Enter the Smart Home Gym, if you thought exercising at home was a solitary affair with substandard equipment, then think again. Smart Home Gyms offer live training sessions, full fitness programs, and social interaction. All from the comfort of your home.
In this article, I take an in-depth look at three of the most innovative and smart home gyms on the market – Tonal vs Mirror vs Tempo – and which is the right one for you.
What Kind of Workouts Do You Want To Do?
Not everyone has the same needs or wants when it comes to reaching fitness goals. There are multiple ways to reach goals with personal trainers, strength training workouts, and cardio workout options.
The Tonal, Mirror, and Tempo workout experiences offer on-demand workouts for people with different fitness levels. There are a variety of workout classes with a fitness instructor.
Although the three products all offer many similar features, some are geared more towards particular exercise routines than others. For instance, if you are someone who likes to work with weights, then the Tonal gym may be the one for you.
For the sheer variety of workout routines and classes, then the Mirror Workout is the most comprehensive option.
If you aren’t sure, then don’t worry, this article covers all aspects of the products to help you make an informed decision.
Let’s start by having a look at the features and equipment that each gym has to offer.
Feature and Equipment comparison
|Feature & Equipment Comparison
|Wall-mounted/ free-standing screen
|Wall-mounted screen with a pulley system
|Black or White
|Built-in electromagnetic arms
|Plates, Dumbells, and barbells
|Dimensions (H x W x D)
|52” x 22” x 1.4
|51” x 51” x 5.25”
|72” x 26” x 16”
|Yes (recently added)
|If not wall-mounted
|Must be wall-mounted
The following table looks at the workout experiences that are available with each smart home gym.
|Arms & Abs
|Pre and Post Natal
|Product Workout Page
This table looks at the purchase and subscription costs of each product. They have have an initial hardware cost and a monthly membership fee for access to the live and on-demand workout classes.
|Smart Gym Price Comparison
|$2,995 & $495 for smart accessories
|$42 per month (36 months)
|$149 per month (includes membership (36 months))
|$69 per month (36 months)
|$39 per month (includes access to live classes)
|$49 per month (includes live classes)
|$39 per month (includes access to live classes)
Tonal Home Gym Overview
The Tonal is the only system out of the three that has an integrated electromagnetic weight system. This consists of two adjustable arms with cable handles that let you work out using over 170 unique movements.
Tonal uses its digital weight system to deliver up to 100lbs of resistance on each arm for a total of 200 lbs. That allows for a good range srength-building exercises without the need for more pieces of equipment.
Once your equipment is set up, then getting started is easy. Just select a workout class from the comprehensive selection of on-demand classes (they recently added live classes to their repertoire) and your chosen instructor will guide you through the routine and keep you motivated.
The 24” touchscreen system also includes 17 sensors that use AI to monitor your form and advise on how to correct it.
The Tonal system learns as you work out too! During the initial set up, it runs the user through a strength assessment and recommends what weights and exercises are optimal for your fitness/strength levels.
Once this base level has been established, Tonal monitors your performance and advises on adjustments to your routine as you progress in real time.
- Despite having a cable weight system, this is still a sleek design that fits neatly on a small wall-space.
- Wide Selection of live and on-demand classes
- Works as a home gym without a subscription (although no classes are available)
- Offers specialized partner classes, these allow you and a partner to take part in classes together.
- Pulley system offers plenty of resistance and 170 unique movements
- Automatically adjusts the resistance if it senses that the workout is too easy (or difficult) using a spotter mode that acts just like a spotter in a gym would.
- No need to purchase separate weights, resistance bands etc.
- Excellent at correcting your form by using AI and 17 different sensors
- The range of motion in the pulley system makes it suitable for people of all heights
- It is expensive, amongst the 3 products this is most the expensive. If you qualify for their fiancé option ($149 per month) this does include the subscription fee. Otherwise, the package costs $2,995 with a further $495 for the smart accessories package, and for access to classes a monthly subscription of $49 is required.
