The Horizon Fitness Elite T7 treadmill features a 60″L x 20″W running track, Passport video workouts, and compatibility with Horizon’s ViaFit web app. But as the entry-level model in a collection that also features the Elite T9, which is the best treadmill for helping you achieve your personal fitness goals?
In this treadmill review, we’ll compare the Elite T7 to other Horizon Fitness machines (folding and non-folding). We’ll also take a closer look at how well ViaFit integrates with popular fitness apps you may already be using.
Comparisons include the workout programs, entertainment features, and fitness tracking options against similarly priced treadmills from other leading fitness equipment companies. NordicTrack, ProForm, and Vision Fitness are all considered.
Design and safety features
The Horizon Elite T7 treadmill is an upgrade from the Adventure 5 model, and the entry-level treadmill in their Elite series.
There are 3 key differences between the Adventure series treadmills and those in the Elite series. Elite series treadmills have more powerful motors (+0.25 CHP), steeper inclines (+15% max. gradient), and an Infinity Belt. This is a style of tread belt where synthetic hard wax has been integrated directly into the fibers, which reduces maintenance and eliminates the need for lubrication.
In terms of the belt speed, the Elite T7 treadmill is at the top-end of what Horizon Fitness has to offer. All treadmills in the Elite and Adventure series’ have a 12 mph maximum belt speed. It’s only the T101 model that’s capped at 10 mph, with a shallower incline of 10%.
Running area dimensions for the Elite T7 are also the largest of any Horizon treadmill, measuring 60″L x 20″W. Occasionally we find home treadmills with a width of 22-inches or a length of 62-inches, but these are incredibly rare, even at a commercial level. If you’re interested in a treadmill with a very long belt and high speed, we recommend the ProForm Boston Marathon 4.0 (15 mph speed and 62”L x 20”W running area).
Taking a closer look at what powers the T7 treadmill, you’ll benefit from their most powerful 2.75 CHP motor. This uses a responsive Johnson Drive System to continuously recalibrate the power with each footfall, with a low RPM to minimize noise. A lower RPM has the added benefit of enhanced durability, which is one of the reasons Horizon have covered the motor with a lifetime warranty.
Inside the running deck you also have the same Variable Response Cushioning system that’s included with Horizon’s top-of-the-line Elite T9 treadmill. This features three unique zones; the front, middle, and rear of the tread belt.
Towards the front you have more flex and cushioning to absorb much of the impact of your foot striking the belt. The middle of the belt is firmer to improve stability, while the running deck becomes firmer towards the back, where you need a solid platform to push off from.
Horizon also made real improvements to the level of workout variation, display type, and heart rate monitoring when they created their Elite treadmill series. This is something we look at in more detail later in our review.
The Horizon Elite T7 treadmill is fitted with one main safety feature, which is the safety key. Unless this is fully inserted into the console, the treadmill will not operate.
If you haven’t used one before, the safety key is simply a short length of cord with a clip at each end. One end slots into the console and the other attaches to your clothing. This way, if you were to fall while running, the key would detach and the belt would quickly come to a stop.
Although there’s no password protection on the console (a feature of some ProForm and Precor treadmills) you do have an energy saving option. This isn’t exactly a safety feature, but means the console will automatically enter standby mode after 15 minutes of inactivity.
Horizon Fitness Elite T7 – Features Summary
- FeatherLight folding frame
- Infinity belt
- 20″W x 60″L running area
- 3-zone Variable Response Cushioning
- 0-15% Incline range
- 2.75 CHP motor
- ViaFit connectivity
- Passport Ready
- 42 Workout programs
- Contact heart rate monitoring
- Polar wireless receiver and free chest strap
- 8.5″ extra-wide blue LCD display screen
- 12 mph maximum belt speed
Display console design
The Elite T7 treadmill console seems to have gone through a complete redesign since their Adventure series machines, with a more modern appearance and larger 8.5” blue LCD display screen.
