Mirror mirror on the wall...who is the fairest of them all? Actually, with all the trendy smart home gyms, including fan-favorites Tonal and the Mirror this question should be: Who is the fittest of them all? And, it's a very tight race.
Tonal and Mirror are two of the big names in intelligent home equipment. If you're shopping for a major home workout upgrade, these two high-ticket items may be on your list. Both are definitely an investment, so there are a lot of factors to consider and compare when figuring out which one is right for you and your workout preferences.
Tonal and Mirror only look similar. But they are quite different as far as what you can do workout-wise with them. "The two vary tremendously and it does depend on what goal you’d like to achieve," says Annie Cooper, running coach, NASM-certified fitness performance trainer, and owner of Tune Into Fitness.
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Both Tonal and Mirror are, at their simplest, high-tech screens and offer interactive workouts. "The Tonal is a high-tech cable system with a weight system included. The Mirror is more of a workout station with live workouts and ready-made workouts for you."
Now, let's go deep. Allow me (with guidance and advice from an expert trainer!) to walk you through all the details—from dimensions and pricing to workouts and accessories, to help make your buying decision a bit easier.
Tonal Vs. Mirror: Design And Dimensions
Mirror is a literal mirror that mounts on your wall or can be used with a stand. The Mirror measures 22.4 inches wide, 56.0 inches high, and 1.4 inches deep. You only need two feet of wall space to install it and enough space in front of it to roll out a mat and complete the workouts. It weighs 70 pounds and is made of a carbon steel frame paired with mineral bronze powder coating. It seamlessly fits into any decor, just like a standard mirror.
Tonal features an oversized interactive screen and comes with built-in resistance. It looks like a flatscreen TV hung vertically with accessories on the sides. As such, Tonal is much heavier (150 pounds) and has a bit more involved installation process. There are detailed instructions on the website to determine if your walls are compatible.
Tonal Vs. Mirror: Workout Classes
The whole reason you buy a smart home gym is to take advantage of awesome, and convenient, workouts—right? Well, good news: You can demo some from each machine before you purchase. Tonal partnered with Nordstrom and is available for testing at locations around the country as well as Tonal showrooms. As for Mirror, you can test it at select Lululemon retail stores.
Mirror features live classes, on-demand classes, and optional upgrades to personal training.
- All the guidance streams through the screen on the mirror and partners with an app to see details and save favorites. You can see yourself and the instructor simultaneously.
- The monthly subscription provides access to the full library of classes (barre, boxing, HIIT, meditation, yoga, Pilates, strength, and more), which includes a whopping 10,000+ options.
- Mirror gives you a short survey to learn about your goals and workout preferences. Then, you'll get suggestions tailored to you and there are filters to help you find exactly the type of exercise you want each day.
- Personal trainer sessions are also available for an added cost.
Tonal incorporates smart resistance to challenge your whole bod in strength moves. The arms on the side of the machine adjust so you effectively replace multiple pieces of full-sized gym equipment. There's major artificial intelligence on the inside, too. It does a full-body strength assessment and then keeps tabs on your progress.
- During each sesh, sensors monitor your form and offer guidance and can act as a virtual spotter. If the tech senses you're struggling to finish the reps, it automatically adjusts the resistance so you can complete the moves.
- Tonal provides smooth resistance throughout the entire rep, no help from momentum here. That adds up to a more efficient and effective workout.
- There are also yoga, meditation, barre, dance cardio classes, and more among the thousands of options.
- Love the links? Try the newly launched golf training content made just for you to improve your swing using the smart resistance cables.
Tonal Vs. Mirror: Cost And Subscriptions
If you've been working out with minimal equipment, you may be in for a bit of sticker shock considering an upgrade to smart home gyms. Yes, the upfront price is much higher than a set of dumbbells but that's not a fair comparison.
It's better to compare the cost to your monthly gym membership (Equinox starts at $2,200 annually), a package of classes at your fave local studio ($1,475+ for 50 Barry's Bootcamp sessions), or other smart gym equipment like Peloton ($1,195+). With those numbers in mind, you can check out the prices of Tonal and Mirror.
Tonal costs $2,995 plus $295 delivery. The subscription is $49/month and is required for a year after purchase. For the first year with Tonal, you'll pay just under $4,000. You have 30 days to test the equipment in your home with no risk. The machine comes equipped with resistance, but you can purchase a set of smart handles to enhance the experience for $495. The professional installation ensures your equipment is secure and ready to get to work after arrival.
The price of Mirror is $1,495. Currently, the delivery and installation fee (normally $250) is waived. (Pro tip: Ask a Mirror-owning friend for their referral code to save extra $$.) Installation is included with delivery, so within minutes of Mirror arriving you can log in and get sweating. The subscription is $39/month and is required for 12 months after purchase. You also have up to 60 days to test the equipment with no-risk. The first year with Mirror will cost just under $2,000. You can book a personal trainer for $40 per session.
There are optional added accessories for Mirror, ranging from $200 to $550. The packages include a range of smart dumbbells, mats, and resistance bands to better complete and track workouts with proper form. The base price doesn't include any equipment.
So, which is better: Tonal or Mirror?
The answer is as individual as you. There are clearly benefits to both smart gyms and unique characteristics that may have you leaning to one over the other.
If strength gains are your main goal, then Tonal may be more in line with your needs. You won't need to purchase additional weights to go heavy. Plus, it automatically calibrates the load for you to help you train more effectively. You can still use the weight system without the subscription, though you'll miss out on the tracking and form guidance.
"Tonal is a weight-heavy machine," says Cooper. "It comes with several bars and attachments and could be great for more advanced lifters who want to focus on strength training.
Cooper also thinks Tonal is great for athletes. "In fact, a ton of professional athletes are used to test different movements on the machine." Keep in mind, to really make the most of all the features, Cooper says you need to be self-motivated.
If you need more encouragement with classes and accountability, Mirror might be more your speed. "I think this is a great option for beginners and those who need extra motivation in classes," says Cooper. "While the Mirror may give you an extra boost. The Mirror has a ton of group classes, live workouts, and lots of cardio based workouts. The live class schedule gives you tons of options to fit a workout into your busy day , and you can choose between boot camps, Pilates, barre, and more. So, you can cover all your bases!"
She notes the selfie feature, and sharing with the community, can help with accountability. Its smaller profile and more flexible installation also give it an edge for tight spaces.
Ultimately, it comes down to how you like to workout. "If you are someone that wants to focus on lifting, have the machine track reps, weight, and metrics, then the Tonal is a better option. If you are an athlete and need a variety of sport-specific movement patterns, then the Tonal is better option. If you are an individual who enjoys boot camps, cardio based workouts, and high-energy fun, or need an extra boost during your workout, then the Mirror is a better option for you."
Bottom line: Tonal is better for strength training and heavy lifting focus. Mirror is ideal for motivation and a wide variety of cardio classes.
Jennifer Nied is the fitness editor at Women’s Health and has more than 10 years of experience in health and wellness journalism. She’s always out exploring—sweat-testing workouts and gear, hiking, snowboarding, running, and more—with her husband, daughter, and dog.