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Chances are, you’ve seen ads for home fitness equipment on Instagram, with Mirror vs Peloton being among the most revered. And who can resist that type of wellness lifestyle-promised marketing? Not even the best of us — I caved and bought a Peloton a few months into the pandemic (spoiler alert: worth every penny). Top-tier home fitness equipment promises a healthier, fitter future, making it tempting to say “yes” before you know a thing about the equipment.
But can any of this equipment actually change the way you exercise? That depends – it did for me, but everyone’s different. If you’re not working out much at all (or at all, period), then yes, it can change the way you workout by getting you doing something. And for anyone who wants or needs to fit in more fitness, it doesn’t get more convenient than working out at home.
In this article, we’re going to explore the home fitness offerings from Mirror and Peloton. Both come with a high price tag, but when paired with the right buyer, they can be completely worth it.
The Main Differences between Mirror and Peloton
The main differences between Mirror and Peloton are:
- Mirror is a fitness mirror, whereas Peloton offers a few pieces of equipment, but none of them are fitness mirrors.
- Mirror classes must be accessed via the app, whereas Peloton devices have attached touchscreens.
- Mirror has independent music and trainer controls, whereas Peloton is more limited when it comes to music and trainer volume levels.
- Mirror can be utilized as a standard mirror when not in use, whereas Peloton equipment is only functional while working out.
In this section, we’re going to cover the Mirror fitness mirror as well as the three types of equipment Peloton sells: spin bikes, a treadmill and the Guide for strength training.
Mirror’s trainer-led workouts offer a group-like feel (if you’re into group classes), and there are a number of workout types to choose from, ranging from HIIT and strength training to Pilates and yoga. You need an internet connection for the mirror to work, and you control everything through the companion app for Android or iOS. (This is one of the Mirror’s biggest drawbacks – I love being able to do everything through a touchscreen, and having to use a mobile app instead is a frustrating workaround.)
When Mirror is not digitally making you work up a sweat, it’s a nice, minimalist piece of home decor that functions as a standard mirror – a high-quality one at that.
The Mirror is a tall, slim mirror on which workout classes are displayed. (Its unobtrusive profile is what makes the Mirror especially useful for tight apartments or small workout rooms.)
During a class, you’ll watch the instructor and follow what they’re doing. The reflection allows you to check your form — because it’s one thing to think you have the right form and another thing to truly have the right form. (My personal trainer used to mimic how I did squats to show me what I was doing wrong, and let me just say, it was not Instagram-worthy. It was more of a Pinterest fail. And more importantly, I had no idea I looked like that because in my head, I was doing them perfectly.)
However, while you can see your own form in the Mirror, it’s not going to give you feedback in any way. It’s simply there so you can check yourself in close proximity to the trainer, which is easier than looking at a screen where the class is playing and then looking somewhere else to check your reflection.
Here are the Mirror’s specs:
- 5-megapixel, front-facing camera
- 56 by 22.4 by 1.4 inches
- 70 pounds
- Carbon steel, mineral bronze powder coated frame
- Four speakers
- Full HD 1080p display, 43 inches, 178-degree viewing angle
- Omnidirectional microphone
To see your classmates during a class and possibly get personalized guidance from the instructor, use the Community Camera. During the group classes, the instructor may zero in on you for a few seconds, which is how you get that elusive shout-out. (Pro Tip: Having a unique username will make it more likely that you’ll get called out.)
While instructors don’t see every person in the class at once, those with their cameras turned on may be selected to be seen by the instructor so they can give you feedback and motivation.
You can also turn your camera off if you’re not into being seen. Or, wait until you hear your name (fingers crossed), then turn it off for the rest of the class. There’s also a camera cover, so you don’t have to worry about someone seeing you if you don’t want them to, and the camera will automatically turn off when your class ends.
When it comes to audio, you can pair the Mirror with your Bluetooth speakers or headphones. The music volume and the trainer volume have independent adjustments, which is nice, letting you strike that perfect balance. Peloton doesn’t offer this, and there are definitely times when I’d rather set the exact volume of the trainer and the music based on if I’ve taken the class before, if I’m not crazy about the playlist, etc., so this is a huge plus in Mirror’s favor.
If you sync your fitness tracker to Mirror, you can see in real time if you’re hitting your target heart rate, which lets you know if you should kick it up a notch or scale back. I know that when my Fitbit vibrates to tell me which heart rate zone I’m in, it helps me figure out if I can push it a bit more or need to take a breather.
Also, you’ll see Lululemon-branded items in the shop, too, such as yoga blocks, towels, mats, etc. You may also feel more comfortable using a mat for floor exercises rather than working out directly on your carpeting, hardwood, etc.
