Bowflex Treadmill Review: Is it a Good Buy?


You’ve probably heard the Bowflex name before, but you probably haven’t ever associated the name with treadmills. The name Bowflex is more synonymous with body strengthening equipment, but they are breaking into new territories. Bowflex is a subsidiary of Nautilus, which is the second largest maker of exercise equipment in the world. The other brands they own include Schwinn, Stairmaster and Trimline, so Bowflex is backed by a solid company.

There are three different models of Bowflex treadmills: the 3, 5, and 7 Series. The prices are as follows: 3 Series $999, 5 Series $1,299, and the 7 Series $1,399; so they are all priced to be in the mid-range market. This is a market that is already quite crowded, which is largely due to the growing popularity of home fitness equipment. There are some features, especially on the 5 and 7 Series, that should allow Bowflex treadmills to make a name for themselves in the market.

One of the great features of the 5 and 7 Series is its 60” running platform. This feature is especially advantageous for those people who are taller or for serious runners who want to lengthen their stride. The deck also gives adequate cushioning, and it can incline up to a 12% grade. Unfortunately, the deck does not have a decline mode.

Some of the other features include 15 preset workout programs (with different targets ranging from burning fat to 5k race training), a three-speed fan, grip and telemetric heart rate monitors, two cup (or bottle) holders, and a back lit LCD computer display that makes it easy to access all of the information in a convenient manner while never breaking stride.

With a shorter platform, and a frame that is not as solidly built, the 3 Series might be adequate for walkers and light joggers, but would not be great for those looking for a serious workout. The other things that limit the 3 Series from being a treadmill for long, hard workouts is its motor and belt. The motor is a .75 hp continuous duty motor (only suitable for slower speeds, but some reports show that the motor for this model has been upgraded), and the belt is only a 1-ply.

Overall, the reviews for the Bowflex treadmills have been quite favorable. They received a “Best Buy” rating from Consumer Reports. The quality of the machines are at the top of the class in the mid-range market. They seem to be holding up well compared to some of their counterparts. They are heavier and more sturdy, and their weight limits seem to be quite accurate (most treadmill companies over estimate their weight limits by at least 50 pounds). For example, one particular 7 Series customer who weighs around 300 pounds has used his Bowflex treadmill for a year, and he hasn’t had any problems with it. Considering that the weight limit on the 7 Series is right at 300 pounds, that is quite a testimonial as to the durability of these treadmills.

There is only one thing that the experts seem to be consistently down on, and that would be the warranty. They offer only 1 year on labor, 2 years on parts, and 10 years on the motor. Truthfully, this isn’t a bad warranty, but it is around the minimum that you would look for in a warranty when looking to buy a quality treadmill. When you compare the warranty to some of its competitors that offer 2 years on labor, 5 years on parts, and a lifetime warranty on the motor, then it does pale in comparison.

Overall, we feel that the Bowflex treadmills are worth a look at, and would be considered a good buy at their current price range.