As a global pandemic accelerated an already booming home fitness industry, consumers are seeing more and more tech-savvy home gym options available to them. We at CTW continue to widen our focus and detail as many of these products for our readers. This includes products like the Tonal, Tempo, FORME Life’s Studio Lift, and NordicTrack’s Fusion CST. Each of these connected home gyms offers its own unique features and design. Let’s begin with comparisons of Tonal vs. Tempo and go from there.
Smart Home Gym Contenders
Similar to our recent mirrored fitness comparison, we will be detailing four connected fitness brands side by side. Each of these products fits the same fitness category — an at-home weight lifting gym.
As you will see, these products vary in their look, features, accessories, plus so much more. We will break each down individually but have also compiled all the specs in a comprehensive chart for you below.
This is one of the newer home fitness brands whose name matches its flagship product. Similar to Mirror, or even Tempo below, this is the only offering from the brand at this time, but it’s a good one.
The Tonal system is an all-in-one gym with 200 lbs. of resistance using its propriety digital weight system. That’s 100 lbs. per arm that folds down when not in use. 200 lbs. is also the largest weight resistance offered on our list.
In comparison, Tonal offers an expansive library of various workouts, including pre/postnatal and “family fun.” The device utilizes AI and 17 sensors to adjust your weight and help with proper form.
Technology doesn’t always come cheap, however. At $3,490 (including the smart accessories, which feel like a necessity to get a full workout), this is in the same ballpark as two other pricier products on our list. That being said, Tonal offers a sweet 30-day money-back guarantee with no fees for returns or restocking.
Smallest footprint, largest variety of content, highest max weight, great return policy.
Smaller touchscreen compared to others, highest monthly membership fee ($49), Must be mounted to wall.
Keeping with fitness alliteration after Tonal is Tempo. This product is unique to our list in that it’s the only one that utilizes free weights with zero arms or cables. Tempo is also free-standing vs.Tonal, which is mounted.
At $3,495, the Tempo is the second most expensive home gym, but that price is for the Plus package that adds more weights, a barbell, a heart rate monitor, and a bench to the standard Tempo at $2,495. For the sake of being able to do a full workout, we chose to compare the Tempo Plus below.
Due to its keen focus on strength training, Tempo offers the narrowest variety of workouts, although it is expanding with classes like yoga soon. Regardless, Tempo’s workouts are personalized using a one-way, 3D sensor that offers feedback about your form in real time. At 100 lbs., Tempo is the lightest option and easiest to move around your home for a great workout.
3D sensor for form correction, universal bluetooth connectivity, lots of accessories, lightest device/free-standing, decent warranty.
Second most expensive option, less variety in workout types, free-weights only, expensive delivery fee ($250) and return fee ($250-$350).
FORME Life Studio Lift
The Studio Lift is the home gym variation of FORME Life’s Studio mirror, which we have previously covered. The product features all of the same perks of owning the Studio but adds weight training to its arsenal.
FORME Life’s Studio Lift is top-notch in nearly every category, which is why it garners the largest price tag at $4,495. You do get what you pay for, however, as the Studio Lift offers a wide range of workouts aside from strength training, including Barre. All delivered from the largest and clearest touchscreen on the list.
The home gym utilizes two separate cameras that can watch your form and adjust your weights, so you can reach that max lift… and also not hurt yourself.
What’s truly unique about the Studio Lift is that it’s the only option on this list that offers 1:1 personal training for an additional fee per session. It’s also the only product here to feature a mirror. Lastly, this device can be mounted to a wall or stand on its own, making it the most versatile.
FORME Life Studio Lift Pros
Best touchscreen, no annual membership commitment, quality cameras, free-standing or wall-mounted, delivery and white-glove installation included with purchase, 1:1 personal training available.
FORME Life Studio Lift Cons
Most expensive option, only FORME Life’s HRM is compatible, AirPods Pro not compatible, $250 return fee.
NordicTrack Fusion CST
Last but not least is our largest and most affordable option in the NordicTrack Fusion CST. This traditional-looking home gym unit starts at a more reasonable price of $1,899 and comes with an iFit membership included for a whole year. That will save you almost $400 on top of the savings of the unit itself.
The value is certainly there, but it does come at some cost to consumers. The Fusion CST houses a 10″ tablet (included) that is significantly smaller than the other touchscreens. It can also only provide 50 lbs. of resistance per arm, which may not give serious bodybuilders the capacity they need to get a good pump.
