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Looking to make your home gym the bee’s (healthy and pain-free) knees? You might want a Bowflex for that.

The Bowflex Max Trainer is a cross between a stair-climber and an elliptical. It’s designed to offer a low impact but high intensity workout that’s great for high intensity interval training (HIIT). Best of all, there are three models at a variety of price points and with tons of different features.

Ready to learn more? Let’s make like Tina Turner and get rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the riverBowflex.

Bowflex Max Trainer pros

  • It’s designed to offer a low impact workout.
  • It’s a cross between a stair-climber and an elliptical.
  • There are three models with different features and price points.
  • All models have a water bottle holder, a USB charging port, and heart rate tracking grips.

Bowflex Max Trainer cons

  • Even the least expensive model (the M6) is pretty pricey.
  • The preset workout programs are limited without the JRNY subscription, which you’ll need to pay for after the first year.
  • Some reviewers report issues with the touch screens and connectivity on the M9 model.
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Bowflex is an uber-popular fitness brand that makes all things workout-related, like adjustable dumbbells, tricked-out treadmills, killer kettlebells, and indoor cycling bikes that can hold their own against competitors like Peloton.

And then there’s the Bowflex Max Trainer. It’s got the arm pump and rolling action of an elliptical + a leg-burning climbing motion.

The Max Trainer comes in three models: the M6, the M9, and the Max Total 16 (MT16). All are designed to be used with the JRNY app, which you get free for 1 year with a new Max Trainer. (More on that in the FAQ.)

[Note: Some older models are available on Amazon, but as far as we can tell, all these machines have been discontinued by Bowflex.]

Here’s a handy chart to compare each of Bowflex’s models

Best budgetBest for serious athletesBest value
ModelMax Trainer M6Max Total 16Max Trainer M9
DisplayLCD screen16-in. touch screen10-in. touch screen
ConnectivityBluetoothWi-Fi, Bluetooth, access to streaming apps via touch screenWi-Fi, Bluetooth, access to streaming apps via touch screen
Resistance levels162020
Max user weight300 lbs.300 lbs.300 lbs.
Dimensions (L x W x H)46 in. (117 cm) x 26 in. (66 cm) x 64 in. (163 cm)49 in. (125 cm) x 31 in. (78 cm) x 66 in. (166 cm)49 in. (125 cm) x 31 in. (78 cm) x 65 in. (166 cm)
Preset programs544
Other featuresheart rate contact grips, 4-grip handlebars, USB charging port, bottle holderheart rate contact grips, Bluetooth heart rate armband, dual rail design, 6-grip handlebars, Bluetooth speakers, USB charging port, bottle holderheart rate contact grips, Bluetooth heart rate armband, 4-grip handlebars, Bluetooth speakers, USB charging port, bottle holder

Best Bowflex Max Trainer on a budget

Bowflex Max Trainer M6

  • Price: $1,499
  • Warranty: 2-year frame, 2-year parts, 90-day labor
  • Preset workout programs: Max 14 Minute Interval, Calorie Burn, Fat Burn, Stairs, Manual
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth (no Wi-Fi required)

The Bowflex Max Trainer M6 is the most budget-friendly in the lineup, but that doesn’t make it cheap.

This equipment comes with several of the bells and whistles found on the other Max Trainer models, like a charging port, bottle holder, heart rate contact grips built into the handlebars, and a 1-year subscription to the JRNY workout app, which includes an array of on-demand classes, personalized workout lists, and even real-time coaching.

Here’s where the specs diverge: The M6 doesn’t have a touch screen, streaming, or Wi-Fi capability. The workout history is also limited to two users. Still, reviewers say it delivers a killer workout that’s still easy on the knees. And some buyers report that they like that the simplicity of the M6 keeps them focused on the fitness.

