Friday, 19 April 2024


Vision Fitness TF20 Treadmill Review

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The Vision Fitness TF20 treadmill features a 57″L x 20″W running track, Virtual Active HD destination workouts (console dependent), and compatibility with Vision’s ViaFit™ web app. But as the entry-level model in a collection that also features the TF40, which is the best treadmill for helping you achieve your personal fitness goals?

In this review we’ll compare the TF20 to other Vision Fitness treadmills (folding and non-folding). This means taking a closer look at how well ViaFit™ integrates with the existing fitness apps and wearable tech you might already be using. Apps such as Fitbit, RunKeeper, and the popular food journal from MyFitnessPal.

We’ll also be comparing the workout programs, entertainment features, and fitness tracking options against similarly priced treadmills from other leading fitness equipment companies. This includes NordicTrack, ProForm, and Horizon Fitness.

Design and safety features

The Vision Fitness TF20 treadmill shares many of its design features with the top-of-the-line Elite treadmills from Horizon Fitness. This includes the Johnson Drive System, which continuously recalibrates with every stride, and runs at low RPMs for minimal noise and improved durability.

But there are a number of subtle design improvements Vision have made across the TF20. This includes expanding on the Infinity Belt feature (hard wax integrated into the belt fibers instead of lubrication), by creating an entire Infinity Deck. This is where the deck is dual-coated to support up to 21,000 miles without maintenance.

Maximum belt speed is capped at 12 mph, with the steepest gradient measuring 15%. This is the same as the Horizon Elite treadmills (T7 and T9), which also use a 2.75 CHP motor.

So with so many similarities, what are the differences between Vision Fitness treadmills and Horizon?

In terms of physical design features, very little. The running area is slightly shorter on the TF20 (20”W x 57”L) compared to the Elite T7 or T9 (20”W x 60”L), but the weight capacity is slightly higher (375 lbs compared to 350 lbs).

The most important difference is in how much customization each company gives you when you’re buying one of their treadmills.

Classic, Elegant+, and Touch+ are the three types of treadmill console you can choose from when buying the Vision Fitness TF20. Classic is very much a console for basic LED workout feedback, while Touch+ uses a 15.6” high-definition touch screen display. Later in our review we take a closer look at which of these consoles really represents the best value for money.

As one of Vision’s folding treadmills, the TF20 is an entry-level version of the TF40. So how do you decide which is the best treadmill for your own personal fitness goals?

The price difference between the two models is usually around $600. By choosing the TF40, you would get a more powerful 3.0 CHP motor, larger running area (20”W x 60”L), 2 additional years on the part warranty, and a higher weight capacity of 400 lbs.

The TF20 and TF40 treadmills both let you select from the same range of 3 consoles, meaning the number of workout programs for the TF20 Classic is the same as for the TF40 Classic. This is also true of the entertainment features, Virtual Active™ integration, and whether or not each console is Passport™ ready.

Safety features
Treadmills from Horizon Fitness and Vision Fitness share the same safety features. With some collections (Energy series from Precor), the console will be fitted with more advanced features, such as 4-digit pass codes and a safety screen timeout.

Unfortunately the Vision TF20 only has the standard safety key, which is still incredibly useful if you’re planning indoor running workouts without a training partner. One end of the key attaches to your clothing, with the other connecting to the console. This way, if you were to fall while walking, jogging, or running, the clip detaches and the tread belt quickly comes to a stop.

Vision Fitness TF20 Treadmill

Vision Fitness TF20 – Features Summary

  • Folding frame
  • 20″W x 57″L running area
  • Infinity Deck™ system with commercial-grade cushioning
  • 2-ply maintenance-free waxed belt
  • 2.75 CHP Johnson Drive™ system
  • 0 – 12 mph speed range
  • 0 – 15% incline range
  • 2.4″ crowned rollers
  • Passport™ Ready
  • Charges USB 2.0 devices
  • Contact heart rate monitoring
  • Polar® wireless receiver
  • Workout programs: Classic (5), Elegant+ (15), Touch+ (19)
  • Sprint 8 interval training (Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles)
  • ViaFit Enabled (Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles)
  • Virtual Active™ Integrated (Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles)
  • Polar® wireless receiver and free chest strap (Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles)

Display console design

Vision Fitness treadmills are unique in the sense that you can choose from a selection of consoles to suit your workout style. But how do you know which model is right for you?

