Tonal vs Tempo

Tonal vs Tempo Comparison: Which is Better?

Having a smart gym at home can prove to be very cost-effective by saving you money on a gym membership while allowing you to work out whenever you like. In our Tonal vs Tempo comparison, we will explore all the features of these two popular home gym setups.

We will compare these two innovative gyms against each other, look at some alternatives on the market, and finally find out which one we think is better.


Main Differences Between Tonal and Tempo

The main differences between Tonal and Tempo are:

  • Tonal has a 24-inch touchscreen, whereas Tempo has a 42-inch touchscreen
  • Tempo uses Olympic weights, whereas Tonal uses adjustable resistance training with digital weights
  • Tonal offers classes where you can work out with a partner, whereas Tempo does not
  • Tempo allows you to lift weights to 300 lbs, whereas Tonal only allows you to lift weights to 200 lbs
  • Tempo is a freestanding system that doesn’t require installation, whereas Tonal needs to be installed onto a wall

Exploring Tonal vs Tempo Features

Tonal vs Tempo Features

Both Tonal and Tempo provide a wide range of fantastic features that allow you to keep fit, stay healthy, and work out from the comfort of your own home. We have compared these two smart gyms taking into consideration many different features.

Touchscreen Display

Tonal and Tempo both offer a touchscreen display which makes operating these home gym systems a breeze (we will look at the ease of use of Tonal and Tempo a bit later on).

Tonal offers a 24″ interactive display screen where you can choose workouts and operate the system. This screen has 17 different sensors used to track the progress of your exercises and allows you to play on-demand sessions and live workouts.

Tempo has an even larger screen that is an impressive 42″ with a 3D sensor to track your movements and keep you updated on your progress.

While both of these smart home gyms offer a touchscreen, Tempo’s is larger. This is an advantage on paper, and it does help with live classes and on-demand videos; however, you will require extra space to house the bigger touchscreen.

Continue reading our full Tonal Gym Review.

Strength Workouts

Strength training is a key feature of both the Tonal and Tempo systems; however, there are crucial differences between the two home gyms.

Tonal is marketed as the ultimate strength training machine, and its design is ideal for both upper and lower body strength exercises. The smart gym has adjustable resistance training that uses digital weights, while you can also utilize various accessories such as Smart Handles and a Smart Bar. Unfortunately, tonal doesn’t offer real free weights, and a potential downside is the 100 lb weight resistance limit per arm.

The weights and accessories that you can use depend on the package that you take out with Tempo. Tempo does offer Olympic weights, which many people prefer as an alternative to the digital weight system you get with Tonal Gym. You can also get barbells up to 300 lbs with this gym which is much better than Tonal, and you get handy storage too.

Tempo does offer more for muscle building; deciding which system to go with for weight training comes down to whether you want to work with digital resistance weights or actual weights.

On-Demand Classes

A feature that you find with both Tonal and Tempo is on-demand classes.

These are incredibly useful as they mean you can work out in a structured exercise class that suits you and aren’t limited to a strict timeframe. Both systems offer a wide range of on-demand workouts, including strength training, yoga, and HIIT.

There isn’t a lot between the two systems with their on-demand classes. Both offer a lot of different workouts that you can access with a few touches on the screen, and it means you can exercise in a structured way when it suits you.

Live Classes

Even though exercising with on-demand videos suits many people with a busy lifestyle, sometimes getting yourself motivated can be a challenge. This is why we look out for home gym systems that have live classes too.

Tempo has an array of live classes, and like their on-demand content, they are led by expert fitness trainers and instructors. This includes classes on a range of different exercises that you can join in real-time and get the motivation to push yourself.

Live classes are a new addition to Tonal, and it is one area that Tempo would have beaten Tonal hands down. However, Tonal has now brought in a range of live classes to their system with Tonal Live. Sometimes working out with other people can help push you to your limit, and all the live classes are added to their on-demand system.

Partner Exercise

Being able to work out with a partner is essential for many people. While live and on-demand class options are great features, physically exercising with another person can be very rewarding.

