Tonal vs Peloton

Tonal vs Peloton: Which Home Gym is Better?

If you’re ready to invest in a nice piece of exercise equipment, you’ll probably get to a point where you’re looking at Tonal vs Peloton. Either one will get you into amazing shape with consistent use and a healthy diet, but how do they differ? What do they have in common?

I’m comparing the key features of Tonal and Peloton, weighing the pros and cons, looking at how they’re different and the same, and then answering a few common questions that come up for people trying to choose between the two options.

Key Features of Tonal

Tonal is a home gym in a smaller package than the traditional home gyms. It barely takes up any space at all. You’ll need about seven feet of wall space and floor space. The floor space is only needed while you’re working out; Tonal stays pretty close to the wall when not in use because the arms fold up.

  • Tonal keeps up with a lot of information for you, so you don’t have to worry about recording your own reps, weights, sets, or anything like that. It even adjusts your weights as necessary, so you don’t need to put any thought into that, either. Just show up and let it walk you through the fitness workout of the day.
  • Mounts to the wall
  • Up to 200 lbs of resistance
  • Guided workouts with trainers (they can’t see you or give live feedback)
  • Programs that take your body and goals into account
  • Requires Smart Accessories (handles, bar, rope, bench, roller, and workout), which can be purchased separately
  • Weights can be turned on and off wirelessly
  • Spotter mode keeps you safe and confident in your lifts
  • 21.50″ W x 50.9″ H
  • 30-day return policy
  • You can work your whole body (even legs/butt) with it
  • Additional workouts where you don’t use the equipment provide a well-rounded fitness workout (so you’ll get strength, cardio, flexibility, mobility, and more).
  • You can build your own workouts.
  • Tonal has music stations.
  • You can track your heart rate with the Apple Watch and Bluetooth heart rate monitors.

Pros of Tonal

  • Automatic weight adjustment means you’re always progressing and feeling challenged, but you don’t have to keep up with the date yourself.
  • Knowledgeable coaches demonstrate the moves for you and provide form tips, etc.
  • There are programs and guided workouts to follow, but you could also do your own thing if you prefer.
  • Even though it’s expensive, if you’re paying a lot for a gym membership, you may save more money in the long run.
  • It has a pretty small footprint for a home gym!
  • You can still use it without a subscription (after a year), but you won’t have access to the classes and many of the other features. You’ll still be able to use Basic Free Lift, use Smart Accessories, and track your rep count and workout time. No move demos are available in this mode.

Cons to Tonal

  • It’s expensive, and there’s not much room to cut corners (you’ll probably want/need the accessories for this one more than you’ll need all the extras of the most robust add-on Peloton package).
  • A one-year membership is required when you purchase Tonal.
  • Installation by the company is required, and it’s attached to your wall, so if you ever want to move it, that could get tricky.

Key Features of Peloton

Peloton has a ton to offer, just like Tonal.

  • When it comes to the equipment, Peloton is cardiofitness-focused.
  • The All-Access membership allows you to access classes on your bike or treadmill, phone, smart TV, iPad, and computer.
  • A variety of instructors’ personalities and training styles means there’s most likely something for everyone.
  • The app does have strength training, yoga, meditation, etc., and they even sell dumbbells, resistance bands, and yoga mats. However, their superstar is really the Peloton Bike/Bike+. A close second is the Peloton Tread.
  • The Tread has 59″ of running space, speeds from 0 to 12.5 mph, and an incline from 0 to 12.5%.
  • The Bike+ has a rotating screen (good for off-bike classes) and automatically adjusts your resistance, so all you have to think about is keeping up with the cadence and enjoying the music and the instructors’ funny stories and motivational messages.
  • 30-day return policy
  • The bike requires a 36″ x 72″ area, and the Tread requires quite a bit more room. The Peloton site says, “The Tread’s dimensions are 68″ L x 33″ W x 62″ H. Additionally, you will need at least 78.7″ of clearance directly behind the Tread and 24″ of clearance on either side.” You’ll also need at least 20″ above your household’s tallest treadmill user’s head and a minimum ceiling height of 8′ for the bikes.
  • Additional workouts where you don’t use the equipment provide a well-rounded fitness workout (so you’ll get strength, cardio, flexibility, mobility, and more).
  • 22″ screen on the bike, 24″ screen on Bike+, 23.8″ screen on Tread
  • Can track heart rate with heart rate monitors (Bike+ can connect with the Apple Watch)

