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      January 18, 2020

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Bowflex vs Life Fitness

Best Treadmills

To help you find the Best Treadmills, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Bowflex and Life Fitness.

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Treadmills are a great way to get an excellent workout at home when it best fits into your schedule. Regular use of a treadmill is also a great way to lose weight and get into good cardiovascular shape. Treadmills range from the most basic model with no frills, to those with high tech workout programs, TV's, and more.

Treadmills are generally easy to set up and are suitable for just about anyone to use. Changes in the designs have allowed treadmills to reduce the amount of space required, thus making them feasible for those with a limited area.

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Best Reviews

2020

Treadmill Reviews

3.5 stars
Bowflex

BOWFLEX

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Cost:

From $2,199 to $9,500

One of the first names that comes to mind when considering home fitness equipment is Bowflex. Originally made famous for their all-in-one strength training system, their product line has expanded over the years to include a variety of cardio equipment as well.

When it comes to treadmills, Bowflex offers just two models: the BXT116 and the upgraded BXT216.

Equipment overview:

  • Treadmill Style: Folding
  • Price: $1499 and $1799
  • Different Models: 2
  • Different Models: 2
  • Horsepower: 3.75 CHP and 4.0 CHP
  • Belt Width: 20x60, 22x60
  • Return Policy: 6 weeks
  • Guarantee: 15 years on Frame/Drive Motor, 5 years on Mechanical Parts/Electronics, 2 years on Labor
  • Shipping: $99

With the BXT116 retailing for $1499 and the BXT216 for an extra $300 at $1799, what are the main differences between the two treadmills?

First, let’s look at what they have in common:

  • Maximum incline of 15%
  • Maximum speed of 12 mph
  • 4 available user profiles
  • Integrated heart rate monitor with contact grips and included chest strap
  • Integrated speaker sound system
  • Real-time custom workout creation
  • Media shelf/tablet holder
  • USB charging port
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Easy SoftDrop stowable design
  • Automatic 3-speed fan
  • Warranty coverage of 15 years on the frame and drive motor, 5 years on mechanical parts and electronics, and 2 years labor

The console is essentially the same for both models, and all of the tech might make you feel like you’re working out in an airplane cockpit - in a good way. You’ll see all of your workout stats at a glance, from the total workout time to your heart rate and much more. We encourage you to check out the images on the Bowflex site for yourself.

So, with all of those great features, why would anyone spend the extra money to get the BX216? It depends on what you need. For example, the maximum user weight on the 116 is 375 pounds, while the 216 allows users up to 400 pounds. The 216 also has a wider run path: 22” compared to the 116’s 20”.

The 216 also adds controls for incline and speed into the handrails, gives you an extra 1.5” on the full color LCD screen (9” compared with 7.5”), and comes with a more cushioned running surface. You’ll also get an extra 0.25 in the horsepower, and a total of 11 pre-programmed workouts (as opposed to the 116’s 9). You’ll have to decide for yourself if any of those extras are worth the additional $300. At the time of our review, there was a free shipping offer on the upgraded model, compared with $99 for the lower-end version, bringing the price difference down to just $200.

We recommend that you take a look through the customer reviews on the Bowflex website. They’re very detailed and represent a wide variety of users, from athletes training to improve performance in races to beginning exercisers starting with walking. We appreciate Bowflex’s positive responses, even to negative comments, and their obvious commitment to constantly improving products and taking their customers’ concerns seriously. Reading the comments will help you determine if there are any known issues with the way you plan on using the treadmill - like syncing with apps like Strava or using the higher inclines at high speeds.

Bowflex’s return policy is 6 weeks from the date of delivery. You’ll have to get an RMA from their customer service department, and your refund will not include any shipping fees. That’s more generous than a lot of their competitors, who only give you 30 days and charge hefty restocking fees.

Overall, the two treadmill models offered by Bowflex are great: solidly built, good warranty and return periods, ample technology features, and backed by a responsive customer service team. But, when compared with the variety of treadmills offered by other retailers in our review, Bowflex’s limited selection comes up short and may not offer the types of features - or the budget range - that some shoppers are looking for.

