Bowflex BXT8J Treadmill Review: Everything You Need to Know

bowflex bxt8j review


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When I heard that Bowflex was releasing a new treadmill, I expected the same innovative technology and improved features that accompanied many of their previous launches.

For example, the Treadmill 22 with an immersive and adjustable 22″ touchscreen. Or the VeloCore, the first Bowflex bike with a built-in screen, adaptive workouts, Netflix streaming and more. And the whole-body Bowflex Max 16 trainer that blasts tons of calories in just minutes with highly effective HIIT workouts that won’t stress your joints.

As it turns out, the BXT8J is the most basic and affordable Bowflex treadmill available right now. It looks surprisingly bare without a built-in display, yet performs like a higher-end treadmill. Bowflex sent me a sample unit in consideration for a hands-on review. Here are my honest thoughts after extensive testing.

What Is the Bowflex BXT8J?

bowflex bxt8j review


Buy the Bowflex BXT8J Here

The BXT8J is currently the smallest, least expensive and most basic Bowflex treadmill. Unlike the Treadmill 10 and Treadmill 22, which have large built-in consoles, the BXT8J doesn’t even have an interactive display. It’s a no-frills machine without any fussy connections or technology, so you can hop on and instantly start your workout.

If you’re craving entertainment, you can easily pair your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth to access the JRNY app, listen to music or stream your favorite content. Most iOS and Android devices should connect seamlessly. It took less than two minutes for me to sync my iPhone 13 Mini.

For the price ($1,299), a 1-year JRNY membership is also included. That’s ample time to explore the JRNY platform, with thousands of on-demand workouts, trainer-led classes and real-time coaching. Craving a virtual escape from your dreary surroundings? Cruise through over 200 virtual destinations at your own pace with the Explore the World series.

If you prefer manual workouts or aren’t interested in a paid membership but still want some guidance, there are 26 free built-in programs. No WiFi required! They’re pretty basic but can be a good starting point if you’re not ready to spring for a monthly subscription fee.

Tucked inside the center console is a functional but basic 7″ backlit LCD screen that displays your workout stats. It looks dated but clearly shows essential information such as distance, workout time, speed and more. Unfortunately, the surrounding buttons aren’t backlit, which makes them harder to see if you’re working out in a darker room.

Will It Fit Inside My House or Apartment?

bowflex treadmill review


Wondering if you can fit the BXT8J inside your home gym? This space-conscious treadmill measures 78″L x 37.6″W x 62.8″H. When folded, it occupies just 54.9″ of floor space and stands 66.6″ high. The same SoftDrop mechanism found on the other Bowflex treadmills helps fold the deck, while built-in transport wheels help you maneuver as needed. If you live in an apartment or condo, it’s an especially practical solution.

However, the folding mechanism didn’t always work smoothly for me. It requires lifting the deck and pushing it slightly forward while also pushing the top part of the hydraulic lift forward until it releases. You need to apply force in the right place to make it work. Also, at 250 lbs., this treadmill is very heavy. The walking deck can drop pretty quickly, so we strongly suggest having a second person to help move it.

Who is the Bowflex BXT8J for?

bowflex bxt8j review


Are you looking for a high-quality treadmill that’s less expensive and more compact than the other Bowflex treadmills? Do you want to avoid paying a hefty monthly subscription fee for classes you might not use? Is the thought of using your own device more appealing than dealing with a potentially temperamental touchscreen display? Then the “back to basics” BXT8J could be right for you.

Considering the mid-range price tag ($1,299), sturdy construction and features in this range, we think the BXT8J is best for runners seeking a moderately priced training solution for regular use. You can crank up the incline to 15% to simulate serious hills and hit speeds up to 12MPH for some serious speed work.

At 5’3″, I had plenty of room to run. The 20″W x 60″L running belt is only 2″ narrower than the other Bowflex treadmills. Curious about whether there was enough space for a larger athlete, I had a 6’2″ friend hop on for a test run. They comfortably maintained a natural gait, even on higher speeds. The belt is well-cushioned without being bulky, which makes workouts easier on your joints.

