NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill Review

NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill is a promising model among Icon Fitness’s NordicTrack T Series treadmills which consists of four models – T 6.5 S, T 7.5 S, T 8.5 S and T 9.5 S. It’s a little bit pricier than its sibling T 7.5 S, but is equipped with some outstanding features including a 3-inch larger HD touchscreen, a stronger motor and almost double the warranty on parts and labor.

The other features of T 8.5 S are same as that of the other models in the series, such as the adjustable FlexSelect deck that enables users to alternate between a firm running surface that feels like real-life running conditions and a more cushioned one to reduce impact on joints. Plus, it comes with a one-year iFit membership.

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NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill Specifications

- Dimensions: 78.9” L x 35.5” W x 59.4” H

- Weight: Over 200 lbs. (90 kg)

- Motor: 3.5 CHP

- Running deck: 20” x 60”

- Incline: 0-12%

- Belt: 2-ply, commercial tread belt

- Roller size: 1.9” front and back

- Top speed: 12 MPH

- Weight capacity: 300 lbs. (136 kg)

- Built-in workout programs: 50

Features of NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill

Assembly

Users can assemble T 8.5 S in the room of their choice easily, since the unit comes fairly pre-assembled. Users just have to fit the front masts and console, and perhaps have to adjust the belt’s position before the first use. All tools for the assembly are included and instruction manual is very clear. So, users can do it themselves with a helper to hold pieces etc. within a couple of hours.

Since treadmills are generally heavy, it’s better to set T 8.5 S set up in the same room where users will use it. Although T 8.5 S folds up and rolls easily to maneuver short distances, it’s 36 inches wide which makes a bit challenging to move it through a standard doorway. So, users are recommended to plan ahead. However, the transport wheels at its front base make transportation easy.

Motor

A remarkable upgrade NordicTrack has come up with in the T series in 2019 over their former C series is very powerful motors. Before that, users who wanted treadmills with powerful motors had to turn to the Commercial Series which comes with a little higher price tag. But now the T 9.5 S and T 8.5 S Treadmills are equipped with 3.6 CHP and 3.5 CHP motors respectively.

The 3.5 CHP (Continuous-Duty Horsepower) DurX Commercial Plus motor of T 8.5 S is capable of delivering consistent and smooth power and thus keeping up with anything dished out at it without getting overheated. It has a built-in cooling system. It also has a small flywheel that offers better stability and less vibration (thus less noise).

This motor has a lifetime warranty too, so, users can rest assured that the motor will not fall short.

Frame

T 8.5 S has made to last and to be used with a sturdy steel frame and a well-sized motor meant for less vibration with self-cooling fans for reducing heat. All the steel bars in the construction have a durable powder coating finish resistant to corrosion and abrasion. The upright masts are gray, while the base frame is black. The frame too comes with a lifetime warranty

NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill Console

T 8.5 S is equipped with a 10-inch (diagonal) HD touchscreen console. It displays all the important workout stats such as distance, time, speed, incline, calories burnt and pulse.

By default, speed and distance are displayed in imperial units, but users can choose the option of metric units. It’s also telemetric, which means that it has a built-in receiver that can read users’ pulse from a wireless HR transmitter (not included). Users can see their stats with one swipe on the HD touchscreen. If users want a larger screen, they can get it on the T 9.5 S with a 14” HD touchscreen.

nordictrack t 8 5 s console

Heart Rate Monitor

Users can check their heart rate roughly with the built-in EKG grip sensors.

One-touch Controls

T 8.5 S has OneTouch controls that enable users to quickly adjust the incline and speed of their workout without needing to change their balance and disturb the rhythm of their exercise sessions.

Incline

This treadmill comes with a 12% incline rating with which users take their exercise to a much more difficulty level and burn more calories, increase strength and boost cardiovascular health while saving their joints from impact.

The incline system is motorized, i.e. it can be adjusted only from the console. It comprises of two levers located beneath the deck’s front side. While users adjust the incline, the two-lever system will elevate or lower the front of the deck. Adjustment increments are 1% for which there are quick selection keys on the console on its left side.

The lower keypad too has controls for gradual incline adjustment. With the maximum i.e. 12% inclination, the deck will be lifted up by a few extra inches. Hence it’s recommended that users should make sure that the room’s ceiling is minimum 20” higher than their own height.

NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill Workout Programs

As many as 50 different on board workout programs are offered by T 8.5 S that users are able to use any time. They come incorporated in the machine; so, users don’t need to worry about paying a monthly subscription like they need to with the iFit app. These programs have been classified in two ways – firstly, users can choose the type of workout they want, whether calorie burn, cardio, interval or other emphases. Secondly, they then can choose a beginner, intermediate or advanced program depending upon their fitness level.

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iFit Membership

NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill offers a one-year subscription to iFit through which users can access more than 16,000 streaming on-demand workouts that include a huge range of trainer led destination runs (guided by world-class elite trainers who challenge and motivate users to hit their goals), intense cross-training classes, weight training, yoga and studio classes (with new live classes added every day) streamed right to the treadmill’s console in HD color in the comfort of home.

The trainers like Tanya, Giddy, Betina, John and Hannah are some of the world’s top trainers who have won Women’s Health and Men’s Health trainer of the year and train celebrities like Colton Hayes, Maria Shriver and Jason Kennedy, and keep them in top shape. Working with Google Maps, iFit enables users to run on their favorite routes anywhere in the world from the comfort of their home. Users just have to design the route and their T 8.5 S will automatically change the speed and incline to follow the map.

iFit also offers destination runs, which users can access through a library of video routes from various stunning exotic locations throughout the world, whether it’s a beach, mountain, historic monument or any other amazing location. Since the treadmill is iFit enabled, users can automatically synchronize speed, incline and decline with on-demand exercises being streamed on the display.