- The 100 pounds of resistance per arm may be too little for experienced lifters
- Proper installation is essential as the gym must be securely studded to a wall
- The sensors can be temperamental and if you stay too far from them they don’t always pick up each of your reps
Who is the Tonal for?
If you are looking to do a range of strength and weight exercises, and don’t fancy having a load of equipment scattered about, then the Tonal system is certainly worth considering.
The live classes are a new addition to the Tonal System, so if you want some social interaction as you work, then this is now possible.
If you are an experienced weight-lifter, then you may find the Tonal system a bit limiting. In that case, you may want a gym membership or the Tempo home gym.
Mirror Workout Overview
Despite having no weights or electromagnetic pulley systems, the Mirror Workout smart fitness mirror is perhaps the most comprehensive workout of all three gyms. Mirror is particularly good if you are looking for a wide range of cardio exercises.
Read the complete, in-depth Mirror Workout Review.
The Mirror is the only product that doesn’t come with a touchscreen, which is slightly disappointing. However, fire up the companion app and you have immediate access to a huge database of on-demand and live classes run by some of the countries top trainers, including Chris Ryan, Nike Master Trainer Alex Silver Fagan, and Rachel Nicks Lyons.
You can also organize personal interactive training sessions with trainers for $40 a session, and you can invite your friends along too! Most workouts only need a workout mat too.
The Mirror Home Gym itself is a sleek design that has all the appearance of a standard wall mirror when not in use. It can either be wall-mounted or freestanding with the supplied stand.
All the Mirror live sessions are placed on their on-demand class database, so the list of available workouts grows daily and covers such categories as dance, boxing, pre and postnatal, Bootcamp, barre, yoga, and even meditation.
Although it doesn’t come with any physical weights or other fitness equipment, it is worth remembering that this the cheapest of the three. Most of the workouts are bodyweight exercises, so you onlyi need a yoga mat.
- A massive database of on-demand classes that is added to daily.
- Some of the best trainers in the country offering different workout experiences for different fitness levels
- Can be wall-mounted or freestanding.
- The cost is the cheapest of the three options.
- The Mirror offers a massive range of exercises, particularly if you already own equipment like Kettlebells or dumbbells. And even if you don’t own any fitness equipment, there are still literally thousands of classes to select from.
- The Mirror system can sync with its own Bluetooth heart rate monitor or with third-party monitors like the Apple Watch, a great feature for those wanting to keep an eye on calorie burning.
- Of the three featured products, the Mirror stands out if you are looking for full-body workouts with dance, boxing, and yoga classes. There are thousands to choose from with new classes added daily.
- The Mirror system is compatible with Spotify, so you can easily listen to your personal playlists giving you more fun workouts.
- The subscription service allows you to create separate profiles for up to 6 members of the household, and classes can be streamed to any smart device.
- I found the lack of a touchscreen to be disappointing, okay the app is really good, but a touchscreen would add some convenience to the product.
- No weight plates, workout bench, or other equipment are included in the cost.
- Can’t be used without a monthly subscription fee. If you don’t subscribe to their classes, the Mirror is just an expensive wall mirror.
- The form feedback is restricted to personal classes where the trainer can interact and offer advice. There are no AI or sensor functions to offer this otherwise.
Who is the Mirror Workout For?
If you are heavily into cardio and non-impact exercise regimes like pilates, barre, and yoga, then the Mirror is the stand-out product from the list.
It is also great if you love to have a social aspect to your classes and having interactive workouts. During the live classes, you can see who the other participants are and can even get words of encouragement from the instructor.
It is also the perfect choice for those with limited space. Although none of these devices takes up much room, I love the fact that the Mirror can be wall-mounted, so it won’t take up any space.
The Tempo has the largest screen of the three models, albeit only slightly larger than the Mirror Workout. It is also the only one that is free-standing only. The screen sits on top of an integrated cabinet that contains the exercise equipment that ships with the product.
The screen is a touchscreen, and the system also uses 3d sensors to monitor your form and offer suggestions as to how to improve it.
