Bowflex Max Trainer M3 vs. M6(Based on M5) vs. M8(Based on M7): What’s the Difference?

Many people are attempting to live healthier lifestyles but often run into serious obstacles, including hectic lifestyles, high gym membership prices, and lack of motivation. These reasons are why some consumers want an exercise trainer for their home. With a home training system, you can quickly get a workout in before or after work without running around to a gym or paying exorbitant prices for classes. As for motivation, the machine is easy to access and use while watching the television or listening to music.

As home exercise trainers become more popular, many new types of machines are emerging on the market. It can be a challenge to figure out which machine is worth the investment and whether it will fit in with your home and lifestyle. Our buying guide will help you find the perfect machine for your home and your exercise level while making the buying process uncomplicated and straightforward.

This guide gives you an in-depth look at three highly-rated max trainers from Bowflex, one of the standard leaders in the exercise industry. Our review examines the Max Trainer M3, the Max Trainer M6(M5), and the Max Trainer M8(M7). With our help, you can learn all you need to know about these models and choose the one that works for your style and budget.

About Bowflex

Since 1986, Bowflex has developed a series of at-home workout machines and equipment to allow people to exercise in the privacy of their own homes without the fear of sweating in front of other people or paying gym membership fees. The company expanded its focus to include updated health research to create innovative, breakthrough strength and cardio products to allow users to achieve their fitness results from the comfort of their own home. The Bowflex name is well-known due to the company’s quality products and long-standing influence on the industry.

Standard Features to Look for in an Exercise Trainer

There are a wide variety of exercise trainers on the market; many models offer different qualities, amenities, and extras depending on what the buyer is looking for in the model. Despite the additional features that some models offer, there are standard components that you want to see on an exercise trainer before you purchase it. Here are the features you want in your exercise trainer and which are found on these Bowflex models:

  • Variety of Workouts

An exercise trainer should be one that can continue to challenge the user for years and be short or long enough to fit a personal schedule. Therefore, some exercise trainers offer a variety of different workouts that are programmed into the machine. These workouts gradually build up strength and stamina and keep the user from becoming bored or overworking too quickly, which can cause injuries. Ideally, these programs should involve varying intervals for ultimate strength-building and fat-burning. More expensive models tend to offer custom coaching alongside custom workouts.

  • Lightweight equipment

Home-based exercise equipment should be manageable; in other words, it should be heavy enough to support vigorous levels of exercise yet also be lightweight enough to be moved into the home. Compact models are also necessary to fit into smaller rooms or tighter spaces comfortably and in ways that are easily accessible.

  • Heart Rate Monitoring and Other Amenities

Be sure that your exercise trainer offers a heart-rate monitoring system; most models offer monitoring through chest straps, contact grips on handles, or through Bluetooth pairing. Other amenities that may be important to the individual buyer include:

  • Connectivity through Wifi, iOS, Bluetooth, and Android
  • USB port
  • Water bottle holder
  • Tablet holder/Media shelf (sometimes magnetic)
  • Connectivity for multiple users
  • Enhanced and backlit LED/LCD screens
  • Target and burn-zone indicators
  • Multi-grip, sculpted, ergonomic handle grips

They’re all very useful.

Bowflex heart-rate monitoring system

  • Quiet Exercise

Well-constructed exercise trainers will not make loud noises that can reverberate through ceilings or permeate the home and distract other people. Smooth drive systems mean users can have an impact with a step or belt without causing the whole residence to shake.

  • Ease of Use

An exercise trainer should work as an effective tool for recovery for users recovering from injuries. The machine should not aggravate old injuries or put pressure and discomfort on joints such as the knee, ankle, hip, back, and foot, amongst others. This trainer should provide a workout that is more cardio-intense than a traditional elliptical and with less impact than is delivered with a treadmill.