Pros of Peloton

  • There’s a crew of engaging instructors to motivate and inspire you as you complete workouts, on or off of the equipment.
  • If you need to cancel your All-Access membership, you can still use the app for around half the price. You’ll just need to use the TV or a device instead of the screen on the bike or treadmill.
  • Zero percent financing is available.
  • There’s a wide variety of class types to choose from (you can even schedule and stack them to fit your schedule and goals).
  • The playlists make working out more enjoyable.
  • If you find that you’ve chosen a class that’s too hard or too easy for you, you can always modify it, whether that’s turning the resistance down, modifying a strength or yoga move, or something else.

Cons to Peloton

  • If you go with the bike, you’ll need to buy special shoes.
  • You can’t do a whole lot on the bike or treadmill without the membership. For example, you’ll get three workouts and the “Just Ride” feature (not scenic rides) with the bike.
  • If you don’t choose a plan to follow (there aren’t that many, but the collection is growing), you’ll be left to choose from random classes, which means you could end up in a class that’s too easy or too challenging to where you currently are. The difficulty ratings are based on users’ feedback, so they may be tricky to navigate (especially for beginners).

The Main Differences Between Tonal vs Peloton

As I mentioned, Tonal vs Peloton are two totally different experiences with different focuses. Either will get results, but it depends on what you enjoy doing.

Membership

  • As of this writing, a Tonal membership costs $49.00/month, whereas a Peloton membership costs $39.00/month (or you can pay less than that for the app only, which will only cover one user and has fewer features than the full experience).
  • Tonal requires a one-year membership with your purchase (not included in the price), whereas Peloton does not.
  • Tonal has hundreds of classes, whereas Peloton has thousands.

Classes

  • Tonal focuses more on strength training, whereas Peloton’s focus is on cardio (though they do offer all kinds of workouts and sell dumbbells, resistance bands, yoga blocks, etc., the main focus is on the bike and treadmill).
  • Tonal offers up to 200 lbs of resistance, whereas Peloton doesn’t limit you because you’ll be using free weights and, if you choose, a barbell (but Peloton’s strength videos move quickly, so you probably won’t feel safe going especially heavy).
  • Tonal does not have live classes, whereas Peloton does.
  • Tonal’s cardio is limited to HIIT, dancing, and kickboxing, whereas Peloton has cycling, treadmill walking/running, outdoor walks/runs, HIIT, dance, and boot camps.

Fitness Equipment

  • Tonal sets your weights and tracks your progress, whereas Peloton does not (and cannot since you’re using your own gym equipment and there’s nowhere to enter this info in the app).
  • Tonal will need to be mounted to your wall (and it’s very heavy–150 lbs), whereas Peloton will not require anything like that, so you can put it in any room, move it around (it has wheels), etc.
  • Tonal costs about $3000.00, plus another almost $500.00 for the accessories, whereas you can get a Peloton bike for as low as about $1500.00 (or just under $2000.00 if you get the Bike Family package–water bottles, shoes, weights, headphones, heart rate monitors, and bike mat–with the original bike).

Other

  • Tonal doesn’t seem to have a huge community aspect as of this writing (there is a Facebook group, though), whereas Peloton allows you to take live workouts with friends, high-five other users, add friends, use hashtags to find others with the same interests, and more. Giving users the full connected fitness experience.

What Do Tonal and Peloton Have in Common?

While these two companies have pretty different offerings, they do have some things in common.

