Tempo, Tonal, and Mirror...arguably the three most popular and hotly sought after smart home fitness equipment on the market. But how do they compare? It’s evident by just a surface level glance that they are all different and unique in their own ways, so the point of this article is to help you determine which one is the right fit for you and your fitness goals.
I’m also going to touch on why so many of us have transitioned from the gym to the home gym and why these workout equipment options are replacing traditional home gym equipment. Let’s take a deep look under the hood and decide if owning a smart gym is worth the hype and if it can really help push you to achieve your fitness goals from home.
If you want to spend more time getting stronger, fitter, and taking on-demand fitness classes that work around your schedule, then let’s get to the bottom of the Tonal vs Tempo vs Mirror debate once and for all.
Comparing Smart Home Gym Equipment: Tonal vs Tempo vs Mirror
Yes, as low as $63 per month (qualified buyers)
Yes, as low as $69 per month (qualified buyers)
Yes, as low as $42 per month (qualified buyers)
Does not come with weights
Easy to move
Mounted on wall
Folding Squat Rack
Taking a Look at Tonal's Home Gym
There is no question that Tonal is a technologically advanced and thoroughly impressive piece of home gym equipment that’s shaping the future of fitness. Tonal boasts two adjustable arms with cables on either side of the wall-mounted machine and allows for 170+ unique movements and exercises, giving you a full-body workout that doesn’t require any additional equipment.
The resistance system inside the Tonal is magnetic, delivering up to 100 pounds on each side. When in action, the included sensors track your form and provide real-time feedback and correction should any adjustment needs to be made. Moreover, Tonal sets your weights for you based on your current strength abilities and then automatically adjusts your weights when you’re ready for it. No more guessing and no more repeating workouts that aren’t helping you progress towards your goals. There’s also some tech involved that adapts your weight as you lift, giving you an effective rep every time and a Spotter mode that detects any signs of struggle or fatigue, intuitively lightening the load to keep you safe and your workouts effective.
Related Tonal Comparison: Tonal vs Forme Life Studio
Lastly, I have to mention the large, 42” HD touchscreen where you’ll get to experience all the features and benefits of Tonal up close and personal. As a note, the system is required to be mounted to a studded wall, so keep that in mind when considering Tempo. Otherwise, it’s a very discreet home gym system that blends seamlessly into any room in your home.
For even more bells and whistles with a smart home gym, take a look at the review of Forme Life Studios - it's an even bigger screen and has some exciting features.
Tonal Workouts Review
When it comes to workouts, Tonal takes the experience to the next level by adding in expert coaching and guidance that feels personalized to you. So although Tonal loses a few points for not offering live classes, their ever-expanding library of 100’s of on-demand classes has enough to offer to keep even the most relentless gym-goer engaged and ready for more.
Strength (resistance) training is the main modality and the cornerstone of Tonal workout, however, they also include a wide variety of other modalities, including;
- Dance Cardio
- Pre and Post Natal
- Family Fun
- High Intensity
- Quick Fit
Pros going with Tonal
- Sleek, discreet design
- Elite workouts thanks to the dynamic resistance and spotter feature
- Form feedback cues that keep you on track and safe
- Free lift option allows you to skip the trainer and use your smart home gym on your own
- Full body workouts with over 170 different movement options
- Partner workouts that automatically adjust for each participant’s needs
- Virtual group workouts that deliver accountability
- Progress tracking and emphasis on progressive overload and continued strength building
Cons going with Tonal
- Lack of live classes is a real drag for those who thrive on that environment
- It’s a hefty investment starting at $2,995 not including the Smart Accessories Kit which is optional but not really if you want to get the best workout from the Tonal
- It needs to be mounted to a wall which stinks for renters and those who don’t want to commit to keeping it in one place in their home
- The weights max out at 100 lbs per arm which is laughably low for a serious lifter
- Required monthly membership is $49 which is one of the highest fitness subscriptions out there
Is Tonal Home Gym Worth the Money?
If you’re seeking a complete smart home gym that leverages technology to optimize your workouts, then Tonal is worth the investment. This brand’s unique selling point is their use of digital weights over traditional, “real” weights, eliminating the bulk and hassle tied to strength training. Although live classes are missing from their library of workouts, Tonal does a great job providing above-average value when compared to other similar home gym equipment options.
Breaking Down Tempo's Home Gym
Tonal is a hard act to follow, but luckily Tempo has the grit to stand on its own and compete. The Tempo Fit home gym is a one-of-a-kind smart home gym that’s designed to take your strength training and muscle building to the next level. Showing up boldly with its 42” HD touchscreen and gorgeous design that includes discreet equipment storage, it’s easy to see the appeal Tempo brings to the table right off the bat.
