a woman on a gold gym 430i treadmill

Gold Gym 430i Treadmill Review

If you are keen on year-round cardio, you have probably thought about purchasing a treadmill.

These machines make it relatively easy to keep your training consistent, and while running on a treadmill is never as good as running outside, it is a great option for those times when the weather forces you to stay inside.

Now, finding the right treadmill for you might be a long and difficult process, as there are a multitude of brands and models of treadmills, and each has a semi-specific target customer.

Because of every little difference within the different kinds of treadmills, it is definitely important to perform your due diligence and research extensively before you purchase. 

The first question you have to answer for yourself is purely monetary – how much can you afford to spend on your treadmill? Your answer to this question will dictate what kinds of treadmills you are looking at.

If money is not a concern, then you will probably look into the higher-end treadmills, which could cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000, and come fully equipped with cutting-edge technology and a sturdy, time-tested frame.

But if you are operating on a strict budget, you might try and find an option for somewhere in the $400-$600 range.

While difficult, this search is not impossible, as there are quite a few budget-treadmill options. Unfortunately, when you buy cheap, you get cheap – these machines are just not comparable to their more expensive cousins.

Regardless, if you have come across the 430i treadmill by Gold’s Gym, here is what we think of it. 

Gold’s Gym 430i Treadmill

Like its brothers, the 720 and 420, the 430i is another budget-treadmill whose hallmark is its foldability and space-saving technology.

Now, the implications of the 430i’s foldability are not great – the fact that the frame is split with a series of hinges proves that it is not as sturdy as you might like it to be.

The strongest treadmills have frames that consist of one singular and solid piece of steel. This frame cannot physically be as sturdy, as it is split into parts.

While being able to throw your treadmill in the corner is certainly a plus, you just have to keep in mind the weaknesses that the frame, by default of its design, has.

Additionally, like all companies, other features are given fancy names to improve marketability.

For instance, the AirStride Plus feature is meant to adjust the impact of the treadmill’s shock absorbers, to grant the impression that you are running on asphalt or something softer, like a woodsy trail.

This sounds great in an advertisement, but in reality, with such a cheap machine, you are unlikely to feel a difference whatsoever. Don’t let these fancy phrases and titles convince you that this treadmill is a steal for its price. Its’ worth is less than or equal to its list price of $450.

Specs

The entire 120-pound machine measures 55 inches long by 28.9 inches wide, by 64.7 inches tall. Clearly, its footprint is really not significant, which is the whole point of the unit.

As a budget treadmill, it is designed to be conservative in both price and space, and in that, it does succeed. This is not a large treadmill. Even when unfolded, it does not take up a particularly large amount of space.

Plus, because of the relatively low weight, once folded it becomes somewhat easily mobile, making it much easier to move around your home or apartment.

It does include a Heart Rate Sensor in the form of dual grip handles. However, like with nearly all dual grip heart rate sensors, you should take any readings with a bit of skepticism.

This method of finding your heart rate is infamously inaccurate. If you have and use a Fitbit or something similar, you can connect a chest-monitor to the watch to get the most accurate measure. 

Gold’s Gym 430i operates on a 2.5 HP motor. The best kind of motor is a Continuous Horse Power Motor – this means that the motor can reach its top speed and sustain that speed over a long period of time.

The best numbers for a runner are a 3 CHP motor – as this will allow a high and continuous speed. If you’re a jogger/walker, a 2.5 HP should be enough, however, it is not described in CHP, and so might not be able to sustain that top speed.

The more likely assumption, owing to the low cost and cheap quality of this machine, is that it is a Peak motor – 2.5 HP is likely the highest speed it will reach, and it likely is unable to sustain that speed.

This is unfortunate, depending on the kind of athlete/runner/jogger you are – if your goal is to walk for twenty minutes a day, this should be more than sufficient. If you are a runner, though, this won’t be able to handle you. 

The 430i also boasts a speed range of 0-10 mph and an incline range of 0-10%. The speed range is certainly respectable, although the reality is that the top few numbers are not going to be sustainable for this model, owing to its engine.

Which again, is an unfortunate truth to buying low-cost. There is nothing wrong with the incline range – being able to increase your incline up to 10% allows for a great integration of more difficult running/walking into your workout sessions.

The machine additionally has a user weight capacity of 300 pounds, which is on par with its other models, the 420 and 720.