Bowflex Max Trainer M3

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is a perfect starter exercise trainer and an ideal choice for consumers on a budget. The M3 offers every standard an exercise trainer should have with some added amenities and structural features. Designed to make the user sweat in as short a time as possible, the M3 is a good machine to use to burn some calories and get into shape.

bowflex max trainer m3



  • Compact design
  • Two workout programs
  • Eight resistance levels
  • Heart rate monitor with chest strap
  • Target zone indicator
  • Burn zone indicator
  • Water bottle holder
  • Media shelf/tablet holder
  • Grey, backlit LCD screen
  • Includes AP adapter
  • One year warranty


  • Not compatible with the Bowflex Max Intelligence platform
  • Does not allow for workout tracking
  • Short warranty (1 year)

Our Review

The Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is an optimal choice for the exerciser who wants to achieve their health goals with some workout variety without breaking the bank. With two different levels of workout programs available and a compact frame to save space, the M3 is an excellent machine for people starting a new exercise program or people who live in apartments or condominiums. For users who don’t care about connectivity or other added comfort functions, the M3 is the machine that keeps you focused on sweating and burning those calories.

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Here are some of the top features of this model:

Compact design

The M3 is two times less space than the average treadmill. Form and function combine to provide a top-notch workout machine that doesn’t dominate the entire room.

Bowflex Max Trainer M3 Compact Design

Quick, intense workout programs

With a 14-minute Max Interval and Manual program, the M3 provides two options for the user, both of which can be adjusted to continue to challenge and increase exercise productivity over time. Eight resistance levels are also available on these programs which are designed to provide intense workouts in short exercise sessions.

Heart-rate monitor and amenities

The M3 offers a heart-rate monitor that includes a chest strap to keep the user in the cardio or fat-burning zone, according to their health goals. Other amenities include a water bottle holder, adapter, a grey backlit LCD screen, and a Tablet holder/media shelf.

Bowflex Max Trainer M6(M5)

The Bowflex Max Trainer M6(Based on Bowflex Max Trainer M5) offers customers a medium-sized exercise trainer option that is more expensive than the M3 but which offers significantly more enhancements to the workout experience. From connectivity options to a built-in touch screen to multiple programs and levels, the M6 is the machine to use to ramp up your workouts. At a moderate price, the M6 gives you lots of options to achieve your exercise goals.

bowflex max trainer m6


  • 16 resistance levels
  • 5 challenging workout programs
  • Tracking for two separate users
  • Heart-rate monitor through integrated and ergonomic contact grips
  • Compatible with the Bowflex JRNY app (free 2-month trial)
  • Interactive screen display
  • USB charging port
  • Syncs with Bluetooth, iOS, and Android
  • Access to custom workouts and coaching available on your tablet
  • Repositioned console
  • Magnetic media rack
  • Unique burn rate display


  • Requires a monthly fee for Max Intelligence and subscription services
  • No fans or speakers are included in this model
  • Short warranty (2 years)

Our review

For the serious or dedicated exerciser, or for users who want to bump up the burn in their workouts, the Bowflex Max Trainer M6 provides plenty of motivation to get the job done. With varied workout programs, connectivity options, and a compact design, the M6 offers more options than the M3, which is why it is pricier than the basic exercise trainer model. Exercise fanatics will love the features and amenities provided in the M6, features that are designed to deliver a satisfying and challenging workout.

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These are some of the top features for this model:

Connected and compatible

The M6 offers complete compatibility through various means. The trainer provides the connection to the Bowflex JRNY app (monthly service fee applies) that offers adjustable workouts based upon your individual measurements and exercise levels. Access to “Max,” a virtual coach, and Bowflex Radio are also available through this program. Syncing with iOS, Android, and Bluetooth is a standard feature as well.

Intense variety of workouts

With 5 distinct training programs — the 14-minute interval, Fat Burn, Calorie Burn, Stairs, and Manual modes — and 16 levels of resistance, the M6 makes sure that every bit of your perspiration is worth it. With tracking features for 2 unique users, you can share the exercise wealth with someone else.

Bowflex M6 - variety of workouts

Heart rate monitor and other amenities

The M6 presents heart rate monitoring through the integrated contact grips on the machine handles for an accurate evaluation of your exercise efforts. Additional features for your comfort are a water bottle holder, AC adapter, enhanced color scheme, and magnetic media rack for a tablet or smartphone.

Unique burn rate display

Offering the maximum in motivation, the M6 includes a unique burn rate display on the screen that shows how many calories are being burnt in each training session. The display shows the activity level and target zones during the exercise.