Side note: I own the Tempo Home Studio and have used it regularly for months, so if you want to learn more about my personal thoughts as a fitness enthusiast, then check out my full review of Tempo studio home gym for a closer look.
Tempo was made to suit the needs of folks at every fitness level, so whether you’re a complete newb or you’re a gym rat, you can feel confident that you’ll be able to go at your own pace and do so with proper form. Tempo’s value proposition is that they make weight training using real weights and proper strength training equipment so easy and accessible. Furthermore, the addition of AI technology, workout classes (including live classes), and a personal training style format all help seal the deal and secure Tempo as one of the best smart gym equipment machines out there.
Related Comparison: Tempo vs Forme Life Studio
Tempo Workouts Review
For those of us who want to recreate the true gym experience at home, Tempo is the smart gym that will do that for you more than any other option. Traditional resistance training includes real weights like dumbbells and barbells, which is why the Tempo Studio comes fully equipped with all that and then some. Plus, all the fitness classes within the platform are led by fitness instructors (Tempo Coaches) that are 100% legit. Aided with the technology located within the studio’s AI, Tempo coaches will help you reach your personal goals.
Similar to Tonal, Tempo helps you to make sure you’re using appropriate weights for your current strength abilities and then helps you to increase your weight properly and safely when you’ve built strength. Not into building a lot of strength or muscle? No worries! Tempo’s stellar class lineup has you covered with on demand and live classes for every training style you can think of. Excitingly, they are adding more and more each week, too!
Here’s a peak what’s inside the screen and within Tempo’s selection if fitness classes:
- Strength training
- High intensity interval training (HIIT)
Who needs a traditional gym when you have all the weights plus the programming to fit into any workout style or preferences? Oh, and it’s all on a giant screen without being a wall mounted gym? Sounds like a winner.
Pros going with Tempo
- Smart AI technology that counts your reps and corrects your form
- Premium quality equipment that’s made to last
- Beautiful design that doesn’t require any holes in your walls
- Weights are easily and conveniently stored in the front and back of the machine
- Three bundle options to choose from so that you can get the right equipment for your needs (including things like a heart rate monitor, foam roller, and more)
- Industry-leading 42” HD touchscreen
- Live and on-demand classes taught by expert coaches
- Fun, challenging special programs that keep things fresh and exciting
- Optional folding bench and squat rack for superior storage
- Extra weight plate options that allow you to lift up to 300 lbs!
Cons going with Tempo
- You need to pay $39 per month for the membership (but it’s still $10 less per month than Tonal!)
- With the introduction of the Tempo Bundles, the price of Tempo has increased (still lower than the competition, though)
- You need to maintain an 8 ft radius around the machine when working out in order for the sensors to pick up your movement (can be tricky for those in extremely small spaces)
- It’s a big machine and it can take up some serious internet bandwidth when in use (not a problem if you have premium internet services)
Is Tempo Fit Worth the Money?
Packed with major value and unparalleled real gym equipment, Tempo’s starting price of $2,495 is well worth the price tag. While this number can feel high, you must keep in mind that you’re getting a complete home gym and that this is still one of the most affordable smart home gyms out there right now. Furthermore, this home gym system will allow you to take your training up a notch and to do so safely and effectively. If you’ve looking to do strength training workouts at home without sacrificing access to premium equipment, Tempo’s weight training system is with it.
Mulling Over Mirror's Home Gym
Mirror lacks the resistance training equipment that Tempo and Tonal include, but that’s not to say that this isn’t a great option to mix up your fitness routine. While Tempo’s home gym includes physical weights and Tonal uses digital weights, Mirror offers a little something different. Mirror’s unique value proposition is that they give access to hundreds of live and on demand workouts. If you’re someone who likes to workout across a broad spectrum of modalities, then Mirror will be right up your alley.
Out of all the smart home gyms out there, Mirror probably has the largest roster of live classes and on demand classes to choose from. Not just that, but the classes are distributed across a giant variety of styles. Instead of focusing mainly on resistance and building muscle, Mirror includes more bodyweight exercises, yoga, dancing, and other forms of exercise that appeal to a wide range of people.
Related Comparison: Mirror vs Forme Life
Additionally, Mirror stands apart from the pack in that it’s an actual mirror when it’s not in use. This means that this connected home gym looks and feels more like a piece of furniture than a piece of exercise equipment. The Mirror gym is nearly invisible, looking sleek and sophisticated on any wall in your home (note: this does not need to be wall mounted). In contrast to other equipment, Mirror is the best choice for someone who wants access to on demand workouts from home without the bulk and inconvenience of workout gear.
