bowflex max trainer vs elliptical

Bowflex Max Trainer vs Elliptical [2020] Which Is Best For You?

Last Updated on

Burning calories is an essential component while properly managing your weight and fitness levels. One of the best ways to burn calories is by using an elliptical device that allows you to walk, run, and climb on a stationary exercise machine.

For a long time, ellipticals lacked in terms of technological advancement due to the fact that most companies were using the same general template to produce their elliptical products.

That was until Bowflex released the Max Trainer series of essentially beefed up elliptical machines. The Bowflex Max Trainer comes in many different configurations, which allows you to get the exact benefits you need to achieve your desired fitness goals. 

If you’re someone who likes to work out at home but doesn’t have enough room or space for a home gym, a high-quality elliptical will most likely be a great choice for you.

Due to advancements in technology and the vast plethora of information regarding exercise, many people are straying away from the elliptical for a more advanced and intensified workout program.

The Bowflex Max Trainer solves this problem by giving you access to a wide range of enhanced elliptical-like capabilities that allow you to maximize your workouts. This allows the user to tackle a majority of their cardio training goals in one place, with one machine. 

The Bowflex Max Trainer variant and Bowflex elliptical machine come with varying exercise programs and resistance outputs. If you’re someone who is interested in a low-impact exercise machine that will enable you to experience visible results in a fairly short amount of time, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we will go through all of the key features, benefits, disadvantages, and features that you need to consider before purchasing either a Bowflex Max Trainer or an elliptical machine.

To start, let’s take a look at some of the main differences that you can expect to encounter when using either of these machines. 

Our Recommendation: Bowflex Max Trainer
The Bowflex Max Trainer features more raw performance enhancements for the price and is the clear winner because it allows users to achieve a higher level of exercise performance that the Bowflex Elliptical simply doesn’t provide.
July 14, 2020 3:20 am UTC

Main Differences Between Bowflex Max Trainer vs Elliptical 

The Main Differences Between Bowflex Max Trainer vs Elliptical Machines are:

  • Bowflex Max Trainers are pretty expensive even for base models, whereas Bowflex Elliptical trainers tend to be reasonably priced
  • Bowflex Max Trainers deliver a simulated stair-climbing effect, whereas Bowflex Elliptical mimic natural running activities tailored in an oval or elongated motion
  • Bowflex Max Trainers enable you to engage more of your upper body muscles when performing specific exercises, whereas the Bowflex Elliptical does not provide these upper body workouts

Depending on your experience level, desired results, and body type, all of these differences will have a huge impact on the way that you experience which machine you decide to purchase. 

These are just some of the general differences between each calorie-roasting machine though, in the next section, we’ll give you an in-depth look at every feature, design element, and feature that could potentially benefit or hinder your workouts. 

Bowflex Max Trainer vs Elliptical Specifications 

bowflex max trainer

Regardless if you decide to go with a Bowflex Max Trainer or Elliptical, there are some basic specifications that you should know about both. These machines come in models that boast specific upgrades depending on what model you select. Take a look below to see some of the standardized specs between both workout platforms.                         

Bowflex Max Trainer 

The Max Trainer comes in three models, which are the Bowflex Max Trainer M3, Bowflex Max Trainer M6, and Bowflex Max Trainer M6. With each model upgrade, you’ll experience enhancements such as expanded resistance levels, more workouts preset, longer warranty coverage, and more. See how M3 vs M5 Compare here.

Regardless of what enhancements you purchase with your package, all of the Bowflex Max Trainer models come with an awesome set of features.

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • User profiles
  • Media Shelf
  • Integrated workout programs
  • Interactive Display (Starting on the Max Trainer M5 model)
  • LCD Screen
  • Water Bottle holder
  • Resistance Adjustability

Bowflex Elliptical

The Bowflex Elliptical lineup is much similar to the Max Trainer machines in that they come in two separate models. The BXE116 Elliptical and BXE216 Elliptical are the two great elliptical machines offered by the company.

In both of these ellipticals, you will find similar features that are either upgrades or downgrades depending on which model you decide to purchase. 

  • 25 different levels of resistance available
  • Integrated preset workout programs
  • Weighted Flywheel
  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • 22” total stride length
  • Chest Strap
  • Heart Rate Grips

These are all of the rudimentary specifications that you can expect to encounter when choosing either a Bowflex Max Trainer or the Elliptical machine.

While these specifications can help you become more educated about the features of both machines, it doesn’t give you a real perspective as to how these design elements translate to real-world performance. 

That’s what the next section of this comparison guide is going to cover, so make sure you continue reading.   

Core Feature Comparison: Bowflex Max vs Elliptical 

The same is true for Bowflex Ellipticals as they come in various configurations and models, that’s why we recommend reading this entire section in full so that you can become educated about exactly what comes with the machine you choose. 

Bowflex Max Trainer 

bowflex max trainer

Max Intelligence App 

All Bowflex Max Trainer models are compatible with the Max Intelligence App, which automatically adapts to your exercise routine. The Max Intelligence App can identify patterns in your workouts so that you don’t have to set your preferred exercise modes each time you want to use the machine.

There is also an integrated database of instructional exercise videos led by verified fitness trainers that you can access to take your workouts a step further. 

Connectivity Options

The Bowflex Max Trainer line comes packed with Bluetooth capabilities on all the devices, making it easy for you to link accessories for an enhanced experience overall.

You’ll also find that Max Trainer comes with a built-in USB charging port that you can use to easily charge any of your devices. All of these features increase and accessibility and functionality of the Bowflex Max Trainer while giving it a tech-savvy element.


The Bowflex Max Trainer line was designed to deliver low-impact workouts that deliver visible results in a very reasonable amount of time. The overall construction of the Max Trainer is very compact, which makes it perfect for small spaces. It’s compact design also makes it easy for you to move the machine if need be.

