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Smart home gym comparison: Tonal vs. Tempo and more

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’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.

Tonal

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.

Tonal’s home gym

Tonal Pros

Smallest footprint, largest variety of content, highest max weight, great return policy.

Tonal Cons

Smaller touchscreen compared to others, highest monthly membership fee ($49), Must be mounted to wall.

Tempo

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.

Tempo’s free standing home gym unit

Tempo Pros

3D sensor for form correction, universal bluetooth connectivity, lots of accessories, lightest device/free-standing, decent warranty.

Tempo Cons

Second most expensive option, less variety in workout types, free-weights only, expensive delivery fee ($250) and return fee ($250-$350).

FORME Studio LIFT

The Studio LIFT is the home gym variation of FORME’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’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’s Studio LIFT

FORME 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 Studio LIFT Cons

Most expensive option, only FORME’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’s Fusion CST home gym

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 Studio LIFTNordicTrack Fusion CST
Equipment Footprint50.9″ H x 21.50″ W x 5.25” D72″ H x 26” W x 16” D70″ H x 26″ W x 8″ D73.5″ H x 60.5″ W x 41.5″ D
Recommended workout space7′ of wall and 7′ of floor6′ x 10′7′ x 7′6′ of clearance around machine
Touchscreen Size24″ HD 1080p touchscreen42″ HD touchscreen43″ 4K UHD touchscreen10″ HD touchscreen tablet
Equipment Price$3,490$3,495$4,495$1,899
Monthly Fee$49/month (12 month commitment)$39/month (12 month commitment)$39/month Multi-user membership1 year iFit family membership included ($396/year thereafter)
ContentStrength training
Yoga
Pilates
Barre
Meditation
Kickboxing
Dance cardio
Pre/Post natal
Triathlon
Family fun
HIIT
Recovery
Mobility
Bootcamp
Strength training
HIIT
Mobility
Cardio
Recovery
Yoga (coming soon)
Yoga
Barre
Pilates Meditation Dance
Resistance training
Body weight
strength training
Free weight strength training
Beginner
Strength training
Body sculpting
Bootcamp
HIIT
Cross training
Resistance TypeProprietary digital weightsFree weights onlyProprietary active resistanceMagnetic
Max Weight100 lbs. per arm150 lbs. 75 lbs. per arm50 lbs. per pulley
CameraNot in useOne-way 3D sensor2 x 12 megapixelN/A
Bluetooth ConnectivityMost devicesMost devicesFORME HRM only/
Most headphones except AirPods Pro
iFit compatible HRMs only/Most headphones
Included Accessories(smart accessory add-on)
6 gyroscope handles
Smart bar
Rope handle
Bench
Roller
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
Workout mat
2 x 7.5 lb dumbbells
1 x 25 lb barbell
Heart rate monitor
Recovery roller
Folding bench
2 Free FORME handles
1 Premium rope grip
1 Short bar
2 Ankle straps
Premium yoga mat
Heart rate monitor
Microfiber towel
Screen camera covers
10” Portal 10i Tablet
iFit Bluetooth Chest Strap
2 Squat Pulleys
2 Ankle Straps
LayoutWall mountFree standingWall mount or free standingFree standing
InstallationIncluded in delivery feeWhite glove installation included w/ delivery feeWhite glove installation includedN/A
DeliveryVaries based on address$250Included$99.00 (curbside drop off)
One-on-One Personal TrainingN/AN/AAdditional $$ based on program/trainerN/A
Product Weight135 lbs.100 lbs.200 lbs.378 lbs.
Return Policy30 days no fees30 days w/ $250-$350 shipping fee30 days w/ $250 return fee30 days w/ $250 shipping fee + 10% restocking fee
Warranty2 years parts, 1 year labor and accessories3 years cabinet, 3 years weights, 1 year display and labor1 year parts and labor10 year frame, 1 year parts and labor

Comparing Tonal vs. Tempo vs. FORME 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’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, or NordicTrack.

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