Now we’re going to cover the Peloton’s bikes, treadmill and Guide. Before we start, though, let’s cover a couple of basics.
Peloton has a few pieces of home workout equipment, but a fitness mirror isn’t among them. Most people know Peloton for its indoor bike on which you take spinning classes (my ultimate fave). But Peloton also has a treadmill and the Peloton Guide for strength training.
Like with the Mirror, classes are led by trainers (highly athletic and accomplished ones), and there are all sorts of classes to choose from, both on and off the equipment. An internet connection is required for the app to work, but you could presumably use the bike without one. The app is accessed through the on-device touchscreen, but you can also use it on other devices, like your smartphone or Roku, so you can exercise anywhere.
You can sync your fitness tracker to Peloton via Bluetooth to see your class stats on whatever device you like to use, like your Apple Watch or Fitbit. Also, the Peloton shop sells accessories and apparel in addition to equipment. You can purchase items like dumbbells, cycling shoes, workout mats, towels, water bottles and more — I can tell you that their clothing and jewelry is high-quality, and they come out with new designs all the time.
Peloton has two bikes: the Bike and the Bike+. Both are the same size with a 4-foot-by-2-foot footprint, and the Bike+ only weighs 5 pounds more.
Otherwise, the bikes have a lot of differences. The Bike+ has a larger touchscreen with anti-reflective technology, a better audio system and an auto-resistance option so changes can be made for you mid-ride. That auto-resistance is major – it can get annoying to constantly reach down to adjust the resistance as you’re paying attention to your speed, especially in something like an intervals class, where you may be changing the resistance every 10 seconds.
The construction of both bikes is the same – welded steel, powder-coated frame; ergonomic sports saddle; aluminum pedals, etc. – with the exception of the Bike+ having digital resistance adjustment instead of mechanical adjustment.
The bikes both have a touchscreen that secures to the top of the handlebars and displays classes, whether you’re spinning or want to angle the screen to do a class somewhere else in the room.
The Tread is Peloton’s treadmill, also with the attached touchscreen so that you can follow along with a running, walking or bootcamp class. Here are the specs:
- 5.5-by-2.75-foot footprint
- 23.8-inch HD touchscreen
- 59-inch running belt
- Front- and rear-facing speakers
- Speed and incline knobs
- Heart rate monitor pairing
For safety purposes, there’s also a Tread Lock feature, which requires a passcode to start the belt moving — that’s my recommended safety device if you have children in the house. And the safety key ensures that if you fall or lose your footing, the Tread will stop once the key detaches (this is standard on most treadmills).
The Peloton Guide is the closest comparison we have to the Mirror. It’s a piece of equipment that you use with your TV to get a guided strength training experience. The device’s camera shows a livestream of you next to the instructor so you can check if you’re doing the moves the same way. The Guide also tracks body activity so you can see which muscle groups you’ve worked and which ones need more attention.
Mirror and Peloton Features
For both the Mirror and Peloton equipment, most workouts won’t take you longer than an hour, tops, and they can be as short as five minutes if that’s all you have time for. That may not seem like enough, but as someone who regularly takes 15- and 20-minute classes, you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in that timeframe, especially when the instructor makes sure to squeeze every drop out of it.
In addition to on-demand classes, both companies also offer live classes you can join if you’re ready and willing to workout when one begins. The most fun part of this is that instructors call out usernames. Those live classes get recorded and are added to the class database, so if you miss one you had your heart set on, you can always take it in the future — you’ll just miss your chance at a shout-out.
Mirror offers all sorts of classes, from barre, Pilates and yoga to boxing, dance and strength training. There are also classes for prenatal and postnatal workouts, family fitness and meditation. If you have additional equipment, like hand weights, you can find classes that utilize them, but if all you’re working out with is yourself and the Mirror, you definitely won’t be at a lack for classes to take, either.
With Mirror, strength training classes tend to be circuit-style instead of sets. But even though Mirror isn’t going to get you ready for a lifting competition, the classes are plenty challenging. Don’t assume they’re not, or else you’ll try to do a class that’s too hard for you too soon. If the workout is labeled as advanced, trust that it is.
Peloton has so many classes that even if you weren’t to buy any equipment, you’d still get a lot of use out of the app. Classes range from meditation, sleep training and yoga to bootcamp, outdoor running, spinning and strength training. There are also programs you can take to introduce yourself to a new type of workout or to progress if you’re already at an intermediate or expert level. There are challenges to join, too, so you can hold yourself accountable or compete with a pal.
