Best Matrix Treadmills of 2016
Matrix home treadmills are very appealing new options from a leader in commercial fitness. Folding and non-folding Matrix home treadmills for walkers and runners are now available, all with above-average durability, a choice of consoles, and at least five-year warranties on parts and electronics. Each is also Passport-ready for owners interested in virtual outdoor training with a big-screen view. Some differences among Matrix home treadmills are track size and track type, with the best track being the largest and maintenance-free. This FitRated.com chart can help you make Matrix treadmill comparisons:
Top 4 Best Rated Matrix Treadmills
|Motor||3.25 CHP||3.0 CHP||3.25 CHP||3.25 CHP|
|Speed||0.5 - 12.5 mph||0.5 - 12.5 mph||0.5 - 12.5 mph||0.5 - 12.5 mph|
|Incline||0 - 15%||0 - 15%||0 - 15%||0 - 15%|
|Pricing||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price||See Best Price|
Matrix Treadmills Buying Guide
Matrix Fitness began as an exclusive health club brand and expanded to home gyms in 2016. Their home treadmill line debuted with four high-end trainers – two that fold, two that don’t – called the TF30, TF50, T50 and T70. See our treadmill comparisons below.
All Matrix home treadmills are compatible with three attractive workout/entertainment consoles called the XR, XER and XIR. While the XR is rather basic, the XER and XIR have upgrades ranging from music speakers to touch screens, popular mobile apps, and video for simulating outdoor treks in destinations worldwide. Details are below.
The Typical Matrix Treadmill
Before we explore the fun of Matrix consoles, here we look at the more serious basics of each treadmill base. Here are five key comparisons.
- Frame Style: Folding treadmills by Matrix are the TF30 and TF50. The decks of these machines can easily be repositioned after workouts to provide more floor space. Nonfolding treadmills by Matrix are the T50 and T70.
- Track Size and Incline Size: The smallest treadmill from Matrix is the foldable TF30, which has a 55” x 20” training area. The others have 60” long tracks to accommodate runners of all sizes. The T70 has extra width as well. All Matrix home treadmill tracks can power-incline up to 15 percent.
- Track Quality: All tread tracks for this brand are above-average quality. The belts are two-ply with enough thickness to promote impressive longevity and quiet operation. Additionally the top-of-the-line Matrix T70 has a maintenance-free track.
- Motor: Three Matrix home treadmills – the folding models and the T50 – have 3.25 continuous horsepower DC motors. The T70 offers a step up with its commercial AC drive.
- Warranty: Warranties are great indicators of product quality, and all Matrix home treadmills carry warranty packages that should inspire buyer confidence. For all models the frames, decks and motors have lifetime guarantees. Each console carries a five-year warranty. The treadmills’ other components are under warranty for either five or seven years, and all customers get free labor during the first two years.
Matrix Residential Console Comparisons
Customization is part of the Matrix appeal. All Matrix home cardio trainers are compatible with three consoles: the XR, XER and XIR. These high quality control centers each have different display screens, unique workout menus and special features. Here are main comparisons.
- Screen Size and Type: Each Matrix console has a different screen size. One screen is a traditional LCD. The others are touch screens. The XR has a monocolor 8.5” LCD, the XER has a full color 6” touch screen, and the XIR has a high definition 10” touch screen.
- Standard Workouts: Standard treadmill workout programs have names such as “Hill Climb” and “5K.” The Matrix XR console provides five workout programs of this type. The XER has 10 and the XIR has 11.
- HIIT: High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an extremely efficient way to exercise for weight management, muscle tone and cardiovascular endurance. The Matrix XER and XIR consoles feature an app called Sprint8 that delivers 8-week HIIT training programs at multiple ability levels. These require just 20 minutes of treadmill training every other day.
- Virtual Workouts: Matrix’s parent company Johnson Health Tech has developed engaging video technology called Virtual Active. A Virtual Active video is filmed in a popular tourist destination such as Niagara Falls, San Francisco, Hawaii’s Big Island or the French Riviera. It’s filmed from the viewpoint of a walker or runner, and the sights and sounds adjust to coordinate with any user’s pace. All Matrix home treadmills can access these videos in either one or two ways. First, the XER and XIR consoles arrive with three videos. These can be viewed on their touch screens and heard through the built-in speakers. Second, all three Matrix consoles are Passport-ready. This means that Virtual Active videos can be shown on a home TV and still adjust to the treadmill user’s motion. Using this fun technology requires the separate purchase of a Passport Media Player.
- Mobile Apps: Each console has a different combination of mobile functions. All have ViaFit connectivity to automatically log workout data and share statistics such as “distance” with other fitness devices (e.g., FitBit) and with apps like MyFitnessPal and Facebook. Additionally the XER and XIR consoles have apps for enhancing workouts, checking social media, entertainment (Hulu and YouTube) and weather reports. Finally, the Matrix XIR console has a web browser and a “My Media” app.
All three Matrix home treadmill consoles carry five-year warranties. (In contrast, some fitness brands provide no console warranties at all!) Other shared features are adjustable height, water bottle holders and wireless heart rate receivers. Each also has a reading rack for holding a magazine or tablet computer.
Folding Matrix Treadmills
Matrix introduced its first folding treadmills in 2016: the TF30 and TF50. The “folding” involves pushing the deck upward so that it’s vertical instead of spread across the floor. (Moving the deck requires hardly any human strength; most of the work is done with hydraulic assist.) Just as stable as non-folding treadmills, these high-end machines can safely support up to 400 pounds at up to 12.5 mph.
Size of exercise area is the most important difference between Matrix folding treadmills. The TF30 has a 55” x 20” long workout area. This can comfortably fit any walker, but for tall runners it might feel restrictive. The TF50 has a 60” x 20” track.
When folded these machines claim the same amount of floor space: 41” long and 36” wide. Four wheels are attached to each for transport as well.
Which is a better buy? The cheapest Matrix treadmill, the TF30, is among the industry’s best folding treadmills. Nonetheless we recommend the TF50 instead. For nearly the same price it provides an even thicker track (2.2 mm instead of 1.6), extends the track length by five inches, and extends the parts warranty by two years.
Non-Folding Matrix Treadmills
The two non-folding Matrix treadmills built just for home use are the T50 and T70. The T50 is essentially the TF50 described above, but minus the hydraulics for folding it costs slightly less. Both the T50 and T70 can safely hold up to 400 pounds and reach 12.5 mph.
These nonfolding treadmills are equipped with different tracks. First, the dimensions are different: Both are 60” long but the T70 track is two inches wider (22”). Second, only the T70 track is maintenance-free; it can serve smoothly for thousands of miles without lubrication.
Motor power is the other main difference. The T50 has a respectable 3.25 HP continuous duty DC motor. This provides ample power for most home training needs. The T70 is upgraded with a commercial 3.0 HP motor. This is an AC motor, so it can start more quickly and is more powerful than the T50’s.
Which is the better buy? The Matrix T70 is best in our review. It costs just $300 more than the T50, but it delivers much more than $300 in value. One upgrade is the maintenance-free track, which can save the owner some time. Another upgrade is the commercial motor and a third is a longer warranty. A couple of other upgrades are noted on the Matrix Fitness website.
About the Manufacturer
Matrix Fitness is owned by Johnson Health Tech (JHT), an international company that also builds fitness machines for the residential and commercial brands AFG, Horizon Fitness and Vision Fitness. Customer service for their North American shoppers is provided out of Madison, WI. JHT had an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau during the writing of this brand review.