The Gold’s Gym Trainer 315 Treadmill represents their entry level machine in a collection that also features the Trainer 410 , 420, and 720 models.
But how does it measure up against the likes of Weslo and Exerpeutic, and now Sunny Health and Fitness in a price range that’s become increasingly competitive in recent years.
In this review we’ll answer this question by taking a look at the design features, workout options, customer reviews, and by making some important comparisons with the bestselling Weslo Cadence R 5.2.
Design and safety features
One of the first things we look for on any treadmill we review is the size of the running area. This is particularly important for taller users, where a shorter deck can prevent you from reaching a full running stride.
Unfortunately treadmills under $500 tend to be restricted to a 50″ length, which is what we found with the Gold’s Gym Trainer 315.
This is similar to the Sunny SF-T4400, Weslo Cadence R 5.2, and Exerpeutic TF 1000, which are some of the most popular and highly rated treadmills in this price category.
The width can also be important, but measuring just 16 inches means it’s slightly narrower than the Exerpeutic.
Another important feature we look for is the motor power. This is usually related to both the belt speed and weight capacity, as it takes a more powerful motor to maintain the top belt speeds (12mph+) with heavier users once you start using the incline settings.
At 2.5 CHP, the motor for the Gold’s Gym 315 treadmill is actually more powerful than all three of the bestsellers we just mentioned, and represents the same motor strength we would expect to see on machines costing hundreds of dollars more.
This helps to power the tread belt up to its top speed of 10mph, and through to its maximum power incline setting of 10 percent.
As home fitness equipment goes, treadmills are actually incredibly safe, even at the lower price ranges.
While you don’t have the advanced password protection on the console functions like you do with some top-of-the-line models, you’ll almost always find a safety key attached. The Gold’s Gym Trainer 315 is no exception.
A safety key works by clipping one end onto an item of clothing, and inserting the other into the console. Once the cord that joins the two ends is adjusted to a suitable length, the key should be pulled clear of the console in the event of a trip or fall, and the belt will come to a stop.
Gold’s Gym Trainer 315 – Features Summary
- 2.5 CHP G-Force Motor
- 0-10 MPH Speed Control
- 0-10% Incline Control
- 16″x 50″ Treadbelt
- AirStride Cushioning
- 6 Weight-Loss Workout Apps
- SpaceSaver Design
- Large LCD Window
- Dual-Grip PowerPulse Heart Rate Monitor
Unfortunately in order to provide an effective running, walking, and jogging experience for under $500, console features are often where sacrifices have to be made.
Although you still have the PowerPulse heart rate touch sensors built into the handles, there’s no mention of any telemetry heart rate monitoring (via a chest strap), or of any user IDs.
The user IDs are usually important for ensuring a more accurate pulse reading, as you can often input your age, which is what’s used in the calculation.
That being said, none of the workout programs are designed as heart rate controlled (HRC), so there’s no need for the console to calculate percentages of your maximum pulse rate.
Power incline and belt speed adjustments can be made directly via the console
Controls have also been added for digital speed and incline adjustments, which makes a nice change from the manual incline settings supplied with most treadmills at this price point.
Despite being larger than on some designs, the LCD screen is a long way off the dimensions of the screens we’ve seen on treadmills like the Sole Fitness F80 or F65.
It’s also missing a backlight, making it difficult to keep track of important workout information in low light. This includes your speed, time, incline, distance, calories burned, and heart rate, as well as the maximum speed and incline settings for any of the pre-programmed workouts.
Comparison with the Weslo Cadence R 5.2 Treadmill
If you’re on a strict budget, the good news is there’s no shortage of treadmills under $500. The bad news is that the vast majority of these are poorly constructed with negative reviews outweighing the positive ones – if they have any reviews at all.
One treadmill that stands out as a bestseller for this price range, with an impressive average rating and hundreds of reviews is the Weslo Cadence R 5.2.
So let’s take a look at how the fundamental features compare:
Gold's Gym Trainer 315
Weslo Cadence R 5.2
|Running area: 16″ X 50″|
Belt speed: 0-10 MPH
Motor power: 2.5 HP
Incline range: 0-10%
Weight capacity: 250 lbs
Workout programs: 6
Quick-select speed settings: No
Running area: 16″ X 50″
Belt speed: 0-10 MPH
Motor power: 2.25 HP
Incline range: 0-10%
Weight capacity: 250 lbs
Workout programs: 6
Quick-select speed settings: Yes
We can see that the Gold’s Gym model has a clear advantage in terms of motor power, but with no major improvements in weight capacity compared to the Weslo R 5.2.
