Getting the right elliptical for your body and budget!

NordicTrack SE7i vs. NordicTrack C9.5 vs. Sole E25 Elliptical Trainer

(Last Updated On: September 27, 2017)

What is the Best Elliptical for Under $1000?


Sole E25 Elliptical – Most durable and reliable option here.

One of my readers asked by opinion on buying either the Sole E25, NordicTrack SE7i or the NordicTrack E11.7 elliptical trainer.  These are all good choices for around $1,000.  Here is the dialogue…

Hello Fred,

My name is Scott and I am about to purchase an Elliptical for my home (would like to make a decision ASAP).  I have done quite a bit of research and have narrowed it down to 3 possible machines…the Sole E25 and the Nordictrack SE7i….and possibly the Nordictrack E11.7. 

All 3 are in the same price range.  I have to admit…I have not exercised in a while and I am looking forward to working out again…this machine is not just for me…but my wife and family.  I am now lost…not sure what direction to go…can you please help me with my decision! 

I do not want to go with the Sole E35 (although I would like to)…it just ends up being a good bit more than I would like cost wise.  I have a bad back and bad knees from playing soccer until I was 49 and this type of low impact workout seems perfect for me. 

Please let me know your thoughts and advice.

Thank you,


Our Response…

Sole E25 vs. NordicTrack SE7i vs. NordicTrack C9.5:  Which is Best?

Where do I start?  First, all three of these models are in what I consider the high-end budget category.  They are all good machines with decent track records, but are not designed for heavy duty usage.  So if multiple users are going to be using the elliptical on a regular basis that is pushing it.  But most likely these elliptical trainers should hold up.

Since this article was first published, the NordicTrack E11.7 has been discontinued so I’ll include information about a similar model currently available – the NordicTrack C9.5.

Sole E25 Elliptical Trainer: Pros and Cons


Sole E25 Console – There are not as many tech features as those available on the NordicTrack machines.

I have a 4 year old Sole E25 elliptical trainer and have not had any issues with it.  I use it a few times a week. The 20” stride length is very comfortable for my 5’8” height. You’ll probably find a Sole E25 at a Dick’s Sporting Goods.  Sole machines are known for being very well made and durable.  It’s a quality machine for sure!

One area that Sole lags behind (a little bit) is in technology.  They have Bluetooth capability that can link with a free Sole Fitness app on your fitness app.  It allows you to track your fitness data and sync with many popular fitness apps (like AppleHealth) that you may already be using.

On its own, this is a great system that will work very well for many users.  It is a free app and free service so you can use it as much as you want.  For comparison, NordicTrack has the iFit Live platform that offers a lot more features BUT it also requires an ongoing subscription.  (More on that below.)

> Read the complete Sole E25 Elliptical Review here.

One more quick thing before I move on.  You mentioned the Sole E35 and that it was above your budget.  I would say that it would be a more durable machine, particularly for handling multiple users.  It also has adjustable foot pedals and a better warranty for about $400.  This might be a better (more durable) option considering you are planning to have multiple users working out on this machine regularly.

NordicTrack SE7i – This rear drive model folds down for storage.

> Read the complete Sole E35 Elliptical Review here.

NordicTrack Space Saver SE7i: Pros and Cons

I like the rear drive NordicTrack SE7i, which is designed after the patented commercial grade Precor ellipticals.  It is stable and has a smooth, ergonomic motion.  This is a rear drive machine that folds up (hence “space saver” in the name.)  Rear drive machines can be a bit more challenging to mount up onto if you have any sort of mobility issues, but it sounds like you wouldn’t have this problem.

As I started to explain above, this NordicTrack machine features iFit Live which will let you make use of an online account and GoogleMaps to “run” virtual routes all over the globe.  The machine will adjust its incline and resistance to match real world terrain. Your membership comes with a free wearable device that will help you track your movement and calories throughout the day.  The personalized coaching system evolves as you progress on your fitness journey.

NordicTrack provides iFit Live program. This offers great benefits but does require ongoing membership fee.

All of this sounds great with one important exception.  The iFit Live platform requires an ongoing subscription.  So if you’re willing and able to pay for this then you’ll reap the full advantages.  You’ll also need a smart device to connect via Bluetooth to the machine in order to see your virtual routes while you workout.

My only complaint on this machine is that they reduced the stride length to 18”, which may feel to short for taller individuals.  The Sole E25 above has a longer stride length (20″) that works better for taller people.  The Sole E25 also has a slighter heavier flywheel at 20 lbs. vs. 18 lbs for this machine.

Still this is a solid option with some nice bells and whistles if that’s what you like.

> Read our complete NordicTrack SE7i review here.

NordicTrack C9.5 Elliptical: Pros and Cons

Lastly, let me share some features on the NordicTrack C 9.5 Elliptical trainer.  As I mentioned above, the E 11.7 went out of stock several years ago, but the C 9.5 is a very similar machine with many of the same benefits at around $999.

NordicTrack C9.5 – Web enabled touchscreen.

There are several features I like on the NordicTrack C 9.5 elliptical trainer.  First, the 25 lbs. flywheel gives a very smooth elliptical motion.  This is a front drive machine so it mounts directly from the back.  Some people prefer the rear drive over the front drive and vice-versa.  It’s worth trying a few models out to see which feels more natural for your body.

The NordicTrack C9.5 has a 7″ web-enabled touchscreen, so it allows you to use the iFit Live features directly on the machine without connecting an external tablet or smart phone.  It also has an adjustable 18-20″ stride to accommodate more people of varied heights.  This might be perfect for you and your wife.

Finally, I like that this machine has 0-20 degree power incline and decline.  This lets you vary your workout a bit more to target more muscles in your lower body.

This machine wasn’t part of your original question, but I think its benefits warrant a look before you make your final decision.

> Read our complete NordicTrack C 9.5 Elliptical review here.

So we are not giving a specific recommendation because each model has it’s strength, but we are pointing out the pros and cons.  I hope that helps.  Thanks for your question!

~Fred & the FES Team

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