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I’ve been working out regularly for about two decades, and over time, I’ve come to prefer working out at home over the gym. Between apps and interactive home gyms like Echelon and Echelon alternatives, it’s gotten progressively easier to get a solid workout at home. I used to have to schedule visits around when the gym offered childcare, which pushed me (harder) to just get my workouts done at home. Now that I don’t need to worry about childcare schedules anymore, I’m still not going back. Too many good options don’t involve wearing gym clothes and driving across town and back, whether you want a traditional gym or studio feel.
Bottom Line Up Front
The Echelon is an excellent choice, but one of the Echelon alternatives might better suit your needs. My top picks are the Mirror and Tonal. The reasons overlap, but they focus on different types of workouts. I like the Mirror because sometimes I’m in the mood for a studio-style workout that doesn’t take any heavy lifting, mentally, to get going. Sometimes, I’ll talk myself out of a workout if there’s much setup.
Plus, the Mirror is pretty and functions as a mirror when not in use. It’s easily accessible. I could put this in my bedroom or on the main floor and use it when I don’t feel like going to the basement. I like Tonal because I’m obsessed with strength training, never have a spotter, and don’t want to risk another injury. It can take the place of the cable machine, barbell, racks of weights, and other equipment I’ve collected over the years. It’ll free up space, minimize setup efforts, and make it easier to keep the room clean.
My Top Picks at a Glance
- Best overall: Mirror or Tonal
- Best studio feel: Mirror, followed by FORME (with add-ons)
- Best for someone who loves lifting heavy: Tonal
- Best traditional gym feel: NordicTrack Vault or Tempo Studio
- Best if you’re low on space or cash: Peloton Guide or Tempo Move
How to Choose Between Echelon and Alternatives
What’s your budget for the interactive home gym?
The Reflect is one of the least expensive options; the Reflect Touch is more similar in price to other options. Check out the Tempo Move or Peloton Guide if the budget limits your choices.
Touchscreen or controlled by a phone or tablet?
The Reflect and the Mirror will need to be controlled by your phone or tablet because they don’t have touchscreens.
How much space do you need?
None take up an absurd amount of space; many are flush with the wall because they’re mounted there. However, you’ll want to consider how much additional space you’ll need to complete the workouts you like.
Does it need to be wall-mounted?
You may prefer to have it mounted on the wall because of how it looks and how low-profile it is. However, you might like the ability to easily move your fitness mirror (or similar) from place to place.
Do you want the widest variety of classes available?
Check how many classes each option provides and ensure they have the variety you want. Some focus on weight training, while others focus more on bodyweight workouts.
How much do you want to pay per month/year?
When you start looking into these products, there’s no massive price difference. Still, Echelon’s options may make it more appealing than others because you can reduce the monthly fee by signing up for a year or two at a time.
Do you need live classes and/or personal training?
Not every fitness mirror offers these options (or the option to work out with friends), so consider all the possibilities for a community even when working out at home. See which ones matter most and which ones you can do without.
What equipment do you already have at home, and what do you need for the types of workouts you gravitate towards?
Some come with equipment. Some require very little. Are you starting from scratch on your home gym, or are you well-equipped to do the workouts you want? In some cases, you’ll be able to save money by forgoing the extra equipment.
What other equipment do you have that uses an app?
If you’re already using an Echelon machine (or iFIT or Peloton…), sticking with that “universe” might make the most sense from a financial perspective. You won’t have to pay another monthly subscription fee.
Continuing with the app you have might not be as motivating or fit your goals as well as something else. A different option might make more sense if the budget’s not an issue.
- Variety of workouts
- How much space they’ll take up
- What extras you’ll need to make the most of it
- Price compared to what you get
- Monthly fees and commitments
A Quick Look at Echelon
- It’s relatively lightweight compared to something like the Vault from NordicTrack (but you won’t be moving it once it’s installed anyway).
- It’s one of the more affordable options. In the case of the Reflect, it’s a lot cheaper.
- If you’re already using the app for a rower, bike, etc., you won’t have to pay a new bill to use it on your fitness mirror.
- It has to be mounted to the wall.
- They’re a little short on workouts compared to other options.
- There’s only a 12-month limited part and labor warranty.
Who It’s Best For
Suppose you’re already in the Echelon world because of your cardio equipment. In that case, it might make sense to continue with the app to avoid another bill. You will love the Reflect option if you’re on a budget but don’t mind controlling your fitness mirror with your phone.
The Echelon Fitness Mirror
You’ll have two options: Reflect Touch, which features a 50″ touchscreen, and Reflect, which needs to be controlled with your phone or tablet and has a 40″ screen. The Reflect Touch is 10″ taller and about 12 lbs heavier than the Reflect.
The Reflect Touch starts at $1499.99, and the Reflect is one of the most affordable options on the market at $749.99 (it may be the most affordable).
