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Bowflex Review

Sunday, March 3rd

2024 Stair Climber Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Bowflex Review 5 Star Rating


5 Star Rating
  • Four models to choose from
  • Max Total 16: $2,499
  • Max Trainer M9: $1,999
  • Max Trainer SE: $1,499
  • Max Trainer M6: $1,299
  • 6-week return policy
  • Free shipping
  • Personalized classes available
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

BowFlex is long known for their in-home, one-machine-does-all strength training. In the past almost 40 years, BowFlex has grown to include more equipment to help you with your cardio and build muscle.

4 models of stair climbers

There are four BowFlex Max Trainer stair climbers to bring your workout, well, to the "max."

  • Max Trainer M6. For $1,299, this stair climber has 4-grip handlebars, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), 16 resistance levels, is compatible with the JRNY app for phones/tablets, and has a backlit LCD display, a media shelf, and USB charging station.
  • Max Trainer SE. For only $200 more, the SE has pretty much what the M6 has, but is more quiet, has access to JRNY workouts, is Bluetooth heart rate compatible, and has auto-adjust resistance for Explore the World.
  • Max Trainer M9 is $600 more than the base model, and has a 10" adjustable HD touchscreen (needs wifi connection), JRNY experience built in (rather than using the app), 20 resistance levels, and Bluetooth-enable speakers.
  • Max Total M16. It's the newest and highest model, which is about double the price of the base model at $2499. It has the upgrades of a 16" adjustable screen (wifi required) and 6-grip handlebars.

Smaller than a treadmill

The BowFlex Max Trainers take up about half the floor space of a treadmill, giving you more of your room back to you.

Our faves are the M9 or the M16

We've got to say that if you're going to invest in a BowFlex stair climber, the two highest models, Max Trainer M9 and Max Total M16, are definitely worth the money. Why would you use your own app on your device when JRNY is already installed on the machine? (You're still responsible for the JRNY subscription, though.) There are 20 resistance levels so you can get the workout you're looking for: the gradual change between levels is easier on the body. We do like that the M16 has an immersive 16" inch screen rather than 10" of the M9, which can make the workout more enjoyable.

JRNY helps BowFlex personalize your workouts

JRNY is a BowFlex subscription membership that delivers a virtual coach that leads you in your daily workout. The smart, personalized workouts are designed for you, based on your fitness experiences and goals. They automatically adjust and change based on your fitness goals and progress. Watching streamed, visual destinations while you work out take your mind to new experiences, imagining another place beyond that of your real world.

Don't forget to subscribe to JRNY

There's a free, 2-month trial if you're a new member. Once that's over, the subscription rates start at $19.99 per month (or $149 per year) to stay connected.

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Watch for sales

If you're shopping around the holidays, there may be a Black Friday or other sale on BowFlex, saving up to $500. That savings will be greater on the premium models.

Purchase add-ons you should consider

BowFlex will assemble your product and take away any packaging for $189. This service is available seven days a week and is something you should definitely consider. There are those who have opted out of the assembly and have put it together themselves: it might take two to three hours, so you'll have to decide if assembling it yourself is worth the savings. The $99 BowFlex Cardio Machine Mat protects the flooring underneath your machine and gives your workout area a finished look. The one size will fit all BowFlex stair climber machines.

Good warranty, optional protection plans

The standard warranty is different for each model. They all include 90 days for labor. The frame and mechanical parts would be covered for 1 or 2 years. The 3-year optional protection plan upgrades all warranties to 3 years of full coverage and costs $199. The 5-year optional protection plan upgrades all warranties except the frame to 5 years and costs $259. If you choose one of these optional plans, the 5-year plan works out to about $51 per year and the 3-year plan is about $67 per year.

Free shipping

When you buy a BowFlex stair climber, shipping is included. What's more, BowFlex offers a better satisfaction guarantee and return period than most stair climbers: a generous 6 weeks to decide, and no pesky restocking fees, which is a huge benefit.

Payment plan options

You can pay the whole amount up front, or take advantage of BowFlex's payment plans. They figure your monthly payment to be the purchase price divided by 18 months. And if you pay in full within 18 months, which is expected, there's no interest charged. If after 18 months you still owe them money, they will add interest.

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Quick delivery

Your BowFlex Max Trainer should arrive about a week after you place the order.

6-week return policy

Call Bowflex within six weeks of delivery and request a Return Merchandise Authorization number. You'll be refunded the price of the stair climber, but not any shipping and handling fees that you'll take care of returning the product.

People love the Max Trainer but you need the JRNY feature

Consumers love the Max Trainer machines, but without the JRNY subscription, it's just not as motivating and they don't use the machine as much. Although it's an added monthly or yearly expense, if it encourages you to actually use the machine and get the results, it's definitely worth the cost of the subscription.

We rate BowFlex highly

You've heard about BowFlex for decades, and their brand is known to hold up to its expectations as well as the years of use. We like that there are four models to choose from. The more you spend, the more "modern" your features, such as Bluetooth and larger video screens. Their patented JRNY app has live, virtually-led workouts specifically for you and your fitness patterns and goals. BowFlex also offers to send someone to set up the machine for you. We highly recommend the BowFlex Max Trainer stair steppers, we just wish they had a longer satisfaction guarantee period.

Our top pick

In terms of value for your hard-earned money, BowFlex's stair climbers are unmatched. No other option provides access to live coached workouts on reliable, fully-featured machines for under $2,000. BowFlex's Max Trainers easily earn our first-place ranking. So, if you're looking to elevate your fitness game, BowFlex has got the tools you need to succeed.

Where Can You Find the Best Stair Climbers?