The problem is this is all aesthetic. Once you start getting to grips with this new console layout it doesn’t feel as intuitive as the Adventure 5.
With the Adventure 5 console you have the speed and incline keys built into the handles, within reach of your thumb if you didn’t want to give up your grip on the contact heart rate sensors. But for the Elite T7, Horizon have separated these controls from the handle, moving them further away from you and integrating them into the console.
The two water bottle storage areas have also been moved further away, which means it’s not as easy to reach your water bottle mid-workout.
But it’s not all bad. It looks like Horizon made these layout changes to bring the tablet shelf closer to you, and create it in such a way that your tablet won’t block the fan, screen, or speakers. This wasn’t the case with the Adventure 5 treadmill, where if you wanted to support a console, you had to accept a loss of sound quality from the speakers.
Although the screen is larger on the Elite T7, the workout feedback is exactly the same as on Horizon’s Adventure series treadmills. You can keep track of your time, distance, speed, incline, heart rate, number of calories burned, and number of laps completed.
The lap count relates to how many times you’ve completed a 400 meter (1/4 mile) simulated running track. This is displayed on-screen so that you can always keep track of your progress around the current lap.
You also have a matrix display to highlight what to expect from your current workout program in terms of a change in incline or belt speed.
There’s also an indicator light that activates as soon as the display enters standby mode, which is usually after 15 minutes of inactivity. This is part of Horizon’s Energy Saver mode, and can be enabled/disabled via the engineering menu.
Heart rate monitoring
Unlike Horizon’s Adventure series treadmills, the Elite series machines are fitted with two forms of heart rate monitoring; touch and telemetry.
Contact grips built into the handles are a quick way to scan your heart rate, but aren’t always the best option if you want to monitor your heart rate for longer periods of time. If this is something you’re interested in, the Elite T7 also has a wireless receiver built into the console.
The receiver can pick up on the signal from a wireless chest strap, which is included for free along with the Elite T7 treadmill.
Once you’re holding the contact grips or wearing a chest strap, you should be able to track your heart rate.
When the console starts transmitting the feedback, it calculates how close you are to your maximum heart rate, and translates that percentage into one of 5 heart rate zones. This zone is then displayed on the console, inside the simulated running track graphic.
Heart rate zones:
- Warm Up: 0-60% of maximum heart rate
- Weight Loss: 60-70% of maximum heart rate
- Improve Fitness: 70-80% of maximum heart rate
- Improve Performance: 80-90% of maximum heart rate
- Maximum Performance: 90-100% of maximum heart rate
One last feature worth mentioning before we look at the workout experience is the built-in multi-speed cooling fan, mounted above the console screen. This wasn’t available on their Adventure series treadmills, and can be a great way to boost your endurance for high intensity workouts.
The Horizon Elite T7 features ViaFit connectivity, which allows you to automatically record workout data then sync your results to a range of fitness apps. This includes MyFitnessPal, RunKeeper, Jawbone Up, Fitbit, and Moves.
After setting up your account on the ViaFitness website, you can store workout data for up to 4 users, as long as you have Wi-Fit activated at the treadmill console and connectivity to a wireless network.
Passport Ready means that the Elite T7 treadmill can be combined with the Passport Player, giving you access to Virtual Active. The only downside is that the Player usually costs around $199, whereas Virtual Active is actually integrated into the console of the upgraded Elite T9.
The Passport media player streams high-definition footage and matching sounds from real destinations around the world straight to your television. This is similar to the iFit system from Icon Health and Fitness, which has been fitted to top-of-the-line treadmills from NordicTrack, ProForm, and Reebok.
Two destination courses are included as standard (Northern Italy and American Southwest), but you can also purchase up to three additional video packages separately. Each of these packs includes 6 new destinations, ranging from Maine’s Acadia National Park through to Italy’s Alpine passes.
As you progress through each of these workout programs, the incline of the running deck will automatically adjust to match changes in the terrain.