The wireless connectivity enables users to connect to their WiFi so as to access the iFit workouts. With such a vast array of workouts, it’s hard for users to get bored.

Note: Unlike it’s popularly promoted, the 1-year iFit membership on T 8.5 S is not free. Users have to pay for it upfront and after 1 year if they don’t want to continue, they can cancel it and get their money back.

Running Belt

T 8.5 S has a heavy-duty, multi-ply belt having a rubber top layer for better adherence. For the smooth motion of the belt, the internal rollers integrate heavy-duty sealed ball bearings.

They are quite large, i.e. with 1.9” diameter, facilitating a better traction for the belt. The internal rollers have a crowned design which improves the belt’s lifespan.

FlexSelect Cushioning System

The FlexSelect cushioning system on T 8.5 S is ideal for maximizing performance while running outdoors. This system allows users to choose how cushioned their run should be. Thus, if they want to feel like running outdoors, they just have to choose no cushioning and they will get the feel. And if they want cushioned surface, they can choose it. The deck of the machine has six cushioning elements – three on either side – which can absorb up to 40% of the shock of every foot strike during running. Each cushion is adjustable i.e. users can increase or reduce its flexibility with an easy rotation.

Speed

T 8.5 S offers a speed range of 0.5 to 12 MPH. Speed can be changed by whole integers by choosing a number along the console’s right side or by gradual increments by using the up and down arrow keys. If users press these keys once, the speed will increase by 0.1 MPH and if they press and hold the key, the speed will increase by 0.5 MPH.

Powering of the Machine

Since T 8.5 S is a motorized treadmill, it needs an external power source. The machine comes with a standard US plug (120V). The connector for its cable is located on the front of the deck, adjacent to the power button.

Space-saving or Not?

nordictrack t 8 5 s foldedThe T 8.5 S comes with foldable SpaceSaver Design. It can be easily folded up and secured with the hands-free locking system by elevating the deck high enough so that the lock can engage.

While unfolding, users won’t have to bend down, thanks to the hydraulic system of EasyLift Assist which will help release the deck and reach the ground smoothly.

However, when fully assembled, this machine takes up a quite big space; plus, users have to keep a clearance of at least 2 feet on each side and of 3 feet at the back of the deck.

Therefore, it’s questionable if it may be a good fit for users with a small room or apartment.

Dual-speed Fan

T 8.5 S is equipped with dual-speed fan built in with AutoBreeze that adjusts to the intensity of workout and keeps users cool.

Speakers

T 8.5 S also has two 2” built-in Bluetooth speakers and audio jack so that users can sync their smart device with the machine and stream their audios and listen to their favorite music while exercising.

Water Bottle Holders and Accessory Trays

NordicTrack T 8.5 S comes with the water bottle holders and accessory trays.

Noise Level

Despite having a powerful motor, T 8.5 S is surprisingly quiet while being operated. However, at full speed, other people can hear it.

Safety Feature

T 8.5 S comes with an Emergency Stop key.

Maintenance

Unlike most other treadmills, T 8.5 S comes pre-lubricated with industrial-grade lubricant. Thus, users don’t need to lubricate it before the first use.

The internal lubricant should last for quite a long. However, the belt should be regularly cleaned and bolts and parts should be checked for looseness.

Transport Wheels

NordicTrack T 8.5 S treadmill comes with transport wheels, allowing the user to move the unit around, when required.

However, due to the unit's weight (slightly over 200 pounds) and dimensions, it is recommended to place the treadmill on the permanent position on a good treadmill mat.

treadmill mat

Such mat protects both floor and the treadmill and absorbs the vibrations, leading to, among others, reduced noise levels.

Warranty

NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill comes with a lifetime warranty on motor and frame, 5-year warranty on parts and two-year warranty on labor which is more than some other treadmills.

Return Policy

T 8.5 S has a 30-day return policy. If users want to return their treadmill, they have to contact ICON within the 30-day timeframe. Unless they are returning a damaged or defective machine, a 10% restocking fee will be charged.

Pros of NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill

- Sturdy construction

- 3.5 CHP DurX Commercial Plus motor with lifetime warranty

- 12% incline for burning more calories

- FlexSelect Cushioning System to alternate between cushioning and firmer lifelike running surface

- 50 built-in workout programs

- WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity

- Workout fan and accessory trays included

- Foldable design to save space (when not in use)

- One-touch controls to quick adjustments for incline and speed

- Fairly noiseless

- Little maintenance

- Exceptional warranty

Cons of NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill

- Size of running surface is not as large as some other top end machines; so, taller users may feel more cramped

- Only 300 lbs. maximum weight capacity, so, heavier users may not find the machine very sturdy while running on top speeds or walking on maximum incline

- It doesn’t come with an HR chest strap included

- iFit, though very beneficial, will add to the costs in the long run, so, users have to be ready to pay if they want to continue it


Bottom Line

NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill is a great treadmill for those who want a machine that can get along with multiple users’ workouts for long periods, provides a great variety in programs and can be used for walking, light running and serious jogging, but comes at a reasonable price. It will give users everything they may need just at their fingertips with the 50 on board workout programs, eliminating the need of taking outside help for personal training.

This will further be assisted by the iFit app, if users choose to continue it after one year, as they’ll get nutrition and lifestyle guidance too from the app. The machine also has a very powerful motor which should work for most people and because it’s a continuous horsepower motor, multiple workouts per day are also possible. As T 8.5 S allows four different user profiles, it’s great for the whole family.

Although T 8.5 S is far from being cheap, it’s reasonably priced for the sturdy long-lasting construction and tons of features with cutting-edge technology, thus giving users the best bang for the buck.

For more reviews and recommendations, check NordicTrack T 8.5 S Treadmill Amazon link (link opens in the new window).