Speediance review: Better value than Tonal?

Tonal may have been the first device to bring a smart, space efficient, digital weight workout setup to the home. It is also one of the most expensive. Lower-priced alternatives like the Speediance Home Gym, may be a better alternative for those trying to find better value for the cost.

Here is our in-depth review for Speediance. Continue reading to see how it holds up and if it would be a great fit for you.

Speediance review – video

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Speediance space requirements

Unlike Tonal, which needs to be bolted onto a wall, Speediance is free standing and so can be placed anywhere. For many, especially renters, this can be a much better option.

When folded up, Speediance takes up less than 3 sqft, but you will need to find additional storage space for the accessories.

When you want to use Speediance, you can simply unlock and unfold the platform. The issue with this is that the platform is pretty heavy and there is nothing stopping from it crashing down once the release button is pressed. So you need to lower it slowly.

Because of this, I suggest you leave this platform permanently down if you have kids. With the button low and very easy to press, a small kid could easily unlock it and hurt themselves.

Speediance digital weight

Speediance is able to deliver up to 220lbs of digital resistance (110lbs per arm). If you haven’t used digital weight before, it feels a bit heavier than traditional weights. Compared to a barbell, the 220lbs feels more like 250lbs to me.

While this may not be satisfying to more advanced lifters, it will be enough resistance for most users.

Lifting with the weights on Speediance feels very stable and secure. As both a cable machine and barbell, it works well. Although you can occasionally get a little bit of a wobble, it’s not any more or less noticeable here than on similar devices like Tonal or Vitruvian.

There is also an optional skiing and rowing attachment. I tested out the skiing and I think it is a nice addition. Though you should know that the skiing resistance is pretty high compared to regular skiergs, and so feels much more like a strength workout than a cardio session. 

While there are some safety features (which I will go into more depth later on in this review), I don’t feel very safe when lifting heavy loads with the barbell. For squats, there is no safe way to unload the barbell should the digital attachment not work. And for deadlifts, there is no mechanism in place to prevent the barbell from slamming onto your toes should you accidentally lose your grip.

Until I see some more safety features added, I personally will be staying away from going heavy on Speediance with any vertical barbell movements.

Speediance accessories

The basic Speediance package includes a bench, cable handles, barbell and a removable squat rack hooks. Given Tonal provides almost nothing with their basic package, this feels like a great deal. And the vast majority of movements can be done with just this basic package. 

Though I do suggest getting the Speediance smart accessory package, which includes a barbell digital weight controller and smart cable handle, which have buttons to turn on and off the load. This additional package also includes rope, ankle, and ski handle attachments.

While the ability to turn the weights on or off via these smart accessories is not necessary all of the time, it is for some movements – especially for barbell squatting, benching, and hip thrusts.

I ended up not using the included squat rack hooks. They are small, shallow, and given the cables pull the barbell away from the, I do not trust the racks to be safe. There is also the fact that I can not use the rack for squats given Speediance’s screen being in the way. 

Adding and removing the attachments is very intuitive and quick. And, I really like how the adjustment system allows you to easily change the lever point of the cables from high to low, or even underneath you when attached to the platform.

The cables and handles are well made and comfortable to use. The barbell is decent as well, though a little skinnier and not quite as comfortable as a more traditional barbell. The rest of the accessories, including the bench, are also decent. The plastic Ski handles, though, can get a bit slippery, and I wish they would have been coated in rubber like those on the Concept 2 SkiErg.

Speediance smart features

When using Speediance, there are a decent amount of smart features that can used to level up your workouts. Initially, you will want to take a few of the six different strength assessments.

Once complete, these assessments then update dozens of other strength movements with suggest weight loads for your future workouts. As you continue to do take various workouts and programs, Speediance keeps track of your performance and refines these weight suggestions overtime. It isn’t perfect, but it does a pretty decent job of getting you to a ballpark of where you want to be lifting. 

Once a movement is selected, in addition to being able to adjust the weight up or down, you can turn on:

  • Safety Loading automatically takes all the weight off after you finish the last rep of a set..
  • Spotter Mode decreases the weight during a rep if you get stuck.
  • Inverted Mode flips the screen upside down, which can be useful when doing movements like benching (the screen can also rotate to face downward). 

Additionally, there are four dynamic resistance modes to choose from:

  • Standard provides a constant amount of resistance and feels like you are lifting regular weights.
  • Chains simulates the feeling of lifting with chains, meaning resistance is added during the concentric phase (or lifting portion) of the movement.
  • Eccentric increases resistance on the eccentric phase (or lowering portion) of a movement.
  • Constant mode keeps the speed constant as you pull and is mostly used for rehabilitation movements.

While you lift, you can see the weight, reps, and volume adjust on the screen in real-time. Speediance also has a range of motion graph that makes it easy to see if you are favoring one side over the other.

Speediance membership

The Speediance membership currently includes a wide variety of programs and workouts to follow along to.

As of now, these workouts are not coached but instead show a demo of the current movement with some audio cues mixed in. While I like the setup, those who prefer a more entertaining or coached experience may not.

The programs and workouts seem designed well. The reps, sets, rest, and volume feel like they are programmed by someone who knows what they are doing. There are also a wide assortment of options to choose from with hundreds of classes ranging from short 10 min sessions to longer 60 minute full body routines. 

In addition to classes, you can go to the movement library and select movements one by one.  You can also create and save your own workouts here on Speediance via the touchscreen or with the included app.

The workout creation tools are a bit cumbersome to use at the moment. There is no easy way to add supersets of movements, and the entire process feels fairly unintuitive to use.

Alternatively you can also just go into free lift mode, with no movements selected and just do whatever you’d like.

Like most connected fitness devices, Speediance does require a membership to access all of its features. The membership is currently free until 2024. At that point, Speediance says they plan on charging $29 per month.

However, the majority of features, outside of the classes and programs, are set to work without a membership. This means if you don’t want or need to pay for the classes, Speediance can still feel like a good investment. Other machines, like Tonal, turn off the majority of their functions and smart features should you stop your subscription.

Overall thoughts

Speediance may not be as smart, beginner friendly, and definitely not as safe as others. But what Speediance does have going for it is a very solid, space efficient design that doesn’t require being bolted to a wall – all at a price that is significantly lower than most other options.

Buy Speediance here.
(Use discount code “THNZE3FW” for an additional $200 off!)

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