Tonal vs. Mirror vs. Tempo: Comparing Smart Home-Workout Machines

Tonal vs. Mirror vs. Tempo: Comparing Smart Home-Workout Machines

Modern technology has created the modern workout. The days of classic, unassisted-by-technology gyms are still with us for those who prefer simplicity. For those looking to improve their workouts further, or improve their home gym, consider smart technology.

A home gym always has a personal allure. You can work out whenever you want to without driving to the gym. You never have to wait on machines. Best of all, with smart home gyms, you can take your home gym to the next level in excellence.

The average cost of a home gym, sans smart equipment, is roughly $3,000 to $5,000. This includes some remodeling as well as equipment. 

A home gym is no small investment. This holds true doubly so for smart gyms. When you buy a smart home gym, you want to feel totally secure in your choice. Thankfully, the market is highly competitive, with many of the best gyms on the market fighting each other for dominance. 

Each of the workout machines below fits a whole gym into small spaces in your home. The three we’ve chosen are Tonal, Mirror, and Tempo. Below, Olivers is going to highlight these three and showcase the differences between them. Following this, we’ll perform a final analysis on which machine is best for which purpose. 

Benefits of a Smart Home-Workout Machine

Smart home workout machines offer a variety of benefits that normal gyms do not. The first, and most obvious one, is the presence of fitness classes. Most of the machines below feature memberships with fitness classes available. This provides benefits usually reserved for in-person classes or pre-recorded purchased videos. 

Modern home fitness has always been linked to video, ever since the first home workout show in 1951. Smart technology has taken that one step further by integrating personal interaction.

Smart gyms come in handy when perfecting your form in daily training sessions. Many of the pieces below use metrics like smart accessories to analyze your form when working out. This may help prevent injury during strength training or lead to more effective cardio practices. Some of the pieces even track various types of workouts by the number of reps you do.

All the gym systems share a touchscreen feature for easy navigation across all your workouts. Each of the offerings below includes home gym equipment and many other possibilities; there is always more than meets the eye. 

With this settled, it’s time to highlight the workout equipment. 

Tonal: What You Need To Know

When you navigate to Tonal’s website, the first thing you see is celebrity endorsements. You’ll see icons like Lebron James, Serena Williams, and others using powerful, sleekly designed fitness equipment. The tagline: “Full-body workouts. Fully focused on you.” It’s immediately obvious that, in spirit, Tonal is an intense system. 

This intensity also comes with an intense price point. At base, the Tonal system costs $2,995, with an additional $495 for smart accessories. These include smart handles, a smart bar, rope, a workout bench, a foam roller, and a workout mat. 

The Tonal itself comes with professional installation and is mounted directly to your wall. The company will also assist in moving or relocating their screen system. Moving the Tonal screen yourself can be difficult.

Not that the purchase price doesn’t come with a membership, but when you purchase one Tonal membership, you have access to unlimited accounts. Membership provides access to both live classes and demand workouts. 

Even without a membership, it comes with a variety of benefits. All smart accessories can be used and customized easily with resistance built into the machine. If you’d rather use a piece of equipment you already own, the company sells adaptors meant to support them. Blue-tooth smart accessories and WiFi pairing help you create a boot camp personal to you.

Mirror: What To Know

The branding of the Mirror home gym immediately suggests that it is targeting a fundamentally different audience from Tonal. The branding, messaging, and accessories all point towards cardio.

The Mirror comes in four scaling levels. The lowest level comes with the Mirror, a stand, and a lens cap, for $1,495. As you scale up, you get foam rollers, yoga mats, yoga blocks, weights, towels, resistance bands, and heart rate monitors. The most expensive option, at $2,045, includes duplicates of all these accessories (except for the foam roller).

Unlike Tonal, you are locked in for a year's subscription when you buy Mirror at $39 a month. However, there is also a 30-day return period during which you can get a full refund for the piece.

Mirror highlights accessibility and community more than Tonal. Their website boasts over 10,000 workout classes across 50 fitness categories. They also emphasize multiple levels for those aspiring to any given fitness goal. Strength training relies on dumbbells rather than the barbell favored by Tonal.

Mirror also includes options for family workouts and for competing with friends. With six accounts available, most households should be covered under one Mirror membership. 

The workouts also have more to offer the dancers and movers among us. With specific categories for yoga, barre, pilates, meditation, and dance cardio, there are plenty of options beyond traditional gym activities. 

Mirror has a radically different price point and attitude towards exercise than Tonal. This complicates our comparison, but before completing our Mirror review, we have one more gym to examine. 

Tempo: What To Know

The Tempo Studio sits both below and above Tonal in price point. The starter package is $2,495, while the Pro Package is $3,995. With the pro package, you’ll receive a heart rate monitor, folding squat rack, numerous weights, and other pieces.

Tempo uses its weights to create a wireframe model of yourself. From there, it can gauge your position and offer guidance for workouts. It also takes the form of a cabinet, making it more mobile than Tonal or Mirror.

Using your strength as a metric, it offers suggestions on which weight size to use for a given workout. Real-time personal training allows for personalized growth to reach your own fitness goals. 

Tempo is compatible with both the Apple Watch and ANT+ Heart rate monitors. Wearing smart devices like these can also help you measure and train your Vo2 max.

Live and demand classes ensure that you can find the ideal situation for your schedule. Like Mirror, Tempo also allows up to six accounts for one membership at $39 monthly, for one year.

Tempo also offers introductory workout options for the budget-minded. The Tempo Move doesn’t have nearly as much in terms of workouts and weights, but only costs $495. 

This option is for those who want to be able to work out at home but don’t require or want a full-scale home gym. Since it takes the form of a discrete cabinet with an iPhone jack, it can be easily integrated at home.

It only works with iPhones and only iPhone XS/XR or higher. If you’re an Android user or haven’t upgraded in a while, Tempo Move won’t work for you. 

The Tempo Studio, however, remains competitive. 

The Ultimate Comparison

Before beginning, let’s take a brief look at what makes every piece unique.

The Tonal is the only piece to use digital weight to create a machine that adjusts resistance for you. It has extensive options for resistance training and weight lifting alike.

Mirror features a variety of family workouts and competitive exercises. This integration of friends can result in more consistent, better workouts. It features more varied cardio and bodyweight exercises than its competition. It is also a fraction of the price of Tonal or Tempo. 

Tempo features the most weights, plus a competitive variety of workouts. It specializes in free weights rather than the attached weight Tempo accessories provide.

The home gym which provides the best workout depends on what you want from your workout.

Here is where the competition factors in:

Mirror and Tempo provide a limited number of accounts, six per membership, but Tonal’s unlimited accounts aren’t remarkable. It is safe to assume most users will be fine with six accounts at a given time. Tonal, for the whole experience, also carries a higher price tag than any other option on the list. 

If your primary interests are either affordability or cardio workouts, Mirror is your option. If you want to build muscle through strength training, then we recommend Tempo. What Tonal does with digital weight is interesting, but the versatility of Tempo outweighs it. 

Smart Choices

The final step in completing your smart home-workout gym is finding the right apparel for your workout.

If you’re investing in yourself, you shouldn’t stop with the machinery you use. The right gear can help you look great and feel better during your workouts and heading out to lunch after. 


How Much Does a Home Gym Cost? | The Manual

The Evolution of Home Fitness I BBC Worklife

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