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nordictrack Vault Review: A winning home gym and smart mirror combo
When it comes to fitness equipment, NordicTrack leads the way. Known for its ski machines and treadmills, the company expanded its lineup to include ellipticals, weight machines, and, eventually, smart home gyms. Now, NordicTrack is again forging ahead with the Vault, a home gym and smart mirror combo. How does it hold up against the competition? We tested the Vault to find out.
NordicTrack did a great job with the size of the Vault. The bookshelf-sized cabinet is big enough to hold all the kettlebells and dumbbells you’ll need without taking up too much space in your house. It’s freestanding, which is perfect for apartment dwellers who probably can’t install a smart mirror permanently onto the wall. At six-feet tall, two-feet wide, and a little over one-foot deep, you can squeeze the Vault into any corner of your room. It also has a brushed metal finish and mirror front that is attractive enough to work in any space. Choose your location carefully, though, as the Vault is heavy and can be difficult to move without an extra hand or two.
The NordicTrack Vault has a nearly full-length, 61.5-inch reflective mirror and a 32-inch touchscreen display that makes it easy to watch the instructors and mirror their form while you work out. Unlike other smart gyms, the Vault does not offer feedback on your form, which is a big detraction. You have to rely on your keen eye to ensure you are doing the exercises correctly and keeping up the pace.
The mirror on the front has an excellent 360-degree hinge. You can swing the mirror open in tight spaces like a door to access the dumbbells/kettlebells and work out directly in front of the Vault with the mirror in its closed position. If you have the extra space, you can extend out and angle the mirror so you can work out anywhere in your room.
The Vault is powered by iFit, which has a growing library of exercises broken down into such categories as strength, yoga, recovery/mobility/stretching, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) training. And iFit was the one motivator that kept me on the treadmill all winter, so it’s not surprising that it was the feature that drew me into using the Vault.
iFit hires some of the best trainers and videographers on the market.
It’s also important to note that iFit hires some of the best trainers and videographers on the market — and it shows. Video quality is outstanding, with most exercises filmed in either a studio-like gym or a scenic outside location. The videographers take the time to capture just the right camera angles for you to see the movement.
The trainers are upbeat and encouraging without being annoying. Especially in the beginner level workouts, the trainers provide detailed instructions on each exercise that are easy to follow. In most cases, you practice the exercises first before doing them during an intensive workout.
New exercises and trainers are also added to iFit regularly. You’ll keep coming back to see what fresh, new workouts are now in the library.
While iFit offers a diversity of content, that’s not its only winning feature. It excels at teaching you how to work out. I can’t tell you how many times in the past I picked up my dumbbells to start a strength-training program and then stopped a few weeks later because I only knew a few exercises. I made minimal progress and was bored with the routine.
The iFit training programs alleviated all my uncertainty. I learned how to use kettlebells properly and when to use dumbbells. The trainers taught me multiple exercises for each muscle group and rotated through different activities to work out my whole body instead of just my arms and shoulders. I didn’t just work out; I learned how to work out as well. Unlike the Tonal home gym which focused primarily on strength, the Vault improved my overall fitness and well-being.
The NordicTrack Vault is available in two versions — a $1,999 basic option without any accessories or a complete $2,999 option filled with dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and more. Though pricey, the complete package is the best value for those who don’t already own free weights.
The NordicTrack Vault is powered by iFit, which requires a subscription. The Vault ships with one free year of iFit, and you can add on a subscription for as low as $15 per month. It’s important to note that iFit is reasonably priced compared to the competition, some of which charge $40 or more per month. And iFit also works across all your fitness gear, allowing you to simultaneously use the same subscription on your treadmill and Vault.
The NordicTrack Vault is a modern storage system for your fitness gear and a powerhouse fitness tool thanks to its growing iFit workout library. With its professional trainers, high-quality video, and workout variety, iFit is what separates the Vault from the competition. If you already own an iFit treadmill or bike, then the Vault is a must-have fitness-boosting companion.
The Vault’s closest competitor is the Mirror by Lululemon, which is smaller and more stylish-looking than the Vault. It also offers more live and on-demand classes than the Vault at this point. The Mirror does not include the kettlebells, dumbbells, and resistance bands that ship with the Vault’s complete package option, though. It also doesn’t have any storage for these free weights. After you purchase weights, you’ll have to inconveniently leave them on the floor or spend even more money to buy a dedicated rack.
There’s also the Tempo Studio, which, much like the Vault, keeps some of the weights and accessories hidden inside of its cabinet. While it’s not as attractive, the Tempo Studio does offer tracking for proper form.
The NordicTrack Vault has a sturdy construction that will last for several years. The Vault’s weak point is its full-length mirror. It doesn’t crack or scuff easily — we bumped it several times without any damage — but a hard impact could shatter the glass.
The iFit software will go the distance. The company is known for its regular updates that add new exercise programs and new features to NordicTrack’s fitness equipment.
The Nordic Track Vault is an excellent option for those looking to build a home gym for general fitness. The stylish unit holds a full suite of dumbbells and kettlebells and has a growing library of exercises for all abilities and levels.
$1,999 from NordicTrack