Bowflex Max Trainer M8(M7)

Based on Bowflex’s best-selling M7 model, the Bowflex Max Trainer M8 is the ultimate in exercise trainers. For hardcore enthusiasts and users who want to take a big step up in their training, the M8 offers a top of the line machine that will get you to your goals and beyond. With an exceptional array of workouts, low-impact design, multiple resistance levels, connectivity, and a full-color backlit screen, the M8 is ready to help you excel at your training.

bowflex max trainer m8


  • 20 levels of resistance
  • 7 unique workout programs
  • M8 Performance Pack with Max Intelligence program
  • Compatible with the Bowflex JRNY app (free 2-month trial)
  • Interactive screen display
  • USB charging port
  • Premium magnetic media rack
  • Tracking for 4 users
  • Sculpted, dual-position handlebars with aero bar upgrade
  • Syncs with Bluetooth, Android, and iOS devices
  • Heart rate monitor through integrated contact grips
  • USB charging port


  • Some users note the machine squeaks loudly
  • No cooling fan in the console
  • Higher-priced than the M6 model

Our review

Exercisers willing and able to afford the high-end Bowflex Max M8 will more than get their money’s worth for the quality of the compact machine and the ample comfort and media fixtures that come with it. Add in the M8 Performance Pack, and your workout quality will skyrocket. It’s hard to find a more complete exercise trainer package than the M8, and serious exerciser will appreciate the lengths Bowflex has gone to amp up training and make exercise a breeze.

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Here are the top features on this model:

Hard core workouts

The M8 has 7 unique workouts (7-Minute Interval, 14-Minute Interval, 21-Minute Interval, Fat Burn, Calorie Burn, Manual) and 20 different resistance levels so the user can consistently add challenges to their workout.

Optional M8 Performance Pack

Users can opt for a specialized Bowflex M8 Performance Pack which offers a preloaded Samsung Galaxy tablet, wireless heart rate armband, and an exercise machine mat.

Optional M8 Performance Pack

Connections galore

The M8 offers connectivity to the Bowflex JRNY app and is compatible with Bluetooth, iOS, and Android devices. The exercise machine also has a USB port for more user connection and access.

Heart rate and creature comforts

The M8 offers accurate heart rate monitoring through integrated contact grips on the handles. The handles themselves are designed to engage all the arm, shoulder, and back muscles during exercise but with comfort in mind. The handles are ergonomic, dual-positioned, and include an aero bar upgrade. Other amenities are an enhanced dual LCD/LED screen, a large magnetic media rack, and a unique burn rate tracker that allows the user to set calorie and fat burn goals and watch as they achieve their numbers.

What’s the Difference Between these Bowflex Max Trainers?

Bowflex - a higher-end model

Which model is better: the Bowflex Max Trainer M3, the Bowflex Max Trainer M6, or the Bowflex Max Trainer M8? The answer depends on how much you want to spend on your exercise trainer and what you want out of it in terms of abilities and amenities.

For the budget-conscious shopper, the Bowflex Max Trainer M3 is both affordable and efficient. This base model provides users with what they need to get a comfortable yet intense workout done on their time. The compact and comfortable design and quiet operation make this trainer ideal for any living situation. If you are looking for a lower-priced trainer that provides everything you need to get an intense workout session done, the M3 might be the right model for you.

How does the Max M3 differ from the Max M6? While the M3 covers the basics, the M6 provides more workout options and more resistance levels, as well as some higher-level amenities. It is priced in a medium-range due to the capabilities with which this model is equipped. With connectivity options, multiple workout programs, and varying degrees of resistance levels, the M6 gives the user a wider range of intense exercises to engage in.

The Bowflex Max Trainer M8 differs from the M6 and M3 because it is a higher-end model that offers a wide range of workout options and amenities. Aside from the connectivity options provided in the M6, the M8 goes beyond the average with its optional M8 Performance Pack, including a preloaded Samsung Galaxy tablet. With comfortable efficiency and an amazing number of workout programs and resistance levels, the M8 gives the user everything they need to reach their health goals.

Your Bowflex Max Trainer selection will depend on your budget and your exercise and health goals. Regardless of whether you choose the budget M3, the medium-range M6, or the total M8 package, you’re bound to get into shape with the help of a Bowflex Max Trainer.

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