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The best interactive home gyms can help you progress in your at-home workouts like nothing else. One of these is the closest thing you’ll get to a trainer standing next to you, correcting your form and insisting you can increase your weight when you really want to phone it in and call it a day.
Even without the external push and encouragement, an interactive home gym will take up less space than your traditional home gym setup. And though it may seem like a jaw-dropping expense at first, think of all the equipment you won’t have to buy, find a place for, maintain, and ultimately sell or move if you decide to get a new place.
I made the…mistake (I wouldn’t really call it a mistake) of putting a home gym together the old-fashioned way, one piece, one barbell, one dumbbell set at a time, over the past two decades. I’ve been comparing interactive home gyms for quite some time because I’d love to simplify things and free up some space. I know which one I want, but I’m not sure it’ll work for my particular situation. I’ll share more about that later, though.
Bottom Line Up Front
There’s a good reason to pick any of these interactive home gyms, but if I could have any one of them, I’d choose Mirror.
What Is an Interactive Home Gym?
An interactive home gym can help you improve your form, add weight when it knows you can handle it, and walks you through whole routines and programs so you keep progressing and don’t get bored (or overwhelmed from feeling like you need to create your own workouts).
In short, an interactive home gym is a piece of equipment–usually with a large touchscreen–that tracks your progress and keeps pushing you forward. It basically coaches you through each workout, whether you choose to work with a live coach or not.
These home gyms often combine a slew of exercise equipment into something more manageable that won’t take over a whole room the way a weight rack, bench, squat rack, and other strength equipment would. Some will allow you to join classes and/or get feedback from the personal trainers through a camera. In some cases, you may still need a bench or some dumbbells.
Some of these home gyms will look like part of the decor, while others will at least be somewhat discreet. Some will require special installation because they need to be mounted on the wall, and some will have the option to be propped against the wall or hung up. Others are standalone home gyms you can tuck in the corner but won’t need to drill any holes in the wall to set up.
How to Choose the Right Interactive Home Gym for You
The best interactive home gym for you may be different from the one I would choose. It’ll depend on a few things:
- How much space do you have?
- Does it need to blend in with the decor, or do you have a designated gym space?
- How much weight do you want to lift?
- Will you need extra equipment?
- Do you prefer dumbbells or cables?
- Which types of workouts do you prefer? Most interactive home gyms have variety, but some may be more geared toward strength training with weights, bodyweight exercises, or cardio.
- What’s your budget for a monthly membership?
- What’s your budget for the home gym product?
- Do you currently have a membership because of another piece of equipment you’re using?
- Which one are you most excited about the prospect of using?
Any of the best interactive home gyms could work for you if you have unlimited space. Having enough room for any interactive home gym means you probably won’t need to worry about it blending in with the decor, either. However, that may be a perk for you. In that case, you could turn your gym area into something that doesn’t look like a gym area.
Some interactive home gyms will come with everything you need and aim to replace the dumbbells, barbells, and other equipment a traditional home gym would have (I love this idea so much). Some will have tiered package deals that include fitness accessories, so if you already have a solid collection of dumbbells, this may be one place you can save money.
Speaking of saving money, consider what you can afford for the home gym, but don’t forget to factor in the monthly subscription fee. Is it ever discounted? Will there be enough wiggle room if they raise the cost a few dollars per month soon? Are you required to have a membership for any amount of time, or can you use the gym by itself, with programs you create, if you decide to pause the subscription? Can you lump the cost of the membership in with the price of the gym when you sign up for financing and pay one low price?
Finally, which machine gets you excited about using it? If you take all the emotion out of your decision and only get the one that seems most logical, you may find that you don’t use it much after a few weeks. Waiting and finding a way to make the one you want work in your home, within your budget, is worth it. Then you’ll be excited to use it consistently.
Mostly, I was looking for value for the money. This is a big purchase, and I want it to be worth it.
Any one of these will be quite an investment, so I looked for options that would be good for:
- A person who loves to do it all
- A family of people with a range of interests
- A family/couple/roommate situation where the individuals’ interests align and are pretty focused on certain types of workouts
I did consider the cost; however, spending less isn’t necessarily better because there’s so much to consider (like which type of workouts it’s most focused on).
