Connected fitness isn’t just for exercise bikes like Peloton anymore – now, those of us who want the best home gym have a new “smart” category to choose from connected smart home gyms like Tonal, Mirror and Tempo. But can you really get a good workout with a TV screen thingy hanging on your wall? And how do the workouts compare between Tonal, Mirror and Tempo? Which one is the best value for the price?
And is a smart mirror / home gym even the right call for your workout styles and fitness goals? We’ll review the different types of connected home fitness devices to help you figure out which category is going to help you the most.
Smart Home Gyms – what’s right for your goals?
Everybody knows about the smart home exercise bike thanks to Peloton, a fitness industry pioneer. But beyond bikes – and mirrors – what else is there and who are they right for? Here are the current categories of smart home gym equipment, the types of workouts you can do with them, and rough price ranges.
|Type||Companies||Workout Types||Equipment Price||Monthly Subscription Price|
|Riding – Cardio||$999 – $2,250||$13 – $40|
|Yoga – Stretching|
Bootcamp – Cardio/ Strength
Pilates – Core
|$999 – $3,000||$20 – $49|
|Rowing – Cardio||$1,000 – $2,200||$38 – $40|
|Running – Cardio|
|$1,300 – $3,000||$39 – $40|
|Smart Strength Trainers||NordicTrack|
|Weight Lifting – Strength||$2,250 – $3,400||$39 – $49|
If you’re looking for pure cardio, the bikes, rowers and treadmills are probably the best bet. And if strength is what you are after, the smart mirrors may do the trick – especially the Tempo smart mirror, since you can purchase weights and other resistance equipment for an extra $495, or Tonal, which comes with a lot of resistance equipment baked-in. And, of course, NordicTrack has some killer smart strength trainers, but they aren’t cheap! But if you want to lift weights in your house with a trainer or with a recorded program, that’s a great option.
Where do home gyms like Tonal, Mirror and Tempo shine? Workout variety.
We like the variety of workout programs options available with the smart mirrors like Tonal, Mirror, and Tempo. Strength, cardio, pilates, yoga – some even have family workout programs – you aren’t going to get that with a Peloton (unless I guess you buy one for every family member, lol). And we wouldn’t be surprised if more of them start to come out with connected weight lifting equipment like what Tempo and Tonal have. It’s a natural product extension – who wouldn’t want to see you kettlebells, right???
Price Comparison: Tonal vs Mirror vs Tempo
Now that we’ve spent the time discussing the various types of smart home gym equipment on the market, let’s dive in to compare Tonal, Mirror and Tempo’s features and pricing.
|Smart Home Gym Price Comparison|
|Equipment Cost||$2,995 – base model|
+$495 for accessories
|$1,495||$999 – 40′|
$1,640 – 50′
Abs + Arms
|Strength Equipment||Built-in electro-magnetic arms||Training bands (elastics)||Barbell, dumbbells and plates||None|
|Live Classes||No||Yes||Yes||Extra Charge|
|Speakers||15w stereo speakers||10w stereo speakers||60w stereo speakers||8w speakers – 50 inch|
|Monthly Subscription (Excluding Device)||$49 per month||$39 per month||$39 per month||$19.99 per month or|
$39.99 per month
We can’t forget to mention the differences in live vs “recorded” classes. Some of these providers offer live classes, where you’ll watch an instructor run you through the workout – just like you’d have at a class at your local gym. Others only have recorded classes. Maybe not a problem, but just something to be aware of. Tonal only has recorded fitness classes at the time of this review being written, so you are going to have to like their on demand options – there are a lot, and they seem pretty great. Mirror and Tempo include on demand and live in their monthly plans. And the Reflect, which is the dark horse, has a low-priced, $19.99 per month plan that only has the recorded classes OR a more expensive $39.99 subscription (similar to the others we are reviewing in pricing) that includes live instruction.
Comparing Home Gym Features: Tonal vs Tempo vs Mirror vs Echelon Reflect
Beyond the workouts and workout classes, it’s important to understand what other features these machines will give you. We breakdown the features and cost difference between Tonal vs Mirror vs Tempo below:
|Form Factor||Wall mount with resistance arms||Wall mount||Freestanding device||Wall mount|
|Screen Size||24″||40″||42″||39″ or “32”|
|Resistance Equipment||Built in resistance arms||Elastic Training Bands||Barbell, dumbbells, plates and more||None|
We also added in an additional competitor – Echelon Reflect. This is a lower priced option with two hardware points, $999 for their 40’ and $1,640 for their 50’. Both are essentially Mirror clones, although it’s arguably the best option if you’re price-sensitive and okay with a smaller screen.
One of the major advantages over Mirror, Tonal’s home gym has built-in resistance equipment. Basically, on either side of the Tonal smart mirror there are arms that can swing out, up, down, and that give you the ability to add handles, pulleys and other equipment that provides resistance and strength training. So you’ll obviously want to step up to the extra $495 price for the resistance equipment – making this option quite a bit more expensive than Mirror.
What does Tonal cost?
