We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

Historically, the best functional trainers have been used primarily for strength training. But what if there was a functional trainer that allowed you to combine both strength and cardio workouts?

The NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio makes that possible. This machine has cables and pulleys and offers 20 levels of magnetic resistance so you can strengthen all of your major muscle groups. Its integration with iFIT allows you to follow along with instructor-led, on-demand workouts to improve your overall fitness.

We’re big fans of NordicTrack equipment, however, this strength machine left us a bit underwhelmed. In this NordicTrack Fusion CST review, we’ll discuss everything we liked and didn’t like. We’ll also provide our honest thoughts about who we think it’s best for and share a few key takeaways you should know before buying it.

Tested by Home Gym Experts

At Garage Gym Reviews, we don’t just research products and write about them. Our certified personal trainers, competitive weightlifters, and nutrition coaches use gym equipment every single day. Our goal is to provide you with thorough, unbiased reviews and help you decide whether or not a piece of equipment is right for you.

For this NordicTrack Fusion CST review, two of our product testers used the machine for five workouts in total. Their workouts lasted 30 to 40 minutes each. After getting familiar with the machine, they used our fitness equipment testing methodology to rate it on a scale of 1 to 5 in the following categories:

  • Overall value
  • Workout experience
  • Footprint
  • Stability and durability
  • Resistance
  • Attachments
  • Technology and programming

We also factored other customer reviews into our overall score so you can get a more comprehensive understanding of the pros and cons of this machine.

NordicTrack Fusion CST

Fusion CST Studio

GGR Score: 3.35 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 20 digital resistance for 10-100 lbs of resistance 
  • 70” x15” mirror 
  • 10” HD tablet 
  • 2 safety spotter arms 
  • 95” of independent cable clearance

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 20 levels of silent magnetic resistance
  • 10-100 lbs of resistance
  • Tablet/smartphone holder with charging station
  • Free shipping
  • 30-day iFit family membership
  • Automatic Trainer Control

Cons

  • NordicTrack recommends 2 or 3 people for assembly
  • Requires 6 feet of clearance around the device
  • Very few customer reviews

Bottom Line

The NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio is a high-end functional strength trainer with guided workouts and a high price tag.

A Quick Look at the NordicTrack Fusion CST

NordicTrack is best known for their cardio machines. In fact, they make some of the best treadmills, exercise bikes, and elliptical machines we’ve tested. Their strength lineup consists of only three products—the Select-A-Weight dumbbells, an adjustable bench, and the Fusion CST Studio. At one point, the company also offered the NordicTrack Vault, a home gym mirror that came with various free weights and vertical storage.

The Fusion CST Studio doesn’t have the same storage capabilities as the Vault. However, many of its other features are similar. For example, the Fusion CST Studio has a mirror that allows you to monitor your form. It also integrates with the iFIT app and offers options for resistance training—though those come in the form of cables and pulleys rather than the free weights that came with the Vault.

The Fusion CST Studio offers 20 levels of silent magnetic resistance and includes several attachments. It also includes a 10-inch tablet for streaming classes in the iFIT app. You’ll need the app to get the most out of this machine.

Whether your fitness goals include getting stronger or improving your cardio endurance, this machine can help you achieve them. But it’s definitely not for everyone, especially considering its high price and limited functionality.

Before You Buy

  • To fully utilize the NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio, you’ll need an iFIT subscription. After a free 30-day trial, it costs around $39 a month. You can also pay for a year in full for $398.
  • This machine offers 20 levels of magnetic resistance. With the auto-adjust technology available through iFIT, your trainer can automatically adjust the resistance settings during your workout.
  • The Fusion CST weighs over 370 pounds. Make sure you know exactly where you want to keep it before you receive it because it’s difficult to move around.
  • The 70-inch by 15-inch mirror allows you to monitor your movements and ensure you’re using proper form, which can help prevent injuries.

Is the NordicTrack Fusion CST Worth It?

