The NordicTrack Commercial 1300 Elliptical Review – An OK Incline Elliptical for under $1000

Reader email is one of the Treadmill Sensei’s favorite things here at the DOJO. I truly believe some of the best articles come out of questions sent in by you, my loyal readers. Today’s post is no exception.

Lisa is looking for a new elliptical and has come across one from Nordic Track. Let’s see what she has to say and let’s see if we can help her out. Take it away, Lisa.

I love your site and I’ve read through every elliptical review you’ve written.

I know the Icon line is primarily crap just waiting to break down once it’s out of the box. I did try out a 990 Audiostrider at Sears and I really liked the feel of it with the incline (the wobbly base was another matter). That one has horrible reviews in general, but I did find a Nordic Track Commercial 1300 at Costco that has the incline ramp at a probably too-good-to-be-true price. My question: Does Nordic Track’s “commercial” line have any better quality than the rest of their products, or is it more of the same crap under a different name? I’ve seen some good reviews, but for all I know they were written by people who work for Nordic Track.

I tried the Precors because I’d like to have an incline, but they weren’t as comfortable for me as the Sole ellipticals. Surprisingly, I liked the feel of the Nordic Tracks with an incline better than the feel of the Soles, but I don’t trust the Nordic Track quality. The 1300 appears more sturdy than their other lines, but I’d hate to spend good money on a piece of equipment that will break down within a month.

Thanks for hosting a great site – it’s nice to know there’s an unbiased site for reviews. It’s so hard to sort through other sites not knowing the motives of the people doing the reviews. -Lisa

**UPDATE** The NordicTrack Commercial 1300 is no longer available for sale. You can check out the all new NordicTrack ellipticals here at the official site to compare models and see which one is right for you.


Thanks for your note, your kind words about the website and your great question. It is always nice to hear that our site is actually helping people out in finding the best equipment for their fitness needs. In regards to your questions about Icon in general and the Nordic Track line specifically, overall their equipment falls in the middle of the pack when it comes to quality of components, durability and lifespan of the equipment. The Nordic Track line is a little better than the poorer performing Proform, Image, Weider, Gold’s Gym and Reebok brands, but it still isn’t all that much to write home about.

One of the misconceptions I want to address in regards to the Nordic Track line is the “commercial” quality they enjoy talking about. Unfortunately, it doesn’t actually exist. You see, what makes an elliptical or treadmill commercial quality is the manufacturer’s willingness to give it a commercial warranty. In other words, a warranty which supports the equipment being used in a high traffic, commercial gym — usually 120+ hours of use a week. Equipment a manufacturer has the financial confidence to warranty in that environment is generally heavier duty and will take more of a beating (and will generally have fewer of the bells and whistles often found on residential grade equipment). If you want to see whether or not the Nordic Track “Commercial” 1300 is indeed a commercial grade elliptical, tell the retailer you’re looking to purchase from that the unit will be going in to a 24-hour Fitness style gym and you want to know what the commercial warranty is.

If Icon only gives a residential warranty of 90 days for parts and labor, I can’t imagine what they’d give as a commercial warranty, if they’d even offer one at all. Warranty is a great judge in a manufacturer’s confidence in a product. The shorter the warranty (especially the labor warranty), the shorter the lifespan of the elliptical or treadmill.

As for the Nordic Track Commercial 1300 elliptical itself, we get a few in for servicing each month. I believe the unit is now either discontinued or in the process of being discontinued.

The 1300 is a fairly solidly built elliptical and doesn’t suffer from the side-to-side shakes of a lot of lesser ellipticals, such as those from Proform, Weider, Spirit or Image. That being said, the light weight flywheel and non-articulating pedals give it a fairly uncomfortable elliptical motion, especially for longer length workouts. The unit is really meant for shorter people doing shorter, lighter workouts.

The Nordic Track Commercial 1300 Elliptical (I hate typing out that long name!) isn’t a bad elliptical by any means, it is a sorely average one tho. If you absolutely have to get one I would very much suggest paying for the extended warranty as well because chances are you will need it.

Now, just to be confusing, if you’ve tried one and you like the feel, then go for it. Getting an elliptical that “feels” right to you is the most important thing — and the main factor in making sure you continue to workout for the long haul. Just make sure to be aware of the issues with purchasing from a more budget level manufacturer like Icon and Nordic Track. In particular, I have heard about issues with the incline motors giving out fairly quickly on a number of the Icon incline elliptical trainers.

For being a solid but average elliptical, the Treadmill Sensei gives the Nordic Track Commercial 1300 Elliptical 3 out of 5 golden buddahs.

3 gold buddahs for the average performing Nordic Track Commercial 1300 Elliptical
Not overly bad but not overly good, the Nordic Track Commercial 1300 Elliptical comes away with 3 gold buddahs.

Nordic Track Commercial 1300 Elliptical Specifications
Flywheel: approximately 12lbs
Display: LCD
Readouts: Time, speed, distance, resistance, pulse, RPM, carbs burned and calories burned
Programs: 18
Resistance: 16 levels
Incline: 10%
Heart Rate Monitor: Yes
Heart Rate Control: No
Max User Weight: 350lbs
Unit Weight: 200lbs
Price: Under $1000