Warranty coverage is similar too, which is perhaps related to the fact that they’re both brands that fall under the ICON Health and Fitness banner.
The size of the running area is identical, measuring 16″ in width and 50″ in length, meaning there’s no clear difference in either machines suitability for different body types and user heights.
We also noticed that the number of workout programs, belt speed, and incline positions are also the same across each treadmill, but with a couple of minor differences.
Quick-select keys for the speed are available on the Weslo, but you’re left to manually adjust the incline through two positions. In comparison, the Gold’s Gym Trainer 315 has a powered incline that you control directly via the console, but with no quick-select speed buttons.
Both feature a foldable, space-saving design with a product weight of just over 100 lbs.
If you don’t mind the extra assembly steps and are happy to sacrifice some motor power in favor of a lower priced machine, then the Gold’s 315 treadmill can still be a good choice.
But overall we can’t get away from the more powerful motor of the Weslo, even if it means we have to manually adjust the incline.
We’re also anxious to see how the recently released SF-T4400 treadmill from Sunny Health and Fitness measures up.
Sunny are renowned for their high quality home gym equipment that’s affordably priced, and have already dominated the entry level spin bike market.
We’ll be adding this as a comparison once we get a longer term impression of its quality, so be sure to check back soon.
Preset workout programs
Together with the start / stop buttons and incline / speed controls, the display console for the Gold’s Trainer 315 also includes two ‘Select’ buttons. These are used to switch between the six pre-programmed home workout options.
Each of these programs has a 30-minute duration, and will display the maximum incline and speed setting for each program as you’re deciding which one to choose.
A quick reference guide to the profiles has been included on the console, either side of the screen. Although you can manually override the incline and speed setting at any time, your changes will only last the duration of the current segment (1 minute).
As soon as the next segment begins, your custom changes will be lost and the program reverts back to its default profile.
We’ve seen treadmills that will actually store your changes in memory for upcoming sections of interval programs, but this is usually a feature reserved for machines costing over $1000.
Ease of assembly and maintenance required
Although Gold’s Gym joins companies like Weslo and Pro-Form as an ICON Health and Fitness brand, the assembly process wasn’t as similar as we expected.
This isn’t due to the cost either, as machines such as the Weslo Cadence 5.9 G are in the same price range, yet have a much clearer and simpler setup guide in the user manual.
So why is it so time consuming, and what caused the Gold’s Gym Trainer 315 to have more than twice the number of assembly steps as the Weslo treadmill?
Overall it seems to be a lack of pre-assembly, meaning that you have to do everything from attaching the base transport wheels to connecting the uprights to the base frame.
Uprights are actually already attached to the Weslo when it’s delivered, requiring only that you rotate them into place and attach the base.
So while the process itself isn’t particularly complex, and each step is still thoroughly explained with diagrams, text, and parts references, you’ll probably want to set aside at least 45 minutes to get the machine ready for your first workout.
Some treadmills provide you with a detailed maintenance routine to help keep your new piece of home fitness equipment free from damage.
This is usually something we see on higher priced treadmills, with Precor in particular putting in a lot of effort to ensure you have all the information you need to keep your machine running smoothly.
As expected, the Gold’s Gym Trainer 315 doesn’t have this section in their user manual, but that’s not to say you shouldn’t make regular checks.
If you frequently check for any damage to parts, wipe the machine down after each workout with a mild soap solution, and center the treadbelt if it gets out of alignment, that’s really all you need to do.
Folding frame design
Weighing in at around 100 lbs, the Gold’s Gym 315 is hardly the heaviest treadmill we’ve reviewed, but if you need to move it around after assembly then the transport wheels certainly come in useful.
Unfortunately, being an entry-level machine means you don’t have any form of lift assisting mechanism for the running deck, but that doesn’t stop you from folding it vertically.
Locking and releasing the running deck is made possible via a latch pin that engages at set positions. This allows you to tilt the treadmill onto its transport wheels and roll the machine to wherever you need it.
- Powerful motor compared to similar designs in this price range
- Same length running area as the Weslo and Exerpeutic models
- Choice of 6 preset workout programs adds some variety to your training
- Foldable running deck helps you make the best use of space when not in use
- Power incline lets you make adjustments without having to step off the machine (an issue with manual incline treadmills)
- Noisy to use
- Long assembly time
- Poor customer service experiences
- Small running area makes it difficult for taller users to build up to a natural running stride
- Unsupportive cushioning system
- Lower quality parts than higher priced treadmills, which isn’t ideal considering the short length of the parts warranty
What’s covered by the warranty?
- Frame and motor: 5 years
- Parts and labor: 90 days