After testing the NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio, we gave it 3 out of 5 stars for value. The machine is worth it for some, as long as you have clear expectations about what it can and can’t do. It’s not like a traditional functional trainer with weight stacks that you can load up with hundreds of pounds. Rather, it’s more of a smart home gym that allows you to perform high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with light to moderate resistance levels.

RELATED: Best Smart Home Gyms

Full view of someone working out on the NordicTrack Fusion CST machine.

For home gym owners looking to build some serious size and strength, we recommend a machine like the REP FT-5000 or the Titan Fitness Functional Trainer. These machines cost around $2,250 to $2,500—in line with the NordicTrack Fusion CST—but offer more resistance and versatility.

Remember, too, that you need an iFIT membership to get the most out of the Fusion CST. A subscription costs around $39 per month for a monthly subscription (or $398 for a yearly subscription) and gives you access to on-demand classes led by personal trainers.

If you own other NordicTrack machines and already pay for the iFIT app, the Fusion CST can be a worthwhile addition to your home gym. Otherwise, you may be better off getting a traditional functional trainer. You’ll be able to perform more exercises with it and save about $468 a year by not paying for a recurring subscription.

Great for:

  • Folks who want a piece of fitness equipment that allows for both cardio and strength workouts
  • Folks who enjoy high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with light to moderate weights
  • Anyone who likes following instructor-led, on-demand classes

Not recommended for:

  • People who want a functional trainer for traditional strength training
  • Anyone who prefers to lift with free weights
  • People on a tight budget

NordicTrack Fusion CST Specs

Footprint73.5” H x 60.5” W x 41.5” D
Weight378 lbs
Resistance typeMagnetic
Weight range20 levels ranging from 10 to 100 pounds
Included attachments6 integrated removable handles; 2 squat pulleys; 2 ankle straps
Tech10” portable tablet included
Programming30-day free trial to iFIT included (around $39/month or $398/year afterward)
Power requirementsStandard outlet
Warranty10-year frame; 1-year parts and labor; 1-year tablet

Using the NordicTrack Fusion CST

Two of our product testers trained with the Fusion CST Studio over the course of a week. They agreed that it’s a high-quality machine and enjoyed all of the iFIT workouts they did. However, there were also several things that left them unimpressed.

“If I didn’t have a lot of space, I’d consider buying this product. But when it comes to smart home gym equipment, there are better options out there,” one tester remarked. He gave his workout experience a 3 out of 5.

Our testers also liked the 95-inch long cables, which gave them plenty of room to move through a full range of motion. Both appreciated how smooth the cables felt.

Flywheel on the NordicTrack Fusion CST

“There was no stickiness with the cables at all,” one tester said. “And with the flywheel, the resistance on each rep transitions smoothly from feeling light at the beginning of the rep to heavy once you reach the full range of motion.”

Additionally, our testers appreciated that the machine was easy to use. “There are three different places where you’re able to pull from, but there are no adjustments for you to make. It’s super easy to use in that sense, which was nice,” one reviewer said.

The main drawback both testers noticed was the tablet that comes with the machine. They had issues getting it to start before their first workout. Once they got it working, they noticed that it had a long lag time and wasn’t very responsive—but more on that later.

Footprint

The NordicTrack Fusion CST is 73.5 inches high, 60.5 inches wide, and 41.5 inches deep. It earned a score of 3.5 out of 5 stars for footprint. It’s shorter but wider and deeper than traditional functional trainers like the REP Arcadia (78 to 80.8 inches high by 55.3 inches wide by 35.8 inches deep). It’s also shorter than the Gronk Fitness Functional Trainer (83 inches high) but about the same width and depth. The short height makes it ideal for home gyms with short ceilings, but you’ll still need plenty of floor space for it.

Full view of a leg extension on the NordicTrack Fusion CST.

Additionally, the Fusion CST weighs 376 pounds. We recommend placing it in an area where you don’t mind leaving it out all the time. This isn’t a machine you can move easily.

RELATED: Best Workout Equipment for Apartments

Stability and Durability

The NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio has a freestanding base, so you don’t have to secure it to a wall. Both testers agreed that it still felt sturdy, scoring it 4 out of 5 stars for durability and stability.

