From the Mailbox: Horizon 5.1T Treadmill Review

MAIL TIME!! As much as I enjoy reviewing treadmills myself, I love when readers contact me with some first-hand reviews of their own. I especially love video reviews so if you have a treadmill and would be willing to film a video review of that treadmill, let’s talk.

horizon 5.1t treadmill reviewToday’s review comes from Sean and is a review of the Horizon 5.1T treadmill. He wrote:

Purchased a 5.1T in 2005. Have had four Motor Control Boards, two motors, two belts since purchase. Wife and I are in our 50s and do not use it very often. It has been a lemon from the start. We have been very disappointed with Customer Service and the very poor quality equipment – particularly the MCBs[motor control boards]. Based on the Customer Service alone I would not recommend purchasing any of their products and I hope this will forewarn others. Seems they have not learned from their CPSC fiasco years ago.

The CPSC fiasco Sean refers to is an issue Horizon had with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission back in 2002 where Horizon had to involuntarily recall 5,900 treadmills due to “a component of the electronic control panel malfunctioning, causing the motor and walking belt to rapidly accelerate and the user can lose balance and fall.”

Junk Parts

My first thought of this review is, “Whoa!” FOUR motor control boards and TWO motors?! For a treadmill that wasn’t used very often, that is surprisingly bad. I always give a little wiggle room for treadmill belts because, while they are a critical part of the machine, they are known to malfunction. You can learn about servicing your treadmill belt here and here.

So you should plan on replacing or at least servicing your treadmill belt a few times throughout its life. However, you should not have to replace the motor control board and/or the motor a number of times. There are decent treadmills out there that have parts that are built to last. Sure you might chip away at some of the plastic parts over time but you NEED to be able to rely on your motors and control boards.

Poor Customer Service

This part of the review is not directed toward the 5.1T treadmill but rather at Horizon as a whole. One thing you will find with treadmill manufacturers is that they have horrible customer service. LifeSpan is the only treadmill manufacturer I have ever heard of to have quality customer service.

Am I surprised that Sean had a rough time with Horizon’s customer service? No. Is it a shame that these treadmill manufacturer’s can’t seem to get a handle on the importance of a good customer service department? Yes. Is that going to change anytime soon? Probably not. Even the more popular brands like NordicTrack and Proform have terrible customer service. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. And that is one of the reasons it is so important to buy a treadmill that has been built to last. If you don’t have to deal with parts replacements, you won’t have to deal with crummy customer service and you will be thankful for that, I promise.


The Horizon 5.1T treadmill is no longer available online or through Horizon, but you might be able to find it used somewhere. My advice: Don’t buy it. Although Horizon has made a pretty good turn-around, they didn’t make very good treadmills 10ish years ago. Quite honestly, not many treadmills were that great 10 years ago. Technology has come a long way and the newer treadmills absolutely kill older models when it comes to reliability and quality.

Do you have a treadmill?? Do you love it? Hate it? I want to hear about it! Drop me a line in the comments or send me an email!

About The Author

Treadmill Review Guru is an expert on all things related to treadmills and running. He is a former cross country runner and soccer player and hopes to soon be able to run a marathon. He loves training on his treadmill whenever he gets the chance. Check out his recommendations and see what he thinks are the best treadmills.