Trying to decide between the Nordictrack ACT vs Bowflex Max?
These are two very popular elliptical-style machines that give you added benefits over the standard elliptical trainer.
They both are more compact than regular elliptical trainers, taking up less space.
But what about when you compare them against each other?
How do they measure up? And which is best for you?
This post will give you a rundown of the main differences between them so hopefully you can find the best fit for your home gym.
Note that in the console section, I’ll be comparing the Nordictrack ACT vs Bowflex Max M3 (since that is the price-similar model).
Nordictrack ACT vs Bowflex Max – Price
Price is an important factor to most buyers and the good news is that there really isn’t a definite winner here as they both run around the same price point.
The Max trainer has three models, with the most affordable – the M3 – starting around $1099 with Free Shipping here. The premium model – the M7 – ranges up to $2200 and it has a lot more options than the M3.
The main ACT elliptical models starts around $999 with Free Shipping here. The premium ACT model – the ACT 10 goes up to $1499 and it packs a lot more premium options into the console.
Nordictrack ACT vs Max – Design & Motion
The Nordictrack ACT is a center drive elliptical, meaning that instead of 1 large flywheel (as with most ellipticals), you get two smaller flywheels on either side of the pedals.
This feels more comfortable for many people as you’re standing more upright on the pedals and leaning less on the handrails (vs standard elliptical trainers).
When compared to the Bowflex Max trainer the ACT elliptical offers you more of an elliptical “running” pathway. This is the same kind of elliptical feel and motion that you’re used to on an elliptical.
The Bowflex Max trainer motion is quite different than this – it’s more of a stair-climbing motion with elliptical-type upper body arms.
The ACT elliptical gives you an adjustable stride: 18, 20 or 22 inches. This basically covers all of the main stride lengths people want based on their various heights. So everyone in the family can choose a stride that feels comfortable for them.
Obviously, because the Max Trainer is more of a stair climber, you cannot change or set the stride length.
The Max Trainer is the clear winner here – simply because Bowflex has actually done the tests to prove that you can burn 2.5 times more calories on the Max than on a stair climber, elliptical or treadmill.
Max trial users actually burned up to 600 calories in 30 minutes, which is incredible.
And Bowflex is smart enough to advertise this.
This doesn’t mean you can’t burn more calories on the Nordictrack ACT than on another elliptical. In fact you might be able to since you’re not leaning as heavily on the machine (so by shouldering more of your own weight it might mean a higher calorie burn).
But overall, the Max Trainer does seem to come out ahead in this area.
I’d have to say that the Nordictrack ACT has the advantage here. While the Max does come with several built-in workouts – including the 14 minute high intensity workout, you get a lot more entertainment-wise with the ACT.
For example the regular ACT comes iFit LIVE compatible – so you can go online and download new workouts, track your workout stats over time and run famous trails all over the world.
There’s also a tablet holder above the console – so you can connect your tablet and watch your favorite shows or movies. You can also connect your tablet to iFit and watch the trails you’re running in full color for more of a virtual reality feel.
There’s also an iPod dock with built-in speakers to play your favorite tunes.
Console Readability and Size
Again, the ACT has the slight advantage here as it’s bright and backlit.
The console on the Max Trainer M3 is smaller and is not backlit – so it’s not as easy to read.
You can get brighter consoles as you go up to the M5 and M7 models.
So what’s the bottom line when it comes to the Nordictrack ACT vs Bowflex Max?
Well, they both give you several benefits over standard elliptical trainers. The ACT is a bit more comfortable and it takes up less space than a regular elliptical.
The Max Trainer gives you a way to burn more calories in less time – and it has also been proven in the lab to engage more core and upper body muscles than a regular elliptical.
The ACT gives you more of a “running-type” motion whereas the Max trainer offers more of a stair climbing experience.
While the ACT has a lot more in terms of entertainment and tracking tools, the Bowflex Max has the proven track record when it comes to burning more calories.
So at the end of the day, it really comes down to what you’re looking for in your fitness machine.
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