“I was jerking this thing around during the HIIT workouts it was putting me through, and it was solid. I never once felt like it was going to fall over. There are extended feet that help keep it stable,” one tester said.

Resistance

The Fusion CST Studio has an inertia-enhanced flywheel and offers 20 levels of silent magnetic resistance. This type of resistance ensures a smooth and quiet operation. Automatic Trainer Control technology allows for real-time, automatic weight adjustments from the iFIT coaches. You can also adjust the settings using buttons on the side of the machine.

Pressing a button on the side of a NordicTrack Fusion CST machine.

According to NordicTrack, the resistance settings range from 10 to 100 pounds. One of our product testers found this to be a sufficient amount of weight. “Considering most iFIT workouts tend to be more HIIT-oriented, I think there is plenty of resistance available, whether someone is new to training or more seasoned,” he said.

Another tester didn’t find the weight very challenging and rated the machine 3.5 out of 5 stars for resistance. “For bilateral movements, the weight doesn’t feel like much. It becomes much harder if you use it for unilateral movements, though,” he noted.

RELATED: Bowflex vs NordicTrack

Attachments

The NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio comes with six removable handles, two squat pulleys, and two ankle straps. The variety is less than what you’d get with a more robust functional trainer like the Torque F9 Fold-Away Functional Trainer. That machine comes with handles, a squat harness, a straight bar, and more. But again, the Fusion CST Studio isn’t meant to be a traditional functional trainer. You don’t necessarily need things like a pull-up bar or a rope attachment.

Attaching the ankle strap for the NordicTrack Fusion CST.

Our product testers did like the quality of the attachments, however. “The ankle straps went on easily and felt very comfortable for all of the leg movements,” one tester remarked.

Overall, we gave the NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio 4 out of 5 stars in this category.

Technology and Programming

The Fusion CST earned 3 out of 5 stars for its tech capabilities. It comes with a 10-inch tablet for streaming iFIT workout classes. NordicTrack includes a freestanding tablet holder with the Fusion CST. There’s also a magnetic holder on the machine itself that keeps the tablet secure while you work out.

“I was yanking on the cables pretty hard, and the tablet stayed in place the entire time,” one of our product testers noted. “I don’t think there’s any danger of it falling and breaking.”

That said, both product testers had a few qualms about the programming and the tablet, which runs on an Android operating system. 

The workout tablet on a NordicTrack Fusion CST.

“The app is really laggy. It’s not necessarily the end of the world, but it can be annoying if you’re short on time,” one tester commented.

“It would be nice if the machine came with some pre-programmed workouts so you can use it without a subscription,” our other tester noted. “Then, if you feel like you need more, you can pay to access a larger variety of workouts.”

You do need to keep this machine plugged in, but it uses a standard outlet. You’ll also need a stable WiFi connection.

RELATED: Best iFIT Workouts

Interestingly, the product manual has instructions for setting up a Bluetooth chest strap for heart rate monitoring. However, the product listing on NordicTrack’s website doesn’t mention anything about a heart rate strap. I contacted the company directly to ask about this. They confirmed that the Fusion CST doesn’t come with a heart rate monitor, but you can sync a Bluetooth heart rate monitor to it.

NordicTrack Fusion CST vs Tonal

Tonal

Tonal Smart Home Gym

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • AI gets to know you and makes weight adjustments for you
  • Up to 200 pounds in digital resistance
  • All-in-one gym that takes up minimal space
  • Access to on-demand and live classes
  • 30-day trial period

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • AI gets to know you and makes weight adjustments for you
  • Lift up to 200 pounds in digital resistance (much different from free weights)
  • All-in-one gym that takes up minimal space
  • AI assesses your form and gives real-time cuing
  • Access to on-demand and live classes
  • 30-day trial period

Cons

  • High initial price tag
  • Accessories cost extra and are pretty crucial to your workouts
  • 12-month initial subscription required (and an additional cost)
  • 200 pounds in resistance might not be enough for heavy lifters

Bottom Line

A complete smart home gym that offers versatility in a compact piece of equipment, but at a high price.

