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Buyers Guide & Information

Horizon Elliptical Brand Review

We have thoroughly reviewed the Horizon elliptical range including the popular EX, Evolve & Elite series!

by

Buyers Guide & Information

Horizon Elliptical Brand Review

We have thoroughly reviewed the Horizon elliptical range including the popular EX, Evolve & Elite series!

by JohnL

by JohnL

The elliptical machine (a gym favorite) can be put to use by everyone thanks to its versatility and user-friendliness. This tough-yet-forgiving exercise machine came to being in the mid-90s as a low-impact form of cardiovascular exercise to rival the classic treadmill. There are many brands of at-home fitness equipment on the market, but here we are looking at one particular brand that excels in the elliptical deparment: Horizon Fitness. 

The Horizon Fitness Brand

Horizon Fitness is owned by the parent company Johnson Health Tech, based in Taiwan. Horizon Fitness has been around since 1998, making at-home and gym-based exercise equipment such as treadmills, stationary bikes, and of course, elliptical machines.


How Horizon Ellipticals Workout Your Body

Horizon Elliptical machines have been designed for maximum comfort and safety, with smooth movement and easy mounting. The beauty of the elliptical machine is that the feet stay grounded on the pedals, as opposed to raising and slamming to the surface, sending impact and shock to the joints.

The elliptical machine is a cardio exercise and gets oxygen pumping around the body (you'll be huffing and puffing, for sure!). Such activity burns calories, leading to weight loss (if a calorie deficit is maintained). What's more, the elliptical also tones and conditions the muscles (namely the glutes, quads, and core), especially if you increase the resistance.


Horizon Fitness Elliptical Trainer Series

QuickStart/EX Series

The QuickStart Series includes the EX models and is the most affordable series. You can expect a modest number of resistance levels, workout programs, and a small screen, 18-inch stride, quiet operation, but no super-fancy extras the Elite series offers, or the fold-up style of the Evolve Series.

Evolve Series

A series designed for small, tight spaces thanks to a folding frame. Abundant exercise programs (approx. 30-37 depending on the model), WiFi compatibility, LCD console, and a heavy flywheel.

Elite Series

This is the most sophisticated series with a gym-level design. A large stride, heavy flywheel, incline, heart rate monitor, calorie tracker, large, colored screen. You can sync the Elite Series to apps ViaFit and VirtualActive for special programs and tracking.


Best Features Of Horizon Elliptical Trainers 

Sturdy Frames

Horizon Fitness elliptical machines are made with the “SixStar Certified” frame. This not only means that the frame itself is durable, but it offers safe, comfortable, and efficient movement with great pedal placement, ideal handlebar width, smooth movement, and natural step pattern to prevent strain.

Reasonable Price Point

Despite the excellent design, durability, and features, Horizon ellipticals are moderately priced and offer options for various budgets.

Variety of Options (console design, workout programs, resistance levels)

Horizon offers various levels of console features, with the bare basics of at least 10 workout programs, 10 resistance levels, calories, speed, distance, time, and heart rate.

Customizable Features

Horizon offers adjustable incline levels (for some models) and resistance levels.

Wireless Connectivity

The EX-59 and 7.0AE offer Bluetooth connectivity so you can run your TV or music through the built-in speakers.

ViaFit & Passport Connectivity

Higher-end models (Evolve and Elite) can be used with ViaFit to track and share your fitness progress. Passport can be used with Evolve and Elite to enjoy real-life workouts,  and track visuals from around the world on your TV screen (Passport is a separate purchase).

Ideal Pedal Placement

The pedals have a “Tighter Q Factor” (space between the pedals) to reduce stress on the back and hips.

Optimal Handlebar Spacing

The handlebars are spaced for comfort, optimal movement, and reduced stress.


5 Best Horizon Ellipticals Reviewed

1 . Horizon Fitness Evolve 3

Product Specifications

Dimensions (L x W x H)

69 x 28 x 69 inches

Elliptical Stride Length

20 inches

No. of Resistance Levels

20

Weight Capacity

300

No. Of Workout Programs

31 + manual

Warranty

Frame: lifetime, parts: 3 years

First up, we are reviewing the Horizon Fitness Evolve 3 Elliptical Trainer, part of the Evolve series, which is a step up from the basic QuickStart series. The Evolve 3 is especially great for smaller spaces as it has a foldable frame and small footprint. It has a generous stride of 20 inches, great for taller people, and 300-pound maximum user weight, so larger frames are accommodated.

