NordicTrack C 990 Treadmill

7.0 score
[Editors rating (7.0)] = (Garage Gym Ideas - Ultimate Home Gym Design) score (7.0)/10

Editor rating: 7.0 / 10
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NordicTrack C 990 Treadmill Review Facts

The NordicTrack C 990 treadmill is a mid-range priced, reliable, full-featured cardio machine that is backed by a company with a solid history of quality and customer service.

NordicTrack made its bones in the 1990s with its signature skiers. These were machines you could install in your home, which would simulate alpine skiing as a way of building your strength and getting the heart rate up. At the time, this was a novel idea and the company sold many units through infomercials that showcased all the benefits of the skiers. The real wood skis, fluid action flywheel, and high levels of customization were all points of difference that made the machines popular with home users.

Today, after expanding into treadmills, incline climbers, stationary bikes, and multigym units, NordicTrack enjoys lasting popularity while constantly innovating and improving on their designs. NordicTrack’s parent company Icon fitness also owns the Gold’s Gym and Proform imprints.

The C 990 offers a 7 inch HD touchscreen, up to 12 percent incline, and several personal training programs. Read on to find out if this treadmill is right for you.

Editor's Pros & Cons

3.0 CHP motor gives you up to 12 MPH speed, higher than many home treadmills

No jarring motions--ride is smooth and natural feeling with reduced ankle and back fatigue

20 inch wide, 5 foot long run belt, with 2-ply thickness for lasting use

Can set the level of cushioning to your liking

Machine folds down to 35 inches wide and 42 inches long for easy storage

Includes a full free year of iFit platform, with the option of paid subscription afterwards

Built-in sound system provides quality audio for your music or other media


Works with a chest strap monitor for greater accuracy, but the chest strap costs extra

Tablet holder height is not adjustable, so may not work if you are tall

Tech Specs/Features

The motor is 3 CHP or continuous-duty horsepower. CHP motors are lab tested to keep up a power output rating over a period of time. It doesn't mean the motor is different from any other motor; it means a motor rated in HP is not tested for sustained performance the same way a CHP motor is. It gives more power, and CHP is a more accurate rating. The motor is quiet, giving you less noisy operation overall so you will not disturb any sleeping roommates. The treadmill weighs 260 pounds when assembled, and the maximum user weight is 300 pounds.

Besides the iFit access, chest strap connectivity, sound system, and other features we have mentioned, there is a built-in cooling fan that provides quiet operation and keeps you cool during intense workouts. When you fold the frame, the EasyLift Assist hydraulic handle prevents you from having to bend or strain to pick up and handle the treadmill. In fact, the process is virtually hands-free.

There are 32 built-in programs, not including the ones that come with iFit. We have given iFit its own subheading since we often see the name on reviews with no explanation.

If you don't want to use a chest strap, you can grab the handles for real-time heart rate. Handgrips are never as accurate as a chest strap, and neither method is a substitute for medical instruments. The Select-Fit cushioning can tailor the machine's ride to each user. It is great for people with joint problems or chronic pain, who need a low or no impact exercise experience. If you are a sprinter, you will be able to decrease the cushioning to give your foot more liftoff and a more efficient stride.

You can create user accounts in iFit, to save progress and preload favorite workouts, but the cushioning has to be set manually each time. Speed and incline adjustment are quite easy with a single button, so HIIT workouts become easier to manage and the frame can take even heavy-footed running time after time.

The fan has an advanced feature that lets it adjust the speed to match your workout intensity, so you don't have to keep reaching down and adjusting the fan level. The C 990 treadmill comes with a lifetime frame and motor warranty, a three-year warranty on parts, and a year of labor coverage before you need to purchase the optional service plan. With its range of features and relatively low price, the NordicTrack C 990 treadmill is a good choice for seasoned runners as well as beginners and all-around fitness buffs who may not need to learn all the different programs.

iFit Capabilities

Some versions of iFit are free, but not the one that is compatible with the 990 C. Around 2017, NordicTrack made iFit mandatory for certain models of treadmills. You would not be able to fully use the treadmill without a subscription. We're not sure if that's still the case, but you definitely don't need iFit to get a rewarding workout with the 990 C. After the year trial, though, you may find you can't do without iFit. It can take the place of a gym membership, at a lower price, if cardio workouts and running challenges are your thing.

Personalized coaching is the main draw for iFit. You get a virtual trainer who can motivate you and help you set goals. You don't get real-time access to a coach, but you do get feedback and programming based on your performance and where you want to go. When a virtual coach gives you instructions, the treadmill can automatically adjust speed and incline to either keep you on track, give you an added challenge, or let you take a breather between intervals.

iFit takes a lot of the guesswork and planning time out of your daily workouts, while also providing detailed heart rate and performance improvement data. It isn't much different from wearing a fitness tracker, but with a much larger screen and more personalized interactions. iFit keeps track of your calories, steps, and aggregate walk/run distance, of course. It's a great way to make sure you are meeting a step goal, regardless of intensity or type of cardio workout.

iFit also lets you run, virtually, anywhere in the world using Google street view. This simulates running in different settings, under different terrain conditions. You can run with a group, challenge your friends, and connect with like-minded people all over the world. Trainers include professional athletes and even a few Olympic competitors. The trainers are open enough to provide their bios and even contact information on the web. NordicTrack and iFit promise that your trainer will become like a friend, though we are skeptical and not even sure that's a good idea. Despite our reservations, we agree that iFit training is an extension of traditional treadmill work, and also a lower cost option to a gym membership. Also, you don't have to leave your home, and bad weather won't serve as an excuse not to get your run or walk-in.

So how much does iFit cost? It's hard to say, but sources we looked at all indicated around $39 a month. The free trial year, that comes with the C 990, is really a good value when you do the math. There are gym memberships that cost less than $40 a month, but those will often be stripped down gyms with little staff and not many group fitness options. The iFit subscription, if you choose it, does open up more possibilities.

What People Are Saying

Reviews we looked at are surprisingly low for a NordicTrack product. At the time of this writing, the treadmill had 331 customer reviews with only 52% of them being either 4-star or 5-star. Negative ratings touched on poor customer service, out of box failures, and difficulty in moving the treadmill around while folded. Many customers balked at paying what iFit asks for a subscription, but others said they get a lot out of the treadmill without using iFit. Reviews that mentioned assembly said it is straightforward but time-consuming. The illustrations and directions in the user manual appear easy enough to follow.

Some reviewers questioned the machine's durability, and one even said the motor wore out quickly and NordicTrack was not able to replace it in a timely manner. One or two bad reviews can be a fluke, but we saw enough of a trend that we're worried and encourage you to do plenty of research before making a purchase decision. Another annoyance is that the treadmill continually urges you to buy iFit. In reality, most of us will be able to improve our heart health without iFit. As one buyer pointed out, nobody likes to get ads on their treadmill when all they want to do is work out.

The Final Word

This treadmill has some great features we can use to recommend it. The free year of iFit can help you decide if you want to purchase the service or not, but the constant come-ons are kind of grating. The adjustable firmness is something you don't see in every home treadmill. And despite some bad experiences, NordicTrack does have overall good ratings for customer service. The motor is quiet, and the speed and incline are both greater than what most home units offer. The console is huge, seven inches, and is easy to navigate. You can change speed and incline easily right from the console. If you are a general fitness buff looking to improve your heart health or even a more seasoned runner who can pound the belt without much letup, the C 990 could be right for you. Just make sure you do your homework before making a purchase decision.