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There might be too many choices when trying to find the best machine for your home cardio workout, good thing there are combination machines. The Bowflex Max Total 16 is a hybrid machine combining the benefits of an elliptical and stair stepper designed for high-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Bowflex advertises this machine as its best Max Trainer yet. In our Bowflex Max Total 16 review, we’ll look at online specs, assess customer reviews, and use our own expertise to determine whether that’s true. 

We know Bowflex… and Max Trainers!

The team at Garage Gym Reviews is full of a variety of fitness experts from Certified Personal Trainers (CPTs), CrossFit-L1 coaches, professional athletes, and (most importantly?) home gym owners. As a group, we’ve tested and reviewed all kinds of gym equipment from cardio machines, barbells, dumbbells, and even shoes and clothes. We love fitness! Especially helping you fill your home gym with the best equipment.

We haven’t tested the Bowflex Max Total 16 in person. However, we have tested the Max Trainer M6, a more affordable product in the Max Trainer line. We’ve also tested numerous ellipticals and stair steppers. 

Bowflex Max Total 16

Bowflex Max Total 16

GGR Score: 3.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Combination elliptical and stair stepper
  • 20 resistance levels 
  • 16-inch HD touchscreen display 
  • Designed for high-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Heart rate armband included
  • 1-year free JRNY membership included
  • Reviews share easy assembly
  • Intense workout
  • Compact design
  • 20 resistance levels

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Short warranty
  • Users report buggy software

Bottom Line

The Bowflex Total Max 16 is an expensive hybrid machine that will give you a killer workout. User share that the software can be buggy.

A Quick Look at the Bowflex Max Total 16

Bowflex introduced its Max Trainer line after discontinuing its previous popular hybrid machine, the TreadClimber. The Max Trainers combine an elliptical machine and stair stepper. Bowflex introduced the Max Total 16 in November 2021 to be its best and most expensive Max Trainer yet. The most noticeable upgrade is the larger 16-inch HD touchscreen. We’ll take a more in-depth look at all the features of the Max Total 16 in the rest of the review.

My Tips:

  • Look for deals before purchasing, Bowflex often offers discounts and free shipping. 
  • A WiFi connection is required so place it somewhere in your house where internet reception is good.
  • Take advantage of the 1-year free JRNY membership for thousands of free workouts.

Pros: 

  • Heart rate armband included 
  • Free 1-year JRNY membership
  • Onboard streaming with JRNY membership
  • 20 resistance levels 
  • Easy to put together

Cons: 

  • Expensive
  • Short warranty 
  • Incline and step length not adjustable 
  • Resistance adjustable with knob
  • Users report software is buggy

Is the Bowflex Max Total 16 Worth It?

Nothing is for everyone, even barbells. So, is the Max Total for you? Let’s find out which group you fall into.

Great for:

  • People needing a compact machine 
  • Looking for a HIIT workouts 
  • People that love stats 

Not recommended for:

  • Users looking for a budget machine 
  • People who prefer steady-state cardio 
  • Customers that don’t want to subscribe to JRNY

Bowflex Max Total 16 Specs

Price$2,499 
Dimensions49.3” L x 30.8” W x 65.7” H
Weight155.4 lbs
Weight capacity300 lbs
Display16” HD touchscreen
Resistance levels20 levels adjustable via knob
Programming4 pre-set programs and JRNY compatible 
Warranty3-year frame and parts, 1-year electronics, 90-days labor
Minimum ceiling heightHeight of tallest user + 15”
BluetoothYes, for smart devices and heart rate monitors and built-in speakers
Handlebars6-grip handlebars
PedalsOversized textured pedals

Customer Reviews

Unfortunately, there aren’t many customer reviews since the Max Total has only been available for about a year at the time of publishing, and it is only available via the Bowflex website. The Max Total 16 has overall positive reviews, with an average rating of 4.8/5 stars and 95% of respondents saying they would recommend it to a friend. Customers loved the intense low-impact workouts and compact footprint. Complaints included buggy software, and loud fan noise.

A 4-star review via the Bowflex website shares positives and negatives: 

“I can get a great workout in in a short amount of time. I have had JRNY freeze up on new a couple of times.” 

