NordicTrack T 8.5 S Review 2020

          Our Rating: 4.6/5

 

A noticeable upgrade over the T 6.5 Si, the NordicTrack T8.5 S is built for those looking to run, rather than walk or jog. With a larger running surface and increased horsepower among a slew of notable spec increases, the T 8.5 S is a solid option for fitness buffs.

If this all sounds rather enticing, continue on to the below review!

 

Build Quality

While NordicTrack offers fierce commercial-grade treadmills, they understand these hard hitters meant for greater incline and the ability to decline as well can be a bit intimidating for those looking for a tough treadmill without being as tough on your bank account. Thus, the T Series of NordicTrack treadmills were created.

The greatest difference between the T Series treadmills and the commercial-grade treadmills are the ability to decline, meant to better emulate an outdoor workout. In addition, the commercial treadmills also start at a 15% incline capability, whereas the T Series treadmills grant you up to a booty busting 12% incline.

If you’re looking for a quality treadmill with forward thinking technology but don’t find having a decline feature necessary to get you going, the T Series Treadmills are an ideal option, especially when considering NordicTrack uses commercial grade motors in all their treadmills!

Coming in at second in the T Series lineup is the T 8.5 S treadmill, which offers more horsepower, increased running surface, a built in fan, bluetooth audio capability, a sleeker design, and increased incline than the previously reviewed T 6.5 Si.

The T 8.5 S treadmill is the step up recommended for those looking to get their steady run on as the 3.5 CHP DurX Commercial Plus Motor will provide you the power needed to crush your workouts. The Smart Response Drive Motor taps into set-apart technology as it functions to automatically cool down the motor as you work hard. This self-regulation also results in lower vibration, making your stride feel smoother and ideally resulting in you forgetting that you’re working out on a machine.

Many users speak specifically to how quiet the T 8.5 S treadmill is, making it ideal for those not looking to cause a ruckus. For consistent fitness maintenance sake, NordicTrack conceived their FlexSelect Cushioning, which not only safeguards your joints, but also works to simulate the roads you would run on outdoors. We like how this cushioning can be personalized to your preference as you can turn it on or off based on your needs for that day’s workout.

Creating more room to move is the extended deck, which increases the running surface by 5 roomy inches when compared to the T 6.5 Si. The commercial grade belt used by the T 8.5 S treadmill makes the 20” x 60” running deck one you can count on. Despite it being 5 inches longer, you won’t have to be concerned with it taking up additional space as the T 8.5 S has the SpaceSaver Design with EasyLift Assist which allows you to fold up the lengthier deck.

The one touch controls make the T 8.5 S treadmill easy to operate while you sweat and it’s responsive system ensures the mid-fitness transition is quick so changing the speed or incline won’t disrupt your movement. With a speed range of 0-12 mph and an increased incline from 10% to 12%, the T 8.5 S is the more powerfully engineered option for runners when compared to the T 6.5 Si.

 

Technology

If you’re a tech guru or you just simply count on innovative technology to make your everyday tasks easier, NordicTrack is the optimal brand to consider. Speaking simply from a design standpoint, the T 8.5 S treadmill has a more minimal and modern interface than the cheaper T 6.5 Si NordicTrack mode.

The minimal way NordicTrack designs their treadmill displays reminds us of how Tesla is establishing a new normal with car displays by removing as many knobs and switches as possible, opting instead for touchscreen controls to make the car look less busy and more modern. The 10-inch full color HD touchscreen the T 8.5 S comes equipped with is truly a showstopper.

The easy one touch controls make the built in tablet easy to use when it comes to quickly altering speed, incline or selecting workout programs. A great benefit of the T 8.5 S is that it comes with 50 on-board workout programs, whereas the T 6.5 Si treadmill only comes with 20; other competing brands such as Horizon and Sole average a meager 6-10 basic workout programs.

In addition to these built in classes, you’ll receive access to iFit for a full year after purchase. The iFit programming streams live classes to your display, turning your home into a workout studio with a personal trainer.

These classes, with new ones created daily, offer far more than typical treadmill workouts. With the iFit membership, you can select bootcamp, yoga, cross training, global workouts to see the sights, sculpt and tone, and so much more as there are more than 17,000 studio sessions to choose from.

It’s important that while this appeal is beyond measure, after a year of free use, there is a membership fee you’d have to pay yearly to continue accessing classes. What makes this service worthwhile is how each membership is inclusive of four people, meaning you and yours can create personalized profiles and pursue high quality fitness classes without ever leaving your home. In addition, this membership includes not only personalized training but also coaching on nutrition, sleep, and activity, meaning you have a built in partner readily available to guide you on your wellness journey.

