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Buying a budget treadmill? One woman has a caution

Two inexpensive treadmills broke when teen sons used them
How much exercise your kid needs, based on the latest research
Posted at 11:40 AM, Sep 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-06 12:16:12-04

Home fitness equipment is big business these days. But did you ever wonder why gym treadmills can cost $3,000, while home treadmills can cost just $300?

One Anderson Township woman just found out, and has a caution for anyone who would like to work out at home.

Sherri Ketner cannot believe what happened to her four-month-old Gold's Gym treadmill.

While one of her sons was using it, the frame broke apart, she says.

"He was running on the treadmill, and the frame just snapped," she said. "Now it just hits the ground."

But the problem is that this was her second Gold's Gym treadmill, a recent replacement for another one that also broke. The replacement didn't last either.

"We only had it for four months," she said, "and the same exact thing happened."

But when she called Gold's Gym's customer service number, the agent said the second broken one was her responsibility to fix or replace, unlike her first treadmill that was replaced free under warranty.

"It turns out the warranty on the replacement was only 90 days," Ketner said, "and I had this one four months."

Downside of budget fitness equipment

Budget treadmills like hers look great in the store, and come with a lot of the same bells and whistles (like programmable workouts) you will find in gym treadmills.

But if you tip them and move them around you will find they are a lot lighter.

It turns out Gold's Gym treadmills are the $400-$500 budget line from ICON fitness, which also makes ProForm and the top-rated NordicTrack brand. says Gold's Gym treadmills are "decent for walkers and light runners on a tight budget."

But it does not recommend them for serious runners or sturdy athletes like Ketner's sons.

"It was just four months," she said, "what is this frame made out of?"

After we contacted ICON Fitness they agreed to replace her Gold's treadmill with a better model, so that it won't turn into what so many cheap treadmills become: a large clothes hanger.

Bottom line: inexpensive $300-$500 treadmills are fine for walking. Gold's Gym treadmills, sold primarily in big box discount stores, get decent ratings on a number of review sites.

But for serious workouts, you may need to up your investment for a sturdier model, so you don't waste your money.


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