If you enjoy having a built-in screen that can stream content from popular third-party apps like Netflix and Hulu, consider the Bowflex 10 or 22 instead. They’re fully immersive and can be a worthy investment if you plan on taking the JRNY classes. But for more basic workouts, the free built-in workout programs on the BXT8J could be adequate for your fitness goals.

At first glance, the numerous controls and indicators on the console can seem overwhelming. Plus, the layout isn’t very intuitive. On the left side are incline increments from 0 to 15%, with speed options from 2 to 12MPH on the right. You can switch between users (each membership includes up to four), compare your efforts to previous performances, activate the built-in fan and more.

Performance-wise, there are some hidden gems inside the packed console. For example, you can switch user profiles and compare your workout to the pacer by pushing a button. User indicator lights show how you stack up against the pacer during your workout. It’s a very budget-friendly alternative to real-time coaching.

Is Bowflex BXT8J Better than Nordictrack EXP 7i?

nordictrack exp 7i


The answer to this question largely comes down to whether you want a built-in HD display or prefer to use your phone.

Like the Bowflex BXT8J, the Nordictrack EXP 7i is a new release. They’re similar in size and fold to save space, feature optional subscription services and have comfy, cushioned running belts.

The big appeal of the EXP 7i is its 7″ tilt HD touchscreen. It’s designed to use with the iFIT platform. A 30-day trial is included so you can test the platform before paying for the subscription. In contrast, the BXT8J is a better choice if you don’t want to pay extra for an immersive screen.

At first glance, the EXP 7i looks like the cheaper option. It costs $1,199 and the BXT8J is $1,299. However, the Bowflex includes a free 12-month JRNY trial. If you choose to continue using iFIT after your 30-day trial is up, you’ll pay $39 per month. That’s $468 total just for one year of the platform. So the total price for the EXP 7i after 12 months is $1,667.

Is the Bowflex BXT8J worth It?

bowflex bxt8j review


The BXT8J isn’t for everyone, especially if you love having an immersive display built into your machine. But if you’re looking for a solid mid-range treadmill that’s basic and well-built, the BXT8J is a great compromise.

Don’t be fooled by its lower price tag or smaller size, as this treadmill has a maximum range of 12MPH and a 15% motorized incline to keep you in seriously good shape.

Do you prioritize value and a compact footprint? Then it’s hard to overlook the BXT8J. It doesn’t have a built-in display, WiFi or integrated streaming, which makes it a great value if you’re shopping for a relatively basic home gym treadmill. You can save hundreds of dollars without the immersive screen, and a 1-year trial JRNY membership is included with the purchase.


Have a question about the BXT8J? Here’s everything you need to know to help you decide whether it’s the right treadmill for you.

How Much Does It Cost?
The Bowflex BXT8J costs $1,299 as of this writing. That price includes a 12-month JRNY membership.

How Much Does the Bowflex BXT8J Weigh?
Fully assembled, the BXT8J weighs 253.5 lbs.

What’s the Weight Limit on the Bowflex BXT8J?
300 lbs.

Do I Need a JRNY Subscription to Use This Treadmill?
You don’t need a JRNY subscription to use the BXT8J. However, a 1-year trial is included so you can try it out without making a financial commitment.

Is It Cushioned?
There’s ample cushioning on the running belt to give your joints a break. It feels plush and responsive, especially for tempo runs.

Is There a Place to Hold a Smartphone or iPad?
Yes, the built-in media shelf has plenty of room for a smartphone or tablet.

Does the Treadmill Fold for Storage?
The BXT8J folds partially for easier storage. It has the same SoftDrop mechanism with a hydraulic lift as the other Bowflex treadmills.

Are Bowflex Treadmills Loud?
After testing the Bowflex 22 and the BXT8J, I’d say they’re comparable in terms of noise level. Neither treadmill is particularly loud or quiet, which is worth considering if you live above someone or like to exercise during off-peak hours.

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