Monday, 24 June 2024


Horizon Fitness Adventure 3 Treadmill Review

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UPDATE: The Horizon Fitness Adventure series is no longer available. But, check out the T101 for a ready-made replacement.

The Horizon Fitness Adventure 3 treadmill features a 55″L x 20″W running track, Passport video workouts, and compatibility with Horizon’s ViaFit web app.

But as the entry-level walking treadmill in a collection that also features the Adventure 5 model, which is the best treadmill for your personal fitness goals?

In this review we’ll compare the Adventure 3 to other Horizon Fitness treadmills (folding and non-folding), and take a closer look at the benefits of Passport video workouts.

Because the Adventure 3 was first released towards the end of 2014, we’ll also compare these features against more modern treadmills from companies such as NordicTrack, ProForm, and Vision Fitness.

Design and safety features

Horizon Adventure 3 Folding Running Deck

As one of the most affordable treadmills in the Horizon Fitness collection, the Adventure 3 is a slightly cut down version of the upgraded Adventure 5 treadmill.

Unfortunately this means the running area is slightly shorter, measuring 55”L x 20”W compared to the 60”L x 20”W dimensions of the Adventure 5. Whether this affects the quality of your run really depends on your height. Generally if you’re under 6’2” then you shouldn’t experience issues, but if you’re taller than this we would always recommend a tread belt measuring over 60-inches in length.

The belt itself is fairly standard, but isn’t one of Horizon’s Infinity designs (Elite T7 and Elite T9 treadmills only). An Infinity belt simply means Horizon have integrated synthetic hard wax directly into the belt fibers. This means it eliminates the need for lubrication and cuts down on the level of maintenance required over time.

Although some review sites indicate this is a treadmill better suited to walkers, we’re not sure this is the case. The belt is long enough to comfortably support the running stride of users to 6ft 2ins in height, has a maximum speed of 12 mph, and a 2.5 CHP motor capable of supporting this speed to an incline of 12%.

Internally, the motor uses what’s called a responsive digital drive system, which recalibrates with each stride, and continually runs at low RPMs to minimize noise. This is particularly useful if you plan on running in an apartment or spare room.

An incline range of 0-12% is available on both the Adventure 3 and Adventure 5 treadmills. If you’re looking for something more challenging, the Elite T7 and Elite T9 treadmills have a maximum incline of 15%. The Elite models also offer a more powerful 2.75 CHP motor.

Taking a look at the running deck, the Adventure 3 shares the same 3-zone Variable Response Cushioning system as other Horizon Fitness treadmills. This is designed to be softer at the front to cushion your foot striking the belt, firmer in the middle to improve stability, and firm towards the back of the deck to increase drive when your foot pushes back off the belt.

In terms of physical design features, the running belt being 5-inches shorter is really all that separates the Horizon Adventure 3 and the Adventure 5 treadmills. But there are still some important differences in console quality and workout options, which we’ll look at later in this review.

Safety features
Horizon have designed their Adventure 3 treadmill so that it doesn’t start unless the safety key is inserted. However, this seems to be the only safety feature, with no sign of the password protected console or safety screen timeout that we saw with many of the Precor and ProForm treadmills.

If you haven’t used a safety key before, it’s a short length of cord with a clip at each end. One end attaches to your clothing, and the other to the treadmill console. This way, if you were to slip on the belt while running, the clip detaches from the console and the belt quickly stops to reduce the risk of injury.

Horizon Fitness Adventure 3 Treadmill

Horizon Fitness Adventure 3 – Features Summary

  • Featherlight folding frame
  • 20″W x 55″L running area
  • 3-zone Variable Response Cushioning
  • 0-12% Incline range
  • 2.5 CHP motor
  • ViaFit connectivity
  • Passport Ready
  • 30 Workout programs
  • Contact heart rate monitoring
  • 5.75″ extra-wide LCD display screen
  • 12 mph maximum belt speed

Display console design

The Adventure 3 treadmill features an extra-wide LCD display screen

Unfortunately the console for the Adventure 3 treadmill is fairly basic in terms of entertainment options and workout interaction, but this is to be expected given that it’s their entry-level machine.