Amping up your energy all the more is the bluetooth capability so you can easily transfer workout data to phone apps of your choice or play music through the dual 2-inch digitally amplified speakers should you opt to do your own workout to your favorite playlist. The bluetooth capability in the T 8.5 S is the first model in the NordicTrack T Series to offer it, making the T 8.5 S treadmill all the more appealing if you’re trying to reduce usage of messy cords to plug your devices in.

Heart rate can be measured using the included chest monitor or, should you prefer to not wear it, can also be measured with the handgrip monitor, both of which provide you accurate readings of just how pumped your body is. Another boosted addition that the T 6.5 Si treadmill is lacking is the built-in fan to help cool you down as you heat up.

The NordicTrack T 8.5 S treadmill is the just right fit for those interested in the functional and modern technology a NordicTrack treadmill is known for without paying commercially high price tags that come with their other treadmills.

 

Price Point

Simply put, NordicTrack knows their treadmills can be out of reach when it comes to pricing for the average American household. The T series was created to make their treadmills more accessible for those not interested in crazy incline or decline ability.

The T series emulates a traditional treadmill in its function, however it still comes with the advanced technology, dependable build and the commercial grade motors NordicTrack is known for. The T 8.5 S treadmill is the middle of the road option in the T Series, making it more expensive than the T 6.5 Si, yet less expensive than the T 9.5 S.

While considerably more expensive than the 6.5 Si, the increased price is justified by the stronger motor, increased running surface area, bluetooth capability, built-in fan, more than double the amount of on-board workout programs, increased incline and speed range and a more streamlined appearance.

If you’re debating between the 6.5 Si or the T 8.5 S, it sincerely comes down to intent of use. If you’re more of a runner interested in speed and incline, the amped up 3.5 CHP motor the T 8.5 S has is certainly recommended for treadmill longevity. If you’re a runner looking for power without advanced technology, we’d recommend you look to the Horizon 7.4 AT or the Sole F80, which hold the same motor power yet will save you a couple hundred dollars.

That being said, the T 8.5 S treadmill is, in our opinion, the best bang for your buck. While certainly an expensive investment, with the advanced features it holds, the difference is one that’s more prominent than more traditional options.

 

Pros and Cons

Breaking it down with the negatives first so we can finish on a high note is an easy task because there sincerely aren’t many when it comes to the NordicTrack T 8.5 S treadmill. Three things to consider: the iFit membership will end after a year and will be an additional cost should you elect to continue membership, the warranty is short-sighted compared to the Sole and Horizon brands, and the price is hundreds more than comparable options as they lack the technology the T 8.5 S comes with.

The greatest pros of the NordicTrack T 8.5 S have been detailed in the build and technology sections above. As a reminder, the increased 20” x 60” running surface gives you ample running space while the Space Saver Design with Easy Lift Assist saves space in your home by offering the ability to fold the larger deck up after use for simple storage.

The fierce 3.5 CHP DurX Commercial Plus Motor offers a speed range of 0.5 – 12 mph and an incline up to 12% while still operating quietly.

The 50 on-board workouts are incredibly beneficial to have should you elect, after a year of free membership, to not continue with iFit programming. The extensive on-board programs make traditional treadmill brands such as Horizon and Sole pale in comparison.

The bluetooth capability, one touch controls on the full color 10” touchscreen display (which is basically an internal tablet), built-in fan, and flex-cushioning joint support system all contribute to make the T 8.5 S an optimal choice for a comfortable and savvy fitness routine.

 

NordicTrack T 8.5 Si Treadmill Specs

Weight Capacity300 pounds
Running Surface20″ x 60″
Dimensions78.5″ x 35.5″ x 59″
Workout DisplayYes; 10” Smart HD Touchscreen
Motor3.5 CHP
Speed0-12 mph
Incline0-12%
FoldingYes
Total Programs50

 

Warranty and Guarantee

One area of improvement NordicTrack can focus on is their warranty offerings. A 10-year frame warranty might seem impressive, yet when you consider that other brands such as Sole and Horizon offer lifetime warranties on their frames, make 10 years seem lackluster. However, the 2-year parts warranty on the T 8.5 S is comparable to what other brands offer, as is the 1-year labor warranty.

Once purchased, NordicTrack grants you a return or replacement window of 30-days. Sure, the NordicTrack T 8.5 S treadmill has warranty coverage, but we’d like to see it boosted a bit to reflect the high quality treadmills they create.

Summing Up This Review

The bread and butter of the NordicTrack T 8.5 S treadmill lies within its commercial grade 3.5 CHP motor, much more able to accommodate runners than the T 6.5 Si, and its innovative technology. The middle option of the more accessible T Series makes the T 8.5 S treadmill ideal for those who get bored easily as the varying fitness ability through studio classes will keep you on your toes.

With unmatched technology when considering other brands, the trusted NordicTrack T 8.5 S is a durable treadmill whose price (although pretty pricey) offers more than you bargained for when it comes to available features.