  • You won’t be able to go to a store and buy one that day; you’ll need to have someone bring it to your house and set it up.
  • Both have a wide variety of workout types, even though one is more focused on strength and the other more focused on cardio.
  • Both have knowledgeable trainers to guide you through the workouts.
  • Neither of them will give you real-time feedback on your form, so you’ll need to study the trainers and maybe even set up a mirror to make sure you’re completing them all correctly.
  • Neither includes the membership for the full year in the cost.
  • 0 percent financing is available for both.
  • Both provide data to show you where and how you’re improving.
  • Both allow you to add everyone in your household (everyone gets their own account).
  • Both have large Facebook groups for a community aspect.
  • Both are suitable for all fitness levels.

Alternatives to Consider

If you’re interested in Tonal and Peloton but you’re still not convinced that either of them is the right solution for your needs, there are a few other options on the market worth considering:

If You Love Cardio the Most:

MYXfitness: If you’re leaning toward the Peloton but it doesn’t quite feel like the perfect fit, take a look at MYXfitness before you make any decisions. Just like Peloton, it blends a bike-focused catalog of classes with lifting (you can use the swivel screen on the bike to follow along).

There are thousands of classes—on-demand and live. MYX is less expensive than Peloton’s Bike+ (equipment and app subscription), doesn’t require bike shoes, and all workouts (not just bike ones) work with the Apple Watch to show your heart rate on the screen.

NordicTrack S15i Studio Cycle: If you like the idea of an indoor bike that takes you outdoors and around the world to train with athletes, the S15i with an iFIT subscription is a wonderful option. The trainer controls your incline so you can zone out and enjoy the ups and downs of riding hilly terrain, but don’t worry, you can override it.

This screen also rotates, so you’ll be able to easily transition from the bike to the floor. iFIT comes with a range of workout types (cardio, lifting, yoga, meditation, flexibility, etc.). You get a 30-day trial of iFIT when you purchase the bike.

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Echelon Connect Bike: There are several of these at different price points, starting at $799.99. They have dual-sided pedals so you won’t necessarily need cycling shoes.

There are live and on-demand classes here, as well, and if you want to stay within one brand family to meet your fitness goals and minimize the number of subscriptions you need to juggle, you may enjoy the Echelon Reflect, which is in the same vein as Tonal.

Echelon Smart Connect Fitness Bike | Amazon
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The EX-3 boasts every cycling must-have, along with a few finishing touches for added polish. It strikes a unique balance between aesthetic appeal and space efficiency with its sleek, modern design and small footprint—all without compromising its structural integrity. 

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09/26/2022 05:41 am GMT

If You Love Strength Training the Most:

Tempo Studio: This one allows you to lift up to 230 lbs if you buy the 13-piece package (right at $4000.00). If you’re new, you can get the Starter option with nine pieces, which is right around $2500.00.

With the app, you get cardio, strength, and mobility workouts. The main downside to this one when comparing this one to Tonal is the amount of space it can take up because not everything gets completely tucked up against the wall.

It does, however, correct your form for you, thanks to 3D sensors and AI. It counts your reps, suggests weights so you keep progressing, and offers personalized plans for you to follow.

Mirror: This is another option that hangs out close to the wall and doesn’t take up much space, but if you’re interested in lifting weights, it may not be the best match for your interests. However, if you’re just looking for something that will give you a good workout without requiring a lot of space or extra equipment, it could be a match made in Heaven.

The class offerings here include Latin dance, barre, kickboxing, kettlebell, yoga flow, boxing, bootcamp, cardio + strength, family fun, Pilates, pre + post natal, dance, stretch, sculpt, weight training, ballet, meditation, hip hop, and arms + abs. As you can see, there are plenty of strength classes, but the ones that utilize weights may be more limited than you’d prefer if you love using dumbbells and barbells.

The Mirror also doesn’t need to be mounted on the wall and looks like home decor when not in use.

Check out our full guide on how to find the best interactive home gyms.

Echelon Reflect or Reflect Touch: Similar to Tonal, this mounts on the wall and barely takes up any space while giving you access to a range of fitness classes (live and on-demand).

The Reflect will need to be synched with a smart device to play the workouts, but the Reflect Touch plays the workouts on its own. There are more than 2000 workouts available.

If you want to use some of the Echelon cardio equipment as well, you’ll be able to stay within the Echelon family and streamline your fitness subscriptions.

