Bowflex Max Trainer Review - An Elliptical and Stepper in One Calorie-Burning Machine

The Bowflex Max Trainer is an extremely popular exercise machine, giving you the benefits of an elliptical and a stepper combined.  

The company claims that you can burn more calories, engage your upper body more, and significantly reduce impact on your joints more effectively than a traditional elliptical or treadmill.

Compared to the company's other popular machine, the TreadClimber, the Max Trainers are much more affordable, giving more people the opportunity to try out the "Max Interval 14 Minute Workout".

Let's review the M3, M6, M8 and Max Total to see what these hybrid cardio machines are all about...

A Look at the Current Max Trainer Lineup

Bowflex Max Trainer Reviews - Popular M6 Mid Range Model 2020

Bowflex is currently offering four Max Trainer models for 2020:  the M3, the mid-range M6, the up-level M8 and the top of the line Max Total.

All four are very compact, about half the length of a traditional elliptical machine, so they are ideal for smaller gym spaces.

All of the models have a sleek, modern-looking design inspired by race cars and motorcycles, so they are very unlike your typical elliptical trainer.  

Depending on your tastes that can be a good or a bad thing.  We personally like the way these look as it makes them more appealing, and they certainly stand out from the crowd.

Let's take a look at all four Max Trainers...

The Max Trainer M3 is all black with fire red accents, offering 8 resistance levels and 2 workout programs (Manual, Max Interval). It includes a chest strap for heart rate monitoring, a water bottle holder and a shelf for your magazine or tablet.

The Max Trainer M6 (a recent upgrade to the M5) is silver and black with red accents, and offers 16 resistance levels, 5 built in workouts and includes everything the M3 offers plus contact grip heart monitor, a backlit display and premium grips.

It also features the brand new Max Intelligence Platform, interactive technology that gives you access to customized workouts based on your inputs, fitness assessments, rewards and tracking capability, plus Bowflex radio and other exciting new additions.

The Max Trainer M8 (a recent upgrade to the M7) looks like the M6, but with a darker appearance and it has more commercial-grade touches.  There are 20 resistance levels,  enhanced grips, pedals and display and up to 4 user profiles, as opposed to 2 on the M3 and M6.  

It also includes performance targeted programming that can adapt to your training level and set goals for you to reach, something the other machines don't have.

Note that there is a Max Trainer M8 performance pack, which includes a Samsung Galaxy E 9.6" tablet and a mat for an extra $300...not a bad deal if you don't have your own tablet to use.

The Max Total is the newest member of the lineup, and takes it up another level with a touch screen display and streaming capability with Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.

All Bowflex Max Trainers come with a free wireless chest strap, full body workout capability, after burn effect, water bottle holder, media shelf and an AC adapter.

Which Bowflex Max Trainer Should You Choose?

Max Interval 14 Minute Workout

Deciding which Bowflex Max Trainer to choose comes down to your budget and the features that you are looking for.  All four will provide a solid workout, allowing you to burn calories and tone up the entire body.

The Max Trainer M3 is going to be the least expensive model, at around $999 last we checked.  It is a good entry level choice if budget is an issue, and you can do without the extras that the upper level models provide.

Our favorite Max Trainer here at All Ellipticals is definitely the M6, which also happens to be the most popular model and biggest seller for the company.  Why?  Because it's a pretty big upgrade over the base M3 model in major areas.

For starters, you get twice as many resistance levels to choose from.  You also get a lot more workout options.  Even though the Max 14 Minute Interval program is great, it's nice to have other options to change things up.

Another thing missing on the base model is the tracking capability that the Max Trainer M6, M8 and Max Total have, through the new Bowflex Max Intelligence program (now called Bowflex JRNY).  

This allows you to keep tabs on your workouts and monitor your progress over time.  You can sync all of your results with many popular fitness apps including Run Social and Samsung Health.  There are endless possibilities there.