There are a lot of options where the app is concerned. If you choose to be billed monthly, you’ll pay $34.99 per month. If you’re ready to commit to a year or two, you’ll be billed $399.99 yearly or $699.00 every two years.
You get free shipping if you go with the one-year or two-year option. This is less expensive per month than most other options. Plus, you’ll save even more by paying for a year or two years, which most others don’t allow.
The Best Echelon Alternatives to Consider
Echelon’s excellent, but since it’s such an investment, it’s wise to consider alternatives before committing. Here are some of the best Echelon alternatives to consider:
This fitness mirror option does a lot. You can see your reflection and correct your form as you compare it to the instructors. Still, you also get feedback via personal training if you sign up. This option mounts to the wall, so it takes up less space than others.
The class focus seems to be primarily on bodyweight exercises and workouts you don’t need much equipment for. However, if you pay for a package with accessories, you’ll choose one set of dumbbells (1 lb to 35 lbs).
- It takes up almost no space.
- The focus isn’t on strength training with a lot of equipment, so you’ll have less to store.
- It doesn’t have to be wall-mounted, so you can move it to another room or home whenever you want.
- There’s a social component–you can invite friends, take live classes, or hire a personal trainer.
- You’ll have to figure out where to store any weights, bands, mats, etc., that you want to use because it doesn’t come with a cabinet or anything like the Vault and Tempo do.
- You can choose from four packages to get the accessories you need and skip the ones you don’t want.
- It was expensive.
- Once you buy the Mirror and get through the trial period, a commitment to a one-year subscription is required ($39.99 per month). Requirements like this tend to make me feel trapped and pressured to work out–and not in a good way–and then I start avoiding the workouts instead (and then feeling guilty about it). I don’t know why this happens, and I feel silly admitting it, but it’s good to be aware of the commitment required if you’re like this, too. This will be a pro for some people because it will motivate them to stay consistent.
I don’t hear as much about the FORME as I do the others, but I think it’s one of the most exciting options because of the add-ons. Love barre? You can get an actual wood barre to attach to it for those workouts, then take it off when you’re doing something else.
There’s a strength option with handles, ropes, a bar, ankle straps, and a storage cabinet coming soon, too. The FORME has a distinct studio vibe like the Mirror.
- It’s customizable and has features I haven’t seen anywhere else, like the barre. The upcoming LIFT package reminds me of Tonal.
- The trainers are top-notch, and you’ll probably recognize some of them!
- If you’ve always wanted to try Barry’s workout classes but can’t find them near you, here’s your chance.
- There’s built-in storage for accessories.
- It’s good for getting the studio experience at home.
- It creates a plan that will help you achieve your goals.
- Live training with feedback and two-way interaction (with camera) is possible.
- It’s one of the most expensive options, especially if you want add-ons or additional accessories. I would want barre and strength add-ons because I love variety. Still, you could probably save money by skipping the Sculpt Bundle and putting your bunch of accessories together.
- They have hundreds–not the thousands offered with other options–of classes.
- Probably not the best choice for serious lifters or those who want to dive into strength training.
There are two Tempo options: Tempo Studio and Tempo Move. A studio is a standalone option with the equipment you can stash in the attached cabinet that holds up to 240 lbs of weight when you’re done. The Tempo Move works with your television and takes up next to no space at all (but does come with a small cabinet that holds 90 lbs of weight).
With either option, you get access to 1000s of classes. Though there’s a lot of strength equipment that comes with the Studio, classes include cardio, cardio-boxing, HIIT, Prenatal, and Core.
- The Move option makes this one of the more affordable options to consider as an Echelon alternative.
- Having everything you need for your home gym sent at once is convenient. You won’t be scrambling to find weights, a bench, kettlebells, etc. It’s all there.
- Everything is easy to store and doesn’t take up a ton of space (though it does take more than other options because of the separate cabinet or other accessories).
- You can choose between three packages (prices range from $2495.00 for the Starter Studio four-piece package to $3995.00 for the Pro 13-piece package), so you only get what you need.
- The Tempo Studio can provide something similar to a traditional gym feel, thanks to all the weights.
- Though there are many class options, if you’re not interested in doing traditional strength training, you might be better off with a different option.
- It was very expensive.
- Swapping the weight plates might sometimes feel cumbersome compared to a range of dumbbell sets or digital weights like Tonal.
4. NordicTrack Vault
I like this option for the person interested in strength training who doesn’t already have a lot of equipment. iFIT workouts do not disappoint, no matter what level you’re at. The programs are designed to help you progress, too.
Depending on what you’d prefer, you won’t attach the Vault to the wall, which may be a pro or a con. It’s so heavy, that you won’t want to move it around anyway, but at least it can almost pass as part of your home decor and doesn’t take up a lot of room.
If you purchase the whole set with the weights and dumbbells that come with it, you’ll be able to tuck everything away. You might still be able to do that with your current setup, but it’ll depend on what you have.
