Matrix Fitness is a high-end brand of gym equipment from Johnson Health Tech. Know from their impressive hardware and electronics, Matrix is a preferred treadmill brand for shoppers with more than $2K to spend. Elite health clubs have featured Matrix treadmills for years and the brand recently started producing units designed for home use.
A special feature of Matrix home treadmills is the option to virtually train outside using Virtual Active video. Virtual Active shows scenic paths on your treadmill screen or home TV. This can be displayed through traditional HD video and VR 360 video, which captures trails in 360 degrees for viewing with virtual reality headgear as you walk, jog, or run on the machine. Standard workout programs are also programmed to each console.
Matrix sells four treadmills with home-use warranties:
Three consoles are compatible with these machines, providing basic-to-advanced workout programming and other features. Some common features among all three consoles are the customizable eight-week Sprint8 workout app and wireless heart rate monitoring. Each console also has standard preset workouts and lets you train with immersive Virtual Active video (although videos are only preloaded into the two premium consoles). Other special options, such as a touchscreen monitor and web browser, are detailed below.
Comparisons of essential Matrix treadmill parts include:
- Belt Quality: All Matrix home treadmills have two-ply workout belts that can serve for thousands of miles before maintenance is required.
- Workout Space: The Matrix TF30 has a 55″ x 20″ workout belt. This makes it the best Matrix treadmill value for walkers. The others have 60″ long workout surfaces to better fit runners. The T75 belt also has extra width.
- Horsepower: Each machine has comparable horsepower and is strong enough for running and interval training. The T75 is distinguished by an AC motor, which is typically reserved for commercial treadmills.
What We Like:
The Matrix home treadmill collection lets users exercise at home with commercial-quality equipment at a reasonable price. Here are some of the finer points.
- Sturdy Folding & Non-Folding Frames: Matrix features two folding treadmills and two non-folding treadmills with residential warranties. Like club-quality fitness machines, these have user weight capacities up to 400 pounds.
- High-End Motors: Matrix treadmills are equipped with the manufacturer’s patented Johnson Drive motors, which are quiet and carry lifetime guarantees. These motors recalibrate the belt motion with each step for an especially smooth performance. The X75 stands out for having an AC motor like a health club machine, but each unit is powerful enough to support smooth interval training and long distance runs.
- Track Quality: All Matrix home treadmills have thick two-ply track belts to promote quiet operation and durability. In comparison, cheap competitors have thin single-ply belts that make more noise and are prone to stretching and snapping. Matrix tracks have standard to above-average surface sizes as well. The TF30 is 55″ long and the others are 60″ long to accommodate taller runners. The tracks have standard 20″ widths (except for the T75, which is 22″ across).
- Suspension: To help protect your knees and other sensitive joints, all Matrix home treadmills feature 1″-thick decks placed on high quality suspension systems. These are the same cushioning systems featured on health club treadmills and they work well in the busiest home gyms.
- Incline: To help you sculpt lean muscle with a treadmill, each machine has power incline. Power incline is especially fun to use with Virtual Active video, as the slope automatically adjusts to simulate topography shown on screen. The top models have a 15% maximum incline and the T75 has a 12% maximum.
- Consoles: Each Matrix home treadmill is paired with your choice of three consoles. These are called the XR, XER, and XIR.
- Basic XR Console: The XR uses older screen technology (no touchscreen) and has a backlit 9.5″ LCD. This unit has five built-in workout programs plus the Sprint8 workout app, which can be repeated for highly effective eight-week training sessions. To support digital entertainment while using these programs, the XR console has a ledge for a tablet computer or similar mobile device. To integrate Virtual Active, you can connect a Passport Player ($199). This Passport-ready console is also compatible with a wireless heart rate monitor (sold separately).
- Premium XIR Console: The XIR with 10″ touch screen has 11 standard workouts, the Sprint8 app, three built-in Virtual Active workouts, and Passport readiness for new video workouts and/or connecting videos to a big screen. Also included on the XIR are smartphone compatibility, speakers, a web browser, a variety of apps (MyFitnessPal, Hulu, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook), and more.
- Mid-Level XER Console: The XER with 6″ touch screen and 10 standard programs has the same special features as the XIR, minus the web browser.
- Warranties: Matrix Fitness warranties are good matches for their respective price classes. Lifetime coverage is standard for each home treadmill’s frame, motor, and deck. Each console carries a five-year warranty (which is the best treadmill electronics protection you’ll find for this price). Other components are under warranty for five or seven years, depending on the model. If labor is required, there’s no expense during the first two years of ownership.
What We Don’t Like:
- Extra Costs: Matrix treadmills aren’t sold with absolutely all their trimmings. The Passport Player, which sends Virtual Active workouts to your home entertainment system, is sold separately. Wireless chest straps are also sold separately from treadmills topped with the XR console.
- Heavy Weight: These fitness machines weigh more than 260 pounds each. That’s a sign of high quality, but it makes them difficult to move from room to room, even with the attached transport wheels.
For buyers with high-end home treadmill budgets, the durable models from Matrix Fitness deserve serious consideration. They feel great to use, are sold with appealing consoles, and are backed by generous warranties. The folding TF50 and non-folding T50 are the best sellers. The TF30 is recommended for walking and the new TF75 is ideal for a high-traffic home gym. No matter what your home gym requires, Matrix Fitness has a perfect machine for you.