Horizon Elite T9-02 Review

Editor's Rating: 8.8 /10

The Horizon Elite T9-02 with extra-long track is the best home treadmill for 2018 by Horizon Fitness. It’s an upgrade to their Elite T9 treadmill, and it’s the most durable treadmill in Horizon’s top series. Overall the Horizon home treadmill brand is unique for supporting Virtual Active videos, which create virtual reality environments for exercise. From your home workout room you can escape with virtual adventures in energizing real-life settings such as Maui, Paris, Patagonia and San Francisco.

Besides readiness for Virtual Active videos, features for the new Elite T9-02 treadmill include: a quiet 3.25 CHP motor; a 62” long workout surface with advanced cushioning; power incline to 15 percent; wireless heart rate tracking; and dozens of on-board workout programs. Data from all exercise sessions can be logged automatically with the ViaFit Connect app for iOS and Android.

On sale for $1,999 the Horizon Elite T9-02 is one of the better deals for runners seeking treadmills under $2,000. It approaches light commercial quality and carries a generous warranty: five years on parts, two years on labor, and more.

Is this your best buy treadmill for 2018? Lists of pros and cons are next.

What We Like:

  • High Quality Motor: The Elite T9-02 motor is a bit heftier than the standard for runners’ home treadmills. It can provide up to 3.25 continuous horsepower. In our review the power of three horses is enough for all but the heaviest runners.
  • Larger Roller: A treadmill belt is supported in part by metal bars called rollers. The bigger the rollers, the longer a belt can serve before maintenance is needed. The T9-02 has a larger front roller (2.4” diameter) compared with lower-priced treadmills in the Elite Series.
  • Preset Workouts & Passport Ready: Elite Series treadmills are packed with programming. The Elite T9-02 treadmill can hold 40 workout programs including custom options, plus it’s compatible with a Passport Player for Virtual Active videos. These high-def videos show outdoor paths from the exerciser’s perspective, and they can help keep you motivated to exercise. Choices include natural settings such as beaches and national parks, and world-class cities such as Venice and Paris.
  • Incline: For extra calorie burn and target-toning of muscles, all Horizon Elite treadmills for 2019 have power incline with a maximum tilt of 15 percent. You can adjust the slope with buttons, or let it be controlled by workout programs. Power incline is especially fun to use with Virtual Active videos, as the incline adjusts to mimic landscapes.
  • Variable Response Cushioning: To reduce the potential strain of running, Horizon Elite treadmill decks have patented Variable Response cushioning. This system features different firmness levels at the front, middle and back of the workout deck. The design gives you extra support for toe-off and extra cushioning for landing.
  • Large Data Display: Each new Horizon Elite treadmill for 2018 has an 8.5” data screen. It’s backlit for easy reading, and with Bluetooth it can share data with mobile fitness apps for iOS and Android. The data fields are time, distance, speed, incline, calories burned or remaining, heart rate and number of 1/4-mile laps. A ¼-mile racetrack graphic helps visualize your progress; it lights up to show how much virtual ground you’ve covered.
  • Wireless and Contact Monitors: The T9-02 treadmill sale price includes a Polar chest strap for wireless heart rate monitoring. Horizon Elite machines also have contact sensors.
  • ViaFit Connect: ViaFit Connect is a free fitness tracking app for the Horizon and Matrix fitness equipment brands. It lets a treadmill automatically export workout statistics such as calorie burn, distance traveled and heart rate. The ViaFit Connect app is also compatible with other fitness trackers and wearable devices to create a comprehensive log of your exercise. You can view your data with an Apple or Android mobile device.
  • Safety Key: A magnetic key must be in place for the treadmill track to move. The key can help keep you safe during exercise, and it can also prevent the accidental starting of your treadmill by a young child.
  • Folding Frame: Horizon treadmill frames can be folded to save floor space. When it’s folded, the T9-02 has a footprint just 47” long x 39” wide.
  • Warranty: This treadmill model is sold with Horizon’s best warranty package. The document provides for five years of parts and suspension coverage plus two years of labor, and the motor and frame have lifetime guarantees.

Horizon Elite T9-02 Treadmill - Key Specs:

Star Rating:4.4-stars
Motor:3.25 HP
Incline:0 - 15%
Running Area:20" x 62"
Top Speed:12 MPH
Weight Capacity:350 LBS
Dimensions:78.75" L x 39.38" W x 63" H
Built-In Programs:40
What We Don’t Like:

  • Thin Deck: The treadmill deck is ¾” thick, which is on the thinner side of home treadmill standards. A thicker deck could absorb more sound from your footfall.
  • Customer Service Wait Time: Horizon Fitness customer service wait times on the phone have improved since our last round of Horizon treadmill reviews, but the team still seems understaffed. On the bright side, in our experience the agents have been pleasant and well-educated about products they support.
  • Cost for Virtual Active Workouts: The virtual outdoor exercise set-up for this treadmill is relatively expensive. The Passport Player costs $199, and Virtual Active video packs cost $99 new. For comparison, the best home treadmills with iFit Coach have built-in video players and can use wifi to download new programs. You can access an unlimited number of treadmill workout programs for a low monthly fee.

Our Verdict:

The new Elite T9-02 treadmill approaches club quality and has a long warranty for home use. On sale for $1,999 it’s a good value for runners. However, adding a Passport Player and Virtual Active videos turns this into a treadmill over $2,000… and there’s a lot of great competition in that price range.

Specifically, if you’d like to use Virtual Active videos — and you have home wifi — we recommend the Matrix TF30 treadmill ($2,499). It’s sold by Matrix Fitness, which is the high-end sister brand to Horizon Fitness. The TF30 has a web-enabled touchscreen and arrives with ready-to-go Virtual Active videos plus other high-end training programs. No Passport Player is needed, and you can use wifi to download new Virtual Active videos anytime.

In sum, the new Elite T9-02 is a good buy under $2K… but you might want to spend a bit more to get light commercial quality, which will provide even better long-term value.