The Max Trainer comes with an integrated display console that makes it easy for you to keep track of the progress you’re making when exercising. 

Real-time stats 

You will also enjoy real-time statistics and vital information reporting thanks to the built-in heart rate monitor that comes with the machine. In addition to the integrated heart rate monitor, these machines also come with a burn rate display so that you can stay on top of our workout intensity.

Our Recommendation: Bowflex Max Trainer
The Bowflex Max Trainer features more raw performance enhancements for the price and is the clear winner because it allows users to achieve a higher level of exercise performance that the Bowflex Elliptical simply doesn’t provide.
July 14, 2020 3:20 am UTC

Bowflex Elliptical 

bowflex elliptical

Connectivity Capabilities

Bowflex Elliptical machines are packed with the latest Bluetooth technology, which makes it easy for you to connect a wide range of external devices and accessories for expanded performance capabilities.

They also come with an integrated USB charging port, which allows you to boost your smart device charge effortlessly while working out. Bowflex Elliptical machines also come with the ability to sync your third-party fitness apps so that you can keep track of your overall progress in one place.  


All Bowflex elliptical machines come with a high-speed drive system that enables you to maximize your workouts. They also come with wide stride lengths so that you can simulate real-world running and other cardio exercises without ever having to leave your home.

You’ll also find that these machines are outfitted with multiple resistance levels so that you can achieve the results you want. Another great feature of Bowflex Elliptical machines is that they come loaded with pre-programmed exercise videos so you can begin taking control of your fitness journey right away. 

Exercise Performance 

The smooth flywheel that comes with every Bowflex elliptical provides reifiable and effective performance. This, in combination with the premium drive system and overall build quality of the device, provides a solid platform that you can use to get some heart-pumping workouts in. 

Alternative Recommendations 

1. Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine


The Schwinn Compact Elliptical Machine comes with 22 pre-programmed workouts and nine separate profiles so that you can start working your ways towards your desired fitness goals straight out of the box.

This elliptical machine also comes with 20 different resistance levels so that you can achieve the workout intensity you want at any time. The maximum user weight rating for this elliptical is 300lbs, and it has an integrated USB charging port so that you can keep your smart devices charged while exercising.  

You’ll also find a built-in DualTrack 2 LCD screen on this elliptical that delivers a clear view of all of your workout stats with ease. Another great feature about this elliptical is that it has Goal Track, which is a capability that allows you to set specific fitness goals as well as alerting you when you reach them. Check out our full Schwinn 430 Review here.

July 14, 2020 1:20 am UTC

2. ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer

proform cardio hiit trainer

The ProForm Cardio HIIT Elliptical Trainer comes with an integrated 7” display that gives you the ability to keep track of your distance, calories burned, cadence, and much more.

The ProForm Cardio is also outfitted with 24 varying levels of digital quick resistance in addition to an inertia-enhanced flywheel that delivers awesome performance.

This elliptical has a maximum user weight capacity of 325lbs, which makes it suitable for most body types. It is also packing a built-in tablet holder and features a solid steel construction that can withstand damage without breaking down. 

When purchasing this elliptical, you will enjoy a complimentary 30-day membership to iFit so that you can access live training sessions led by experienced instructors. 

July 14, 2020 1:20 am UTC

3. Sunny Health & Fitness Premium Cardio Climber 

sunny health and fitness premium

The Sunny Health & Fitness Premium Cardio Climber is made using a heavy-duty frame that supports long workouts with a maximum user weight of 260lbs.

It has a built-in 14lb inertia-ready flywheel which pushes you to your limits to achieve maximum results. This elliptical also uses magnetic resistance with eight different settings so that you can find the perfect fit for your experience level and fitness objectives. 

The pulse-sensing grips on this bike constantly monitor the amount of effort you’re putting into your workouts so you know how your body is reacting to any changes you may make in your regimen. 

FAQs About the Bowflex Max Trainer

How many times a week should you use the Bowflex Max Trainer?

Bowflex itself recommends that you use the Bowflex Max Trainer at least three times a week for fourteen-minute intervals. By following this simple usage guide, you should be able to see results from using the machine in a fairly short amount of time. However, if you want to ramp up the amount of time it takes for you to see results, you can always increase your usage frequency. 

Are Bowflex Max Trainers worth the money? 

The Bowflex Max Trainer is made up of about 25% elliptical capabilities and 70% stair-stepper functionality, which delivers a powerful combination of exercise options for you to utilize in achieving your fitness goals.

When considering all of the various features that come packed into the Bowflex Max Trainer, it is a very good deal on a solid quality product.   

What Bowflex Max Trainer should I buy? 

It all depends on your experience level and the desired results you’re trying to achieve. All of the Bowflex Max Trainer models come with the same set of features; however the upgraded versions have specific enhancements.

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 only comes with eight levels of resistance, whereas the M6 has 16 different resistance levels. You need to consider your fitness objectives to make the best decision about which Max Trainer is right for you. 

Make A Decision 

When it comes to who wins the battle between the Bowflex Max Trainer and Elliptical, the clear winner is the Bowflex Max Trainer. This is for several reasons, to start with, the Bowflex Max Trainer machines allow you to achieve a high level of exercise performance that the design of the Bowflex Elliptical machines simply doesn’t provide.

When you factor in the price in comparison to the number of raw performance enhancements that the product line offers, the Bowflex Max Trainer is the stronger, more capable option. 

Our Recommendation: Bowflex Max Trainer
The Bowflex Max Trainer features more raw performance enhancements for the price and is the clear winner because it allows users to achieve a higher level of exercise performance that the Bowflex Elliptical simply doesn’t provide.
July 14, 2020 3:20 am UTC

Recommended Reads:

Leave a Comment