One really clever feature that I loved was the camera that the Tempo uses, this allows trainers to monitor all participants in the class. But don’t worry about privacy, as you appear as a skeletal framework on their end (if only all weight loss was this easy!). This allows them to accurately assess your performance without invading your privacy.
The equipment bundle that comes with the unit is perfect for those just getting started with a home gym. It includes a barbell, dumbbells, heart rate monitor, foam roller, and an exercise mat. Better yet, it all tucks away inside the cabinet when you are finished to keep your area clean.
The Tempo system offers a large choice of on-demand and live classes, so you are never stuck for variety when it comes to choosing a class.
- I loved the leaderboard function on the Tempo system as a big motivator. I wasn’t aware of just how competitive I was until I found myself trying to work my way up the leaderboards.
- For strength-building exercises, this is the clear winner. Although the Tonal can provide up to 200lbs of weight resistance, the Tempo system barbells can provide up to 300lbs of weight.
- It is also the only option that offers a range of colors. Okay, so it is fairly limited to black or white, but it is still a choice.
- The privacy feature that the camera offers is a fantastic pro in my eyes. It allows the instructors to see exactly what they need to assess your performance and no more.
- The AI form checking feature is a standout feature. It lets you know how to improve your performance and minimizes the chances of injury.
- Comprehensive stats let you monitor all aspects of your performance and helps guide you towards achieving your fitness goals.
- I loved the storage aspect of this model, once you have completed your routines, everything fits away tidily inside the cabinet.
- There is no customizable music option with the Tempo system.
- It is pricier than the Mirror Workout.
- The basic bundle only comes with 115lbs of weights, the pro version comes with an additional 140lbs.
- The system is heavy, although it can be moved when not in use, it is heavy even with all the weights removed from the cabinet.
- Can be jerky and buffer on slower internet connections.
- Doesn’t include any options for partner workouts.
- The rep counting function can be unreliable if you move too far from the sensors.
Who is the Tempo For?
Tempo is a great device for those wanting to work on strength exercises. With the included barbells and weights, it makes an ideal package for those just setting up a home gym that allows for a large variety of custom workout experiences.
With the weight routines, Tempo also offers a wide variety of other categories, like yoga, pilates, and barre.
If weight training isn’t your thing, then the Tempo has you covered too. It isn’t as comprehensive a list as offered by the Mirror system, but there is still something for everyone.
Smart Home Gyms and Covid-19 Effects
The global pandemic has changed the way we live in so many areas. Perhaps, one of the most affected is the way we exercise. Gyms have been forced to close their doors and the home-fitness market has exploded to fill the niche.
In fact, in a study published by the New York Post, 64% of the participants polled stated that they were now more interested in home exercise options than before the pandemic. The study also showed that on average, Americans exercised 25% more during quarantine.
Smart home gym systems like these are true game-changers. Although much of this trend was fueled by the pandemic, there is no doubt that this is a trend that is here to stay. In 2020 in the USA, home gym equipment sales doubled from March to October, rising to $2.3 billion.
Smart home gyms like these are a massive step forward for the home gym equipment industry. They are both fantastic for doing their intended purpose, and at the same time adding that social aspect that until now could only be found by a trip to the gym.
Tonal vs Mirror vs Tempo Final Thoughts
When choosing between Tempo vs Tonal vs Mirror, there are multiple factors to consider.
I will start by listing my personal favorite, I’m not much of a weight person, so the lack of any such accessories coming with the Mirror system was not an issue.
The Mirror system, for me, is the stand-out product, the sheer range of exercises means you can never get jaded using it. I also loved the ability to play my own music and of course, let’s not forget the price.
If weight training is important, then both the Tempo and the Tonal system are great choices.
If space is of prime concern, then the Tonal system with its built-in resistance arms is a fantastic product, and remember this product does still have limited functions without a subscription.
For those looking for more strenuous workouts then the Tempo system is perhaps a better choice.
Overall, there is no doubt that this is the start of a revolution in home gyms that will have gym owners worried.