Tonal is another smart home gym that uses magnetic resistance and offers virtual programming. While the Fusion CST goes up to 100 pounds, Tonal goes up to 200. Tonal also comes with a long bar for exercises like back squats and overhead presses. Additional accessories, like a rope attachment and bench, are also available separately to add more versatility to your Tonal experience. The iFIT workouts for the Fusion CST Studio only require D-ring handles and ankle straps.

Unlike the NordicTrack machine, Tonal is a wall-mounted system. It also has a 24-inch, built-in touchscreen display, whereas the Fusion CST Studio comes with a portable 10-inch tablet. Our product testers liked Tonal’s technology and programming much better than NordicTrack’s. Tonal offers a larger variety of workouts and allows more customization than iFIT.

Where the NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio outshines Tonal is price. The Fusion CST Studio costs just under $2,500, and we’ve seen it for as low as $1,799. Tonal costs almost $4,500 and requires a minimum 12-month commitment to the Tonal app for about $59 a month. Meanwhile, an iFIT subscription for use with the NordicTrack machine is right around $39 per month.

Learn more in our full Tonal Smart Home Gym review.

NordicTrack Fusion CSTTonal
Footprint73.5” H x 60.5” W x 41.5” D50.9” H x 21.5” W x 5.25” D
Weight378 lbs150 lbs
Resistance typeMagneticMagnetic
Weight range20 levels ranging from 10 to 100 lbsUp to 200 lbs
Included attachments6 integrated removable handles; 2 squat pulleys; 2 ankle strapsNone
Tech10” portable tablet included24” touchscreen
Programming30-day free trial to iFIT included (around $39/month afterward)Tonal app is around $59/month
Power requirementsStandard outlet120V
Warranty10-year frame; 1-year parts and labor; 1-year tablet2-year limited

Customer Experience 

The NordicTrack Fusion CST has a 10-year frame warranty, a 1-year parts and labor warranty, and a 1-year tablet warranty. The warranty pales compared to the lifetime frame warranties offered on traditional functional trainers like the REP Arcadia or the Gronk Fitness Functional Trainer. However, it’s in line with what we see on other NordicTrack equipment.

If you’re unsatisfied with your machine, you can return it within 30 days of your delivery date. You’ll have to pay a non-refundable $250 shipping fee and a 10% processing fee. If you opted for white glove delivery, you won’t receive a refund for that service.

You can contact the company’s customer service team via live chat, email, or phone. Having tested dozens of NordicTrack machines, we have a lot of experience in this area. We find the overall customer experience to be hit or miss. One of our product testers once tried contacting the company through the live chat function and had to wait several hours for a response. Another tester emailed the company and didn’t receive a response until a week later.

On the other hand, I contacted NordicTrack via live chat while writing this review and a customer service rep responded within minutes.

We’d like to see more consistent customer service from a well-known brand like NordicTrack, especially when you typically have to pay thousands of dollars for one of their products. As such, we gave them 3 out of 5 stars in this category.

Ordering and Assembling the NordicTrack Fusion CST

Ordering the NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio is easy on NordicTrack’s website. You can choose free standard shipping or one of two premium delivery options:

  • Room of choice delivery and assembly for around $300
  • Delivery, assembly, and removal of old equipment for around $398

Financing is available through TD Bank. NordicTrack offers 4.99% APR for 39 months or 0% APR for 12 months for eligible customers. If you choose the 39-month plan, your monthly payments will be around $51. If you opt for the 12-month plan, your monthly installments will be around $150.

NordicTrack also includes a 30-day free trial to iFIT with the Fusion CST Studio. Once the trial period ends, your iFIT membership will cost around $39 per month for a monthly membership or $398 for an annual membership. 

Customer Reviews

The NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio isn’t currently available on Amazon but has 57 reviews and an average of 2.7 stars on the marketplace. Amazon reviewers liked the machine itself but voiced concerns over the tablet’s poor quality. 