If you’re looking for something more affordable and aren’t too worried about entertainment features, there’s the Classic console. Alternatively, the Elegant+ has a larger 10” touchscreen with 3 times as many workout programs (15 total) and comes with ViaFit enabled.

The top-of-the-line console is the Touch+, which features a 15.6″ HD display, 19 programs, and is the only model to feature speakers and iPod integration. There’s usually a $500 difference in price between consoles, so it’s worth checking the features you really need.

Vision TF20 treadmill consoles:

  • TF20 ClassicAlthough the Classic is Vision’s most affordable treadmill console, we don’t believe it represents good value for money, especially when compared to one of the NordicTrack treadmills in the same price range.When you really take a look at what you’re getting, it’s an LED display, 5 workout programs, the option to enable Passport™ (if you pay an extra $199 for the Passport™ Player), and the ability to charge USB devices. The only upside is you have both contact and wireless heart rate monitoring.

    Feedback metrics are also very limited, and only include time, speed, incline, distance, pace, number of calories burned, and heart rate. So where else can we find this kind of console spec?

    With the exception of the TT8 model, all Sole treadmills are available at a lower price than the Vision TF20 (at time of writing). Even so, their most affordable treadmill has the same feedback metrics, 10 workout programs, a larger 6.5″ LCD screen, and speakers with full iPod integration. You even have contact sensors and a built-in receiver for wireless heart rate monitoring.

    In our opinion if you’re spending this kind of money on a new home treadmill, you should look for more workout variation than 5 programs can provide. Although the Elegant+ console is an additional $500, we believe it’s the best balance of cost and features for the Vision TF20 treadmill.

  • TF20 Elegant+This is the most affordable console to feature some of the more advanced technology that’s unique to Vision Fitness, including Virtual Active™. It’s also ViaFit enabled, Passport™ ready, and features the Sprint 8 fat-burning interval training program (not available with the Classic console).The display gets a significant upgrade too, switching from LED to a fully integrated 10″ touchscreen with an intuitive menu system. Here you can keep track of workout feedback, start a new fitness program, and even setup a Wi-Fi connection for saving workout data to your ViaFitness account.

    There aren’t too many differences between the Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles. It tends to be subtle screen changes such as being able to use sliders to set values on the Touch+, whereas the Elegant+ relies on pressing arrow icons.

    You would also get 4 more workout programs, a larger, high-definition screen, more advanced workout tracking, and a built-in speaker system with iPod integration. But compared to the upgrade from Classic to Elegant+, you might have a harder time justifying the extra $500 you would need to spend to enjoy their top-of-the-line console.

  • TF20 Touch+As Vision’s top-of-the-line console, the Touch+ features a 15.6” HD color touchscreen that’s larger than any screen on a NordicTrack or ProForm treadmill (10” maximum for both).The screen now lets you use sliders to make faster adjustments to speed, weight, incline, and time settings, compared to the arrow symbols used on the Elegant+. It’s also the only console out of the three to include an iPod integrated sound system and built-in speakers for listening to your favorite music.

    But the Touch+ actually goes well beyond simple iPod support, and can be used as a complete entertainment solution for your workouts. The iPod cable and USB port means you can access a variety of file types from a USB flash drive, including MP3 and MP4. When your device is connected you can use the console’s touchscreen to navigate through the content and find the music or video you’re looking for.

    Workout feedback is the same as for the Elegant+ console, and includes the time, distance, pace, number of calories burned, heart rate, and current incline/speed levels. You can also enjoy Virtual Active™ integration, ViaFit workout tracking, and the fact that it’s Passport™ ready.

Heart rate monitoring
All three types of Vision Fitness console have heart rate monitoring, fitted with contact sensors in the handles and a built-in Polar® wireless receiver for if you prefer to wear a chest belt. But the Classic console is the only one that doesn’t include a free chest strap.

Workout programs and user profiles

Vision Fitness treadmills are compatible with any one of three consoles (Classic, Elegant+, Touch+), but because of this you’re looking at 3 combinations of workout programs. So how do you know which one is best for your fitness routine?