How an interactive home gym might fit into a home also factored in. Not everyone will care, but something sleek that sits up against or on the wall may be preferable to a standalone setup that requires more space when not in use. I didn’t entirely eliminate those that take more room from the list, but they may not be for everyone.
I also looked at whether you’ll need to keep the membership going to get any use out of the home gym. I’m not personally thrilled about paying a monthly membership (yet another one) on top of the equipment cost. Still, there’s no getting around that with one of these.
Why Should I Choose (or Reject) an Interactive Home Gym over a Traditional Home Gym?
Is it really worth it to get an interactive home gym? Maybe. The top reasons I can think of to choose an interactive home gym over something more traditional are:
- You can get feedback on your form and encouragement to progress in your program.
- There’s built-in motivation sometimes to complete a program.
- You can take classes with your friend or interact with a trainer (that might cost extra, though).
- You won’t need a lot of space.
- You won’t feel like you always need to add new equipment to your home gym if you’re dealing with an all-in-one package.
- It could be less expensive in the long run (excluding the subscription cost) if you’re really into the machines they have at the gym.
- You can hate the subscription cost a little less if you’re already paying a gym membership around the same price or more, but plan to cancel that when you get your home gym set up.
- You won’t have to leave home, so you’ll save time and gas money.
Just as there are reasons to choose an interactive home gym, there are reasons to skip that and go the traditional route.
- You won’t be tied to a subscription unless you just choose to sign up for an app that’ll walk you through workouts that aren’t specific to any home gym brand. And you’ll definitely still be able to use all your equipment if you cancel your subscription.
- You may have better luck selling individual pieces of home gym equipment vs. something that needs to be mounted on the wall or attached to an account.
- You could save money, depending on what you feel you need.
- Sometimes building a home gym over time is fun. It’s an ever-evolving project that helps you evolve into your best, fittest self.
- You won’t feel locked into any one program or brand’s workouts, so you’re free to experiment with different types of programming. If you go long stints of just working out outside or wanting to do your own thing, you won’t feel guilty for having abandoned your progress on the home gym.
- If you decide you miss going to the gym, you may not feel quite as guilty about working it back in since you won’t be tied to a specific machine-based program.
The Best Interactive Home Gyms Guide
Here are some of my favorite interactive home gyms.
Mirror is in my top two choices. It doesn’t require a ton of room, and if you tuck all the accessories out of the way, it just looks like part of your decor. It’s just a big mirror until you put it into action. This one wins points with me because it can stand on the floor or be mounted on the wall.
Where it loses points with me, though, is the Smart Weight situation. They track your reps and pair with the Mirror, plus they’re beautiful. However, you’ll need a lot of storage space (and money) if you want to collect the whole set, from one pound ($50.00 per set) to 35 pounds ($200.00 per set). You can also get ankle weights ($80.00 to $95.00 per set). That’s quite an investment and won’t really save you space.
Suppose you have a beautiful storage option where you store and hide the weights. In that case, you’ll still be able to use the Mirror as “just a mirror” when you’re not working out; if you’re going to need to line your weights up on the floor and leave them there, though, it kind of ruins the effect.
If, however, you’re more into barre, Pilates, yoga, bodyweight strength, tai chi, meditation, kickboxing, family workouts, and HIIT, this might be a good option. You can work directly with trainers for an extra fee and enjoy your own playlist from Apple Music while you work out. Away from home? You’ll still be able to use the app to get your workouts in. Play them on your phone, computer, or another device.
I like that there are different packages available, so if you don’t need all the accessories, you can skip them and save money. If you need some of them but not the whole set, you’re also covered. And if you’re looking for a family deal, there’s one of those too.
See how Mirror compares to others:
- It doesn’t need to be mounted to the wall.
- Different equipment packages are available, from $1495.00 to $2045.00.
- Financing is available–even $0 down, 0% APR.
- You can work one-on-one with trainers and invite other people to join you. It’ll cost you $40.00/session, but nothing for your guests.
- It can blend with your decor if you don’t need the weights or have somewhere convenient to tuck them out of sight.
- You can use the app to do your workouts without the Mirror if you’re away.
- The option to engage in competitions and games makes it fun and different from others.
- The weights are expensive and will take up a lot of space if you need a complete set.
- In some ways, it feels like the Mirror might be unnecessary unless you want to work with a trainer sometimes or really love the stats and encouragement it provides on-screen. Of course, checking your form and tracking your progress over the weeks, months, and years is nice, too.