Mirror Workouts Review
To get more of an in-depth look at this product, read my detailed review of MIRROR and their workouts. And, as I mentioned, the live classes as well as the on demand classes are where the real magic lies in this home gym thanks to their impressive lineup which includes the following:
- Latin dance
- Tai chi
- Yoga flow
- Cardio & Strength
- Family fun
- Pre + Postnatal
- Dance cardio
- Weight training
- Hip hop
For the majority of these workouts, there is no workout equipment required, which is very appealing for those who aren’t necessarily looking to build muscle and strength as much as they are looking to have fun and just move.
Pros going with Mirror
- So many workouts to choose from with the Mirror home gym!
- Option to take live classes or on demand classes
- A smart home gym that doesn’t look like a home gym (it’s a mirror!)
- All stats, including calories burned are tracked for you
- Large, sleek display that’s easy to use
- Great for those who are seeking high intensity cardio
- All you need for most workouts is a workout mat
Cons going with Mirror
- It’s not a touchscreen, which means you’ll need to have access to your phone or another device with the app downloaded
- It doesn’t come with any physical weights or free weights (you’ll need to bring your own if you’re planning to do any weight resistance workouts with the Mirror home gym)
- It’s the most simplistic as far as smart home gyms are concerned (might be a good thing for some!)
- It doesn’t come with a heart rate monitor which is useful for data tracking
- The workouts can feel a little lame and cheesy for those who don’t care for peppy instruction and studio-style workouts
Is The Mirror Worth the Money?
If you’re looking for a smart home gym that can replace your gym membership and studio classes, then Mirror is worth the money. Mirror is not intended to be a strength training dominant system, which is why they do not include free weights with it. That said, it’s totally understandable that not everyone wants to make resistance training the foundation of their workouts, making Mirror the best choice for those who prefer to dabble in lots of different workout types, including many that require bodyweight only.
Tempo vs Tonal: The Battle Between Two Strength Training Machines
If strength training is where your passion lies, then you’re looking at an epic battle of Tempo vs Tonal as these are undoubtedly the top two strength training smart home gyms available right now. Both Tempo and Tonal bring a ton of value to the table, but what the decision really comes down to is which type of weights you prefer: real weights or digital weights?
If you’re seeking a classic, familiar gym experience with the added bonus of AI training and rocking classes and coaches, then Tempo is the best option. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something innovative, new, and intuitive in the resistance training world, then Tonal is the better choice.
What's The Difference Between Tonal and Tempo?
The major difference between Tonal and Tempo is the weight lifting experience. Tonal's weight training is all digital and works with their cable pull system, whereas Tempo has real weight plates, barbells, dumbbells, a squat rack and bench.
The other difference is price, where Tempo is much cheaper than Tonal - about $500 less, which could make a huge difference for some people.
And, lastly, another big difference between the two is how they look and are set up. Tonal is mounted on the wall and has a cable pull down system with a smaller HD screen, whereas Tempo is a free-standing easel-type looking structure with a 42" HD touchscreen. Make no mistake about it, Tempo is heavy, but you can move it around... unlike Tonal where you mount it and it stays there forever.
So, What's Better: Tempo or Tonal?
I wish I could declare one smart home gym superior to the other definitively, but the truth is that they are both epic systems that use advanced tech and features to deliver amazing results, but their delivery differs and that’s where your personal preferences will come into play.
The Tempo studio home gym is better for those who love the feel of lifting real weights. Tonal home gym is best for those who want to save a little space and utilize digital weight technology that removes the extra steps associated with traditional weights. That said, it’s likely that the starting price of these smart home gyms is also playing a role in your decision. In that regard, Tempo is the better option for those who want to build a budget friendly home gym. Tonal’s home gym is pricier, especially when you consider that you’ll need the smart accessories pack (smart bar, smart accessories, etc), too, just to be able to do all the workouts.
Tonal vs Mirror: Digital Weights or Discreet Design?
The comparison between Mirror vs Tonal is one that’s slightly less relevant than Tempo vs Tonal, only because Mirror is not a strength training focused smart home gym. If you’re deciding between Mirror and Tonal, your decision should come down to what your goals are and what your workout preferences are.
Both Tonal and Mirror offer on demand classes, but currently only Mirror has live classes for you to take. MIrror is a much more budget friendly option, ringing up at $1,495 compared to Tonal’s lofty price tag of $2,995 (starting price).
What’s Better: Tonal or Mirror?
If you’re looking to build muscle and primarily strength train, go for Tonal as that is the best option for folks seeking muscle gains and progressive overload. If you want to have access to a large mix of fun, upbeat classes, including strength training workouts, Mirror is the better choice.
Tempo vs Mirror: Go Big or Go Sleek
Similarly to the debate between Mirror and Tonal, the question of Tempo vs Mirror brings one main question: what are your workout goals and preferences? Also, it brings to mind the question of how much space do you have for your home gym and whether or not you would like it to blend in with your home’s aesthetic.
