Bowflex Max Trainer M3 Reviews

Steppers and elliptical trainers can provide intense, full body workouts in a fraction of the time spent on other machines. For professionals on the go, a trainer in the comfort of your own home is an ideal way to maintain fitness conveniently and affordably. For years, Bowflex has been among the leaders in producing home gym equipment and their line of trainers are among the best available on the market. The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 features a hybrid stepper/elliptical system that produces the calorie burn of a stepper with the smooth action of an elliptical.

A fantastic workout is possible on a trainer because they activate all the major muscle groups. The handles allow for a significant upper body workout, and the variety of grip positions help the user localize different muscle groups. Trainers are ideal for both strength and aerobic improvement.

Users see results with as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day. Also, trainers are versatile. Whether you’re following a highly technical program, or you want an exercise machine that allows you to blow off steam after a hard day of work, the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is a piece of exercise equipment you should consider.

What Is Bowflex Max Trainer M3?

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The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is the starter model on Bowflex’s popular line of home trainers. As a base model, the M3 does not have many of the features found on the more expensive models. However, this can be an advantage for users unfamiliar with home trainers as it means there are fewer new things to learn. The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is an attractive piece of well-constructed equipment that takes up a relatively small amount of space, and will make a welcome addition to your home.

Product Specs

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is one of the more attractive trainers available on the market. Its sleek black color scheme with red highlights make it both unobtrusive and quietly elegant. The Bowflex trainer design is highly compact, and the M3 has a relatively small footprint. The machine measures 46.1″ L X 25″ W with a height of 62.9″. The ceiling space required for the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is the user height plus 15″. The machine weighs 143 pounds and features transport rollers to make it easy to reposition. The maximum user weight for this machine is 300 pounds.

Four Horizon Fitness Treadmills to Consider

We put the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 through a barrage of tests to see how it performs. We also compared it to several other similar trainers available on the market. These trainers included the Schwinn AirDyne AD6, the Stairmaster Stepmill 3, and the Keiser M3+. We tested these trainers on factors such as price, ease of use, assembly time, design quality, and warranty. We also noted particular pros and cons specific to each unit.

  • Schwinn AirDyne AD6
  • Stairmaster Stepmill 3
  • Keiser M3+

Bowflex Max Trainer M3

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  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is a very intuitive machine. For your first effort, you mount the non-slip pedals, grab the arm bars, and off you go. The unit features a max interval and a manual workout, both of which can produce a great work out in as little as fifteen minutes. The action is smooth and silent, and it is possible to work out on this machine while watching television. This is a fun workout that leaves the user exhausted and satisfied.

Bowflex has a reputation for ensuring their design quality extends to the assembly process, and the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 was no exception to this rule. The item assembles in about two-and-a-half hours, and we found the included instructions to be very detailed and easy to follow. All the pieces fit together as designed with no need for excessive force. Quality products always go together without significant issues, and that was the case with the Bowflex Max Trainer M3.

Bowflex advertises the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 as a hybrid that combines the best of both worlds from a typical elliptical and a typical stepper. The elliptical component helps eliminate the jerky action you sometimes get on a stepper but allows for an intense calorie burn. Every aspect of this trainer shows attention to detail and superior engineering.

The trainer comes with an industry-standard one-year warranty.


  • Hybrid elliptical/stepper design 
  • Very attractive
  • Economical unit


  • The warranty is only one year which is less than other Bowflex warranties

Schwinn AirDyne AD6

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The Schwinn AirDyne AD6 is an exercise bicycle equipped with handles to provide an upper body workout. The unit features footrest pegs to isolate the upper body. A fan produces resistance which also keeps the user cool. The unit’s footprint is 46.3″ L X 15″ W and is 25.2″ tall. The unit weighs 116 pounds and has a maximum user weight of 250 pounds.

  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

The machine is easy to use, but we did not find it to be efficient or effective. Although the unit advertises infinite resistance levels due to the use of a fan to capture air resistance, we didn’t find the resistance levels to be high. Also, the fan is too loud to allow users to exercise while watching TV. This is a good machine for a light workout, but not as a primary piece of exercise equipment.

The machine is simple and goes together in about 30 minutes. A little understanding of bicycle technology is helpful as one pedal has a reverse thread.

The fan-based air resistance system was not effective in producing high levels of resistance. The overall machine seemed too lightweight to withstand regular or vigorous use. The machine is not very attractive to look at.

The unit comes with a great warranty. The frame has a 10-year guarantee, with a 2-year warranty on the mechanical parts. The electrical components have a 1-year warranty, and the warranty for labor is 6 months.