Whereas Vision Fitness let you choose from 3 different consoles (Classic, Elegant+, and Touch+), Horizon only ever have one, although this does get upgraded as you move up to their top-of-the-line Elite T9 treadmill.
For the Adventure 3, you’re getting a 5.75″ extra-wide LCD display window, quick select keys for accessing workout programs, built-in speakers for listening to music through your media player, and quick keys for adjusting the speed and incline settings.

There are also two storage areas large enough to hold a water bottle each, or other small personal items you might need during your workout, such as your energy supplements or smartphone.

In terms of workout feedback, the display has been split into 4 main sections; upper bar, lower bar, display matrix, and a simulated track highlighting your progress around a 400 meter lap. The upper bar records your time, speed, and number of calories burned, while the lower bar displays your heart rate, incline, and total distance.

The display matrix provides a quick overview of the current workout program profile, so you know when to expect variations in belt speed or running deck incline.

There’s also a convenient Wi-Fi button for when you want to reset or connect to the internet, and a Passport connect button for if you purchased the Passport Player. Passport creates a more immersive workout experience through being preloaded with two real-world destination courses for you to run through (Northern Italy and the American Southwest).

The big difference between this console and the Adventure 5 is that the Adventure 3 doesn’t have CardioCompass. This provides a clear indication of which heart rate zone you’re currently in, based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate. Levels include Warm Up (0-60%), Weight Loss (60-70%), Improve Fitness (70-80%), Improve Performance (80-90%) and Maximum Performance (90-100%).

Heart rate monitoring
Although CardioCompass is certainly a nice feature to have, it still requires you to hold onto the contact grips if you want to transmit your pulse rate to the console. For Horizon’s Elite series treadmills this gets upgraded so that you can transmit your heart rate to the built-in wireless receiver.

Wireless heart rate monitoring is always our preferred option over contact grips, as it allows greater freedom of motion when you’re running, and is usually more accurate due to the constant contact with the sensors. Horizon also include a free chest strap with the Elite T7 and Elite T9 treadmills.

Via Fit connectivity
One of the best forms of motivation is being able to track your progress and see how much your fitness level has improved. That’s why Horizon developed ViaFit, and build connectivity into the console of their Adventure 3 treadmill.

ViaFit logs your workout data and allows you to share it between the third-party fitness apps you might already be using. This includes MapMyFitness, Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, and RunKeeper.

After creating your account at, you can start tracking your progress, join a challenge, or share your results to social media profiles (Wi-Fi connection required).

Workout programs and user profiles

Boredom is one of the most common reasons people stop exercising, which is why it’s so important you find a treadmill with enough preloaded workouts.

Fortunately the Horizon Adventure 3 has 30 programs to choose from, which are split across 5 main categories. This doesn’t include any custom programs which you create yourself, as they are only available on the Adventure 5.

Workout program categories:

  • ManualThis is the default program that activates when you press the ‘Start’ button on the console. You are in complete control of the speed and incline settings, which follow no preset profile.
  • CaloriesIf you prefer workouts that have you work towards a goal, the Calories program might be your best option.With the Adventure 3 you can choose from six different targets; 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, and 600. If you were to upgrade to the Adventure 5 treadmill, you could also choose from 700, 800, and 900 as you calorie burn target.

    The console requires you to input your bodyweight before starting any of these programs, which helps improve the accuracy of the calculation for number of calories burned.

  • DistanceThe distance programs work in much the same way as the calories programs, whereby you can choose a distance target from the 10 options available; 1 mile, 2 miles, 5k, 5 miles, 10k, 8 miles, 15k, 10 miles, 20k, and a half marathon.As with the calories goal, these workouts follow no preset speed or incline profile. This is something that’s only built into the interval programs.
  • StepsThere have been various studies into the health benefits of walking 10,000 steps per day, but the recommendation tends to be lower for older adults and higher for young children. That’s why Horizon have included a variety of step count goals, where you can choose from a target of 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, 8000, 9000, or 10,000 steps.
  • IntervalsThe ‘intervals’ workout category is probably more like the preset programs you’re used to, where each one follows a profile of speed and incline settings.There are three categories to choose from, to suit a variety of fitness goals. These are; speed intervals, peak intervals, and endurance intervals. Each category has between 10 and 12 intensity levels, designed to cater for a range of personal fitness levels.