Stair climbers, often known as "stair steppers," have been around fitness centers for about 40 years. They're a refreshing change to the treadmill and exercise bike, and offer an intense workout. Depending on factors such as your fitness level, age, weight, and chosen resistance level, you could burn an impressive 500 calories in about half an hour on a stair climber.

There are a variety of reasons why stair climbers are so popular. For example, stair climbers are renowned for their effectiveness in calorie burning and weight loss. The rhythmic movement engages major muscle groups such as the legs, glutes, and core, leading to an efficient way to burn calories. This makes stair climbing an attractive option for individuals aiming to shed excess weight or maintain a healthy weight.

The Best Stair Climbers Compare Stair Climbers Compare Stair Climber Reviews What are the best Stair Climbers Best Stair Climber Reviews

Stair Climber FAQ

A stair climber is a type of exercise equipment that uses either a rotating series of steps or pedals pushed up and down - imitating the motion you'd make when going up a staircase. The "stairmill" option is most commonly found in gyms and health clubs, while the pedal variety can be seen both in fitness centers and in home use.
Stair climbers are low-impact, delivering an intense workout that is gentler on the joints than running on a treadmill. It also doesn't have to be either-or: if you like to mix up your workouts and target different muscle groups, alternating between using a treadmill and a stair climber is a great option.
That will depend on the stair climber you choose. Most models have clearly-listed dimensions for both floor space and ceiling height requirements, so be sure to look at them carefully and map out the space in your home before making your purchase.
You can get a good-quality stair climber for just under $1,000. If you want a high-end model exactly like what you've seen at your local gym, expect a price tag upwards of $10,000.
The more resistance levels your stair climber has, the greater variety you'll be able to get in your workouts. If you have people of multiple heights who will use the machine - for example, maybe you're 4'11" and your roommate is 6'5" - you might want to choose a model with adjustable stride lengths. From there, you should consider how much tech you want it to have, like Bluetooth connectivity with fitness apps or heart rate monitoring through hand grips and/or a chest strap.
Most stair climber manufacturers aren't quite there yet. However, at least one company offers a separate membership to an online platform where you can get live workouts, exercise in real time with a friend, or stream videos to make your workout routine more interesting.
That depends on the manufacturer's policy. Some offer no returns at all, while others may give you 4-6 weeks to try it out. You may also have to pay restocking fees if you return your stair climber.
Yes. Most stair climbers have warranty coverage on the frame and welds, parts, and labor. The timeframes vary: you might get a lifetime warranty on the frame with one manufacturer, while another only covers the frame for three years. Read the warranty coverage and terms carefully before you buy a stair climber.
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Continued from above...

Another reason why stair climbers are popular is their efficiency in providing a cardiovascular workout. The repetitive motion of climbing stairs elevates the heart rate, enhancing blood circulation and promoting cardiovascular fitness. This aerobic exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy heart and lungs, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and improving overall endurance. Stair climbers offer an alternative to high-impact cardiovascular activities like running, making them accessible to a broader demographic, including individuals with joint issues or those seeking a gentler form of exercise.

The low-impact nature of stair climbing is another key factor contributing to its popularity. Unlike high-impact exercises that can put stress on the joints and increase the risk of injury, stair climbing provides a challenging workout with minimal impact. This makes it an ideal choice for individuals with joint concerns, older adults, or those recovering from injuries who still want to engage in effective exercise without compromising their joint health.

Are you wondering which stair climber or stepper suits you best? There are a few styles available. There's a "stair mill" where you literally climb stairs that resemble a rotating staircase like an escalator at the mall. The intensity of the workout is determined by the speed you choose. These machines are the heaviest yet sturdiest of the stair climbers, and although they can take up more space in your room, they offer pretty intense workouts, just like the stair climbers in the gym.

Another form is the stair stepper. You'll push up and down against foot pedals, and the workout intensifies when you increase the resistance. Some of this type have handles so you can work your arms and upper body as well.

A third type to consider, especially if you have shorter ceilings in your home, is the recumbent, or seated stair stepper. You'll get your great full-body stepper workout, but your head won't approach the ceiling since you're seated.

Which stair climber is the right one for you? Since there are many options to consider, it can feel overwhelming. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you begin to shop. Before you know it, you'll find the stair climber that's best not only for you, but for the space in your home.

  • Price. How much are you willing to spend for the stair stepper and any accessories such as the console for tracking your fitness and viewing any classes, or the floor mat to go underneath the machine? Also consider any apps for online subscriptions for classes to participate in while you're working on your step climber. And are the apps free or will you pay a monthly subscription for stepper classes?
  • Available space. Where do you plan to place your stair climber? The traditional gym-like machinery will take up more floor space and require a higher ceiling. The stepper versions take up the least amount of floor space. The recumbent style isn't affected by the ceiling space, or lack thereof.
  • Fitness goals. Consider if you are new to stair climbing or if you're the gym rat who wants to bring that intensity home. Certain stair climbers are ready for the challenge, and others are built more for a light workout only.
  • Return policy. What if the machine doesn't fit in your space, if it's too noisy, or you just don't like it? Check to see if there's a satisfaction guarantee. If so, are you responsible for return shipping? And is there a restocking fee? If so, how much would you actually get back if you returned it?
  • Reputation. What do users say about the stair climber? Is it durable? Was it easy to assemble? Are they still motivated to use it, even months later? If they interacted with customer service, was the department helpful?

Top Consumer Reviews has evaluated and ranked the top stair climbers on the market today. We're confident that this information will help you to narrow down the options so you can find the perfect stair climber for your home gym and your stair climbing workout.

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