Horizon Fitness 7.8AT Treadmill Review 2020

Kristen (Kacey) NelsonKristen (Kacey) Nelson

Last Updated: November 23, 2020

The Horizon Fitness 7.8 AT is Horizon’s highest grade treadmill in their Studio Series lineup. Its sibling machines, the 7.0AT and 7.4AT provide a nice combination of performance and technology, but the 7.8 AT takes the cake with its newly redesigned console and Sprint 8 training integration. The 7.8AT is designed for interval training with blue thumb rollers on the upright handles so you can quickly roll the dial to increase incline and resistance. These are unusual on a treadmill but are slightly more responsive than a quick touch button. Incline jumps by .5 and speed increases by .1 each time you roll the dial. This allows for very tailored speed and incline settings you can access quickly while running.

Horizon 7.8 AT Treadmill Review 2020

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Treadmill Awards: 2020 Best Treadmill for HIIT Training

Best Treadmill for HIIT Training 2020The Horizon Fitness 7.8 AT is an impressive machine. With its easy to use features, performance, and technology we awarded it the Best Treadmill for HIIT training for 2020.

Who It’s For: Runners who want impressive HIIT features on a versatile console that will sync with 3rd party training apps

The Horizon 7.8AT is an excellent choice for users who:

  • Are serious about training and want a responsive machine (no lag between settings)
  • Want usable features that make navigation and speed control intuitive
  • Are more interested in a range of apps on their personal tablet than one singular app on a built in touchscreen
  • Expect a powerful motor and full size running platform
  • Desire a treadmill that folds up
  • Expect a full lifetime warranty that reflects the product quality and design
Pros
  • 4.0HP motor is powerful and 33% faster for speed and incline adjustments with Rapid Sync system.
  • This is an excellent machine for HIIT training
  • Sprint 8 training program built in
  • QuickDial controllers for speed and incline are usual and effective. Easier to use than buttons.
  • Exceptional Lifetime warranty on motor and frame
  • Folding deck hinges to lock vertically against the console when you are finished.
Cons
  • While you can sync with external apps, the 7.8AT relies on a tablet holder to provide touchscreen content, videos or online classes. It does not have a touchscreen or built in video workouts.
  • Treadmill weighs 330lbs and will support 350lbs. This is on the heavier side for overall treadmill weight and may be a factor to consider if you plan to use it on a second (or higher) floor.
  • LED Screen is not on par with other treadmills in this price range.
  • Bluetooth may not sync with every app — some apps allow for easier integration than others

Horizon 7.8AT Treadmill Review Best Price


FeaturesSpecifications
  • 350lbs max user weight
    • This is an impressive weight capacity for a folding treadmill which makes it a great option for nearly all users.
  • 15% Incline
    • Get more out of your HIIT intervals with incline added to speed sessions for a higher calorie burn and more intense conditioning
  • 12 mph Max Speed
    • The 4.0 HP motor is 33% faster than comparable motors so you can jump quickly from one speed to another with no lag in between. There are abundant speed training options with a 12mph max.
  • Feather Light Folding
    • The Feather Light folding system makes it easy to fold your treadmill deck vertically when you are finished to reduce dedicated floor space in your home. The deck locks into place when folded for safety and security.
  • 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning
    • The 7.8AT provides a cushioned mid-strike zone with a solid toe off for the ultimate running treadmill. Control and improve your running form with the variable response cushioning.
  • Sprint 8 HIIT program integrated
    • The Sprint 8 HIIT programs are very popular and shown to be effective (and time efficient!) for weight loss. The Sprint 8 program comes preloaded on the 7.8AT and the responsive motor supports the quick speed intervals in this program. You can also subscribe and use your tablet to access more Sprint 8 workouts.
  • 33% faster response motor
    • The 4.0HP motor is designed to not only be powerful but also extremely responsive so you can move between speeds quicker than on comparable treadmills. Go ahead and push that button — you’ll notice the jump to your desired speed is almost instantaneous!
  • Bluetooth enabled to sync with 3rd party apps
    • Don’t get locked into one particular app. Horizon has designed the 7.8AT to sync with any number of external 3rd party apps so you can train and use the platform of your choice that will sync with the Bluetooth console.
  • Roller Speed and Incline Controls
    • An unusual but intuitive design, the QuickDial controls make it simple to jump from one speed (or incline) to another. Using just your thumb, you can roll the control dial quickly and easily.
  • 16 Digit Alphanumeric LED 9.3” and High Contrast Color TFT screen
    • While not the most technologically advanced console, the 7.8AT does have an upgraded screen that is easy to see and use. The added tablet holder and Bluetooth function makes it so you can also use your personal tablet for added training options.

