Should You Buy a Treadmill From Costco?

Costco TreadmillWe’ve had a number of people ask us lately: “Should I buy a Costco treadmill?” And our answer in every case has been “It depends.”

Now I am a longtime Costco member, and I get pretty much everything there. Along with the huge quantities of paper towels and toilet paper, I get prepared food, fruits, meats, coffee pods, light bulbs, batteries, pajamas…you name it. I’ve even bought televisions from Costco and my wife gets her contact lenses there.

But a Costco treadmill? It really depends on what you are looking for. It’s similar to the treadmill situation at Sears, but Costco actually has a much smaller selection so it’s easier to make a decision.

At Costco you’re looking at ProForm, Life Fitness and NordicTrack. They used to carry a brand called Xterra but we don’t see any of those treadmills currently for sale.

The problem with buying a Costco treadmill, just like with a Sears treadmill, is that most of the models are older, yet you’re still paying a new model price for them. Outside of the occasional current model, all of the others are at least a few years old.

Costco Treadmill - Life Fitness F1 Smart Base Model

Last we checked they had about a half dozen treadmills for sale, mostly ProForms, and all of them were at least several years old and lacking the technology of the new ProForm treadmills.

So what’s wrong with a Costco treadmill that’s a few years old?

There’s nothing inherently wrong with an older model treadmill, but with so many new developments in the industry, why buy something old when you can spend the same money and get the latest model? All of the above mentioned machines are fine, but there are newer/better versions of all of them, and you can get them directly from the manufacturer and often at a special discount that you’ll find periodically, something Costco likely won’t be offering.

Newer machines have more efficient motors, more advanced displays, better cushioning and more functionality, similar to the newer technology you find on the latest automobiles. Sure, your 2015 Camry might be great, but I bet the 2021 version is even better.

The same holds true for the newest ProForm, Life Fitness, NordicTrack and all other brands. They’re constantly updating and upgrading to provide a better workout experience. They’re all competing against each other, especially in the $799 to $1999 price range, so things just get better and better each year.

Another thing to consider is replacement parts. It’s much harder to find the parts that you need on older models that are not being produced anymore. So if you have a problem in a few years with an older Costco treadmill, you might find yourself out of luck as far as getting it fixed. Things do break down, and you have a much better shot at getting a repair with a newer treadmill than you do with one that is several years old.

When does it make sense to buy a treadmill from Costco?

We would say that if you are looking for a treadmill for very casual use, maybe for walking, rehabilitation or if you are elderly, you’ll be fine with a Costco treadmill. If you’re already shopping on the site, and you feel comfortable knowing that you can return pretty much anything to Costco at any time, then go for it.

However, if you’re anything more than a very casual user, we would definitely look elsewhere for your new treadmill. Using ProForm treadmills for example, rather than the half dozen older models that you find at Costco, there are just as many new models on the official ProForm site. Prices are comparable as well, so its not like you have to spend more for the newer treadmills.

Plus, you can pretty much always find a sale of some sort, whether it’s free shipping, a free iFit membership, holiday discount or a giveaway, which makes it an even better deal.

So the bottom line is a treadmill from Costco is fine for basic use…but if you plan to use often, and are serious about getting into shape, you’ll be better served with newer treadmills, not models that are several years old.

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