About the Tester
Name of tester: Chee Gates
Profession: FitStudio Editor
Residence: Newark, NJ
Fitness level: Intermediate.
First impressions: The NordicTrack T 6.3 treadmill is attractive and compact, perfect for small spaces, such as apartments, or if your workout room also doubles as your guest room or home office. Compared to bulkier machines in the store, this one looked approachable and non-intimidating, like something that I could actually use every day.
Favorite workout: I did a little of everything--power-walking, sprint intervals, a 5K jog. But the one I enjoyed the most was hill-climbing intervals. One of the features of the NordicTrack T 6.3 lets you adjust the incline between 1 and 10 percent with the touch of one button. I’d alternate it up and down every 3 minutes—so much fun!
+ It folds. I can easily tuck it away in a corner when I don’t want to use it. And it’s actually light enough to roll without asking a guy for help.
+ The speakers. I could plug in my MP3 player and listen to music without using earbuds. Having a more stereo-listening experience really changed the dynamic of my workout. I enjoyed the option of having a more stereo-listening experience—it can change the dynamic of your workout. One of the perks of exercising at home is that I can be as loud as I want—I can sing along to the song, pump my arms and pantomime the lyrics without worrying about anyone staring. Hearing the music blare through the speakers and fill the room really motivated me. I was able to get into my workout and push a little harder than I would normally.
+ The 20 pre-programmed workouts. They’re categorized by speed, intensity, incline, and calories with five levels of difficulty within each category. If I’m exercising 5 times weekly, I won’t repeat the same routine for a month! Also, choosing between four categories and five levels lets me decide what I want to focus on that day and how hard I want to work—that puts me in control of my workout. The best part: The speed and incline adjusts automatically—I didn’t have to fuss with any buttons—it’s completely hands-free. The only thing I had to do was keep moving.
+ The one-touch speed and incline buttons. The last thing I want to do when I’m in the groove of my workout is hold down a button to adjust the incline or speed—it throws off my concentration. What I love about the one-touch button is that I can easily select my speed or incline by pressing numbers 1-10 on either side of the display screen. Each number indicates MPH and incline levels. I found it so much easier than fiddling with the +/- button, which just seems like another chore, especially when I’d rather devote all my energy and concentration to the workout. Using this feature, I was also able to switch my pace and intensity easily without missing a step or having to slow down first.
+ The value. It’s not the priciest treadmill available, and it isn’t the cheapest. But you get a reliable, quality piece of equipment for the money you spend. According to Paul Griffin, fitness store lead at Sears in Livingston, NJ, “It’s one of the better models among the less expensive treadmills offered by NordicTrack,” he says. “Perfect for Average Joes and Janes who want to get fit.”
- It’s made for people of average height. That’s a non-issue, if you’re of average height. But if you’re tall, it’s a problem. For example, I’m 5’6,and the belt, which measures 20” x 50”, was just enough to fit my normal walking stride. When I began to walk uphill and jog, both of which required me to take longer steps, I felt as if I might fall off the back end of the belt, or hit the front end of treadmill deck. Also, the deck is on the narrow side, perhaps just a little wider than the than my foot. I wasn’t too comfortable hopping off the belt and placing my feet on the sides, as I took a sip of water.
- You can’t program your weight. The calories burned data is an estimate based on a 175-pound person, Paul said. Although having some data is better than having none, you’ll need to wear a heart rate monitor to accurately track your calories burned for your weight. However, the Cardio Grip heart rate monitor offers a reliable read on how hard you’re working. I placed my hands on it about every 8 minutes—you need to hold it for about 60 seconds to get a reading—to make sure my heart rate remained on target.
- It’s got a moderate max, topping out at 10 MPH and 10 percent incline. That’ll probably be enough of a challenge for average walkers or light joggers. However, if you’re a serious runner training for a race, this treadmill may not be the best choice.
- The motor is a little noisy. Compared to the range of treadmill motors available on the market, this one ranks somewhere in the middle, Paul said. It isn’t the loudest, but it isn’t the quietest either.
Tester’s recommendations: I think the NordicTrack T 6.3 is best for walkers and light joggers—if you’re 5’6-ish, even better. The motor is reliable, the construction is solid, and it’ll give you years of fun workouts. If your goal is to get fit and healthy by walking daily, and maybe lose a few pounds while you’re at it, this machine is a wise choice for you. You may want to buy a heart rate monitor or activity tracker, such as FitBit, to accurately track your calories burned.
We know choosing a piece of cardio equipment for your home isn’t easy. There are so many options available, and they all look promising. Our goal with these product reviews is to make your selection process easier. We want you to make informed choices on equipment that suits your specific goals and needs. But you might still need a little extra help. Our Cardio Finder is like a matchmaker, narrowing down the playing field to the best models for you. Because if you choose the right piece of gear, you’ll actually use it. And that’s the point!