User profiles
Up to four users can be saved under a ViaFit account, which connects to the treadmill console.

If you have your ViaFit account setup before starting your first workout, you can select your user ID and begin your run. Your workout results will then automatically sync back to your ViaFit user profile when the workout is complete.

Ease of assembly

Horizon Adventure 3 Treadmill Assembly

If you’re buying the Adventure 3 treadmill direct from Horizon Fitness, their policy is to schedule delivery and bring the boxes inside the first ground-level door or into your garage.

The Johnson Fitness website has a complete collection of owner’s manuals, diagrams, and other guides for assisting you with the treadmill assembly. Contacting Horizon for after-sales service and support is also incredibly easy, with an email address, contact number, and contact form available through their official website.

But what if you’re looking for more than ground-level delivery? What if you want a trained service technician to assemble your new treadmill for you, so you don’t have to worry about heavy lifting and following diagrams?

Professional assembly services
Unfortunately we weren’t able to find any additional levels of home delivery. This would be where Horizon could arrange for a technician to visit your address and assemble the treadmill for you in your room of choice.

If this is a service you’re interested in, Amazon have recently started offering a number of home assembly services. This includes for home gyms elliptical machines, and treadmills. To check whether your zip code is covered, please use the form below.

Treadmill Assembly
Start by confirming your service location

The Amazon treadmill assembly service already has hundreds of 5 star rated reviews, with customer feedback for the various installers.

The service itself includes assembly of 1 treadmill per product instructions, with a typical assembly time of 4 hours. Amazon have also started offering an ASAP version of the service. If you submit an order before 10am on a business day, a service pro will come to your home that same day.

Maintenance required
Horizon Fitness include a recommended maintenance routine with each of their treadmills. These are fairly standard steps to ensure the continued operation of any home treadmill, but still worth a mention.

  • After each use: Check tension and alignment of tread belt. Wipe down all surfaces with a damp cloth.
  • Every week: Clean underneath the treadmill.
  • Every month: Inspect all bolts for tightness. Clean the motor and wipe down the belt with a damp cloth.
  • Every 6 months or 150 miles: Lubricate the air shocks in the running deck with Teflon based spray. Also lubricate the entire top surface of the running deck.

Full steps for lubricating the running deck and cleaning the motor and internal parts safely are included in the user manual.

Horizon Fitness Treadmill Guide

What’s covered by the warranty?

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Motor: Lifetime

  • Parts: 3 years
  • Labor: 1 year

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4 / 5

The Horizon Adventure 3 is in an extremely competitive price range for treadmills. In the ‘under $1000’ bracket we have a range of bestselling treadmill, such as the Nautilus T614, ProForm 505 CST, NordicTrack C990, and LifeSpan TR1200i.

In terms of price the Adventure 3 treadmill sits in the middle of this group, so how does it compare?

It just edges ahead of the ProForm 505 CST, with a faster maximum belt speed (+2 mph), more workouts (+12 programs), and steeper incline (+2%). Horizon also have a lifetime warranty on the motor instead of the 25 years provided by ProForm.

The Nautilus T614 shares the same incline, weight capacity, belt speed, and running area as Horizon’s Adventure 3 treadmill, and even allows for workout data upload to NautilusConnect or MyFitnessPal. But the Adventure 3 has more workout programs (+8) and a much better warranty, with lifetime coverage on the frame and motor compared to the 10 years offered by Nautilus.

Although they usually cost $100 more than the Adventure 3, it’s the NordicTrack and LifeSpan treadmills that are the serious competition, with the C990 being the top model based on spec.

The NordicTrack C990 has the same weight capacity, warranty, belt speed, and incline as the Adventure 3, but also has a more powerful motor (+0.5 CHP), improved entertainment options (iPod compatible sound system), and a larger running area (20”W x 60”L). It also has 2 more workout programs and a 7” web-enabled touchscreen rather than an LCD display.

Overall the Adventure 3 is a high quality home treadmill, but we would certainly recommend taking a look at the NordicTrack C990 before you make a final buying decision, especially if they’re close on price (within $100).

Product dimensions: 71"L x 34"W x 54"H Folded dimensions: 45"L x 34"W x 61"H Product weight: 177 lbs Weight capacity: 300 lbs

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