Mirror’s instructors are top-tier, and if you were to take one of their classes outside of Mirror or sign up for personal training, you’d have trouble, either because their classes get booked up fast or their prices are sky-high. But on Mirror, aside from the cost of the equipment and subscription, they’re accessible to you as much as you want. And on top of the regular Mirror trainers, sometimes special guest trainers are brought in for a class series – Tracy Anderson did this, for example. Instructors are motivational and high-energy, so even if you’re not in the mood to exercise, it’s easy to soak up that vibe.
Peloton’s instructors are of an equally high caliber, and some of them are practically celebrities. Many of them partner with other companies, too, as brand ambassadors, so there’s some cross-over marketing on Peloton, from the classes to the apparel. Instructors churn out a ton of classes, so there’s almost always a new one to take from your favorites, and they also pair up now and then to co-host a class.
If you’re like me, you’ll get happily sucked into the social media vortexes of your favorite instructors. Almost all of them are active on social media, and dipping into their latest posts is my favorite way to get motivated for the day ahead.
With Mirror, you can sign up for a one-on-one training session for an extra cost, and anyone in your home can attend the session with you. Since the Mirror has a camera on it as well as a microphone, the trainer can see you and coach you through the workout.
As of right now, Peloton doesn’t offer personal training. However, they have been reopening their studios to guests, so if you live near one, you may be able to attend a class live along with the trainer.
You’ll choose and start workouts via the Mirror app, not the Mirror itself – the Mirror doesn’t have any touchscreen functionality.
Peloton’s app is built-in to the equipment’s touchscreens, and you can also access it via a mobile device or through the TV app.
When you start a Mirror or Peloton class, you can see other users who are taking the class at the same time – you don’t literally watch them exercise, but you can see their icon, username, location, etc. After a while, you may start to recognize some users if they have similar tastes and a schedule that matches yours. You can also see how many people are taking the class in total.
If you don’t want to see something on the Mirror or Peloton, like the usernames of other people working out or your health stats, you can toggle them off.
With Mirror, there’s a gamified feature where you can challenge other members (or your past self) to meet certain fitness goals, and if you succeed, you’ll get points on your profile – which are basically only good for bragging rights, but still.
Peloton also has ways to connect with the community by following others and starting synced-up classes so you and a pal can workout at the same time.
Pricing and Membership
In this section, we’re going to cover pricing for Mirror and Peloton equipment and apps, as well as free trial information.
The Mirror is around $1,495, which includes the Mirror, stand and lens cap. Financing may be available with 0% APR and starting at $21 per month.
Mirror has a 30-Day Risk-Free Trial, so if you’re not happy with it, you can return it (and everything that came along with it) for a refund.
Here’s the thing about the price: Without the membership, you may as well not have the Mirror. Because if you don’t have classes, it’s just…a mirror. It’s not like if you buy a Peloton bike and then cancel the membership at some point – at least then you still have a stationary bike.
Special offers will sometimes throw in delivery for free or other types of offers. For example, when I was writing this, the Mirror website had a promotion with $100 off, plus free delivery/installation.
When you first get started, the Mirror app subscription is automatically applied for one year – after that, you can change to a month-to-month subscription if you prefer. Membership costs around $39 per month.
The Bike costs $1,195, and delivery and setup are $250 extra. You may qualify for a payment plan of $38 per month with 0% APR.
The Bike+ costs $1,995, and delivery and setup are included. If you qualify for a payment plan, you could end up only paying $47 per month.
The Tread is $2,345, with delivery and setup costing an additional $350. Financing could cost $63 per month with 0% APR.
Peloton Guide starts at $295, and financing may be as low as $13 per month with 0% APR.
Peloton equipment comes with a 100-day home trial to see if you want to keep it.
The Peloton app’s All-Access Membership is $44 per month.
The Pros and Cons of Mirror and Peloton
- Quick and easy installation process
- High-quality audio and visuals
- Looks great anywhere
- Functions as a standard mirror when you’re not working out with it
- Huge workout library with 50+ genres
- Personal training via the two-way camera (for an extra cost)
- Not a touchscreen; must use the app in order to use the Mirror
- Not portable – it can be moved if you need to relocate the Mirror, but you’re not going to be moving it daily depending on where you feel like working out
- The trainer on the Mirror’s screen is very small
- High-quality bikes and treadmill
- Excellent audio and visuals, even for the regular Bike
- Relatively compact and can be used in even small spaces
- Can be used without the membership should you cancel it
- Enormous workout library with new classes added regularly
- New Guide device lets you see yourself working out
- Takes up more space than the Mirror
- Very difficult to move the equipment around
- No one-on-one interaction with trainers, aside from shout-outs
Which Home Workout Equipment Should You Choose
You’ll like the Mirror if you’re into (1) the combo of fitness and technology, (2) the feel of a boutique fitness studio (instead of a fully outfitted gym where gym bros go) and (3) high-energy, fast-paced classes. Not your thing? This may not be, either.
