Bowflex Max Trainer Review: Does it Work, or Not?


Bowflex Max Trainer Review: Does it Work, or Not?
3.71 (74.29%) 14 votes

Bowflex MAX Trainer is an exercise machine by Nautilus, Inc. which is advertised as a way to maximize weight loss and fitness. How well does it work?

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Bowflex MAX Trainer

The MAX Trainer looks like an elliptical trainer, although the website claims that it burns 2.5x more calories per minute than a standard elliptical machine, and 1.6x more calories per minute than a regular treadmill. It is also claimed than you can achieve a maximum cardio workout in just 14 minutes per session.

There is a display which tells you how many calories you’re burning per minute, which is said to be motivational throughout the workout. There is also an accompanying smartphone app which allows you to to sync track your workouts.

The official website is

Cost and Availability

It appears that the MAX Trainer is only available when purchasing direct. The cost of each model is:

  • M3: $999 plus $100 shipping = $1099
  • M5: $1599 plus $100 shipping = $1699

The website also offers financing with no interest for 18 months (if paid in full) via their Nautilus credit card. That card has an APR of 29.99%, and is subject to credit approval.

Claims and Features

  • Full body workout
  • Zero impact
  • Controls such as burn rate and resistance level
  • “Afterburn” – Increases metabolism and burns calories after workout
  • Better upper body workout than an elliptical
  • Compact design “fits almost anywhere”
  • Two models: M3 and M5
  • Forward and reverse motion (there is no resistance in reverse)
  • Assembly required

M3 vs M5

Below are the differences between the M3 and M5 models.

  • Resistance levels: 8 for the M3, and 16 for the M5 (The highest and lowest resistance is the same for both machines, but the M5 has more levels for fine tuning.)
  • Workout Programs: 3 for the M3, 9 for the M5
  • Warranty: 1 year for M3, 2 years for M5
  • Heart Rate Monitor: Chest strap for M3, Strap and contact grips for M5.
  • Bluetooth to Sync with App: Only for M5
  • Backlit display: Only for M5
  • Premium Grips: Only for M5

Both machines have a water bottle holder and media shelf/tablet holder. The dimensions are the same for both (46″L x 25″ W x 63″ H), and both use an included AC adapter.

You can view the official comparison here.

YouTube Review

The following review of the M5 model on YouTube has amassed over 260,000 views as of December 2015. The reviewer claimed that it exceeded his expectations.

Tech Crunch Review

A popular review on Tech Crunch also highlights the M5 model. That reviewer concludes that it is a “well-built” machine with “tight spaces in mind.” It is stated that it will not replace a “whole home gym” but provides a good cardio workout.

Elliptical Reviews

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The gurus at give the M5 a 4-star rating, noting that “the M5 really is worth its weight in gold,” and describing it as durable, challenging, and dynamic. They refer to the 2-year warranty as “a bit stingy” and listed the price as a “least favorable feature.”

Bowflex Max Trainer Praise

Comments and reviews culled from a variety of internet sources reveal a mostly positive consensus. Most users have praised the product for its compact design, thorough workout. Many who have expressed praise for the product have said that they experienced weight loss in a short amount of time, along with increases in endurance.

The consensus we have gathered from online reviews points to an approximately 4 to 4.5 star rating for for both machines.

Bowflex MAX Trainer Complaints and Concerns

Complaints about both versions of the MAX Trainer are in the minority, but those issues are worth noting.

  • Bulking up. Even the Bowflex team has said that “It is not going to help you bulk up, but will firm and tone you.”
  • Assembly. While most consumers have said that assembly was relatively easy, some have expressed frustration with having to assemble it. At least one commenter claimed that his assembly led to a wobbly unit. You can also pay to have it assembled, but this will incur additional costs.
  • Cost. The price tag over $1100-$1600 is out of the price range for many consumers.
  • Noise. A few reviewers have expressed concern about the volume of the MAX Trainer. Bowflex admitted in a YouTube comment, “Because of the fans, the MAX Trainer is a noisier machine than most.”

Epic Conclusion

Bowflex MAX Trainer is an elliptical-type machine which has mostly positive reviews. Those who praise the product state that it provides an ample cardio workout, with a unique space-saving design. The minority of complaints include assembly, cost, and noise.

Be careful in financing, as the APR is quite high if you don’t pay it off within 18 months.

If you’ve used either model of the Bowflex MAX Trainer, drop us a comment below.

This review has been updated since its original publication in January 2015.