BowFlex M3 vs M5 – Which One is a Better Investment?

bowflex m3 vs m5

BowFlex M3 vs M5 - Which One to Choose?

It’s official. Scientists have proven that elliptical training can help you to train your quads and hamstring more effectively than walking or a treadmill. 

However, with the vast array of ellipticals on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. 

To help you find the best elliptical to maximize your workout, we’ve put together a comprehensive comparison of two of the most popular models on the market.  

The Bowflex M3 and the Bowflex M5

Keep reading to learn which elliptical is a better option for you and which of the competitors comes out on top in our Bowflex M3 vs M5 showdown.

In-Depth Comparison: Bowflex M3 vs M5

Now that you know what to look for in your next elliptical, let’s dive into everything that the Bowflex M3 and M5 have to offer. 

Continue reading below for all of the specifications and information you’ll need to decide who wins in the battle of Bowflex M3 vs M5.

The Bowflex M3 is available for purchase from this seller on Amazon

The Bowflex’s M5 is a little harder to find, however, it is available for purchase from here

Bowflex’s M5 is more expensive than the Bowflex M3 because it’s a newer model that offers more capabilities.  

So while you are paying more for the M5 than the M3, you’re also getting more for your money.

Design and Style

Bowflex M3

Bowflex M5

While the general structure of the Bowflex M3 and Bowflex M5 are relatively similar, there are some significant style and design differences that you may want to take into account when comparing these ellipticals. We’ll start with the M3.

Bowflex’s M3 has a footprint of 49″ L x 26″ W x 64.7″ H (124.5 x 66 x 164.3 cm) making it compact enough to fit in most in-home gyms comfortably. 

This elliptical uses the Bowflex signature color scheme with bold white lettering and red accents contrasting against the sleek black body of the machine. 

The pedals and handlebars on the Max Trainer M3 are jet black to match the rest of the machine and designed for optimal ergonomics.

In contrast to the dark M3, the Bowflex’s M5 comes in a shiny silver color with black and red accents and pedals.

The handlebars on the M5 are black, like the M3. However, the foot pedals on the Bowflex Max Trainer M5 feature the stark combination of black and red to match the motor and wheel accents. 

The logo on the M5 is prominently featured in black above the wheel, proudly presenting the Bowflex name. 

The Bowflex Trainer M5 is even smaller than the M3 with a footprint of 46.1″L x 25″W x 62.9″H.

For an up-close and personal look at the Bowflex M5, you can check out the high-definition video provided by Bowflex. 

You can also see the Bowflex M3 in all its glory on Bowflex’s official youtube channel. 

Leave a reply to let us know who you think has the sharpest looks in the ultimate Bowflex M3 vs M5 showdown.

Quality and Durability

It’s here that the Bowflex M3 vs M5 are the most alike. Because both the M3 and the M5 are made by Bowflex, they’re made to be incredibly durable. 

Also, the M3 and the M5 are made out of the same high-quality materials that Bowflex uses in all of their products so it’s hard to declare a definitive winner for this specific category. 


The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 comes with 16 levels of resistance that keep you inspired to push harder in your workouts. 

You can change the resistance on the Max Trainer M5 by pressing the up or down buttons conveniently located on the elliptical console.

In the fight of Bowflex Max Trainer M3 vs M5, the M3 comes up a bit short here. With only 8 levels of resistance, the M3 offers only half of the variety that the M5 offers. 

The M3 also uses a dial instead of buttons to change resistance. 

While the dial is easy to use and located directly on the handlebar of the M3, we can’t deny that the buttons of the Max Trainer M5 are more aesthetically pleasing.

Workout Programs

The M3 from Bowflex comes with only 2 workouts: Max Interval and Manual. 

In the battle of the Bowflex Trainers: M3 vs M5, the M5 blows the M3 out of the water with 6 more programs for a total of 8. 

The BowflexM5 model comes with the following exercise programs: Max Interval, Smart Max Interval, Steady State, Fitness Test, Calorie Burn, Fat Burn, Calorie Goal, Stairs, and Manual mode. 

The Calorie Burn and Fat Burn Workout Programs featured on the M5 are specifically designed to increase the number of calories or fat you can burn. 

The Max Interval Exercise Programs are the signature programs created by Bowflex for their Max Trainer ellipticals and can help guide you through your workouts.


The Bowflex Max Trainer M5 comes with a standard warranty that includes coverage for labor for 90 days and coverage for parts for 2 years. 

You can buy additional coverage from Bowflex’s Protection Plan for 3 or 5 years to cover parts and labor for the M5. 

The Max Trainer M3 also comes with a standard warranty with options for additional coverage through the Bowflex Protection Plan. 

The only difference between the M3 and M5 warranties is how much each plan costs. 

For the M3, providing all the same protection as the M5 warranty at a lower cost.

There are currently no options for either the Max Trainers that allow you to purchase a 1-year warranty from Bowflex.

