It isn’t often independent reviewers come to the same conclusion. However, Treadmill Doctor and ConsumerSearch.com both judged the Horizon T101 the “Best Buy” in its price range.
Treadmill Doctor concluded the Horizon T101 “A multi-year Best Buy winner for Horizon! With the updates on the new T101-04 model for this year, they have another winner!”
ConsumerSearch.com judged the Horizon Fitness T101-04 the “Best Cheap Treadmill.”
Horizon T101 Treadmill Review Highlights
The Horizon T101-04 is remarkably smooth, stable and powerful, given its low price. The 20-by-55-inch treadbelt accommodates almost any user at a walk or jog, and offers enough room for some to run. The T101-04 is even more stable than its predecessor, still features power incline, and is backed up by excellent customer service.
If you can't spend much on a treadmill, the Horizon Fitness T101-04 is a good value for casual walking, but it's not the best for running or heavy use. The machine is feature-rich considering its price range, with speakers, a built-in fan, automated incline adjustments and nine preset workouts.
Improved strength. The Horizon T101-04's 20-by-55-inch walking area is large enough for users of average height to walk and run; its 2.25-horsepower continuous-duty motor has a maximum speed of 10 mph and power-adjusts up to a 10-percent incline (many low-end treadmills require you to dismount and adjust incline manually, if they adjust at all).
With a motor that offers you 2.25 HP at a cost below the upper $800 price point you are getting a version that is a marginal improvement over the usual 2 HP motor doing the rounds, and with better noise reduction. But it works reasonably well in combination with a 20" x 55" tread belt to give the user a satisfying treadmill experience.
While the last version of this treadmill -- the T101 -- drew some criticism for shaking and squeaking if you ran on it, early user feedback on the T101-04 says it's quiet and stable, even when you run. Considering the price range, users and experts agree this treadmill is a great value.
Ease of use
Split opinions. Early feedback on the Horizon T101-04 says it's very easy to put together. "It has 12 bolts and eight screws that you need to put together for assembly. It took me about 30 minutes," writes one user at Amazon.com. Others say it takes up a lot of space -- even when folded -- but the T101 (previous version) gets an "excellent" ergonomics score from a leading consumer magazine. It's also feature-rich, with 30 preprogrammed workouts. It's not uncommon to find many competitors, in the same price range, offering a minimum of 24 programs, and Horizon's 30 preset programs is definitely a plus point when the aim is to add value to the paying consumer.
Better than similarly priced competitors. TreadmillDoctor.com, which is known for slamming inexpensive fitness equipment, names the T101-04 a Best Buy in its price range. The editors write: "A solid mechanical design combined with better quality parts than they have used in the past makes for a unit that is surprisingly acceptable for the price."
Judging from early feedback, the T101-04 shed its predecessor's reputation for a flimsy plastic console and excessive vibration. Users say the T101-04 is quieter and more stable, even for heavier users. It remains an excellent value -- and good bet for durability -- once you take the price point into account.
Customer service saves the day. No matter what sort of problem users experience, whether it's shipping-related or a defective part, they are near-unanimous in their reports that Horizon Fitness customer service is quick and friendly, and usually gets the problem fixed as quick as possible. "The warranty support was fantastic ... a technician visited my home in a week along with replacement parts," writes one woman at Amazon.com. The Horizon T101-04 comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor; parts and labor are each covered for one year.
The Horizon T101 is at best a small and quite operator, sturdy enough for the average runner/exerciser, with price as its biggest attraction and the warranty as its biggest weakness. One of the best efforts Horizon has made at the $700 price point. A solid mechanical design combined with better quality parts than they have used in the past makes for a unit that is surprisingly acceptable for the price.
Treadmill Doctor notes that is virtually impossible to find a good treadmill for less than $700. There are many available for less than $700, but the user will definitely be disappointed with the quality, lack of features and durability.