Workout programs and user profiles
Before buying a new treadmill, one of the most important areas for comparison is the workout programs. This is understandable, as not having enough workout variation can lead to boredom, which is one of the top reasons why people skip workouts and even stop their fitness routine.
Fortunately when it comes to workout variation, Horizon Fitness are one of the best companies in the industry, especially when it comes to the treadmills in their Elite series.
In terms of pre-programmed workouts, the most we’ve ever seen built into a console is around 44, which was on NordicTrack’s top-of-the-line X11i Incline Trainer. They also have traditional treadmills with up to 40 workout programs, while ProForm’s Pro 9000 treadmill has a collection of 38 workout apps.
The Horizon Elite T7 is a serious contender for offering the best workout variation on a home treadmill, with 42 programs supplied as standard. Because the console is Passport Ready, this also gives you access to a further 20 high-definition destination courses (2 preloaded on the Passport Player and 6 more courses in each of the three Passport Packs).
But these destination courses come at a cost, which if you want all 20 will cost in the region of $500 ($199 for the player, and 3 packs at a cost of $99 each).
So what if you didn’t want the added expense? Can the workout variation compete with NordicTrack and ProForm treadmills in the same way the program quantity does?
Workout program categories
This is the standard program that begins when you press the ‘Start’ button. You don’t follow any preset profile of speed and incline settings, giving you complete freedom over the intensity of your workout.
Horizon’s Elite series treadmills include all of the same workouts from their Adventure treadmills, but with a number of more challenging targets.
With the Elite T7 you can choose from 13 distance workouts, which include targets of 1 mile, 2 miles, 5k, 5 miles, 10k, 8 miles, 15k, 10 miles, 20k, and half marathon. You can also select 15 miles, 20 miles, and marathon as your goal, which aren’t available on the Adventure 3 or Adventure 5 treadmills.
This is another of the workout categories that’s based around goal-setting, only this time you set a target for number of calories burned.
Elite series treadmills have the same options as the Adventure series, which includes targets for 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, and 900 calories burned.
10,000 steps per day is widely considered the recommended minimum for a healthy adult individual, which equates to around five miles per day. It’s the default setting for wearable fitness tracking devices like Fitbit, and has been a government target for populations around the world based on scientific studies.
Horizon have taken this into consideration and created a goal workout based around the number of steps taken. These are the same options that you’ll find on their Adventure series treadmills, which includes 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, 6000, 7000, 9000, and 10000 steps.
As with the Steps and Calories programs, Interval workouts follow the same preset profile of speed and incline settings as Horizon’s Adventure series treadmills.
The Elite T7 has 10 intensity levels to choose from for the speed intervals and peak intervals, and 12 intensity levels for the endurance intervals. These are designed as an effective option for fat-burning and improving your endurance.
This is a workout category that’s unique to Horizon’s Elite series treadmills, with a series of sprints, run/walk, and hill training programs.
Each of these targeted performance workouts is available at three intensity levels; beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Which level you choose influences the speed of the belt and gradient of the incline. This can range from 2 mph and 0% for a beginner warm up, through to 6 mph and a 10% incline for advanced hill training.
- Custom workouts
The Elite T7 treadmill has 2 custom workouts, which is the same as the upgraded T9 model. This allows you to create your own custom profile of speed and incline settings, and assign the program a target duration.
Up to four users can be saved under a ViaFit account, which connects to the Elite T7 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
If you’re buying the Elite T7 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 (Horizon’s parent company) 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 from Horizon themselves. This would be where a technician visits your address and assembles the treadmill for you in your room of choice.
However, if this is a service you’re interested in, Amazon have recently started offering a number of home assembly services. This includes home gyms, elliptical machines, and treadmills. To check whether your zip code is covered, please use the form below.
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.
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.
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame: Lifetime
- Motor: Lifetime
- Parts: 5 years
- Labor: 1 year