Construction:

  • 22” W x 60” L belt
  • 4.0 HP Continuous DC motor
  • 1.6mm Silicone belt
  • .8” Deck thickness
  • 60mm – 46mm Tapered Rollers
  • 4 Wheels under frame to roll when folded
  • Open Footprint: 76” L x 37” W x 64” H
  • 350lbs max user weight
  • 330lbs treadmill weight

Functionality:

  • 15% Incline
  • 12 mph Max Speed
  • Feather Light Folding
  • 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning
  • Sprint 8 HIIT program integrated
  • 33% faster response motor
  • Bluetooth enabled to sync with 3rd party apps
  • QuickDial Speed and Incline Controls
  • Heart Rate chest strap included

Console:

  • 16 Digit Alphanumeric LED 9.3”
  • High Contrast Color TFT Screen
  • Free Phone/Tablet app that interfaces with machine
  • Accessory Tray
  • Audio In/Out Jack
  • Bluetooth Speakers
  • Energy Saver Mode
  • QuickDial controls for speed and incline
  • Fan
  • Multiposition Tablet Holders
  • HR Sensors on handlebars
  • Heart Rate chest strap included

Warranty:

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Motor: Lifetime
  • Parts: 5 Years
  • Labor: 2 Years

In-depth Review of Horizon 7.8AT Treadmill


Construction

Frame

The Horizon Fitness 7.8AT treadmill is sturdy weighing in at 330lbs. The deck will fold and lock into a vertical, upright position against the console for security when not in use. There are also four wheels under the frame so you can gently roll the 7.8AT when it’s folded. It is a heavy machine though, so be careful when moving it. The elongated 22” wide by 60” long deck provides plenty of running space — even for taller users. The treadmill feels stable and supportive when running. Even when inclined there is minimal wobble. The console is a bit dated and we would like to see some upgraded tech in the form of a color touchscreen, but in all, the 7.8AT provides an excellent running feel with Variable Response cushioning and a gently textured belt.

Handrails

There are two sets of handlebars on the 7.8AT. The side handrails extend forward from the console and float over the aluminum step rails to provide a strong hand-hold when getting on or off the machine and/or when walking along the belt. These have a firm plastic cover that is both moisture and sweat resistant and can be easily wiped off to sanitize. There are also curved handlebars that extend forward from the console and then bend vertically for an upright hand position. These have both heart rate sensors and the speed and incline roller dials on the ends. The curved bars angle gently inward which allows users to keep their hands on the handles and dials while also keeping the shoulders and elbows in alignment for comfort and ergonomics. The dial controls on the end of the handlebars are an unusual — but valuable — feature. These are only present on the 7.8AT treadmill in the Studio Series lineup.

Deck

  • Cushioning
    • The Horizon 7.8AT features their 3-Zone Variable Response cushioning which is advertised as having different levels of cushioning in 3 different zones on the deck. This allows runners to find a comfortable mid-strike foot position but then enjoy a solid toe off with a full kick back stride extension. The cushioning is not as soft as other treadmills we’ve tested, but it is certainly an upgrade from running on outdoor surfaces. Also, the added support for a strong toe off may feel slightly less cushioned underfoot initially but helps runners find and maintain a healthy running stroke for better joint support and spinal alignment. Good running form reduces impact injuries and the risk of postural deviations from overly tight muscles.
  • Length/Width
    • The 60” long and 22” wide deck is a full size which provides plenty of lateral and fore/aft length. We recommend a minimum of 60” for tall runners, those with a long stride, or anyone looking for a bit of extra length. The 22” wide gives you just a touch more room to wander on the deck before you step onto the aluminum side rails.
  • Belt and Rollers
    • The belt and rollers on the 7.8AT are adequate — not quite as large or thick as we see on other machines, but the feel is still supportive and gently textured underfoot. Rollers move the belt along the deck, so a larger size increases surface area which reduces belt tension to reduce friction.

