The treadmill is one of the first pieces of equipment that fitness-conscious people acquire to enjoy their workouts regularly right in the comfort of their abode. Creating a home gym is a very practical step to keep moving forward in your fitness program, especially if you don't have time to go to the gym or find gym membership and fitness classes too expensive.
While buying your own equipment requires a big investment, if you can find models from reputable manufacturers, then you can use them for a long time with the proper maintenance.
Are you looking for a treadmill to use for your home gym but have a tight budget? Then you may want to consider two of the hottest items in many reviewers' 2020 list in the under $1,000 category: the Horizon Fitness T101 and the NordicTrack 6.5 S.
Between the NordicTrack 6.5 S and Horizon T101, the 6.5 S is the better choice provided you have the extra money. The integrated iFit training that includes multiple workout types such as yoga, cross-training and body sculpting, and solid build quality justifies the higher price.
Johnson Health Tech, which produces Horizon Fitness, and Icon Health and Fitness, the company behind NordicTrack treadmills, are both veterans in the business of exercise equipment manufacturing.
Both units are ideal for home use because they're foldable, letting you store them away after use.
Which Treadmill is Better?
Both treadmills are of durable build and have their respective cushioning systems for shock absorption. The Horizon Fitness T101 also comes equipped with Bluetooth-enabled speakers while the NordicTrack 6.5 S has an iPod/MP3 compatible sound system.
Both companies also offer financing programs for these treadmills. NordicTrack works with TD Bank for payment plans.
If you need a major motivation boost and have extra dollars to spare each month, the NordicTrack 6.5 S is the treadmill for you. It offers free access to its iFit training for a month from the time of purchase that you can access from your iPhone or tablet. You'll enjoy engaging treadmill sessions with world-class trainers, some of whom will conduct lessons from overseas destinations. You’ll also be part of the iFit community, comprising more than a million users. In addition, there are several different types of workouts available including such as yoga, boot camp, and incline training.
If you’re willing to invest more, then you can become a regular subscriber after the free 30-day access. However, if you're more after a basic and more compact product that's great for brisk walking and not high-intensity running, then Horizon's T101 is a good choice.
Let's compare the features of the two treadmills in more detail.
Comparison of Treadmill Specs
Horizon Fitness T101
NordicTrack 6.5 S
20” x 55”
20” x 55”
3-Zone variable response cushioning
yes, free for 30 days
Maximum user weight:
Maximum user weight:
73 x 29.5 x 12
73 x 35.8 x 67.5
Frame - Lifetime
Motor - Lifetime
Parts & Labor - 1-Year
Frame - Lifetime
Motor - 25-Year
Parts & Labor - 1-Year
Belt Length and Width
The belts of the Horizon Fitness T101 and NordicTrack 6.5 S treadmills both measure 55 inches long and 22 inches wide.
Horizon Fitness uses a three-zone variable cushioning system. The soft rubber on the front of the deck where your foot first lands, referred to as the impact zone, allows for maximum absorption of your foot strike energy. The mid-area or transition zone contains moderating cushioning. The push-off zone at the back of the treadmill is made of stiff rubber.
Meanwhile, NordickTrack’s deck makes use of FlexSelect cushioning, which features dampeners that soften the impact on the joints while simulating a real walk or run on outdoor roads.
Maximum Load Weight
Both products can support users weighing up to 300 pounds (136 kilograms).
Both treadmills can incline up to 10 degrees.
Both products offer speeds of up to 10 miles per hour.
NordicTrack uses a 2.6 continuous-duty horsepower (CHP) DURX Motor that is self-cooling and has reduced vibration. Meanwhile, Horizon is driven by a 2.5CHP an "ultra-quiet" Johnson Drive System motor so you won't disturb others who need quiet while you exercise.
The Horizon Fitness T101 measures 73 x 29.5 x 12 inches and weighs 180 pounds. Meanwhile, the NordicTrack 6.5 S measures 73 x 35.8 x 67.5 inches and weighs 203 pounds.
Horizon Fitness offers lifetime warranties for T101's frame and motor plus one-year warranties on parts and labor. Meanwhile, NordicTrack offers a lifetime warranty on the frame, a 25-year warranty on the motor, and a one-year warranty on parts and labor.
Heart Rate Monitor
Both treadmills have heart rate monitors.
The central consoles of both treadmills are backlit and have LED and LCD displays respectively which is to be expected at this price point.
Horizon's T101 comes with 30 workout programs from building a strong heart rate to losing weight, increasing muscle tone, and more. Meanwhile, NordicTrack offers 20 programs such as fat burning, cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and toning.
Certain users find the deck of both treadmills too short. Some reviewers have suggested the 60-inch T202 model of Horizon Fitness for those interested in using a longer track.
The grip sensors to monitor the heart rate was a disappointment to some clients who said that other treadmills within the price range of Horizon and NordicTrack offer chest bands or straps.
There are also buyers who said that the motor speed of 10mph for both products is too slow or limited for faster runners or people interested in interval workouts. They suggested Horizon's Elite T5 for interested buyers who would want to jog on their treadmill frequently.
The NordicTrack treadmill became noisy when others used it at a higher speed.
Is the Horizon Fitness T101 a good treadmill?
Yes. The product is one of the best entry-level treadmills in the market. The model is highly recommended for individuals who do light to moderate workouts, including beginners in their fitness journey.
For those who wish to advance to a Horizon model with steeper inclines, you can check out the Adventure 3 (12%) and Elite T5 (15%) models.
Does the Horizon T101 include virtual workout sessions with trainers?
No. Between the two treadmills in this article, only the NordicTrack 6.5 S offers that option. However, workouts on the T101 can be just as invigorating when you play music by connecting your smartphone or tablet to its sound system via Bluetooth.
Simply place it on the treadmill's built-in device holder located on the console so you can view exercise videos or any live-stream program of your choice.
Both products are worth considering if you want to invest in a treadmill at home that's worth your money. The treadmill market actually has a wide budget category, with some units worth as low as $100. But experts warn against cheaper units, which may cause injury to users due to inadequate cushioning and weak frame.