If you can't spend a lot on a treadmill, the Horizon Fitness T101-04 is a good value for casual walking, but it may not be best for running or heavy use. This machine is feature-rich considering its price range, with speakers, a built-in fan, automated incline adjustments and nine preset workouts. The warranty and Horizon's customer service reputation are above average.
Excellent for walking or jogging The Horizon T101-04's 20-by-55-inch treadmill belt is large enough for most users to walk or jog, but runners may find the belt too short for their stride. The 2.25-horsepower continuous-duty motor runs smoothly, but it has a maximum speed of only 10 mph. Those kinds of limitations are typical for treadmills in this price class, but they lead experts such as Fred Waters at Treadmill-Ratings-Revews.com to say that "the Horizon T101-4 treadmill is primarily designed for walking, although it should withstand the abuse of moderate jogging."
Few complaints. Like all treadmills that require user assembly, there's no shortage of grousing over the challenges of putting everything together. That said, the pattern is not excessive compared to other treadmills, including treadmills that cost twice as much. If you do run into challenges, customer service is available to help you through (more below). There aren't a lot of bells and whistles, though the 30 built in workout programs provide enough variety to keep users interested and motivated, Waters says. There's a powered 10 percent incline; some cheap treadmills only let you change the incline manually, or not at all. There's only one cushioning level, but it's set up in zones to mimic the cushioning a running shoe provides -- soft at the heel but firm toward the front.
Better than similarly priced competitors. Experts say that the Horizon T101-04 has solid build quality compared to competing models. "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," says TreadmillDoctor.com. One expert tests durability and reports that following a half year of simulated use, only minor signs of wear could be seen. One caveat is that this is not a treadmill that's designed for heavier users. It's rated for 300 pounds, but Waters recommends a top weight capacity of 230 pounds.
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, friendly and usually gets the problem fixed as quickly as possible. The Horizon T101-04 comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame and motor; parts and labor are each covered for one year.
Horizon Fitness T101-04 Reviews
The Horizon Fitness T101 is included in ConsumerReports.org's current round of treadmill tests. Each machine is evaluated using a variety of criteria, including ergonomics, safety, exercise range and more. Full ratings are available to subscribers.
Review: Horizon T101, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
A price increase has put the Horizon T101 in a class where it competes with treadmills costing hundreds more, robbing it of the Best Buy rating it had earned over the previous several years. However, the editors remain impressed with the treadmill's solid mechanics and quality parts. Runners and other serious treadmill users should spend the money that a higher-quality model commands, they say, but the T101 is a great choice for someone more interested in a machine for less demanding use.
Review: Horizon T101 Treadmill Review, Editors of TreadmillDoctor.com, Not Dated
Nearly 150 Amazon.com users give the Horizon T101-04, an average rating of 4.1 stars. Most praise its easy setup, good value and excellent customer support. It seems to be most popular with walkers, but a few runners give it the thumbs up as well.
Review: Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2014
Fred Waters, a former executive with Smooth Fitness, says the Horizon T101-04 is one of the better treadmill values in its price range. He recommends it for walking rather than running, however, warning that it's simply not as durable or powerful as higher-end models.
Review: Horizon Fitness T101 Treadmill Review, Fred Waters, Not Dated