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Is The Horizon 7.8 AT Treadmill Worth Buying? [A Review]

horizon 7.8AT treadmill review

Horizon’s 7.8 AT is one of the newest additions to their treadmill lineup and it comes with some interesting upgrades over previous models.

The most noticeable at first glance would be the dial controls for speed and incline- a feature that was added specifically to make the 7.8 AT more compatible with fitness apps and interval style workouts.

But there are some more subtle differences going on under the hood that could make this treadmill a serious contender as we approach the new year- like a 4.0 CHP motor with Rapid Sync technology and a 500 lb thrust incline motor.

If you’re looking for a quality treadmill in the under $2000 price range, the new Horizon 7.8 AT could be a great fit. This review is here to help you figure that out.

In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at everything this treadmill has to offer. I’ll also try to include some comparisons to similarly priced machines to see how the 7.8 AT holds up.

Off we go.

The Horizon 7.8 AT Treadmill

Horizon 7.8 Advanced Training Treadmill

Horizon Fitness is a part of the Johnson Fitness and Wellness family. Johnson is a behemoth in the fitness world and owns a lot of residential and commercial brands you may be familiar with, like Matrix, Vision, and of course Horizon.

Horizon Fitness specializes in affordable home fitness equipment. They offer several options for stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, and treadmills and I believe everything is $2000 or under.

Horizon is a pretty popular brand and are known for producing quality equipment with fair warranties (I’m especially fond of their 7.0 AE Elliptical– great bang for your buck).

The 7.8 AT Treadmill is one of two new additions to their studio series. The other new addition is the 7.4 AT, which is very similar to the 7.8 AT, but comes with a weaker motor and lacks the dial controls.

Both are upgrades over the popular 7.0 AT, which was a great addition to the Horizon lineup when it first arrived.

The 7.8 AT is Horizon’s most powerful and technologically advanced treadmill to date.

Pros

  • 22″ x 60″ running surface
  • 4.0 CHP motor
  • 3-zone variable response cushioning system
  • 350 lb weight capacity
  • Folding deck
  • Max speed of 12 mph
  • Max incline of 15%
  • Dial speed/incline controls
  • Bluetooth compatible with fitness apps
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • USB charging port
  • 9.3″ color display
  • Large accessory tray
  • Bluetooth chest strap compatible
  • Awesome warranty

Cons

  • Only 10 workout programs
  • Rollers could be larger

Running Surface

I like to start my treadmill reviews by looking at the running surface. More specifically, the dimensions of the running surface. This is an important spec to consider and it can tell you a lot about the treadmill without having to dig too deep.

In case you’re just starting your treadmill research, the running surface refers to the usable belt space during your workouts. It’s measured in inches and is usually written as “width x length”.

When it comes to running surface, bigger is always better because it means you’re going to have more room during your workouts.

Length is important (especially for taller users) to ensure you have enough room to stretch out comfortably when running at higher speeds.

Width is equally important though, because you’ll want to have a little wiggle room from side to side.

You really don’t want to feel like you’re walking or running on a tight rope (and any sway will send you flying off the machine- that’s a sure fired way to ruin your day).

The 7.8 AT has a running surface of 22″ x 60″.

The gold standard for home treadmills is 20″ x 60″. In this price range, we should expect at least this much room to work with -the 7.8 AT easily checks this mark.

A lot of high end home treadmills are offering the extra wide belts now because more room is always better. At 22″ wide, this treadmill will feel spacious and you’ll have plenty of room to sway a little as you workout (like I do).

The 60″ length is also long enough for taller folks to stretch out completely and sprint without having to shorten their stride.

Not only is the running surface spacious, but it’s designed with Horizon’s 3-zone variable response cushioning system to reduce strain through your joints on impact.

The “variable response” means that the deck offers more or less shock absorption depending on where your foot is. There’s more cushioning in the front (where your heel usually hits hardest) and less cushioning in the back (where you want a firm surface to push off).

The result is a comfortable feel that should help protect your joints more than a treadmill that’s lacking a proper shock absorbing system.

This treadmill comes with a heavy-duty frame that is strong enough to hold users weighing up to 350 lb. The frame also folds though, for easy storage.

The hydraulic mechanism makes folding very easy, so you won’t have to worry about lifting the heavy deck on your own.

Overall, the 7.8 AT scores highly with a large running surface, sophisticated cushioning system, and a heavy-duty, folding frame.

Motor

Motor strength is another key spec to consider when looking for a new treadmill. All motors are a little different, so horsepower alone probably shouldn’t be the end all decision making factor.

But when in doubt, stronger is better.

A stronger motor will be able to handle the stresses you throw at it more efficiently than a weaker motor. This means the stronger motor won’t have to work as hard, which should mean that it would last longer.

Theoretically, the stronger motor should run quieter too.

How strong is strong enough? It really depends on what you’re using your treadmill for. If you planning on running, I suggest at least a 3.0 CHP motor.

If walking is your goal, you can get probably get along fine with less horsepower. [Check out my treadmill guide for more info].

The 7.8 AT comes with a 4.0 CHP motor that can reach a max speed of 12 mph and a max incline of 15%. With this much muscle under the hood, this treadmill comes well equipped to handle serious runners as well as casual walkers.

I’ve gotta be honest, I’m not sure how the 500 lb thrust incline motor compares to other treadmills because I’ve never seen that stat marketed before.

It sounds impressive though.