Tonal gym uses digital weights (up to 100 lbs per arm, or 200 lbs total) and several accessories to get you in shape. I love this one because you can mimic moves you’d typically have to have a barbell setup and cable machine for. It’s nowhere close to invisible, and it isn’t likely to effortlessly blend into your decor. Still, it does fold up nicely against the wall. You’ll need somewhere to store the bench and a couple of accessories.
I injured myself with an awkward, heavy barbell years ago, and I still have pain. That’s why I love the Tonal concept so much. It’s easier to maneuver under the “barbell” accessory, and if the weight is too heavy, you just push a button, it gets lighter, and you can free yourself from under it.
With Tonal, the focus is more on weights and strength training, but there’s also HIIT, cardio, Pilates, dance, mobility, barre, yoga, and meditation. You’ll get a well-rounded fitness routine with this one.
I love strength training more than any other type of workout. Still, I try to work in cardio and stretching/mobility for balance, so this one has a good blend of features that I find exciting. I just don’t like that it needs to be mounted to the wall; I don’t trust that the walls in my basement, where all my gym equipment is, would be able to handle it.
Here’s how Tonal Gym compares to:
- No more worries about getting trapped under a barbell when you’re training alone
- It replaces a ton of expensive equipment you’d need to build out a whole traditional home gym.
- As of this writing, there are over 20 coaches (including guest coaches), so you’re bound to find one–probably more than one–whose style you enjoy.
- Though paying $49.00/month for a subscription and not being able to get out of it for a year may sound awful, it will probably encourage you to stick with it. The price isn’t really unreasonable, considering the amount of content (and variety of workout styles and coaching personalities) you’ll have access to.
- If you love lifting dumbbells and barbells at the gym, this might not have the right feel for you.
- The subscription fee is $49.00/month for the whole family (unlimited accounts) at the time of this writing. You’re locked into it for a year. After that, you can pause or cancel.
- It has to be mounted on the wall, so you won’t be able to move it around. Once it’s installed, you’ll have to work around it unless you want to deal with the hassle of having someone come out and re-install it somewhere else.
- You’ll have to get creative if you’re using this with any other program (say, an app or a free one on YouTube) because you won’t have traditional weights. It might be doable, but if you like to try out new trainers and programs all the time, this one might not be the best option.
I love it when a brand offers options. Tempo now has the all-in-one option that takes up more space than, say, Mirror without the weights or the Tempo Move, which takes up almost no space at all (and costs $2000.00 less!).
You may have seen the original Tempo Studio before. It’s like having a freestanding closet full of workout goodies, complete with a screen on the outside where you can follow along with a trainer.
The difference between the two, other than size, is the amount of weight they come with. The Studio holds up to 240 lbs of weight, whereas the Move is cut off at 90 lbs. There’s also no folding squat rack on the Move.
Tempo Move looks like a small end table and closes up to hide the weight plates. It works with your phone and television to track your weights and correct your form. This interactive home gym focuses on strength, but you can access 1000s of workouts that include yoga, cardio-boxing, HIIT, low-impact moves, core work, and even prenatal options.
If you’re especially un-tech-savvy like me, you may still prefer the larger of the two, even if you don’t expect to need the entire 240 lbs. I’ve tried to get my phone and TV to communicate so I could do workouts before and only successfully pulled it off once or twice. I’d go with the Studio. Plus, what if you get stronger than you think you will?
This is still one of my favorites and one of the best interactive home gyms, but I have a few hang-ups when it comes to the Tempo.
- They offer a variety of equipment for those who have a lot of space or just a little.
- A 42-inch screen is one option.
- You can get up to 240 lbs with Tempo Studio or 90 lbs with the Tempo Move.
- They both work as dumbbells, a barbell, and a kettlebell, and the Studio has a folding squat rack option.
- The membership costs less than some of the others on the list at $39.00, though you’re capped at six users.
- You get weight recommendations because it tracks your progress and form.
- Live and on-demand classes are available.
- You won’t see your reflection (though you will get pointers on correcting your form, so that’s almost as good!).
- Changing the weights takes time and is inconvenient.
- Though neither of these will take up an exorbitant amount of space, it may require more than you’d like to devote to it. That’s especially true if your home gym needs to be in your living room or bedroom.
