The Bowflex BXT216 is the primo treadmill from Nautilus' Bowflex line. We picked this machine as our choice for best features because it is so functional and convenient. From its oversized media rack to its easy-fold, stowable design, the Bowflex BXT216 is practical and user-friendly. It also provides excellent connectivity for up to four users and has one-touch speed and incline adjustments.
The BXT216 has a 4.0 continuous-duty horsepower motor, a thick three-ply tread belt and 2 3/4-inch belt rollers. Although it’s marketed for home use, its specs compare well with treadmills rated for light commercial use. Its running deck is 22 inches by 60 inches and includes Bowflex’s variable Comfort Tech deck cushioning system. With a maximum weight limit of 400 pounds, this machine accommodates big and tall users.
“It’s wider for the big guys,” said one of our testers, “and it’s noticeably better than the rest.”
The BXT216 measures 84.6 x 36.4 x 55.2 inches (length, width and height) and weighs 304 pounds. To determine how much ceiling height you need for this treadmill, add 16 inches to the tallest user in your household’s height. While it’s not the heaviest machine we evaluated, the BXT216 is the longest and requires more space than treadmills with less bulky designs. However, it does feature Bowflex’s Easy SoftDrop Stowable Design that lets you fold it up easily with the push of a button.
In terms of features, one of our testers said the BXT216 had the best price to features ratio. It’s priced under $2,000, but it competes well with more expensive treadmills. For example, it provides smart connectivity with up to four users. Most of the other machines we evaluated give you profiles for just one or two. Also, the BXT216 syncs with the Bowflex Results Series app, which helps you manage your weight, train for events and accomplish your personal fitness goals. You can also use apps such as RunSocial and Daily Burn to access workouts, track your progress and enjoy “mixed-reality” and virtual run experiences.
The BXT216 is well-built, solid and smooth. It also has an intuitive console with a 9-inch, white backlit LCD screen. Compared to the ProForm Smart Pro 9000’s 40 preprogrammed workouts, the Bowflex’s 11 workouts don’t seem like a lot. However, you can create real-time custom workouts. The BXT216’s top exercise speed is 12 mph, and it has a 15 percent maximum incline.
“This treadmill has the best user interface, it’s the most stable and it’s the best to just get on and go,” said runner Mikaelle Giffin. “It’s self-explanatory and user-friendly, and I really like it.”
The only gripes Giffin had about the BXT216 were that she didn’t like the speed and incline buttons on its handrails, and she – along with the rest of our testing panel – thought its power-on sound was annoying. While having controls in multiple locations can add convenience, you can accidentally bump them if you’re running hard and disrupt your stride. The power-on sound made us think of a child’s Hot Wheels race track, and we quickly looked for a mute button.
This treadmill has an automatic three-speed fan and a sound system with integrated speakers. It also has an oversized media rack and USB charger, built-in heart rate tracking and one-touch speed and incline adjustments. Its innovative burn rate console tells you how many calories you’re burning each minute.
As we set up this treadmill, it was tricky to adjust its belt properly, but we finally managed to get it right. This is important, Giffin explained, because you can get hurt if the belt is too loose. Giffin also said finding a sturdy machine matters more than aesthetics.
“If you’re off your gait, it doesn’t matter how pretty it is,” she said.
Bowflex covers the BXT216 for 15 years on its frame and drive motor, five years on mechanical parts and electronics, and two years on labor. All the other treadmills we evaluated have lifetime warranties on their frames and motors. Consumer support for the BXT216 is available by phone and live chat.