Interestingly enough, this weight capacity is also on par with some of the best treadmills on the market – despite its potentially weak frame, you’re not missing out on anything weight-wise.

Where you will run into problems, however, is in the size of the tread. The tread on the 430i is 16 inches wide and 50 inches long. Sixteen inches is less than a foot and a half – many people, when standing with their feet shoulder-width apart, will exceed these sixteen inches.

That means that, in order to stay on the tread, you will have to run awkwardly and unnaturally, narrowing your stance, which is never good.

Additionally, because the tread is so short (fifty inches is about four feet), many people with longer strides will have to again, run awkwardly, stunting their strides so as to not fall off.

The size of the tread is one of the greatest weaknesses of this treadmill. 

In terms of tech, this machine is a step or two above being prehistoric. It includes the ability to connect an iFit Bluetooth Smart device – this allows you to follow routes and track your goals on your smartphone or tablet.

The downfall of this is that it requires an additional subscription to iFit – which is really not worth the money. The 430i also includes mp3 and iPod capability and includes low-mid quality speakers so you can listen to your music while you train.

The sentiment is nice, but the speakers are not fantastic – you’ll get better sound from a portable speaker like a Jawbone, Echo Dot, or iHome. 

Like the 420 and 720 models, the 430i also contains a small LCD screen. You can track calories burned, speed, distance, and heart rate on this screen, which includes a little racetrack that shows the progress of your workout.

This is a good feature for the price-point but in comparison to better models, it just is not up to scratch. However, if your only purpose is to run, you don’t really need the fun high-end techy touch screens.

This machine also includes 16 preprogrammed workouts, the same as the 420, but less than the 720. These workouts provide a great way to structure your training. 

Should I Get It?

While the low price might be incredibly attractive, you would be better off saving up for one of the more expensive treadmills. This treadmill will not last for very long – it is cheaply made, has a weak frame and a weak motor.

Additionally, it is not compatible with the vast majority of joggers/runners out there. If your running goals involve consistent, high-intensity runs, this treadmill is simply not up to scratch.

However, for the price, if your goals are low-consistency and low intensity (a half-hour walk three days a week, for example) this will get the job done. 

For Comparison

Just to provide a point of comparison, I’m going to show you one of the best treadmills that money can buy: The NordicTrack Commercial 2950. 

This $3,000 treadmill is smart, sturdy, and long-lasting. Overall, it is one of the best treadmills for heavy runners or for interval trainers that you can buy today. 

A Brief Look at Some Specs

The NordicTrack Commercial 2950. This treadmill has a 22-inch HD Touchscreen monitor, includes an aux-port (making it iPod and mp3 capable), has two high-quality speakers, and includes a year-long membership to NordicTrack iFit.

Its motor is a 4.25 CHP motor, which is lightyears ahead of the 2.5 HP motor that runs the 430i. Its’ speed ranges from 0-12 MPH, and its incline capabilities range from 0-15% increase and 0-3% decrease.

It includes touch controls, an EKG grip heart rate monitor, which is much more reliable than the monitors on the 430i and has a weight capacity of 300 pounds.

This treadmill has dual fans, RunnerFlex cushioning for added comfort, and a belt that is 22 inches wide by 60 inches long, making the run much more comfortable.

It comes with a variety of warranties, including a 10-year frame warranty, a 2-year parts warranty, and a 1-year labor warranty.

The machine is also self-cooling, and connects you with live trainers and over 16,000 on-line workouts, providing a variety of different routines to keep your muscles guessing. 

Conclusion

At the end of the day, you do get what you pay for. For $3,000, you get the best technology, the sturdiest frame, the best warranties, and really the best treadmill that will last you for a long, long time.

But for something that costs less than one-sixth of that, you get a shoddy machine that will likely not serve your needs adequately, nor will it last very long.

If you are a dedicated, committed runner, and you don’t see that changing, an investment of $1,500 to $3,000 will be well worth it.

If you’re not really sure if you are going to stick with the sport, maybe you can hold off on buying a treadmill until you know for sure.

Instead, run outside, and when it gets cold, pay for a gym membership and run there. If you reach a point where a treadmill becomes necessary for you, find a good treadmill.

These budget options will do little more than frustrate you and waste your money. 

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Article by:

Daniel DeMoss

I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.  

Get in touch: [email protected]