On Best Buy’s website, the machine has 50 reviews and an average rating of 3.6 stars. Similar to Amazon reviewers, Best Buy customers appear happy with the machine. However, they are disappointed with the bugginess of the tablet.

Final Verdict of Our NordicTrack Fusion CST Review

If you have the budget and are interested in iFIT programming to improve your strength and conditioning, the NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio is worth considering. Just know that it’s more of a smart home gym than a true functional trainer and has some limitations.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio comes with a free 30-day trial to iFIT. Once the trial period ends, an iFIT subscription costs around $39 a month for a monthly subscription or $398 for a yearly subscription.
  • It comes with a tablet with which you can stream iFIT classes, but the technology is often glitchy.
  • The machine offers 20 levels of magnetic resistance ranging from 10 to 100 pounds. The weight is suitable for HIIT workouts, but may not be enough if you want to develop some serious strength.
  • It weighs 376 pounds. You’ll want to find a place in your home where it can stay permanently because it won’t be easy to move.

Full Rating

NordicTrack Fusion CST

The NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio is a high-end functional strength trainer with guided workouts and a high price tag.

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 24.99

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.35

NordicTrack Fusion CST Rating

Overall value – 3
Workout experience – 3
Footprint – 3.5
Stability and durability – 4
Resistance – 3.5
Attachments – 4
Technology and programming – 3
Customer experience – 3
Customer reviews – 3.15
Buy Now

NordicTrack Fusion CST: FAQs

How does the NordicTrack Fusion CST work?

The NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio works similarly to a traditional cable machine. But unlike a regular cable machine or functional trainer, the Fusion CST comes with a portable tablet, which enables you to stream workout classes and perform dynamic workouts. It also offers 20 levels of magnetic resistance instead of using weight stacks or weight plates.

Can you use the NordicTrack Fusion CST without a subscription?

You can use the NordicTrack Fusion CST without a subscription, but you won’t have access to the instructor-led virtual classes. In our opinion, the subscription is worth it so you can use the machine to its fullest potential.

How much space do you need for a NordicTrack Fusion CST?

The NordicTrack Fusion CST is 73.5 inches high, 60.5 inches wide, and 41.5 inches deep. You’ll need at least that much room to fit the machine. We recommend also having a foot or two of clearance on each side so you have room to perform the dynamic exercises you may come across in your iFIT workouts.

Further reading

Get RXd Xebex Rower Review Cover Image
Get RXd Xebex Rower Review

The Xebex Rower from Get RXdis an outstanding competitor to the reigning champ, the Concept 2 Model D Rower. Featuring commercial-grade components in a lower priced platform is what makes the Xebex Rower standout. If you're not wanting the Concept 2 Model D, then we suggest the Xebex Rower. Read more

The 11 Best Kettlebells for Your Home Workout, According to Personal Trainers Cover Image
The 11 Best Kettlebells for Your Home Workout, According to Personal Trainers

When it comes to blending strength and conditioning, the kettlebell might be the most versatile piece of equipment there is. Read on to find the different kettlebells I like and why. Read more

How Many Reps to Build Muscle: Advice From a Certified Personal Trainer Cover Image
How Many Reps to Build Muscle: Advice From a Certified Personal Trainer

Wondering how many reps to build muscle? In our guide, we’ll give you research-backed information on how to maximize your gains. Read more

Elliptical Coupon (2024): An Opportunity To Save On Cardio Fitness Equipment Cover Image
Elliptical Coupon (2024): An Opportunity To Save On Cardio Fitness Equipment

Historically, the best functional trainers have been used primarily for strength training. But what if there was a functional trainer that allowed you to combine both strength and cardio workouts?The NordicTrack Fusion CST Studio makes that possible. This machine has cables and pulleys and offers 20 levels of magnetic resistance so you can strengthen all of your major muscle groups. Its integration with iFIT allows you to follow along with instructor-led,  » Read more about: NordicTrack Fusion CST Review (2024): A Solid Machine With Some Flaws  » Read more