Health and Fitness

Is This Smart Home Gym Worth It?

Smart fitness mirrors are the newest high tech wellness gadgets on the scene. On top of being futuristic enough to be featured in a Philip K. Dick novel, they actually offer some really cool features to take your home workouts to the next level.

Tonal is one of the innovators of the smart gym world, and its mirror isn’t just a mirror with a video screen. Nah, it’s a whole gym (including your very own AI personal trainer, to boot) in one sleek, high tech package.

Intrigued? Us too. So, let us tell you (Ton)all about this workout device and what it can do.

The Tonal device is a large wall-mounted mirror/touch-screen display with two GIANT ROBOT ARMS (really).

These arms can slide up and down the length of the Tonal device to accommodate a variety of upper-body, lower-body, and core exercises. You can also adjust the arms out from the device and change the angle of the arms. In addition, you can also attach different accessories to these arms to simulate dumbbells, kettlebells, ropes, and barbells.

This allows you to perform of 170 unique exercises — so it really could replace your home gym.

Even better, the Tonal’s arms can each deliver up to 100 lbs (45 kg) of resistance, so the device can be used for lifts of up to 200 lbs (91 kg). AND, based on reviews and our own experience, weight on the Tonal feels heavier than free weights because you don’t get any assistance from gravity — it’s ALL you.

What kind of tech does this smart gym have?

The Tonal has 17 different sensors to detect your form, technique, and speed, and it offers immediate feedback to help you self-correct and get the most out of every move.

The device adjusts the weight automatically based on your initial fitness assessment on the device and how you’re progressing — it can even adjust the weight throughout the lift to help maximize the impact of each lift or to ease up if it senses you’re having a tough time.

And all this data it collects about your workouts is stored, so the Tonal can track your progress and offer personalized guidance and the perfect amount of resistance for each and every future workout.

Let’s just hope these things never become sentient, or we’ll all be bowing down to our Tonal overlords.

What about accessories?

To get full use of your Tonal, you need to buy the Smart Accessory bundle, which contains handles, a bar, and a rope made to use with the Tonal device as well as a bench, a roller, and a workout mat.

Alternatively, you can buy T-locks (available on Tonal’s website) and carabiners to attach your own accessories.

Without the Smart Accessories, the Tonal comes with a set of basic handles. However, the Smart Accessories let you switch the resistance on and off with the touch of a button, making it easier (and safer) to change position between moves or to take a break. Although they’re *technically* optional, they’re necessary for these safety features.

A major downside is that you can’t buy the Smart Accessories individually, so if you want them, you’re gonna have to pay the full $495 — even if you already have a mat, bench, and roller.

Here are all the deets on the Tonal that you’ll need to know before you click “buy.”

  • Wall-mounted. The Tonal device itself is wall-mounted, which requires careful installation. If the studs in your walls are farther than 16 in (41 cm) apart but not more than 24 in (61 cm) apart, the Tonal will need to be installed using Tonal’s wide mount bars. You’ll also need to set up your Tonal close to a wall outlet and have decent Wi-Fi to stream workouts.
  • Dimensions. It measures 51 inches (in) tall and 22 in wide, which is 130 centimeters (cm) tall and 56 cm wide. For a Tonal workout, you’ll need a 7-foot (ft) by 7-foot (213 cm by 213 cm) space and ceiling clearance of at least 7 ft,10 in (239 cm).
  • Weight. This thing weighs 100 lbs (45 kg).
  • Touch screen. You operate the Tonal using the built-in touch-screen display, which measures 24 in (61 cm) diagonally and is centered on the upper portion of the Tonal device.

It’s also a good idea to buy the Smart Accessory bundle so you can use your Tonal to its full potential from day one. The bundle contains:

  • Smart handles
  • Smart bar
  • Smart rope
  • bench
  • mat
  • roller

The Smart Accessories connect to the Tonal via Bluetooth and provide some additional functionality and safety by allowing you to quickly turn the resistance on or off by pressing a button.

Here’s a breakdown of all the costs you can expect when purchasing a Tonal:

Remember that you can also choose not to buy the pricey accessory bundle, but you’ll still need to shell out a bit of cash on T-locks and carabiners to attach your own accessories.

If you qualify for financing through Affirm, you can pay as little as $149 per month with no interest for 36 months — and this payment includes the machine and accessories, installation, and membership fee. From what we’ve read online, though, it’s pretty rare to get 0 percent interest on 36 months and much easier to get 0 percent on a 12-, 18-, or 24-month payment plan. Affirm also has an offer of $58 per month for 48 months.

You can get a full refund if you decide to return the machine within 30 days of installation. Tonal also offers warranty coverage of 3 years for parts, 1 year for labor, and 1 year for accessories. Just remember that you’ll need to opt for professional installation if you don’t want to void your warranty.

Note: As of this writing, it’s taking an average of 1 to 3 weeks after placing an order for the Tonal to be delivered and installed.