What about the M8?  Why is that not our favorite?  Because the jump from the M6 to the M8 is not as great as that from the M3 to the M6, meaning that the upgrades on the M8 don't necessarily justify the price increase of $600.

You do get even more resistance levels and workout programs, and some enhanced touches here and there, but we believe the Max Trainer M6 has everything you need.  

Unless your budget is wide open, in which case go with the top of the line Max Total, opt for the M6.

What's the Word on the Street?

Bowflex Max Trainer M3 Base Model

The experts give the Max Trainers very good reviews.  They like the fact that they are very affordable, around $999 on sale for the M3 and $1699 for the M6 model.  The M8 is on the pricier side though, at around $2299 on sale, and the Max Total is $2,799.  

They are all very compact which makes them ideal for the home setting...very appealing for those with limited space in their workout areas.

The unique selling point of the Max Trainers, as well as their counterparts, the Bowflex TreadClimbers, is definitely the fact that you can burn a ton of calories in a relatively short amount of time.  

You'll notice that the focus of the company website and commercials is not really the machines themselves, but rather the results that you can achieve by using them.

The 14 Minute Max Interval workout is a series of high intensity and low intensity movements (8 high, 8 low) that lasts for a total of 14 minutes, which will give you all of the cardiovascular benefits of a much longer workout in much less time.  

The new M8 also has a Max 7 Minute Interval workout in case you don't have 14 minutes to spend on the machine.

Bowflex also claims that an independent study showed that you can burn up to 1.2x as many calories as you can on a stepper, 1.6x as many as you can on a treadmill, and up to 2.5x as many as you can on a traditional elliptical machine.  

Whether or not this is true is debatable, but the point is you can shed a lot of calories and get a very good cardio workout in, which you can do with most good cross trainers.

Some other Bowflex Max Trainer benefits: 80% more upper body engagement, 200% less impact and additional calorie burn long after your workout is complete.  

Keep in mind that last claim applies to any interval training that you do.  :)

Note: It looks like the Bowflex Max Trainer M3, the base model, may no longer be for sale on the company site. It may still be available in stores, however.

Bowflex Max Trainer Review - Bottom Line

We like the Max Trainers, especially for those who don't have a lot of time to work out and want to maximize their results.  

Although the display is very basic, they do have a Burn Rate meter that actually shows you how many calories you're burning per minute and target levels to that's pretty cool for those looking to drop a few pounds.

Keep in mind that only the M6, M8 and Max Total sync with the Bowflex JRNY app to track your results, so if that's important to you go with one of those over the M3.  

They also give you twice the resistance levels and many more workout programs as well as a better warranty.

Also, note that the M8 model is a learning machine, so it actually monitors your workouts and suggests new targets based on your fitness goals.  So that's an additional motivational tool.

Either way, these are very good machines with a unique angle that makes them very appealing.

Check out all four Max Trainer models and decide which one is right for you.

Bowflex Max Trainer Model Reviews

Bowflex Max Trainer M3 - The entry level model featuring the MAX Interval 14 minute workout, 8 resistance levels, wireless chest heart rate monitor and 2 user profiles.

Bowflex Max Trainer M6 - The mid-level and most popular model, this one offers 16 resistance levels, 9 built-in workouts and Bluetooth syncing with the company's fitness app.

Bowflex Max Trainer M8 - The higher end model in the series, introduced for 2019, with learning capability, upgraded features, heart rate monitor and Bluetooth syncing.

Bowflex Max Total - The newest of the four models, with a touch screen display, WiFi and Bluetooth, and other high end features.

Bowflex Max Trainer Logo

All Max Trainers are currently on sale up to $450 off!


Max Trainer M6

Max Trainer M8

Max Total


 Calorie Burn

 Low Impact

 Quick Workouts

 Unique Design

 Model Choices


Max Trainer M3

Max Trainer M6

Max Trainer M8

Max Total

Max Trainer Sale - M3

Max Trainer ellipticals are on sale right now!