This is one area where Tonal has a clear edge over Tempo.

Tempo doesn’t offer classes that you can work out with someone else, and the exercises and routines are very much focused on an individual. It is pretty disappointing that this feature isn’t available in an otherwise fantastic home gym setup. However, it is something the company has advised they are looking into for the future.

With Tonal, there are many on-demand and live classes that are tailored to work out with someone else. This includes weight training with alternating sets, and if you have someone else in your home that you want to use a home gym system with, Tonal is the obvious choice.


Tempo and Tonal offer different accessories that you can buy to enhance your exercises; however, they are different because the way you exercise with each smart gym isn’t the same.

Tempo’s emphasis on using Olympic weights means that you can buy additional accessories such as kettlebell systems, plate bundles, and dumbells. You can also pick up other accessories such as a heart rate monitor, yoga mats, water bottles, and sweat towels.

Tonal, which focuses on resistance training, does offer accessories too, but most are designed to fit in with the way the system works. These additions include various accessories such as smart handles that use Bluetooth to connect to digital weights, smart bars, a workout bench, and a workout mat.

The accessories on offer differ as the two systems work in separate ways; however, Tempo offers more accessories such as water bottles and heart rate monitors that Tonal does not.


While these two gym systems are very powerful and efficient, sometimes you can run into problems. Having a good support system in place is essential.

Tonal offers various support options on their website, such as a handy contact form, FAQ section, and support via phone. A great feature is their knowledge base which contains articles and a forum to help you get the system set up and generally covers tips and issues you might run into. They also provide several videos, including how to get started, the different features of the system, and other information.

Tempo has a support section too that provides articles on different topics related to the home gym. This includes information on using the system, installation, and classes. You can also contact Tempo via a contact form.

When it comes to support options, Tonal does offer more methods to get in contact with them. They also have handy video content and a forum that is more than what Tempo provides to customers, so Tonal edges it here.

Comparing Tonal vs Tempo – Pricing

Having your own smart gym system at home comes at a cost, so how do Tonal and Tempo compare?

If we look at the starting price, Tempo is slightly cheaper than Tonal. However, it does get a bit more complicated.

The Tempo starting package is a bit cheaper than Tonal, and this gets you the smart gym system, weights up to 90 lbs, access to cardio, mobility, and specific strength workouts. With the Tempo starter package, you get:

  • 5mm Workout Mat
  • 2 x 7.5 lb Dumbbells
  • 4 x Collars
  • 75 lbs of Weight Plates

There is also the Plus option (which lets you lift up to 150 lbs) and the Pro option, which allows you to lift more and access to all workouts. On top of this, you need to pay a monthly membership fee and shipping. The significant advantage is that Tempo is a freestanding gym system, so paying extra for installation isn’t required.

Tonal is a bit more expensive at first glance; however if you compare it to the Tempo starting packing. The overall cost of Tonal is dependent on several variables, one of which is installation. This isn’t a freestanding system, so it needs to be fitted to a wall, and how much this costs depends on your home setup. Also, you need to take out a monthly membership with Tonal (which costs more than Tempo) and also pay for shipping.

You can discontinue your membership of Tonal after the first 12-months, but you will lose access to most of its features.

Both Tonal and Tempo offer finance options, which is good to see.

Tonal vs Tempo – Ease of Use

Both systems will take a bit of getting used to, but the overall functionality is relatively intuitive and shouldn’t take long to master.

OK, they are more complicated than buying an exercise bike for your home; however, both systems aren’t massively challenging to use. Many online resources for both Tonal and Tempo can help if you run into any issues.

We can’t really pick a winner here as both of these home gym setups are easy to use after some practice.

