Everybody likes to stay in shape. Physical fitness improves self-confidence, increases vitality, and makes for a better overall sense of well-being. There are many types of home fitness machines on the market. Ellipticals offer a low impact workout, and steppers offer a high-calorie burn. The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 merges the best qualities of steppers and ellipticals to create a fun, low impact, high-calorie burn workout unmatched by other machines. In this review, we will compare the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 to other similar machines on the market to help determine if it is the right piece of equipment for you.

COMPARISON TABLE

What Is a Bowflex Max Trainer M3?

Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Florida State University

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is a hybrid stepper/elliptical that offers a high intensity workout in as little as 14 minutes. The unit features two non slip pedals mounted on the back of the machine. Two articulated arm bars allow the user to target and activate the upper body and core along with the legs. The combination of arms and legs makes this a full-body workout machine with results similar to rowing or cross-country skiing. The machine offers an attractive, vertical construction that ensures it has a small footprint.

Product Specs  

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 measures 46.1 inches long by 25 inches wide and stands at 62.9 inches high. This unit is much smaller than treadmills or ellipticals. Because the action functions like a stepper, there is no need to adjust the stride length like might be necessary on an elliptical. The unit has integrated transport rollers for easy movement after assembly. The total weight of the item is 143 pounds, with a maximum user weight of 300 pounds.

The sleek black design with red highlights is unobtrusive and will make a welcome addition to any room. The easy-to-read display offers 8 resistance levels and 2 workout programs. The two workout programs are max interval and manual. The unit also can monitor your heart rate through an included heart rate strap. There is also a water bottle and media shelf, along with target zone and burn rate indicators.

Pricing

Bowflex Max Trainer M7 Cardio Machine

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is available on the Bowflex web page and Amazon for around $1,000. The unit is also available at select local retailers that feature fitness and sporting goods equipment.

How It Compares

To see how the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 performs, we tested it on various factors. These factors included: price, design quality, warranty, and our overall perception of the machine. We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare. These included:    

  • Bowflex Max Trainer M7
  • Bowflex Max Trainer M5
  • Bowflex TC200 TreadClimber
Bowflex Max Trainer M5 Florida State University
  • Save time with the Breakthrough 14-minute max internal workout
  • Blue backlit display with Tachometer showing target & burn-rate zones
  • Bluetooth allows you to sync to the free max Trainer app
  • 9 program to keep you challenged
  • Compact design that fits most any space

Price $$

At approximately $1,000, the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is an economically priced piece of home exercise equipment. It is not uncommon for treadmills and ellipticals to cost several thousand dollars. Bowflex is a very trusted manufacturer, and the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is an entry-level unit in their line of home exercise trainers.

Ease of Use

After testing the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 it is difficult to go back to a treadmill or an elliptical. The workout is very challenging, but it also fun. The pedal motion is smoother than you find on a stepper, and it works the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. The arm bars have several grip areas and are effective at activating the biceps, triceps, chest, and core. The workouts are fantastic, and in as little as 14 minutes the user gets a tremendous full-body workout.

Design Quality 

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 features a fantastic design that offers a great workout in a minimal amount of time. The small footprint of this machine is also an asset as many individuals do not have space in their home or apartment to dedicate to a large piece of machinery. The Max Trainer M3 is more vertical than some machines, but the unit never feels tippy, and the user is not high off the ground. This is a highly efficient unit that fills the user's needs in terms of size, effectiveness, and price.

Warranty

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 comes with an industry-standard one-year warranty.

PROS

  • Small footprint allows this unit to fit in any apartment
  • Efficient and effective workout
  • The unit is fun to operate
  • The programs are challenging and fitness progress is easy to track

CONS

  • The warranty is short
  • Lacks the program features of more expensive models
Bowflex Max Trainer M7 Cardio Machine
  • 11 programs and 20 levels of computer controlled resistance 4 user profiles
  • M7 performance targeted programming learns and adapts to each user's fitness level over time to set new targets. Bluetooth enabled.
  • Perfect for High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  • Oversized, high contrast, dual backlit LCD/LED display

The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 is near the top of the line of the Bowflex Trainer series. Like the Bowflex Max Trainer M3, the unit is a hybrid stepper/elliptical that takes the best features of both machines. The M7's vertical design reduces the unit's overall footprint. The unit measures 49 inches long by 30.5 inches wide and stands at 65.5 inches high making it slightly larger than the M3.

The M7 comes with a highly advanced and easy-to-read digital display. The interface offers 11 programs and 20 levels of computer-controlled resistance. The display can also host up to 4 unique user profiles and can sync with the Free Max Trainer App. The handlebars are gym quality and the unit features an aero bar upgrade.

Price $$

The Bowflex Max Trainer M7 is available for approximately $2,000.

Ease of Use

The action and use of this unit are very similar to the Bowflex Max Trainer M3. Although Bowflex markets the handlebars as an upgrade, we preferred the handlebars on the M3. The display on the M7 has a lot of features which results in more complications. Users can mount and operate the M3 right out of the box. The M7 requires the user to study the manual to get the most out of the machine.

Design Quality 

The pedal and handlebar actions of this machine are high quality. The display is easy to read and the programs are effective. We weren't as happy with the silver color that made this machine stand out more than we would have liked. The larger overall footprint of this machine also made it less than ideal for individuals who live in small apartments.

Warranty

The unit comes with a 3-year warranty.