The heavy flywheel (18 pounds) provides a smooth workout with 20 electronically-adjustable resistance levels. There are some handy extras such as speakers, water bottle holder, and a tablet rack so you can clock in your own programs. There are 31 presets, including 10 distance and 3 interval programs.

We like that you can use ViaFit with the Evolve 3, meaning you can track and share your progress and workout stats. ViaFit will sync your stats between your Evolve 3 unit and your chosen device. If you're keen for more scenic, entertaining workouts, you can purchase the Passport player. 

Installation is a breeze, as backed by this customer: "Installation is very simple. Few minutes and ready to go. Quiet and easy to use."

The Evolve 3 is an excellent choice for tall adults with decent fitness experience who want a little more than the basics, but don't want to shell out for the top-range Elite model. Note that it doesn't have a USB port or Bluetooth connectivity, you'd need to upgrade to the 7.0 AE or the Elite Series for these.

Pros

  • Many programs and resistance levels
  • Folds away
  • Small footprint

Cons

  • Energy-save mode is tricky to use

2. Horizon Fitness EX-59

Product Specifications

Dimensions (L x W x H)

68 x 28 x 24 inches

Elliptical Stride Length

18 inches

No. of Resistance Levels

10

Weight Capacity

300

No. Of Workout Programs

10

Warranty

Frame: lifetime, parts: 1 year

Next up, we have the EX-59, a part of the QuickStart series. This model differs from the Evolve and Elite models in the sense that it is not a foldable frame. What's more, the price is significantly lower as a result of the simpler design features. For example, it has a smaller stride length of 18 inches, only 10 workout programs, and 10 resistance levels. However, the programs it does offer are excellent, including "rolling hills," "weight loss plus," and "intervals plus."

The flywheel is much lighter than the other models, coming in at 14.3 pounds. However, many customer reviews put this concern to bed by stating that the movement is smooth indeed.

As imagined, the display console is much smaller than other models, at a mere 4.5 inches. However, it tells you everything you need, such as distance, time, calories, heart rate, program, and speed. You also get the bonus of Bluetooth capability, speakers, a tablet rack, and a water bottle holder.

This model is reasonably easy to assemble yourself at home, as outlined by this happy customer: “The elliptical was fairly easy to assemble. It was only 8 steps and all the parts required (as well as the tools) were provided with easy instructions. The elliptical itself is well built and even better than the one I use at my local gym. I highly recommend it”.

The EX-59 would suit a home-exerciser with a short-average stride who is just starting out with exercise, or simply needs something with the bare basics. It would be great for older adults or those who only need a handful of programs and would otherwise just use the manual settings. If you've got a permanent spot in your home for this to live and you don't require a fold-down model, this could be the one. Plus, it's the cheapest option, so it's the clear winner for small budgets.

Pros

  • Most affordable
  • Decent programs for price
  • Easy to assemble

Cons

  • Not folding
  • Not Viafit compatible

3. Horizon Fitness 7.0 AE

Product Specifications

Dimensions (L x W x H)

76 x 24 65.6 inches

Elliptical Stride Length

20 inches

No. of Resistance Levels

20

Weight Capacity

325 pounds

No. Of Workout Programs

5

Warranty

Frame: lifetime, parts: 3 years

Next, we have the Horizon 7.0 AE elliptical, a much more sophisticated and expensive step up from other models. Like the EX-59, this is a non-folding elliptical, so it's ideal for homes where there's a decent space set aside for a permanent resident. The 7.0 AE has a much heavier flywheel, at 23 pounds promising a super-smooth experience.

In terms of tech features, this isn’t the most sophisticated Horizon elliptical machine, as it doesn't have ViaFit connectivity, and it is not Passport ready. However, it does offer excellent user features such as 20 incline levels from 0-100%, 20 resistance levels, a 20-inch stride length, and 325-pound user weight maximum. 

That’s not to suggest it’s completely devoid of cool features, as it has a 7-inch console screen with Bluetooth capabilities and a free app. The Pro app can be connected to your phone or tablet so you can keep and track your stats, and use the preset programs. Plus, you can use the built-in speakers to blast music or watch TV from your device perched on the tablet holder.

What’s more, there’s a USB port so you can keep your devices juiced-up during the entire workout. The console itself offers a few programs such as "5k" and "fat burn," but they're not extensive or numerous. However, you can pretty easily create your own workout by using the incline, resistance, and manual functions.