Horizon reports that the combination of these motors makes for a treadmill that can change speed and incline “33% faster” than other competitors.

This is a tough claim to prove or disprove. What’s important though, is that users seem to agree that the treadmill is impressively responsive and the dial controls work wonderfully.

Roller size is another spec that ties in with the motor. Rollers on a treadmill are the parts that actually make contact with the belt, causing it to propel down the deck.

Larger rollers are preferred, because they tend to provide smoother operation, as well as put less stress on the belt (and rollers).

This treadmill comes with 60mm/46mm tapered rollers- I’m not very good with metric measurements, so this equates to 2.36″ and 1.81″ respectively.

High-end treadmills should come with rollers in the 2″-3″ range. Based on the comps, the larger rollers on this treadmill are in the right ballpark, but the smaller ones could be a little larger.

For comparison’s sake, the Sole F85, who also falls in the under $2000 price range, comes with 2.75″ rollers. By the way, I’m a big fan of Sole products and they always make my “best of” lists (and are usually near the top).

Overall, the 7.8AT scores highly with a powerful 4.0 CHP motor. The rollers could be a little larger, but I don’t consider that a deal breaker.

Features

The Horizon 7.8 AT comes with the following features:

10 workout programs- this treadmill comes equipped with 10 workout programs to choose from, including fat burn, hills, and heart rate targeted options. It also comes with the Sprint 8 program, Johnson’s patented interval workout designed to help you burn fat and calories faster than typical workouts.

Bluetooth compatible- this treadmill is bluetooth compatible and is designed with fitness apps in mind. You can sync up with apps like Peloton, Studio, and Fitbit to access their workouts and take advantage of their data tracking. Just keep in mind you’ll have to pay any subscription fees these apps require.

Bluetooth speakers- you can also use bluetooth connectivity to listen to your favorite music through the built-in bluetooth speakers.

Chest strap compatible- the 7.8AT is compatible with bluetooth chest strap heart rate monitors, but I don’t think one is included.

Dial speed and incline controls- I mentioned these earlier, but you can rapidly increase or decrease both the speed and incline settings by turning the dials on each handlebar. These come in especially handy when making quick changes during interval training.

9.3″ color screen- the display screen is large and in color, making viewing all your data easy and comfortable. There’s even a specific timer that is used during the Sprint 8 program to motivate you during your intervals.

Quick touch speed/incline buttons- if you don’t want to use the dials to make your speed and incline settings, you can use the quick touch buttons instead. If you have a preselected ┬áspeed or incline setting in mind, simply hit the corresponding button and you’re there.

USB charging port- you can charge your phone or tablet during your workouts with the conveniently located USB charging port.

Multi-position tablet holder- in order to connect with the fitness apps and take advantage of their workouts, it’s important to be able to view your tablet. The built-in holder makes it easy to use these apps without blocking your view of the large display screen.

Fan- there’s a built-in fan to help keep you comfortable during your workouts.

Accessory tray- the accessory tray is large and has deep pockets, making it easy to hold pretty much anything you would have to store during your workouts (controllers, devices, maybe a small child).

Assembly

Putting the 7.8 AT together is pretty straightforward task. I think Horizon does a nice job with their assembly instructions- each step has an image and well-written instructions describing what needs to be done.

I love that they not only tell you what hardware is being used for each step, but actually provide a to scale image to ensure you’re using the right screws and bolts along the way.

There’s only 5 steps to get this treadmill up and running, but keep in mind that this is a large, heavy treadmill (weighs over 300 lb fully assembled)- it might be a good idea to have a helper nearby just in case.

Overall, assembly shouldn’t be an issue here. I think most folks should be able to assembly themselves without having to pay for expert assistance.

I’d plan on spending an hour or so getting the job done.

Warranty

The Horizon 7.8 AT Treadmill comes with the following warranty:

  • Lifetime frame
  • Lifetime motor
  • 5 year parts and electronics
  • 2 year labor

There’s really nothing to critique about this guarantee. Without exaggeration, this is one of the best warranties I’ve seen on a home treadmill.

You can’t beat a lifetime guarantee on the frame and motor. It’s also rare to see longer than 5 years on treadmill parts. When it comes to labor, most quality warranties will offer 1-2 years.

I’ve seen 3 year labor warranties, but they’re pretty rare.

Overall, this treadmill comes with an awesome warranty (it’s identical to the warranty offered on the Sole F85, fyi).

Final Thoughts

Horizon’s new 7.8 AT has a lot to offer. The list of included features is pretty extensive, but it’s the 4.0 CHP motor, spacious running surface, and generous warranty that stand out most to me.

The dial controls for speed and incline are a nice touch and I can see how they would make interval training a little more convenient, but I don’t really see them as a game changer.

Technologically speaking, the 7.8 AT is pretty advanced, although it is lacking in the workout department. I think this is because Horizon is really marketing this model to be used with streaming fitness apps.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option to the Peloton Tread, this treadmill will definitely get the job done. Just keep in mind you still have to provide your own tablet and are responsible for paying any subscription fees.

There’s a lot of competition for treadmills in the sub $2000 price range, but I think the 7.8 AT holds its own pretty well. Again, that warranty is about as good as any I’ve seen (regardless of price range).

Overall, I think this treadmill is a good buy. I think it would work especially well for runners, folks interested in HIIT, or for those interested in using the Peloton app (or other similar apps). In other words- yes, it’s worth buying.

 

 

 

Will

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