PROS

  • Highly efficient stepper/elliptical hybrid
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Good variety of programs and resistance levels

CONS

  • At $2,000, the unit represents a significant investment
  • The silver color is not very attractive
  • The interface is complex and takes time to learn
Bowflex Max Trainer M5 University of Michigan
  • Save time with the Breakthrough 14-minute max internal workout
  • Blue backlit display with Tachometer showing target & burn-rate zones
  • Bluetooth allows you to sync to the free max Trainer app
  • 9 program to keep you challenged
  • Compact design that fits most any space

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is in the middle tier of trainers offered in Bowflex's line. The unit measures 46.1 inches long by 25 inches wide and stands at a height of 62.9 inches. The unit is also a hybrid elliptical/stepper. The interface offers 16 resistance levels and 8 workout programs including max interval, smart max interval, calorie burn, fat burn, calorie goal, stairs, steady state, fitness test, and manual mode. This unit also syncs with the Free Max Trainer App. The unit also features a heart rate monitor that works through a chest strap or the integrated contact grips.

Price $$

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 is available for approximately $1,300 on Amazon and at select local retailers that offer sports and fitness equipment.

Ease of Use

This unit is closer to the easy mount-and-go functionality of the Bowflex Max Trainer M5. The display is back-lit and easy to read, and the programs are fun to use once the user becomes familiar with them. The action is smooth for both the handlebars and pedal stroke.

Design Quality 

The M5 has the same footprint as the M3, and the action feels almost identical. The M5 again uses Bowflex's silver color scheme, this time with red highlights. We did not feel this machine is as attractive to look at as the M3.

Warranty

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 comes with a 2-year warranty.

PROS

  • Hybrid elliptical/stepper exercise action
  • Good variety of programs and resistance levels
  • Good warranty

CONS

  • Unattractive color scheme
  • Complexity increased by more interface options
Bowflex TC200 TreadClimber
  • Combines the motions of a treadmill, a stepper, and an elliptical for an easy, low-impact workout with high-impact results - and all you do is walk
  • Free Bowflex TreadClimber App sets, monitors and tracks personal fitness goals
  • Integrated Bluetooth connectivity automatically shares your data with MyFitnessPal, Apple Health and Google Fit and stores up to 4 different user's data
  • Burn up to two and half times the calories of a treadmill at the same speed*
  • 5 workout programs - Just Walk, distance, calorie and intervals

The Bowflex TC200 TreadClimber is a combination stepper/treadmill that allows the user to get a high-calorie burn workout at a low perceived level of exertion. The machine has two treadmills that alternate lift as the user walks. The unit does not offer articulated handlebars to activate the upper body. The unit measures 55 inches long by 31.5 inches and stands 62.5 inches tall. The assembled machine weighs 202 pounds, and the maximum user weight is 300 pounds.

Price $$

The Bowflex TC200 TreadClimber is available on Amazon for approximately $2,500.

Ease of Use

The Bowflex TC200 TreadClimber offers a high-calorie burn workout at a walking pace. The alternating lift of the treadmills is strange at first, but users should be able to adapt to it quickly. The maximum speed of this machine is only 4.5 miles per hour, so it does not move nearly as fast as a standard treadmill. There is no way to activate the upper body while using this machine.

Design Quality 

The machine offers a high-calorie burn exercise at a walking pace which should appeal to a lot of different individuals. The machine boasts a sturdy construction capable of holding up to abuse. Our only complaint is that this machine does not activate the upper body.

Warranty

The unit comes with a 3-year warranty.

PROS

  • Low perceived level of effort
  • Good calorie burn
  • Compact, well-built unit

CONS

  • Very expensive
  • No handlebars to activate the upper body

CONCLUSION

Most people would like to stay in shape. Good physical fitness is the cornerstone to good health. Fitness helps improve appearance, boost attractiveness, and can ward off depression. However, with the increasing demands of the modern world, few people have as much time as they would like to dedicate to a fitness program. There is a high demand for home exercise equipment that can provide an efficient workout, take up little space, and come at an affordable price.

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is the entry-level option to Bowflex's line of Max Trainers. These machines take the best qualities of steppers and ellipticals and combine them into a single machine which is easy on the joints and provides a high-calorie burn workout. The vertical construction of the Max Trainers means that they all have a very small footprint, and workouts can be completed in as little as 14 minutes. At $1,000, the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 represents a high-quality piece of home exercise equipment at an affordable price.

The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 and the Bowflex Max Trainer M7 both offered improvements over the M3 in terms of their programming. However, we were not convinced that the superior programming justified the additional cost. The M3's pedal and handlebar actions were just as good as that of the M5 and M7. We also felt that the black color scheme with red highlights of the M3 was the most attractive and least obtrusive color scheme of all the Bowflex Trainers.

The Bowflex TC200 TreadClimber offered an interesting alternative. The TreadClimber offers a high-calorie burn workout at a low perceived effort of exertion. Users walk on the TreadClimber, and the maximum speed of the alternating treadmills is only 4.5 miles per hour. We liked the TreadClimber overall, but we preferred the Trainers and their ability to activate and strengthen the upper body. Also, at $2,500, the TreadClimber was the most expensive of the units that we tested.

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 was the clear winner among the pieces of equipment that we tested. It is a small unit that does not take up a huge amount of space in a home or an apartment, and it has an attractive color scheme. The hybrid elliptical/stepper action of the unit provides a tremendous workout that activates and strengthens all the major muscle groups in as little as 14 minutes. The display is simple and highly effective in tracking your fitness progress. For individuals looking for an affordable piece of exercise equipment that will bring them great results, the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is a great choice.

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