The 7.0 AE is an excellent choice for people who like to curate their own workout as opposed to using built-in programs. The many incline levels are great for lower-body toning and strengthening, and the heavy flywheel is great for taller/heavier people who need a smooth ride. It would be ideal for taller males, and people who are keen on a simple-yet-killer workout with the option of listening to and watching media on their own devices. 

Pros

  • Heavy flywheel
  • Bluetooth Compatible
  • Speakers Included

Cons

  • Not many preset programs
  • Small console screen for the price

4. Horizon Fitness Evolve 5

Product Specifications

Dimensions (L x W x H)

69 x 28 x 69 inches

Elliptical Stride Length

20 inches

No. of Resistance Levels

20

Weight Capacity

300 pounds

No. Of Workout Programs

37

Warranty

Frame: Lifetime, Parts: 3 years

Next, we have our review of the Horizon Evolve 5 elliptical. This is a step up from the Evolve 3, with a slightly higher price tag and 37 total workout programs! What's more, the Evolve 5 has a heavier flywheel at 23 pounds and a slightly larger console screen at 6.25 inches.

The Evolve 5 is a fold-up elliptical, with the Certified Six-Star frame for ergonomic usage. Like the Evolve 3, it features 20 electronically adjustable resistance levels and a 20-inch stride for taller people. You get all the extras such as a drink bottle holder, tablet rack, and speakers (however, they are not Bluetooth-enabled).

The Evolve 5 can be connected to ViaFit so you can track your calories and share your elliptical workout stats with your other fitness apps and devices. What’s more, it’s ready to be used with Passport if you’re keen on some intrepid, visually-exciting workouts from your TV at home (at an extra cost).

In terms of noise, this is considered a quiet machine by many users, such as this one who left a review: “I'm so happy with this purchase. It runs smoothly and quietly and is very easy to fold up and move”.

This is a great choice for people who prefer to use preset programs to fuel their workouts. If you need a fold-up elliptical for smart space-saving, a heavy flywheel for a smooth ride, and a decent stride length, the Evolve 5 comes out on top.

Pros

  • Foldaway design
  • Plenty of programs
  • ViaFit Capable

Cons

  • Not Bluetooth enabled

5. Horizon Fitness Peak Trainer HT5.0

Product Specifications

Dimensions (L x W x H)

47 x 28 x 66 inches

Elliptical Stride Length

12 inches (vertical)

No. of Resistance Levels

10

Weight Capacity

300 pounds

No. Of Workout Programs

5

Warranty

Parts: 1 year

Last but not least, we’re taking things in a slightly different direction with the Horizon Peak Trainer HT5.0, a machine designed for high-intensity workouts. This machine differs from traditional elliptical machines in the sense that it mimics the motion of hiking, with stepping movements as opposed to the smooth half-circle motions of the elliptical. This is an excellent way to target the glutes, calves, and quads, especially when you ramp up the resistance levels (there are 10).

It still has the horizontally-moving handles for a whole-body workout, and the impact is as gentle as an elliptical machine. The overall construction and design of the Peak Trainer differ to the Horizon ellipticals in the sense that there is no flywheel, but a suspension system. This makes for a quiet, smooth, and durable workout experience.

The Peak Trainer HT5.0 has 10 resistance levels and 5 programs (calories, weight loss, distance, manual, and Sprint 8). The Sprint 8 workout is a 20-minute high-intensity workout for blasting calories in a time crunch. For an idea of the effectiveness of the peak trainer, Horizon Fitness claims that 3 Sprint 8 sessions per week for 8 weeks can burn 27% of body fat (depending on diet and other factors, of course). Customers find the Peak Trainer to be quiet and smooth when in use.

This customer attests to the quiet smoothness of this model, “I’ve been using this trainer for about a week now and I’m very pleased so far. It’s smooth, quiet, and sturdy. The price is just right if not cheaper than the quality of the machine”.

The Peak Trainer HT5.0 would be best suited to at-home exercisers who need something a little more compact, quiet, and durable than a regular elliptical. It’s best suited to people who already have a decent baseline of fitness but want to improve endurance, cardiovascular fitness, lower body strength, and overall performance in short bouts at home. You can take it a little easier for a less strenuous workout, but it’s best suited to “fast and furious” exercise sessions.

