Here’s what to know when it comes to Tonal vs. Mirror

When it comes to high-end home gym experiences, there are some pieces of equipment that clearly stand out above the rest: Tonal and Mirror. These are two of the best examples of wall-mounted gym technology designed to give you a complete workout experience just about anywhere in your home.

How can you get a solid workout from wall mounted equipment? These are smart home gyms based on large wall-mounted touch screens that help you exercise, train, attend gym classes and more. You don’t need extra home gym equipment, exercise bikes, or anything else to get a decent workout. All you need is the panel, the included accessories and some floor glides. However, although Tonal and Mirror take this approach, these home gyms have key differences. Here’s what’s best based on your training goals.

Design

The design of Tonal (51 inches high and 22 inches wide) and Mirror (52 inches high and 22 inches wide) are basically the same. These are large touchscreens with sensors that you can safely mount on a wall in a corner of your home. Note: There must be enough space to train around and the floor must be able to safely take knocks when you train).

However, upon closer inspection, several important design differences emerge. The Tonal panel is bigger, bulkier and heavier. As we discuss in our Tonal review, it’s made with sturdy sides that can support workout bars in different positions to set up resistance training, connected workout benches, and more.

The mirror, on the other hand, is a slim and beautiful model, focusing on the appearance of a mirror. The equipment uses touchscreen options, training tools and sensors similar to Tonal, but in a more compact package. This design element is useful if you are limited on space. It’s also easier to set up, but it doesn’t have the same full-drive versatility as Tonal.

We award this category to Tonal for a more robust design.

Training options

Boxing in front of the Mirror.

Let’s take a look at the workouts offered by each model! The built-in guides are one of the biggest advantages of each product. They offer big, clear guides for all moves and help monitor your form to avoid mistakes that could cause injury or prevent gains. Both allow you to create a custom profile based on the type of workout you want. Both units also have a library of thousands of different workouts.

There are a few key differences that emerge. Tonal is more concerned with form and progression than broadcasting live workouts. Mirror frequently hosts live events and encourages the social aspect of workouts.

While both panels support a wide variety of workouts, Tonal – and its impressive range of accessories – is clearly more focused on strength training, with its weights and resistance, than the Mirror. You can see more 200 bodybuilding movements Tonal racks in multiple configurations, from dumbbell presses and deadlifts to resistance-based bicep curls and squats. It’s an impressive range, especially if you want to replicate a full gym at home without taking up too much space.

Mirror, on the other hand, is not focused on strength training but on cardio and endurance. There are no additional features that can mimic the weights outside of an optional accessory. Workouts highlighted by Mirror include boxing, dance cardio, pilates, meditation and ballet. If a workout requires props, like a kettlebell session, you’ll need to bring your own and let Mirror know you have it. The way it supports these workouts is fun and effective, but it’s not a board for building a lot of muscle.

This category is tied because the workouts vary so much. If you’re looking to build strength, Tonal is the best bet. If you want to tone up and do more cardio, the Mirror is a better fit.

Smart features

Man looking at mirror data.

Both panels have smart features that monitor your form and give you goals or progress scores to help you stay on track. Touchscreens can accurately track workout times and steps, as well as set robust schedules for your activities.

However, Tonal goes a lot further with smart tracking for those who love data. Smart handles and smart bars track your reps. A “digital weight” system can automatically increase the resistance as you get stronger, ensuring constant improvement. The Tonal provides many personalized training reports with graphs and percentages. It takes a long time to set up, but you get a lot of training data back and you never have to worry about picking the right weight.

The mirror is easier to use – no doubt. However, access to smart workout data is more limited unless you opt for the “smart weights” dumbbell accessory. The mirror is more about what’s on screen, right now, as you move around. The data focuses on endurance stats, like time left in exercise and improving time, along with some basic smart recommendations for classes you might like. There’s more of a social factor too, with the Mirror panel making it clear when you’re doing the same workouts with the rest of the class. It even has options to share images and feel like you’re in a band at home. Read more about our Mirror review here.

We give this category to Tonal for all the detailed data it offers.

Price and availability

Tonal Fitness chooses workouts.

You can buy both Tonal and Mirror online now, but the packages they offer again differ.

Tonal offers a $2,995 package for the Home Gym Basic Panel, plus shipping and installation costs tracked as separate payments. Then there’s the $495 Smart Accessory Bundle, which is more or less a must buy to get all of Tonal’s unique strength training benefits. That brings the total to over $3,500.

Mirror offers several packages, depending on the accessories. The base package currently sells for $1,495 and includes only the Mirror panel with its basic configuration components. For $100 more, you get a variety of smart fitness tracker accessories, plus a collection of Lululemon gear for various workouts. Pay $100 more than that and Mirror adds a set of weights. Again, attachments aren’t as important to Mirror’s focus on body workouts, but you can pay more to unlock more strength training options. Even so, Mirror is much cheaper than Tonal.

Let’s not forget the membership fees. No home gym panel really works without a subscription to access the content and all the smart features. Mirror specifically requires it, and while Tonal doesn’t make it quite so obvious, there’s little point in investing in either Mirror unless you also subscribe to the service. Mirror’s services cost $39 per month for up to six different profiles. Tonal’s service is $49 per month.

This category goes to Mirror, as it’s clearly the more affordable option of the two.

Last word

Tonal will give you the best workout, especially if you’re interested in building muscle or charting clear progress. Mirror is a more social option with plenty of live events and plenty of ways to sweat it out with bodyweight workouts. However, it places relatively little emphasis on strength training. Despite their surface similarities, they are very different types of home gym technology. At less than half the cost, Mirror is an easier entry point, but those who want serious results may be happier with Tonal, even with the high entry price.

Editors’ Recommendations