A 5-star review states, “I am hooked on M16. I absolutely love the built in programs. It motivates me to keep pushing in my fitness journey. I enjoy my 16-inch screen to watch movies and etc, The volume is great. The only down side is the noise when using the machine. I wish the fan noise could be turned off.” 

A 2-star review complained about the software: “The machine is fine but the Journey software had lots of issues. Their support is excellent but the same problems keep coming up making you restart your workout or unable to see your screen.” 

Another negative review complained of repeated product failures: “Disappointed with this purchase. It was very expensive and hasn’t worked right since it arrived. The resistance knob doesn’t work sometimes. After calling customer service and spending hours on hold they talked me through how to repair it myself. It will worked right for a few days and then broke again. This has happened 3 times now. The tablet part is also odd. Sometimes it doesn’t load right and I have to unplug the machine and plug it back in.”

Workout Experience on the Bowflex Max Total 16

We can’t personally speak to the workout experience on the Max Total 16, but we think it’ll be pretty similar to the M6. The biggest difference is that the Max Total has an integrated touchscreen. The Max Total will kick your butt; in our Bowflex M6 review, we compared the HIIT workouts on these trainers to doing springs on the Rogue Echo Bike and Assault Bike. Don’t let this scare you off; there are 20 levels of resistance, so people from beginners to experts can get a great workout.

There are only four pre-programmed workouts, including a manual mode, so you don’t need a JRNY subscription to use the Max Total. However, you’ll get a lot more utility with JRNY. JRNY has thousands of virtual trainer-led workouts to stream. JRNY also has adaptive workouts, meaning that the difficulty of the workouts adjusts as your fitness level changes.

We haven’t used a Max Trainer with an integrated touchscreen, and there are limited customer reviews of the Max Total since it has only been available for about one year. We found complaints of a glitchy touchscreen for both the Max Total and our Bowflex M9 review.

Footprint, Portability, Durability, Construction

The Max Total 16 has a small footprint for an elliptical-type machine at 4 feet long by 2.5 feet wide. There are also transport wheels and a handle to help you tilt and transport the trainer after your workout.

It’s hard to speak to the durability of these machines since they’ve only been available for about one year, but Bowflex has a reputation for creating durable home gym equipment. The Max Total has an industry standard 300-pound user weight capacity. However, the warranty is shorter than we’d like at only three years for frame and parts and one year for electronics. 

RELATED: The Best Vertical Climbers

The Ergonomics

The 16-inch touchscreen tilts to help you find the perfect angle for viewing the screen during your home workout. There are also six-grip adjustable handlebars, an upgrade from the M6 and M9, which both have four-grip handlebars, to engage your upper body and achieve a full-body workout. There are also oversized textured pedals so you can find a comfortable sprinting position. 

Technology Benefits and Conveniences

The Max Total 16 has a lot of tech. There are both Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities. If you want to maximize the functionality of the Max Total, you’ll need to connect to WiFi. A WiFi connection will allow you to access JRNY. Through JRNY, you can access thousands of on-demand classes to complete on and off your Max Total. The JRNY app lists other available workouts such as bike, treadmill, and weights. You can also use JRNY to stream your favorite shows via Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime.

The Bluetooth ability allows you to connect and use integrated Bluetooth speakers and track your heart rate via the included Bluetooth heart rate armband. You can also monitor your heart rate via the integrated hand grips. There is also a built-in media shelf to hold your smart device and a water bottle holder.  

Comparison to Bowflex Max Trainer M6 and M9

Bowflex Max Trainer 6

Bowflex Max Trainer 9

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Combination elliptical and climber 
  • 10” HD touchscreen 
  • 20 resistance levels 
  • 4-grip handlebars

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, HBOmax
  • Bluetooth for smart devices and heart rate monitoring
  • Heart rate armband included
  • Free 1-year JRNY membership included
  • 4-grip handlebars

Cons

  • Shorter warranty than competitors
  • Dial style resistance adjustment, rather than buttons or touchscreen
  • Users reporting console crashing mid-workout
  • Must sign in every time

Bottom Line

The Bowflex Max Trainer 9 is a solid piece of hardware with software issues resulting in console crashing mid workout.

The only one of these machines our team has personally tested is the M6. The bottom line from the M6 review is that you’ll get a great, intense workout but that the price is a bit too steep since it doesn’t have a touchscreen. We think the Max Total 16 will give you a similarly intense workout, even more intense since it has four additional levels of resistance.

