legs. It’s not just a case of running at one pace for an extended period of time either – there are plenty of ways you can tailor your workouts to deliver different results and keep things interesting.
Let’s see what the NordicTrack EXP 14i can offer you, to help you decide whether this could be your next treadmill.
NordicTrack EXP 14i First Impressions
The aesthetics of the EXP series have been quite polarising. Some people see them as looking plain and chunky. I’m not so sure though, particularly with regards to the EXP 14i.
I like how simple the design is, and the solid black colour gives it a certain elegance. For a piece of equipment that will be up permanently, I think it gets the look just right. It just blends into the surroundings.
It’s a reassuringly big piece of equipment as well, measuring 202L x 89W x 150H cm. This is a well built, solid machine that will last you a very long time, as you would expect for the money that it costs. It weighs 114 kg, so bear this in mind when you have it delivered – you will need help moving it into position.
One thing that jumps out immediately is the stylish 14” touchscreen. Not only does it point to the fact that there will be a lot you can do with this machine, but it also gives it an aura of quality. No expense has been spared here.
NordicTrack EXP 14i Specs & Features
The result of these first impressions was that I wanted to know exactly what the EXP 14i could do. NordicTrack have a reputation for packing even their most budget equipment with plenty of additional features, so I was expecting a lot from one of their flagship products.
I wasn’t disappointed.
We’ll start with the physical features. You can customise the treadmill using the OneTouch Control – you can adjust the speed to anything between 0-19 km/h, and the incline goes anywhere between -3% and 12%, which covers pretty much anything you would want to use the machine for.
Okay, this is the minimum that you would expect from a machine in this price category, but hold tight, we’re just getting started.
The size and weight that we mentioned earlier is more than just to offer support. Built into the treadmill is the trademarked Runners Flex cushioning, which is there to ensure the impact from each stride is reduced, to help prevent injuries to your knees, and to ensure you can keep running for longer.
There is also a Smart Response drive system, which not only reduces vibration as you workout and is self-cooling, but it also works in conjunction with the interactive training sessions (more on those in a moment), which means that the speed and incline will alter automatically depending on what workout you are doing.
It is the HD Smart Touchscreen which really separates the EXP 14i from much of the competition though.
For a start, the screen is 14 inches (thus the 14i name), which is a great size for a screen on a treadmill. It is designed to work intuitively, so you shouldn’t need to waste time looking through an instruction manual – as soon as it’s plugged in you will be up and running. Literally.
The screen will link you up to the iFIT’s subscription programme – you are given a 30-day trial when you buy the EXP 14i, but after that there is a monthly fee (you can set up 5 adult profiles with a subscription). With that, you will have access to over 17,000 workouts, including workouts with trainers that are there to push you to reach your goals. The trainers will adjust the speed and incline as you are running, to make sure you are getting the absolute most out of your workout.
A really neat little feature is the integration of Google Maps, so you can choose where in the world you are going to go for a run. All seven continents are loaded on there, so you could run through midtown Manhattan, the Sahara Desert or even Antarctica.
Little additions like this can really help to keep you motivated and going back to the treadmill again and again – which is key to success in your training.
On top of this, every workout will be recorded so that you can track your progress and look at all of your stats. Again, this helps you set yourself goals and will keep you coming back for another workout.
You can connect wireless headphones to the treadmill via Bluetooth, so that you can clearly hear the instructions of your trainer, as well as the workout music, without any distractions.
When you have finished your workout, you can take advantage of the SpaceSaver® Design and EasyLift™ Assist which will enable you to lift up the base of the unit and fold it up. This dramatically reduces the amount of space that you need to store the treadmill, which is so valuable to so many people.
Using The NordicTrack EXP 14i
If you have ever used a NordicTrack treadmill before, you probably know what to expect – when we first put the EXP 14i to the test, we were certainly very optimistic about the experience, and we weren’t disappointed.
To cover the basics first – it is comfortable to use. Some cheaper treadmills can be a bit harsher to run on, which over time could cause you trouble with your knees. That’s not the case with the EXP 14i, as you can really feel the benefit of the Runners Flex cushioning. It also helps to keep the noise down – no loud thuds as you run that wake everyone in the house up!
The incline is impressive, although I’m not sure I will be cranking it up to 12% very often! My thighs will never forgive me! It’s good to have the option, though, just like it is nice to be able to go up to 19 km/h for a quick sprint every now and then.
Having that capability is nice to have, but not that special compared to the competition.
What is a bit special, though, is the user interface. The iFIT capability is one of the best training systems available anywhere, it really is a touch of class. The sheer number of workouts means that you are going to find plenty that suits you and will be perfect to help you achieve your fitness goals, whether you are just trying to lose a bit of weight or training for a particular event.
This comes at a cost, of course. After your free trial you will need to pay £30 a month to keep the subscription going, which may seem a lot on the face of it. To put it into context, though, maybe ask at your local gym how much a personal trainer will cost – I would imagine you will be paying that kind of figure an hour rather than a month. If you can split it with a partner or some housemates, it quickly becomes very cheap.
Finally, being able to store the treadmill away makes a huge difference. Treadmills tend to take up a lot of space, and there isn’t usually anything you can do about that. The SpaceSaver® Design and EasyLift™ Assist means that you don’t need to sacrifice other equipment to fit in a treadmill.
Alternative – The EXP 7i
The EXP 7i is the cheapest of the three, with the smallest screen. The size of the screen does make a difference, as the EXP 14i really does feel like a luxury piece of equipment, but you can get most of the benefits with the EXP 7i, and save yourself a few hundred pounds in the process.
This is a good option if you like the sound of the EXP 14i, but would rather a cheaper, slightly smaller option.
The NordicTrack EXP 14i is a fantastic treadmill that does everything you would want a treadmill to do, and a bit more. The main attributes are excellent, and the iFIT functionality really makes it that little bit special.
It’s worth saying, though, that if you are not sure about spending the extra on the iFIT subscription, then you can probably find a cheaper alternative that doesn’t have the same capability, but does the basics.
You’d be missing out though, because for an all-round treadmill that can take your cardio workouts to the next level, and keep you motivated, then the NordicTrack EXP 14i takes some beating. It’s a fantastic treadmill.