Mirror, when not in use, looks and functions like a regular mirror. Tempo, on the other hand, gives off a totally different vibe, but it’s just as impressive. Although Tempo has a larger presence, it’s a beautiful machine that you’ll want to proudly display in your home.
Which is Better, Mirror or Tempo Studio?
If you want to strength train with real weights and Olympic grade equipment, then go for the Tempo. If you would prefer to do studio-style fitness classes and experience a variety of different cardio-based workouts, choose the Mirror. Both machines will provide you with a great experience that includes live and on demand classes led by industry-leading experts in the field. If you choose Mirror and want to participate in their strength classes, be aware that you will need to buy your own equipment.
Is a smart home gym better than your typical gym equipment?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year and a half (which many of us probably wish we were…), then you know that 2020 hit the world like a ton of bricks. Those who were hitting the gym each week found themselves without their training outlet. Worse yet, if they didn’t already have at least a little bit of equipment at home to work with, they felt like their personal fitness goals were doomed.
Luckily, the concept of the smart home gym was already brewing in the background. Peloton had already made a mega-splash on the market, allowing folks to workout from home in a way that allowed them to feel as though they were inside a studio or local gym. But the golden nugget that Peloton and others were capitalizing on was convenience. Why go to your local gym when you can do it from home?
So whether you were oblivious to the shift in connected home gyms prior to 2020’s chaos or not, you likely became very aware of them if you’re someone who prioritizes health, fitness, and strength training. These machines became the new must-have for fitness enthusiasts, and they continue to gain momentum and popularity thanks to their innovative technology, workout styles, and all around convenience.
The question is whether or not smart home gym equipment can be a viable replacement for traditional gym equipment, and the answer lies in which home gym you choose. If you’re used to hitting the gym and training with free weights and machines, then you’ll love that the Tempo Studio provides that same equipment for you. If you previously enjoyed instructor-led, in-studio workouts, then Mirror will give you a very similar experience from home. If smart gyms excite you and you want to experience the cutting edge of technology, then Tonal is the place for you.
It can feel difficult to get motivated to workout from home when it’s just you and no one else around to give you that motivation and kick in the pants you need to keep going. Luckily, Tempo, Tonal, and Mirror all give you the interactive experience of being in the same room as personal trainers and fitness instructors. Whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or just move your body and have some fun, smart home gyms are making it easier than ever to do that from the comfort and convenience of your own home.
Wrapping Up: Which Smart Home Gym Equipment Is Right For You?
After taking a look at all three of these smart gyms, you’ve probably imagined yourself working out with each one of them and how that would feel. Hopefully, you’ve started to lean more towards one option over the others because now it’s decision time! Which smart home gym excites you the most? Which gym equipment is going to best match your fitness goals and preferences?
There’s no question that the price disparity between these three options is glaring. But just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you need to settle for something that you’ll easily feel bored with or that won’t motivate and challenge you. Mirror is the most budget-friendly option, but it’s not the best option for strength building, so if you’re looking to make some gains, skip over the Mirror.
That leaves us to the matchup between Tempo and Tonal, which is one of the most hotly debated subjects out there right now. For those used to the look and feel of real weights and who love the satisfaction of adding another weight plate to the bar as a sign of progression, Tempo will check all those boxes for you. Plus, Tempo is very moderately priced in the space, starting at $2,495 with the option to finance and pay as you go (if qualified).
Tonal and its digital weights system is revolutionary and undeniably impressive. However, many feel a reluctance to jump on board with a brand and concept so new to the industry. Plus, serious lifters feel disappointed with the relatively low max weight of 200 lbs (100 on each resistance cable arm). That said, Tonal’s tech and features eliminate some of the most common pitfalls of building muscle through using resistance such as needing a spotter, knowing how and when to adjust weights, and form cues. These stellar features virtually replace the need for a personal trainer and guarantee that you’re going to have a safe, effective workout.
At the end of the day, you’re not likely to be disappointed with any of these three options. Unless, of course, you choose one that doesn’t align with your goals and workout style. Take a few moments to critically think about how you want to train for the long term and then pull the trigger! Your home gym experience awaits!
Compliment Your Exercise With A Healthy Diet
As a mom of 2, eating healthy has its challenges, such as meal planning, grocery shopping and creating new recipes to beat the boredom of the same meal over and over.
If you decide to choose Tempo, Tonal or Mirror, you'll be well on your way to adopting new fitness habits. But exercise alone usually won't help you lose weight and produce body recomposition results. That's why I created a FREE weekly meal plan for our email subscribers. If you sign up below, you'll receive a free weekly meal plan every Friday, which also includes a grocery shopping list and our ad-free, healthy, macro-friendly recipes, created by our team of registered dietitians and nutritionists.