Pros and Cons



  • Ideal if you prefer weight resistance over traditional weights
  • Provides dynamic resistance to your workouts
  • Partner class allow you to work out with someone physically beside you
  • You can cancel your membership after 12-months and still use the machine for basic exercise
  • You don’t need to own physical weights at home
  • Nice design, and the smaller screen is better if you are short on space


  • Tonal needs to be installed onto a wall, so require extra installation costs
  • More expensive when compared to the Tempo starting package
  • Weight resistance is limited to 200 lbs, which might not be ideal for serious weight lifters
  • The sensors sometimes don’t pick up your movement



  • It offers a much larger 42-inch touchscreen
  • A freestanding system, so it doesn’t require additional installation
  • Perfect if you prefer lifting real weights
  • It allows you to lift to 300 lbs
  • Has storage for your weight-lifting equipment
  • It offers different packages to suit your needs


  • It can get expensive beyond the starter package
  • It doesn’t offer partner classes
  • Require an active subscription to use even basic functionality
  • The larger screen might not fit into small households
  • Support options are limited compared to Tonal

Are There Any Alternatives?


The Mirror home gym is often cited as an alternative to Tonal and Tempo, and it does offer many similar features such as on-demand and live classes.

The system works off a 40-inch display (similar to Tempo but controlled via an app), and this doubles up as a full-length mirror (hence the name). It is a pretty unique concept and one that would suit people if they want a quirky feature in their home.

The main difference with Mirror is that while there are strength workouts, weights or resistance equipment isn’t included. This home gym system is geared toward cardio exercises, which can potentially suit many people who aren’t that interested in strength activities.

If you are looking for a sleek home gym that has an emphasis on cardio, the Mirror is for you. However, if you want physical weights, a touchscreen, and performance tracking, the Mirror isn’t the best option, although it does come in at a lower price.

Check out our full Mirror vs Tempo comparison or how to find the best interactive home gyms.

Echelon Reflect

The other Tonal and Tempo alternative is the Echelon Reflect.

This is a whopping 50-inch mirror (there is a 40-inch option available). With the 40-inch model, you need to operate it via an app (like Mirror), although the 50-inch version is a touchscreen device.

With Echelon Reflect, you also get access to live classes as part of your membership. However, like Mirror, it focuses more on cardio and doesn’t come with any weights, so you will need to purchase your own. While the price of Echelon is lower than Tempo or Tonal, if you are going to add additional equipment such as a treadmill or a rowing machine, this is going to ramp the cost up.

If you want to save some money and you have a liking for cardio work, the Echelon Reflect is a great choice. However, similar to the Mirror home gym, it probably won’t appeal to those solely focusing on strength and weight-based training.

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02/24/2024 05:00 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions about Tonal and Tempo

Question: Do I need a subscription to use Tonal?

Answer: Yes. You need to take out a membership subscription to use Tonal; however, you can cancel after 12-months and still use limited functionality with this home gym system.

Question: Do I need a subscription to use Tempo?

Answer: Yes. You require a subscription to use Tempo, and this is integral to how the system works. If you cancel your membership to Tempo, you don’t have much functionality at all.

Question: Does Tonal need to be secured to a wall?

Answer: Tonal requires the installation and needs to be fully secured to a wall in order to use it. This can ramp the cost up, as the installation fee depends on your home setup.

Question: Is Tempo a free-standing system?

Answer: Yes. Tempo is a freestanding home gym, although it is cumbersome. This means you can save money on an installation fee; however, moving it around your home will be challenging due to the weight.

Question: Do I need to buy weights with Tonal?

Answer: Tonal focuses on resistance-based training, so it doesn’t use traditional weights, and everything you need is included. Although, it has an overall weight limit of 200 lbs.

Question: Can I use on-demand and live classes with Tonal and Tempo?

Answer: Yes. Both the Tonal and Tempo home gym systems have on-demand and live classes for you to exercise. Tonal offers classes where you can work out with a partner, while Tempo is solely for use by one person at a time.

Verdict – Choose Tempo for the More Traditional Gym Experience

Both of these gym systems are great in their own way; however, we recommend going with Tempo as it provides a more traditional gym experience in your home.

There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with resistance-based weight and strength training, but Tempo is more like having a gym in your house.

Tempo also costs a bit less than Tonal for the Starter package and, even though it doesn’t have partner exercises, it has a wealth of great on-demand and live classes to keep you in top shape without even leaving home.

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