The cost of Tonal’s home gym hardware is $2,995 for the base model. But if you want the extra strength/resistance equipment so you can add strength training to your workouts, you’ll pay an extra $495. You can also finance the whole thing starting at $149 per month, depending on how long you want to finance the hardware purchase and your credit score. Monthly subscriptions are $49 per month, but they make you buy them in 12 month increments, so that’s $588.
Is Tonal worth it?
At $2,995 plus $495 for the optional resistance equipment, Tonal is not cheap. Plus, you’ll pay $588 for a year of connected fitness classes ($49 per month). But you get cardio, yoga, strength and more from the classes and equipment. This is clearly the home gym for people who want it all – and who can afford to pay for it! If you are on a budget, you should consider the Mirror or Echelon Reflect, which start around $1,000 and a lower-priced monthly class subscription starting at $19.99 per month. But if you want the best, most intense and varied home gym experience, Tonal has it all.
Mirror is one of the better known smart mirrors / home gyms. A big advantage of Mirror is the depth of live and recorded classes – covering everything from barre classes to abs to pilates to yoga to boxing. And at the price is more reasonable vs. Tempo and Tonal.
What does Mirror cost?
The cost of Mirror’s home gym hardware is $1,495, coming in toward the lower end of the connected mirrors. Monthly classes cost only $39 per month, so in the middle of the pack. Plus, you get both live and recorded workout sessions for the subscription cost. The downside is that the Mirror doesn’t come with resistance equipment.
Is Mirror worth it?
At $1,495 and less than $500 for a year’s subscription, Mirror’s cost is pretty reasonable vs Tempo and Tonal. Plus, with such a large number of classes to choose from, you’ll stay busy. If you are on a budget, take a look at the Echelon Reflect to save some money, both in terms of the subscriptions price (starting at $19.99 vs $39.99 per month) and on the equipment cost ($999 for the Reflect’s entry-level compared to $1,495 for Mirror and $2,995 for Tonal.
Tempo Deep Dive
Tempo comes with a ton of extra equipment – from resistance equipment to heart rate monitors, it’s the most fully rounded home gym on the list. Plus, the design is radically different than Mirror or Tonal. Instead of a simple screen that you mount on the wall, Tempo is more like a TV cabinet that has storage for all of the equipment that it comes with. And live classes are included with the Tempo monthly subscription.
What does Tempo cost?
The cost of Tempo’s home gym hardware is $1,995. Monthly classes cost only $39 per month, so in the middle of the pack. Live classes are included with the price of the subscription. But the major advantage of Tempo is the inclusion of the resistance equipment and other workout gear like weights and workout mats and more.
Is Tempo worth it?
$1,995 $1,895 (with code FITNESSMASTERLY100 at checkout for $100 off) and less than $500 for a year’s subscription, Tempo’s cost is actually pretty reasonable. Especially when you consider all the weights and equipment that come with — two 7.5 pound dumbbells, one 25 pound barbell, 6 weight collars, many different size plates, a heart rate monitor, a mat and a roller. Pretty great! If that feels out of reach – and especially if you already have a mat and adjustable barbells, consider the Mirror or Echelon Reflect, which are $1,495 and $999 respectively.
Tempo vs Mirror – Which is Best?
Tempo and Mirror are typically considered the best known smart home gyms. We love their big screens (42″ and 40″, respectively) and their comparably priced monthly subscriptions ($39 each / mo). The biggest difference, beyond the equipment price ($,895 for Tempo if you use our coupon code and $1,495 for Mirror) is the approach to weight/resistance training.
If you really want to move around real weights, then Tempo is the right option for you. It comes with a barbell, and dumbbells, so you can get real strength training in. Mirror comes with exercise bands – so you CAN get resistance, but it’s not the same. So if you want real weight training and you are trying to decide between the Tempo or Mirror, go with Tempo. And if free weights don’t matter to you, Mirror will save you some money, so go that direction.
So what’s the best connected home gym: Mirror, Tonal or Tempo?
Like everything when it comes to working out, it depends. Specifically, consider the types of workouts you want to do and the amount that you want to spend.
If money is no object, you want strength training but don’t yet have any weights or other resistance equipment, then seriously consider Tonal and Tempo. They are both much more expensive than Mirror, but with Tempo you get a great set of adjustable weights and other equipment. And with Tonal’s built-in resistance “arms” you can run through a huge variety of resistance training in addition to high intensity cardio. But you’ll pay for for either of these options (check out the costs up in the chart above.) Remember: you can get $100 off a Tempo by entering the code FITNESSMASTERLY100 at checkout.
That said, if you have resistance training gear at home already, or don’t really need that type of a workout, we recommend Mirror. It’s a lot less expensive, and has a huge variety of cardio, stretching and meditation type fitness classes — enough variety so you won’t get bored.
But if money is tight and cost is really the most important factor, we also suggest a different contender, the Reflect by Echelon. There are two sizes, a 40 inch size that comes in at only $999 and a bigger version that is 50 inches for ~$1,600. With a lower priced subscription option of only $19.99 per month (and a higher priced version at $39.99 per month) it’s a lot less to spend. It’s also got bootcamp, toning, Zumba – great cardio options for classes. Check out Echelon on Amazon today!