A noticeable upgrade for the M9 and Max total 16 is the integrated touchscreen display instead of the LCD screen. Now you won’t have to bring your own device to stream workouts via the JRNY app or your favorite shows via Hulu and Netflix. Unfortunately, the Max Total has less built-in workout programs than the M6, so you’ll be more reliant on a JRNY subscription.

We’ve made this chart to help you get a better idea of the entire line of Max Trainers. If you want to learn more? Check out our full Bowflex Max Trainer M6 review and Bowflex Max Trainer M9 review

Bowflex Max Total 16Bowflex Max Trainer M6Bowflex MaxTrainer M9
Dimensions49.3” L x 30.8” W x 65.7 H46”L x 26”W x 64.2”H49.2” Lx 30.5” W x 65.1” H
Weight capacity300 lbs300 lbs300 lbs
Weight155.4 lbs148 lbs148.8 lbs
Display16” HD touchscreenBacklit LCD screen10” HD touchscreen
Warranty3-year frame and parts, 1-year electronics, 90-days labor2-years frame & parts, 90-days labor3-year frame and parts, 1-year electronics, 90-days labor
Levels of Resistance201620
Preset workouts4 + JRNY compatible5 + JRNY compatible4+ JRNY compatible
Bluetooth HR capabilityYes, armband includedYes, but not includedYes, armband included

Customer Experience 

Customers that have had issues with their Max Total 16 found the Bowflex customer service to be very responsive. The Max Total 16 has a 3-year frame and parts, 1-year electronics, and 90-days labor warranties. Bowflex also has a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you are not satisfied you can return the Max Total within 6 weeks of delivery. In order to return and get money back you’ll need a return merchandise authorization (RMA) number and the original packaging. Sadly, you will not be refunded shipping and handling fees. 

Ordering and Assembling the Bowflex Max Total 16

The Max Total 16 retails for about $2,500 and you can only order via the Bowflex website. Bowflex does offer financing options with a Bowflex credit card with payments of about $123/month. 

Check for deals when shopping, Bowflex often offers discounts and free shipping. When you order your machine you’ll have the option to purchase in-home assembly for $169. We don’t think it is necessary, we found assembly of the M6 to be straightforward and customers reviews didn’t find assembly of the Max Total too difficult. 

Final Verdict of Our Bowflex Max Total 16 Review

The Bowflex Max Total 16 is an expensive machine that will give you a hard, whole-body workout that really emphasizes your lower body. The combination of elliptical, stair stepper, and HIIT workouts will kick your butt and help you achieve your fitness goals. Unless you really want the full 16-inch screen, we think you can save some money and get the less expensive M9 with a 10-inch screen. Other than the touchscreen display size, the specs are extremely similar.  

Bowflex Max Total 16 Rating

Bowflex Max Total 16

Bowflex Max Total 16 Review

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 2499

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.8

Bowflex Max Total 16

Footprint and portability – 5

Durability – 3

Customizations – 4

Adjustability and ergonomics – 4

Tech capabilities – 5

Conveniences – 4

Dynamic programming – 4

Customer reviews – 4

Value – 2

Warranty, financing, returns – 3

Customer service – 4

Bowflex Max Total 16 FAQs

Is the Bowflex Max Trainer worth it?

The Bowflex Max Trainer will give you a great workout but it is an expensive machine retailing at around $2,500. You can save some money and get a similar machine if you are willing to have a smaller screen. 

Is Bowflex JRNY worth it?

We’ve used JRNY a lot when testing out Bowflex products. It is cheaper than competitors iFIT and Peloton, but it isn’t quite as good either in our opinion. It has workouts for Max Trainers, treadmills, indoor cycling bikes, and weight workouts.

Is the Bowflex Max Trainer better than an elliptical?

It depends, the Bowflex Max Trainer is better than an elliptical if you need a more compact machine. It is much shorter than traditional ellipticals at just over 4 feet. It is worse than an elliptical if you’d rather do steady state cardio and not HIIT.

When did the Bowflex Max Total come out?

The Bowflex Total Max 16 was released in November of 2021. It is the most expensive of Bowflex’s Max Trainer line with the biggest HD touchscreen at 16 inches.

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