Motor

  • A hearty 4.0HP motor supports smooth speed and incline adjustments and should provide enough power for users at all conditioning levels. The 7.8AT is great for gently walking since it is easy to get on and off and has simple preloaded programs that work well for those who just want to get on and go. It is also a good option for runners and joggers who plan to train or run regularly. But the 7.8AT excels at HIIT training features. The preloaded Sprint 8 programs are 20 minutes of intervals for intense HIIT training that packs a wallop and will kick up your heart rate and calorie burn. This machine was designed specifically for those who want to use HIIT intervals regularly, so if you like the Sprint 8 or similar programs, this is a great option.
  • Horizon has also designed the motor to have a faster response time (up to 33% faster according to Horizon). This means when you use the dial to change speed or incline there is little to no lag between adjustments. You’d better be ready to pick up the pace, because it speeds up on a dime! We love the faster motor response time because it actually translates into better performance by the treadmill and provides better training for the user.
  • One issue we frequently have to assess with folding treadmills is the height of the motor hood that sits at the top of the deck. Since folding treadmills typically house the motor up here in order to allow the deck to fold, it can be in the way if you stand too close to the console or the front of the deck. While the 7.8AT does have an elevated motor hood, we didn’t find it was overly intrusive in your running space. If you stand too close there is a chance you will graze your shoe on the top of the motor hood, but repositioning your body back just a few inches solves this problem.

Console/Controls

Screen

Horizon 7.8 AT Treadmill Console
The Horizon 7.8AT has two screens. A 9.3” LCD screen sits at the top of the console. It is a color screen, but it won’t show workout videos or other video content. All program graphics are digital. The LCD screen provides workout feedback such as calories, distance, heart rate, incline, pace, speed and time. The preloaded programs are divided into a 5K, calorie burn, custom program, custom HR program, distance run, fat burn, heart rate, hill climb, manual and of course, Sprint 8.
Although the screen is easy to use and read, it is a bit dated for treadmills in this price range. Comparable models such as the Nordictrack 1750 or Proform 5000 offer full color touchscreens with videos, maps, and subscription content options. The 7.8AT doesn’t really offer any of this. You can subscribe to any number of apps to be viewed on your personal tablet, but the functionality is not as streamlined as it is on a touchscreen. While the 7.8AT screen is functional, it could use an upgrade to compete with other treadmill consoles.

Controls

The 7.8AT has preset buttons for speed on the right and incline on the left of the console. These are black with white numbers. A master control panel just below the screens allows users to toggle through various programs and select metric displays. There is also a green start and red stop button here. But the main controls, or at least the ones that are the easiest to use are the blue QuickDial controls on the small vertical handles. While there are no numbers on the dial, resistance and speed are displayed on the screen so you know what level you are on.

Layout

The layout of the console makes sense. The button controls on both the right and left are clearly marked – they could be a bit larger however. There is a button for each speed but not every incline level has its own number. The button selections are probably based on which inclines are the most frequently used. The QuickDials on the upright handles add more functionality here and are easy to reach. While the layout is clean, the addition of various buttons and stickers to indicate programs, functions, etc is a bit cluttered.

Tablet Holder

There is a tablet holder ledge in the middle of the console. This is wide enough to hold most tablets, but it will block the larger LCD screen. Metrics will still continue to tally during your workout even if you can’t see the screen. The tablet holder provides an excellent place to set your device if you are using a Bluetooth compatible app. You can watch the program as if it were on the screen.

Storage

There are two pockets on either side of the console that will hold a small water bottle, phone, keys, etc. There is also a large storage tray that spans the width of the deck just below the console. This tray adds useful extra storage because even when running on a treadmill at home, it is nice to have personal items (TV remote, book, etc) close by for convenience.

Bluetooth

The 7.8AT has advanced Bluetooth technology that will stream media through the integrated speakers, track your heart rate and sync with various apps. There is also a rapid-charge USB port behind the tablet holder so you can charge your device while using it.

Functionality

Performance

The 7.8AT performs well under testing and feels comfortable underfoot. As mentioned, the responsive motor is noticeable here. There really is no lag or pause between speed and incline settings. Which means, you need to be ready! When you adjust the dial to increase speed it responds almost immediately, so be ready to pick up that pace.