  • Inexpensive
  • Allows for exercise from a seated position
  • Fan keeps the user cool


  • The air resistance system provides a low level of resistance
  • The fan is noisy
  • Overall flimsy construction

Stairmaster Stepmill 3

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The Stairmaster Stepmill 3 is a smaller home version of a stepping machine common to professional gyms. The unit is like having a private escalator in your own home. The stairs run on a track and flip down at the bottom before coming around to emerge at the top of the unit. There are armrests surrounding the unit, but there is no feature to engage the upper body for a complete body workout. There is a large, back-lit LCD digital display that offers 10 total workout programs. The unit is also compatible with Polar heart rate monitors.The assembled unit is 223 pounds and has a footprint of 46″ L X 29″ W and is 73″ high. It has a user weight capacity of 275 pounds, plus a minimum user weight of 125 pounds. Ceiling clearance needs to be approximately 2′ higher than the user height. The stepper boasts heavy-duty construction and is also loud.

The unit is available on Amazon and select local retailers that carry sporting and exercise equipment.

  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

The machine is easy to use, and it outperforms other steppers in that the revolving 6″ stairs give you a superior sensation of climbing stairs. With no means available to engage the arms there is a limited variety of exercise routines available on this machine. This unit makes more sense as a featured piece of equipment in a rehabilitation clinic, and not as the primary exercise machine in a private household.

Assembly is fairly straightforward and takes about 2 hours. The machine is heavy and maneuvering it provides a challenge.

For what it is, the design is good. It is a solid stepper that outperforms other straight steppers by using a 6″ stair track. However, the lack of any means by which to activate the upper body limits the variability of this machine. We grew bored with this machine quickly. Also, the machine is too loud to use while watching TV.

There is a lifetime warranty on the frame, a 5-year warranty on mechanical parts, 2-year warranty on electronics, and a 1-year warranty on labor.


  • Features realistic stepping motion
  • Solid construction
  • Great warranty


  • No upper body workout option
  • Heavy machine with a minimum user weight
  • Loud

Keiser M3+

Keiser M3+

The Keiser M3+ is a gym style indoor exercise bicycle featuring a computer console. The bicycle is fully adjustable to fit a wide range of users. The console and fame construction is of corrosive resistant materials and the bicycle boasts a virtually maintenance-free design. This bicycle features a quiet rear belt design that makes it possible to watch TV while exercising. The unit’s footprint is 49″ L X 26″ W and has a height of 45″. The bicycle weighs 85 pounds.

The bicycle is available on the manufacturer’s website and select local retailers that offer sports and fitness equipment.

  • Ease of Use
  • Assembly Time
  • Design Quality
  • Warranty

The bicycle is easy to adjust and features smooth and silent pedal action. The console offers few features, but it’s sleek and easy to understand. There is no way to activate the upper body when using this machine.

The unit comes in a large box with the handlebars, console, and rear flywheel removed. It took about an hour to put together but we recommend the help of a trained bicycle technician.

This is the exercise bicycle you would expect to see at a spinning class in a professional gym. The unit is very rugged and can withstand a lot of abuse. It is a well-designed exercise bicycle; the only drawback is that users do not have ways to target and activate the upper body with this piece of equipment.

The bicycle comes with a 3-year, all-inclusive warranty and a 6-month warranty on the wearable parts.


  • Attractive exercise bicycle
  • Low maintenance
  • Silent drive


  • Expensive
  • Cannot activate the upper body
  • Limited console functionality


Busy professionals are often in the market for a good, full-body exercise machine they can use in the comfort of their own home. The aim is a machine capable of activating all the major muscle groups to produce a great workout in a short time. The best machines are durable and attractive, with the greatest flexibility of use. Machines with clunky or loud action are not desirable because they prevent the user from watching television or otherwise multi-tasking during a workout.

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is a great trainer which features an elliptical and stepper hybrid drive system that offers a workout that’s the best of both worlds. The arm bars allow the user to activate both the upper and lower body, and the programmable workout options make it possible to achieve a tremendous workout in as little as 15 minutes. The machine is compact and light enough to move around and features a very attractive design. The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is available at a very affordable price.

We were less impressed with the Schwinn AirDyne AD6. The Schwinn was a bicycle with handles capable of activating both the upper and lower body, but the air resistance system did not offer sufficient resistance. The unit was too loud for our liking. We had similar concerns about the Stairmaster Stepmill 3 which offered a superior stepping workout but was ineffective in activating the upper body. The Stairmaster was also expensive. Finally, the Keiser M3+ represented a great trainer bicycle but had severe limitations for providing a total body workout.

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 was our choice for an efficient, top quality workout. The machine was the most fun to work out on and featured the most attractive design. The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is the perfect choice for busy professionals who have a limited amount of time and home space to dedicate to their fitness. It’s a compact, affordable machine capable of providing a gym quality workout in a matter of minutes.

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