Bowflex M3 Vs. M5 – Which Is Right For You?


When on the hunt for a Bowflex machine, there’s no doubt you have plenty of options available to you. There is a wide range to choose from, which is great because you should be able to find something to satisfy just about all budgets and needs.

Understanding the differences between the machines however can be a bit trying.  For instance, how does the Bowflex M3 vs. M5 look? Which is the better machine? To help try and answer that question, let’s do a quick comparison.

Bowflex M3 Vs. M5 At A Glance…

Bowflex M3 Bowflex M5
Resistance Levels 8 resistance levels 16 resistance levels
Workout Programs 2 Options 8 Options
Heart Rate Monitor Yes Yes, with integrated contact grips and chest strap
Backlit Display No Yes
Water Bottle And Media Shelf/Tablet Holder Yes Yes
Target Zone & Burn Rate Indicators Yes Yes
Bluetooth 4.0 Compatible No Yes
Syncs With Free Max Trainer App No Yes
Warranty 1 year 2 years
Dimensions 46.1” L X 25” W X 62.9” H 46.1” L X 25” W X 62.9” H
Assembled Weight  143 lbs. 143 lbs.
Price $999 $1599


Getting Into The Details

When we look at the Bowflex M3 Vs. M5, we come to see that there are some key differences that you will want to know about. It’s up to you to understand these differences and decide if the change in price is going to be worth it to you. Both machines are great for beginner to intermediate level athletes or fitness enthusiasts so much of whether it works for you is going to come down to your own personal preference.

Here are the main points to consider.


The most obvious is price. The M3 is quite affordable coming in just below $1000 total. Contrast this to the M5, which his over 50% more at $1600.  If budget is your main concern, this will probably lead you straight for the M3. Both machines do similar things, but the M5 just offers a few more luxuries the M3 misses out on.

Resistance Levels

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Bowflex M3 vs. M5 is the resistance level options. The M3 comes in with only 8 resistance levels, while the M5 is actually double it.

This is HUGE as far as your ability to progress through your workout is concerned. Now, if you are a beginner and are just looking to maintain good personal fitness – you are just looking to get a cardiovascular workout in, get your heart rate up and burn a few calories, then the 8 resistance levels of the M3 will likely get the job done. Unless you are very strong to begin with (or very heavy as that will also play a role in how hard each resistance level feels), 8 is plenty. The best bet? Hop on and check. Try out an M3 and put it to resistance level 5 or 6. If that feels like a walk in the park, you aren’t going to get much out of this machine as you’ll likely progress to level 7 and 8 quite quickly.

If however, resistance level 3 fees like a challenge, you’ll have many years ahead of you before you out grow this machine.

In contrast, the M5 offers 16 resistance levels, so you can see the difference here. You simply can do more on this machine, progressing through all these resistance levels over time. If you are also interested in doing high intensity interval sprints, that would be another reason that you should be looking to go with the M5. It will provide you with the resistance necessary to get that sprint training in.

Workout Programs

Another clear difference between these two machines is the workout programming capabilities. The M3 offers you the max interval program as well as the manual program. This is good, but leaves much to be desired.

The M5 on the other hand offers you the max interval, smart max interval, calorie burn, fat burn, calorie goal, steady state, fitness test, and manual modes.

This gives you plenty of great options on how you can carry out your program and reach your goals. This said, some people may not use all of these programs, in which case this doesn’t really matter. Assess your own interests and whether it’s likely that you’d use these.

If you’d rather just plan out your own workouts instead, this isn’t of much value to you.

Syncs With Free Max Trainer App

If you are someone who is looking to get some help and guidance from the Bowflex max trainer app, then you’ll want to opt for the M5 over the M3. This machine has the ability to sync with this app while the M3 does not. This benefit will make your life a lot easier when using the app as you’ll then have a record of all the workouts that you have performed.


Another point of consideration when looking at the Bowflex M3 vs. the M5 is the warranty that each one brings. The M3 offers just a one-year warranty while the M5 jumps that up to two years.

Now, whether this matters to you all depends on how hard you are on your machine. Most of the time, a cardio machine should hold up for at least a year with regular use. Usually it’s in the 2-3 year time frame when most machines may start to show signs of wear and tear, so the one year warranty likely won’t do you much good.

If you are someone who is concerned about repair costs or you are a heavy user of the machine (you plan to clock many hours per week on it), the two year warranty is likely a good idea. While the machine itself is nearly $600 more, repair costs do add up, so this could easily help make up for $300 or more of the cost of the machine. Plus you get all those added features.

So that is something that must be considered as well. Warranty does pay off if you are a regular user.


So there you have the facts to know about the Bowflex M3 vs. M5. Both are great machines and will serve anyone well, so look at your own preferences, needs, and desires for your workout routine and decide from there which machine will be the better choice to help you reach your goals.

The size and weight of the machines will be completely similar otherwise, so really the only determining factors will be what was mentioned above.

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