You’ll love Peloton equipment if (1) you’re into cycling or running, (2) you have the space to dedicate to the machinery and (3) you’ll use it enough to make up for the cost and room it takes up.
If you don’t like a ton of motivation and just want to get it done in more of a quiet setting or with your own music blaring in your ears, you may get annoyed by the recurring motivational speak of both Mirror and Peloton instructors.
Also, keep this in mind – with Mirror, you have to exercise inside. If you like to take advantage of perfect weather, you’re not going to be able to take your workout outside with you one day. Peloton, on the other hand, has both indoor and outdoor workout options.
Mirror Is for You if…
- You like high-energy workout classes in a group setting.
- You may want personal training sessions at some point.
- You like on-demand options and are interested in trying out an assortment of workouts.
- Your preferred piece of workout equipment is slimline so it won’t take up space.
Mirror Is not for You if:
Mirror is not for you if:
- You want to lift heavy weights.
- You’re advancing toward a specific fitness goal. (You’re probably not going to run a marathon or enter a body building competition thanks to the Mirror.)
- You plan on creating a dedicated gym space with a bunch of equipment – the Mirror becomes obsolete at that point.
Peloton Is for You if…
- You’ve taken spinning classes and know you love it.
- You like challenging walking or running workouts.
- You’re training for a competition and want gear as accessible as possible.
- There are a lot of workout styles you’re interested in.
Peloton Is not for You if:
- The equipment is going to go unused and collect dust.
- You need to be around other people to be motivated.
- High-energy trainers bug you and ruin the workout experience.
Question: Can I cancel my gym membership if I buy home workout equipment?
Answer: Technically, you can cancel your gym membership even without expensive home fitness equipment – a pair of running sneakers and a path is all you need to get your cardio in, for example, and resistance bands are inexpensive and help with strength training. But if you like to exercise in a gym, the Mirror may not be the alternative you’re looking for – although the Peloton bike or treadmill might.
Since each person is different, you’ll want to think about why you like exercising at the gym. If it’s for the social aspect, you may not get enough of that with any type of home workout equipment. But if it’s because you have access to quality equipment, then yes, you may find that owning that equipment is a welcome alternative.
Question: Will Mirror help me improve my form?
Answer: For some users, they’ll find the most useful aspect of the Mirror is that it lets you monitor your form, which can save you from aches and pains, not to mention much more serious injuries. And that’s no joke – even imperfect form for something as basic as a lunge or a squat can result in a pulled hamstring or such serious lower back pain that you’ll be out of commission for a week (I know this from experience).
However, aside from having the instructor and your own reflection close to one another, you’re still the one monitoring your own form – and it’s easy to miss what you’re doing wrong, especially if you’re a beginner. There’s nothing to actually line yourself up with.
Question: What are some Mirror and Peloton alternatives?
Answer: Both Mirror and Peloton have alternatives if you want something similar but with a lower price tag.
Tempo Studio’s fitness mirror is a good alternative to Mirror because it comes with a lot of add-on equipment and a place to store it. There’s also the Echelon Reflect Touch, which is a fitness mirror with a touchscreen, something that Mirror is lacking.
The Bowflex C6 is a popular alternative to Peloton bikes because it doesn’t require a membership – instead, it can be used with the workout app of your choice. And if you’re going to use your own device to watch a class, the XTERRA Fitness TR150 Folding Treadmill is a less expensive option than the Tread.
As we’ve mentioned, the big thing with any home workout equipment is convenience. Even if you’re a serial gym-avoider, if you want to workout (or have to workout for whatever reason), Mirror and Peloton make it much, much easier.
There’s no such thing as a class being at an inconvenient time because they’re available 24/7. There’s no commute. You don’t have to coordinate your workout outfit or worry about how your hair or skin looks.
You have access to your fave instructors no matter when they record a class, you can workout for as long or as short as you want, and you can try all different types of classes and then repeat the ones you love – or never do one again if it was the worst.
And when you’re done – sweaty and exhausted – you’re home. You can be in the shower within 30 seconds and move on with your day or night.
That means that, when it comes to Mirror versus Peloton, the best option is the one you’ll use. We’re talking about two high-level pieces of equipment here from reputable brands and with top-notch instructors. “Better” is only applicable to the user. Personally, I love Peloton, but that’s because I love spinning. If you’re not into cycling or running, but you want a lot of at-home workout options, Mirror is an excellent device for you.
Where Peloton and Mirror overlap the most is with their broad variety of workout classes. And even though I like Peloton’s spinning classes the most, I also crave those alternative classes, like strength training, yoga, shadow boxing, etc. So if you’re not someone who’s into cycling or running but you do love working out and want to do it at home, Mirror may be the better option for you.