A home gym makes working out convenient, which will ideally lead to consistency, the key to any exercise regimen. There are a few key points to setting up a home gym that will engage you and fit your space. Mirror- and screen-based fitness devices aim to roll these solutions into one device that delivers diverse, engaging training.
These systems can make exercising much more fun and convenient while providing a solid foundation for every level of exerciser to build on with different hardware packages and progressive content. The devices can range from around $200 all the way up to $6,000 or more, and that’s without mandatory subscription fees for content.
The device manufacturers swear by the engagement, convenience, and resultant efficacy of such machines, and there’s a case to be made for how these initial expenditures can save you money compared to a traditional gym-based experience. We tested a bunch of mirror fitness devices with a wide range of prices to see where the sweet spot lies and determine which could be worth the money for different types of people.
Best for most people: Tempo Core
Runner-up: Peloton Guide
The best mirror fitness device for most people is the Tempo core, but it’s a close call. Tempo’s Core Starter pack ($245) doesn’t use a mirror or display with sensors. Instead, it lowers the entry fee by using your iPhone camera (XR or higher) as the sensor and a TV as its main display. Pop your iPhone on Tempo’s dock, set up your included weights, and you’re ready to go.
If you don’t already have a TV to plug into, the upgraded Tempo Studio incorporates a 42-inch touchscreen into an easel-like structure with a Microsoft Azure 3D camera, speakers, and weight storage for $1,695. If you have a TV, go for the Tempo Core, as the screen is the most consequential difference.
In terms of hardware, the Core Starter package gives you great value with the weight set, as the dumbbell and plates can be adjusted to create eight pairs of dumbbells from 7.5 to 25 pounds on each, with two-and-a-half pound increments in between. You can also add more weights, a workout mat, and even a barbell with plates.
Tempo offers over 1,000 classes, both pre-recorded and live, in three main categories (strength, cardio, and recovery). They’re further labeled with tags like boxing, yoga, functional movement, and more. You can also search by muscle group or body area if you’re looking to hit specific areas. There are filters to help those with previous injuries or sensitivities to certain movements, including “wrist-friendly,” “knee-friendly,” and “pregnancy” excercises. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to replace movements within a class, as you can with Tonal and Peloton.
The Peloton Guide, another camera-based, TV-connected strength training device, is the Tempo Core’s closest competitor. The Guide has a slightly higher $295 MSRP (currently down to $195), and that’s without weights or any accessories. Since the Tempo Core is essentially just a phone dock with weights and requires an iPhone, it keeps costs down and adds value with an adjustable weight set.
Even Peloton Guide’s largest bundle ($695 for six pairs of dumbbells, a workout mat, a water bottle, and a heart rate strap, along with the Guide) is still two dumbbell pairs shy of the Tempo Core. Tempo gives a big leg up to beginners, saving them a substantial upfront cost. Features like rep counting and automatic visual weight recognition on all workouts make the Tempo Core an attractive option for beginners and users of all experience levels.