- The way the accessories fold up and get tucked away is neat, but it’s a lot of work to set up and then put away all the pieces. That would be one more reason to procrastinate–the inconvenience of setup and knowing I’d have to put it all away later.
I love iFIT workouts. I’ve found some of their strength and cardio workouts surprisingly challenging. The NordicTrack Vault might be the perfect combination of equipment, storage, and workouts to sculpt and change your body and health.
The screen is huge (61.5″ tall, though the Vault is 72.65″ tall, total) and acts as a mirror to check your form while you work along with the trainer in on-demand workouts. You get access to yoga, sculpt + tone, strength, Pilates, interval, HIIT, mindfulness, boot camp, crosstraining workouts, etc.
If you already have a lot of workout equipment, the standalone Vault could be enough with its hanging shelf and cleaning towel. That’ll cost $1499.00. The whole set, complete with exercise mats, two yoga blocks, three loop bands, three super resistance bands, 5- to- 30-lb dumbbells, 20-lb and 30-lb kettlebells, premium shelves, hanging shelves, and a cleaning towel, costs $1999.00. Financing is available.
- The storage option combined with regular equipment is brilliant.
- You don’t have to switch out weight plates because it comes with dumbbells and kettlebells.
- You’re all set for mobility and stretching workouts with bands and yoga blocks.
- It still takes up some space at 72.65″ high, 14″ deep, and 24.25″ wide, but when it’s closed, it doesn’t call attention to its interactive gym. All the equipment is hidden.
- I love the large screen.
- A 30-day iFIT membership is included.
- The membership is only $39.00/month, and you won’t always need to do your workouts in front of the Vault. With the app, you can take them on the go.
- Though it’s not necessary to have the Vault to do the iFIT workouts, if you’re starting out with no equipment and you’d like to keep an eye on your form as you work out, I think this is an excellent way to start. It has everything you need, and it won’t take over your living room, bedroom, or home gym area.
It doesn’t have the safety features of the Tonal digital weights since you’re working with actual dumbbells and kettlebells. However, the weights aren’t as heavy, and–at least based on the iFIT workouts I’ve tried–you’re unlikely to need to go especially heavy or ever incorporate a barbell.
There is a chance you could graduate beyond the weights included on some moves, so you’d have to add more dumbbells to the room. That could remove the sleek look of your home gym since the new weights would most likely be out on display.
I have mixed feelings about the Peloton Guide because I feel like they could’ve done a lot better and come out with something similar to Tonal. Instead, this is similar to the Tempo Move, as it works with your television and the Peloton app’s strength workouts. It tracks your movements, keeps up with the muscle groups you’ve worked, so you get a more well-rounded experience, and makes class recommendations for you.
Even though it feels a little clunky to do so, I’m adding it to the list of the best interactive home gyms not because it’s amazing on its own (it’s not bad), but because it can take their incredible strength training classes up a notch. Plus, it’ll give you more feedback so you can reap all the benefits of the Peloton classes.
Peloton’s strength classes don’t get enough attention because the company is so well-known for their stationary bike; I was shocked by how fast the classes flew by and how sore I was when I was done. I, too, had underestimated them.
- You get access to new strength programs seven weeks before other Peloton members.
- You can see your form on the screen and compare it to the instructor’s to ensure you’re doing the moves correctly.
- It’s very inexpensive, comparatively speaking, at $295.00. However, most of the options come with weights of some kind, and this one does not.
- If you’ve already got a few sets of dumbbells and a TV in your gym space, that’s really all you need to use this.
- It takes up almost no space at all.
- You get class recommendations based on your performance and interests.
- You can slide the cover over the camera when it’s not in use.
- If you have the Peloton Bike+, you know one of the perks of the swiveling screen is the ability to do your strength workouts on that screen. My home gym is set up so that I can use that screen and access all my weights while working out on the section of the floor I’ve put large workout mats on. There’s nowhere for me to mount a TV that would allow me to use the Guide.
- No accessories come with this one.
- This one is especially beneficial if you are already set up with equipment and part of the Peloton universe.
- You’ll need a Peloton membership to use it, which is $39.99/month for All-Access and $12.99 for the app. The Guide requires the All-Access membership.
- You may not really need it. You can still do the strength workouts with either membership. If you have a mirror and a plan (check out the #hardCOREontheFloor group on Facebook for a calendar to follow), you may find the Guide nice but unnecessary.
