Horizon Fitness Brand Review — Budget Treadmill Champs

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Today I’d like to start with a story and tell you about my first encounter with Horizon Fitness and their equipment. It all started about 4 years ago out in the now-defunct Van Nuys, California DOJO location we had for about 10 years. An Internet company (which will remain nameless but I hear is now going out of business) had a customer in the area who needed a then-new Horizon T54 treadmill set up in their garage. The seller had a freight company deliver the equipment to our warehouse. I happened to be at the DOJO location and decided to help unload the treadmill.

Bad, bad idea.

You see, the driver was what I like to call a “moron” and he proceeded to drop the boxed treadmill (weighing in at around 210 pounds if I remember correctly) on my hand. Not once. Not twice. But three times. Now, you’re probably saying to yourself “you had your hand in his way 3 times, so who is the real moron, Sensei?” and you’re probably right, but that’s not the point. Because of those injuries I never forgot who Horizon was and, in spite of the pain (and me yelling “Use your damn head, man!” a couple of times), was happy to see they made some darn good treadmills and ellipticals. I never did find out what happened to that driver.

Horizon Fitness is one of the newer kids on the block that is fitness industry. They are one of the many Johnson Health Tech sub-companies — Johnson itself has been around since the mid-1970s while Horizon has only been around for the last 6 or 7 years. In that very short time Horizon has used the Internet to make itself in to a very fine brand (they even produce some of the better equipment for the Schwinn line at Nautilus). Early on, the only retailers to carry or push Horizon were the Internet dealers. Over the past 2 years or so Horizon has expanded much more in to the big box retailers such as Sears.

Unfortunately, with that expansion has come a a bit of a dilution in their product.

When Horizon started they had somewhere around 12 units (6 in the “Horizon” series and about 6 in the “Elite series — the major difference in the two lines was where to buy the units (the Elites were available exclusively through brick and mortar dealers) and the cost (the Elites tended to be quite a bit more expensive without any real upgrade in components). Now, however, a quick Internet search will show somewhere in excess of 30 units…every dealer out there seems to have their own model numbers in spite of the units being almost exactly the same from location to location. I’m assuming this is to keep customers from price matching in order for Horizon to keep all of their vendors happy.

Luckily, all those varied units tend to be well engineered and well manufactured. In other words, if you see the Horizon name on a treadmill or elliptical then you can be confident in the quality of the unit. Their parts are of a better quality than most everything else in a similar price range as long as that price range is under $1000. Once you hit that magic $1000 price point the competition gets a lot tougher and higher end Horizon treadmills and ellipticals don’t quite match up.

If you’re looking for good solid equipment from around $500 up to $1000, then keep Horizon in mind: the do good work. If you’re wanted something a bit heavier and over $1000 then I’d suggest looking elsewhere.

Here’s to hoping that Horizon gets their insane range of model numbers down to something a little more reasonable in the next couple of years. I can’t imagine the customer confusion has done their sales any good.

Horizon Elliptical Reviews

Horizon Treadmill Reviews

  • Horizon T71 Treadmill: A solid treadmill for the most budget conscious of buyers. 4 Buddahs. Discontinued and replaced by Horizon T81.
  • Horizon T72 Treadmill: A $1200 treadmill at an under $800 price tag. 4 Buddahs. Discontinued and replaced by the Horizon T82.
  • Horizon T73 Treadmill: Decent performer with 3.5 buddahs. Worth a look but consider an upgrade. Discontinued and replaced by Horizon T83.
  • Horizon T74 Treadmill: Fantastic treadmill at just under $1000. The best from Horizon and a solid performer with 4 buddahs. Discontinued and replaced by Horizon T84.
  • Horizon T81 Treadmill: 2007/2008 treadmill with 4 out of 5 buddahs. Best buy award w
  • Horizon T82 Treadmill: 2007/2008 treadmill and best buy runner up. 4.5 out of 5 buddahs.
  • Horizon T83 Treadmill: 2007/2008 treadmill with 4 out of 5 buddahs.

-The Treadmill Sensei

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About Treadmill Sensei

Treadmill SenseiThe Treadmill Sensei has been in the fitness industry for several years. He is familiar with several brands of fitness equipment and has written several reviews of many different treadmills and elliptical machines. You can see what he thinks are the best treadmills or you can get help choosing a treadmill.

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About My Treadmill Reviews

TreadmillMy treadmill reviews are both subjective and objective. They are objective in the sense that I will provide you with information about each machine, such as motor, weight capacity and other features. But they are subjective in the sense that I am really giving my opinion of each treadmill. You may agree or disagree with my opinion, but my hope is that my elliptical and treadmill reviews can be helpful to you in making a decision on what to buy. Remember that each review is just what I think. You can always check out Treadmill Doctor, Treadmill Review Guru or these other treadmill reviews if you want another opinion.