The Company: Horizon Fitness is part of Johnson Health Tech, of Taiwan. They specialize in low-cost treadmills for the light-duty user. Their motors are a light duty but their programming features more options than most. Customers love the low prices, and for many people who couldn’t otherwise afford a treadmill, the price is everything.
What to Look For in a Treadmill
When purchasing lower-priced fitness equipment, you want to ensure a good outcome should you encounter quality control issues. What that means is the company had better have good customer service. Horizon Fitness is not bad at all…in fact it compares very favorably with other fitness equipment companies. They know their products sometimes arrive at the customer damaged, so they have procedures in place to get things rolling…spare parts delivery, technicians, etc.
For the price, customers should not expect the most stable, quiet or smooth treadmill on the market. While Horizon Fitness treadmills may start out quiet enough, they generally become noisier with use, just after a few months in most cases.
Features are minimal, but some customers prefer things this way for simplicity sake. Plus, with a budget treadmill company, you don’t want any unnecessary frills to complicate things. You do get mp3 compatibility and speakers, which some users see as a necessary feature.
Warranties are not great. If you shell out for the more expensive Horizon treadmill at around $1200, you get a two-year parts warranty instead of the usual Horizon 1 year warranty on parts. Still only one year on labor, however. There’s a nice lifetime warranty on the frame. The brake (!) also comes with a lifetime warranty which is unusual.
Top 3 Horizon Fitness Treadmills
The Horizon Fitness T101-04
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The Horizon Fitness T101-04 treadmill is one of the most budget-friendly treadmills on the market. Sure, the manufacturer shaves off a little here and a little there in terms of capability, but for some buyers, this makes no difference whatsoever. Here’s what you get (or don’t get) for the low low price, which is about half of most treadmills:
- only a 2.25 CHP motor (most other brands are 3.0 or sometimes only 2.75 but 2.25 is really weak!)
- speeds up to 10MPH, whereas most treadmills offer speeds up to 12 MPH
- incline up to 10%, whereas most others offer up to 15%
- 55-inch belt …running deck on other brands is 56 and, more commonly, 60 inches
- only 1-year warranty on parts, whereas most other companies offer 2 years
- 30 workout programs, which is actually a lot, compared with other brands
Yes, this is a tiny treadmill with a tiny price and tiny capabilities. But for some, this will be enough. Perhaps the 60+ crowd would enjoy a lower-cost treadmill that doesn’t offer things they don’t need, like the ability to run at 12 miles an hour or walk at a 15% incline. The weight is far less than other treadmills, too, making everything from delivery to installation to moving it around your home just a bit easier.
For the price, the T202-03 Horizon Fitness treadmill gets you a slightly more powerful motor than the T101-04 model. This one comes with a 2.40 CHP motor, whereas the cheaper model is only a 2.25 CHP. The extra HP will cost you roughly $140 more. The bigger motor means your speed capability is increased to 12 miles per hour.
The deck is still rather small: 55 inches but those who just walk may find this to be fine. The warranty is only 1 year on parts and warranty, but the frame and motor come with a lifetime warranty. But like the T101, you get a flex platform, built-in fan and media player ports. The flex platform means less jarring on the knees when you’re running.
A readout on the LCD screen is miserable…the screen is small and the text doesn’t show up against the background. Also, the way things are displayed on the screen doesn’t make a lot of sense, with important readouts shown in tiny font and almost impossible to see.
Here are the priciest of the three best Horizon Fitness treadmills reviewed here. At almost double the price of the T101, the T303 doesn’t offer much more, other than an extra year on the parts warranty and a slightly more powerful motor. The motor is a respectable 2.5 CHP version, which is edging up on other brands’ levels. But the incline is still stuck at a dismal maximum of 12%, which no other brand of treadmill dares offer.
The running deck is now also a decent size, at 20 by 6o inches. Some people prefer wider brands, which offer 22″ decks. You get 12 programmed workout routines, which when compared to other brands is on the low side.
If you are on a serious budget but you want a treadmill, what are your options? For some, buying cheap is the answer. Folks on a budget are thankful for Horizon Fitness, whose treadmills are roughly half the price of the big-name brands. Since the motors are weaker, one should consider the use these will get: are you just an occasional runner or a walker? If so, then maybe a weaker motor will be ok for you. Whatever the case may be if you purchase a Horizon Fitness treadmill at a retail store, spring for the extra warranty offered by the store if you have the choice. Stores like Sports Chalet have such a feature, so with a budget product, go for the extra warranty. It will cost you a few hundred dollars.
The best Horizon Fitness treadmills combine super budget-friendly prices with sufficient features and power, so consider the T202-03. It’s just a bit better than the low-end T101 model reviewed here, but the price is not much more. The motor is a bit stronger but it’s still a very cost-conscious treadmill. Our recommendation is to get the T202-03 model with the retailer’s extra warranty, then you can’t go wrong if something does go wrong. Horizon’s excellent reputation in the customer service department should get you going quickly too, if there is a problem with your treadmill upon delivery, setup or even further down the line.