Best Bowflex Max Trainer for serious athletes

Bowflex Max Total 16

  • Price: $2,799
  • Warranty: 3-year frame, 3-year parts, 90-day labor
  • Preset workout programs: Manual, Fat Burn, Calorie Burn, and Stairs
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth (Wi-Fi required)

The Max Total 16 (MT16) is Bowflex’s newest iteration of the Max Total, which received rave reviews for workout potential but mixed reports on sometimes-buggy touch screens. The MT16 only has one review right now — from a customer that says it’s inspired them to be a better version of themself :’) — but it looks a lot like an M9 + some extra bells and whistles.

For an extra $800, this beast adds an extra 6 inches to the touch-screen console, 2 more handlebar grips, and a dual-rail design for extra durability. It’s also about half an inch taller than the M9.

Best value Bowflex Max Trainer

Bowflex Max Trainer M9

  • Price: $1,999
  • Warranty: 3-year frame, 3-year parts, 90-day labor
  • Preset workout programs: Manual, Fat Burn, Calorie Burn, and Stairs
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth (Wi-Fi required)

The M9 will set you back $500 more than the M6, but you’ll also get several additional features.

Like the T16, the M9 is equipped for streaming with a built-in touch screen and Bluetooth-enabled speakers. It also comes with a Bluetooth armband to track your heart rate. Basically, it has all the tech of the Total 16 with a *little* less brawn.

Reviewers say the M9 is a great cardio or HIIT system that’s great for performance training and weight loss. Most love the interactive screen — and the ability to stream their favorite shows while sweating it out — but a few report frustrations with connectivity.

The Bowflex Max Trainer might be a good fit for you if you’re looking for a low impact workout that’s still really intense. The Max Trainer’s climbing action provides a more vigorous workout than a regular elliptical while still being easy on your knees.

The Bowflex website boasts that these babies are perf for HIIT workouts because you can really get your blood pumping with fast climbing and several resistance options.

But even the cheapest model is still a pretty hefty investment at more than $1,600. If this might stretch your budget too much, some other brands offer similar types of equipment at a lower price point.

If you’re sold on the Max Trainer, here’s how you can decide which model is right for you.

  • Decide your budget. The M6 is the most budget-friendly, but also has the fewest features. The M9 is a solid middle-of-the-road option that will be more than enough for most elliptical users. But if money is no object? Check out the Bowflex Total 16 — aka, the bougie one.
  • Determine your streaming needs. If you’re all about streaming fitness, you might want the M9 or the Total 16. Both have Bluetooth speakers and built-in touch screens you can use to stream workouts (or baking shows, if that’s your jam).
  • Check the size of your space. The three machines are pretty similar in size, but if you’re low on floor space (*raises hand*), the M6 has a slightly smaller footprint than the other two.

The good news is that if you change your mind after buying your Max Trainer, Bowflex will buy it back from you within 6 months of delivery. The bad news is that you’ll have to pay for shipping and handling.

What is the JRNY app?

The JRNY app is Bowflex’s digital fitness platform. Just as the Peloton app syncs with Peloton bikes, the JRNY app syncs with Bowflex bikes, treadmills, and — you guessed it — Max Trainers.

The app is designed to assess your fitness level and suggest a workout program customized to your abilities and goals. It also keeps fitness progress and workout history.

You’ll get a 1-year free subscription to the JRNY app when you purchase a Bowflex Max Trainer. After that, JRNY costs $19.99 per month (or $149 per year if you pay upfront).

How do you install a Bowflex Max Trainer?

While shipping is free, professional in-home assembly from Bowflex will set you back $169. Some reviewers say that installing the equipment themselves took 1 to 2 hours, but it was worth saving the money. If you opt for professional installation, expect it to take 30 to 60 minutes.

Is Bowflex Max Trainer a full-body workout?

Sure is! The combination of stair-stepping and arm movements keeps your whole body moving while using a Bowflex Max Trainer. Reviewers say it’s a great combo of cardio and HIIT-style training.

Want an intense workout that’s still easy on your knees and joints? The Bowflex Max Trainer might be just what you’re looking for.

Its up-and-down stepping action makes it a bit more challenging than a regular elliptical, and there are different models to suit several price points and needs. With this machine, you’ll be ready to (Bow)flex those muscles.