A Tonal membership comes with TONS of on-demand classes, including:

Tonal offers several guided workouts that automatically adjust your weight and provide form feedback, or you can improv it in Free Lift mode. You can also create your own workouts from a library of more than 170 moves.

It also has TONS of progressive, multi-week programs targeted at users of all skill levels — with goals of improving fitness, getting stronger and building muscle, or losing weight. Some example programs include:

  • New Strength
  • Beginner Breakthrough
  • 30 Minute Muscle
  • Everyday Fit
  • Stronger for Sport
  • Advanced 5×5

These programs automatically set your weight for each lift based on your abilities and goals, taking all of the guesswork out and allowing you to easily progress and get stronger.

In addition to weightlifting workouts, several of the workouts offered — like yoga and dance cardio — can be done with no equipment.

Community and interaction

The brand also offers in-person partner workouts, so you and your roomie or partner can work out together. With partner workouts, one of you will be doing a floor workout and another will be lifting on the Tonal, and you’ll take turns swapping out. Tonal will automatically adjust the weight based on who’s using it at the time.

They also allow virtual group workouts for you and all your Tonal friends, where all moves are tracked like you’re all working out on the same Tonal (so you better be pulling your weight). You can cheer each other on in these workouts too!

Finally, Tonal has added live workouts to its roster. They’re available for all skill levels, and like the virtual group workouts, you can cheer others on and receive cheers. You also see when other users hit new personal records (motivating), and you’ll see a cumulative amount of weight lifted on screen for everyone in the class (SUPREMELY motivating).

The app

The Tonal app is available on Google Play and the Apple App store, and is essentially a mobile version of the gym itself. You can view all your stats, check the live class schedule, browse on demand classes, and even do workouts from Tonal’s “on the go” category — which is essentially all of the floor classes, like cardio, yoga, recovery, and mobility.

(Pro tip: This allows you to keep your Tonal streak going even if you’re away from home and unable to workout on the Tonal itself.)

You can also create custom workouts directly on the app to use on the Tonal device, which is waaay easier than standing in front of the Tonal to input your custom workout.

Tonal owners are OB. SESSED. with their Tonals. Like, we’d say they have a problem, but as far as intense interests go you really can’t beat strength training.

And all of this Tonal-love is despite its high price, too. Most people who’ve made the investment definitely see the value.

However, some reviewers say that the unit is louder than they anticipated — important to know if you’re living in a shared space or an apartment building.

Additionally, the monthly $49 fee can be kind of steep to some — especially after paying for the device, installation, and accessories too.

Another major concern is with privacy. The Tonal comes equipped with a camera and sensors in order to provide the type of feedback that it does, and Tonal collects a good deal of your personal information as well. This includes everything you enter into the Tonal, like your fitness goals, health metrics, and all of your Tonal stats.

Before you purchase, you may want to give the Privacy Policy a read through.

If the Tonal’s not exactly what you’re looking for, or maybe a little out of your price point — you’ve got options.

The MIRROR is a sleek, Lululemon-owned smart mirror that caters more to the floor class crowd. If you’re more into yoga, Pilates, cardio, or group classes than strength training — it’s the one you might wanna go with. The MIRROR is also significantly less expensive than Tonal, and offers live personal training sessions.

And if you prefer real weights but still like the idea of AI form feedback and smart recommendations, you might want to go with the Tempo Studio. The Starter Set is similarly priced to the Tonal, but is configured as a free-standing display with real, physical dumbbells and weights for a more IRL experience.

Finally, if you’ve already got some iFit-connected equipment in your home gym (like from NordicTrack or ProForm), you should go with the NordicTrack vault. It will save you money on another fitness streaming service since it’s iFit-compatible, and it comes with handy built-in storage for all of your strength equipment.

Here’s how the four compare:

So, is it right for you? You and your Tonal will be BFFs if it fits your:

  • Budget. Let’s be real here: The Tonal is PRICEY. To be fair, the price is justified because it’s a pretty one-of-a-kind device with some seriously advanced tech, but still — don’t buy if it’s gonna jeopardize your finances.
  • Space. If you don’t have a 7 ft by 7 ft (213 cm by 213 cm) space against a wall with an outlet, then you’ll need to pass on the Tonal. And if you do have the space but you’re renting, you may wanna talk with your landlord before having it professionally mounted on the wall.
  • Workout style. I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, do you know what that means? The Tonal is for you if you’re an introverted exerciser. The brand is starting to offer live classes, but most of the content is still on-demand. If you thrive in a group setting or love going to the gym for the social aspect, the Tonal might not be the best fit for you.
  • Tech obsession. Are you an early adopter, living in the year 3008 with the Black Eyed Peas? Or a self-avowed biohacker who loves DATA? You. Need. A. Tonal.

Verdict? The Tonal is (rightfully) really expensive, but if you wanna get swole like a Jetson, it could be *tonally* worth it.



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