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).
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.
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 29 preprogrammed workouts -- although one Amazon.com user wishes it offered multiple user profiles.
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 Fitness T101 is one of nearly 50 treadmills included in ConsumerReports.org's latest round of tests. Each machine is evaluated using a variety of criteria, including ergonomics, safety, exercise range and more. Full ratings are available to subscribers.
Review: Treadmills, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of November 2013
The editors of TreadmillDoctor.com name the Horizon T101 a Best Buy in its price range for several years running. They say the 2013 offering is the best version yet.
Review: Horizon T101 Treadmill Review, Editors of TreadmillDoctor.com, As of November 2013
About a dozen Amazon.com users give the newest version of the Horizon T101, the T101-04, an average rating of 4.2 stars. Most praise its easy setup, good value and excellent customer support.
Review: Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2013
4. Treadmill-Ratings- Reviews.com
Fred Waters, a former executive with Smooth Fitness, says the Horizon T101 has some attractive features for its price range. He recommends it for walking, warning that it's simply not as durable or powerful as higher-end models.
Review: Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill Review, Fred Waters, As of November 2013