Other Special Features

Next, let’s go over some special features that each elliptical has and see what the Max Trainers fitness equipment have to offer. We’ll begin with the M3 and then get into the M5.

Bowflex’s Max Trainer M3 puts you in charge of your workouts with the Burn-Rate Indicator. 

The innovative Burn-Rate Indicator on the M3 can be adjusted to help you burn more, or less, calories during your exercise. 

The M3 also comes with a Target-Zone Indicator to help you visualize your heart rate and work to keep it within specific ranges and intensify your workouts and your upper body development. 

Additionally, the M3 comes with a chest strap to monitor your heart rate during your workouts and a media shelf to hold your water bottle, cell phone, or tablet.

The Max Trainer M5 comes with premium grips, a backlit display, and a heart-rate monitor that shows your heart rate and monitors through contact grips and a chest strap. 

The M5 also has a Target-Zone Indicator, a Burn-Rate Indicator, a water bottle holder, a media shelf for tablets and phones. 

One of the most technologically advanced special features in the Max Trainer M5 is the Bluetooth (rights reserved) 4.0 compatibility and the ability to directly connect your elliptical to the free Bowflex Max Trainer App. 

The app provides users with instructional workout videos from professional trainers as well as the ability to set, monitor, and track your fitness goals.

From this, we can see that the Bowflex M3 offers less special features than the M5. 

The most notable special features offered by the M5 are its ability to connect to the Bowflex App and the Bluetooth (rights reserved) capability.

Bowflex Max Trainer M3 vs M5: What Do People Say?

bowflex maxtrainer

Amazon Reviews

According to their official Amazon store, the Bowflex Max Trainer series (this includes the M3 model and the M5 model) have an impressive combined rating.

One reviewer who purchased the M5 from Bowflex states that the “M5 will give you an excellent workout.” 

Youtube Reviews

If you’re looking for a more visual review, there are several Youtube reviews of the M3 and the M5 from actual consumers who have purchased the machines. 

One of our favorite user reviews of the M3 has an active comment section where Youtube Users discuss their own experiences with the M3. 

The user who created the video, Paul Von Elsner, clearly considers the M3 a 5 out of 5 stars product and talks about how he is using the M3 model to help his recovery from recent surgeries, saying “this machine is awesome.” 

BowFlex M3 vs M5 - Which Is Better?

You’ve made it to the end of this terribly long Bowflex M3 vs M5 comparison post. Finally, let’s discuss which model of the Max Trainer from Bowflex takes the win.

If we take into account all of the factors we’ve previously discussed, the M3 and M5 are both fantastic elliptical machines. 

Based solely on specifications, the M5 model is the greater elliptical of the two as it offers more features and a smaller footprint. 

However, the M3 is a more affordable machine and has cheaper warranty options because it has fewer features built into it. 

Buy the Bowflex M3… 

You are looking for a cheaper elliptical addition to your home gym that can improve your at-home workouts. 

Cheapest price from this seller on Amazon

Buy the Bowflex M5… 

You want the maximum options available to customize your workout, monitor your fitness progress, and challenge your exercise routine.

Cheapest price from this seller on Amazon

If you like this article on the Bowflex M3 and M5, check out our other reviews on Dumbbells Review.

Elliptical Machine: Buying Guide

There are several important factors that you should look for when purchasing a new elliptical for your home gym. 

Keep these qualities in mind as we discuss how the Bowflex M3 and the M5 stack up against each other.


Elliptical trainers use different levels of resistance to change how much force you have to exert during your workout. 

Ellipticals come with one of 3 forms of resistance: electromagnetic (also known as eddy current brakes), motorized, and manual.

Additionally, most ellipticals come equipped with a range of resistance levels that allow you to increase or decrease the difficulty of your workout and also with the ability to incorporate your upper body.

Stride and Incline 

Your ideal elliptical trainer should come with the ability to adjust your stride and incline.

Your stride is the time or space between two consecutive steps and finding the right setting on an elliptical to match your stride is essential to getting the most from your workout. 

The incline is the slope or angle that you can set the elliptical at relative to the ground. 

Adjusting your incline can either increase or decrease the intensity of your workout by changing the amount of energy that needs to be exerted.



An elliptical is a relatively large, expensive piece of gym fitness equipment. 

Your purchase should last you several years of continued use, minimum. If your elliptical isn’t durable, then it just isn’t worth buying. 

Additional Features 

Many ellipticals on the market today come with additional features to those listed above. 

One key feature you may want to look for in your future elliptical is how many different speeds are available for you to choose from. 

This will allow you greater versatility in your workouts and grant you the ability to challenge yourself as you improve your skills.

Several ellipticals come with smart technology built into their interfaces. 

If you’re interested in having the coolest gadgets, then you might want to consider checking out ellipticals that can connect to your phone, or have a digital screen. 

Similar Articles:

Picture of Daniel

Article by:

Daniel DeMoss

I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.