- Everything is neatly tucked away behind the touchscreen/mirror, so it doesn’t look messy. You don’t need another piece of furniture to store your weights, and you won’t stub your toe on a dumbbell unless you forget to put it away.
- You get a range of dumbbells and two kettlebells to work out with. Some options don’t come with weights or only let you choose one set.
- It doesn’t need to be mounted on the wall.
- The touchscreen is convenient.
- It’s heavy and hard to move, so even though it’s not wall-mounted, it’s probably not going anywhere without a fight.
- If you already have a lot of dumbbells, kettlebells, etc., there’s no guarantee that they’ll fit in the Vault.
- There are no live classes or personal training; no feedback on a form other than when you compare your form to the instructors in the reflection.
5. Peloton Guide
I only think this is one of the best options if you already have a Peloton bike or treadmill. It’s also good if you’re already using the app and want to take things up a notch (but you’ll have to take the price up a notch, too).
You’ll be able to watch and track your form, compare it to the instructor’s, and get access to strength programs sooner than the average member. It works with your TV and is small, so you won’t have to commit any wall or floor space to it, either.
- Requires very little space
- Excellent price compared to other options (less than $300.00)
- Peloton’s strength workouts are amazing.
- Guide users get access to some strength programs before other users.
- It recommends classes based on which muscles you’ve already worked out, so you work your whole body.
- It’s of limited use if you already use the swivel screen on the bike to do your strength workouts. You’d have to move and get in front of a TV, which isn’t possible for my home gym setup and wouldn’t work for me. Our television is set up in front of my husband’s rowing machine.
- If you’re an app user with no other Peloton equipment, you’ll have to upgrade to the more expensive monthly subscription to use the Guide.
- You must observe and correct your form based on what you see on the screen as you stand side-by-side with the instructor.
Tonal uses digital weights, so there’s nothing extra to buy and very little to store. You won’t find yourself trapped under a barbell if you decide to push yourself and fail. That’s valuable. I’m speaking from experience. I didn’t get trapped, but I injured myself trying to use a barbell in my home gym.
- You can lift heavy, but you don’t need to store a lot of weight to do so.
- It attaches to the wall, and everything folds up nicely, so it won’t take up a ton of space or look unsightly.
- The workouts are tailored to you, and it tracks your progress so you can improve over time.
- Three-year limited warranty (not the best, but better than some).
- Variety of class types and thousands of workouts even though it seems strength-focused
- This is one of the most comprehensive interactive home gym setups because it’s like dumbbells, a barbell, and a cable machine in one. Plus, you can do cardio, HIIT, yoga, meditation, etc.
- It was expensive.
- The monthly subscription is slightly more costly than the Echelon one ($39.99).
- You won’t be able to do much on it without the subscription (but you can do your workouts, so it won’t be a total waste if you pause your subscription).
- Once it’s installed, you can’t move it because it’s mounted to the wall. If you move to a new home, it’s recommended that you have someone from Tonal come out and uninstall it, then have it reinstalled in the new place–another expense.
Question: Is Echelon as good as Peloton?
Answer: It depends on what you’re looking for. It’ll be hard to compete with Peloton classes–in number and variety. The equipment itself seems to be comparable if you’re looking at bikes. I’d say the Echelon Reflect (especially the Reflect Touch option) is better than the Peloton Guide.
Question: Is an Echelon bike worth it?
Answer: I think so. I have a Peloton, but I researched all the alternatives before deciding. Echelon bikes seem to be well-made. Based on the photo paired with “Exclusive Access” on their Echelon Premier page, they may soon allow streaming from other apps (Netflix, Hulu, etc.). That would make Echelon even more appealing than Peloton in some ways. I still think it’s hard to beat the Peloton classes, but this feature would make me think twice.
Question: Can I use Echelon without a subscription?
Answer: You’ll need the app to do the workouts on the Reflect or Reflect Touch.
Question: How much is Echelon monthly?
Answer: If you pay monthly, it’s $34.99 per month. You can lower the per-month rate by paying upfront for one or two years
Conclusion Which One Should You Buy?
If you’re looking for an Echelon alternative and are not already tied to a subscription-like Peloton or iFIT, I vote Mirror or Tonal. I love that you can lift heavy and progress with Tonal but don’t need a collection of weights to lug around the room or put away when you’re done working out.
However, I also love the clean lines and studio feel of Mirror. Forme, too, but unless you need the add-on barre and strength options, I’d go with the Mirror because it will be less expensive). The issue I have with being locked into a 12-month subscription aside, the simplicity of the Mirror’s design makes me think there would be less of a mental hurdle to jump over when you don’t want to work out.
Tonal’s similar. Even if you’re doing a strength workout involving weights, you don’t have to do much setting up. You can push through a program to help you progress toward your goal and tuck the arms back away.