As a free-standing unit, there is no need to pay for installation. However, the Fusion CST does weigh over 375 lbs. and requires $99 curbside delivery. You may want to consider throwing the delivery people some extra cash to get this beast inside for you!
Beware, if you decide the Fusion CST is not for you, you are looking at a $250 shipping fee and 10% restocking fee. Looking for something sleeker? You may want to hold out until later this year when NordicTrack releases its mirror version called the Fusion CST Studio.
NordicTrack Fusion CST Pros
Lowest price, 1-year iFit membership included, access to iFit’s vast content library.
NordicTrack Fusion CST Cons
Largest and heaviest unit, smallest touchscreen, lowest max weight, only iFit compatible heart rate monitors, limited accessories, delivery and return fees.
Comparison chart: Tonal vs. Tempo, NordicTrack and more
|Tonal (with smart accessories)||Tempo (Plus)||FORME Life Studio Lift||NordicTrack Fusion CST|
|Equipment Footprint||50.9″ H x 21.50″ W x 5.25” D||72″ H x 26” W x 16” D||70″ H x 26″ W x 8″ D||73.5″ H x 60.5″ W x 41.5″ D|
|Recommended workout space||7′ of wall and 7′ of floor||6′ x 10′||7′ x 7′||6′ of clearance around machine|
|Touchscreen Size||24″ HD 1080p touchscreen||42″ HD touchscreen||43″ 4K UHD touchscreen||10″ HD touchscreen tablet|
|Monthly Fee||$49/month (12 month commitment)||$39/month (12 month commitment)||$39/month Multi-user membership||1 year iFit family membership included ($396/year thereafter)|
Yoga (coming soon)
Pilates Meditation Dance
Free weight strength training
|Resistance Type||Proprietary digital weights||Free weights only||Proprietary active resistance||Magnetic|
|Max Weight||100 lbs. per arm||150 lbs.||75 lbs. per arm||50 lbs. per pulley|
|Camera||Not in use||One-way 3D sensor||2 x 12 megapixel||N/A|
|Bluetooth Connectivity||Most devices||Most devices||FORME Life HRM only/|
Most headphones except AirPods Pro
|iFit compatible HRMs only/Most headphones|
|Included Accessories||(smart accessory add-on)|
6 gyroscope handles
Cushioned workout mat
|Weight plates |
4 x 1.25 lb
4 x 2.5 lb
4 x 5 lb
4 x 10 lb
2 x 25 lb
2 x 7.5 lb dumbbells
1 x 25 lb barbell
Heart rate monitor
|2 Free FORME handles|
1 Premium rope grip
1 Short bar
2 Ankle straps
Premium yoga mat
Heart rate monitor
Screen camera covers
|10” Portal 10i Tablet|
iFit Bluetooth Chest Strap
2 Squat Pulleys
2 Ankle Straps
|Layout||Wall mount||Free standing||Wall mount or free standing||Free standing|
|Installation||Included in delivery fee||White glove installation included w/ delivery fee||White glove installation included||N/A|
|Delivery||Varies based on address||$250||Included||$99.00 (curbside drop off)|
|One-on-One Personal Training||N/A||N/A||Additional $$ based on program/trainer||N/A|
|Product Weight||135 lbs.||100 lbs.||200 lbs.||378 lbs.|
|Return Policy||30 days no fees||30 days w/ $250-$350 shipping fee||30 days w/ $250 return fee||30 days w/ $250 shipping fee + 10% restocking fee|
|Warranty||2 years parts, 1 year labor and accessories||3 years cabinet, 3 years weights, 1 year display and labor||1 year parts and labor||10 year frame, 1 year parts and labor|
Comparing Tonal vs. Tempo vs. FORME Life vs. NordicTrack
As you can see from the comprehensive breakdown above, these products all have their own pros and cons depending on the category that is most important to you, the consumer.
In regard to these four products, Tonal and Tempo appear to have found that sweet spot of price plus features, accessories, and content. At only a difference of $5, you can choose between a wall-mounted device or freestanding, resistance cables or free weights.
For $1,000 more, FORME Life’s Studio Lift will give you everything you get from the other devices and then some. The home gym is the only mirror device that is as decorative as it is useful and offers personal training through advanced tech.
On the other end of the spectrum, you will find a solid product in NordicTrack’s Fusion CST for almost half the price of its competitors. As a result, you may not get all the bells and whistles, but you can still get a great strength workout, especially with an entire year of iFit included.
Hopefully, you can utilize this information compiled into one place to help you gauge your own home gym purchase, whether it’s from Tempo, Tonal, FORME Life, or NordicTrack.
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