As part of our review we wanted to take a closer look at how the workout tracking and program variation changes between models, then provide a quick summary to help you choose the console that’s right for you.

Something we did want to make clear is that the consoles don’t change between treadmill models. For example, the TF20 Classic console is exactly the same as the T40 Classic console. Likewise, the Vision T40 Elegant+ is exactly the same as the Elegant+ console on their TF20 treadmill. They’re not specific to a particular treadmill model, which is why we can refer to them simply as Classic, Elegant+, and Touch+.

Classic console

  • ManualYour default program that’s available with all motorized treadmills. The incline and belt speed won’t change unless you make an adjustment at the console.
  • IntervalsThese interval programs are based entirely around the incline of the running deck. This differs from Horizon’s Elite treadmills, where you could select from one of three interval variations; speed intervals, peak intervals, and intensity intervals.The Classic console lets you choose from 10 different intensities to suit your personal fitness level. This ranges from a 0.5% incline during the recovery phase of level 1, up to a 10% incline during the work phase of level 10.
  • Weight lossVision’s weight loss program follows a preset profile of speed and incline settings, which is designed to keep you in your optimal heart rate range for fat burning.Whereas the interval programs only controlled the incline, the weight loss program controls both incline and belt speed, which automatically adjust as your workout progresses.

    Again you have 10 intensity levels to choose from, with each level comprising of a warm up phase, cool down phase, and 8 segments of fixed 30 second duration. The result is a weight loss program that can be completed in just 12 minutes.

  • Fitness testVarious fitness tests are used by different fitness equipment companies and personal trainers. But Vision have subscribed to the Gerkin protocol, which gradually increases the workload until you reach 85% of your maximum heart rate.This is another time when the telemetric chest strap for wireless heart rate monitoring is useful, as it provides much more accurate feedback to the console.

    Following a 3 minute warm-up the belt speed and incline gradually increase each minute (stage), until you reach 85% of your maximum heart rate or complete the full 15 stages. A fitness score is then calculated and your current fitness level assessed based on your score, age, and gender.

    Because the testing method remains constant, this is a great way to measure improvements in your fitness level over time, where you can check which category your fitness score falls into.

  • Target heart rateThe Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles have a few more options with this, such as setting a heart rate target as a percentage of your maximum heart rate.But for the Classic console you can simply set a target number of beats per minute. The speed of the tread belt will then automatically adjust to keep you at your target level.

Elegant+ console

  • ManualIdentical to the Manual program on the Classic console. Instead of following a preset profile of speed and incline settings, the belt speed and running deck gradient only change when you make adjustments at the console.
  • IntervalsWhereas the Classic console uses incline based intervals, the Elegant+ is based on belt speed. There are 20 different intensity levels to choose from, with 24 segments in each program.
  • Weight lossA program designed to promote weight loss by keeping you in the optimal fat-burning heart rate range. The speed and incline automatically adjust to keep you at this target, with 10 intensity levels to choose from.
  • Sprint 8Sprint 8 isn’t available on the Classic console, but is included with the Elegant+ and Touch+ models.The duration is 20 minutes, and the workouts are designed around an 8-week cardio routine rather than a single program. Each of these workouts involves interval training, where you have 3 minutes of warm-up, 2.5 minutes of cool-down, and a series of 2-minute sprint and recovery cycles (30 second sprints and 90 second recovery).

    Before you start you’re able to choose from one of four intensity levels; beginner, intermediate, advanced, and elite. It’s a routine that’s designed to boost energy, reduce body fat, promote lean muscle mass and improve cholesterol.

  • Fitness testThis follows exactly the same protocol as the fitness test included with the Classic console.
  • Goal programsIf you have a specific fitness goal you want to achieve, these workouts could be your best option. You can set a target for the distance (5K, 10K, or custom), or for the number of calories burned during that program. The preset distance goals (5K and 10K) are available at 10 different intensity levels, where the running deck incline automatically adjusts throughout the workout.
  • Target heart rateThe Vision Elegant+ console has 4 different variations of target heart rate program; HR Incline, HR % Incline, HR Speed, and HR % Speed.While the HR Incline variations keep you at your target heart rate by adjusting the incline, HR Speed versions do so by adjusting the belt speed. You can choose to either base your target on a fixed number, or as a percentage of your maximum heart rate.
  • Virtual ActiveThe Elegant+ console also includes 2 built-in high definition workouts with destination footage from the American Northeast and Northern Rockies. These are similar to the iFit training programs seen on top-of-the-line treadmills from ProForm and NordicTrack, which automatically adjust the incline to match changes in the terrain of the course you’re following.As we mentioned earlier, additional Virtual Active programs can be accessed via Passport Packs, which can be purchased online through the official Passport Player website.

