If you're working with limited space, the center-drive NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial elliptical trainer offers a relatively long stride length (18, 20 or 22 inches, manual-adjust) in a compact package: just 51 inches long, although it requires additional space when in use. However, we found some complaints about noisy operation and a few concerns about quality control.
Stable, but noisy. Most owners are happy with the NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial's smooth, stable operation -- but we found a noteworthy number of complaints about loud clunking sounds when the machine is in use. Still, the A.C.T. Commercial draws praise from Fred Waters of Fitness-Equipment-Source.com, who says its center-drive design offers a more natural stride and provides more effective upper-body resistance than other drive designs. The NordicTrack A.C.T.'s stride length manually adjusts between 18, 20 and 22 inches.
IFit is the centerpiece. In most cases, the NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial takes two or three hours to set up. Its premier feature is its iFit compatibility, which allows you to download workouts or create your own through Google Maps. You view the virtual terrain in your phone or tablet, while the A.C.T. Commercial automatically adjusts its resistance to fit what you see. However, to use this feature you must buy the wireless module (Est. $99) and, after the first year, pay a subscription fee (Est. $99/year). The A.C.T. Commercial also comes with a built-in workout fan and speaker system.
Doesn't always last. Owners almost universally agree that when you first set it up, the NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial is quiet and smooth. But we found numerous complaints about clunking and squeaking noises that start before long and, in a few cases, were present right from the start: "This thing clunks like a five-year-old kid beating a drum!" writes one user at Sears.com. We also found a few complaints about major components failing in short order or being defective right out of the box -- enough to leave us with some concerns about quality control and overall durability.
Great warranty coverage. The NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial's warranty is quite good -- lifetime coverage on the frame, five years for parts and two years on labor. A significant number of owners say that customer service was able to resolve their issues quickly and easily. It's getting through to customer service in the first place -- which can mean hold times of up to 30 minutes or instructions to call back during lower call volumes -- that seems to be the biggest obstacle.
Editors at TreadmillDoctor.com are notoriously rigorous in their equipment reviews, and often are critical of machines from Icon Health & Fitness (NordicTrack's parent company). However, they like the A.C.T. Commercial elliptical, naming it a 2014 Best Buy in its price range and saying it has "decent quality, good features and a reasonable price."
Review: NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial Elliptical Review, Editors of TreadmillDoctor.com, Not Dated
Waters, a former executive with Smooth Fitness, checks out the NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial at the company's headquarters. The review is thorough and based on his use of the machine. There is a complete list of features. He says the square base "contributes to a solid, stable feel."
Review: Fred Waters, NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial Elliptical Review, Not Dated
The A.C.T. Commercial elliptical trainer is listed in several places on Sears.com and SearsOutlet.com; here, it gets a 4.5-star (out of 5) average rating after a handful of user reviews. Reviewers say the machine is easy to use, quiet and smooth, and they like the adjustable stride length.
Review: NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial Elliptical, Contributors to Sears.com, As of December 2013
This is another listing for the NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial. In this case, more than 25 user reviewers give it an average score of 3.5 stars out of 5. Just 57 percent would recommend it to a friend; most seem concerned about noisy operation.
Review: NordicTrack A.C.T. Elliptical Trainer, Contributors to Sears.com, As of December 2013
The editors of EllipticalTrainers.com say the NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial has its "fair share of design flaws." They're concerned that it fits only a narrow cross-section of body types, and worry that the dual drive systems create twice the moving parts (and thus twice the potential for malfunctions).
Review: NordicTrack A.C.T. Commercial, Editors of EllipticalTrainers.com, Not Dated