Horizon Elite T5 Review

Editor's Rating: 8.5 /10

The Horizon Elite T5 is a new 2018 treadmill for home use. It’s the most affordable model in the updated Elite Series, and in our review it’s a good deal for the $1199 sale price. The Elite T5 has features that many other treadmills under $1200 lack, such as wireless data sharing, wireless heart rate monitoring and three-zone cushioning. Furthermore new Horizon treadmills are Passport ready to let you tour beautiful destinations as you exercise. This all-new model is foldable yet sturdy for users up to 350 pounds. For 2018 it’s available in the contiguous United States only.

Any drawbacks? While the T5 is a great value for walkers of any size, taller runners would likely prefer the Horizon Elite T7-02 or T9-02. These provide more track length for exercise. And for heavy running (like marathon training) you should probably invest in a treadmill with a 4.0 CHP motor instead. But again, for many shoppers the Horizon T5 is worth checking out.

Specifics include a 55″-long running surface, a 2.75 CHP motor, power incline to 15 percent, and 38 built-in exercise programs. ViaFit Connect is included to wirelessly track fitness progress. This machine also has amenities such as music speakers and a cooling fan as detailed below.

How it fits in: The Elite T5 treadmill is the new entry-level model from Horizon Fitness. It replaces the Adventure 5 treadmill that debuted in 2015. Compared with that model, this unit is upgraded in many ways but has a shorter track (55″). For 2018 the Horizon Elite treadmill series also features the T7-02 with a 60″ track and 3.0 CHP, and the T9-02 with a 62″ track and 3.25 CHP.

What We Like:

  • Passport Ready: Passport exercise video technology is an optional upgrade for Horizon Fitness treadmills and their commercial cousins, Matrix Fitness treadmills. Passport videos are filmed along scenic paths, and they’re adaptive or interactive; as you walk or run, the sights and sounds sync with your pace. Examples of Passport video exercise destinations are New Zealand lakeshores, Parisian boulevards, the Canadian Rockies and the California coast. Using Passport video workouts with the T5 requires a Passport video player and your home entertainment system. Of course the bigger your screen, the more immersive the virtual outdoor exercise can be.
  • Incline: Walk uphill on your treadmill! The Horizon Elite T5 treadmill track has a maximum incline setting of 15 percent. Two big benefits of using the incline are faster calorie burn and better lean muscle definition.
  • Quiet & Durable Motor: The new Horizon T5 treadmill has a high quality 2.75 CHP motor for training at up to 12 mph. This motor runs quietly, constantly recalibrates for smooth exercise, and has a lifetime guarantee. Its maximum power is probably a good fit if you’re like the typical home treadmill user, who doesn’t regularly run for hours at a time. You won’t push your fitness machine to the limit, but you won’t pay for unnecessary horsepower.
  • Variable Response Cushioning: Variable Response Cushioning provides different levels of firmness at the front, middle and back of the workout track. The front is softest for landing, and the back is firmest for push-off. This special cushioning lowers the chance of exercise-related injuries and also promotes better endurance.
  • 38 On-Board Programs: To help you spend exercise time efficiently the Elite T5 is programmed with dozens of workout programs. These are organized by speed and incline. The treadmill computer also lets you design and save new workout programs.
  • ViaFit Connect: A Horizon home treadmill can automatically log your workout statistics with ViaFit, a mobile app for Android and iOS. When your paired smartphone or tablet is in range, the fitness machine will automatically send your running distance, heart rate, calorie burn and other treadmill workout data to the app. ViaFit is compatible with other tracking apps and fitness equipment too, such as wearable pedometers.
  • Large Data Display: The Elite T5 treadmill shows data on a backlit 8.5″ LCD screen. Its data fields are exercise time, distance, incline, speed, calories burned or remaining, heart rate zone and laps. Each lap is 400 meters or ¼ mile, and a racetrack graphic helps you visualize your progress. For every 50 meters a section of the track illuminates.
  • Console Extras: The T5 treadmill console has a rack to hold a magazine or mobile device. It also provides speakers and a jack for your MP3 player, and has a fan to help you keep cool.
  • Safety Key: To protect children and pets, a Horizon treadmill track can’t run unless a safety key is in place.
  • Foldable Frame: In between treadmill workouts you can reclaim floorspace by pushing the T5’s deck upward. The deck locks into place, and when unlocked it softly drops back to the floor for workout mode. A folded T5 treadmill takes just 44″ x 35″ of floor space. Unfolded its footprint is 73″ x 35″.
  • Warranty: The standard three-year parts warranty is a competitive deal for this model’s sale price. For the full price of $1,699 though, a longer warranty seems more appropriate.

Horizon Elite T5 Treadmill - Key Specs:

Star Rating:4.25-stars
Motor:2.75 HP
Running Area:20" x 55"
Top Speed:12 MPH
Weight Capacity:350 LBS
Dimensions:73" L x 35" W x 61" H
Built-In Programs:38
What We Don’t Like:

  • Track Length: The Horizon T5 track length isn’t ideal for tall runners. At 55″ it’s five inches shorter than the standard for runners’ treadmills.
  • Deck Thickness: Horizon treadmill decks are ¾” thick. For comparison many other treadmills under $1200 have 1″ thick decks. Thicker decks can generally absorb more sound to make a treadmill more home-friendly.
  • Some Maintenance Required: Like most treadmills under $1200 this model requires some upkeep to perform smoothly. Every 300 miles or so you should coat the track with silicone, and occasionally you’ll need to spend a few minutes tightening the track with an Allen wrench.
  • Cost for Passport Exercise: As a Passport ready treadmill, this machine requires a Passport Player in order to use Virtual Active videos. The Passport Player sells for $199 online and includes just two virtual tours (the American southwest and the northern Italy). Additional video packs are sold separately. Before choosing the Horizon brand for virtual outdoor workouts, you might want to learn about NordicTrack’s alternative called iFit Coach.
  • Customer Service Wait Time: Reaching Horizon Fitness customer service by phone sometimes involves long wait times. On the bright side, Horizon customer service agents aren’t outsourced. They specialize in the products they support, and they’ve been friendly in our “secret shopper” experiences.

Our Verdict:

For runners seeking treadmills under $1200, the Horizon Elite T5 can be a very good value. This model wouldn’t be mistaken for a club treadmill, but its maintenance needs are minimal and its performance will satisfy the typical trainee. The built-in programs support all ability levels, and immersive Passport workouts get rave reviews.

Shoppers who don’t require extra running room (a 60″ track) or lots of horsepower are this treadmill’s best match. Those with long legs and/or heavier training in mind should consider machines with more workout room and bigger motors. Advanced treadmills in this series are the Horizon Elite T7 and T9.

For especially high-end home treadmills with Passport readiness, see Horizon’s sister brand Matrix Fitness.