Touch+ console
The Vision Touch+ console tends to include a lot of what we’ve mentioned already when looking at the Classic and Elegant+ consoles. To save repeating information, if it’s a program that we’ve already mentioned, we’ll simply include it in the list below and refer you to the information above.

  • ManualPlease refer to the Classic and Elegant+ consoles.
  • IntervalsPlease refer to Elegant+ console.
  • Weight lossPlease refer to Elegant+ console.
  • Custom 1, 2, 3This is one of the programs that’s only available with the Touch+ console. You can set your own course by specifying the time, speed, and incline for up to 10 stages. When you begin the workout, the profile you created is automatically stored under the number for that custom program (CUSTOM 1, CUSTOM 2, or CUSTOM 3).
  • Sprint 8Please refer to the Elegant+ console.
  • Fitness testPlease refer to the Elegant+ consoles.
  • Target heart ratePlease refer to the Elegant+ console.
  • Virtual ActivePlease refer to the Elegant+ console.
  • Workout CalendarAnother of the programs that’s unique to the Touch+ console. After completing a workout, the program is stored against the current date in a virtual calendar.If you wanted to repeat that same workout again in the future, you can simply access the Workout Calendar and begin your run. Before choosing a historical workout, you can view a summary of your performance, which includes the date of the workout, distance, time, pace, and number of calories burned.

User profiles
Up to four users can be saved under a ViaFit account, which applies to the Elegant+ and Touch+ consoles. Unfortunately because the Classic console isn’t compatible with ViaFit, you can only create 2 user profiles.

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

Vision Fitness TF20 Treadmill Assembly

If you’re buying the TF20 treadmill direct from Vision 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 (Vision’s parent company) has a complete collection of owner’s manuals, diagrams, and other guides for assisting you with the treadmill assembly. Contacting Vision Fitness 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 Vision 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.

Treadmill Assembly
Start by confirming your service location

Amazon’s 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
Vision 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.

Vision Fitness Treadmill Guide

What’s covered by the warranty?

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Motor: Lifetime
  • Cushioning: Lifetime

  • Parts: 5 years
  • Labor: 2 years

Review Overview

Overall Review Rating

4.5 / 5

The Vision Fitness TF20 is their most affordable home treadmill, but even with their most basic ‘Classic’ console, it still costs more than the top-of-the-line Elite T9 from Horizon. So is it worth the money?

Both use a folding frame with very little difference in footprint dimensions when it’s folded away. But the Vision TF20 does have better warranty coverage (lifetime on cushioning instead of just 5 years), a higher weight capacity (+25 lbs), and a thicker running deck (+0.25”).

Unfortunately you lose 3-inches off the length of the running area if you choose the TF20, and both treadmills have the same 12 mph belt speed, 15% incline, and 2.75 CHP Johnson Drive™ System. Unless you’re willing to spend an additional $1000 for the Touch+ console, you’re only getting a smaller screen size, which for the Classic model means a basic LCD.

In our opinion the extra weight capacity, cushioning warranty, and getting the Infinity Deck (21,000 miles without maintenance) instead of just the Infinity Belt isn’t enough to offset the loss of ViaFit and the Virtual Active integrated HD touchscreen that you get with Horizon’s Elite T9 treadmill.

Aesthetically we prefer the Vision Fitness TF20, but when you consider they use the same quiet and responsive drive system, are both Passport Ready (Classic console) and have ViaFit Connectivity, we would rather save $1200 (price difference between Elite T9 and Vision TF20 with Touch+ console) and go for Horizon’s Elite T9.

Product dimensions: 79"L x 38"W x 63"H Folded dimensions: 40"L x 38"W x 72"H Weight capacity: 375 lbs

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