Incline / Decline range

The Horizon 7.8AT inclines to 15%. There are several benefits to working on an incline. A steeper incline more directly engages your posterior muscle chain which consequently burns more calories than running on a flat road. It also adds different challenges when you combine various speeds with various inclines. It’s hard to get bored on a machine with this many training options. The incline feature makes it so you can really kick up that heart rate but stay low-impact for a challenging workout that burns more calories and recruits more of the powerhouse lower-body muscles.

10 Preloaded Routines

There are 10 preloaded programs on the 7.8AT which can be selected on the console. These are simple, easy to use, and provide excellent training options for users who want programs that don’t require a subscription.
Programs include:

  • 5K
  • Calorie
  • Custom
  • Custom HR
  • Distance
  • Fat Burn
  • Heart Rate
  • Hill Climb
  • Manual
  • Sprint 8

The arrow buttons on the console toggle through and select your program of choice. Also, the 7.8AT will sync via Bluetooth with external fitness apps for additional training content. For all external apps, you must use your personal tablet which is not included. The console is not video enabled, but the 7.8AT will keep track of your metrics while you use your phone or personal tablet.

Subscription Options

Horizon offers the Pro app, which is a free, no-subscription app that lets you control your workout from your device’s touchscreen. The Pro app automatically pushes workout stats to your favorite fitness apps like Fitbit and Under Armour, so you can keep track of all your data in one place. There are several apps that will sync with the treadmill, some of which come with a discount to Horizon users. All apps require their own subscription and are not included with purchase of the 7.8AT. Horizon advertises the 7.8AT will sync with the following apps:

  • Fitbit (Fitness app with personalized metrics)
  • Under Armour (Workout app)
  • Horizon Pro app (Free; syncs workout data)
  • Studio App (HIIT workouts on and off the treadmill)
  • Peloton App (Running videos)
  • AFG App (Sprint 8)
  • Many others not specifically listed

Noise Level

The 7.8AT is relatively quiet. In this price range, and especially on a folding treadmill, there is always going to be some noise from foot impact. The deck inclines to 15% and there is a bit more noise when inclined, but this is most likely because the deck is suspended and therefore more noise escapes from under the machine. A treadmill mat is highly recommended as it reduces impact and vibration on your floor and will mitigate some of the impact noise.

Storage / Folding

The 7.8AT folds in half when you are finished. Simply lift the deck so it pivots to lock vertically against the console. The folding technology makes it so you can open the deck to use when needed, but fold it up to reduce floor space when your workout is over. The folded footprint is: 42″ L x 37″ W x 71″ H. The locking mechanism is secure so children or pets shouldn’t be able to unlatch it when locked.

Horizon 7.8AT Treadmill Review Best Price

Bottom Line:

The Horizon 7.8AT is a well-equipped treadmill that offers impressive training features. It has a full 22” wide and 60” long deck which is the largest we see on folding treadmills. This provides plenty of space for walking, jogging or running and should offer enough kickback for even tall runners. Also, the impressive 350lb max weight capacity opens this up as a viable option for larger runners as well. The console has been updated with a 9.3” LED/TFT display screen which is a big step up from older versions. The QuickDial controls and Rapid Sync motor make it easy to jump between speeds and inclines. These adjustments are noticeably faster than on comparable treadmills, so whenever you change your speed, be ready to immediately pick up the pace! The console is Bluetooth enabled which improves its functionality in several ways. First, the included heart rate chest strap syncs easily to provide real-time HR metrics right on the screen. Second, the Bluetooth feature allows your personal device to sync with external apps and the 7.8AT to provide added training and content via your tablet. It’s only flaw is a dated console with a simple LCD screen. Comparable models in this price range offer much more tech with full color touchscreens, videos, classes, and regularly updated content. One benefit of a tablet system is you are not locked into a single platform on your treadmill, you can train using your personal favorite apps. But some functionality is lost when the app doesn’t sync internally with the console display. There are also 10 built in programs, including the very popular Sprint 8 HIIT training system. Horizon also offers discounted rates and synchronization with various external apps for 7.8AT buyers. Check out Horizon’s website for up to date information about which apps sync and which are offered at a discount. In general, we find the 7.8AT to be a quality machine. If you are looking for a treadmill that is designed specifically for HIIT training, the 7.8AT is the perfect place to start.