These are two center drive elliptical trainers that give you some great benefits compared to standard ellipticals.
But what about when you pit them against each other?
How do they stack up?
And which is best for you?
This post will show you the key differences between these two trainers so that you can find the best one for your home.
Nordictrack ACT vs Freestride Trainer: Price
Budget is important to most people when buying an elliptical machine. And in this category the ACT has the slight edge.
There are two versions of the Nordictrack ACT – the original ACT model and the ACT 10 model, which is a bit more premium with a larger, full-color console and heavier flywheel. Prices start for the ACT around $999 with Free Shipping here.
The Freestride trainer comes in a bit higher. There are 3 different models from the basic FS5i to the mid-level FS7i and up to the premium FS9i. Prices start a bit higher than the ACT elliptical – around $1499 with Free Shipping here.
This makes the ACT elliptical more attractive budget-wise. However you have to compare apples to apples. While they may look similar, they are actually two very different types of trainers.
Nordictrack ACT vs Freestride Trainer – Lower Body Motion
The real difference here is in the lower body motion and the options that you get with either machine.
The Nordictrack ACT is a standard elliptical with the type of fixed elliptical pathway you’d expect to get with any elliptical trainer
The Nordictrack Freestride trainer, on the other hand gives you a variable or adaptable stride. This means you can set the stride yourself by how hard you push down on the pedals.
So you can do short, stair-stepping strides like a stair-climber, longer jogging strides like an elliptical or even longer hurdling strides like on a treadmill.
That gives you a lot more variety and variability than you get with the ACT trainer.
Plus, because the stride adapts to you, you’re more likely to find the most ergonomically comfortable running stride for your body. And since you’re always changing things up, you’re more likely to burn more calories.
Stride Length Differences
The Nordictrack ACT however does give you SOME stride variability – and a lot more than most standard elliptical trainers. Both ACT models come with an adjustable stride from 18 – 22 inches.
And you can adjust the stride in 1/4 inch increments. So you are able to choose a stride that feels most comfortable for you – you just don’t get the kind of variability in motion that you find with the Freestride Trainer.
The Freestride trainer still outdoes the ACT however when it comes to stride length as well. You get up to a 32 inch stride with this machine (vs 22 inches on the ACT model). This makes it great for runners or tallers users who really want that extra-long stride length.
ACT vs Freestrider – Incline Options
Incline changes the shape of your elliptical running path. While it’s not necessary to have it to get an effective workout, a lot of people do like to have it on their trainer.
The Nordictrack ACT elliptical does not have incline at all.
The Nordictrack Freestride Trainer FS7i and FS9i both have incline options and the FS9i model has a decline option as well. So you have more ways to crosstrain on these models.
ACT vs Freestride Trainer – Design and Impact
The Nordictrack ACT is a standard center drive trainer with the rails attached to the crank. However, the Freestride trainer pedals ride on belts rather than the traditional rail-crank design.
This gives you more of a feeling of “running on air” and is smooth with nearly zero impact. The ACT trainer is low impact as well – but it’s not as light or low impact feeling as the Freestride Trainer.
Side Handrails For Support
Most elliptical trainers do not have side handrails for support (and most people don’t feel they need them).
However the ACT trainers do come with side handrails – and a few people have commented about how this makes them feel safer on their machine (something to grab onto).
The Freestride trainer does not come with side handrails. So if you’re worried about safety or buying the elliptical for someone with occasional balance issues, you may want to go with the ACT model.
So what’s the bottom line in the Nordictrack ACT vs Freestride trainer debate? Well these are both ultra-compact machines with several options – from basic up to luxury models.
You can get iFit coach on either one. And both have full-color, HD consoles on their high end models.
Where they really differ is in the lower body motion options.
The Freestride trainer gives you more variety of motion than the ACT – stair climbing, jogging or sprinting. It also has a fully adaptable, longer stride length than the ACT (32 inches vs 22).
So you’ll be able to vary your workout and, in theory, burn more calories (since your body never adapts and is constantly challenged with new movements).
On the other hand however, the ACT does have its own advantages. It’s more affordable than the Freestrider. It does give you an adjustable stride – and it has the side handrails for a feeling of safety.
So at the end of the day, it really comes down to what you’re looking for.
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