Pros

  • Small footprint
  • Great calorie burner
  • Quiet operation

Cons

  • Small console screen

Comparison with Other Brands

Proform

Proform elliptical machines are very similarly priced to Horizon Fitness models with some budget options too. They offer the excellent iFit feature for trainer-lead workouts and scenic visuals. You can find 19-inch strides, 24 resistance levels, and 20 incline levels and a touchscreen console for a lower price than a high-range Horizon Evolve model

Nordictrack

Nordictrack has a broader range of ellipticals from the low-budget scale to the very expensive (far more so than Horizon). Their ellipticals come with a 1-year iFit membership for real-life trainer workouts and worldwide views. Their high-end model the FS9i has a huge 32-inch stride and interactive training (with iFit)

Sole

Sole ellipticals are in the higher price range, but they do offer excellent features such as 20 incline levels, heavy flywheel, speakers, fans, and Bluetooth compatibility even with the cheapest options. However, they don’t offer as many preset programs as Horizon fitness

Schwinn

Schwinn has 3 main ellipticals, all of which are affordably-priced, with RunSocial compatibility, 13-29 workout programs, and 16-25 resistance levels. The Horizon frames are of higher quality, and they have nicer consoles in our opinion 


How to Setup & Use Horizon Elliptical Trainer

Horizon Ellipticals come delivered in a large box that will be very heavy. You need to assemble the elliptical yourself with the parts and tools provided in the package. There is a thorough instructional guide in the manual to help you, but if you've never assembled anything before, it may take a while! (Here’s a link to the manual so you can get an idea of what to expect). This video is a great instructional resource for how to set up the Horizon Fitness EX59 from out of the box. 

Once the machine has been set up and stable, take it for a slow practice run to make sure it’s feeling safe and sturdy. Get used to mounting and dismounting the machine, and familiarize yourself with the controls and modes before you get into a full workout.


Cleaning, Maintenance & Problem Fixing

How to clean and maintain your Horizon elliptical

Horizon Fitness Ellipticals are reasonably easy to maintain, but they do require some attention. Every week, give the frame and parts a wipe down with a microfiber cloth, or a once-over with your vacuum cleaner brush. Wipe away sweat and built-up dust with soapy water and a cloth. Each month, it's recommended that you tighten the assembly bolts to make sure they remain tight and stable; for this, you'll need an Allen wrench.

For a smooth and quiet operation, you’ll need to lubricate certain parts of the machine 2 or 3 times a year. Horizon Fitness sells a treadmill lubricant that could likely be used with your elliptical machine, (the Park Tools Polylube is also highly recommended)

How to contact Horizon repair service or customer service for help

support for parts and tech-related issues when your elliptical is under warranty, you can email info@johnsonfit.com or call 855-396-2927. For replacement parts, follow the instructions here.

How to return a defective Horizon elliptical

If your elliptical is faulty and you want to return it, you have to get a return authorization number from Horizon Fitness, and it must be returned within 30 days of receiving the elliptical machine. You have to fill out a return form and beware of restocking fees if the machine and parts aren’t perfectly repacked when returned.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I measure and determine my stride length?

On an elliptical machine, your stride is measured from the toe of the top pedal to the heel of the back pedal. To measure your stride length, you can walk a particular distance (i.e., 15 feet), count your steps, and divide the length by the number of steps. Another way to determine the best elliptical machine stride length for you is to try out the ellipticals at your gym or exercise equipment store.

Are cheap ellipticals worth investing in, or are expensive models a smarter choice?

If you're going to be using your elliptical regularly, a higher-end elliptical is a smarter choice. Very cheap models are likely to break down, have design flaws, and cost you stress and cash in the long run. Luckily, the Horizon Fitness models on our list are reasonably priced for the excellent features and longevity they offer.

Which model is best for daily home use?

It depends on how much space you have to spare, what your workout needs are, and what your stride length is. The Evolve and the Elite series both have adjustable strides, so they are great for very tall or very short people. If you're short on space, go for the Evolve 3 or 5 models as they are foldable and can be tucked away when not in use.

Can I buy these online even though they are large in size?

Absolutely, Amazon offers a wide range of Horizon elliptical machines to be delivered to your door despite the size and weight.


Conclusion

Horizon Fitness elliptical machines are some of the best on the market, with a range of prices, features, and specs to suit different budgets and fitness requirements. Our top pick is the Horizon Fitness Evolve 3, as it has a foldable frame, plenty of programs and resistance levels, speakers, and ViaFit compatibility. It encompasses all of the notable aspects of Horizon fitness, with a very reasonable price tag.

Also make sure to check out our full guide to Horizon Fitness Treadmills.

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