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3.5 stars
Life Fitness

LIFE FITNESS

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Cost:

From $2,199 to $9,500

Whether you’re looking for a treadmill just like what you’ve seen at your local health club, or a compact model that will fit in your bedroom, LifeFitness has you covered. As one of the top brands found in home gyms, fitness centers, and even military installations, LifeFitness has an excellent reputation for quality.

On the lower end of the price spectrum is the F1 Smart Treadmill, which is foldable and has wheels for easy moving and storage. Or, if you’re looking for a health club-quality console with all the latest technology for Bluetooth connectivity and TV/app compatibility in your treadmill, the Platinum Club Series and Club Series models are what you’ll find at your local gym and are available for purchase to use in your home gym too. You’ll even find that the higher-end models have color choices to fit with your decor, as well as higher speed ranges (12 mph vs. 10 mph) and weight limits (400 lbs. vs. 300-350) than on lower-end models.

Equipment overview:

  • Treadmill Style: Folding and Non-Folding
  • Price Range: $2,199 - $9,498
  • Different Models: 9
  • Financing Available: Yes
  • Horsepower: 2.5 HP - 8.0 HP
  • Belt Width: 22x55, 20x60, 22x60 (varies by model)
  • Return Policy: 30 days, 25% restocking fee (up to $500 maximum)
  • Guarantee: Lifetime Frame, Shock Absorbers, Drive Motor (some models only cover 10 years on Drive Motor); 5-10 Year Parts (depending on model) and 1-Year Labor
  • Shipping: Free

LifeFitness was also the first retailer we reviewed that offers a model designed for work: the LifeFitness Treadmill Desk. If you’ve got a home office or own your own business, this could be a great way to get in a workout while still getting work done. An adjustable desktop can accommodate users with heights ranging from 5’0” to 6’4”, and a connectivity panel includes AC power hookups, an Ethernet connection, and USB docks for maximum productivity.

You’ll probably find that LifeFitness treadmills are more expensive than most of the other brands on the market - mostly because the technology options, even on the lowest models, are much more advanced than their competitors. For example, the entry-level Track+ Console is compatible with both Android and Apple devices, includes 14 pre-programmed and 12 custom workouts, and allows users to establish up to four different user profiles on the machine. LifeFitness’ most advanced console, the Discover SE3, has up to 50 different workouts, including 8 custom ones, limitless user profiles, all packaged in a familiar tablet-style screen. Warranty coverage is decent as well, particularly the three-year coverage for the console itself.

Unfortunately, the high prices of LifeFitness treadmills may be out of range for customers looking for a basic entry-level model - once you factor in sales taxes, you’ll be spending over $2,500 for the lowest-end machine. In addition, if you decide you don’t like your LifeFitness treadmill and want to return it within the first 30 days after purchase, expect a 25% restocking fee.

On the other hand, LifeFitness is one of the few retailers we found that offers certified used home exercise equipment, which can make it more affordable to add an treadmill to your home gym. You can also get a payment plan through their financing partner, Affirm: look for the “as low as” pricing information below the treadmill’s price in order to see more details. At the time of our review, Affirm was offering interest rates from 10-30% APR with repayment plans of 3, 6, and 12 months, depending on your credit history.

Overall, users of LifeFitness treadmills give the machines high marks for the quiet operation of the motor, well-cushioned surface, and durability even when used frequently for high-impact running or jogging.

Although many customers may find that LifeFitness machines are out of their price range, we give them a solid rating for their quality and advanced technology available with their consoles.

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Continued from above

If you can't set aside a dedicated space for your treadmill, there are excellent foldable models available. Collapsing your treadmill and wheeling it out of the way is a piece of cake.

Several different brands of treadmills exist today and range greatly in cost and quality. Before you make the move to purchase a treadmill, consider the following:

  • Cost.  What is the price range for the treadmills offered, and how does this compare with similar models from other brands?
  • Belt Width.  What is width of the treadmill? A small treadmill will be difficult for many people to walk or run in comfort.
  • Motor Size.  Motor size impacts the strength and smoothness of a treadmill. A good treadmill needs a decent motor size.
  • Return Policy.  Does the company enable you to return your product for a full refund?
  • Guarantee.  Should a piece or part of the treadmill break, does the company offer any warranty for replacement?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best treadmills available today. We hope this information helps you find the right treadmill to meet your needs!

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