Tonal Versus Tempo: Battle of the Smart Home Gyms

The home gym market has enjoyed unprecedented growth in the past year or two, both in the U.S. and overseas. This growth comes as more of us than ever look to improve our health, fitness, and overall well-being. Thankfully, it’s no longer necessary to hit the local gym in the traditional sense. Instead, cutting-edge pieces of equipment from the likes of Tonal and Tempo make it possible to get much the same experience from the comfort of our own homes.
Other brands, too, like SoulCycle, have helped to lead the charge. However, where SoulCycle is heavily focused on cycling, Tonal and Tempo promise a full-on workout in our living rooms, bedrooms, and other private spaces. Of course, all of this comes at a cost. Flagship pieces of equipment from SoulCycle, Tonal, and Tempo alike all cost between $2,500 and $3,000. A corresponding subscription fee will then set you back up to $600 annually.
Yet despite the costs, legions of new fans continue to flock to such services and their products. Many cite convenience as a major driver in their decision. Others prefer the privacy afforded by being able to work out at home. Whatever an individual’s reasoning, it’s important to consider the options before splashing out, particularly where largely like-for-like choices such as Tonal and Tempo exist.

Smart Home Gym Equipment

What sets Tempo and Tonal apart from traditional home gym equipment is the ‘smart’ aspect of their offering. In essence, that means they’re internet-connected and can, therefore, provide cleverly tailored workouts. Such workouts would previously have relied upon outside help from a costly personal trainer, fitness coach, or gym instructor.
This next generation of smart equipment also grants users access to on-demand and live classes, much like those that have traditionally involved a trip to the local gym. Typically covered by a company’s subscription fee, with most services, subscribers can further tap into personalized programs and various other benefits, too. Essentially, choosing between them is much like picking a preferred gym in your neighborhood, town, or city.
To get the best value and service, it’s vital to make the right decision. In this instance, that means opting for either Tonal or Tempo. While they’ve both attracted significant press interest recently, neither brand is new. In fact, both were founded in 2015. Still, there’s plenty to separate them, both on a person-by-person basis and more generally speaking.


Tempo’s home gym costs $2,495. For that, buyers get an attractive and well-designed piece of kit that can be tailored to individual users. Tempo’s most striking feature has to be its 42-inch high-definition touchscreen. This screen is central to everything that Tempo does, so size and quality are equally important. Thankfully, it impresses on both fronts.
Highlights of Tempo include its free-standing, high-quality construction and the fact that a set of physical weights are stored inside the device. AI technology counts repetitions, corrects form, and more. Various product bundles offered by Tempo allow buyers to fine-tune their purchases. Live and on-demand classes are then available around the clock to subscribers, too.
A Tempo subscription costs $39 per month. For that, buyers gain access to a wide range of both on-demand and live classes. Having bought into the Tempo range, an optional folding bench is also available, as is a squat rack. Furthermore, extra weight plates can be added up to a maximum of 300 pounds. If nothing else, that demonstrates that Tempo isn’t only for beginners or more casual gym-goers!
Perhaps slightly less positively, there’s no denying that it’s a large piece of equipment. Additionally, users need to maintain an eight-foot radius around themselves and the machine for its AI technology to work. That said, it’s entirely free-standing. So, while heavy and somewhat cumbersome, it can be moved around as necessary.


Tonal is the pricier of the two options covered here at $2,995. Tonal’s subscription fee is higher at $49 per month as well. For that, buyers get lots of the same benefits that they do with Tempo. However, Tonal does differ from Tempo quite significantly in several areas, both for better and for worse.
Among Tonal’s biggest selling points is its minimalist and discreet design. Yet, unlike Tempo, Tonal isn’t free-standing and must be fixed to a wall. It also employs digital weights rather than physical weights. Essentially using a form of magnetic resistance, digital weights are a cutting-edge alternative to traditional dumbbells.
The inclusion of such technology is likely why Tonal costs $500 more than Tempo, despite packing less physical equipment.
What this does mean, though, is that Tonal takes up much less room, which can be important in smaller spaces. Just like Tempo, it looks great, too, boasting a matching 42-inch display and a similarly high-quality finish. Unfortunately, being wall-mounted means that it cannot be easily moved once installed, so extra consideration is essential when selecting a suitable location for Tonal.
In further contrast to Tempo, Tonal also relies solely on on-demand classes and doesn’t currently offer live classes to subscribers, even at $49 per month.

Tonal vs. Tempo: Conclusion

At $500 cheaper, Tempo is the stand-out choice in this instance. Crucially, Tempo boasts one all-important feature that Tonal lacks: live classes. Arguably central to the overall experience provided by any piece of smart home gym equipment, it’s a major omission on Tonal’s part, especially given its high purchase price and subscription cost.
Moreover, Tempo benefits from the inclusion of physical weights rather than purely digital ones. While cutting-edge, Tonal’s magnetic resistance-based digital weights can only mimic an amount of up to 100 pounds per arm, so 200-pounds total. Tempo owners, meanwhile, have access to up to 300 pounds. Accordingly, Tempo outshines Tonal when it comes to serious strength training, as well as where there’s a preference for physical rather than digital weights.
More customizable than its competitor, it’s also much more versatile due to its free-standing nature. With that, it’s a clear win for Tempo.

Protect Your Home Gym Equipment

Whichever gym equipment you own, be sure to protect it with an extended warranty. With Upsie, various fitness warranty packages are available. However, Upsie cannot currently cover Tempo or Tonal gyms. Priced at up to 70 percent less than policies sold by manufacturers and retailers, Upsie cuts out the middleman to offer savings to you.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.