- You have to plug it into your television, which could be annoying, depending on your setup and what else you want to be plugged in.
- You’ll still have to find somewhere to store all the weights you use with the program, so even though it’s small, it could still require a lot of space. You could technically use adjustable weights with it to address this issue, but some workouts move too fast to switch weights. You’d have to hit pause a lot, which I find discouraging because it makes the workouts take longer than they say they will.
Full disclosure: This one is brand new to me, but since I’ve been looking into Pilates classes, at-home reformers, and other Pilates-related gym equipment, it stood out, and I wanted to mention it here. When I was searching for an at-home Pilates reformer so I could work on my strength and mobility to heal and prevent future injury, I was apprehensive. I worried that I’d miss a detail, perform a movement wrong, hurt myself more, or just get bored and stop using it.
The ReformRX has a touchscreen where you can take on-demand or live classes. You can work on your strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health while getting feedback about your performance.
It pairs with WHOOP and Polar devices for heart rate monitoring and tracks your time under tension.
- There are programs to follow so you won’t get bored or stall your progress.
- You can take classes live or on-demand.
- Classes range from five to 45 minutes, so there’s something for everyone. (It’s worth noting that some of the five-minute classes are probably how-tos, not full workouts.)
- Because you’ll be working through a class, getting cues and form tips, and getting feedback from the machine, you’re more likely to get the full benefits of using a Pilates reformer.
- You can choose a specific goal (like cardio fitness, weight loss, or working a particular muscle group) and find a class that fits. You won’t need to wonder if what you’re doing is actually helping you achieve your goal.
- The membership is on the lower end, at $39.00/month, covering up to eight users.
- As of this writing, they’re only available for pre-orders.
- A 12-month membership requirement is required when you buy it. After that, you can use it as a regular reformer without access to the classes or workout stats at the end.
- The machine itself is expensive, at $4995.00 and $5495.00 (this one includes a jumpboard & box and a mat). Quick note: This may seem like a lot compared to other interactive home gyms, but if you’re interested in an at-home reformer, I recommend comparing those to this one. Some at-home reformers are more affordable–as low as the $600.00 range–but some cost a few thousand.
You probably have more questions. Let me help:
Question: Is smart gym home equipment better than regular equipment?
Answer: It depends on what you want. Do you want the ability to jump from one program, app, or YouTube video series to another on a whim? Do you have the space and budget for all the dumbbells and other gym equipment you’ll want or need if you choose to go the regular home gym route? Or do you prefer an all-in-one setup that doesn’t take up a ton of space and takes all the guesswork out of what to do next?
Are you someone who pushes yourself to lift heavier and push harder, or do you need encouragement from a coach for that? Do you tend to lift alone and have goals of lifting heavy (potential safety concern)? Neither option is better than the other. It all depends on what you need.
Question: Which gym equipment is best for home?
Answer: If you’re starting from scratch and on a budget, I’d recommend a smart home gym or some other type of home gym that works the whole body and incorporates strength, cardio, and flexibility. If that’s not in the budget, start with three sets of dumbbells (light, medium, and heavy for your strength level) and a yoga mat. This will keep expenses low, and you can either add regular equipment over time or save up for your favorite type of home gym setup (interactive or not).
Question: Which smart gym is best?
Answer: My votes are Tonal and Mirror, but “best” is somewhat subjective, depending on your needs and the workouts you like to do. I like Tonal’s safety features a lot, as well as how it works like a cable machine, dumbbells, and a barbell without involving a ton of equipment or taking up a whole room.
Question: Is there a competitor to Tonal?
Answer: There are several competitors on the market (listed above), but none of them work quite the same way as Tonal with the digital weights and the same types of accessories.
In my mind, the overall winner is Mirror. I love how you can get if you prefer bodyweight exercises and/or want your gym to look like part of the room (just a mirror) when it’s not in use.
If you already have a membership to iFIT or Peloton, those are excellent, too. Their thousands of classes will leave you dripping in sweat and feeling like you won the day; you can expect to be sore the next day, motivated to do it again.
Not linked to iFIT or Peloton, with no desire to be, but love variety? You will love Vault. Choose Vault if you’re okay with the gym not blending in quite as much, but you love lifting weights.