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09/26/2022 07:50 am GMT

FAQs

This is a big decision and a major investment, so you probably have more questions. Here’s what most people wonder about when they start to compare Tonal vs Peloton:

Question: Is Tonal worth the money?

Answer: It is very expensive, but if it won’t be too much of a strain on the budget and you love strength and resistance training, you probably won’t be disappointed. If you’re already paying quite a bit for a gym membership, you may end up saving money, even with the monthly payment for the equipment (if you choose to finance) and the membership. It’s better to have smart gym equipment that doubles as a smart home gym than a costly standard membership.

If you’re already lifting very heavy weights, however, this may not be the best fit for you, and you may find yourself underwhelmed by the 200-lb max. For the average user, this should be enough weight, though.

Question: Is Tonal made by Peloton?

Answer: No, Tonal and Peloton are separate companies.

Question: Is Tonal overpriced?

Answer: Maybe a bit, but mostly because you have to pay extra for the accessories and then start paying for the monthly membership immediately. If the accessories were included or the membership was free for a year or so, that would make the price more palatable. That said, if it’s in your budget and you feel it would benefit your health and help you meet your goals, it’s still worth the money.

Question: Can you get ripped with Tonal?

Answer: Yes, absolutely. When you work out with the machines or weights at the gym, you may be tempted to stick with the weights you’ve been using, either because you don’t feel motivated to push yourself or because you’re nervous about lifting heavier without a spotter. With Tonal, you won’t have to worry about either of those things, so you may increase your chances of getting ripped sooner with this machine than in a gym.

Question: Can you lose weight with Tonal?

Answer: Yes, paired with the right nutrition, Tonal can help you lose weight. Weight training–especially following programs you can progress through and increasing your weights over time–is a good way to lose weight and change your body composition (more muscle, less fat). Keep in mind that when you lift weights, it’s a good idea to track your progress through photos and measurements, not just weight, as you can shrink in size without losing as much weight as you might expect. Muscle is denser than fat, which is why you might hear the phrase, “Muscle weighs more than fat” sometimes.

Question: What is comparable to Tonal?

Answer: NordicTrack Vault, Mirror, Tempo, Echelon Reflect, NordicTrack Fusion CST, and Bowflex Revolution

Question: Is Tonal good for beginners?

Answer: Yes, it’s wonderful for beginners, as long as they know they’re ready for the financial commitments involved in both the equipment itself and the monthly membership. It measures your strength and helps you progress when it’s time. You’ll also get to see how to perform each move on the screen and get general form tips (not real-time, personal feedback, though) from the trainers.

Question: Is Tonal a good workout?

Answer: Yes. Strength training has amazing benefits, and Tonal encourages you to keep progressing with the guidance of a trainer on the screen. While they won’t give you live feedback, they will give you cues and tips while the machine adjusts your weights to match your strength.

Question: Can you install Tonal yourself?

Answer: No, you have to have the company install it for you.

Question: Does Tonal have cardio?

Answer: Yes, Tonal has cardio as well as yoga, Pilates, barre, meditation, kickboxing, dance (cardio), pre and postnatal, triathlon training, family workouts, HIIT, recovery, mobility, “quick fit” workouts for busy days, Bootcamp, and Theragun workouts.

Question: Can Tonal build muscle?

Answer: Yes, it can build muscle. You’ll need to fuel your body for muscle gain and stay consistent, but Tonal can definitely help you build muscle.

Conclusion: Tonal or Peloton?

Can I choose both? Kidding. Mostly. They’re really two totally separate things with some overlap in the additional classes they offer. It’s close, but I recommend Peloton over Tonal for a few reasons: the price of equipment, the price of membership, the required one-year membership with Tonal, and the fact that Tonal needs to be attached to a wall and can’t be easily moved.

That said, if you can swing both, there may be enough of a difference between the two for having both to make sense, especially if you really enjoy riding a bike or using a treadmill over dancing, kickboxing, or doing HIIT for your cardio. Also, with Tonal, you won’t need to store a range of weights; you’ll just have what’s on the wall, plus a few accessories.

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