The Horizon Fitness EX-57 Elliptical Trainer is a competitively priced, entry level cross trainer in Horizon’s EX range, featuring their Ergoflow elliptical geometry.
This review takes a close look at how the EX-57 compares to some of the other top rated ellipticals on the market. We’ve added a guide to each of the 9 workout programs, in addition to the workout feedback provided by the console.
Pros and cons from customer reviews, warranty information, and a look at key design features, such as the 18″ stride length and 14.3 lb flywheel are also included. This is to help you decide if the EX-57 is the best elliptical for your personal fitness goals.
The Horizon Fitness EX-57 is actually the lowest priced elliptical in a collection that also includes the EX-59-02, EX-69-2, EX-77, and EX-79-2.
In terms of the differences in their design, you’ll tend to find that the later models offer a larger flywheel, longer stride length, and higher weight capacity.
This allows you to find the elliptical that’s best suited to your height, running stride, and budget, with the EX-57 being classed as their entry level machine.
Usually priced for around $500 less than their leading EX-79-2 elliptical, you might be surprised to hear that the differences aren’t as large as you might think.
Although the stride length is inevitably shorter, it still measures 18 inches once you build up to a full running stride, which is generally considered suitable for users up to 6 feet tall.
Any taller and we would probably recommend looking at one of the later models, preferably with a 20 – 22 inch stride (EX-69-2 or EX-79-2).
The weight capacity is another important area that varies between the Horizon Fitness ellipticals, ranging from 275 lbs for the EX-57, up to 325 lb for the EX-79-2.
Weighing 14.3 lbs, the flywheel is slightly above average for the EX-57, being heavier than many other ellipticals available for under $500.
The EX-79-2 flywheel weighs in slightly heavier at 17.6 lbs, which does make some difference to the smoothness of the glide motion, but whether or not it’s enough to justify paying the difference in price will be down to your personal fitness goals and budget.
Horizon Fitness EX-57 – Features Summary
- Elliptical trainer with 8 electronic resistance levels
- Heavy-duty 14.3-pound flywheel for fluid, quiet motion
- 9 goal-based program options
- Extra-low 9.1-inch step-on height
- Non-backlit LCD display
- 18-inch stride length
- Efficient flywheel maintains pedal and arm momentum while offering smooth, quiet operation
- Step-on height: 9.8 inches
- Pedal spacing: 2.8 inches
- Screen: Non-backlit LCD (2.4 x 4.8 inches)
Display console design
For a mid-range elliptical, the Horizon Fitness EX-57 has everything we could hope to find on a display console.
You have the series of quick select resistance buttons, large LCD screen, clearly defined ‘terrain keys’ for customizing your workout, and program keys for setting any goals you might have for the current workout (time, calories burned, or distance).
Unfortunately the screen doesn’t include a backlight feature, which can make some of the information more difficult to read in low light conditions.
That being said, it really doesn’t take much light to make your workout information visible, which includes your time, current program profile, resistance level, heart rate, distance, speed, and calories burned.
You also have the added benefit of a display shelf for supporting your iPad or e-Reader, a recess for storing your MP3 player, and a water bottle holder to make it easier to stay hydrated during your session.
Preset workout programs
If you’re looking for a mid-range elliptical that also offers a variety of preset workout programs, the Horizon Fitness EX-57 provides you with 9 different options, divided into 3 main categories; manual, hills, and ‘reverse train’.
Manual – The standard program based around manual resistance adjustments.
Hills – Divided into a series of timed segments, the Hills program varies in difficulty between the first 4 resistance levels, simulating the feeling of running along a hill trail.
Reverse train – This program takes full advantage of the bi-directional movement of the pedals and arms, prompting you to switch between a forward and backward motion.
At the same time, the resistance follows a similar profile to the Hill program, but with slightly less variation and higher intensity.
Despite the difference in price, the Horizon Fitness EX-57 actually features a similar ratings distribution as the EX-79-2 model, with both ellipticals having the same average rating on Amazon.
Although both models have the same average rating, the EX-57 has proven considerably more popular in terms of the number of reviews and ratings left by people who have bought and used this machine.
To find out some of the reasons behind its popularity, as well as any recurring issues that may have had a negative impact on ratings, we decided to read through each of these reviews ourselves.
This was to provide you with a quick reference guide by creating the lists of pros and cons listed below.
- High level of quality packaging helps prevent any damage during transit
- Easy to follow assembly instructions
- Transport wheels make it easier to move the elliptical between rooms if required
- Longer warranty than many similarly priced ellipticals, including the Schwinn 430
- Smooth running motion
- Moveable arms allow you to create an effective workout that trains both your upper and lower body muscle groups
- Challenging range of resistance levels and workout programs
- Excellent customer service – Reviewers report that Horizon Fitness responds quickly to their communication if there are any issues, and is helpful in suggesting solutions and providing missing parts quickly when needed
- Solid frame helps increase stability and prevent any unwanted movement
- Competitively priced at a point that offers all the features you would expect on an entry level elliptical, together with a few you would expect to find on more expensive models (long stride length, goal driven workout programs)
- Display shelf built into the console for supporting your tablet
- No incline options, just resistance
- Stride length isn’t suitable for anyone taller than 6’2″ who wants to build up to a full running pace
- Due to the number of parts and steps required, it can take a longer amount of time to put together, with most people completing the assembly in around 2 hours
- Calories burned feedback has been found to vary at times when compared with the results from personal fitness trackers. No complaints over the accuracy of the heart rate feedback though
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: Lifetime
- Brake: 20 years
- Parts and labor: 1 year
Overall Review Rating
3.5 / 5
The instep-stacked flywheel design--where the flywheel sits above the pedals rather than in line with them--is the key feature that allows for a longer stride length, which is better suited to a wider variety of fitness levels and user heights.
As an added benefit, the unit is smaller and shorter than other ellipticals, so it fits in almost any room, including low-ceiling basements.
The narrower pedal position also combines with the pivoting of the foot pedals to create a more natural running posture, reducing the stress placed on your lower back and knee joints over the course of longer workouts.
Overall, the length of the stride, low step profile, impressive warranty coverage, and smooth glide motion make this an attractive option for the price.
However, if you're looking for a wider range of resistance levels, more workout programs, and some custom user profiles for tracking your workouts, the Schwinn 430 is a slightly more expensive, but even more popular option.
Product dimensions: 29" (W) x 67" (H) x 55" (L) Product weight: 163 lbs Weight limit: 275 lbs
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