Tom's Guide Verdict
The Bowflex Treadmill 22 is expensive, but it is a workout workhouse that will last you for years.
Powerful 4.0 HP motor
Netflix, Disney Plus integration
JRNY app requires subscription
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Dimensions (unfolded): 85 x 39.6 inches x 70 inches
Screen: 22-inch HD touchscreen
Running surface: 60 × 22 inches
Weight: 336 lbs.
Max user weight: 400 pounds
Motor: 4.0 HP
Max speed: 12 mph
Incline: -5% to 20%
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
High-end treadmills are usually just seen at the gym, but the Bowflex Treadmill 22 is a powerful machine you can use in the comfort of your home.
While getting outside for a run or walk is great (not to mention good for your mental health), the weather doesn’t always make it possible. Nor does everyone want to work out at a gym.
Let’s say this upfront: the Bowflex Treadmill 22 is expensive. Its price reflects top-notch design and build, robust performance and many accompanying features. This is a beast of a treadmill, and may be worth the investment for home fitness buffs. And that's why it earned a Highly Recommended mention in the 2021 Tom's Guide Awards for health and fitness tech
Read the rest of our Bowflex Treadmill 22 review to see how it stacks up against the best treadmills in the market.
Bowflex Treadmill 22 review: Price and subscription costs
A heavy-duty treadmill comes with a heavy price tag. The Bowflex Treadmill 22 is expensive, no doubt about it. It currently costs $2,699, which includes free shipping (but not assembly) if you purchase through Bowflex.com.
You will likely want to sign up for assembly service, however. Bowflex supplied it for my review unit and it took two people about three hours to put together. But if you’re handy and have time to spare, go for it and save the fee.
That’s almost $1,000 more than our top pick for the best treadmill, the NordicTrack Commercial 1750, but slightly cheaper than the NordicTrack Commercial X22i ($2,999), which has a similarly-sized touchscreen. The Bowflex Treadmill 22 was nearly on par with the Peloton Tread ($2,495) before the latter was recalled over safety concerns.
Buying the Treadmill 22 requires you to commit to at least 12 months of Bowflex’s subscription training platform, JRNY. You get a free two-month trial; after that, the monthly fee is $19.99. More on JRNY and what it has to offer below.
Bowflex Treadmill 22: Design
I never thought I’d have a tank sitting in my spare room. The Bowflex Treadmill 22 is truly a behemoth, as big and sturdy (or even more so) than what you’d see at your gym. It weighs 336 pounds, so be sure to take some time deciding where to put it because once it’s there — it’s really there. I can’t even begin to contemplate how to remove it from my home.
That heft translates into sturdiness and durability. There’s no question the Treadmill 22 could bear ferocious running for a long time. The maximum user weight is 400 pounds, which may be the highest end of the spectrum. The NordicTrack Commercial 1750 has a top weight of just 300 pounds, as did the Peloton Tread before its recall.
The Bowflex’s running surface is 22 inches wide and 60 inches long, which should accommodate nearly everyone. When I reviewed the Echelon Stride, I thought its shorter track (55 inches) would force taller people to have to shorten their stride.
As for looks, the Bowflex looks like a typical high-end treadmill — sleek, black matte finish with silver and red accents. What truly stands out is the huge 22-inch HD touchscreen, which is rivaled only by the screens on the Peloton Tread and the NordicTrack Commercial X22i. The bright display makes it a pleasure to follow along with classes, engage in scenic walks and even watch Netflix.
The Treadmill 22 also features extended grips with heart rate sensors, a media rack that can hold your phone or tablet, a USB port and the usual cup holders and safety key. The grips and the side arms both have convenient speed and incline controls, so you can adjust your pace without even touching the screen.
Bowflex Treadmill 22 review: Performance and features
As I walked, jogged and ran, the Treadmill 22 didn’t budge a hair — even on an uneven apartment floor. The cushioned running deck felt comfortable in sneakers and even barefoot. As a shorter person, I never once had to change my stride, and a few taller friends tried it out and said the same thing.
The Bowflex felt very natural to use. I liked the option of using the speed and incline controls built into either the handlebar grips or the side arms, depending on what kind of workout I was doing. The incline operation performed smoothly, both uphill and downhill.
The Treadmill has a 4.0 horsepower motor and gets to a top speed of 12 mph, so even speed demons will have no trouble training for their next sprint. It certainly felt more powerful than the Echelon Stride, which is more suited to light jogging at 1.75 HP.
The HD touchscreen is easy to use and the angle of it is adjustable. All of the videos play beautifully. The speakers sound great and volume is easily turned up and down.
The entire machine folds with Bowflex’s “soft drop system.” To engage it, press the release button on the underside of the deck and pull upward on the lifting handle until the deck clicks into place. Folding certainly opens up floor space, but due to the heaviness of the deck, I only folded it once. The hassle wasn’t worth it, and you’re better off finding a permanent, unfolded location for it.
Bowflex Treadmill 22 review: JRNY app
The Bowflex Treadmill 22 requires the JRNY app. After signing up, turning on the machine and linking it to my Wi-Fi network, I was led through a quick assessment to help personalize workouts.
The JRNY workouts fall into three categories: adaptive workouts led by a virtual coach, on-demand classes led by trainers and scenic runs through beautiful locations around the world, like Rome and Joshua Tree. There are a decent number of options, though I did find myself wishing for a “quick start” like on the Echelon Stride.
The adaptive workouts lets the machine figure out your fitness preferences. The recommendations for me were usually shorter, high-intensity workouts of 15-20 minutes.
JRNY doesn’t offer live studio sessions or community features like Peloton, which means there’s less accountability in adhering to fitness goals. And while the JRNY trainers are enthusiastic and engaging, they’re not likely to inspire the fervent following that Peloton instructors gather.
Generally, I veer away from trainer-led workouts and pre-set programs, preferring to set my own pace and speed. At first, that led me to choose the scenic routes with one of the various music mixes, like pop or rock, playing in the background.
But the more I used the Treadmill 22, the more I took advantage of the big HD screen to watch content from Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video (subscriptions required). This isn’t something even Peloton offers. It was so convenient to be able to go for a jog and binge Shadow and Bone at the same time. In fact, setting aside time to stream shows was nearly as motivating as competing for a spot on a leaderboard.
Bowflex Treadmill 22 review: Verdict
After using it for several weeks, my main takeaway is that the Treadmill 22 is a workout workhorse that will last for years.
This is a high-end, heavy duty machine with a solid, seemingly indestructible build that you would normally find in your local gym. What sets it apart from competitors from NordicTrack, Echelon and Peloton is its combination of bells and whistles. You can find a large HD screen, or a powerful motor, or a roomy track and comfortable controls in other treadmills, but not always all together in the same package. And while the JRNY app does require a subscription, it offers great options for training and the ability to connect to your streaming services.
The Bowflex Treadmill 22 is pricey, but think of how much you could save by canceling your gym membership. This is an investment that could keep you fit and active, no matter the current weather or public health conditions, for a very long time.
Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.